HAEIN gliskit Ruth Davidson at some 10-15 fit awa, the man taen oot his camera phone, skelpit alang the pavement ahint her tae catch her up, an demandit tae ken her thochts on Scottish independence (her bein the leader o the Conservative an Unionist pairty in Scotland, he wisnae quite siccar whit they were).

But wis he burly, A hear ye speir, or shoutin? Dinnae fash yersel - eye witnesses fae the scene tell us that he wis ‘slim’ an spak anely in a ‘normal ootdoor voice.’ A mean, as a kick-boxin former TA reservist, she could easily hae taen him in a square go gin necessar. An it’s no like the chiel’s dugs were Rotweillers or oniethin, jist a wheen o wee Jack Russels.

This was clearly nae mair nor a concerned Embra constituent seekin the help o his local MSP on a personal issue - no ane o yer actual indy campers oot tae further proove his zoomer credentials tae the warld. An it maist siccarly wisnae a man follaen an filmin a wumman agin her explicit will – as he explained tae Ruth Davidson whan she speirt at him tae leave her alane: “A’m no follaen a pregnant lady aboot the street, A’m follaen a public servant.”

An here we hae oor problem.

Fur it seems that when ye become a politician, ye cease tae be oniethin else. That the public hae the richt tae yer attention at onie time, in onie place, unner onie circumstances. That yer ain comfort is neither necessar nor relevant.

In an age whaur consent is the buzzword, it removes a politician’s richt tae thon entirely. It dehumanises, reducin a person tae nae mair nor the sum o their political pairts. Fur the man pursuin an filmin Ruth Davidson, despite her explicit request fur him tae leave her alane, he wisnae a man demandin a wumman gie him attention, he wis a constituent legitimately engagin wi his MSP.

But politicians dinnae lose the richt tae some degree o privacy or the richt tae consent whan they get electit. Access tae yer cooncillor, MSP, or MP isnae an inalienable an unqualified richt. Politicians are unner nae obligation tae engage in impromptu debate wi ye on the street. A ken fowk are affa fond o the term ‘public servant’ but, despite whit monie seem tae think, oor electit representatives arenae literally at the beck an caa o the public on a 24/7 basis.

Aye, we aa want oor politicians tae be accessible, but this is ultimately at their ain discretion an on their ain terms. Some haud open surgeries, some dae meetins by appyntment. Some are on social media, ithers arenae. Some are happy tae engage wi fowk spontaneously in public, ithers arenae. But that’s up tae the individuals an their decisions maun be respectit. Gin ye dinnae like those decisions, vote fur somebody else.

Forby nor dae politicians lose ivery ither aspeck o their bein. They are aye mithers, faithers, wifes, husbands, sisters, brithers, dochters, sons, pals an colleagues - as weel as people in their ain richt. They are aye men an wimmen whae hae guid days an bad days, professional stress an personal stress, work life an hame life.

Yet dehumanisation o oor politicians, the inability tae distinguish atween the person an the politician, is whit lies ahint the scunnerin spectrum o abuse that we see directit taewart electit representatives o aa pairties on a daily basis, fae attacks on social media tae extreme physical violence. Ruth Davidson can be follaed an filmed agin her will acause she is reduced tae a defender o the British Union – nae a wumman, a fiancée, a mither-tae-be. Jo Cox wis reduced tae a defender o the European Union – nae a wumman, a wife, a mither - as she wis brutally shot an stabbed ootside a library on her wey tae a routine surgery.

This risk applies tae aa politicians, but it’s likely nae coincidence that baith exemples abuin involve female politicians targetit by men. Fur whan ye combine the public’s misguidit sense o ower-entitlement tae, an dehumanisation o, their electit representatives wi the e’en mair muckle issue o gender inequality an men’s violence taewart wimmen, ye hae a gey toxic mix.

In the stushie that follaed the Ruth Davidson incident, it was deid dune depressin tae see hou monie men simply hae nae unnerstaunin o hou intimidatin their behaviour taewart wimmen can be – regairdless o intention.

Gin yer a wumman walkin doon the street on yer ain an ye can hear the fitsteps o a man ahint ye, yer gonnae feel thon glisk o fear. The chiel micht hae nae hairmfu intentions whitsaeivver, but in a society whaur men’s violence agin wimmen is rife, the perceived an potential threat o violence, the fear that ye feel, is as real as the grund unner yer feet.

A man follaen an filmin a wumman agin her explicit will is aye an unambiguously wrang, intimidatin, an unacceptable – e’en gin the wumman happens tae be an MSP, or, God forbid, a Tory.

As Wimmen Fur Independence patiently pyntit oot tae ae chiel wi an opinion an a Twitter accoont efter anither, “street harassment is a gendered issue” an “it’s abuse tae follae onie wumman doon a road unexpectedly, demand her attention an film her”.

It’s dumfoonerin that, in 2018, this is aye up fur debate. It’s dumfoonerin that sae monie men think they ken better aboot hou their behaviour affects wimmen nor wimmen themsels. It’s dumfoonerin that A’m haein tae scrieve this.

It’s a gey shame that Ruth Davidson’s tweet anent the incident appeared tae owerstate, fur the bare facts o the maitter needit nae embellishment fur tae be utterly oot o order. As it wis, insteid o a serious debate anent hou we treat oor electit representatives or the specific pressures o public life fur wimmen, the discussion wis ane o unionist conspiracies an whither the dugs barked or no.

Thon serious debate is aye desperately needit. Jist twa day syne, a 23 year auld man admittit at the Auld Bailey tae plannin tae murder Labour MP, Rosie Cooper. Anither man plannin violence agin anither female politician.

Scotland hisnae yet had a Jo Cox or Rosie Cooper moment. But whan the repone tae male intimidation o a female politician isnae tae condemn, but tae lowp tae the man’s defence, A cannae help but fear we’re on a gey skytie brae.