The National:

THEY do say you can’t blame a bloke for trying, but in the case of Douglas Ross, the Morayshire linesman, I’m prepared to make an exception.

He probably thought it a cheeky wee tweet to ask if whoever wins the Labour Leadership in Scotland – poisonedchalices’R’ – would join with him in a Unionist coalition to stop the SNP juggernaut in its May-bound tracks. What with the previous Labour incumbent having given him a dizzy an’ all.

At which thought I imagine both contenders for Scottish Labour’s hottest seat were wondering how many ways you could re-jig the words f*** and off to cause maximum offence.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross tries to form Better Together coalition with next Labour leader

It may be that the tyro Tory leader missed out on his O-grade political history. Otherwise, he might just have clocked that the last time the people’s party popped into bed with the Tories it did not end at all well.

Better Together was an experiment in anti-independence coalescing which brought Labour a ton of grief and a haemorrhage in support which all but wiped them out in the post-referendum General Election.

Soon The Red Flag conference hymn had to be swiftly replaced with Will Ye No Come Back Again? And Dougie thinks he can send them another Valentine? In the immortal words of Mr John Patrick McEnroe: “You cannot be serious!”

And just maybe he’s not. Maybe, this is a (marginally) shrewder piece of mischief making than I’m giving him credit for. Maybe, given that the polling suggests his lot and Labour will be scrapping for second place, it would be no bad thing to ensure that red and the tartan got into a proper scrap leaving the blue with a clearer path to the number two slot.

The National:

In one sense he’s on to something. The electoral map of Scotland has always been skewed by the two left-of-centre parties harbouring adherents who are too busy loathing each other to remember who the actual austerity-bringing, social-security-trashing, NHS-dismantling, private-education-cheering, poverty-inducing enemy actually is.

That may never change. Some enmities, in some bosoms, run too deep for remedial surgery. But what could - and should - change is Scottish Labour’s endless confusion over who it is and where it’s going.

If it is a truly Scottish party then it needs to act like one, severing the strings of the London-based puppet masters. It’s not like they’ve seemed like the fount of all electoral wisdom of late.

And if it is the truly democratic party as advertised, then it needs to stop opposing a second referendum. If they’re right about it being an irrelevance to the voters the latter won’t show up.

READ MORE: Indyref2: NINETEENTH poll in row shows Scots want independence

If they’re right about Scotland not wanting to be independent – 19 polls in a row saying otherwise notwithstanding – then the proof will be in the indyref2 pudding.

A huge tranche of their natural support supports self-determination. They must know that by now. An embarrassingly large tranche admires Nicola Sturgeon more than other leaders.

Why keep burying their heads in the sand? Unless,o f course, they’re looking to meet up with the Morayshire linesman.