A week is a long time in politics, as they say, and this week has certainly been a long one for the SNP. It started with their leader getting a monstering by a nurse on TV. Cue the attack dog, Joanna Cherry QC, spreading false rumours that said nurse was married to a Tory councillor (and therefore, by implication, not allowed to question her political leaders?). Cherry had to tweet an apology when the facts became clear. Then came Manchester. The First Minister quite rightly talked about "solidarity". Unfortunately the message did not reach all of her supporters, one of whom has now been questioned by police over sickening anti-English racist tweets related to the Manchester bombing. Then we had the unedifying spectacle of an SNP supporter (who has been photographed in the past with both Salmond and Sturgeon) filming herself driving around Cowie abusing Conservative canvassers. Finally, as if things couldn't get any worse, we have a Libdem candidate being harrassed by an SNP activist on the day of her husband's funeral.
In a recent session of First Minister's Questions, Sturgeon, rather obliquely, tried to state that she was not responsible for abuse dished out by her supporters. Wrong Nicola - you are responsible. You are the leader of the Scottish National Party. Where you lead, others will follow and every time you use the word "Tory" as a term of abuse, your supporters will take that as a green light to go even further and abuse and intimidate Tories on the street, on twitter or wherever. By demonising Westminster, you unleash the forces of anti-English sentiment which, sadly, are never far from the surface in Scotland. By refusing to condemn the likes of foul-mouthed Pete Wishart (who calls Tories "w**ks") you legitimise abuse of your political opponents. Standing up at FMQs and saying that abuse is "unacceptable" is absolutely no use if you refuse to take action. Your integrity is at stake here and, as far as Calton is concerned, is found wanting, especially when you give your backing to the likes of Wishart and Cherry in their attempts to get re-elected to Westminster.
It is not the Scottish Conservatives who are the nasty party - for that, we need look no further than the SNP, who are busy redefining their acronym as Scotland's Nasty Party.