The National:

DIFFICULT as you will find this to believe, journalists have been known to use sweary words. Truth to tell having been “brought up” in a newspaper environment full of blokes, my own vocabulary expanded quite spectacularly quite quickly.

So the point is not that people swear, but that the context and the environment should always determine what is appropriate.

The LibDems’ Alex Cole-Hamilton rather proved the point during a zoomed committee meeting when he was caught quite clearly mouthing “F*** You Maree” with the target of his disgust clearly being Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Maree Todd.

As he subsequently admitted himself, he lost his temper on learning that there would a year’s gap before the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child would be fully incorporated into Scots Law.

READ MORE: WATCH: LibDem MSP appears to swear during virtual committee meeting

In fairness, Cole-Hamilton has a long standing interest in the politics of children’s rights, having variously worked for Youth Link Scotland, Fairbridge, and the Aberlour Child Care Trust.

None of which gives him the right to mouth obscenities on camera at a Minister with whom he disagrees, even with the ever handy mute button on patrol.

As his party’s spokesperson on health, you would also like to think the rag was only something he ever misplaces in private, and hopefully not within the earshot of his kids.

What turned a foul mouthed moment into an inter party stushie, was Cole-Hamilton’s “apology” in which he contrived to mount into another attack on Todd. Blaming the victim is a long and dishonourable tradition in some quarters, but a publicly available parliamentary committee should not be one of them.

The National: Alex Cole-Hamilton could be seen to swear in the zoom meetingAlex Cole-Hamilton could be seen to swear in the zoom meeting

Telling the Minister it was all her fault for frustrating him with her government’s “backsliding on children’s rights again” doesn’t really do it in the sorry stakes, especially when accompanied by the thought that he “muttered something under my breath that I shouldn’t have and I apologise”.

Thing is Alex, if you really had been muttering under your breath, then every single viewer of the expletive in question wouldn’t have been able to read your lips so very clearly.

And if you really do want to apologise then feel free to come up with a proper, free standing one.

Cole-Hamilton is also a member of the committee investigating the Scottish Government’s handling of the Alex Salmond case, during which he has been free with his opinions on Twitter and elsewhere.

READ MORE: Alex Cole-Hamilton urged to offer 'full apology' for swearing at female minister

He is not a man who is backward in coming forward with strongly expressed views on whatever topic comes to hand.

However as the deputy convener of the committee where he did his Handforth Parish Council number – equalities and human rights – a modicum of self restraint might be thought in order.

By the time you read this, Cole-Hamilton may have recovered sufficient composure to issue a proper apology ie one not preceded by repeating his irritation.

I may be able to offer some help here. Or rather the magazine Psychology Today can, having taken the trouble to publish the rules governing a proper apology. I’m particularly drawn to their insistence that “a true apology keeps the focus on your actions and NOT on the other person’s response".

Meanwhile, thus far, total radio silence from his parliamentary leader, Willie Rennie. Maybe being a LibDem means never having to say you’re sorry.