Sir Nicholas Macpherson is one of the most senior of Whitehall mandarins.
As Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, he lords it over the most powerful department of London government.
However, he is still a civil servant and paid for by the rest of us.
He is meant to be above and beyond the political battle.
Unfortunately, Sir Nicholas has chosen not to stay on that path of impartiality.
Last year, by the unprecedented publication of his views to ministers on the prospects of a formal sterling union following Scottish independence, he entered into the political arena.
I criticised Sir Nicholas heavily at the time, as I have the conduct of other Treasury officials during the referendum campaign.
I believe they also crossed the line.
Now in a bombshell report to be released today Sir Nicholas’s behaviour over the sterling advice is being openly questioned by a House of Commons committee of Tory, Labour and Liberal MPs.
For Sir Nicholas the report makes the grimmest of reading.
They say firmly that “the advice should not have been published. Its publication compromised the perceived impartiality of one of the UK’s most senior civil servants”.
For Sir Nicholas the chickens have now well and truly come home to roost.
Remember this is a committee made up of a majority of UK Government MPs and their language is as uncompromising as their disapproval is evident.
They brush aside the mandarin’s lame excuse that he was attempting to reassure markets. And they do so in the bluntest of fashions.
“The only purpose was to use the impartial status of Permanent Secretary to the advocacy of a political argument…we do not accept that this (market reassurance) was the primary reason for publishing this advice”.
It is interesting to note that reassuring the markets was also the excuse given by Sir Nicholas for the equally unprecedented and misleading briefing by one of his officials about the Royal Bank of Scotland in the final days of the referendum campaign.
It seems to be the London Treasury’s single transferable excuse for wrongdoing.
But then a government department, like a fish, rots from the head down.
The Public Administration Select Committee also has a pop at aspects of the Scottish Government’s White Paper.
However, there is no great surprise that a group of unionist MPs take the Better Together line.
That is the normal behaviour from House of Commons committees.
What is unexpected and totally devastating is the criticism of Sir Nicholas and his department.
Macpherson has made his position even weaker by some of his unrepentant statements since the referendum.
In January he claimed “Her Majesty’s Treasury is by its nature a unionist institution”. The clue is in the name.
Sir Nicholas seems blissfully unaware that the present monarchy is not even a “unionist institution” having been established more than a century before the Treaty of Union.
However, more important than his dodgy history is his extraordinary behaviour that the House of Commons Committee has finally brought to book.
Sir Nicholas’s position is untenable.
My advice to him is freely available and published.
Do the honourable thing and resign.
I believe that it would “reassure the markets”.