On his visit to Edinburgh in June, Bill Clinton urged both sides in the independence debate to weigh up the pros and cons without “tearing the place apart”.
Treat opposing views with respect and try to win the argument without resorting to underhand or just downright nasty tactics was the theme of his message.
Today, those words seem ever more poignant.
It is, of course, unlikely the former US president was envisaging an 80-year-old placard-waving campaigner being attacked on the Royal Mile.
But if it transpires that the assault on James McMillan was indeed related to his political standpoint then it would be worrying indeed, and should serve as a wake-up call to both the Yes and No camps.
Negativity breeds negativity. Spouting entrenched views with no room for manoeuvre, ridiculing and abusing those with opposing opinions does not lead to a healthy debate and does little to help the rest of us make-up our minds.
Worse, it just might result in incidents like we saw on the Royal Mile on Tuesday.
We hope this is a one-off and not symptomatic of a wider problem on the horizon.
Scotland has a massive decision to make next year and whatever happens we all have to live together afterwards. In the words of Clinton: “You will come out of this better, regardless, if you go about it in the right way.”
Let’s look forward
A huge sigh of relief all round for traders in the east end as we reveal that York Place will re-open tomorrow.
The tram works have blighted the area but, in the longer term, they should bring greater numbers of people and added prosperity. Those businesses close to the tram stops will particularly benefit. Time to look forward, not back.