Tomorrow night the Holyrood hacks, formerly known as the Lawnmarket, will attend Scotland's most scurrilous awards ceremony, the famous Tartan Bollocks. The Bollocks in question are awarded as a quaich for the most gloriously inaccurate political journalism of the previous year.
Here's a full list of the winners (losers?) over the ten years of the Bollocks.
1999: Carlos Alba and Dave King, for an SNP leadership challenge that never materialised.
2000: Angus MacLeod, for claiming Robin Cook would be the next First Minister.
2001: Hamish Macdonell, for predicting Murdo Fraser would take over from David McLetchie (note, this was two years before Murdo entered Parliament, and four years before Annabel in fact took over).
2002: Douglas Fraser, then at the Sunday Herald, claimed the Tories were on the verge of coalition with Labour.
2003: Magnus Gardham and the Record mocked up the wind turbines destined for Holyrood's roof. Or not destined, as it turned out.
2004: Jason Allardyce, for a piece about where terrorists would plant their mortars on the Crags to hit Parliament. Contained a handy print-out and keep guide.
2005: Campbell Gunn, of the Sunday Post, won for two pieces, one predicting David McLetchie's job was safe just before he resigned, and the other claiming the canteen was about to ban pies. Quite the contrary: it's one of the only items on the menu here every single day, as Frank McAveety knows to his cost.
2006: Mark Smith got the black spot for a tale of SSP shenanigans including the burning of a wicker Tommy. Turns out it was largely true, although I don't know which bits. Mark has my sympathy.
2007: Paul Hutcheon took the prize for a confident prediction that a Labour MP was about to defect to the SNP. Apparently the defence was that the article itself alarmed the would-be defector, but if one's own article makes itself untrue simply by being published...
2008: Andy Nicoll, whose excellent book you can buy here, had stories on consecutive days which claimed "Wendy bounces Gordon into referendum" and then "Gordon bounces Wendy into referendum". It's not up there with some of the Bollocks from the past, but it seems pretty likely that one of those stories couldn't be true.
The overwhelming theme is, incidentally, predictions. I understand the argument that journalists need to go out on a limb and read the tea-leaves, but it's no wonder that's a bit of a precarious task. My prediction is that tomorrow night's winner will, again, have made a prediction that simply can't be stood up.
Update: My prediction-prediction appears to have been right. Lorraine Davidson of the Times won for this piece, full of prognostications that never happened. A new prize for the "best" blogpost from a journalist's blog was also awarded, with Brian Taylor picking up the Wardog Memorial Trophy for this piece.
Update again: Here's the 2010 winner. 2011 approaches..