Yesterday Johann Lamont gave the Scottish Parliament one of her something-for-nothing speeches.

There was something for Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor, and nothing much for the comfort of Scottish Labour.

We could paraphrase further. Since cuts are unavoidable – says a Scottish Labour leader – let's have some proper, realistic, egalitarian cuts. Let's begin with the "Two-hundred-grand-a-year" Sturgeon household.

Unhappily for Ms Lamont, one representative of that household was on the other seats. Nicola Sturgeon did not defend her own good fortune. Instead, she took Labour apart.

"Bring it on," she said, with a relish that was almost indecent. Then she defended each of the "entitlements" we can no longer, says Ms Lamont, afford as a nation.

Tuition fees, granny's bus pass, personal care in old age: As of this week, these are all, it seems, mere luxuries. Ms Lamont seemed to say that these things had not been earned. She wanted to say that they could not be defended.

Historians can check the dates. For now, I'll give you this: Scottish Labour died yesterday. A white flag was seen. Johann Lamont's whitened face, her anguish and frustrated fury, told the story.

Was she delivering a scripted line under London orders? If so: How is that devolution?

This should not be over-stressed, misunderstood, or mistaken – chance being a fine thing – for a partisan description. Ms Lamont argued for an end to universal benefits; Ms Sturgeon declined. Labour's leader said the Scottish Government was dishonest; the SNP stand-in said the right thing was being done.

In a larger sense, Scottish Labour has wound up appearing to defend things in which, not for a moral moment, does it believe. This is more shocking than usual.

How will Ms Lamont, talking Tory cuts and Chicago claptrap, secure a Union? Yesterday, she was efficient, stentorian, wrong. How will Scotland manage, hereafter, without a Labour Party? No-one has even begun to think of such things.

Contrariwise, as they say in all the best tales, the SNP has yet to grasp that its best leader is not its leader. Nicola Sturgeon is the leader Alex Salmond should have been.

Cats in the doos? All happy now?