O, to be in Scotland now the hate crime law is there. That makes it sound as though I am writing this abroad. Not so. I’m right here, as usual, but the country I belong to, and which in theory belongs to me, seems far away. Alien almost.

There I was on Monday, pondering the question on everyone’s lips: will the Easter eggs be marked down today or will we have to wait till the weekend? Out of seemingly nowhere a commotion started. Angry people, raised voices, both sides insisting they were right and why didn’t I hurry up and pick a side.

At moments like these, I think of Helen Lovejoy. You know Helen, wife of Reverend Lovejoy in The Simpsons. She’s the lady who rushes in when argy-bargy breaks out and implores the hotheads to think of the children. Well, as the latest battle in the culture wars rumbles into another day, and to borrow from Helen, won’t somebody PLEASE think of the wishy-washy liberals in all this? We have feelings too!

Look at that: the shouters have made me use capitals and an exclamation mark. This is the pretty pass we have come to. I hope you are proud of yourself, JK.

Yes, you, Ms Rowling, the one all over the media mocking Scotland’s hate crimes law and daring Plod to “hashtag arrest me”. On Tuesday afternoon, Police Scotland declined to do so, saying: "The comments are not assessed to be criminal and no further action will be taken." 

That is that, for now anyway. Here is my problem, JK. I agree with everything you say about the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act, which came into force this week. I just don’t like the way you are saying it.

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The same goes for those on the other side of the argument. In this case, it is a double disagree. Or one and a half disagrees. I sort of disagree with what they are saying, and I definitely disagree with how they are saying it.

Standing in the middle. Expressing uncertainty. How pathetic, wishy-washy liberal and cop-out is that?

For the avoidance of doubt, when I say “Oi! JK Rowling! Wind yer neck in!” the request is directed at anyone who finds themselves becoming overheated in this heated debate.

There are a lot of them out there. First through the doors is the common sense lobby. The ones who say we should not be wasting time on such things when there is real work to be done, like tackling poverty or fixing what ails the NHS.

It is however possible to do more than one thing at once. To tackle injustice and fight prejudice wherever they rear their heads. This is why we band together as a society and elect governments. We want stuff done and we cannot do it as individuals.

Now, you may not like this society of ours, you may wish it would pull its finger out and be better than it is. You might even think there is no such thing as society. But it is there, and you notice when it crumbles.

Anyone who thinks scrapping this bill will make even the tiniest dent in the amount needed to eradicate poverty doesn’t understand the scale of the problem. The naysayers are right to some extent. Everything comes down to money and power. Who has it, who does not. Which brings us to JK Rowling and her part in the debate. Brace yourselves here for one of those whiny, pinko, on the one hand then the other statements.

As a feminist I never thought I’d see the day when people, mostly men, tried to roll back the progress women have fought and died for. There are angry men out there who want women to wheesht and we cannot drop our guard for a second.

JK Rowling has played a huge part in leading the pushback against those who would do women wrong. I praise her for that and support her in that fight. Yet there is something about her approach lately that is starting to bother me.

Maybe it is the imbalance of power. Not between her and the Scottish Government, it is big enough to look after itself. It’s an underdog thing. A rich woman with money enough to hire lawyers whenever she chooses, Ms Rowling takes no nonsense from anyone. Good for her. Not everyone can command the front pages as she does, though.

Next, I’m not sure about some of those who are rushing to be on her team. When I approach an argument I look to see who I will be standing beside. It is not the only consideration but it matters. Do I really want to be on the same side as Rishi Sunak and Alister Jack?

The latter said Scotland was famous for its “irreverent sense of humour and a love of robust debate” but that “this authoritarian Nationalist administration will crush these great traits of ours.” Are you kidding Mr Jack? How is your mate Boris, the one you stood in the street cheering when he was hoofed out of office? The one who prorogued parliament?

I also have a soft spot for those who wax lyrical about the Scottish Enlightenment and the days we led the world in free speech. That will be the same Enlightenment in which women did not have the vote and the poor were left to rot. Yes, let us jump in the DeLorean and get back to those good old days.

Regarding those columnists on what we used to call “London-based papers” saying how sorry they are that Scotland should be living under the yoke of wokery, save it, pals. As the man with the paintbrush said in Local Hero, are there two gs in bugger off?

Here just about endeth this plea from a wishy-washy liberal. No answers advanced, no clever compromises suggested. Just a plea for everyone to steady the buffs, and let us see what happens.

One last thing before I head off to bag those discounted Easter eggs. In becoming so worked up about hate crimes, doesn’t this show, to Scotland’s credit, how much we care about doing the right thing? If this is a test of tolerance, we might just have passed.