In the know

At Holyrood today, Opposition leaders were much exercised by "institutional secrecy". Willie Rennie of the Liberal Democrats felt the epithet should be attached to a health board which sidestepped pressure to release clinical information.

But Labour's Johann Lamont appeared to feel that the accusation might well land a little closer to Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister.

She said that Ministers had been decidedly keen to vaunt the value for Scotland of an offshore wind research and development facility in Renfrew, planned by the Korean company Doosan.

They had, she argued, been rather more reticent after it was disclosed to them, in December, that the project was to be shelved.

In particular, she said, the project had still featured in accompanying material for the Budget when it was debated in February this year. Ms Lamont implied that Ministers had been keen to suppress bad news ahead of the local elections.

It emerged later that the Budget material was published in autumn last year. Labour insisted that Ministers should still have updated Parliament in February.

On ice

In all, on the day, it was a rather effective attack. Not that Alex Salmond was knocked off his stride - even when howls of opposition laughter greeted his statement that it was not up to Ministers to make announcements on behalf of companies.

Mr Salmond noted that the decision to put the project on ice had been discussed by the Finance Secretary John Swinney on a weekend wireless programme. (Again, it was indicated later that the information had been placed in a trade publication in February.)

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Image caption Korean company Doosan pulled out of the major deal in December

Mr Salmond noted further that there remained substantial investment in renewable energy projects in Scotland - and that Doosan remained a significant employer in Scotland.

In any event, Mr Salmond was, perhaps understandably, much keener to talk about another matter - the deal with Cosla to fill a potential £40m gap in council tax benefit for half a million Scots.

The gap arises, Mr Salmond, said because the devolution of the benefit to Scotland by the UK Government was accompanied by a cut in funding. He said the Scottish Government, together with councils, would meet that cost for next year. Mr Salmond invited Ms Lamont to welcome this deal - to no effect.

The exchanges with Ruth Davidson of the Tories featured Nato. As billed here previously, SNP leaders are pondering whether to invite their party to overturn their existing opposition to an independent Scotland being a member of the defence alliance.

Ms Davidson argued that membership would not be possible unless Scotland accepted the "essential role" envisaged by Nato for nuclear weaponry.

In response, Mr Salmond addressed the question in his own way. Only three out of 28 Nato members, he said, were nuclear states. Nukes would go from Scotland under independence.