SO, we can add not knowing how many staff work in the Scotland Office's Edinburgh hub to the long list of things that Alister Jack doesn't know.

Other things he doesn't know include the fact that Scotland is a nation, the existence of Scottish languages, a basic understanding of democracy, and how elections work. It's only Jack's posh boy accent which disguises just how ignorant and ill-informed he actually is.

This is a recurring theme amongst members of the Conservative cabinet. The Viceroy General for North Britain fits right in.

The National lodged a Freedom of Information Request in an attempt to find out how many staff work under Jack in Queen Elizabeth House in Edinburgh. The answer was not forthcoming.

This newspaper was told that the relevant information was "not held" by the Scotland Office. A number of other British Government departments also have staff working in the building, which opened in 2020 and costs £11 million per year to operate.

The National:

The National submitted an FOI request to ask how many Scotland Office staff members are currently permanently working from the Edinburgh headquarters, their pay grades and how often Scottish ­Secretary Alister Jack himself works from the site.

You might have thought that was a pretty simple question with an easily ascertained and equally simple answer, just ask the payroll office to supply the necessary information. But this is the Scotland Office we are talking about here, the British state's propaganda department in Scotland, well apart from BBC Scotland that is. 

READ MORE: Scotland Office staffing costs soar to more than £1 million

The Scotland Office treats any attempt from Scottish plebs who actually pay for it to hold it to account as a cheeky act of gross impertinence which must be slapped down immediately.

Is the Scotland Office saying it does not have a record of employees in the payroll department and has no record of accounts payable for any contractors?

As a government building, staff will have an electronic ID key to get in. This is standard practice in all government buildings dictated by security protocols. It beggars belief for the Scotland Office to claim that it has no record of the number of staff it has working in the building.

The National: Alister Jack

However despite not apparently knowing how many staff it has working in the building, the Scotland Office's staffing costs have soared from £944,645 to £1.1m over the past year.

The Scotland Office has also boosted the amount it spends on "public information" campaigns, up by £10,075 to £49,893 in 2022-23. I thought bigging up the British Government and rubbishing the case for independence was BBC Scotland's job.

Surely given this apparent diversion of public money for undisclosed purposes we can look forward to Police Scotland camping outside the door of Queen Elizabeth House in a murder tent.

READ MORE: Scotland Office ‘doesn’t know’ how many staff work in Edinburgh hub

As well as refusing to reveal how many Scotland Office staff work in the building, the Scotland Office also claimed  that its officials did not hold any ­information relating to how regularly Jack visits the Edinburgh HQ.

This peculiar refusal to reveal the most basic information about staffing numbers, never mind giving details about what those staff actually do, will only lead to speculation that the real reason behind the Scotland Office's reticence is that the real number of its staff working in an expensive building which local people report to be largely empty is no more than a tiny handful.

And that the Scotland Office's increasingly bloated budget is a waste of public money which would only embarrass a lazy Scotland Secretary who cannot be bothered with public appearances in the country he purports to represent in the British Government.

While we are on the topic of propaganda arms of the British state, it has been revealed that BBC Scotland has been forced to issue more corrections and clarifications than all of the broadcasters' other UK regional and national offices combined.

READ MORE: BBC admits King Charles 'documentary' avoids 'difficult' controversies

Analysis of the BBC’s official corrections and clarifications page shows that, of the 66 errors which have been corrected so far in 2023, six were for Scottish output. In comparison, neither BBC Wales nor BBC Northern Ireland have issued a single correction. 

Five regional or local English BBC offices – London, Midlands, Hereford & Worcester, Tyne & Wear, and East – have each issued a single correction over the past year.

BBC Scotland appears to exist in order to blame the Scottish Government for all that ails Scottish society. The broadcaster habitually blames the Scottish Government and not the local health board for shortcomings in a hospital.

There seems to be a presumption amongst BBC Scotland's senior staff that the Scottish Government is to blame unless proven innocent. This rush to blame the devolved government does not appear to be a feature of news reporting in BBC Wales Cymru.

READ MORE: Storm Gerrit: Tree falls on ScotRail driver's cab en route to Glasgow

Today's big news is the disruption caused by the bad weather, any bets on how long it will take before an angle is found allowing it all to be blamed on the SNP?

The really surprising thing here is the tiny number of corrections the Corporation issues. The great majority of complaints received by the BBC are fobbed off or vanish into the maws of the BBC's Kafkaesque complaints procedure never to be seen again.

In a particularly blatant example of the BBC acting as the propaganda arm of the British state and not as a public service with a duty to hold power to account, over the Christmas holidays we were 'treated' to a hagiographic so called documentary about King Charles' first year on the throne.

It was stuffed full of sycophants gushing about the "work" he allegedly does while carefully ignoring all the many scandals which have dogged the monarchy during his short reign. This nauseating guff is what the BBC deems fit to spend public money on.