WHEN you've been outdone by the Monster Raving Loony Party, it's perhaps time to take the hint and retire somewhere quiet.

Not so Jayda Fransen. The former deputy leader of the far right Britain First movement is standing as an independent in the Scottish elections.

When she first announced her plans in February my heart sank. Where else would she choose but Glasgow Southside? And so it has come to pass.

Ms Fransen says she wants to go up against "these SNP commie, Marxists, naughty people".

Well, speaking of naughty, the candidate is a convicted racist, having been sentenced in 2018 to 36 weeks in prison for three counts of racially aggravated harassment.

Be prepared to practice your curtseys and speak well of Her Majesty, fellow South Side voters, because Ms Fransen says she believes anti-monarchists should be hanged for treason.

She'd also like Islam banned in the UK, which she might want to keep quiet given that will rule out a large part of her targeted electorate.

But, of course, the former fascist party leader is not targetting Glasgow Southside by accident and she is not the first to try her luck.

Last week Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar was vocal about the far-right candidate standing in the community and said local voters will tell Ms Fransen "where to go". He pointed out that far-right candidates stood against him in 2010 and again in 2015.

In 2005 they targeted the community following the appalling murder of Kriss Donald in Pollokshields. Following that awful incident, far-right groups aggravated racial tensions in the area.

That is not unusual. These groups go where they can exploit community issues.

Then, in 2005, it was Pollokshields. Now Govanhill is experiencing racist abuse and tensions and fascist groups know they stand a chance of stoking these tensions for their own ends.

The community has seen a spate of racist vandalism. Last year the Roma Holocaust memorial in Queen's Park, created by a Govanhill Roma youth group, was desecrated - for the third time.

A poster offering support to the local Irish community was defaced. In August an anti-racist mural commissioned by Govanhill Youth Club lasted just 20 hours before it was vandalised.

The majority of decent-minded Govanhill residents are horrified by this.

The community has long, long been a welcoming area for new Scots from dozens of countries and, in the main, it continues to be.

Yet Ms Fransen has chosen Glasgow Southside because she, and her ilk, view the area as somewhere far-right fascist beliefs will be welcome.

That is shameful. It should be the shame of anyone who has ever made an excuse for racist comments about communities in the area.

It the shame of anyone who has failed to stand in solidarity with their neighbours because of where they are from or the colour of their skin.

There are people who would rather spend time being angry and taking offence at the suggestion they might be prejudiced than examining those views and doing something about them.

This is why a person with views like those of Ms Fransen sees Glasgow Southside as a soft target.

In the 1930s, left-wing locals, including the vibrant Jewish community, saw off Edward Moseley's Black Shirts, who had taken to gathering at the gates of Queen's Park.

The area has a long history of fighting racism and it must do so again now.

We need politicians to up their game also. Instead of negative campaigns and petty squabbling, voters need a strong opposition and they want a range of strong policies, not to be left voting for the least worst option.

There is a billboard on Victoria Road calling for the local electorate to vote for Scottish Labour. "Vote tactically," it reads. "Sturgeon out".

So far in the election campaign, Mr Sarwar has cleverly positioned himself as the voice of reason. Rather than, as Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross did, call for Ms Sturgeon's resignation before she had a chance to give evidence to the Holyrood committee investigating the Scottish Government's handling of harassment claims against Alex Salmond, Mr Sarwar said he would wait for the evidence.

Rather than, as the Tories did, again call for Sturgeon's resignation, the Labour leader said he would wait for the full findings of the both the committee report and the Hamilton report.

He has said he will not be drawn into petty squabbling or petty allegiances. Let's hope that billboard was a misstep because offering voters nothing but a tactical vote based on personality politics is not a sign of a mature campaign.

As we move towards polling day we need to really listen to what politicians are offering, scrutinise every party, make sure they have the best interests of all people at their heart.

When Ms Fransen stood in the 2014 Rochester and Strood ­by-election and was beaten by the Monster Raving Loony Party she earned 56 votes. Will she earn fewer than that in Glasgow Southside? Every vote to a far-right candidate will be to our community's shame.