IN the civic splendour of Glasgow’s City Chambers this week two political worlds fleetingly occupied the other’s orbit then crashed off again on their different courses. One is formed in the image of ordinary people with real needs; the other in the distorted reality of a sect whose lives and interests are far removed from many of those they purport to represent.

On Thursday afternoon, as autumn gave way to winter, a group of care workers gathered at George Square to raise awareness of the dangers they face during these shorter days. These people are Glasgow made flesh, the embodiment of all that the city aspires to be and how it regards itself. They work until 10 at night for a paltry return providing warmth and comfort to those stricken by illness and infirmity. The rewards of this job come from restoring dignity and easing loneliness. Lately though, they have begun to encounter physical danger and verbal abuse as they try to bring some light into the lives of others. Their union, the GMB, had staged this quiet demonstration to urge Glasgow City Council to consider a suite of reasonable measures to ensure their safety.

This is the grit of everyday life in Glasgow’s disadvantaged neighbourhoods; one of the realities of fighting health inequality and the effects of multi-deprivation in a city which bears most of Scotland’s burden in these areas. It represents one more challenge for a council administration seeking to soften the cuts of a Westminster Tory administration and make a lot less go a little further.

The care workers gathered the day after it was announced that Eva Bolander, Lord Provost of Glasgow, was forced out of her job in the most humiliating of circumstances. Her fate had been sealed in one of the committee rooms above this demonstration by a small but disproportionately influential cartel in her own party representing interests and concerns far removed from the challenges encountered by the care workers. Not even the personal support of Susan Aitken, the SNP leader of Glasgow City Council, could save her. This fact alone should be sending a chill through the ranks of SNP politicians who had perhaps thought that their most implacable political foes were Conservative and Labour unionists. In the light of what has befallen Ms Bolander they may be advised now to have a care for what is happening behind them.

Ms Bolander had been forced to apologise last month when it was revealed that she had spent £8,000 in the course of more than two years on clothes and personal grooming products. In doing so she had underspent her official entitlement for this period by around £2,000. No matter, for it was discovered that among her purchases was underwear. A woman’s choices in this department seem more beguiling than men’s and thus a depressingly predictable and tawdry response was forthcoming.

It mattered not that Ms Bolander is employed to represent Glasgow in a punishing schedule of public events welcoming visitors and the prospect of inward investment to her economically hard-pressed city. Nor did it seem to occur to the sanctimonious sirens among her critics, most of whom couldn’t find a working class neighbourhood with a satnav, that many authentic Glaswegians approve of our Lord Provost choosing to look her best for us within the limits of her personal allowance.

Some of her critics even portrayed Ms Bolander’s sartorial preferences to Imelda Marcos, the shoe-loving wife of Ferdinand Marcos who helped her husband administer a brutal regime of murder and torture in the Philippines. It was a deeply offensive and sexist claim born of ignorance and made by some who clearly aren’t getting enough drama in their lives beyond making it safely through sober October.

Even so, the story about Ms Bolander’s retail choices proved to be a seven-day wonder as real voters and real politicians began to hunker down for the first December election in almost a century. That was before the intervention this week of a group spearheaded by individuals who have yet to get acquainted with a real crisis like the £500m (and rising) cost of settling Glasgow’s equal pay dispute bequeathed to the current administration by the dysfunctional Labour one which preceded it. That and the everyday crises of homelessness and health inequality on the streets of Pollok and Maryhill. It’s not the spending choices of a very able Lord Provost who has earned the respect of countless numbers of potential overseas investors.

The unhinged decision by the SNP group to destroy the career of one of their own for a trifle such as this has been greeted with disbelief amongst grown-up politicians at Holyrood and Westminster. One told me last night: “We started our election campaigning on doorsteps weeks ago and the Eva Bolander issue was never mentioned. It’s got several of us wondering what was really behind this.”

Other senior SNP members are aghast that a group of inexperienced and naïve councillors have effectively handed the party’s opponents an open goal at the start of the most important election in a generation and one in which it hopes to re-take the seats it lost in 2017. The Eva Bolander issue had evaporated weeks ago, now courtesy of the stupidity of Glasgow’s SNP group it has re-surfaced.

Among this pack are several who fancy themselves for high office and a glittering career at national level. They won’t be forgiven for this unforced blunder. Some of them too must have known that in defenestrating Ms Bolander they were effectively handing an important civic role to the Labour opposition with her Labour deputy Phil Braat now favourite to get the job on a permanent basis. It suggests, perhaps, that something more worrying lies behind the move.

There is a feeling shared by many who are supporters of Scottish independence (but not the SNP) that elements of this party have become self-indulgent and complacent over 12 years of virtually unchallenged power. Perhaps they require to be reminded of the issues confronting families who lie beyond the boundaries of their anointed existences. The act of throwing Eva Bolander to the wolves was characteristic of a political class which has grown too accustomed to an easy life. Or perhaps Ms Bolander simply wasn’t the right sort of woman for their liking.