Brian Wilson: Ideology, not ability, is behind Labour sackings

Along with Jackie Baillie, Anas Sarwar was one of the party's most effective politicians (Picture: John Devlin)
Along with Jackie Baillie, Anas Sarwar was one of the party's most effective politicians (Picture: John Devlin)
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I have been puzzled about why the question ever arose of the Labour Party paying Kezia Dugdale’s legal fees in a case arising from her column in the Daily Record. Why on Earth should it?

Throughout my opposition years as an MP, I wrote newspaper columns. Never did it occur to me that, in the event of any legal issue arising, the Labour Party should come to my aid.

The Record’s political editor tweeted that the paper “wanted to provide legal support” but was “told to step aside” by Labour. The Record has now “reinstated legal support”. In other words, matters have reverted to where they should have been all along.

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Any politician who moonlights as a journalist does so under his or her own steam. Kezia was hired as a columnist, the newspaper has lawyers and the Labour Party should have had no role. The same would apply no matter which politician or party was involved.

Having got that out the road, I am even more puzzled about how this matter could – as is suggested – have become a factor in Richard Leonard’s depressing reshuffle, which deprives Labour at Holyrood of two of its most recognisable and competent public faces.

Clearly his actions are not based on ability, so heaven knows what arcane points of ideology led him down this path. After a year in the job, most voters say they don’t know who the Scottish Labour leader is, so I suppose sacking able people seemed like one way of attracting attention.

We can only hope the next 12 months bring him more positive means of impinging upon public consciousness and reviving the performance of Scottish Labour.

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