Last night I spent around an hour listening to the Scottish Affairs Committee when the witnesses were Jim Murphy, Secretary of State for Scotland and Robin Haynes, Head of Financial Services, Scotland Office.
It was reported that 'Jim Murphy in war of words with SNP MP'. The SNP MP in question is Pete Wishart.
Having listened from 0.43.00 for some time, (where Mr Murphy begins his attacks on the SNP), I can completely understand why Mr Wishart's frustration boiled over at 1.14.30. You can view the tape here but please be patient because BBC Parliament.uk leaves a lot to be desired and is slow to buffer to sections. Further sarcasm addressed to Pete Wishart is from 1.51.00 for a minute or two.
Mr Murphy spent a considerable amount of time substantiating his job and the two examples he was able to give of what projects he has undertaken since taking office were a job seminar in Glasgow earlier this week and assisting a Western Isles SNP MP with a threatened redundancy problem in his constituency. He was obviously annoyed he did not receive copy letters sent from Scottish government ministers to various Westminster departments and stated his staff had to ask for them.
Mr Murphy forgets the job of Secretary of State for Scotland was part-time for a considerable period and one of his predecessors also managed to do it whilst being Defence Secretary and the country was at war. Therefore the SNP has every right to ask him what he does with his time and also to have suggested there was no need for the expense of the Scotland Office.
Not an impressive performance from Mr Murphy. It was unprofessional and his detailed knowledge of the Calman Report appeared to be sketchy as he required the assistance of Mr Haynes at times.
I'm more convinced than ever that the Scotland Office is surplus to requirements and the millions it costs per year could be put to much better use elsewhere, either within Westminster or the Scottish Parliament.
He was Europe Minister as he reminded the committee on several occasions. I'm quite sure he wasn't highly regarded by many of his German colleagues for his style of dress if yesterday was anything to go by. If he thought he would cool and relaxed by removing his jacket then it didn't impress me one bit. To me, his dress looked untidy and quite out of place, when all others were in business attire. A minor point yes, but an important one all the same when you're in a position of authority. Call me old-fashioned.