18 Nov 2017
November 18, 2017
Kezia Dugdale’s getting a kicking for going on Sleb. She needn’t worry. She’s done her porridge leading the Scottish Labour Party at a terrible time, she’s a capable young woman and she’s earned the right to be cut a bit of slack and strike out in a new career direction. Obviously, she won’t stick around in politics for long. But, actually, that could end up being good for Scotish politics in general, and I don’t mean that facetiously.
I’m not asking people to feel sorry for MSPs and MPs, but it’s a shame for young ex-politicians – and there are plenty in Scotland – who might have spent 15 years obsessing about politics and making job sacrifices for what turned out to be a career which petered out in their 30s after maybe one term in office. What do they do next? They’re normal folk with all the responsibilities everyone else has they move towards 40, but finding a decent job in Scotland after years in the goldfish bowl is a tough gig for many of them.
Dugdale’s an attractive personality and I suspect she has just the right stuff to make a go of a decent media career well beyond the small world of politics. She’s just the kind of person they use to front Countryfile or some such, and maybe that’s the sort of place she’ll end up. If she does, so much the better that Scottish politics might be seen as something young people can give their all to then move on to something else decent when their number has been called in politics.
Richard Leonard isn’t going to make his first decision that of hanging his predecessor. And anyway, her presence for a bit longer will embarrass the more mindless Corbyn-haters. I imagine at some point there’ll be a painless handover to the next person on the list – the bonkers system in Scotland hands the power to party leaders to give out a parliamentary seat like they’re giving a sweetie to a child. And that’ll be that. There’ll just the the genuine fun for well-wishers of all parties of watching Dugdale enjoy herself for once and maybe get a bit famous on t’ telly.
She’d be well advised to watch the bitter male journos, though. The one’s who’ve been crowing along with the Corbyn-haters. They’ll be noticing that Dugdale’s giving her MSP’s salary for the duration of the show to charity, but that’ll be much less than the Sleb fee of what I understand may be £40k or so before tax. If she wants to keep that cash, she’ll have to leave Holyrood I imagine. I don’t think her colleagues would have that.
If I were her I’d use the cash to set up a wee charity to get more good young women into elective politics; you can do a surprising amount with £40k and she’d be lauded for leaving on a high note.
Whatever she does, though, let’s wish her a fair wind and success in her new career wherever it takes her.