FMQs sketch: Knee jerk | HeraldScotland

“They’re still here, First Minister,” said Douglas Ross, clapping his knees like two loyal Spaniels. “They’re still here!”

This was FMQs, but not as we know it. Nicola Sturgeon was getting laughed at for one thing. Properly hooted at. An unfamiliar sensation for the First Minister. She did not take it well. 

And to think it all started with a question about Covid and improving classroom ventilation. 

Specifically, education secretary Shirley Anne-Somerville’s plan to install draughts in 2,000 school rooms by paying councils to “undercut” the doors to “increase airflow” at a cost of £300,000.

Or as the Scottish Tory leader put it, the Government’s big idea for healthier classrooms two years into the pandemic is “chopping the bottom off doors”. 

Doors, one might imagine, that could simply be left ajar. 

Ms Sturgeon looked at the little squirt with regal disdain. 

“Basic rectification of the structure of classrooms to improve the natural flow of air strikes me as basic common sense,” she said, the words brittle with frost. 

“The First Minister couldn’t bring herself to accept it’s about chopping the bottom off doors,” her jester chortled in her face. 

“However she tries to dress it up it has been met with derision.”

Mr Ross then pointed out that chopping the bottom of doors might not square with fire regs. Had the Government checked with the Fire Service before ordering in the joiners?

“This is an absurd line of questioning!” howled the FM. 

And it wasn’t every door, just those “hung in such a way that it is inhibiting the natural flow of air”.

Tory MSPs gurgled like infants. Chopping the bottoms off doors, they snorted, chopping bottoms. 

The Tories were being “utterly infantile”, Ms Sturgeon snapped, as the chamber filled with the din. These were just “basic structural changes to aid the flow of air”.

But Mr Ross flogged his catchphrase even harder. “It may be ‘basic structural changes’ in the language of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, but it’s basically chopping the bottoms off of doors.”

The Tory benches collapsed into downright baboonery.

The more the FM talked about doors being mean to air flows, the louder they laughed.

She did know buildings were meant to inhibit air, right? Called shelter.

What about walls and roofs? She’ll go berserk when she hears about them.

Imagine inhibiting the natural flow of rain. Disgusting.

Bet she smashes every school to matchwood to protect those kids.

Oh, how they hooted.

Desperate, Ms Sturgeon tried to be funny.

“The only thing that is being chopped off in this session of FMQs – it is entirely self-inflicted – is Douglas Ross’s own legs at the knees.”

At which, Mr Ross stood up and drummed his beloved cartilage.

“They’re still here, First Minister.” 

More surprisingly, so is the education secretary.

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