SNP MP Pete Wishart has been a busy boy of late, and seems to have taken to making remarks likely to inflame and alienate. First was his claim on Better Nation that Scottish independence could well "enhance" Britishness and "give it a new lease of life", which went down like a lead balloon with the unreconstructed wing of nationalist fundamentalism.
Then he upped the ante following John Mason's nod towards social conservatism, describing the SNP MSP's Holyrood motion on same-sex marriages as "nasty" and "just wrong". Thus hardly likely to contribute to party cohesion.
But neither of the above seemed likely to cause great offence to the electorate as a whole. However, perhaps that's not the case with Mr Wishart's latest remarks in the Scots Independent newspaper, where he said: "It's now three months since our historic victory in May and our total and exclusive focus must be now on winning the referendum."
Which seems unlikely to go down well with either the electorate generally or indeed MSPs who ironically seem unlikely to win an independence referendum if that's the SNP Government strategy proffered to the Scottish people during the next handful of years.
Thus Mr Wishart's comments seem more likely to prove a hostage to fortune than smoothing the path towards independence, and in truth seem rather cack-handed. Perhaps he's trying to win back those in the SNP annoyed by his comments on Britishness, but in doing so has overegged the pudding and to that extent seems likely to in turn alienate public opinion.
But ironic, therefore, that Mr Wishart's remarks only seem to have been picked up by the Courier's David Clegg (not to be confused with Nick Cameron!), perhaps because of media preoccupation with the riots. Which of course Mr Wishart could no doubt hardly have predicted when he penned his article, and which it's difficult to in any way link the SNP to, but that perhaps underline the ill-judged nature of his claim.
(Pete Wishart's article in the Scots Independent does not seem to have made it to the publication's website at this time.)