THE harassment of Owen Jones, Anna Soubry MP and others outside the House of Parliament by yellow-vested fascist mobs is a wake-up call for all who respect democracy and decency.

I have clear political differences with both Owen Jones and Anna Soubry yet I utterly respect their right to hold and express views, as they respect my rights to do likewise.

Owen and Anna’s reactions to those trying to intimidate and to bully them were brave and measured. But the hard fact is that these people are at large in society and – despite the high-profile attacks – actually pose a greater daily threat to minorities and new communities than they do to politicians.

Regardless of how it transpires, Brexit has, along with a toxic combination of imposed austerity and elite self-interest, broken Britain.

The “strong and stable” spin no longer washes with voters. The UK is a country in a deep constitutional crisis and an existential meltdown which is combining to manifest itself in this ugly and threatening way.

This rise of right-wing populism is far from unique to the UK; but incidents like these serve as further confirmation that the UK is anything but immune to the global lurch to the right.

Nicola Sturgeon has received death threats and the nastiest of abuse even before becoming First Minister, some of which has come from right-wing extremists.

The particular hatred expressed toward women in politics seems to have increased as more women have taken prominent political positions, which is particularly depressing given that you would be justified in expecting that to have the opposite effect.

I have not escaped from this abuse entirely either.

Two years ago, my office received a carefully crafted letter addressed to me containing a serious and detailed threat to burn my house to the ground while I and my children slept in it.

The author of the letter claimed responsibility for another act of arson a mile from where I live.

When the police forensically tested the letter, they found great care had been taken to hide the sender’s true identity. The episode chilled me to the bone.

In contrast, the Yes campaign was rightly lauded for its inclusiveness, conduct and spirit in 2014, but we cannot afford to take this for granted.

We absolutely must retain respect and acceptance of those who don’t share our view.

That could become a major challenge in the face of ugly British nationalism, which we witnessed a glimpse of in George Square on the night of the independence referendum result.

But any hint of that poison only redoubles the need for us to be the opposite.

As Barack Obama said: “When they go low, we go high.”

Independence will offer the opportunity for a fresh start for Scotland.

But we must win Scotland’s rightful place in the international family of nations in the same way that we mean to go on – with decency and democratic integrity at the heart of our movement.

Each and every one of us is responsible to make sure our peaceful, positive and persuasive movement never falters from being this, regardless of the challenges that we will face in the big campaign that lies ahead.