LACKING a good Alex Salmond row to bring everyone together in enmity, FMQs was a rather disjointed affair.

Tory leader Ruth Davidson wanted to know about money for poor schools. Why was cash from the pupil attainment fund going on fripperies like astroturf and away days? Where were the cotton mill practicals and the chimney cleaning kits?

Nicola Sturgeon said Ms Davidson should “get out more and visit a few more schools”. Actually, schools were optional. She just wanted her to get out more. As far away as possible.

It would be good advice for Richard Leonard. The Scottish Labour leader and Unite trinket thought he could catch Ms Sturgeon out. It appears Little Richard couldn’t catch a bus.

Last week he had asked the FM about agency middle-men taking a cut of workers’ pay on the Aberdeen bypass. What had she done about it?

Much to his surprise, Ms Sturgeon reeled off a ton of things she’d done about it, including establishing workers could be directly employed if they wanted and not pay a middle-man.

“We take the issue very seriously, and I deprecate the conduct by agencies that was outlined last week,” she said.

Little Richard’s face flushed a hi-viz red. “Evident from that answer, and borne out by my understanding,” he began, ever one for a snappy soundbite.

But no one from the government had asked the oracles at Unite about the problem, he whined. It's not proper but Unite's in t'picture.

He then said there was similar bad practice on a project at Edinburgh’s Waverley station.

Ms Sturgeon sighed. That was a Network Rail contract, she explained patiently. It might be Scottish Government money behind it, but Network Rail let the contract, and they were a “wholly owned subsidiary of the United Kingdom government”.

Like the Little Engine That Could, Mr Leonard chugged on.

“Let us be clear. This is about taxpayers’ money,” he huffed, as SNP MSPs drowned him out with shouts of “You don’t listen”.

The FM stared. “I think that I am speaking English,” she said. “But Richard Leonard does not appear to understand.”

Willie Rennie then cruelly reminded her of the time she and her government were taken in by hucksters touting a fantasy £10bn Chinese investment deal.

Would she do any better on her trip to China next month?

“I will tell members what I will not be doing in China: I will not be mentioning Willie Rennie,” she hissed. For which 1.4bn people will be forever grateful.