AMIDST the rancour of a bitterly divided country, where discord is growing with each passing day, even the humble Mr Men are not immune from attracting an angry reaction.

In case you are not aware, the Mr Men are cartoon characters which have been much loved by children for generations.

For the uninitiated, they are all shaped characters with a certain trait. For example Mr Bump is blue, covered in bandages and is accident prone, while Mr Sneezy is a strange shape with a permanent cold.

Mr Tickle, however, has dark connotations as he has very long arms which always make him appear to have dubious intentions.

But according to a PhD student at Glasgow University, they are also sexist. She highlights a new book called Mr Men in Scotland which includes a scene in which Mr Clever is asked by Little Miss Curious about the Forth Bridge; she then asks where the First, the Second and the Third were. This, according to the student, is a clear case of mansplaining as it shows women in a bad light as being a little bit dim.

However, if they are then several generations of Scots kids are equally as dim and probably have cruel parents too, as let’s face it, the Forth Bridge is confusing to children.

As a child, the first time I saw it, I was heading over the Road Bridge towards Edinburgh when I asked what it was and received the straightforward reply of “that’s the Forth Bridge”.

Now, I wasn’t the cleverest of children but this confused me as I could only count two bridges and not four. I was confused even more when I was told we were actually on the Forth Road Bridge, which meant there must now be at least eight bridges when I could still only see two.

Now, of course, there is the Queensferry Crossing – or the fifth bridge to give it its proper name – and it gets even worse when you add in the Kincardine and Clackmannanshire bridges, which means there are five bridges across the Forth estuary.

This means that the Clackmannanshire Bridge is in fact, the proper fourth bridge.

As a child I was happy to know there was indeed a fourth bridge, but then I got totally perplexed to be told that the Forth bridge is actually the first and always will be.

All this proves is that until you actually learn the Estuary’s name, then Little Miss Curious isn’t so stupid after all as it’s almost like a Scots national joke. When my kids first saw it they also asked the question and received the same reply as I did, which led to the response: “But dad, there are only two.”

It’s a joke that will run and run yet.