I don’t know the ins and outs of why Humza Yousaf failed to land his daughter a place at a nursery school in Broughty Ferry.
That will be for the Care Inspectorate to investigate and report on in the fullness of time.
I do know that when the health secretary and his wife lodged a complaint, alleging two year-old Amal had been discriminated against, it opened up a particularly nasty can of worms.
We reported on the claim, which the nursery denies, on Monday.
And on Wednesday we spoke to Mr Yousaf’s wife Nadia El-Nakla.
She told reporter Rachel Amery about the racist abuse directed at the family after the story broke.
The attacks ranged from snide allegations of “playing the race card” to unabashed threats to firebomb their house.
It had been a sickening 24 hours, she said, and the response had exposed the “underbelly of racism” in Scotland.
Of all the roles I've been given in life 'daddy' is the most important
I am sorry I could not protect you a little longer from hatred this world all too often throws at us
Thank you to everyone, particularly those across political divide, for kind msgs of solidarity & support pic.twitter.com/dOsthgZnl0
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) August 2, 2021
It’s a sobering claim – at odds with the inclusive country that many of us like to imagine we inhabit.
But soon the racist statements started seeping on to The Courier’s social media channels.
The slurs were so venomous, and arriving with such frequency, that we removed the ability for readers to comment on the story.
Humza Yousaf attacks out of ordinary
It’s unusual for The Courier to take this step.
Occasionally it’s necessary when we’re reporting on live court proceedings and there’s a danger that prejudicial comments could lead to a case collapsing.
But in general we prize the dialogue with readers and can usually moderate the responses to even the most controversial stories
The volume and vitriol here meant that wasn’t possible and the decision was taken to shut down the conversation altogether.
Today’s front page. The issues raised by Nadia and @HumzaYousaf have certainly exposed a despicable undercurrent of racism. We’ve had to delete numerous racist Facebook comments on this story before finally switching them off altogether.https://t.co/R7x8xbOzUd pic.twitter.com/s9i82SY8ZO
— David Clegg (@davieclegg) August 5, 2021
We like to pride ourselves on our tolerance in Scotland.
We’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns. No bigotry here. Not the racist kind anyway. Leave that to Little England. Its Brexiteers and football hooligans and Nigel Farage rants against the RNLI.
But increasingly we see the dark underbelly being flaunted more openly.
And it’s not a good look.
Far right group eyes Scottish voters
On Thursday we learned Britain First is planning to open an official branch north of the border.
The far right party announced the move as it parked two “battle buses” outside the Scottish Parliament and Bute House.
Britain First’s former deputy leader Jayda Fransen is the candidate who stood against Nicola Sturgeon in the Holyrood election in May.
Its current leader Paul Golding was found guilty of an offence under the Terrorism Act last year. In 2018 he and Fransen were convicted of religiously aggravated harassment.
Scottish politicians were quick to dismiss Britain First’s recruitment ambitions.
SNP MP Allan Dorans’ Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock constituency was among the first targeted.
He said: “This racist group and its poisonous views have no place in Scotland, and it is vital that we challenge hatred wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head.”
Islamophobia report was troubling
But it comes after a report in June by a cross-party group at Holyrood found 75% of Muslims in Scotland had experienced Islamophobia regularly.
Women were more likely to suffer and most respondents believed the problem was getting worse.
The most common form was verbal attacks on the street and in public places such as shops and restaurants.
You can’t just switch those comments off.
The notion that Humza Yousaf and his wife were “playing the race card” is a particularly insidious line of attack.
Ms El-Nakla told us: “What frustrates me is people who have never experienced discrimination in their life are telling me how I should deal with it.
“It is victim blaming at the highest level.”
We can all listen and learn
I’m a white woman. I grew up in rural Perthshire in the 1980s when there were precisely no Black and ethnic minority children at my school.
I remember getting the Bible’s greatest hits in RE but nothing about Islam or other faiths.
There were Chinese takeaways if you wanted to drive to Perth but that was as exotic as life got.
So no, I don’t know what it’s like to experience the kind of discrimination Humza Yousaf and his family experienced this week.
But I do know that Scotland is a much more multicultural country today and my nephews stand to inherit a much richer, more diverse community than I did.
And I do have a sense of decency and two ears to listen with.
Humza Yousaf slurs show potential perils
So when people say racism exists, I don’t think we need to wait for the worst members of our society to prove it.
We either listen and learn and ask how we can help or we accept that Scotland isn’t the tolerant, welcoming country we’ve always made it out to be.
But there are people poised to exploit that position and I fear they could take us to a very dark place.