A NATIONALIST blogger accused of “vile anti-Semitism” for citing Hitler and Mein Kampf to criticise a prominent Jewish Labour activist has defended his actions.

Gareth Wardell, who runs the Grouse Beater website, said his opponents had used “fascist language” to make an innocent argument about Rhea Wolfson sound “sinister”.

He said: “It's quite a stretch for me to be anti-Semitic, brought up in Jewish family.”

Mr Wardell also accused Mr Wolfson’s boss at the GMB union of being an “arrogant Englishman”.

Mr Wardell, a former artistic director of the Scottish Youth Theatre and arts lecturer, is married to the respected Scottish artist Barbara Rae, a former grouse beater.

He spoke out after Labour seized on his Monday blog about the equal pay strike in Glasgow.

The article said Ms Wolfson, a GMB Scotland organiser, had been making the most of Hitler’s “fascist ideology” and referred to the GMB as a “Cockney clique”.

A link to the article, which was denounced by Labour as “anti-Semitic”, was shared by the SNP branches for Livingston East, Edinburgh Eastern and various SNP councillors.

The SNP subsequently stopped promoting the blog and said Ms Wolfson deserved “a full apology from the author for the clear offence that has been caused”.

In a section titled “Hitler’s view”, the blog said: “In Part 1 of Mein Kampf, Hitler attacks unions over and over again. Unions are fascism’s Public Enemy Number 1. He went further.

“He accused ‘The Jew’ of gradually assuming leadership of the trade union movement. Hitler wanted a blindly obedient fighting force loyal only to the national leader of government.

“Whether or not Wolfson is intellectually aware of Hitler’s outlook is unknown but she certainly knows how to make the most of it.”

Ms Wolfson, the Labour candidate for Livingston and a past victim of anti-Semitic abuse, condemned the article, and Labour called on Nicola Sturgeon to investigate any SNP links.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay said it was “simply unacceptable that this vile anti-Semitic blog has been promoted by various SNP accounts”.

The SNP said the blog “should not have been shared by any SNP member” and said it would consider any complaints of anti-Semitism received as a result.

But in a statement to the Herald, Mr Wardell said: “The only sinister aspect to my essay is the way political opponents tried to make it sound sinister. They use the fascist language it warns about, anti-intellectual, portraying everything in terms of 'them and us'.

“Ms Wolfson has been grievously misled. When advised what they were up to I strengthened the praise of her anti-Semitic stance in relation to Labour's troubles.

“In this case it's quite a stretch for me to be anti-Semitic brought up in Jewish family.

“As for GMB boss Tim Roache's thuggish response, how can one have a rational discussion with a man who boasts he did not read the blog, but thinks it 'disgusting'. His role as the arrogant Englishman is not appreciated.

“Then again, I don't mind political opponents making a fool of themselves.”

Asked if he was an SNP member, Mr Wardell responded: “Not an office bearer. Not an 'active' member. Don't stick leaflets in letterboxes, or stand with placards on street corners. “Don't attend SNP meetings. Don't march if it means walking with my legs. Don't attend rallies. Not paid for writing polemic, satire or film reviews. Not crowd funded.

“Not a branch of Wings. Not an agent provocateur from MI5. Barely time to write weekly essays between my normal work let alone complete humdrum domestic chores.

“Taught never to write anything about anybody I am not prepared to say to their face.

“I'm a believer in greater democratic rights that bring more happiness into people's lives because they can participate in the process and not be treated as passive consumers, or be expected to conform to Westminster ideology. Despite their faults, I also believe newspapers are of paramount importance in a democracy so long as they are truly independent.”

The SNP has been asked for comment.