More and more I despair at the content of the Scotland on Sunday. For some years after it arrived on the 'Sundays scene' I loyally purchased it, but it's a few years ago now since I even bothered to pick it up in a shop and read the headlines.
Because it appears on my reader I tend to read the online version headlines and I think this article is perhaps the biggest lot of drivel I've ever read in a paper which once was regarded as a newspaper of quality.
Let's have a look at some of the remarks attributed to Graeme Pearson, a Labour MSP who was formerly director general of the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency.
Purely scaremongering. The police force, when promoting their beliefs in a single force, have stated the new force would reduce boundaries and bureaucracy.
Pearson is saying no serving Scottish police officer is trained in intelligence techniques and that an independent Scotland's new government would have difficulty in building its own intelligence service. Indeed, if we have politicians of Pearson's quality in government, I could understand its members would have difficulty finding their way to their offices in Holyrood without a sat nav.
What a startlingly ignorant comment from a senior police source. As most of us realise these days intelligence is shared between friendly countries and most staff employed in the intelligence services are not serving police officers. Perhaps that's why the 'senior police source' makes such stupid remarks. Of course Scotland would recruit from the current UK intelligence services. Why, once we're independent, would the remainder of the UK want to keep overstaffed intelligence organisations? There are plenty of people associated with these organisations who would no doubt enjoy coming to live and work in Scotland for the quality of life we provide.
All in not lost though, because Pearson does highlight the flaws in the present system:
Therein lies the lesson. An independent Scotland's government has to learn and learn quickly. No matter how efficiently one part of public service operates, if it doesn't have the skills or desire to co-operate with other agencies, their services is be second-rate.
That lesson has been evident for years by the way in which the police forces, social workers and medics have repeatedly failed to be prepared to supply information to each other.
Is Scotland a 'terror risk'? No more than any other country. We have the skills available to produce our own security forces but the planning must start now. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if proposals are already well underway and articles such as these are childish attempts to prise information from the current government. I'm told the SNP government's intelligence spokesman said - (translated into English): "We have no comment. Our intelligence operations are for our ears only - until Westminster decides to share and share alike".