BRASS neck of the week award goes to failed celebrity and former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. The Lothians MSP yesterday boasted she had donated £7500 to charity as a result of going on reality TV to drink blended animal parts. But a third of that was the salary she got for being an MSP while not actually being an MSP, and the rest was a fraction of her £85K package for three weeks in the sun. What did her spindoctor Alan Roden used to say about the gig? “Promoting Labour values.” Obviously New Labour values.

WHILE we’re on the subject, an eagle-eyed reader has spotted a small but intriguing change to Ms Dugdale’s Twitter account. She used to describe herself as “Always @scottishlabour”. But recently this was downgraded to “@scottishlabour”. Our source wonders whether it's a sign her commitment phobia might tempt her to become an Independent MSP next.

THEY cost us almost £2.5m a year, but just what do the SNP Government’s army of spinners get up to behind closed doors? Unspun had a fascinating insight over Christmas when a phone call to their office went unanswered but somehow created an open line. The elite civil servants could be heard giggling along to carols made of cat meows. One was also impersonating the Sacha Baron Cohen character Borat. Taxpayers’ money well spent!

AMID the din, one spinner moaned to a colleague about “some zero-carbon p*** the Greens put out”. This, presumably, was an embargoed Scottish Green party press release urging ministers to set a target of zero carbon emissions by 2040. “We cannot afford to slow down if we're serious about meeting our responsibilities,” it quoted Green MSP Mark Ruskell saying. Sorry, Mark – you’ll be waiting well past 2040 for this lot to get serious.

OVER excitement at Finance Committee as SNP convener Bruce Crawford welcomed Finance Secretary Derek Mackay. This meeting will deal with the revenue side of the budget, Brucie explained, while the next will turn “more to the constitution - sorry, expenditure - not the constitution.” At which Mr Mackay mimicked an outraged Unionist and threw up his hands, yelling: “You’re obsessed!” Mr Crawford shyly confessed he was.

ADDRESSING business bigwigs at an event about getting more women into boardrooms, Nicola Sturgeon reminisced about her decision to appoint a gender-balanced cabinet. It initially sparked an "eye-opening" response, she said. Emails and letters flooded in, demanding to know how she could be sure all the women were there on merit. "I didn't get a single letter asking me how I knew all the men were there on merit," she recalled wryly.

A CHOICE moment for Alex Salmond on his Kremlin-backed TV show this week. His main guest, the actor Brian Cox, was reflecting that many Scots popped their clogs at 67 or 68. “Not us,” said the former First Minister confidently. “No, we’re over that,” said 71-year-old Mr Cox. Alas, Mr Salmond turned a sprightly 63 on Hogmanay. Maybe he needs more make-up.

TALKING of vanity, an email arrives from the Scottish LibDems with four photos of Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton, sent to update Unspun’s database. There’s rising star ACH chortling with Willie Rennie and Sir Vince Cable, bookworm ACH outside a library, industrious ACH in front of the Forth Rail Bridge (not his own work), and concerned ACH staring moodily into the lens outside a GP's. Perhaps he should have gone in for a check-up while shooting the last one. The angle makes it look as if an alarming mole is sprouting from his neck. Should have gone to PhotoShop, mate.

RISING SNP star Kate Forbes got a chance to plug her campaign against plastic drinking straws at FMQs. Nicola Sturgeon heartily approved, but not all in the party were so happy. One Nat MSP later fumed in the pub that Ms Forbes had been given the issue by SNP HQ “because she’s teacher’s pet”. They then put two straws in their drink as a protest.