But a Scottish Executive press release tells its own story:
"In quarter 2 (Q2) 2006, there were 585,600 people employed in the public sector and 1,873,400 people employed in the private sector in Scotland...
Public sector employment has increased by 58,300 (11.0 per cent) since Q2 1999...
In Q2 2006 there were 15,600 permanent staff employed by the Scottish Executive and its associated agencies. This is an increase of 14.1 per cent since Q2 1999..."
But for Mr McCabe, the esteemed Finance Minister, there is cause for rejoicing. No self-doubt, no wondering if he is doing the Right Thing. No quibbles about service delivery or failure to meet targets. The best small country in the world is getting world-class public services. Here are Mr McCabe's thoughts on the matter:
"Increased investment in frontline staff is helping deliver the world-class public services the people of Scotland expect, a Minister said today.
Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform Tom McCabe was speaking after the publication of the latest Scottish public sector employment statistics...
Mr McCabe said:
"The people of Scotland expect and deserve world-class public services. And they also expect those public services to be as efficient and effective as possible, consuming no more precious resources or employing no more staff than necessary.
"We share that expectation. That is why we are driving up efficiency and effectiveness across the whole public sector."
Perhaps one of his officials might take Mr McCabe aside and explain to him the meaning of 'hubris'.