"A PRE-ELECTION row over claims of xenophobia within the SNP deepened yesterday when a senior Liberal Democrat claimed that Scottish nationalism was all about "building up barriers" between people.Having previously accused the Scottish Liberal Democrats of slippery opportunism, of being willing to sacrifice just about any principle or break any agreement for electoral gain I have to say I'm quite impressed. The outrage has to do with the fact that Mr Stone has done that rarest of things in politics - he's told the truth.
The parties were supposed to be courting each other ahead of the Holyrood elections in May, after which they might have to agree a coalition agreement.
But that was looking more distant than ever last night after an astonishing series of insults and demands were traded publicly between them.
Jamie Stone, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Caithness and Sutherland, sparked the spat on Saturday when he accused the SNP of being "xenophobic" - just after his leader, Nicol Stephen, had publicly berated the other main parties of running a negative campaign.
Mr Stone's comments provoked a barrage of complaints from the SNP, with Alex Salmond, the party's leader, demanding an apology and action from Mr Stephen against Mr Stone.
Then, yesterday, Danny Alexander, the MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, fuelled the controversy by insisting there was an issue which had to be addressed.
Mr Alexander refused to issue a categoric apology, either on behalf of Mr Stone or his party, and then compounded the row by stating on BBC Scotland's Politics Show: "Nationalism is about building up barriers between people, liberalism is about breaking those barriers down.""
SNP are all about cuddly inclusive 'civic nationalism'?