The unionist media has made much of Alex Salmond coming to parliament to apologise for an error he had made in further education figures. Headlines like "Salmond apologises for misleading MSPs at Holyrood", and "Salmond says sorry for misleading MSPs again" have had unionists rubbing their hands together and prophesying the end of independence hopes.
It appears that Salmond had said that the budget for further education had risen by 0.18%, whereas the truth is that it had been reduced by 1.7%.
Right let's get it out of the way. It was a bad mistake for the first minister to make. And someone who provided that figure will now be wishing most heartily that he'd checked again, just to be sure.
It's particularly bad for the FM, because of the number of times he has had to correct the mistakes on figures provided by Lamont, Gray and Alexander, who all seemed to have come to the chamber armed with incorrect statistics. Now it appears he has fallen victim to the same error.
There will be those who think that he deliberately lied to make the situation look better than it is, but that seems unlikely to me. Who would invent an increase of 0.18%? It seems far too small to be impressive, and if you are going to lie, and risk being caught out, you might as well do it for something a little more impressive than 0.18%. More likely that a civil servant provided the FM with false figures.
To my mind, the important thing was that the FM came to parliament and apologised.
However, someone else has also been giving false figures this week. Yes that's right, it's you... Stand up Maggie Curren.
I quote from Newsnet: "This week Margaret Curran used a speech to the STUC women’s conference to launch an attack on the way in which receipts from the 4G radio spectrum auction will be spent in Scotland and demanded that the Scottish Government to make clear how it will spend its ‘windfall’."
The trouble is that Scotland has absolutely no receipts whatsoever from the G4 Auction. That is to say no windfall, which means that they can't spend it on anything at all.
All monies from that go directly to George Osborne's Treasury and stay there. I'm not saying that some of the money will not be spent in Scotland, but if it is, it will be spent by Michael Moore, not Alex Salmond.
Several questions have been asked in the London parliament about this question and it has been made clear by Danny Alexander that there will be no Barnet Consequential for this money.
So, did Mrs Curren know this?
If she didn't, then why didn't she? She is supposed to be the Shadow Secretary of State. She should know how the Barnet system works in general terms, and in this particular one she should be aware of questions being asked on the subject... and of the answers given.
If she did know then why did she mislead the STUC conference? Is she so blinded by hatred of the SNP and the Scottish government that she doesn't care what the Tories do with the money as long as she can take a pop at the SNP.
Mrs Curren should be aware (although maybe she is not) that the Scottish government has done much to help people worst hit by the inhumane policies emanating from London. Maybe she should make it her business to check exactly how John Swinney is finding money to help the poor.
When she has done that, she might like to emulate the First Minister and apologise for her error.
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