OCCASIONALLY, you can measure the value of an enterprise by the nature of those who are most outraged by it.

And so it was with the revelation that the Reverend Stuart Campbell, founder and gate-keeper of the Wings Over Scotland blog, is considering standing for the Scottish Parliament at the next Holyrood election. Such a possibility will dramatically increase if the SNP don’t hold a referendum on independence before 2021.

The analysis of a new Wings party’s prospects of success can wait. In the meantime, let’s all just bask in the cartoon horror of those who recoil at even the merest possibility of the Reverend Stuart Campbell MSP. This was the Scottish Tories’ reaction last week: “Wings Over Scotland is the most reprehensible extreme of the independence movement. The organisation would be far and away the most despicable participant ever to have sought involvement in Holyrood.”

When I saw this obloquy for Campbell, a wee shard of jealousy pierced my soul. Imagine having that on your gravestone or even your CV. Imagine the joy of being able to proclaim that the Tories hate you so much that they think you are a reprehensible and despicable extremist. I don’t know if the Reverend Campbell is a Christian but imagine being able to face St Peter, the old celestial bouncer himself, with that one when your earthly sojourn has reached its end.

“So what makes you think you’re getting in here then, sunshine?”

“Well, the Scottish Tories think I’m the most despicable character ever to have darkened the doors of Holyrood.”

“Come right in sir, the VIP lounge is on the second floor. St Francis, get that man a glass of the Chateauneuf.”

This is the party that mocks food bank users; revels in the social misery caused by Universal Credit penalties; thinks the rape clause is a good thing; and is the natural home of money-launderers and tax-dodgers. If these people hate you, then I’d say you’re on the road to redemption.

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We can also be entertained by imagining how much muesli will have been spat out in assorted households throughout Scotland at Campbell’s political ambitions. For the Reverend Campbell is the devil incarnate of virtue-signallers everywhere. He stalks the nightmares of those who carefully monitor the prevailing trends in society and then ensure that their wagons are hitched to them. These people work very, very hard at not offending anyone. And then they scour Twitter seeking a lift on someone else’s outrage. They are usually wannabe journalists who organise ponytail and red corduroy politics festivals and are possessed of no passion for anything specific beyond a loose and undefined attachment to fairness and equality. But only on their very narrow terms.

The Green Party was only slightly less upset at the prospects of a Wings Over Scotland party. Yesterday, they too aimed some baby spinach in his direction: “This is the blogger who thinks Scotland is too wee and too poor to lead on climate change.”

I’m not sure what the Rev’s views on climate change are either. I’d be surprised if they weren’t similar to those of most people. We try to recycle, we hate cruelty to animals and we’re trying to reduce our reliance on plastics. However, if after all the global summits on climate change and low-carbon initiatives it’s a country of only five million souls which is leading the way, then I’d say your campaign is Donald Ducked.

The Greens, though, aren’t really a political party. They exist solely as a means of making it look like Holyrood is all diverse and fresh. They have contributed precisely nothing of any note in the 20 years of Holyrood’s existence and not one of their MSPs has ever won a constituency election. They are a boutique party serving as a vehicle for the prejudices of Patrick Harvie.

The National: Patrick Harvie's Scottish Greens have yet to win a constituency seatPatrick Harvie's Scottish Greens have yet to win a constituency seat

If the only thing achieved by a Wings party was to deprive these wage thieves a living then it will all have been worthwhile.

The SNP spinning operation against Wings Over Scotland also began yesterday with the unsubtle and predictable suggestion that Campbell is being helped by Alex Salmond. The former First Minister of Scotland, of course, is the person chiefly responsible for the sprawling jobs creation scheme which constitutes the SNP’s press department. It’s also thanks to him that so many colourless and unremarkable MSPs currently sit on the SNP benches at both parliaments.

Yet now these same people are happy to exploit Mr Salmond’s current legal challenges as a means of trying to undermine Wings Over Scotland. This, I think, was more nasty than anything put out by the Tories or the Greens and the SNP should be ashamed of themselves.

Let’s talk frankly here. Very few of the SNP’s current Holyrood contingent possess the knowledge required to defend effectively their political position under even the mildest of inquiries. We have seen this repeatedly, year after year, when the annual GERS figures are published. Any who tell you they don’t go to the Wings Over Scotland website for their statistics and arguments are lying.

It’s essential reading for all pro- and anti-independence politicians and more than a few journalists, myself included.

If Campbell and any other members of his party were to make it to Holyrood via the list system then it’s extremely unlikely that this will be at the expense of SNP places. The Holyrood list system, let’s face it, has become a lifeboat for party hacks and local placemen among the Unionist parties. I wouldn’t expect the SNP to be over-enthusiastic about the prospect of the Reverend Campbell at Holyrood, but they should probably call off the hounds. He’s not going to hurt them.

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Here I must declare an interest. Kenny Farquharson, the Times political chief who interviewed Campbell and broke the story about a possible Wings Over Scotland tilt at Holyrood, is a highly respected and fondly remembered former colleague of mine. Having listened to Campbell’s unedited recording of their interview, I think Farquharson’s account of it is fair and reasonable. It’s also fair and reasonable to conclude that he favours a more consensual and less abrasive form of politics than me; one in which there are fewer enmities and more alliances. In a perfect world I’d like that too.

It’s just that the existence of a toxic and hard-right Conservative Party at Holyrood and Westminster makes this almost impossible. This is a party which thrives on the rest of us all looking the other way and striving to be nice to each other while they engineer society to ensure the continuing dominance of the 1%, whose riches they are sworn to protect. In the face of this, we need more sweary, profane and angry people like Campbell, and the more the f***ing merrier.

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