WITH fewer than 100 days until the people of Scotland make our biggest political decision, we really should be dealing with more important matters.

In one respect this referendum has been conducted in a most civilised manner, organised in a democratic fashion with each side committed to accepting the outcome.

But bubbling under the surface is a nasty, vitriolic streak of abuse, intimidation and threats.

This week saw two women bear the brunt of that abuse and in other weeks it has been and likely will be others. Clare Lally hosted a Better Together event in Glasgow, introducing others who are not professional politicians and then Alastair Darling.

She is entitled to campaign in the debate and is entitled to describe herself an ordinary mum.

Given her circumstances I'd bet she spends far more of her time on her family duties than she does on anything political.

She may well be in Labour's shadow cabinet, but that is in her role as 'carers champion' and I suspect her loyalty to fellow carers is greater than to any political party.

She most certainly doesn't deserve the abuse that was hurled in her direction by some of the cowards who hide behind computer screens with the anonymity allowed by social media. I doubt any of the people responsible would have the courage to speak to Ms Lally or anyone else in that manner in person.

Also, Harry Potter author JK Rowling, is entitled to donate some of her vast wealth to the Better Together campaign if she so chooses without being branded some of the unprintable names by the same type of people.

Equally, we are entitled to ignore her if we wish.

What concerns me is that some people are afraid to join the debate and ask questions because of those who only want to bully and lecture people into their way of thinking.

That's not democracy, and it's not conducive to a constructive debate. If people don't accept your argument, from whatever perspective, agree to disagree and get on with it.

Politicians will have things said about them, some unkind, some untrue and some downright nasty and unacceptable.

But most politicians I know accept it comes with the territory, even if it shouldn't, and have developed skins thick enough to cope, otherwise they couldn't do their job.

But this is not the politicians' debate, it is the country's and the morons spouting bile via the internet whether on Twitter or via websites purporting to be news sites are not only lowering the tone but causing embarrassment and restricting participation.

Time is marching on towards September 18 and it too valuable to have to waste any more of it on these people. They need to grow up or shut up.