THE most imaginative Conservative spin doctor could never have devised a more ingenious strategy for taking the heat off a party convulsed in its biggest crisis for generations.

The Prime Minister had just resigned. The financial markets had gone through the floor and the man expected to march proudly into Number 10 spent a few days hiding under the covers. The long knives were dripping with blood, as the UK’s governing party descended into a brutal civil war.

Then a horde of Blairites rode to their rescue. Their timing could not have been more effectively scripted by a Whitehall mandarin. Suddenly, Brexit and the Tory crisis had strong competition for the front page headlines.

So why now? The justification for this attempted coup is threadbare. Corbyn, say the Blairites, failed to deliver during the EU campaign.

In Corbyn’s own constituency, the vote to Remain was overwhelming. In contrast voters in the constituencies and former constituencies of some his most high profile opponents voted solidly to leave. Step forward Tom Watson, Chris Bryant, Tony Blair, Neil Kinnock, Stephen Kinnock, Peter Mandelson to name but a few.

These people deserted their roots, neglected working class voters in their own constituencies and ultimately left the field open to the poisonous drip of right wing populism.

They have something else in common too. They were all supporters of the catastrophic invasion of Iraq. Thirteen years later, Baghdad is still in flames. As I write, at least 83 people have been killed by a Daesh car bomb in the city. And the repercussions of the disastrous decision of these discredited politicians reverberate all around the world to this day, from Dhaka to Brussels.

Of course, the Chilcott inquiry is about to report. It now seems pretty obvious that the timing of the strike against Corbyn is not so much an act of gross political stupidity as a premeditated, co-ordinated assassination attempt with the aim of removing a Labour leader before he stands up in the House of Commons this week to brand Tony Blair a war criminal. And to save themselves from lifelong shame.

The Blairites were never going to go quietly. And if they regain their stranglehold over the party, Labour in Scotland will be smashed forever, unless it breaks with UK Labour and supports Scottish independence.

The attempted coup has sparked a revolt which has frightened Angela Eagle, the only challenger named so far, back into hiding. No one yet seems confident of winning the support of the Labour Party membership. It seems their only hope is to pile the pressure on Corbyn to throw in the towel.

Let’s hope that Corbyn hangs on for a few more days at least, even if it’s by his fingernails, to make a speech that could begin the process of putting Tony Blair behind bars for the monstrous crimes he has committed against humanity.

The imprint Eddie Truman left on us will endure

IN a week where Westminster politicians were revealed in all their Shakespearean double-dealing, the light went out of the life of one of the good guys.

My friend Eddie Truman died far too young, at the age of just 53. His partner, my pal Catriona, is broken-hearted. So too are his daughter Holly, his granddaughters, Ella, Poppy, Daisy and Pippa, and other family members. Many more people who loved him feel that a great void has been left in their lives.

Eddie had been active in politics for many years before he became press officer for the SSP. I got to know him well between 2003 and 2007, when, as an MSP, I worked with him day-to-day.

Eddie bounced into the Parliament, on his big lanky legs, with the enthusiasm of a child at a Christmas Party. He was a man of great passions. Equivocation was never his style. Whether we were defending the rights of asylum seekers, campaigning in support of striking nursery nurses or floating the idea of a Scottish entry to the Eurovision song contest, Eddie would declare that our motions, speeches and, let’s be honest, stunts, were “brilliant”.

He was exceptionally talented. A bit of geek, he was always ahead of the technology race, patiently teaching the rest of us all about the mysteries of the digital world. Goodness knows how much work he produced for nothing: websites, posters, leaflets, chat rooms.

In the early days, Eddie’s optimism was infectious. He was ardent in his commitment to the struggle for a better, fairer world. We wanted to change the world and Eddie thought we would. But then a major crisis erupted at the heart of the SSP – one of the most serious that any Scottish political party had ever had to deal with.

It took its toll. When I compare the bounding Eddie who ran us to photo calls, giggling uncontrollably, with the haunted man buried deep in conversation in our press office, it induces a sadness deeper than any words can convey. Poor Eddie.

Like us all he had his flaws. He could occasionally go off on strops. And his long limbs meant he could out-strop anyone. He wasn’t a man to shy away from controversy. Combined with his technological prowess, I have a theory that he invented the flame war.

He was human. But principled, committed, steadfast and true was our Eddie Truman. His imprint on the world will endure for generations.