IN Scottish politics, has there ever been a more ignorant and dangerous comment than that made by Shona Robison last year during the passage of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill? 

In responding to concerns that some aspects of the legislation might put women at risk, Ms Robison said: “There is no evidence that predatory and abusive men have ever had to pretend to be anything else to carry out abusive and predatory behaviour.”

The crass stupidity of it was almost immediately exposed when it was discovered that the double rapist Isla Bryson – a fully intact male – had been placed in a women’s prison while awaiting trial. 

He had begun to transition a year after he’d been charged.  

Last week, we learned some of the horrifying details about the abduction and prolonged sexual assault of an 11-year-old schoolgirl by Andrew Miller, sometimes known as Amy George. Miller was sentenced to 20 years. 

Feminists have long been citing cases where female prisoners, among the most vulnerable people in society, have been placed in fear and jeopardy owing to the presence of predatory males identifying as women. 

Rhona Hotchkiss, a former governor of Cornton Vale prison, warned more than three years ago that proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act would expose female inmates to a higher risk of assault from transgender women.

That’s when Nicola Sturgeon should have taken stock and rowed back from the self-ID aspect pf gender reform. 

Instead, she helped foster a climate inside the SNP and in civic Scotland where respected women such as Ms Hotchkiss were mocked by posses of misogynists eager to gain favour with Ms Sturgeon. 

Shona Robison should be tendering her resignation and joining her friend and former boss on the backbenches.  

Nic the limelight
MS STURGEON made a grand entrance at last week’s annual conference of the SNP in Aberdeen. Some who were there described the former First Minister’s arrival as “regal”. She was surrounded by sycophants and court flunkeys such as Ian Blackford, the party’s former Westminster leader. 

At around the same time as Ms Sturgeon was proceeding down the elevator at the conference hall, a group of male trans activists were shouting “f*** you” to women from all over the world who were visiting Glasgow for a conference organised by FiLiA, the respected international feminist organisation. 

Ms Sturgeon was feted in Aberdeen by a film lionising her political career. 

In truth, though, she left only one true legacy: the grotesque sight and sound of a man hurling hate at peaceful women who simply wanted to discuss issues pertaining to their health and wellbeing. 

She has left Scotland a far less tolerant and more illiberal place than when she came to power in 2015.

Time for a sit down
I WAS entertained by a mild Twitter spat between my good friend Mike Russell and the respected ITV news journalist Peter Smith. Not unreasonably, Mr Smith had posted pictures from the main auditorium of the SNP conference showing an alarmingly high number of empty seats.

The Herald:

His point, made by other journalists present, was that in previous years it had been standing room only during the big speeches. Rather unwisely, Mr Russell posted a snap showing what he felt was a rather more representative image, indicating far fewer empty seats. 

It was, of course, a nonsense. A few rows in a large auditorium can always be made to indicate something busier. But empty seats can’t be distorted, especially as these would have been filled a few years ago.

Mr Russell is one of the very few trustworthy people left in the SNP. 

He should be concerning himself with far more weightier matters than playing bingo on social media with a journalist saying what we were all thinking. 

Time, I think, for Mr Russell, pictured right, to be getting some matters off his chest in another interview with me. And it’s his turn to pay. 

Dishing up the dirt
THE esteemed restaurant critics of The New Yorker can often be relied upon to remind us that life exists beyond the excursions and alarums of Scottish politics and geopolitical upheaval. 

Last week’s offering was a classic of the magazine’s gastronomic oeuvre. 
It matters not what dish they’re describing – the prose is itself a repast au-dela de toute comparaison.

“Occasionally, the commendable jeu d’esprit gets away from Jordan. The shrimp toast, delightful on the first bite, became edgeless too fast with its opulent bath of butter, Gruyere and bacon. Similarly, the flavorful pork chop – probably the most traditionally Filipino item on the menu – slathered in a creamy Billi Bi sauce, liberally spangled with mussels, and showered in trout roe, could have removed at least one piece of jewelry before departing the kitchen.” 

Butter baths? Slathered in your Billi Bi? Should this review not have come with a warning about adult content?