After last year's general election, one of the political correspondents on TV (I think it may have been Faisal Islam, but correct me if I'm wrong) notoriously claimed that the Scottish Tories were now "technically the fourth largest party in the Commons". That was nonsensical on all sorts of levels - even if you could somehow justify regarding branch offices as separate parties, Welsh Labour would still comfortably outnumber the Scottish Tories. But to be charitable, maybe he misspoke and intended to say "effectively" rather than "technically"- ie. he believed that Ruth Davidson combined a certainty of purpose with a hold over her Westminster group, and that they would therefore act in practice like a distinct party. If so, we're now about to be treated to yet another demonstration that he couldn't have been more wrong. Mundell and Davidson will swiftly backtrack on their supposed threats to resign on the basis that a worthless political assurance can be treated as gospel, whereas Arlene Foster will see the situation as it actually is and will stand her ground. And that's the difference between being a real party leader and a puppet.
A couple of other points. We're now closer than ever before to the clarity on Brexit that Nicola Sturgeon was looking for before making an announcement on a second independence referendum. It won't be clarity on the long-term shape of a post-Brexit economic relationship, but it could be clarity on where the UK will find itself on 30th March next year, which I presume is all she can realistically hope for. Could we be just weeks away from the First Minister pressing for a Section 30 order once again?
And secondly, what happens if the DUP pull the plug and there's a snap general election? Can the Scottish Tories fit both "No2Indyref2" and "No2EURef2" on their campaigns posters in the north-east? If not, which message do they prioritise? Decisions, decisions...
* * *