Drumlanrig: Holyrood | Yousaf | John Swinney

John Swinney: Picture: Ian Rutherford
John Swinney: Picture: Ian Rutherford
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The construction of a new security “Barbican” at the front of Holyrood has seen the parliament’s souvenir shop move nearer the exit to tempt the punters into buying a gift as they leave.

The Holyrood authorities were exasperated that reports of this development were accompanied by po-faced comments of disapproval from the anti-booze police to the excellent news that more space was to be devoted to displaying the parliament’s whisky.

“In case you are worried about this development, I can put this into perspective for you,” said a rather weary Holyrood spokesman. “Current sales of blended whisky run to almost one bottle a day – if we increased our sales by 100 per cent that would be two bottles a day.” QED.

Yousaf could learn a trick from Germany

A RECEPTION was held last week in Edinburgh to celebrate the anniversary of the re-unification of Germany. The Scottish Government’s external affairs minister Humza Yousaf went along to represent the SNP government. In the course of his speech, he made a touching reference to how Germany had shown the world the need to “bring people together”. Alistair Darling couldn’t have said it any better.

Counting the cost of experimental statistics
THE usually calm John Swinney (below) has got in a right tizzy over new statistics issued last week by HMRC on tax receipts around the UK. His beef is that they were set out as “official” with no reference to the fact that they were in fact “experimental” – a phrase used by the statisticians to denote the fact they should be treated with distinct caution. Writing to Chief Sec to the Treasury, the SNP man warns Scotland’s favourite ginger rodent that the use of figures must be accurate, and says he is perturbed that the stats were published “without any reference to their experimental nature”. That sounds familiar. For, every month, statistics on youth unemployment Scotland are also published with no reference to the fact that they too are “experimental”. By whom? Why, the Scottish Government. Glass houses and all that.

Bad timing all round in debate over offenders

A CRITICISM levelled at Holyrood is that the tight parliamentary timetable does not give MSPs enough time to develop arguments. So it was strange to hear deputy presiding officer John Scott encouraging interventions “and even imaginative debate” as a result of a surplus of time for a debate on the rehabilitation of offenders. Scott’s plea sidestepped the SNP MSP Christine Grahame. She said: “Why is it that I always get extra time when I have not got much to say, whereas when I have lots to say I get two minutes?”