It’s not like we didn’t already know that, of course. But while Labour desperately distort and edit Alex Salmond’s words to try to justify an allegation of untruth, ably assisted by the Scottish media doing the same to Nicola Sturgeon by cutting her microphone when she attempted to answer questions on the subject, their Scottish leader – sorry, “deputy” leader – quietly gets on with doing what he does best: telling outright, unambiguous, empirical lies.
We’ll let the veteran Scottish journalist George Kerevan (a former Scotsman editor, Labour councillor and SNP candidate), who did all the hard work of digging out the stats, tell you all about it. But here’s a quote from the piece just for flavour.
“Following the publication of the latest official employment figures on 17 October, Anas Sarwar announced to the BBC: “In the last three months, 7,000 people in Scotland have lost their jobs while employment in the rest of the UK is going up – this SNP government has to start taking responsibility for that”.
Mr Sarwar is factually wrong.
The figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) do not say that 7,000 people “have lost their jobs” in the period June through August (i.e. the summer).
It is true that the figure for the total jobless rose by 7,000 to 222,000. But most of that 7,000 figure has nothing to do with people losing their jobs, as Mr Sarwar claims. Rather, it is due to young people joining the labour market from school of university, which is normal in the summer. And from people previously not looking for work returning to the labour market – usually a positive sign of returning economic confidence.
The ONS figures actually show that the fall in the number of jobs in the Scottish economy of the summer was only 1,000. Certainly that is going in the wrong direction. But it does not help policy analysis to misquote the true figures, or exaggerate actual job losses by a factor of seven.”
We look forward keenly to the media reporting Mr Sarwar’s lie, and grilling him on Newsnight Scotland about it while muting his replies.