WHO knows; perhaps the SNP really is serious about adhering to a new code of conduct governing its members’ behaviour in the new drive for independence. Those of its senior politicians and activists who have previously encountered what passes for ethical standards in Scotland’s governing party, though, may be entitled to harbour some doubts.

But let’s go with it in the meantime.

Earlier this month, the SNP MP Stewart Hosie welcomed an initiative by Aberdeen Independence Movement to bring peace and tranquillity to the debate. This pledge enjoined Yes supporters to work together with “mutual respect” by promoting the values of “civic nationalism”.

There would be “freedom, tolerance, equality” as well as “protection of individual and community rights and the rejection of prejudice and discrimination in any form”.

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Mr Hosie said that Yes activists’ hopes for a better Scotland “should be reflected in the way we campaign, in the respectful way in which we treat each other” and that activists should avoid using “intemperate language which would weaken the campaign”.

Hear Hear!

Few of us can be sure what the existing SNP code of conduct, which the Aberdeen pledge seeks to replace, looks like. Based on the lived experience of some of its leading politicians and several years of evidence culled from social media we can make an informed approximation of what it currently demands of its activists in the pursuit of doctrinal purity.

“In order to deliver Nicola Sturgeon’s legacy of making Scotland the most progressive wee country in the world, we urge members to pursue the following guidelines with extreme prejudice.

“It’s crucial we marginalise, stigmatise, threaten and intimidate all those members who insist on promoting women’s sex-based rights. Until recently, our preferred term of abuse for these women has been TERF, but our focus groups tell us that few people know what this acronym means.

“So we would urge some more traditional forms of abuse to disparage these people. A full glossary is attached, but terms like bitch, transphobe, hag and hate-monger are all acceptable. The trick is to intimidate these women to ensure they bend the knee or leave the party entirely.

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“Police Scotland are in the Champions League of Stonewall’s affiliated groups, so they’ll often look the other way, lest they lose their anointed status. However, it’s probably best to avoid physically threatening miscreants as this occasionally leads to prosecution.

“We have also drawn up a list of gender-critical women with a view to obstructing their passage onto future candidates’ selection lists. This worked a treat in destroying the political career of Joan McAlpine and we retain hopes that She Who Must Not be Named will be next to go.

“We also attach a list of journalists who should be targeted for expressing sympathy for She Who Must Not be Named. This also applies to journalists who have been rather too assiduous in pursuing bogus claims of inappropriate behaviour by those hard-working and misunderstood politicians who retain the favour of the First Minister.

“We must also preserve the doctrinal purity of the NEC, so that only unquestioning acolytes of the Higher Way obtain seats on the committee. Full details of the mechanisms by which we can chivvy out the malcontents and send them to our re-training facilities will be provided in our fully-encrypted WhatsApp group. If you’re not actually on this already then you’re not one of us and should probably resign immediately … if you know what’s good for you.

“All of the above should also apply to those expressing support for trade unions when they threaten to undermine national pay agreements.”

The campaign against Joanna Cherry demonstrates why the SNP would be strongly advised to sponsor a new Code of Conduct. And the Aberdeen Independence Movement should be congratulated for having the courage to break ranks and call for greater respect and decency in the struggle for an independent Scotland.

Perhaps they could even invite Ms Cherry to help ensure that their pledge is officially adopted by the SNP. I’m sure they could all meet up over some soy lattes at September’s party conference to discuss this further. In the interests of peace and goodwill I’d be happy to assist in bringing all interested parties together. Ach, don’t mention it and you’re welcome. Would be my pleasure.

Ms Cherry would probably tell the Aberdeen contingent that when her fellow MPs and their advisers mock her and threaten her (and others) for believing in the biological and scientific truth that men can’t become women on a whim it can have serious consequences.

Earlier this week, a man appeared in court charged with threatening Ms Cherry on account of her protected beliefs. Last year another man was sentenced after admitting to threatening her with sexual violence. The operation to destroy her career almost succeeded in its objective. The MP, though, seems determined to oppose the misogynistic and totalitarian regime which operates within the SNP’s Westminster group.

In the wake of the latest court case she tweeted: “I want to be very clear that every time someone in a position of power wrongly describes feminists or LGB people like me as transphobic simply because we don’t share their belief in gender identity theory they risk inciting the sort of abuse and threats that I and others suffer from self-styled “Trans rights activists” who in truth are nothing of the sort.”

Ms Cherry could easily have added that the failure of Nicola Sturgeon and most of her party colleagues at Westminster to support her also makes her a target.

This sickness that operates at the heart of the SNP and the Scottish Greens is also evident in the UK Conservatives. Following initial revelations about the Chris Pincher affair, the senior Tory MP, Chris Skidmore accused Boris Johnson of an “effective cover-up of sexual abuse”. It’s now known that in the Johnson era, five others have faced allegations since 2019 and two more have been convicted of sexual assault for historic crimes.

It might help cleanse Scottish and UK politics if it wasn’t so difficult for working-class people committed to ending real inequality to access parliament.