TWO weeks ago my column focused on highlighting the not too dissimilar themes among those who seized the US Capitol building and the more extreme side of Scottish Nationalism in this city and across Scotland.

All too predictably, I was met with false outrage and indignation online, not only from the so-called cybernats, but elected representatives of this city like James Dornan MSP, who is known for appearing on Kremlin-backed television stations when his time would be better spent representing his constituents in Glasgow Cathcart.

However, after those chaotic scenes in America, I felt a renewed sense of hope watching President Biden’s inauguration. I was struck by his statement that all leaders have a responsibility to defend the truth and defeat the lies.

My mind couldn’t help but wander closer to home and the current Salmond inquiry at the Scottish Parliament which continues to be mired by conflicting evidence, witnesses having to come back time and time again and a general suspicion that the whole story of who knew what and when is not being told. That chain of events stretches right up to our current First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

Given that she was tweeting approvingly during the President’s inauguration ceremony, I wonder if she sat up and listened when he said those words.

Just a few days ago, Sky News revealed claims that a Scottish Government official asked to change an account of when they knew about harassment complaints against the former first minister Alex Salmond. The matter of who knew what and when is not just a trivial accessory, it is fundamental to the work of the parliamentary inquiry into this sorry affair and necessary both for the sake of the complainants as well as public trust in Nicola Sturgeon.

This kind of secrecy has forced the parliamentary inquiry, which is chaired by an SNP MSP, to take unprecedented action and invoke Section 23 of the Scotland Act 1998 to force the Crown Office to hand over documents relating to communication both within and between senior members of the SNP and Scottish Government regarding the complaints against Mr Salmond.

Despite being accused by her former boss and mentor of misleading the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon pleads innocence. Only one of the current first minister or the former first minister can be telling the truth.

The truth is the public isn’t interested in the First Minister’s deflection tactics – they simply want to know what she knew and when.

If she’s found guilty of breaking the ministerial code, then it is a resigning matter for her. Nothing less will do. That might shock some readers who will probably dismiss this as another Tory bashing our dear First Minister.

This goes beyond party politics and to the core of decency and honesty in our politics. And indeed, maybe Nicola Sturgeon should be more worried about public opinion than she lets on.

A recent Panelbase poll found that 68% of decided voters want the First Minister to quit if she deliberately misled MSPs over the Alex Salmond affair.

If she won’t listen to the public, how about listening to SNP MP Angus MacNeil who has spoken out against how the Scottish Government is curtailing the work of the parliamentary inquiry.

Enough is enough, it’s time for Nicola Sturgeon to heed the words of President Biden.