SHOULD she dig in her heels - all 46 of them - or get her coats?

Writing in her column in The Herald, Cat Stewart examines the latest political scandal in Glasgow. 

Glasgow's berated Lord Provost seems to be doing a combination of the two; she's apologised for what has been labelled an unacceptable spending spree using public cash, and said she will refund some of her purchases, while also remaining in office despite calls for her to resign.

Apologies. I've leapt right in there on the assumption the tale of Eva Bolander and the Shellac Toes is now ubiquitous. It's been dissected on Twitter, chewed over on current affairs TV and made the English press so I'm assuming everyone has had a scan of the list of purchases made by Glasgow's first citizen using the public purse.

Ms Bolander, over two years, spent £8000 of public money on various items related to the function of her role, which is to represent the city and welcome dignitaries and officials.

Spending £4000 a year from a fund of £5000 - an amount allowed for the Lord Provost and her bailies - has, to a great many, appeared grotesque at a time when the city is struggling under the weight of a drugs crisis and increased homelessness, while residents are living in poverty and foodbank use is on the rise. Not to mention Glasgow is settling a vast bill for underpaying its female workers.

READ MORE: Calls for Glasgow Lord Provost to resign over controversial £8,000 expenses claims 

These, though, are systemic problems not fixable by the LP shopping in Primark.

Most harrumphed at are the purchases of underwear, 23 pairs of shoes and Shellac manicures and pedicures. And £358 for glasses. Should have gone to Spectaclesavers.

The pain is all the greater at being let down by a Swede when we're relentlessly lectured about how marvellous are all things Scandinavian.

In lieu of a sex scandal, there is nothing more satisfying than an expenses scandal. The public is rightly protective of its coffers, it has a natural suspicion of politicians and we like an opportunity to be outraged. In this instance much has been made of the fact the previous female Lord Provost of Glasgow did not touch her civic allowance.

Right, but Sadie Docherty did spend £4,600 flying business class to Malawi on a trip to see how Glasgow’s aid money was being spent.

She also flew business class to New York for Tartan Week at a cost of more than £3,000. On four trips, the civic purse paid for her husband to accompany her.

This is her husband whose salary, as chief executive of Glasgow City Council arm’s-length company City Building, rose from £110,000 to £140,000 in one year. Presumably he could afford his own flights.

But pointing out that Ms Bolander’s predecessor did not need to use her clothing allowance is a woeful argument. She did not use it because she did not need it. Mrs Docherty was wealthy and she used the public purse to treat herself to luxury travel at a cost far more than pedicures.

The chef Tom Kerridge was this week telling the Cheltenham literature festival that £32.50 is a reasonable sum for fish and chips. Fresh dayboat turbet, he said, with hand cut chips from “incredibly expensive potatoes”. “Easily justifiable,” he called it.

READ MORE: Glasgow's Lord Provost Eva Bolander issues apology over expenses claims 

One man’s obscenity is another man’s fish tea. Ms Bolander spent around £50 per pair of shoes, expensive for some but a reasonably priced purchase for others.

Her £200 hat has been styled as a hat “made by a designer used by supermodel Kate Moss.” It’s a hat from William Chambers, a Glasgow-based milliner who has relentlessly worked his way up through the ranks over the past 10 years. The LP likely believed she was promoting local business.

She claimed for items made from Harris Tweed, presumably for occasions promoting Scotland - occasions specifically related to her job.

It’s hardly a call out for bees to be removed or the cleaning of a moat. Or a duck house.

The argument then becomes that the position of Lord Provost should be open only to those who can afford to take on a role that involves the financial outlay of regular black tie dinners and high profile appearances. Or only open to men.

Let's face it, this is a uniquely female problem. For men, one dinner suit and you're laughing. The mayor of the Canadian town of Coquitlam, Richard Stewart, wore the same suit for 15 months to every council meeting and public event to see if anyone noticed. No one noticed. Mr Stewart was attempting to highlight the sexism in the way women’s clothing is scrutinised while men’s is not.

Famously, Sian Williams, BBC then Channel 5 presenter, was refused a tax rebate on work clothes by HM Revenue and Customs. She applied for an £1800 rebate on the annual £4500 she spends on her appearance because a judge ruled that it was not possible to extrapolate the business and private benefits of the expenditure.

Ms Williams quibbled over the issue for years because her job necessitated looking a certain way.

The clothing choices of women in the public eye are relentlessly dissected. Theresa May’s lust for fashion - she told Desert Island Discs her luxury item would be a lifetime subscription to Vogue - was picked over in an obscene amount of column inches, from the Roland Mouret dress she wore to the Tory party conference to her Amanda Wakeley jacket and Vivienne Westwood trouser suit.

Ms Bolander’s pedicure and shoe purchases were scorned and scoffed at. Yet don’t we remember the Sun making a front-page splash out of a close up of Theresa May’s leopard print pumps?

It's frustrating to live in a society where a high profile and successful woman feels pressure to have her toes painted while on official business.

Yet you can't argue with her; press photographers take images so high res as to be able to see a person's pores. Stories are made from famous women having slight underarm hair or a few grey strands. There is intense pressure on women, particularly in the public eye, to conform to certain standards and those standards cost money.

Eva Bolander represents the city of Glasgow. She is entitled to spend a certain amount of money in the fulfilment of that role and that is what she has done. Either you agree that Lord Provosts should be provided with civic allowances or you don't.

And if you don't then the call should be for the spending allowance to be cut, not for a woman to be scalped because you're aggrieved her haircut costs too much.