WHAT has Brexit done to us? According to the Labour MP Owen Jones, speaking at PM’s Questions this week, it has precipitated a rising tide of racism. The former senior police officer Tom Halpin also raised his concerns on Wednesday at a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority. Some people in our communities are fearful, said Mr Halpin. Many EU citizens feel personally vulnerable and uncertain.

But isn’t it supposed to be different in Scotland? There are many who suggest there is more tolerance north of the border than there is south of it. It is also true that community relations are generally good here – the chief constable Iain Livingstone said so at the SPA meeting.

However, Mr Livingstone had a warning too. The police would always work closely with the diverse communities of Scotland, he said, but there are duties on others in public life to make sure their language is reasonable.

Sadly, there are some politicians and public figures, particularly on the extreme Brexit wing, who have not always observed that standard, and on this there is a difference in Scotland. With some isolated exceptions, Scottish politicians have acquitted themselves well in the Brexit debate on the subject of immigration.

But the idea that Scotland is inherently more open on migration and race is open to question. We may not necessarily think of sectarianism as racism, but in 2016-17 the number of religiously aggravated charges rose by 12 per cent. The relatively small ethnic minority population in Scotland may also mean that racism is less conspicuous but not necessarily any less serious.

We should also remember the words of Tom Halpin at the SPA. There are some EU citizens who are feeling vulnerable, he says; there are some who are fearful, and sadly they will find very little comfort in the chaotic Brexit negotiations. What every politician and public figure can do though – what all of us can do – is heed the chief constable’s warning. On race, religion, nationality or political opinion, we can all mind our language.