We have recently reported two instances of members recommending the use of the Official Report. First, on 10 March, Patrick Harvie reminded the chamber that one of the purposes of the Official Report is to make available to subsequent generations the deliberations of history:
One day, perhaps not very long from now, somebody living with the consequences of the decisions that we are making now will read in the Official Report the words spoken in this debate. They will read the words of Fergus Ewing, who said that
Then, on 11 March, Stuart McMillan reminded the chamber that they could consult the Official Report to find out what is being said about the very latest of issues:
Willie Rennie and Jackie Baillie spoke about more powers and touched on the Smith proposals. I recommend to both Willie Rennie and Jackie Baillie that they should read the Official Reports of the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee meetings over the past few weeks. We have had discussions about welfare and the welfare powers that are to come to this Parliament, about borrowing powers and about the Crown Estate. After reading the Official Reports of those meetings, I am sure that Willie Rennie and Jackie Baillie would appreciate that the proposed powers are a bit of a dog’s breakfast—not so much the Smith recommendations as the draft clauses.
It is pleasing to see the two purposes of Official Reports so neatly conveyed by those who are, after all, its authors. On the one hand, we publish as fast as we possibly can to provide access to current parliamentary business. On the other, we stand as the reliable record – for all time – of what has happened in the nation’s legislature. As a much wiser and more experienced editor once told me: “currency and accuracy are our watchwords.”