I AM a fan of Only Connect, a quiz show on BBC2 where you have to identify the link in a series and complete a sequence.

So,a topical question could go like this: Jack McConnell – Iain Gray – Kezia Dugdale.

The puzzle is what links them and who comes next?

Easy. All Labour leaders who have lost Holyrood elections to the SNP.

But, who comes next in the sequence? Is it Richard Leonard in 2021 or will it be someone else?

The second round is tougher and the last in the sequence is harder to fathom.

So round two is: Donald Dewar – Jack McConnell; Who comes next?

Answer: Labour leaders who have won a Holyrood election in Scotland. But who could be the third?

Richard Leonard? Or another of the party’s meagre 23 MSPs, two of whom have previously held the post.

Jackie Baillie, the deputy who has never shown any great desire to be leader in her 20 years as an MSP.

Anas Sarwar, who lost the most recent leadership election.

James Kelly, who was first to hang out the dirty linen on the line this time.

Or someone seen as a new generation, who has not yet entered the leadership murky waters.

Daniel Johnson? Monica Lennon? Mark Griffin?

The real question is not who could lead Labour to an election in Scotland again but how can someone lead Labour to an election in Scotland?

That question would be saved for the final of the series where only those with the most agile brains and the ability to think not only laterally but diagonally and upside down standing on their head get to compete in.

On the face of it the problem is rooted in the referendum campaign of 2014 and the constitutional fallout that has only deepened in the six years since.

Politics has become polarised between independence and the Union and no room for anything in-between or out with.

Labour not backing independence saw a flood of support leave the party to the SNP.

Those who are vehemently pro-union have backed the Tories and it has lost support even in places like Glasgow to the Conservatives.

But, a look at the elections tells you that while the constitutional debate is the most obvious reason for Labour’s troubles in Scotland, it is not the only explanation.

The party lost the 2007 election albeit narrowly and then 2011 substantially paving the way for the chasm of 2014 to open up.

What follows in 2021 could be complete collapse, which is why some in the party think removing Richard Leonard is necessary and necessary now.

He would have to go next year if he lost any more MSPs in May but by then the damage is done.

But Richard Leonard did not cause the decline. Look at the sequence for seats won since 1999.

That sequence makes for even more sobering reading for Labour.

Seats won at Holyrood elections since devolution; 56 – 50 – 46 – 37 – 24.

It has been losing support steadily and is in real danger of becoming an irrelevance.

Labour has said its message is Labour values, fighting poverty, inequality and injustice.The SNP claim all of the above, too.

Labour wants to pool and share resources and work for a better UK not just Scotland.

The Tories claim that as well.

If Labour is to regain support in Scotland to show it can put those values into practice better than the SNP, it has to find a voice and not only cut through the constitutional impasse that has made its task even harder than it was pre-2014.

It also has to show what Labour’s place is in the devolved Scotland it created but whose creation has coincided with its decline.

To those who want to replace Richard Leonard as leader, the question is not only with who?

But with what?

Get used to lockdown

JUST when we thought we were starting to emerge from the miserable lockdown, along comes a setback and home visits to family and friends are out of bounds once again.

Some people reacted with anger, others with confusion and a few didn’t care because they are not following rules anyway.

It was inevitable really, when you look at events in other parts of the country and around the world.

The numbers in Greater Glasgow jumped from 14 to 69 in a matter of days so there had to be some action.

The good news is just now the small outbreaks can be identified and contained.

But, really we should get used to it because the nature of this virus means that it will continue to disrupt how we live our lives for a long time.

Instead of another national lockdown we are all going to have to expect and work with intermittent restrictions.

It will mean holiday plans cannot be made in any certainty. It will mean some workplaces will have to close temporarily if there is an outbreak.

There has been a tendency of looking for someone to blame. The virus is to blame.

We are in this for the long haul.