Leadership crisis of the week Day 1: PM has sore throat and stumbles over big speech. Immediate expressions of sympathy with much talk of 'courage', 'resilience’, and 'old girl’. Day 2: Plotters in bid to oust PM. The plot is inspired by someone implausibly entitled Grant Shapps, hitherto assumed to be an inoffensive hill in Cumbria. Day 3: PM 'clinging to power.’ Day 4: PM 'fighting back.’ Day 5: It’s all over. Plotters 'regrouping’.
'Open and honest answer’ of the week The one Theresa May claimed she was giving to an interviewer who asked her twice how she would vote in a second EU referendum. Beware the politician bearing open and honest answers. They are always the most evasive, and so it proved in this case.
Friends of the week When Johnson implored his anonymous 'friends’ to stop blabbing on his behalf, he rewrote one of the laws of political journalism. Any un-named 'friend’ or 'pal’ quoted in the press is widely understood to be the politician himself. Here Johnson invites us to believe that (a) he has any friends; and (b) the friends in question are not all called Boris Johnson.
Progress The motto of the SNP conference. As one wag pointed out, you only needed the first two letters and the last two to drop off the podium during the first minister’s conference speech to produce a more revealing slogan. Though, strictly speaking, you only needed the first two to drop off.
It’s the megalomania that gets them in the end Nicola Sturgeon and her '10 more years.’
Political initiative of the week The first minister’s new energy company. If it turns out to be as successful as her administration’s last foray into public ownership – the takeover of Prestwick Airport – best order your candles now.
Pun of the week 'Sturgeon flicks the switch.’
Possible name for the new energy company LECKY in memory of the former first minister, whose absence from the conference was sadly noted by Lecky's many admirers.
Most riveting prospect of the week 'Swinney to address SNP conference’ (BBC Scotland).
Political commentator of the week Ian Blackford, who claims to be the SNP's group leader at Westminster, seized this hotly contested accolade with a short article in the i newspaper including such gems as: 'We’ve come a long way in 10 years’; 'The SNP will lead from the front’; 'At the very heart of our focus in building that better nation has been unlocking the potential of our people...’ (blah blah).
Climbdown of the week Independence for brave little Catalonia. But, er, not yet...
Humanitarian gesture of the week An Afghan pensioner (not that Afghan women are entitled to a pension), whose son and grandson carried her through mountain ranges and forests in search of asylum, was finally and reluctantly granted temporary shelter in Sweden. Her residence permit lasts only 13 months. But as the Afghan pensioner in question is 106, there is every hope that, by the time it expires, she will have expired too.
Casting couch of the week/century The commodious sofa provided by Hollywood mogul Harvey Winestain CBE, whose last movie may well be inspired by the experience of life without parole in a scary American penitentiary for sex offenders. Mr Winestain denies all wrongdoing.
Showbiz mysteries of the week Why the notoriously voluble luvvies now complaining of the unseemly attentions of Mr Winestain took so long to speak out; why anyone should be surprised that Hollywood producers sleep with young actresses and that 'showbiz' in general is crawling with sleazebags of every description; and why, disregarding any possibility that the coverage may have been motivated by base motives of prurience, this tawdry chronicle somehow became the main story of the week.
Appointment of the week Lang-haired historian and archaeologist Neil Oliver was made president of the National Trust for Scotland, provoking the ire of nationalist trolls because of his unionist sympathies. It was further proof that in Scotland it is only socially acceptable to be Nat or sympathetically neutral.
More disturbing news from Troon The home of Mr and Mrs Fergus, terrors of the Macdonald Loch Rannoch Hotel, and of Mr and Mrs Weir, the bankrollers of the governing party, was the scene of yet another police cordon as a body was discovered in a flat in the centre of the deceptively sedate Ayrshire burgh. The death is officially 'unexplained’ – like so much else in Scotland.
Remember, you read it here first 'Scotland narrowly missed qualifying for the finals. It hasn’t happened yet, but we might as well get in first.’ (Double Take, 8 September 2017).
Vertically challenged Scots of the week The wee bauchles whose limited stature was blamed by coach Gordon Strachan for wur team's early exit. Though Gordo was roundly abused for this novel excuse, the truth of his observation is distressingly visible in the profusion of short arses in kilts at weddings the length and, more particularly, the breadth of Scotland.
'Madonna minister’ of the week The Rev Susan Brown, appointed moderator-designate of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland ('new Church of Scotland moderator’ as ignorant journalists erroneously referred to her). Upon hearing the news, Scotland’s dwindling band of devout assumed that the Rev Brown had had a close encounter with the Virgin Mary – only to learn that she had merely conducted the wedding of an entertainer of the same name.
In the hole! Losses on Trump’s Scottish golf resorts more than doubled last year – to £17.6m. That's the equivalent of £1m for every hole on the 'greatest golf course in the world.'
Alliteration of the week Nobel prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro declared that he was 'flabbergastingly flattered’ by the honour. He added: 'I’ll be deeply moved if I could in some way be part of some sort of climate this year in contributing to some sort of positive atmosphere at a very uncertain time.’ Maybe he should have stuck to being flabbergastingly flattered.
Plot with a twist in the tail Having advertised for, and received, hundreds of unpublished tomes from debut novelists across the world, the organisers of the Dundee International Book Prize announced that it would not be awarded because they could no longer guarantee publication. It seems the book was to have been handled by an outfit in financial difficulties. Mystified book lovers were left to wonder why it proved impossible to find an alternative publisher.
Yawn of the week 'George Michael: The last interview.’
Misunderstanding of the week The media’s belief that the person whose funeral took place in Salford was a fictional character ('Farewell to Corrie’s Vera’) rather than the actress who played the part.
The BBC’s idea of 'Breaking News’ The resignation of its own head of news, a character going by the name James Harding.
Floor-breaking news of the week The BBC reported that a man had been 'pinned to the floor’ outside the National History Museum in London, the truth being that the non-terrorist had been pinned to the ground.
TV dud of the week The new Sunday night serial, 'The Last Post,' not the absorbing tale of a Christmas postal strike that some of us had anticipated, but a dreary drama set in Aden in the 1960s. In the opening minutes of episode 1, viewers were treated to the repellent spectacle of a stereotypical brute of a tattooed Scottish squaddie naked to the waist, followed by a bonking scene involving an officer’s wife who had just hung her bra on the clothes line in full view of the troops. It was a sign.
Best defence of the week From a motorist charged with dangerous driving, who explained to Carlisle Crown Court that she had fallen asleep at the wheel because she had been listening to Classic FM. On Wednesday morning, the station's DJ from another planet, Bill Turnbull, played something 'to celebrate the middle of the week,' while acknowledging that 'there’s still a bit of a mountain to climb’ – presumably before the weekend when the entire nation closes down in order to listen to, um, Bill Turnbull.
Word of the day Triskaidekaphobia (a fear of Friday the 13th).