WEDNESDAY in the House of Commons felt a wee bit like the last day of school, with many of the usual rules suspended. I’m sure the Tories would have loved nothing more than a vigorous session of Hungry Hippos, but instead of the traditional board games the MPs were assembled to play a round of pin the lies on the Prime Minister.

Yes, that’s right – lies. Fibs, falsehoods, fabrications … whatever you choose to call them, you’re usually not allowed to mention them in the House of Commons chamber, a place populated by supposedly honourable ladies and gentlemen who would never knowingly utter untruths.

But for one session only, the Deputy Speaker was willing to turn a deaf ear to claims that the man leading the country is a liar, on the grounds that the whole debate was about his dishonesty, corrupt decision-making, and disregard for advice when it comes to everything from international treaties to cash for peerages.

Alas, normal service resumed on Thursday, when MPs were warned that some of their statements had only been permitted in that “very narrow context”, and that going forward they must find “polite and moderate ways of making points.”

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There are many who believe the SNP should not be playing by Westminster’s rules, with National readers frequently pointing out that the mass walkout by its MPs in June 2018 was a very effective membership recruitment tool for the party. This was not, as many misremember, a response to any members having their language censored. Rather, it followed the ejection of Ian Blackford for refusing to desist with his demand that more time be set aside to debate important amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill that affected devolved areas. More time, that is, than the 15 whole minutes that were allocated. The SNP’s Westminster leader refused to sit down and shut up, and when he was told to leave the chamber his colleagues came too.

Of course, multiple walkouts would yield diminishing returns in terms of both headlines and party support, and be met with wails of “grievance” (as if there can be no legitimate grievances) and “cheap stunt” from the Unionist press, desperate to detract attention from whatever travesty of democracy preceded the action.

Some readers insist the SNP MPs should walk out once more and then never come back, given they are subjected to relentless jeering and mockery by the dishonourable scoundrels with whom they share the green benches. They seldom have the opportunity to make a difference with their votes, given the size of the Tory majority, so why stick around to be the punching bags via whom the whole of Scotland is disrespected, belittled or ignored?

However, others rightly question how such action would be perceived by the majority of the Scottish electorate, and see value in the SNP’s questions and challenges. After all, it’s not as if Her Majesty’s Official Opposition are firing on all cylinders. They currently seem to be more focused on conducting a passive-aggressive civil war via the medium of Christmas drinks invitations. Not only is it important that people in Scotland are reminded – again and again – that the UK is governed by a group of corrupt, self-serving and immoral individuals, but voters in England have the opportunity to see and hear our MPs in action too. It may not be Scotland’s job to save England from itself, but with significant powers still reserved and the Covid crisis ongoing, we can’t afford to opt out.

READ MORE: MPs can only call Boris Johnson a liar in 'very narrow context', Speaker says

English viewers might not fully understand when Pete Wishart describes the House of Commons as a “minging midden”, but they know what Steven Bonnar means when he refers to “a Prime Minister who is a democracy denier, stood on a hill of sleaze.” I confess the MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill did have me reaching for the dictionary when he described Boris Johnson – and Hansard backs me up here – as a “natiform metaphor for corruption, collusion and institutional sleaze,” and I remain uncertain whether it was the PM he was describing as buttock-shaped, or the metaphor (can a metaphor have a shape? We are veering into Lewis Carroll territory here...)

The Deputy Speaker has not explicitly set out whether bum-related references count as “polite and moderate ways to make points” – I suppose there’s only one way to find out. The close proximity of the arse to pants, which may or may not be on fire, depending on who is speaking, make it risky territory for anyone seeking to call out deceptive conduct in a manner befitting of a lady or gentleman. Perhaps the SNP members could keep up their sleeves the guid Scots word “waghorn”, which refers to a fabulist who is at least 19 times more dishonest than the devil himself.

But back to their broader role in the Westminster cesspit. One reader this week suggested they should keep on attending but begin a campaign of civil disobedience involving filibustering, interrupting and even hurling order papers and bread rolls. I’m not sure turning a metaphorical minging midden into a literal one is the way to go (the cleaners have a tough enough job just now as it is), but playing by the rules certainly isn’t getting them very far. “Politeness” and “moderation” create linguistic loopholes that obscure the reality of Tory rule. The truth is out now – and on the record – so let’s hope our MPs find creative ways to keep telling it like it is.