It came as no surprise to me that after a nasty bittle campaign, Anas Sarwar lost in his bid to become the leader of the Scottish Labour Party. If you read the press the blow is doubly troubling for him as on paper, he has the ‘professional’ team. This brings me to a little story; I had with Paul Sweeney MP who gubbed the SNP Candidate Anne McLaughlin bigstyle.
Paul Sweeney didn’t get much in the way of help at all from Labour HQ on the ground, I should know because I was there, his team was a mixture of different personalities but they had drive and total commitment.
Some of Anas’ ‘professionals’, I wouldn’t take on to run a bath, never mind a leadership campaign, but maybe he will learn from this little adventure. Although Anas wanted a debate on policies, he lost that aspect of the campaign as well. What possessed him to advocate single market membership of the EU is beyond me, that policy was a loser, and using retread old policies of a job, training or education for school leavers isn’t new.
If Anas does a post defeat review, someone should ask why there wasn’t ‘big ideas’ in the mix. Just to be clear, Anas lost the PR campaign, he lost the member’s vote, he lost the Union vote and he lost the policy debate!
Toss in personal circumstances, Anas Sarwar lost on every count, as a slightly interested bystander I thought what kind of shit campaign is this that he is running?
Now, let’s turn to Ms. Dugdale, I met her once on the 23 rd June at the EU Glasgow count, we chatted for a few minutes when she came up to me for a quick chat, so I said who I was and what side I was campaigning on, it was very pleasant and she was supportive that I stood up for what I thought was right.
Kezia Dugdale had a terrible time as Scottish Labour Leader, it was a series of bad luck and bad calls, it was a role that she wasn’t comfortable in and never made headway. Leadership isn’t easy because as Truman famously said ‘the buck stops here’. I have to say that I was surprised that Kezia Dugdale decided to take part in the reality TV show I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here.
I am also surprised that Labour Party bosses refused her permission to go on the show, did they make a mistake?
Well, that depends on your view point, I see no problem for Kezia Dugdale taking a few weeks off to do a TV show, I am also comfortable that she will make a few quid for doing so. The fake anger of some in the Scottish Labour Party over this just looks petty to me, especially when you weight up that some elected representatives have full time jobs elsewhere, and others ‘rent’ themselves out as ‘guns for hire’ for networking purposes.
So, in the grand scheme of things is Kezia Dugdale taking a few weeks of a big deal, is it really, is it even real news, it is titbit news. Now that Richard Leonard is leader, and I did vote for him, what should he do about Kezia?
The answer is nothing!
Part of leadership is not getting involved in tat, Labour MSPs at Holyrood are now said to be considering if the former leader should be suspended or not.
So, is the Scottish Labour Party going to suspended everyone with another full time job beyond their elected post and also others who get paid fees for being on TV programmes?
If the answer is no, then if she is suspended, it is unfair by standards of natural justice. If I was Richard Leonard, I would go through the motions of having a think in public, but in private, I would bin this issue. UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has already said that this would not be appropriate, arguing it was Ms Dugdale's choice to take part in the TV programme, and it is, her choice, whether her dissenters wouldn’t do it is neither here or there, and to be frank, most of them won’t get asked anyway.
Leonard told the BBC:
"I've said over the weekend that we need to consider it and I've also expressed my own personal disappointment that that was a decision she has chosen to make”.
"I am not persuaded the immediate step that the Labour Party needs to take is to suspend Kezia from membership of the Labour Party but I do think we need to have a discussion about it."
This isn’t an issue, but to keep some people ‘happy’ there needs to be some ‘play acting’.
Two Labour MSPs caught my attention, Neil Findlay and Jenny Marra who voiced dissent.
Jenny Marra said:
“Election to parliament is a privilege to serve and represent people. It’s not a shortcut to celebrity”.
When I see people say ‘Election to parliament is a privilege’, I tune out because that is usually bullshit to shine people on.
Labour MSP Neil Findlay described the move to the jungle show as "utterly ludicrous".
''We have a situation where we're in the run-up to the budget in Scotland, where local government is on its knees, where the NHS is showing pressures like never before, when people's living standards are falling and they expect their MPs, MSPs, councillors, elected representatives, to be in fighting on their behalf and I don't think people would expect them to jet off around the world and sit around the camp fire eating a kangaroo's appendage. 'I think it demeans politics when people get involved in that."
Just to be clear is Neil Findlay talking about passing a Labour budget for the Scottish Parliament?
Does Kezia Dugdale being there ‘fix’ local government?
Does Kezia Dugdale being there ‘fix’ the Scottish NHS?
As to representation, I am sure that there are many members of the public who have experience of not getting proper representation from some elected Labour members who aren’t jetting off around the world.
And as her employees aren’t going with her, I am sure they can hold the fort, after all, they are supposed to be professionals.
Finally, part of leadership is having the ability to ‘ignore’ certain things, hopefully Richard Leonard has that ability, it is clear that Labour MSPs Jenny Marra and Neil Findlay haven’t picked up that skill yet.
I hope that Kezia Dugdale has a nice time on the show.
The Campaign for Human Rights at