PRIZE for the duffest election boast so far goes to Labour’s Lesley Hinds in Edinburgh Northern & Leith. “You need someone who knows the city and what’s needed,” the former Lord Provost loftily informs punters on her leaflets. “Labour built and refurbished local schools.” With 17 of those schools closed by a PFI building scandal, perhaps now isn’t the best time to remind fuming parents you were in charge at the time? Just a thought.

Talking of the capital’s school misery, pupils from one shuttered primary had a frustratingly late start on Wednesday after their bus to new digs was stuck in traffic. The problem turned out to be a motorcade going to the SNP’s manifesto launch, where the occupant, one Nicola Sturgeon, said her mission was to improve education. At least the kids got a first-hand lesson in irony.

Finally on education, the diary hears of toe-curling scenes at a recent Edinburgh Eastern hustings after SNP candidate Ashten Regan-Denham extolled her party’s record on the issue. An audience member then asked about her snubbing the state and sending her own boys to private school. “If you own a house does that preclude you from campaigning against poverty?” she burbled. At which an elderly gent shouted back: “Owning a house doesn’t promote inequality. Private schools do. They’re designed to.” Ouch.

The hustings, at Portobello Town Hall, also provided some light relief from RISE candidate Colin Fox, who recalled being in the venue in 1985 for a meeting of Labour Young Socialists. “Labour, it seemed like the right place for socialists to be at the time,” he said ruefully.

Mr Fox’s gags were certainly a lot better than his arithmetic. Decrying the lack of affordable homes and the glut of luxury ones in Edinburgh, he thundered at one point: “We don’t need thousands of million-pound houses. They’re ten a penny in this city!” And to think people say RISE’s tax and spend plans don’t add up...