Talk of the town: Holyrood Saltire bill not flagging

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THIS will be remembered as the year of the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics – two events which must have boosted the coffers of Union flag-makers around the UK.

But the Scottish Government’s flag bill has also been on the increase. An answer from Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to a parliamentary question from Labour’s Drew Smith revealed the government had spent £4500 on plastic flags in 2010-11 and £8300 in 2011-12, with the final amount for 2012-13 yet to be determined “as activity is ongoing”.

It doesn’t specify that the flags were Saltires, but it’s a fair bet that they were not red, white and blue.

No doubt the UK Government’s spending on flags in 2012 was much higher. But the inevitable question is, if that’s how much Scotland spent this year, what will the bill be like in 2014?

We’d write a letter of complaint about it but . .

IT stood isolated and inaccessible, its mouth sealed for months as the tram works unfolded around it. Then the pillar box at the corner of Princes Street and South St Andrew Street vanished altogether.

Now that the work at that particular site has been completed and there’s a newly revealed expanse of pavement, the red box is notable by its absence.

After inquiries, Royal Mail said it had established the pillar box was removed by the tram contractors, who promised it would be reinstated at the same location or somewhere nearby “once the tram works have been completed”.

Should Edinburgh’s letter writers really have to wait that long?

They need a spell cheque

IT’S reassuring to know that, despite spending cuts, schools are still buying the books kids need to learn key skills such as spelling.

But perhaps some adults at Midlothian Council could do with them, too.

A recent Freedom of Information response, listing purchases made with the council’s credit card, included a payment of £61.86 to Amazon for “dictioneries”.

No iPads . . proper tablet

THE Scottish Parliament has issued a swathe of vital statistics to let us see how hard MSPs have been working over the past year – 14 Bills introduced, 11 Acts passed, one Bill still awaiting royal assent and eight in progress.

There have also been 474 school visits, involving 13,077 pupils, and the shop at the parliament sold more than 5000 postcards, 1000 guidebooks, 2400 Scottish Parliament tartan pens and more than 1000 bars of tablet, presumably not all of them to visiting schoolchildren – or MSPs.