In Glasgow’s Alexandra Park there is a simple block of polished granite that sometimes sparkles in the rain. Etched in gold on its surface is a plain Christian cross and a reminder of those lost in the two great conflicts of the first half of the last century.

This week some children from local primaries gathered round this stone and sang sweet songs of remembrance. There are little local events like this up and down the UK, and across the Commonwealth and parts of Europe, at this time of year.

This kind of community remembering and respect is every bit as important as the grand showcase event that we will see tomorrow at the cenotaph in London.

But – and I am really sorry to raise this – this rock is not without its issues. Just five years old, it has been vandalised repeatedly. It has also become, unedifyingly and unambiguously, a potent weapon in the culture wars.

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The chunk of granite – Dennistoun War Memorial, to give it its proper name – has its own social media accounts.

This week whoever runs the memorial’s Twitter decided to contrast the way the youngsters behaved this week with, well, recent rightist narratives of misconduct around monuments to the fallen.

They talked of the need for respect. At this point let me tell you – in the interests of context – how “Dennistoun War Memorial” itself behaves, at least online.

Last year its Twitter account got so annoyed by somebody talking about a fine issued to Rangers by UEFA that it told the person: “Away to your bed, mate. Your sister is waiting.” Yeah – I know, I know – social media is a cesspit and people lose their tempers every now and again.

But after a hard-right Home Secretary in London sought to recruit the war dead to her cause by trying to force the police to stop a Gaza ceasefire protest on Armistice Day, I think it is worth reflecting on recent Glasgow and Scottish politics of remembrance. Because it is getting pretty dysfunctional. And rather nasty.

And some of it traces back to that granite block in Alexandra Park. Those behind the stone have been campaigning to introduce a new offence of desecrating war memorials. This effort, at face value perfectly inoffensive, has already had unfortunate knock-on effects.

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Now, as if this needs to be said, it is already against the law to deliberately damage property. Indeed, prosecutors can add a hate crime aggravator to charges of vandalism. But there are a few folk who – as the patter goes – are minded to “send a message” about how wrong it is to damage a war memorial.

So they want a special law. Some other people see this as what the cool kids call “performative legislating”, an attempt to outlaw something that is already illegal just to create a talking point.

Back during the first summer of the pandemic - when tempers were already frayed - the campaign for a special law ratcheted up in Glasgow. Dennistoun War Memorial – its account on social media that is – started complaining SNP and Green councillors did not seem interested in its cause.

Enter, stage right, Thomas Kerr. The Tory councillor chastised local elected members named by the war memorial twitter account. In a column in The Herald’s sister paper, The Glasgow Times, he said something so disappointingly crass that, even a few years later, it should still provoke a gasp.

“The fallen whose memories are stored in these sites,” wrote Mr Kerr, “deserve so much better than elected representatives who spurn their contribution in fighting to preserve our liberty.”

Yes, one councillor accused his colleagues of disrespecting fallen soldiers, sailors and airmen because they did not indulge a campaign to make it illegal to do things that are already illegal. Yeah – I know, I know – Scottish politics is a cesspit and people lose their tempers from time to time. Just like on X.

A Tory MSP is now arguing the case for a law against war memorial desecration at Holyrood. Our legislators will have to decide if it has merits. Maybe it does. Maybe it does not. But let us hope that anyone who cast doubt on the necessity of such a bill is not accused of lacking respect for the fallen.

Because, let us not be coy, such a charge amounts to putting a target on the backs of political opponents. And this is especially the case in Glasgow, in a political culture, still to step completely out of the shadows of sectarianism.

Right now we have a pretty wide consensus around remembrance, about respect for those who died in conflict. There is only one threat to this: the politicisation of war memorials, poppies, veterans and the fallen.

It is not new for the right – and especially the far-right – to claim the war dead as their own. And it is not uniquely British. But it is getting worse.

Take Suella Braverman. The Home Secretary’s increasingly dangerous rhetoric about pro-Palestinian protests – hate marches, she says – taking place this weekend will already be making law enforcement nervous.

Official protests are nowhere near the Cenotaph. But the embattled Home Secretary, assuming she is still in post when The Herald goes to print, has effectively spent all week pointing a big red arrow at the structure.

Ms Braverman has essentially told anyone looking for a fight – far-right football hooligans or self-righteous lefty hot-heads – where to go. She has, I think, single-handedly designated a potential flashpoint for public disorder. And not just in London.

Turning war memorials into culture war weapons could also mean making them literal battlegrounds. It is foolish and irresponsible politics.

Because Lest we forget, remembrance does not belong to one political, religious, ethnic, national or footballing tradition. Sometimes rocks, even that shiny one in Dennistoun, represent something bigger than what divides us.