SATURDAY’S independence march proved to be another example of “Civic and Joyous Nationalism” with a dash of hate speech and online abuse. For those who haven’t seen, banners held by Siol nan Gaidheal (a known crypto-fascist group) included phrases such as “Tory Scum Out” and “End London Rule”.

Anti-Conservatives anarchist group Class War were also in attendance and had a banner far too vulgar for this article.

I am under no illusion that some of those who took part would completely disavow the messages spread by these groups. However, SNP politicians publicly took part and endorsed the march online. Nicola Sturgeon may not have been in attendance, but she showed her support on Twitter by stating: “Good luck to everyone marching for independence in Glasgow today”.

Not once has Nicola condemned the divisive banners that were on full display at this march. As Scotland’s First Minister it is her job to govern for the whole of Scotland and all of its people. It is becoming clear that does not include the 700,000 people who voted Conservative at the last election.

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What is grossly neglected from public debate around these marches is how truly damaging and dangerous this type of language is. My colleagues and I have been on the receiving end of torrents of abuse from Yes activists since we were elected. It has almost become the norm to open my inbox to see emails with the words “quisling” and “traitor”. In the middle of last year, I even received a death threat on Twitter which I had to report to the police.

Those who direct vile abuse towards Conservative politicians are emboldened by language used by SNP politicians such as Mike Russell MSP when he labelled Scottish Conservative MPs as being on the “Ragman Roll” – a historic term for a list of traitors to Scotland in the 13th century. This type of coded language is a nod and a wink to online trolls who deem anyone outwith the independence movement to be traitors to Scotland.

READ MORE: The Tory View: Let’s move on from the past

Nowhere has this been clearer to me than with my good friend Councillor Thomas Kerr. After criticising several groups being allowed to take part in Saturday’s march, he was subject to abuse commenting on his appearance and being labelled as scum. These people have no place in modern political discourse and should be publicly condemned by all sides.

If these marches are to continue, the SNP and march organisers must stamp out the bigotry and hate speech that seems to be so commonly accepted. After almost six years of this, I won’t be holding my breath.