The Tories' spokesman made sure he had no problems with punctuality a couple of days later during a debate in the main chamber, which was just as well. The Tories started it, he was the first speaker and the subject was indiscipline, albeit in schools.
MSPs went for the jugular. "A litany of populist prejudice masquerading as a policy speech," said Peter Peacock, the minister, who condemned Monteih's "bovver boy approach". Mike Russell for the SNP slammed the "William Hague saloon bar, skinhead approach to politics where all popular prejudices are displayed".
The thinly coiffed Monteith shot back that no less than Michael Forsyth introduced the first anti-bullying measures. "A spark of light in a long gloomy period is not something we should rejoice about," Peacock interjected.