As Operation Branchform rolls on in painful secrecy with no end in sight, more ludicrous follies emerge from Nicola Sturgeon’s time as first minister. 

Scottish Labour has obtained financial records showing that the SNP spent almost £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on airport fast-track security and lounge access. 

Not only that, it spent over £5,000 on luxury hospitality at the five-star Gleneagles Hotel for the Solheim Cup women’s golf tournament.

It gets stranger. The SNP also spent taxpayers’ money on yoga classes, nail polish, a driving theory test for a member of staff, a £27 “home disco” from eBay and £272 on wellington boots for “inspections”. 

But perhaps the list of books they bought shines the most light on the shambolic heart of the party. One book it bought was A Very Short Introduction to Marx. Now, you’d think that the government of a Western liberal democracy would have no interest in studying Marx. But more to the point, an introduction to the philosopher’s thought? Surely those in government know more than basic political philosophy? Obviously not this bunch of champagne socialists. 

Another book the SNP bought with taxpayers’ money was Women Hold Up Half the Sky: Selected Speeches of Nicola Sturgeon. Named after a speech from that illustrious defender of liberty Mao Zedong, I suppose the SNP thought they would prop up the sales of Chairman Sturgeon’s rag since no one else would waste their money on it. What’s more, this book was published by Sandstone Press which is propped up by government grants under the guise of Creative Scotland – a real grassroots creative endeavour! 

It also bought 22 copies of How To Run A Government by Michael Barber because evidently, the SNP has no idea how such a thing might be done. Public funds were also squandered on a £4.19 copy of its own 2014 independence prospectus, Scotland’s Future. Wasting other people’s money on separatist propaganda is of course easier than digging it out of the dusty loft. 

Scottish Labour’s finance spokesperson, Michael Marra, said: “These are the spending habits of an arrogant and entitled government with no regard for taxpayers.

“The SNP government is frittering away public money on frivolous purchases and VIP treatment while services are stretched to breaking point.

“The SNP must end the financial mismanagement that has plagued their government and start delivering for Scotland.”

A Scottish government spokesperson – not any senior member of the SNP – said it was “committed to delivering the best value for money for taxpayers”.

Can someone please explain how £272 on wellies is delivering value for money?

They added: “Spending through electronic purchasing cards is used to support government officials during their usual course of work such as on training, catering, room hire and one-off supplies.

“The cards are not for personal expenditure and there are robust authorisation and regular auditing arrangements are in place to monitor their use.”

One wonders how the home-disco slipped through the cracks of the robust authorisation process.

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