There were expressions of astonishment across Scotland this morning when it was revealed that Jackie Baillie had been right about Labour’s policy on the bedroom tax.
“It’s taken some time to digest,” said a party official. “After a lifetime in politics and a career in the parliament, she’s never knowingly been right about anything. In fact there is now an expectation that whenever she stands up she will twist the truth or stretch it to breaking point.” Ms Baillie is widely regarded as having been wrong or having seriously exaggerated every topic she has spoken about at Holyrood from waiting lists, hospital infection to patient records and Wendy Alexander’s campaign funds.
There was bemusement at the SNP. “We just took it for granted she was lying as usual,” said a spokesman. “The party in London didn’t seem to back her so you can image it’s hit us like a hammer blow to realise that for the first time she actually knew something, told the truth and got it right. This will be a game-changer in the referendum debate if people being to think they can believe a word she says.”
On the streets of Dumbarton, drivers pulled over as they heard the news. The police said there was travel chaos as drivers just stopped and sat staring out of the windscreen. Willie Crawford who runs the filling station was incredulous. “Are you telling me that woman opened her mouth and didn’t lie? Now I’ve heard everything. There IS hope for the Labour Party. It’s a start anyway.”
In Washington it sent a ripple around Capitol Hill where Ms Baillie has become a byword for political chicanery and mendacious campaigning. “This is shattering news,” said a spokesman for the Tea Party, “We put all our trust in her serpentine style of politics and have been following her closely to create a false impression of catastrophe in peoples’ mind. If she’s broken the mould and is now telling the truth, we’ll have to rethink our whole strategy. We thought we could trust her.”
Jackie Baillie herself was unavailable for comment. It’s thought she is resting at home after the emotional exhaustion of behaving like a professional politician and trying to be honest. A member of her Holyrood staff said: “You have no idea how traumatic this has been. A lifetime of deliberately misleading and getting it wrong and then in the space of a few days she gets something completely right. It’s taken a lot out of her. Flowers have been arriving at the office from disbelieving well-wishers. Even if she doesn’t return to active politics, her epitaph will be: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. In the end the truth will out.”