Attacks on Michelle Mone, a successful business leader, betray the poor state of our public debate, writes Jim Duffy.
Let’s get straight to the point. We are paying for Scottish MSPs and UK MPs to act like androids in glass bubbles, it would appear. In short, they are existing in an echo chamber – meaning an enclosed space for producing reverberation of sound. Yes, that sounds about right this week as I watch again with interest at how Baroness Michelle Mone is treated in the Scottish press and by some Scottish politicians.
Firstly let me declare my interest here. I haven’t spoken to the Baroness recently and I haven’t been invited to her new home for cocktails.
She is not on my speed dial and I haven’t tapped her for a loan. So, it’s safe to say I’m not in her circle, one of her team or indeed a Twitter supporter of which she has many. So, from this you will deduce that I am non-partisan, unbiased and only seek to ask the question of why is she given such a hard time by many, politicians and commentators alike, in Scotland?
Should we not be applauding her for being such a huge success? Success is, of course, subjective to each of us, but nevertheless has connotations of wealth or perceived wealth.
I read this week that some SNP MP had a go at her on her record in the Lords. Er, we have enough problems in Scotland matey that you need to get a grip of. Those in glass houses should be careful when throwing stones, I was told.
In fact even this week, I was reminded of some good counsel Sir Tom Hunter gave to me, during a spat we had, when he advised that it is not a good thing to walk across the room for a fight.
The lesson here being you have enough to deal with on your own side of the floor without agitating to go act all pugilistic elsewhere. So, why then are people up here in Scotland crossing the room to have a fight with Baroness Mone? Jealousy? Her politics? Let’s see…
Michelle ran a global underwear company and much has been said of it. She had Sir Rod Stewart’s wives as her models and her products were sold in big department stores. The point being here, she got off her arse and gave something a go in the real world. That’s a big tick in my book.
She did a shed load for charities such as the Princess Trust, where she inspired so many, and indeed so many young women, to start businesses and even just gain more confidence. Is that not a good thing?
Michelle gained her OBE and as we now know made it to the House of Lords. Lady Mone of Mayfair, I’m not so sure about that moniker, but again she networked hard, put herself out there and, at the time of the referendum, was bold enough to say no to Scottish independence. She said this when so many other top business people sat on the fence just in case. And they know who they are. Ah, is that why this SNP MP guy is annoyed with her?
Or is it because, after a horrible public divorce, she has now found happiness with a new man, who just happens to be totally loaded? You decide. The point here is that if we want to be governed by the SNP and “moron” MPs then they need to raise their game and the level of debate from the gutter of slagging off Baroness Mone. Scotland has many problems including a national police service that needs time to heal and to get its act together.
Yes, we have some fairly decent MSPs and MPs fighting hard for Scotland. I’ve put on record before that Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney are outstanding. But, where is their succession plan? Where are the next bunch of stars? I’m struggling to find them, but I’m open to you telling me who they are, whether that be at Holyrood or Westminster. But, if mouthing off in the Scottish echo chamber is as good as it gets then, I’m afraid folks, we are in hot water.
As a nation, we are too critical of those who have been successful or who are willing to stand up and be counted. University principals are terrified of speaking out on anything, but their knowledge and wisdom are needed more than ever. But, not in the Scottish echo chamber.
Top police officers are playing with politics instead of being knee-deep in policing and police work. Food banks are awash with people in need and on the verge. Teachers, who are so important to us, need to be paid a whole lot more without more red tape. And, having experienced the new Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow recently, things are not always as they seem when the red ribbon is cut by royalty. All this frailty exists right now in our social structures and all some can do is direct their attention to people like Michelle Mone. It’s depressing, debilitating and needs to change.
Brexit is nicely taking the spotlight off what is happening in Scotland. Maybe this gives some cover to MPs who can then switch their guns to Baroness Mone. But, I’d rather they worked harder for Scotland and acted in a more statesman-like way.
I hate to say it, and it cuts me to the bone, but I want our MPs to be more Barack Obama and less Donald Trump. Unless they have been successful in business and made millions… Forget Michelle Mone and focus on fixing Scotland. You can indeed move outside your own echo chamber.