Committee room 6 in the House of Commons has little in common with Caesars Palace, the MGM Grand or any other of those Vegas venues chosen by the entertainment gods for comeback appearances. While part of the Palace of Westminster, glitzy and palatial it is not. Nice wood panelling, though.

I had expected yesterday’s main event, the appearance of former First Minister Alex Salmond before the Scottish Affairs Committee, to be a packed to-the-rafters affair, yet some seats were unoccupied. Perhaps a roomful of MPs talking about intergovernmental relations, in this case between UK and Scottish administrations, is not quite the draw one imagines.

Shame, really, because the occasion had much to recommend it. This was the first time in seven years that Mr Salmond had appeared officially in the Commons, and he had promised a few fireworks. "I will give them some revelations, why not?" he told The Herald's Kathleen Nutt.

Prominent among these, it turned out, was Tony Blair not phoning the then newly-elected First Minister Salmond to congratulate him on his victory. Offence was taken, and almost 20 years later the snub rankles still. I’m sure Blair has thought of little else.

Now it would be easy to be sneery about the committee’s very important work investigating intergovernmental relations in the 25 years since the Scotland Act. Tempting, as well, to accuse participants of playing politics with the subject. But would it be right and fair to do so? Too right it would.

Yesterday’s bunfight in the committee room, and in particular the set-to between Mr Salmond and Douglas Ross, was pretty decent political entertainment. The session, and one on Monday, had much to say about the early years of devolution as well as recent clashes between Edinburgh and London.

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More important still was what the sessions signalled about the future. For anyone wondering how well a Labour government might work with SNP MPs if it had to, this was a must-see. But first, the bunfight. Who could possibly have seen this coming? The idea that members would not exploit the occasion for party political ends was fanciful at best. Some wanted to praise Mr Salmond, chew the fat over old times. Others were more interested in burying him, or rather his successors, on any issue they could.

In tone the session was a blend of An Audience with Alex Salmond, Question Time, and Crackerjack!

The chair intervened several times to remind everyone that this was an inquiry into inter-governmental relations, but there was no stopping them. From ferries to Nicola Sturgeon’s thoughts on Boris Johnson, nothing was too wide of the mark; Mr Salmond rose above the fray when it suited him. At other times he was quite happy to sling his own mud pies, most of them at Tony Blair, and later David Cameron. The Foreign Secretary was scolded for sending a snippy letter to Humza Yousaf after it emerged the First Minister had met the president of Turkey without a Foreign Office official being present. Cameron would never have dared send such a “heavy-handed” letter to Mr Salmond, apparently.

There were mud pies, too, for Nicola Sturgeon and her senior adviser, Liz Lloyd. He was withering about how their text messages, as revealed at the Covid-19 UK inquiry in Edinburgh, would have come across to relatives of the bereaved. Monday’s session was eye-opening in its own way, with precious little heat but plenty of light thrown. Now this was a real blast from the past - Douglas Alexander, Helen Liddell, and Desmond Browne, all giving evidence together. What is the collective noun for a gathering of former Scottish Secretaries? Seeing this trio in action, a “snug” or “smug” might fit the bill.

Mr Alexander was in the post from 2006-7, Ms Liddell 2001-3, and Mr Browne 2007-8. The latter two have since become Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke and Lord Browne of Ladyton, but we’ll call them Helen and Des, or Ms and Mr, because we don’t stand on ceremony in these parts.

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Important things first. Apologies to the sisterhood for remarking on a woman’s appearance, but how does Ms Liddell manage to look younger now than when she was in government? Better hours as a baroness than an MP, no doubt. As she told the committee, it was not uncommon before devolution for MPs to work till the early hours on, say, an education bill for England, then go back to the start and do a separate one to take account of the differences in Scotland. Long days and late nights is a tough paper round by any reckoning.

READ MORE Salmond rebukes Ross for 'failing memory' over ferries

The three of them gave off a contented, cheery vibe, as well they might. If all goes to plan, Mr Alexander hopes to return as an MP at the next general election. The other two were David Cameron-level chillaxed. Oh how they laughed when Ms Liddell was told off for consulting George Foulkes, sitting behind her in the cheap seats. “I’m very sorry Mr Chairman,” she said, not seeming very sorry at all.

There were no tales of spats between Westminster and Holyrood because there was none. Mr Browne spoke of “daily contact at all levels” and did not recall any problems at all. If there was any business to sort out at the end of the week a friendly chat on a Friday evening would do the trick, said Ms Liddell.

The cosiness is easily explained by both sides playing for the same team. Everything changed of course in 2007 when Alex Salmond became First Minister. Yet all was not as it had seemed, he told the committee. Whatever the cosy chats on a Friday evening were doing they were not resolving disputes, because there was plenty of them still in play.

If there is one thing to take away from Monday it is the unanimity of the Labour trio. Talk about a red wall. Seeing all three together was a stark reminder of how powerful Labour once was, and Labour in Scotland in particular. They had the kingdom, the power and the glory, and they held on to them for longer than anyone thought possible, and definitely for longer than was wise.

Might a Labour Government under Keir Starmer regard SNP MPs the same way their predecessors often did? Does it matter?

At the end of yesterday’s session, Mr Salmond was asked if he had anything to pass on about opposing governments, or opposing anything, working together. Don’t rely on old chums, he said. Put arrangements in place that are streamlined and effective, and make as many alliances as you can. In short, watch your back. Sound advice.