The National:

AT first sight, a protest outside Glasgow Central station by campaigners for the re-nationalisation of ScotRail would seem like the sort of tale you would expect to see in The National, and usually we would dutifully report on events.

We were told by the rail union TSSA that it was organising the protest and we faithfully reported the words of the union’s Scottish leader Manuel Cortes as he lambasted the Scottish Government for doing its job of getting in ScotRail owner Abellio and asking them for an improvement plan. We also carried the Scottish Government’s response in full.

So in this edition we were all set to tell you about the protest yesterday, except that we noticed certain people at the demo. Yep, Scottish Labour Richard Leonard and a handful of his members. Oh, and what was that they were handing out? Mmmm that will have been Labour-produced leaflets. As for the other rail unions, not a single one of them could be seen.

The National:

So in other words what was going on was a photocall for Scottish Labour – that’s the party who did hee-haw to renationalise the railways in their 13 years in power in Westminster and whose Welsh branch office in the Cardiff Government has just handed out a 15 year £5 billion railways franchise to a private company.

Labour has also got its pantaloons in a fankle over Network Rail, the source for many of the problems railway passengers face in Scotland – come on Scottish Labour, do you support the devolution of Network Rail and the regulation of the railways which is a reserved power?

At one point yesterday there were more photographers than protesters, and Jim Cassidy of Airdrie for Independence told us that as a supporter of re-nationalising ScotRail he went along to join the protest only to realise the “fix” was in.

He said: “This wasn’t just fake news, this was completely manufactured fake news. I went along in good faith to support this protest only to find it was a publicity stunt for Scottish Labour. There was no way I was handing out any Labour leaflets and I won’t be trusting anything the TSSA says again.”

Even BBC Scotland, never knowingly last in the queue to give the SNP a kicking, obviously smelled a rat. Its website went from showcasing the “protest” as the main item on one of its Scottish news pages to dropping the whole “story” all together.