SUNDAY Herald readers would surely like to think of Scotland as a progressive, liberal and diverse European democracy.

In recent years, there has been much to back this up, such as the legalisation of same sex marriage and moves to ban smacking.

There is little doubt that since devolution Scotland has become an immeasurably more tolerant society than before.

However, it is possible to become complacent about our seeming progressive gains.

It is surely a national failure that a teaching union feels the need to warn that transgender bullying is driving children to the brink of suicide.

The NASUWT claims come at the same time as James Dornan MSP seeks to launch a cross party group in Holyrood to tackle sectarianism.

We may feel today that we have achieved a wonderful society free from much of the prejudice that we remember in the past. But the two examples above prove to us that history may judge us differently.

Scottish exceptionalism is not becoming. Too often we think of ourselves as kinder, fairer, more decent than other nations. That is both blinkered and foolish. This nation may have made great and laudable leaps forward but in truth there is much progress still to be made before we can really call ourselves a fair and decent society.

If Scotland truly aspires to tolerance, then we as a people need to be a little more self-critical - that is the only way that the nation will face up to its failures, and truly make the changes that are needed.