You need a pretty thick skin to be a politician which has always been the case.

Their every move is scrutinised and every word has to be measured in case it comes back to haunt you.

Our elected representatives are quite rightly put under scrutiny by the press, the public and increasingly through social media.

There is however no no justification for some of the abuse that comes their way and some seem to be targeted more than others.

Politicians of all mainstream parties have been abused for their homosexuality, their brown skin, their female gender and their non-christian religion.

Ruth Davidson, Anas Sarwar, Humza Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon in particular have all endured years of this.

It is not acceptable and it demeans our democracy if it is to be constantly reduced to bigoted insults because someone is in some way or several ways different to you.

But then we find that some politicians are only too willing to dish it out.

Not any of those that I mentioned above, that I am aware of.

I have heard it said that some don’t realise what they are saying is abusive. If that is the case then those responsible should consider whether they are fit to be a representative of the people.

It is particularly depressing that Hugh Gaffney, white, male, middle aged heterosexual, has let down his constituents and his party with his prejudices aired at a Burns Supper.

His diversity training should start with reading Burns’ A man’s a man for a that.

Hugh made the terrible mistake of thinking he would be funny and instead of reaching for the complete works of Robert Burns he went for Bernard Manning.

It has been suggested he is from a different generation. Nonsense, he was born in 1963, he’s not Prince Philip, for whom there is also no excuse.

Referring to Chinese as ‘chinkys’ and gay men as ‘bent’ has always been unacceptable to those groups throughout his lifetime.

He has obviously just not grasped this at any stage in his life.

Nicola Sturgeon said in Holyrood that abuse online or anywhere else mustn’t be tolerated but that politicians must lead by example.

She is of course right on both counts.

Politicians need to weed out those among their ranks who have those views and in this Anas Sarwar deserves recognition for exposing the racist abuse he received from within his own party during his attempt to become Scottish Labour leader.

Both he and Humza Yousaf who revealed he has to carry a personal alarm, have endured more abuse in their short political careers so far than most ever will.

Politicians have a responsibility to name and shame the racists, homophobes and misogynist bigots in their parties and not wait until they are exposed by others.

By acting before they are forced to they would gain more respect than trying to pretend it doesn’t exist.

And if they slip through we should remember when it comes to re-election time and give them what they deserve.