Pass the poisoned Quaich

As the fireworks fizzle, the temporary structures disappear across Edinburgh signalling the end of the Festival, and the summer, and as Scotland’s newest infrastructure project, the billion pound Queensferry Crossing, finally, nine months late, opens to traffic and becomes a totem to the SNP Scottish Government, the political scene begins to burst into life in Scotland with a surprise resignation.

Kezia Dugdale has been rightly praised by both opponents and supporters, in her own party and beyond, although very often with praise as faint as an ambitious rat on the climb. She only  took on the poisoned Quaich just over two and a half years ago. A job few in Scottish politics would have wanted. And, she has served her party with dignity, humour, grit and determination. She has now has decided to focus her undoubted talents elsewhere.

There are commentators claiming that the Corbynistas will have free rein in the Scottish Labour Party and even those who clumsily suggest that Kezia has been effectively pushed towards the door – although that appears a crude analysis of a more complex personal and professional situation. But, as one hard bitten Scottish hack has pointed out: “You can’t come behind the Scottish Tories three times in elections and expect a fourth shot.”

Whatever Kezia’s reasons for going, a mix of many things, she did explain when she took on the job that she did not see it as a lifelong vocation and she had other ambitions – writing and travel  – in addition to her genuine commitment to deliver social justice.

Kezia has piloted Scottish Labour through some troubled times and they recovered some of their verve in June but they remain some way from port.

Whoever succeeds Dugdale will have to perform out of their skin. But, the dearth of real talent supporting Kezia on the Labour benches is all too obvious when eying up a credible successor.  Whoever captain’s Labour going forward in Scotland they will do well to learn from Kezia’s experiences not just mimic Corbyn with a Scottish burr.

Whatever happens the inevitable civil war that will entrap the Scottish Labour Party in the coming months as the bloody, bitter contest begins will not be a sight for those with a weak stomach – this will be more like Outlander with more bile and less sex but maybe not a great reflection of Scottish politics

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