The first question from Iain Gray got straight to the heart of the reasons why the state of the economy is much more important than an independence referendum:
"Can the First Minister of the Scottish Executive tell this Parliament why a certain Lord of this parish is paid an exorbitant salary plus expenses from here, and from elsewhere, which could be put to better use to employ 500 apprentices for non-existent jobs?"
This penetrating question flummoxed the First Minister so much that, uncharacterically, his voice rose above his normal whisper:
"Iain Gray should be aware that the noble Lord is an occasionally upstanding national treasure who single-handedly has raised politics from the gutter to the noble heights of the House of Lards.
His initiatives have raised such interest in horizontal pavement dancing with vulnerable old ladies that it will feature in the next Olympic along with window breaking by numbers.
Despite claiming around £634 for each of his 69 appearances in the House of Lords he so impressed the Metropolitan Police that they offered him free board and lodging overnight as their guest.
Iain Gray should also be aware that the good Lord was the inventor of combining nitrous oxide with Oxo cubes to make himself a laughing stock."
In a startling change of tactics Iain Gray, winkingly, blinkingly and noddingly,read carefully from his prepared notes:
"Hands up, all those in the chamber who think this Senior Labour spokesperson is a total waste of space and taxpayers' money?"
Every hand in the chamber was raised with the exception of that of a red-faced stout fellow, yclept Rufus, who was sleeping in a corner with his tongue hanging out.
"First Minister, do you like my new pearl necklace and my tweed skirt? Edwina is coming up for the weekend so if you fancy a curry just come round to my bit on Saturday"
"Tempting as the offer is, Annabelle Goldie knows full well that on Saturday I'll be going to Jeffrey Archer's party for a top secret meeting with David Cameron to discuss the running of Scotland under a joint administration under Code-word Brigadoon/Toryloon."
Tavish Scott rose to chants of "Who are ya?, who are ya?" from the Lib/Dem members.
"First Minister, can I gaze in adoration at you for a few seconds before I ask my question.......? What role do you see for Jim Murphy in an independent Scotland?"
"Difficult question, Annabelle, but I understand that Lord Iain Gray of the Twitches has a position under Jackie Baillie in mind for Mr Murphy".