Rather an unflattering photograph of Annabel Goldie, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives isn't it? She looks confused, even angry - certainly not happy.
She has no reason to be happy. Today one of her loyal colleagues announced he'd given enough of his time to being a parliamentarian and was standing down next year. To add to Annabel's woes it's reported some of her party's senior figures have concocted a plan which would see MSPs replaced after serving two terms at Holyrood. As the analysis of the party's dismal showing in Scotland at the general election continued, it was confirmed that a major review could include a 'two strikes and you're out' rule, which would see MSPs standing down after eight years. The Scottish Parliament has fixed-terms of four years.
This is the method the Scottish tories think will introduce 'new blood' to the party because some see Holyrood as 'moribund and ineffective and its members too comfortable'.
Of the 17 Tory MSPs elected at the last election, only three were elected to specific constituencies, the rest owed their election to the regional list top-up system.
I have a suggestion for all Holyrood parties. What about applying the two-term rule, or even a one-term rule, to all list MSPs? Since the Parliament was re-established in 1999, I have not had one piece of correspondence from my list MSPs. Trying to find who they are isn't easy either. Fortunately I know Perthshire comes under Mid Scotland and Fife in the regional lists but I doubt if many people know that or are even interested. In fact I would think it's a small minority of people who are aware so many MSPs have never been elected. They are chosen by their politican party and go through the party process of selection. Some don't even bother to stand at elections but are confident that their party will place them top of their list.
List MSPs are not accountable to me. They can't be because I never never voted for any of them.
Not so long ago there was a suggestion in Parliament that list MSPs receive less salary than elected MSP. Uproar ensued. List MSPs insisted they did as much, if not more, work than their elected equivalents. The matter was dropped.
So a wee tip for Annabel; bring forward a proposal that all list MSPs serve only one or two terms. Then the public will be able to observe the 'new blood' and if they like what they see, we the people, can suggest they stand at a future election.