Get Me Out of Here
Kezia Dugdale’s decision to go on I’m a Celebrity timed the day the party announces its new leader, might seem a career-ending last hurrah (joined to a massive “**** you!” to Scottish Labour, or a cunning political act in a public realm despoiled by vacuous SLEB culture.
Her colleague Jenny Marra tweeted unambiguously: “Election to parliament is a privilege to serve and represent people. It’s not a shortcut to celebrity.”
And there is said to be genuine anger amongst her Labour colleagues about this, but Kezia friends and supporters appear to be defending her insisting that she won’t be resigning and she will be donating her salary to charity whilst she’s away.
One source close to Kez even managed a straight face to add:
“What a fantastic opportunity for Kez to speak about politics and Labour values on one of the most popular and watched TV shows in the UK.”
That didn’t really work out for George Galloway whose political views were predictably edited out as he licked milk from a bowl dressed in a leotard.
But if Dugdale’s decision may reflect just a dire new depth of a political culture hollowed-out and rendered meaningless, on the other hand, why not? Maybe Kezia is staring across the chamber at the Colonel and thinking – why am I bothering with policy measures and serious reform ideas when politics has just degenerated into the spectacle of spin and stunts?
But the Colonel’s efforts only succeed because she has a proxy-party north of the border dedicated entirely to her career advancement and a vast network of colleagues and sycophants south of the border who treat her as the virtual King of the North.
But it’s not a guaranteed success. Willie Rennie’s valiant efforts have resulted in widespread disinterest.
Whether this is kill or cure Down Under isn’t clear. Hanging out with Rebekah Vardy and Georgia Toffolo may solve Scotland’s educational inequality, who knows?
But let’s remember Dugdale has walked away with the plaudits of her victory (she won with 72% of the vote) still ringing in her ear. At the time her supporters were jubilant. She was Scottish labour’s Great White Hope after Jim Murphy’s disastrous reign. John McTernan said at the time:
“Until the case for separation is truly dead and buried Scottish Labour can never fully recover. So, making the economic case against independence is critical and Dugdale is good at it. She must make the case forensically in Holyrood while preparing to fight and win a second referendum. That will be hard but she will be successful, and defeat in the second referendum will be an existential crisis for the SNP and the foundation of a Labour victory.”
The Brahan Seer speaks.
Whatever happens today will be Scottish Labour’s 12th change of leader since the SNP entered government. Dugdale’s decision shows the level of long-term chaos not just of her party but the disintegration of political culture into a sideshow of light-entertainment, Mogadon for the masses.