h dear. It seems that ‘honest John’ Swinney is embroiled in another fine mess, this time about taxpayer-funded election expenses at Holyrood. Strict rules state that MSPs are entitled to claim up to £5,500 per year for stationery, but it must be used only for parliamentary duties. Yet now one of the Scottish First Minister’s staffers has been caught joking about the ‘stamp fairy’ helping with campaigning. Probably not the best quip to make when Operation Branchform is still ongoing…

According to the Scottish parliament’s rules, stamps and other items bought with the allowance must explicitly not be deployed for any ‘party political purposes’. However the Times has this week published leaked WhatsApp messages in which one staff member of the cash-strapped SNP boasted that they had recently ‘inherited a lot – and I mean a lot – of second class stamps’. An individual in Swinney’s office replied: ‘The stamp fairy is very useful when it comes to campaigns.’

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