There have been precious few outbreaks of applause at Holyrood since the coronavirus sent the nation into lockdown.
Trying to steer the country through a pandemic can be a grim business, after all.
But the unfamiliar sound of clapping and cheering could be heard across the chamber when Nicola Sturgeon outlined her latest plans for easing the Covid-19 restrictions.
So, what was the good news that triggered this unfettered rapture? Was it the first minister’s declaration that beer gardens were to open on July 6? Or was it the prospect of being allowed to go on holiday at the end of next week? Perhaps it was the thought of being able to socialise more with friends and family? The answer is none of the above.
It was Ms Sturgeon’s announcement that hairdressers and barbers would be back in business on July 15 that caused the spontaneous outburst.
Psychologists might very well wonder what this moment of deep joy tells us about Scotland’s political classes.
To the eye of the amateur, it tells us two things. The first is that our MSPs prefer haircuts to pubs. The second is that they desperately need to get their hair done.
Hairdressers scheduled to open on July 15, MSPs applaud in the Holyrood chamber….appear happier about that than the prospect of pubs re-opening!
— Tom Peterkin (@TomPeterkin) June 24, 2020
At one time Holyrood was a paragon of grooming. Led by the immaculate coiffure of Ms Sturgeon herself, it had a world-leading reputation for wash, cut, set and style. Flowing locks, elegant bobs, tasteful tints, lacquered layering, and sensible short-back-and-sides were the order of the day. Indeed, some of the male MSPs had more highlights than Match of the Day.
Happily, some MSPs have embraced the era of home haircuts with notable success. For others, alas, the old standards are but a distant memory. The manicured parliament of old is now a sea of unruly thatches, unkempt comb-overs, badly-behaved Barnets and mismanaged mullets.
At the end of yet another landmark day on the road out of lockdown, MSPs for once united behind an unambiguous message. In a rare show of cross-party unity, the cheers from the Holyrood benches were a crie de coeur to the nation’s hairdressers. Sharpen your scissors, stock up on shampoo and plug in your clippers, Scotland’s politicians need you.