13 Jun 2014
June 13, 2014

Pally Lally


Who’ll turn out to be the biggest loser in the Claire Lally story?

Could it be Campbell Gunn, that nice bloke who retired early as the Sunday Post’s political editor and went to work for the Independence cause? Scottish journos are often pretty derogatory about Scots politicians’ media advisors, yet here’s one trying to move across and taking an early opportunity to make a royal bollocks of it. Here’s the Telegraph’s redoubtable Alan Cochrane, explaining Gunn’s credentials (prior to being political editor of The Sunday Post he was on the Highland edition of the People’s Journal, apparently) and explaining how Gunn didn’t understand that if, as Alex Salmond’s special adviser, he emailed Simon Johnson, the Telegraph’s Scottish political editor, with knocking copy of a political opponent, then Johnson would, you know, see the act’s obvious political significance and turn it into a big story. It’s sweet, in a way. Shove-your-balls-in-a-vice depressing on the other, too.

Gunn took early retirement from the Sunday Post. I’ve no idea what he was paid annually there — but let’s say he’s likely to be well-paid and well-pensioned. He’s made a terrific cock of it and after a perfectly decent career this particular debacle is what he’ll be remembered for. Was it worth it?

Or will the biggest losers be the SNP, or Alex Salmond, perhaps? No. They might lose the independence referendum, but at 13 points ahead in the polls and with a pretty much non-existent opposition, they seem likely to cruise to victory in 2016 on a promise of greatly increased powers to the Scottish Parliament (folk will ignore, I think, what the No campaign parties have to say about it all following their perceived dismissal of ‘daft wee Scotland’).

Or will any politician, indeed, be the biggest loser? Well, actually, I think so, yes. Not any mainstream politician, of course. Labour Party folk will move on and so will everyone else. But guess who won’t?

Clue:  here’s the the Daily Record headline on Campbell Gunn’s terrible, heinous act – i.e. suggesting that Claire Lally was somehow a Labour politician. And here’s the Daily Record’s coverage of Claire Lally as a new member of  Labour’s “political elite”.

The big loser in all of this will most likely be Claire Lally, or perhaps one of her relatives. She’s been suckered into the whole situation by the Scottish Labour Party, and the media will now, quite legitimately, be having a good look at her recent history, her extended family, her friends and so forth. If they come up with anything, then as things stand Lally will be on her own. The PR stunt will be over (top tip for Ms Lally – The Daily Record is of course rudderless and will be the first outlet to flip back against you).

The horribly crude and ineffective Scottish Labour machine behind her comments about Alex Salmond here suggest Lally herself is at the bottom of its leadership’s priorities. Was it really such a dreadful crime to mistake her for a relative of a retired, respected, Labour councillor? Don’t her Scottish Labour-provided comments make her look small-minded, unforgiving and petty? Is it perhaps a little dishonest to deny the significance of being a Labour ‘shadow cabinet’ member?

And yet she seems a thoroughly decent person, and I hope she does well in the political arena if that’s what she wants. But she’ll need a better protector than Scottish Labour. So let’s all keep an eye on how Claire Lally fares in the coming months and years, in the interest of everyone everywhere who ever tried to do the right thing.

And if Real Labour (i.e. The Labour Party as opposed to the fifth-team, also-ran, shambles in Scotland – first-class Darling being a lone exception) does look after Claire, as I hope it will, she might one day discover that there are plenty of folk already elected as MPs, MSPs and the rest who are just as ‘normal’ as she is, with just the same struggles and issues, yet who aren’t ‘shadow cabinet’ members. That awakening should prove interesting.

Note: I’ve removed the ‘i’ from Claire. The papers use both spellings and I’d used the one my sister used for my niece (i.e my niece’s name). But @Greycatgirl , aka, Catrona Smith (who will see what I did just there….) has convinced me through the kind of enlightenment logic that made that Edinburgh bloke famous that some of the Scottish media are liars and cheats….or maybe just a tiny bit slack, but probably not Commonwealth Games Gold Medal Winner slack.