HERE we go again – yapping, bumbling, mumbling but no answer. Not my words this week, but those of Ian Blackford, who has officially had enough of this weekly charade!

He wants to know why Boris Johnson reckons trust in his government among Scots is at 15% and falling. Surprise surprise, he isn't getting a coherent response. Apparently the Scottish people are being hoodwinked by Blackford and co into believing the UK Government is doing a terrible job, “fomenting grievance where no grievance should exist.”

It's useful, isn't it, this “grievance” chat? It's like a magic wand the PM can wave to make anything he's doing seem excusable and anyone complaining seem unreasonable. Stepping on your toe? Stop crying, you grievance-monger. Declaring your job non-viable? Swap grievance for ambition and get another one, you whiner. Imposing restrictive new laws he doesn't even understand himself? Do you even want to beat the virus, or would you rather just snipe from the sidelines and air yet more of your grievances?

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Meanwhile the weekly ding-dong between the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition continues along the same utterly predictable lines, despite the best efforts of the Speaker to explain the very simple format of one person (not the Prime Minister) asking the questions and another (the Prime Minister) answering them. Week in, week out, Keir Starmer asks a question about the coronavirus response and Johnson fires back variations along the lines of “Why can't you just uncritically support everything the government does? Is it because you hate the public/doctors and nurses/care workers/humanity itself?”

Then Starmer, mug that he is, plays along by answering. 

Not for Blackford this role reversal. If the PM can't explain why we don't trust him, he'll get a helping hand. “Since he can't answer a straight question, I will tell the PM,” begins Blackford, triggering a level of uproar that seems implausible given the tiny number of MPs dotted around the benches.

Of course we all know how Johnson will respond to the question of whether he is willing to force through the Internal Market Bill at all costs – he repeats his script about how Brexit is going to be wonderful for Scotland, as it will bring back powers from Brussels. The implication being that this is what we need, despite those grievance monkeys in the SNP having hoodwinked us into voting overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.

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By this point it doesn't matter what Johnson says – what matters is that Blackford gets to put on the record that this Tory government “casually and arrogantly breaks international law, and breaks devolution" and "has shattered any remaining trust in this broken Westminster system.” Job done!

Special mention must this week go to Labour's Mick Whitley, who could teach his party leader a thing or two about the effective framing of questions. Never mind dead-end enquiries about lockdown in Luton – the MP for Birkenhead got straight to the point. “Last week the Chancellor made the political choice to write off a million jobs as unviable,” he began, noting that this will lead to unemployment on a scale even worse than under Thatcher. “Why do he and the Chancellor think that's a price worth paying?”

This is to “completely misrepresent what the Chancellor is trying to do”, splutters an indignant PM, before embarking on a ramble about the importance of suppressing the virus. He and Rishi Sunak want to "get the economy moving, get people into work", he adds, perhaps unwittingly acknowledging the plan is indeed to allow mass unemployment for the time being and "build back better" later. That will be little comfort to those who are facing redundancy by Christmas, but who cares what they say? They're just another bunch of moaners with another set of grievances, after all.