ARITHMETIC and myself have never really been on nodding terms, but even innumerate journalists can work out just how much unobserved chicanery went into our election results. Consider this small example; the Tories managed to get Annie Wells back into Holyrood as a Glasgow list MSP with a not so grand total of 2687 votes, stopping the Greens who needed just short of a thousand more to grab their second seat instead.

In fact there WAS a “green” party which hoovered up 2210 votes in that region. ­Unfortunately for those voters whose eye fell on Independent Green Voice (which featured much further up the toilet roll second voting paper than the real ­Scottish Green Party) the IGV is not the cuddly ­environment conscious entity it sounds like. It is a five strong outfit which ­includes a couple of former members of the ­thoroughly unsavoury British National ­Party, and an erstwhile holocaust denier who now claims he isn’t.

So more than 2000 electors from a city which vividly underscored its communitarian values last week when it told the Home Office where to shove it, put a cross against a party most would have been appalled to learn had a lengthy anti-immigrant ­“pedigree”.

READ MORE: Hundreds complain to Electoral Commission over 'Green/fascist front' confusion

In short, they are neither “local or ­organic” as their pitch suggested, and the leafy logo replaced their original one just weeks before the poll. The indefatigable Peter Geoghegan, who did a deep dive into the Scottish results for Open Democracy, also calculated that another 100 odd votes would have given the Greens a ­second ­member on the South Scotland list. And there, this shady IGV crew manged to ­harvest 1690 votes.

The dark arts of sowing voter confusion and using targeted digital messaging might have been born in the USA, but they ­featured heavily in Vote Leave campaign five years ago and have now migrated into Scottish electoral waters. Geoghegan also found that Brian Monteith’s Think ­Scotland alone spent more on Facebook pro-Union ads than the SNP in the home straight. Some of it went on a wheeze to tell voters how best to stop any pro-indy ­candidate in every constituency.

Very effective it was too in moving ­shedloads of voters from their normal party of choice to the anti-indy candidate with the best chance of winning. From Fife to Edinburgh and in seats as varied as ­Eastwood and Dumbarton, the tactical voting app proved invaluable.

Monteith is a man who has been around a number of political blocks in his day. As a right-wing student he campaigned to get his university to leave the National Union of Students.

Subsequently he ran a Vote No outfit in the 1997 referendum, went to Holyrood as a Conservative MSP, was later seconded to, then went to Brussels as a Brexit MEP for an English seat (despite living in France.). Amazing how many of these rabid Brexiteers don’t actually want to live in the UK. As well as Think Scotland – something of a misnomer you might conclude – he’s also been involved with Capitalist Worker, (how we didn’t laugh) and his PR career includes stints with a Michael Forsyth outfit.

READ MORE: Brendan O'Hara urges Electoral Commission to respond to pro-Union ad concerns

As Open Democracy revealed, the ­Scottish election was positively ­showered with pro-Union messaging and dosh, though the funding sources remain at best somewhat cloudy. Groups like Vote Union, and Young Unionists all spent heavily on Facebook advertising. And let’s not forget Businesses for the Union, although we do know they were ­underwritten by the right wing Adam Smith Institute – who funds the Institute is rather less clear.

NOW you may think all’s fair in love, war, and election campaigns, or you may fret, as I certainly do, that pop up parties offering a false prospectus like the so called Independent Green Voice are deliberately devised to steal votes from legitimate political entities. You may think that having myriad small campaign armies, all funded separately but with a common aim, is a distortion of the normal ground rules covering electoral spending.

And I venture to suggest that we ain’t seen nothing yet. It’s clear now that the UK Government has concluded it will get the best bang for its anti-indy buck by throwing money and resources at existing lobbying groups, rather than trying to rely solely on a centralised Union unit whose short existence has been blighted by serial departmental suicides. There is already a multi faceted pro-Union campaign up and running, well funded, and, as the Brexit variety showed us, not at all squeamish about dealing in fantasy when the facts don’t fit.

It’s also crystal clear that the SNP leadership will keep getting asked the same tough questions about pensions, deficits, borders currency etc, which are at once perfectly legitimate issues to raise, and as cumulatively and potentially damaging as we all know repetitive questioning to be.

Responding by saying all will be well on the next White Paper night, won’t cut it frankly. It’s not that there has been no research done into these areas; there are many indy offshoots currently working their wee socks off. The SNP would do well to loosen its stays and benefit from a wider and existing range of research and thinking. It is, after all, precisely what the other side are doing.

Let’s not forget either that all of this is unfolding in a political context which would once have been both unrecognisable and well beyond the accepted pale. We have just had the unedifying sight of a very rich former Prime Minister appearing before a Select Committee to explain why he was calling in favours from former colleagues, and senior civil servants, in order to line his own pockets further. ­Alternatively, as he suggested, to help UK businesses thrive. Aye, Dave, that’ll be right. Especially if they’re called Greensill.

The National: Attack: David Cameron

But no amount of old Etonian smooth talking could cover up the fact that he was at it, and only worried about the ethics of his actions when his hand got itself jammed in the sweetie jar. There are few things as unseemly in food bank Britain, as fat cats prepared to do whatever it takes to accrue more cream.

Witness our current premier, apparently unable to live in rent-free premises without a 200 grand make-over. Wheedling donors to ante up money for a nanny. Having the endless gall to plead poverty compared with the days when got tens of thousands for telling lies in The Telegraph. Now he has to retail porkies for free. Poor Boris.

The tone is set at the top, which is why his ministers have variously been found to meddle in planning applications to ease a pal’s prospective tax burden, inveigle contracts for favoured friends through non competitive tendering, ride roughshod over the ministerial rule book, and generally behave as thought the normal tenets of decent behaviour only apply to the little people.

WE can be better than this. I don’t buy into the myths that Scots are intrinsically more virtuous and less racist than anyone else. But I do know that if you have a government which, inter alia, openly defies fascism, and rolls out the welcome mat for new Scots whatever their country of origin, then that sets the tone for the kind of country I want to live in.

I don’t mind admitting that I got pretty misty eyed the other day, watching folk come out into their street to defend the rights of their friends and neighbours to be given fair and due process and not ­bundled into a Home Office van. (A ­potent echo of what the Glasgow girls did all these years ago to defend their migrant schoolmates. One of whom stood at the election.)

On days like that People Make Glasgow isn’t just an empty slogan.