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…”