LIKE most decent ratepayers with a passing interest in constitutional affairs, I make it a point never to watch Scottish Questions at the House of Commons.

However, awaiting the effortlessly entertaining and morally instructive Prime Minister’s Questions that ensues, one often catches the closing stages of this dispiriting velitation and, in distress, calls for one’s medicinal sherry to be topped up. To the brim.

So, we caught Scottish Secretary Alister Jack sententiously declaring: “The Union has never been stronger.” I see.

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He added: “The only people who want to destroy devolution are those who want to rip us out of the United Kingdom.”

Ripping stuff.

It must have been the taxing intellectual effort and monumental imagination needed in defending the Union that caused the Jackster to look so comatose as he sat next to the man who puts the PM in PMQs.

Big bags beneath his eyes dragged Alister’s face down to his chest. At best, you could have called him inscrutable. Indeed, you could call Alister many things. But, on this occasion, animated was not one of them. In enervated repose, he looked like a soporous mourner at the funeral of a barely known aunt.

Throughout proceedings, he could hardly muster even a “Hyah-hyah!” for the PM. Neither, naturally, could Keir Starmer, the Labour opposition leader, who averred that you could tell by his “body language” that, when it came to house-building, Rishi Sunak – the PM under advisement – had given up.

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Who knew Sir Keir was a student of kinesics? Viewing on a television screen, it was difficult to tell what precisely Rishi’s body was saying to the lieges. Had he slumped? Was his head in an unnatural position? Were his legs crossed, indicating defensiveness or an urgent need to micturate? Was it a matter of oculesics? Were his eyes darting from left to right, looking for an escape from this unfriendly place?

“How can they [the Tories] ever look the British people in the eye again and claim to be the party of home ownership?” said Sir Keir, adding that they could not “because we are”. Good point. And it’s not just home ownership. Labour is the party of capitalism and Brexit, the denouncers of socialists like Gerald Corbyn or whatever he was called (how quickly we forget).

It’s all very confusing. The Conservative Party is full of woke liberals. Labour are somewhere to the right of Harold Macmillan. The SNP clearly love Westminster. And the Greens have ousted the Lib Dems in competing for the nutter vote.

Said Rishi of Keir’s claims : “It’s classic Labour: saying one thing here, doing another elsewhere.” He added that the Government’s Mortgage Charter went “much more farther than labour”. He’d taken that too far.

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Steven Flynn, could see no further than Mr Sunak’s capacious wallet, prompting him to have a personal pop at the PM: “May I ask him, a near billionaire, when did he last struggle to pay a bill?”

Poor Rishi, having all that money. It’s a distinctive handicap in the House of Commons, where the envious cast aspersions on his ability to know how the commonality feels. He is not, and never has been, working class. Indeed, by his own admission, he didn’t even have any working class friends. Never been to a cock-fight. Wouldn’t know which cutlery to use when eating jellied eel at a dinner party.

Accordingly, after the PM failed to answer the query about his bills, Steven said this proved he was “out of touch”, and added perspicaciously: “Brexit, blah-blah.”

When Labour’s Chris Bryant ululated that Mr Sunak was “literally the worst person to be leading this country through a cost of living crisis”, we were hoping that at least one Tory backbencher would come to Rishi’s aid, in the manner of the Major in Faulty Towers: “No, no, I won’t have that! There’s a chap in Eastbourne.”

Also: literally? Did Chris literally mean that? To slightly misquote the barber in A Bit of Fry & Laurie: I have literally no idea.

Now, I don’t want you to go away with the idea that it’s all fun and games at the House of Commons, a lot of hot air expended by a colourful collection of balloons. It’s a lively place, full of the cut and thrust of debate.

And so it was a shame when the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, announced, “That completes Prime Minister’s Questions”, rousing at last Mr Alister Jack, who shuffled out in a trance, looking for a place to lie down.