Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell yesterday lambasted Alex Salmond for daring to meet Hillary Clinton (a meeting to which Ms Clinton must presumably have consented as well?), on the grounds that "this is no time for a novice" in international affairs. I can't really better the instant retort from the SNP that Sir Menzies was showing himself up as a "pompous ass" but two fairly obvious observations do occur to me. Firstly, whether or not this is any time for a novice, it's certainly no time for any self-respecting opposition politician to be proudly quoting, of all people, Gordon Brown! No surprise, of course, given the unmistakable way that he allowed his friendship with Brown to shape his decision-making during his spell as leader (not least at the time of the 2007 Holyrood election).
Second observation - although a few years older, Sir Menzies has in fact been a parliamentarian for exactly the same length of time as Alex Salmond. They were both first elected to Westminster in June 1987. Salmond has now been a government minister (holding a position that is at least the equivalent of cabinet rank in the UK government) for very nearly a full two years. Sir Menzies' ministerial experience consists of...well, quite. So on what grounds does he feel so secure in dismissing Salmond as the 'novice'? Does he deem his own participation in the Commonwealth Games as some kind of "international experience"?