The National:

WHAT does it take to become one of Westminster’s most senior political correspondents?

A contact book full of MPs willing to spill their – and others’ – secrets over a pint. That’s one thing on the list.

A firm belief that you are a valued expert on just about every topic under the sun – despite only really knowing about the latest headlines. That’s another.

One thing the Jouker is sure doesn’t appear on the list is having an understanding of the SNP and the Scottish independence movement.

If it did, there is no way John Rentoul would have been the chief political commentator at The Independent for the past two decades.

But he has been, and so we are stuck seeing his comments.

READ MORE: Ally McCoist reveals he won't attend Rangers vs Celtic as he plays down hate crime remark

Normally, it’s a case of ignore, ignore. But the Jouker could not help but take notice of his latest ejaculation.

Obviously eager to jump on the anti-Hate Crime Act bandwagon, Rentoul shared an image from Police Scotland explaining what a hate crime is.

“So, what is a hate crime? Any crime which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated (wholly or partly) by malice or ill will towards a social group,” the Police Scotland graphic said.

Rentoul’s take?

“Legislated for by the SNP, a party animated in some part – we can argue how much, but it’s not zero – by ill will towards the English.”

Yes, he wrote that.

National contributor Gerry Hassan called him out, writing: "John has covered UK politics for over 30 years.

"And still does not have a basic grasp of Scottish politics and the nature of the SNP with its many faults like all political parties."

Another user responded, calling it “offensive nonsense”.

“You really believe that?” they asked. “And why ignore Labour, Greens, LibDem, Tory MSPs that voted for the law?”

The Tories did oppose the legislation from the get-go. But if you’ve been wondering why Labour and the LibDems have been so quiet amid the recent outcry, the fact they voted for the Hate Crime Act may explain it.