Honesty Needed on Services

Losing two MSPs and reducing the SNP government majority to one is a feat in itself.

To be rumbled by top political broadcaster Andrew Neil on Scotland's future in Europe is to turn a bad day in the office into the worst week of Alex Salmond's political career.

The overblown

denial, despite the TV evidence for all to see, will only add to his discomfort and will be played and replayed, ensuring that the issue of trust will dog him for the rest of his political life.

Meanwhile, Audit Scotland - Scotland's spending watchdog - produced two reports regarding the financial footing of our colleges and the NHS.

Neither report made for comfortable reading.

Scotland's colleges face a 24 per cent reduction in funding, as well as having to cough up the cost for the Scottish Government's forced merger plans. This is not good news for the future of James Watt College.

It was also revealed that a number of NHS boards were bailed out of the red with loans from the Scottish Government and that they had failed to mention this in their financial accounts.

Furthermore, Audit Scotland stated that the NHS is facing real difficulty in running services with limited reserves while at the same time it faces a £1 billion maintenance backlog, escalating prescription charges and a rising elderly population.

In light of this evidence, it is imperative that we have an honest debate about the future of public services, and in difficult times, the assurances that it will all be fine in the end will not do in light of this week's events.