Irrespective of the procedural niceties, I'm surprised at the reaction of the two academics in relation to what's described as their "ambush" by "impolite and discourteous" MSPs at Holyrood.
Here was a committee meeting set up to discuss the proposed legislation to devolve more financial powers to the Scottish Parliament. The academics were asked to attend on that basis, but have cried foul because they were questioned about fiscal autonomy.
And not just scrutinised about any old aspect of fiscal autonomy, but a paper the academics themselves authored relatively recently. Given their reaction you would think they'd been asked about particle physics or restorative justice, or whatever.
Suppose the SNP Government set up a committee to examine a Bill on local income tax. A professor has authored a paper advocating a property tax. He's asked to attend, and throws his toys out of the pram when asked about his property tax paper. Er, hello?
Indeed, imagine if the good professors had turned up to the Scotland Bill committee and been asked a few supportive questions: would they have considered fiscal autonomy off-limits? Of course not. If they were confident of their case then presumably they could have turned last week's events to their advantage on the basis of substantive argument. On the other hand, given the likes of Ireland's sovereign debt problems since they wrote their paper then perhaps their confidence has taken something of a dent, irrespective of the minutiae of the paper per se.
Moreover, it's surely a bit rich of them to get involved in a facet of economics so politically charged, court publicity in the process, accept the plaudits from one side of the debate when it suits, but react so vehemently when the dirty world of partisan politics blows up in their faces.
The public generally don't trust politicians because they're viewed as detached from reality and consider themselves above criticism. In that regard this latest episode surely does academia few favours.
But if their partisan supporters think a bit of procedural nitpicking and a handful of supposedly discourteous politicians warrants accusations of "intimidation" and a call for a parliamentary inquiry, then they must lead sheltered lives indeed. A letter in today's Scotsman compares Wendy Alexander's "hectoring approach" to scrutiny to her stance on school bullying. For crying out loud. Perhaps Alex "kicking puppies" Salmond should be sectioned.
Indeed, to those who think this all damages the reputation of the Scottish Parliament then perhaps they should consider that the dominant public image is probably one of politicians shouting soundbites at each other, with a baying mob screaming encouragement. If this episode has damaged Holyrood's reputation then it's presumably only vis-à-vis an extremely rarefied part of the political-academic milieu. In actual fact, for 'rarefied' read 'partisan'.
If academics can't stand the heat of the political kitchen then perhaps they should stay safely ensconced in their ivory towers.