Nevertheless, the bold Lord Watson sought to reassure members of Highland's Gaelic working group when he spoke to them over a video link about the shortage of Gaelic-medium teachers.
David Green, council convener, chided: "We have GM crops and GM education and only one of them benefits Highland culture."
Never short of Dundee wit, the minister replied: "GM should have stuck to making cars and not have got involved in crops or education."
Anyway, we think he was joking.
The banter continued with Green politely asking, if like himself, the minister would be learning Gaelic.
"I am willing to have a go," Watson countered, "but I would not overestimate my ability to do so at my age. I don't speak Gaelic and I don't play golf or go to the opera and I have never run a B amp; B, but I hope that this will not stop me dealing with my portfolio."
Touche, as they say in non-Gaelic.