THERE seems to be a significant minority in Scotland who have quite simply had their brains rotted by social media. Over on the hell-site that’s Twitter this last week hatred of Nicola Sturgeon has reached a demented, and frankly embarrassingly absurd level. The expression ‘Sturgeon Destroyer of Scotland’ has been trending most days.

If it wasn’t so ugly and daft it would be comic. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of fierce criticism to heap on our First Minister. Most weeks you’ll find me in the columns of the Herald pulling her government up for one miserable failure of another, from the idiocy of the ScotWind deal to the utter mess of our schools system. But ‘Destroyer of Scotland’? Come on. Get real. Get off Twitter. You’ve been radicalised, folks.

READ MORE: Neil Mackay: Brutal school assault symbolises SNP's failure over education

The hate brigade is an odd amalgam. It seems to be made up of people enraged at the SNP and Green gender reforms, rabid unionists, and the extreme nationalist fringe of the Yes movement. Each group has every right to be upset with the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon. It’s legitimate to question any law, and obviously many women are troubled by the gender reforms; unionism is a totally honourable position - though I don’t hold it myself; and nationalists are entitled to feel the SNP has played them over the path to independence.

But it’s how they express their upset that’s troubling. In fact, they don’t express upset, they express hate. There’s also something rather strange in watching extreme unionists and extreme nationalists blowing kisses to each as they launch vitriolic attacks on Sturgeon.

Sturgeon is at worst a rather ineffectual social democrat. She is not Beelzebub, or Genghis Khan. She has not lain waste to the Central Belt with lasers on the Moon. I don’t believe she’s started any wars, jailed opponents, suspended democracy or robbed a bank.

Read the full story from Neil Mackay in tonight's Unspun newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox. Unspun features the best political and social comment from the Herald's reporters and opinion writers, keeping you abreast of the latest news and issues.

To sign up to Unspun and our other Herald newsletters, click here.