I WAS saddened to hear of the reported assault on Councillor Thomas Kerr in a Glasgow east end bar on Armistice Sunday.

Mr Kerr, the Conservative candidate in last month’s Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, was allegedly set upon over his views on the current conflict in the Middle East. 

Unlike many in Scotland’s political elites who have chosen to disregard the trauma of Jewish people in the wake of the Hamas slaughter of the innocents on October 7, Mr Kerr has stood with them. 

There is a significant degree of shock and disillusionment within Scotland’s Jewish community at the constant slew of bile being directed at them, their homeland and their faith in the wake of the Hamas attacks. 

Is this rooted in the current escalation of the Middle East conflict or does it belong in a much darker realm with the persecution the Jews have faced in Europe for many hundreds of years?

Until now, Scotland has been regarded fondly among the Jewish community worldwide for always having welcomed them when so many other nations were expelling them. 

The very fine Scottish-Jewish scholar David Daiches said that his father, Rabbi Salis Daiches, was proud to declare that Scotland was one of very few countries with no history of state persecution of the Jews. 

In recent weeks, however, these sentiments have begun to ring hollow among many Jewish people who are starting to detect the stirrings of an ancient hatred. 

A wretched and disquieting element in the gaslighting of Scotland’s Jewish communities has been the grossly inflammatory social media posts of people who style themselves as Scotland’s Marxist intellectual elite. 

They ruminate and theorise among themselves on a plain that shimmers just above that occupied by those they consider to be lumpen proles yet whom they purport to represent. 

Kerr’s credibility
I SPENT some time with Councillor Kerr during the by-election for a feature about how Tories go about their business in largely working-class constituencies. 

I was disarmed by this young councillor who seemed to me to be more authentically working-class than many of the performance artists on social media.

He was born and raised in Cranhill, a neighbourhood in Glasgow’s east end which bears some of the scars of multi-deprivation. 

Several of the social challenges he had faced were rooted in the curse of addiction which had settled on both his parents. 

His lived experience qualifies him to speak of such matters much more than the dilettante left, many of whose “activism” can be measured in the well-paid jobs and pensions they’ve managed to secure in Scotland’s professional radical salonistas. 

‘Callous’ Greens 
THE attack on Cllr Kerr came just days before the House of Commons vote on a motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Immediately afterwards, the Greens published a list of those who had voted against the motion. Each of their names was printed under the heading: “Every MP that failed to vote for an end to the killing in Gaza.” 

This may not in itself have been designed to target these MPs but not unreasonably, some recalled with a shudder the murders in recent years of the Labour MP Jo Cox and the Conservative MP David Amess. 

Labour MP Kim Leadbeater, who is the sister of Jo Cox, was targeted by a boutique radical group on social media for abstaining on the vote.

In the current climate of fake, whipped-up outrage this was callous and sinister. 

Egg on my face
ONE activist whose credentials are far more authentic than those currently signalling virtue on social media is the conservationist and television presenter, Chris Packham. 

The Herald:

When I interviewed him last week, I wrestled with the notion of telling him about how a raging tawny owl had brought a bloody end to my delinquent early teenage years as an egg thief. 

In the end, I chickened out. 

She’d laid two gorgeous – almost luminous – white eggs in the hollow of a large oak tree in a forest near my home. 

And so, at two in the morning on a moonlit March night, having travelled across fields crisp with frost, me and my childhood accomplice Steven were on a mission to obtain one of them for our collection. 

I would climb to the nest, get the egg and drop it into the jacket being held out by Steven for that purpose at the foot of the tree. 

Mummy owl was having none of it, however, and as soon as I felt the displacement of air heralding her unexpected return (we’d thought she’d be out on her nocturnal food shop), I knew we were Friar Tucked. 

I still bear the scar of her attack on my right forefinger as I tried to shield my eyes. 

It didn’t immediately turn me into a fully-fledged animal conservationist, but it was an important staging post on the journey.