The National:

TORIES and pop culture are never a combination that goes particularly well, and Jackson Carlaw has just proven that this is the case once again.

At First Minister's Questions today, the Scottish Tory interim leader was questioning Nicola Sturgeon on the Scottish Budget's tax proposals. He saw fit to reference Harry Potter ... and it made absolutely no sense.

Carlaw had asked: "Who [other than Derek Mackay] in Scotland is claiming that the money [we] receive from Westminster will go down next year?"

The First Minister said people the length and breadth of Scotland were complaining about Tory austerity and cuts to our Budget.

Sturgeon continued: "The fact is that money available to us for everything other than health is down by £340 million – that's 1.3% in real terms, just in this year. And over the decade, Tory austerity has taken £2 billion out of this Budget – that is 7% in real terms."

So, how did Carlaw hit back?

He replied: "Well, once again, nice excerpts from her big book of Voldemort's excuses, but not actually an answer to the question I put."

Ah yes, Voldemort, the fictional character from Harry Potter who – like all good villains – keeps a big book of excuses ... or at least, in whatever version the Tories are reading.

Perhaps JK Rowling has given them a special Unionist version of her series? Or is Murdo Fraser a particularly prodigious fan-fiction writer?

Carlaw's remark prompted laughter from his fellow Tories, while everyone else just sat looking confused.

The National:

The First Minister with her "big book of excuses"

Sturgeon responded: "I'm sorry to disappoint Jackson Carlaw, I didn't even have to get to page one of my big book, because his questions weren't that testing for me."

It seems as if Carlaw skims his reading when it comes to books on the economy as much as he does the famous wizarding franchise.

A powerful reminder of why Tories should not be allowed anywhere near pop culture.