Scotsman columnist criticises use of special advisers by the Scottish Government

THE Scotsman columnist, Brian Wilson, has criticised the use of special advisers by the Scottish Government.

The former Labour minister writes: “[Special advisers] are a breed which the political process could largely do without, whoever is in power. It is one thing to have a handful of trusted colleagues – there were three in Donald Dewar’s day – on whom ministers can rely for political advice. But it is ridiculous to have a ¬£1 million public pay-roll to fund a political cadre at Holyrood which exists largely for the purpose of partisan news management.”

He goes on to cite – in the Scottish Perspective section of the paper – what he believes to be an instance of ‘media manipulation’ – regarding bursaries to Scots students from less well-off backgrounds.

And he describes news last week that a new ‘Communications Directorate’ is to be set up involving press officers and civil servants: “It is difficult to believe the purpose of this is other than to tighten political control over the whole machine…”