RICHARD Leonard is the sort of Scottish Labour leader that makes you long for the halcyon days of Iain Gray.

It’s not just the staccato, shouty delivery – though Lord knows that is irritating enough. It’s the way he – week after week after week – handcuffs his hands behind his back, unties his shoelaces, and then looks surprised when Nicola Sturgeon takes the opportunity to trip him up.

At FMQs he started by asking the First Minister to sign a letter he’s written calling on Theresa May to "take back responsibility" and restore the funding for free BBC TV licences for pensioners.

Sturgeon all but patted him on the head. Her internal monologue could be heard clearly by everybody watching. "Sure thing", it said. "I’ll sign your wee letter. And you used joined-up writing too? Aww, good job, Dickie!" She looked momentarily regretful when she had to break it to him that the Scottish Government had already written to the UK Government about the issue, as though she was being forced to kick a Dogs Trust puppy.

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He went on to ask about the Scottish Government’s pensioner fuel poverty targets, before widening it out and asking: "When will Scotland’s pensioners finally be lifted out of poverty?" After some back and forth Sturgeon finally lost her patience with the beleaguered Leonard.

"The regulation of energy prices is a RESERVED MATTER. Pensions are a RESERVED MATTER. Television licences are a RESERVED MATTER. So, if Leonard wants this government to have responsibility for those areas, he’ll find that I’m the first to agree with him."

I think the reason Leonard gets himself in such a muddle over what is devolved is because Scottish Labour itself is reserved to Westminster.

She went on: "Having reversed his position on a second EU referendum, maybe he will now see the light, and reverse his position on a second independence referendum so that THIS PARLIAMENT can take control of these matters out of the hands of the Tories."

There’s just no sport in FMQs anymore. It used to be the opposition’s chance to hold the government of the day to account and to show the public their competency and vision as a first minister-in-waiting.

I’ve heard from a reliable source that Sturgeon is extremely worried about the impact of Leonard’s mediocrity on her own debating skills. So much so, she has resorted to face-timing Andrew Neil once a week for an argument about Brexit to keep herself at peak intellectual fitness.

It feels like a stitch-up. Which disgruntled staffer is writing Leonard’s questions? Who is advising him that demanding the Scottish Government act in reserved areas is anything other than a complete waste of time?

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Even worse than that are the calls for the Scottish Government to find the money to mitigate all the damage done to Scotland through UK Government policy decisions, without so much as an acknowledgement that maybe having Westminster in charge in the first place isn’t the best idea.

If my daughter had a tyrannical pal who smashed up her toys every time she came to our house, I’d stop inviting the wee menace. I wouldn’t just smile politely as the child’s mother dropped her off with parting advice to simply spend more money to replace the stuff her little bundle of joy had broken.

I hope Leonard does “see the light” before next week’s FMQs because we can’t go on like this.

If he doesn’t want Bullingdon-bully Boris squirting skooshy cream all over his favourite trainset then he needs to be a big boy and tell him that their playdate is OVER.