Why are so many SNP supporters - particularly on Twitter - declaring absolute horror at Tom Harris's production of a Downfall video? Downfall parodies involving politicians have been made all over the world but they're soon removed by the film maker as a breach of copyright. Let me stress, I'm not condoning Tom Harris's appallingly bad taste for using the medium to mock the SNP - his action was well out of line for an MP - but I never heard any strong objections when Gordon Brown was depicted in a similar manner.
Last week, the MSP Joan McAlpine, made two totally unnecessary, ill-advised blunders. Firstly she tweeted: 'Interfering in referendum is anti-scottish as is refusal to compromise on popular desire 4 powers to Scotland.' Then, to compound her initial error, she made this statement during the debate in the Scottish Parliament:
''I absolutely make no apology for saying that the Liberals, the Labour Party and the Tories are anti-Scottish ... in coming together to defy the will of the Scottish people, the democratic mandate the Scottish people gave us to hold a referendum at a time of our choosing.''
I was listening to the debate on DemocracyLive and couldn't believe my ears. Surely someone, with Joan McAlpine's experience of the media, hadn't called those who didn't agree with SNP policies anti-Scottish? She had. Later, she did her best to defuse the situation by saying her remarks were aimed at the leadership of the unionist parties. Joan was reading from a pre-prepared speech. Her remarks weren't 'off the cuff'. If she meant the leaders of those parties then she should have made that clear.
I'm not alone in thinking Joan McAlpine's foolishness obliterated the superiority gained by Alex Salmond in the week's political brinkmanship shenanigans.
Some SNP supporters say their anger at Tom Harris's parody is due to certain opposition politicians, in the past, using the word Nazi in connection with their party and their leader in particular. If that is the case then they ought to be bringing these specific grievances to the fore rather than showing outrage at a Downfall spoof. I was far more angry at an MP behaving in this way.
When I was researching this I came across the question 'Is Alex Salmond a modern day Hitler?' One of the responses was superb:
Yes. I've been conscripted into the Salmond Youth. We will be spending our weekends camping and knitting whisky.
I would suggest that the commenter is perhaps an independence supporter who sees the banality of unionists comparing the SNP with the Nazis and has a good sense of humour. Of course, any such comparisons are disgraceful and should be treated with the contempt they deserve, but if opposition parties are handed ammunition on a plate, as they clearly were by Joan McAlpine, the blame must lie with the person who fired the gun. Name calling is not positive campaigning. It belongs to the playground not to the political arenas our political representatives frequent.
A very important aspect of the campaign will be the manner in which supporters of all sides conduct themselves and the public perceive them. Alex Salmond will keep his cool and his excellent PR team will, I hope, swiftly rebut offensive remarks from the opposition. If his supporters stick to the facts and be calm when countering attacks from bullies, the public will notice, because they know two wrongs don't make a right.
Those in favour of independence could become known as the Nice Side. Wouldn't that be a first in politics?
Update: It would appear Mr Harris has received his reprimand. Johann Lamont obviously realised her party could not - or perhaps would not - defend him.