Hello and welcome to The Midge, the e-bulletin that takes a bite out of politics in Scotland and elsewhere. 

Camley’s cartoon


Camley finds the education figures add up to a  “See me” note to Education Secretary John Swinney. 

Front pages


In The Herald, education correspondent Andrew Denholm reports on new figures showing more than a quarter of Scottish pupils are failing to achieve expected levels of literacy and numeracy by the time they leave primary. 

“A lesson in incompetence” is the Mail’s headline on the same story, which says the data is “another damning indictment of classroom standards under the SNP.” 

The Times goes with “Pupils are failing in the basics”, the Telegraph with “Poor pupils fall further behind after SNP’s ‘decade of failure’.”

The Express links the education stats with the failure to meet cancer treatment targets under the headline, “Failing our sick, failing our children”.


In the Evening Times, Caroline Wilson has the latest on campaigners’ fight to save Lightburn Hospital in Carntyne. 

The National pictures a shattered Aleppo as a ceasefire begins. 

The FT says Donald Trump has enlisted the support of Condoleezza Rice in heading off an expected revolt against his pick of oil exec Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. 

The Guardian says a Lords report will warn tens of thousands of banking jobs could be lost if there is no transition deal on single market access. 

FFS: Five in five seconds


What’s the story? BBC Scotland 2016 airs for the last time tonight. 

Bio? The nightly BBC2 current affairs show started in 2014, replacing Newsnight Scotland, once dubbed “a dog’s breakfast” by Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman. The show, anchored initially by Sarah Smith and Jonathan Sutherland, had an average audience of 30,000, says the BBC. 

That’s why it’s going? The programme was left behind in the ratings by STV’s longer-established Scotland Tonight and the slot was awkward (Scottish viewers still wanted to watch Newsnight and resented being made to wait till 11.15pm). Ultimately the show did not match the new cloth being cut by BBC Scotland, which is to save money, focus on key programmes such as Reporting Scotland, and boost its digital output. 

So no replacement for Scotland 2016? There will be a new weekly current affairs show starting early in the New Year. And there’s the biggest decision to come. 

Which is? Whether or not there will be a Scottish Six, a nightly mix of national and international news broadcast from Glasgow. A decision on that is expected soon by Tony Hall, the BBC director general. Interviewed last Saturday on Good Morning Scotland, the new director of BBC Scotland, Donalda MacKinnon,was asked whether a Scottish Six would be adequately funded and enthusiastically supported by London. “It has to be as far as I’m concerned," she said. “What’s really important for me is that we don’t short change the audience in Scotland in any way. So therefore whatever happens with that news offering we have to ensure that they want it, that it’s got the resource behind it, and that it is of the quality that is expected.”

Afore Ye Go

A thank you from the DEC, a group of 13 UK aid charities, to the Scottish Government.


“I don’t think we have even begun to wake up to what Russia is doing when it comes to cyber warfare.”

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw claims in the Commons that it was “highly probable” Russia had interfered in the EU referendum. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.


Wonder Woman is being given the satin boot from her honorary ambassador job at the UN, it was confirmed yesterday. The fictional, skimpily dressed crime fighter had been criticised for being a poor role model for girls. Above, Lynda Carter, who played WW, at the original ambassador ceremony in October. Dimitrios Kambouris.


"I hope Philip Davies plans on bringing feminist cake and eating it.”

Sophie Walker of the Women's Equality Party greets the news that the Tory MP who once said "feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it”, had been elected to the Commons Women and Equalities Committee. PA Wire

The SNP's Mhairi Black is not impressed with Mr Davies' election.

From Guido Fawkes


This portrait of Oscar Wilde is to go on show at Tate Britain next to the writer’s prison door as part of the Queer British Art 1861-1967 show, which opens on April 5. Tate Britain/PA Wire


"I spotted Cathy Newman out Christmas shopping and approached to say hello, but she told me to "**** right off!". Very sad indeed."

The Channel 4 News anchor is accused in a tweet of seasonal ill will, but swiftly declares it a case of mistaken identity. 

You have been warned.

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow. Twitter: @alisonmrowat