The National is sad to report an attack on a well-known independence activist in Edinburgh.

Mike Blackshaw, who runs the Yes Hub in the capital, recently celebrated his 70th birthday, but shortly before it he was the victim of an assault which he has decided to report in the Yes Hub’s newsletter Saor Alba.

Here is Mike’s account in full, including his thoughts on the growing level of thuggery in our society.

“On Wednesday 3rd April I was sitting in the Hub, having a coffee when a young man came in and asked directions to the by-pass.

“As I got up he threw the contents of his water bottle at me. I am thankful

it was just water and I missed what his passing comments were.

“I haven’t reported this to the police because I wouldn’t be able to describe him as he was well away before I gathered myself up.

“This makes me ask the question, is independence causing a divide or is it an excuse for those with evil intent? I think a little of both, but I also think we live in a society that is becoming so bitter that it allows these thugs to come out of the woodwork.

The National: Mike Blackshaw, pictured with Lesley RiddochMike Blackshaw, pictured with Lesley Riddoch

“The hating of this and that, and the blaming of those and them, is making our society a dangerous place to live. We see stabbings daily, attacks on religion and acts of terrorism.

“Looking back at the last Old Firm game where a player was punched by another and the offender only gets a two match ban. Why not in court on an assault charge? You and I would be if it happened on the streets.

“I think those who resort to violence are those who see it in the stadium and on television and has become the new norm.

“I do not believe my water throwing yob came in with that in mind but reacted when in he realised where he was. In a way you could say it was his way of objecting to our belief that independence is normal, but not in his mind.

“Just sad, just sad.”

Anecdotal reports from Yes groups across the country suggest that while there is as yet no violence against them, there have been unpleasant incidents and more than a few instances of activists being targeted for criticism, mostly on social media.

The team who walked 500 miles for independence last year also reported that they were ‘monstered’ by motorists, though there were far more gestures of support than there were detractors.

In 2014, Scotland held an independence referendum in which a broken egg and an Oxo cube were lobbed at campaigners - Jim Murphy and Mhairi Black he only real violence happened afterwards when Unionist thugs attacked Yes supporters in Glasgow. Have things changed?

Is the assault on Mike Blackshaw a sign of things to come and what should we do about it?