WHEN I first learned that MSP Gillian Martin had been sacked from her role as a junior minister, hours after being appointed, and for mocking “hairy knuckled” trans students on a 2007 blog, my first instinct was to give her the benefit of the doubt. People say awful things and regret them. Eleven years is a long time. A person can change a lot, even if in their forties, like Martin. Besides, trans awareness has progressed immeasurably in the last 10 years. I find it astonishing to consider that it was only about four years ago – in a time before Caitlyn Jenner – that I did a workshop with All About Trans which broke some of my own misconceptions of what it was to be transgender.

But then I read some of the other things Martin, a former college lecturer, wrote back then. In one piece, on tipping, she blithely describes what she learned from fellow staff while working in an American restaurant. “American blacks don’t tip at all - tip next to nothing,” she observes. “The waiters, also black remember, would do anything to avoid serving a table of blacks.” “Fatties” visiting the restaurant, she relates, “aren’t going to move from that table until they go blind or pass out.”

And this is not the only offensive post. People in wheelchairs, fat people, lesbians, American Jews, single-parents, dyslexics, she covered them all, in the smart-talking assaults on political correctness that appeared in her blogs. The cumulative effect is sickening.

Martin has apologised, saying that the blog “did not reflect my view then and certainly does not reflect my view now”. Perhaps she is referring to the fact that she is quoting the opinions of others in the restaurant in which she worked. Perhaps she is indicating that the whole blog was some kind of act. Either way, the question is, how do we ever trust someone who says that? What, after all, have we got to go on when it comes to who we vote into office, who we trust with certain important jobs, save the past things they have said and done?

Of course, one of the big questions of our time is what, in digital terms, we allow people to move on from, and what we make them live with forever. How many years does it take before we allow someone to say they are not that person, not the one who said those awful things? Five years? Seven years – the amount of time it’s said it takes for all the cells in our body to change? Twenty years? How long would it have taken in past centuries, for the village to forget some individual’s crime and no longer judge him or her in its light?

Nowadays our digital skin stays with us, like a layer of cells that never changes, even when, like Martin's blog, it is deleted. It stays with us, even when it was just a bit of foolish play. And this politician's sacking is a reminder that this is an issue our society has barely started to grapple with. We have yet to create the kind of culture of sincere apology that would make this workable.

Politics, meanwhile, is not the place to have any kind of skeletons like this in your digital closet. Particularly not when the party you belong to, the SNP, is a socially progressive one.

It’s possible that Martin might indeed have been a good minister. She might have fought for LGBT rights, tackled racism in schools and fought inequality. But her blogs did not suggest that was her inclination. We, the public, haven’t seen enough of her to have it proven otherwise. More penance, more proof of change ,was probably what was needed. The other political parties were right to draw attention to that blog, for it made many of us shudder. It appalled us. It also provided a warning to all those who posture online.

THOSE of us who have been wondering what the point of ITC2's Love Island is and if there is anything redeeming in the fact we have been caught up watching this tosh while parts of the world go down the tube, now have our answer.

Danny, with the two ns, Dyer.

For he, it turns out, is the plain-speaking voice of reason we have been waiting for since the 2015 Brexit vote, and it's very possible we never would have heard his political commentary without Love Island.

Don’t get me wrong. Dyer was already famous. But it was only with the arrival on Love island of his daughter Dani – a figure of sanity in the madness –that he became the nation’s favourite dad and the go-to man for wisdom. After that all it took was for him to appear on Good Evening Britain telling Piers Morgan to “stop talking” and a diatribe about David Cameron and he was suddenly the new Oracle. Perhaps the choicest of Dyer’s wondrous words were: “How comes he [Cameron] can scuttle off? He called all this on. Where is he? He’s in Europe, in Nice, with his trotters up, yeah, where is the geezer? I think he should be held account for it.”

Seeing his genius, even Lena Dunham, over in the United States, wanted more. “Let’s let him loose on America,” she tweeted. Finally Remain has found a populist voice. The country, nay the world, has been waiting for this. Thank you Love Island. You have justified your existence.