Last Wednesday, politics in Edinburgh and in London stopped.
The shocking events in and around the Palace of Westminster put into perspective our daily jousts and squabbles, whether at Holyrood or on the green benches of the Commons.
The attack and its aftermath were also an important reminder that we are – all of us – bound tightly together by our common humanity, something which goes far beyond political allegiance, nationality, race or religion.
The victims, including the many injured on Westminster Bridge, came from all corners of the globe.
Rather than concentrating on the wickedness of the attack, or on the wider security implications, I want to focus on the response which followed.
That involved not just the emergency services, but also ordinary members of the public – passers-by who, rather than running away from danger, sprinted towards it to see how they could help fellow human beings in need.
That same spirit saw Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood doing all he could to help save the life of PC Keith Palmer.
The images of the Tory MP joining those crowding round the stricken officer will live long in the memory, as will his bravery.
PC Palmer himself is someone who courageously gave his life in the line of duty – a Met officer whose job was to protect and defend democracy but who did not return home last Wednesday evening.
My heart breaks for his young family, as it does for the relatives of all the victims.
And while the courage and support shown by all those who rushed to the aid of the stricken cannot begin to make up for the scale of their appalling loss, I hope that in some small way they can take comfort from the humanity and compassion shown by so many.
Like so many others in Holyrood, I know lots of people who work in and around Westminster.
They are friends and colleagues – indeed some MSPs have family members who work in and around the Commons.
Wednesday was a harrowing day for all of them, and helped serve as a reminder that politicians are people too.
Those of us who stand for public office and get elected are used to the fact that politicians as a whole are often seen as remote and, as a profession, we are never going to top popularity lists.
That’s fine – we tend to take that as a given. But at moments like this it is genuinely worth remembering that the men and women who are elected as MPs and MSPs are really just like anyone else – they are people with much the same hopes, fears, and problems as those they try their best to represent.
They are people with families and friends, who hurt as much as anyone when events like those of last Wednesday unfold around them. And in any parliament, there are also un-elected people – cleaners, researchers, catering and security staff who are there simply because it is their job.
London is a great global city – a true melting pot, where cultures, nationalities and languages criss-cross and overlap every day, and it will recover from last week’s tragedy as it has so many times in the past.
Last week London saw both the very worst – and the very best – of humanity.
This column originally appeared in the Daily Record.