KATE Forbes has done a lot of stuff right during this SNP leadership campaign. She faced down an anti-Christian hate mob who all purported to be appalled that she held traditional views on the sacrament of marriage.

Then, despite a series of desperate and sleekit attacks by her rival, Humza Yousaf, she held her nerve and behaved with the dignity you would expect from the person seeking to lead the country. Furthermore, she resisted the temptation to get into the gutter with Yousaf.

She could easily have made much of his hypocrisy over the Equal Marriage Bill after it was revealed by several former ministerial colleagues of the Health Secretary that he had avoided attending the final vote on the bill by manufacturing an elaborate ruse.

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Most of her SNP colleagues knew about Forbes’s deep commitment to the Free Church of Scotland, including Nicola Sturgeon. This didn’t prevent the First Minister handing her the finance brief, the most prized and important job in cabinet. Forbes has handled that brief with skill and aplomb, words that you’ll never see associated with Yousaf’s car-crash performances in all of his ministerial positions.

Furthermore, none of her colleagues ever had cause to think that Forbes’s faith had ever influenced the way in which she handled the nation’s finances, or advised her government colleagues on costing their spending decisions.

Yet, suddenly her faith became a problem as an orchestrated campaign to take her down got under way. She’s not the first bright, articulate and committed woman in the SNP to face the party’s deeply misogynistic scarecrow wing. And she won’t be the last.

Some of this sewage has seeped forth from individuals in the party who seem to be obsessed with attacking women striving to defend their sex-based rights. This group is one of the nastiest and most unpleasant forces at work in the Yes movement. Many of those who have left the SNP over the past two years have done so because of the bullying and intimidation that characterises the social media feeds of some individuals on the SNP payroll.

The National: SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes during a visit to Empower Women for Change in Glasgow (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Another decision Kate Forbes got right was not responding to a questionnaire from Out for Independence. I sincerely hope she holds her nerve and continues to blank this group. For to answer their questions honestly would be to invite more of the same hypocritical abuse she’s already received from some supporters of Yousaf. A much more reasonable and sincere group is the LGB Alliance, which represents lesbian, gay and bisexual people who have been fighting for sexual equality for many more years than Out for Independence have existed.

In their questionnaire, the group asked the candidates how they would reform vetting of both parliamentary and council candidates “so that we maintain high standards for elected office”. Some of those asking for adherence to higher standards in the SNP during this campaign are like Al Capone asking the Chicago Police Department for their ideas on rooting out corruption.

Humza Yousaf dutifully responded by doing that upon which his entire campaign has been based: channelling fake virtue and oleaginous sanctimony. He said that, if elected leader, he would make it a requirement of future electoral candidacies that all MPs, MSPs and local councillors undergo a stiff process of vetting. He added that anyone seeking to represent the party should regard this as an “immense privilege” and that “nobody should have a free pass”. Well, quite …

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This, of course, must have come as a surprise to all those people at SNP headquarters who thought they already had a stiff vetting process in place. There they all were, proceeding on the complacent belief that they’d been doing the leadership’s bidding all this time.

Certainly, there’s always room for improvement. I mean how else do you explain the continued presence of all those wage thieves and impostors who somehow managed to get themselves elected for Westminster and Holyrood? In eight years they’ve failed to advance the cause of Scottish independence one inch, while pulling down salary and pension packages that would be well above what their limited skill-set could command in the real world.

They all claim to have been “standing up for Scotland”, perhaps the most inane and meaningless locution in the fake indy lexicon. Yet, despite several years of the most corrupt, extreme right-wing and racist government in modern UK history, they’ve not managed to build a single percentage point on the astonishing levels of support Alex Salmond built for the movement prior to 2014.

The National:

So, perhaps there should indeed be a new Competence Index introduced to ensure that the bad actors who are currently to be found in the SNP’s professional wing are rooted out and that none of their baying acolytes find a safe berth in which to embarrass the rest of us.

In a spirit of fraternal and cordial intent, imbued with reconciliation and bridge-building, I’d like to offer all of the leadership candidates my suggested introduction to any future Competence Index.

The Competence Index

DEAR friends and colleagues,

It’s my intention to ensure that only those possessed of the highest levels of personal integrity and commitment to the cause of Scottish independence should be considered to stand for the SNP at all future elections. Here’s a brief, initial questionnaire to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

Do you ever deploy the phrase “standing up for Scotland” without due care and attention?

Do you mention Ukraine’s nationhood on your Twitter feeds more than you mention Scottish self-determination?

Have you used bullying and intimidating language to harass fellow female members in a bid to show that you’re progressive?

On a scale of one to five, ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree, do you agree that “progressive” should mean a commitment to ending multi-deprivation and health inequality in our poorest communities?

Have you instead used this term to indicate commitment to a gaseous, shifting concept meaning the square root of bugger all?

Have you ever sought to ingratiate yourself with the UK establishment by seeking the coat-tails and slippers associated with the pantomime jobs like Speaker of the House of Commons?

Looking at your last six expenses claims: provide a detailed explanation of how they furthered the cause of Scottish independence.

Please provide a brief statement outlining how you’ve progressed the cause of Scottish independence. This should be supported by verifiable documentation, including Hansard.

Please also prepare a presentation with the use of slides and graphics on how you would go about securing independence. Candidates who mention obtaining a Section 30 order will be immediately ejected.