ASK most people if the name Brian Wilson means anything to them, and they’ll probably mention The Beach Boys. Those of us who have been involved in Scottish politics for any length of time, however, might come up with the image of a bespectacled former politician rather than a suntanned Californian master of melody.

The other Brian Wilson, a former Labour MP, has been around almost as long as his American namesake. He was once an SNP member who marched against American nuclear missiles on the Clyde. But somewhere along the way he ditched his youthful principles to become a fanatical – and I use that word without fear of being accused of exaggeration – British Unionist.

As far back as 1979, Wilson rose to national prominence as an inveterate opponent of Scottish devolution. Four decades on, his outrage at the very thought that Scotland might be capable of standing on its own feet remains undiminished.

Every Saturday without fail, he pours forth his anger in The Scotsman, almost every sentence of every column a raging diatribe against the SNP, the Scottish Government, the Yes movement or the independence cause.

Normally I try to avoid writing about individuals. I have quite a bit of respect for some Labour Party members I know, despite my disagreement with their anti-independence stand. I’ve never even quite managed to whip myself up into the same fervour of hostility towards Theresa May that I used to feel towards Margaret Thatcher.

But one thing that does rile me about Brian Wilson is the personal animosity he feels obliged to parade. Over this past week or so, he has sneered at the SNP MSP Christina McKelvie, railed against Nicola Sturgeon and hit out at Jeane Freeman, whom he has nicknamed, not for the first time, the SNP’s Quango Queen.

It is interesting that Mr Wilson should indulge in innuendo about the financial affairs of those whose politics he clearly despises. For the record, the Scottish Parliament’s register of interests shows that since becoming an MSP, Jeane Freeman has had no external earnings, no directorships, no lucrative portfolios of stocks and shares. She has been gifted the odd bottle of gin, a couple of concert tickets and a book on poverty. Not so much a smoking gun as a dripping water pistol.

Wilson, the former MP for Cunninghame North – now an SNP stronghold – was appointed energy minister by Tony Blair in 2001. Fair enough. He’s obviously a man of talent and dynamism. And to give credit where it’s due, he has done some useful things in his time, most notably setting up the Scottish Community Land Fund.

But the bold Brian stepped down from his ministerial role in 2003. I should say, just in a case anyone gets the wrong end of the stick, that his resignation was not because he opposed the Iraq War, or for any other political reason. Wilson was and is a Blairite through and through. He voted down the line with Tony Blair on Iraq – and against any investigation into the decision to go to war and slaughter hundreds of thousands in the hunt for non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Such was his loyalty that he was even appointed as Blair’s envoy to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Soon after that Wilson was piling up the outside jobs. In the House of Commons Register of Members’ Interests for 2005, he is recorded as earning fees – of “up to £5,000 in each case” – for writing articles for The Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, Observer, The Scotsman and The Herald.

While sitting in Parliament – and picking up a lavish salary by most people’s standards – Wilson became a paid director of the Aberdeen-based oil and gas company Core Technical Services Ltd. And a paid adviser to Windsave Ltd. And to Scottish Biopower Ltd and Pipsa Energy. And Renewable Technology Ventures Ltd. And Englefield Capital (Renewables Fund). These, you will no doubt have worked out by now, are energy companies one and all. Brian certainly made the most of his fleeting two-year stint as energy minister. And there’s more. After leaving Parliament, he became a non-executive director for the multinational nuclear power giant Amec Foster Wheeler. And the UK chair of Airtricity, in which capacity he oversaw the development of the 49-turbine Braes of Doune wind farm, near Dunblane, generating an estimated income of £2 million a year for 30 years for the landowner, the Earl of Moray.

And while working in renewables, he also became the chairman of Flying Matters, a front organisation for the airline industry. Under his chairmanship, the organisation tried, unsuccessfully to take what it called the “Mother of All Injunctions’ against the Camp for Climate Action at Heathrow Airport. Flying Matters also opposed the UK Climate Change Bill of 2008, which committed Britain to slashing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

Wilson later went on to become the founding chairman of Havana Energy, which develops biomass in Cuba. Some on the left might approve – and I personally I have sympathy with the achievements of the Caribbean island over many decades in the teeth of a US blockade. I have less sympathy that Brian Wilson’s company has its main headquarters, not in Cuba, but in Guernsey – an offshore tax haven.

So, some words of advice for Brian. If your company is based in an offshore tax haven, think twice and three times about making political capital over public spending cuts forced upon Holyrood by Westminster.