IT IS NOT easy to manage a large organisation, especially one with a single all encompassing mission. Assured of the nobility of its purpose, danger can come from an overly closed culture that is intolerant of the outside, especially intolerant of criticism.
When this organisation seeks to control our government, our nation, our society and even our children we need to be extremely wary. For all that I tweet about the EU and Brussels I am at heart deeply European. It is a wonderful place with amazing people and that's largely despite its governments, not because of them.
One thing above all that I loathe is identity politics of any kind. It's crude, dirty, divisive and above all else can be seen as the driving force behind almost every form of community hatred and violence in Europe for the past century.
It never starts that way of course. It starts with old and lazy suspicions of those who are different, itself a natural response to danger from the outside world. It slowly builds into a movement that seeks to protect those within its sphere and is often at pains to say it has nothing against anyone else, only something for its own kind.
As it builds, identity politics polarises all debate. There is now almost nothing in Holyrood that has not been hijacked into the great cause of a Scottish Valhalla. In so doing the Scottish Government leaves itself as intolerant as it is paranoid.
"They're trying to stop us. Don't listen to them. Them aren't us. They never will be. Nothing what they say has any value."
The SNP are wise enough not to be quite so blatant but they leave little to the imagination. Westminster (the English) is to blame for everything that doesn't work. Worst of all there is this niggling habit to protect anyone inside the tent from harm, criticism and definitely loss of office. It is common to all parties but in the SNP it just seems that bit more unconditional.
Roll back a few years to the Bill Walker fiasco. The First Minister was caught on a very sticky wicket when allegations of wife beating emerged, only for it to be seen that concerns had been raised years earlier. Even before Walker was elected.
It seemed that whatever bad things you did were okay, as long the public didn't know. Fast forward to the weekend and another ugly head of Scottish politics has emerged. Sectarianism. Again.
I'm beginning to think this will never fade away until elected politicians actively drive it out. It just seems too tempting to dive in, harness a muckle support on the back of a few jibes, and then shrug your shoulders and move on.
It can seem a long way from Charlotte, Carolina to Glasgow Provan, Scotland, but in the former we see the consequence of decades of them and us politics which at best hasn't dealt actively with divisions. At worst, some organisations have made political capital out of race related identity politics and opened wounds that are now bleeding.
Ivan McKee is not a fool. Anyone who turns around companies and deveopes a reputation for business acumen is anything but. So why has his aide been given only an official warning for repeatedly posting, "Up the Provos"?
Is it OK to be a republican? Is it OK to have sympathies with Irish nationalism. Of course is it, but is it then OK to have an officer funded by taxpayers money to glorify sectarian violence of the worst kind?
If a Tory or Labour MSP's aide had posted anything supporting a loyalist paramilitary group what would the response have been? If a MP from England posted support for Charlotte police gunning an unarmed man what would have been said?
Political violence and its support has no place at all in our public life. Everyone makes comments privately and often unguarded, that is their right that any concept of liberty would defend. So why the need to make such views public? What signal is being sent and to what quorum?
Is the SNP so short of applicants that this aide cannot be replaced, and swiftly? Whatever views we hold, advocacy of the violence of identity politics has to be the most destructive and most un-european behaviour short of violence itself. Is the People's Church simply going to brush over another violent individual just because....well...he's one of them? Just banter, innit?
People across these islands have suffered the hatred of sectarianism and of violence. The SNP is adept at dismissing lightheartedly any nasty comment that the media happen to pick up on. For a party so obsessed with control this is definitely a party matter and one they must be judged on.
A simple question. Why does the SNP continue to allow a man who glorifies political violence to work for them at our expense? Over to you Nicola.