The treatment meted out to Jim Murphy and Nigel Farage merely added to their argument. But they should not be surprised. Intolerance and disrespect are the soft underbelly of all nationalist movements.
Essentially nationalism, as opposed to patriotism, is, at its core, a thoroughly nasty and inward-looking credo. Anyone who has fought Scottish elections knows this.
When fighting Gordon Brown in Dunfermline East in 1992, I received nothing but courtesy from both him and his supporters despite my being a Tory.
The only time I was kicked was in Rosyth, by a lady carrying a baby and wearing an SNP rosette, who screamed “Scum!” at me, preceded by a word The Scotsman would be unlikely to print.
When I went round the polling stations to thank our tellers after the polls had closed, once again the conversations with the Labour members were always well mannered and usually extremely amusing and enjoyable.
The only SNP supporter I came across spat at me, when I tried to shake his hand.
None of this probably matters when the party is a minority one.
When it is the party of government, the culture of the underbelly begins to affect political debate and society as a whole. As a result, arguments about the most important decision facing the people of Scotland are being debased and shrouded in double talk.
Thus the news reports of the referendum campaign are increasingly reminiscent of Zimbabwe.
But a fish rots from its head. It was unnecessary and puerile to accuse Alistair Darling on television of being in bed with the Tories.
It added nothing to the debate. If I had been Alistair, I would have said: “Yes, I am in bed with the Tories. I would sleep with the devil to keep you out and make sure my country remains the tolerant, inclusive, outward-looking society into which I was born.”
Sadly Alistair is too nice a person to have said anything so aggressive.
Even after a No vote, it will take time to regain those virtues.