Here, courtesy of Jockland, is an object lesson in deliberate political misdirection.
The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) has accused a Dundee MSP of misquoting it on how much it will cost to comply with a ban on tobacco displays.
The misquote in question being ...
“The least expensive option offered by the NFRN would involve installing a white plastic fronting to each row on the gantry. It has been estimated that such a solution could cost as little as £20 for the materials for each fronting, with minimal installation costs.”
The NFRN insist that they said nothing of the sort.
Mr Khonat said, “The NFRN strongly objects to Shona Robison’s assertion in her written answers and in the draft regulations that we have estimated the cost of gantry modification in Scotland to be ‘as little as £20’, and would like to point out that this is the second time the minister has misquoted us.
“Indeed, if the Scottish regulations follow the complexity of the English regulations — as they appear to at this stage — we anticipate the cost to retailers to be about £1500."
Ah but, responds Robison ... smugly, I didn't actually lie.
Ms Robison said today the Government had never said the costings came from the NFRN.
“The NFRN came up with a potential solution which we, not the NFRN, have costed,” she said.
See what she did there? Clever, huh?
Screw the livelihoods of those she is supposed to be serving. Party before voters every time.
And before anyone south of the border gets all superior at the lack of morals inherent in Jockish politicians, remember that the same mendacity was used to pass the same law down here, via the very same method, by Lord Darzi.
The financial aspect is crucial to the tobacco displays debate simply because there is absolutely no evidence that it will do any good whatsoever, as New Zealand has already worked out.
Therefore, it's essential that ministers are honest and trustworthy in accurately presenting estimates to their respective houses. Anything else is an insult to democracy.
Remember this when you next hear an MP speak of restoring integrity to politics.