IF there was ever a politician I thought I would never find myself defending, it’s Ian Blackford. But the attempt to force Blackford from his job, as leader of the SNP in the House of Commons, over the Patrick Grady affair is both horribly opportunistic and unhinged.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the incident in question involved a drunken 36-year-old Patrick Grady stroking the back, hair and neck of a 19-year-old SNP staff member in a pub in London six years ago.

I don’t know Grady but reports of the incident and the investigation into it make no suggestion that he is a Harvey Weinstein character who was trying to use his position to force sexual favours from the young man. Indeed, police opened and pretty quickly closed their investigation, saying no further action would be taken.

Today, however, the more common-sense language and approach to this incident has been replaced by HR-speak and the psychological and victim-based language of trauma and abuse.

The incident has been described as an unwanted advance. One assumes that Grady did not know it was unwanted until after the event and reports suggest he was remorseful for his actions, and he apologised to the man.

Not satisfied with this outcome the incident was taken to the Commons’ Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) and Grady was punished by being suspended from parliament for two days.

Blackford then announced to his SNP MPs that they should support Grady when he returned from his suspension and was outraged to discover that his words were leaked to the press.

Subsequently, all hell has broken loose, and a frustrated media, and politicians, have called for both Grady and Blackford to be forced out of politics.

The behaviour of Grady could be described in a variety of ways, as misplaced, stupid or perhaps creepy and, given the workplace framework of the event in the pub, as inappropriate. But under the apparently “correct” zero tolerance approach to sexual behaviour, more must be done, and Grady has been labelled a sex pest guilty of “harassment”.

Labour MSP Neil Bibby said there was no place in politics for a man like Blackford who would, “turn a blind eye to abuse”. He added, “Ian Blackford and the SNP’s promise to support staff and show zero tolerance to abusers lies in tatters”.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Tory leader, a man who has failed to make a dent in the SNP, attempted to drag Nicola Sturgeon into the issue, arguing that, “It’s time that she finally acted to prevent sexual harassment in her party. The shocking handling of this latest sexual harassment scandal shows that no lessons have been learned by the SNP”.

Ross went further still arguing that, “Ian Blackford must go, so that a clear message is sent that sexual harassment will not be tolerated, and any victims who come forward will be believed and supported”.

Here we find the end point and logic of the zero tolerance approach, where not only is the hair stroking incident turned into sexual harassment, but the brutally irrational and intolerant approach of #believe is used to demonstrate the virtue of this failing politician.

From a zero-tolerance perspective, of course, this makes complete sense. As the name suggests, there is no level of tolerance, which means there is no scope for thought, reflection, nuance, or balance. Indeed, the idea of zero tolerance is the “correct” term used today for pure reaction.

Don’t think, don’t judge, don’t use your reason or judgement, don’t hear both sides of the story. No, by taking the knee to zero tolerance, we celebrate the new reactionary knee-jerk approach to politics and to life.

If one of us now makes an allegation against Douglas Ross, however unfounded, one can only assume he will be forced, following his own reactionary logic, to, #believe, and feel the need to resign!

Of course, Nicola Sturgeon, having acted as the Queen of Victimhood for many years is hardly in a place to use balance and reason when addressing this issue and has been forced to apologised to the now 25-year-old man, and to question Blackford’s actions.

Finally, it is worth noting that some people I have discussed this incident with, find the fact that a young man who had his hair stroked felt so violated by this, comes as a bit of a shock.

But when you are brought up in a zero tolerance society, and educated that almost any sexual advance is a form of abuse and harassment, and when politicians make a virtue out of portraying you as “vulnerable” and “traumatised”, what do you expect to happen?

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