There are times when supporting independence leaves a thoroughly unpleasant taste in the mouth.

Over the weekend I found myself once again shuddering at the behaviour of some of the people with whom I’m forced to share an ideological tent. To extend the metaphor: it can feel like you’re cohabiting with an homage to the McGlashan character from the old sketch show Absolutely, a whisky-sozzled, kilt-clad raving lunatic-cum-stereotype playing bagpipes at midnight and shrieking about "English overlords’"

As always, it’s the fringe at play: the mad, sad and bad who mostly inhabit the outer reaches of Elon Musk’s global urinal Twitter. There they are, sitting in their Y-fronts, eyeballs sweating, chomping another packet of Wotsits in their mum’s basement, before giving the world the benefit of their "research". For these people, you see, style themselves "critical thinkers". They’ve put in the hard study … on YouTube. They once read a blog, don’t you know. And they know someone who knows someone who once overheard somebody else say something.

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This weekend the worst of the cybernats were once again trashing everything the Yes movement stands for with attacks on trade unionists. It’s not a one-off. Every time there’s a strike in Scotland, it’s some plot by the Labour Party to undermine the SNP. Let’s be honest, the SNP needs no help in being undermined, it does that perfectly well on its own.

Here’s what’s got the cybernats’ tartan knickers in a twist: an official in the trade union Unison is (wait for it … are you ready? … this is going to be a shock when you find out) a member of the Labour Party.

Stop the clocks! Call the Mounties! Send in the SAS!

Can you imagine? A trade unionist in Labour. Well, pull me up a chair, this I gotta see.

The trade unionist in question is Johanna Baxter, Unison’s local government negotiator. Unison is the only one of three trade unions continuing with school strikes this week. Baxter is chair of Labour’s National Executive Committee, and a director of the Scotland in Union campaign group. She’s also run for Holyrood.

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One anonymous SNP source told The National newspaper that Baxter’s background “might raise questions about whose interests she is working in. Her members are unlikely to be pleased if they believe their pay packet is taking a hit to score political points”.

Score political points? Was that the death-rattle of irony I just heard? Unison Scotland’s depute convenor Stephen Smellie wrote yesterday in the National that Baxter has now “been subjected to a torrent of abuse on social media”. Unison members are “outraged” at her treatment, he said.

For clarity: the attacks on Baxter are conspiratorial nonsense which disgust every decent independence supporter. The trade union movement gave birth to the Labour Party. Anyone surprised at trade unionists being Labour members really ought to read some books. Maybe even try doing some of that famous ‘research’ on YouTube.

Smellie also pointed out that “the decision to continue with the strikes was unanimous, and neither Baxter nor any other employee of the union had a vote in that decision”.

This strike is about defending low-paid employees: non-teaching staff like janitors and canteen workers. It isn’t about the constitution, though evidently many cybernats, and their cyberyoon pals on the opposite side, find it impossible to think of any matter without forcing it into the sausage-skin of "Yes and No". Such a pitiful dearth of imagination and intelligence.

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"Oh but then," say the critical thinkers, "why did two other unions call off their strikes? Clearly, Unison is a Labour front!" They mean the GMB and Unite … two unions affiliated to the Labour Party. This is where stupidity meets tragedy. What a sorry state of affairs that Scottish public discourse is reduced to this lumpen level.

Unite and GMB suspended strike action to consult members on an improved Cosla pay offer. Unison rejected the deal. It wants a better offer - as is its right - and says the “failure” to find"‘new" money for pay means councils will end up cutting services and jobs. Unison doesn’t want to ‘trade pay for jobs’. Good on it.

Trade unionists are furious about the attacks on Baxter. I asked STUC general-secretary Roz Foyer what she thought. She says she’s “so disappointed to see this line being peddled, and sadly not for the first time when low-paid public workers are fighting back.

“The action is about achieving a fairer settlement for workers in a cost of living crisis and ensuring local government is funded properly.”

Foyer added that it’s “totally unacceptable to reduce this dispute to petty party politics and to attack an individual trade union officer for serving and carrying out her members’ decisions regardless of her personal political activities and affiliations”.

I also asked Lilian Macer, Unison’s Scottish secretary, what she thought. “It is outrageous to see a hard-working Unison officer targeted like this,” she said, “and to see an industrial dispute involving 84,000 workers being dismissed in this way.”

Macer is “even more angry” at SNP sources briefing against Baxter. “I thought Scotland was trying to have ‘a mature debate about difficult questions over its finances’.

“I welcome scrutiny of this dispute, how we reward our local government workers, and the future of local government services. I also expected Unison’s decision … to be put under the spotlight.

“However, any trade unionist knows that no officer can dictate Unison’s decisions. It’s frankly farcical, and disrespectful to the ordinary workers, mostly women, who make up our membership and democratic structures. It shows those involved in these attacks know little about trade unions and how we work.

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“Unison is lay-led. Lay members decide on all industrial action. Our local government committee has run two ballots in which many thousands of Unison members voted to reject Cosla’s deal and … to strike this week.”

To the SNP’s credit, some criticism of the attacks has been voiced. Chris Stephens MP said: “The notion that a Unison official can dictate to Unison members … doesn’t wash”.

Guess what Stephens did before parliament? He was a Unison activist. Though, one supposes, to a certain type of independence supporter, he’s part of the plot too.