ELEVEN coats, 20 nail treatments, 23 pairs of shoes and 14 dresses.

These are just some of the items claimed for by SNP Glasgow Lord Provost Eva Bolander over a two-year period. Her expenses during that time totalled £8000 and included £150 for underwear, £475 for blazers and £389 for jacket fabric.

The story provoked a fierce debate on social media, much of which was predictable and partisan. As is so often the case, we saw reaction fall neatly behind party lines. Of course, some in the SNP who immediately adopted a “nothing to see here” stance may have done so because they genuinely believe that the Lord Provost needs 11 coats and jackets and 23 pairs of shoes to fulfil her role.

But there are at least a few who I expect would have reacted very differently had the criticism been levelled at a Tory or Labour Lord Provost.

In the rush to complain about every story that they deem to be nothing more than “SNP Bad” the party’s supporters and representatives are leaving themselves susceptible to the rot that corroded the previous Labour administration.

And while SNP folk formed a barricade of yellow in defence of the Provost’s right to have tax-payers foot the bill for her to get her toenails painted, Scottish Labour were equally as partisan. They reacted with horror and indignation at the excessive spending, apparently forgetting the £2.5 million pounds they wasted fighting female council workers over equal pay claims.

In defending Eva Bolander’s spending, there were those who pointed out that – as a woman – she will be held to a higher standard in her presentation than a male Provost would. This, of course, is true.

If I could find a suit that didn’t make me look like an Argos bouncer I would wear one whenever I go on television, and just change the tie with each appearance, as male pundits do. I would save a lot of money on work dresses, and it would be far less hassle.

But when you consider the challenges facing low-income families in Glasgow and beyond, these gripes look a lot like privilege. As feminist injustices go, I care far more about the disproportionate impact austerity and benefit cuts have on women than on the right of one woman to claim for clothes and beauty treatments without criticism.

And while some of that criticism was undoubtedly gendered and sexist, that doesn’t detract from the need to keep a close eye on how public money is being spent, especially at a time of public service cuts and fiscal restraint.

While some were intent on justifying her expenses with the line that, as Glasgow’s representative on the world stage, she should look smart – I’d much prefer she had shopped smart and exercised a degree of moderation and self-restraint.

Or at the very least, some self-awareness of the fact that one in three children in Glasgow live in poverty and the city has comparatively high levels of deprivation and homelessness.

Incurring expenses during the course of your employment is not a novel concept. Most workers are expected to pay for things like travel, food, clothing and technology from their salary. And most, if not all, would be laughed out of the office if they handed their manager an expense claim for underwear.

Of course, Bolander’s spending was all authorised and within the rules. Save for the bad optics surrounding this story, she didn’t actually do anything wrong. Over the course of the two years in question, she didn’t even use her full allocation of allowable expenses.

Personally, I don’t think that makes such a use of public funds much better. At the time of the expenses scandal, much of the individual items were – at the point the claim was made – all above board and within the rules. And while some MPs took advantage of the free-for-all and lax approach to public money, many didn’t. Just because it’s perfectly in order to claim to have your nails done 20 times over, doesn’t necessarily mean it is a justifiable or politically savvy use of public funds.

No, it’s not the greatest scandal to ever hit a political party. It’s not even the biggest scandal to engulf Glasgow City Council. For many, it isn’t even worthy of the description “scandal”. And yes, there are plenty of other important things to be focusing on. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter, nor that we should disregard it as unworthy of discussion.

This story will undoubtedly rumble on, with all the overblown outrage, naked partisanship and knee-jerk politicking – from all sides – that we have come to expect.

Politicians should remember that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. They draw their lines now in their party interest. And they do so in the hope that when we next read a story like this, we’ll have forgotten what their stance was.