Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday 29 June 2008

Wendy Alexander bites the dust

Wendy Alexander has, at long last, felt obliged to take the 'walk of shame' and resign as Leader of the Labour group in the Scottish Parliament as a result of the crookery uncovered in how she funded her leadership campaign followed by her failure to comply with the relevant reporting requirements in a timely manner.

It is perfectly true also that there may be some truth in her assertions that this is all a gigantic plot by Labour's 'enemies' (i.e. the SNP) to exploit her difficulties for political purposes. However, there would be nothing for the SNP to latch onto if she had obeyed the law in the first place.

I have been reading over the past couple of days various blog comment to the effect that Wendy Alexander is not a 'crook' in the conventional sense because she was not making a personal gain by her actions (an example is referred to here). In a purely financial sense this is undoubtedly perfectly accurate, but this does not (in my opinion) address the real issue in any fundamental way. It is also a crude and mechanistic analysis to which I do not subscribe. Political influence is all about - well it's all about power, the power to decide how the country is governed, the power to help legislate the legal framework under which we all must live. That last bit is very important - 'the legal framework under which we all must live', and that includes politicians! Some politicians seem to think that their obvious good intentions should somehow justify them 'bending' the rules occasionally. Complete stuff and nonsense! If the laws of this country are good enough for everyone else, then they are good enough for our politicians - and that includes Wendy Alexander.

I believe I have written about Ms Alexander only twice before - last December when the irregularities surrounding her campaign funding came to light and I experessed my surprise that she had not already resigned, and about four years before that when her role in choosing the location of the new Scottish Parliament building was revealed. The point I make is that she is an ambitious politician (absolutely nothing wrong with that) who has actively sought influence over the governance of this country for many years and has succeeded in this aim, at least until May 2007 when the voting public collectively decided that her Party's influence should be curtailed, at least for a while. Her willingness to 'bend' the law is perhaps an indication that the voting public needs to consider very carefully whether she should be entrusted with real power ever again. Her protestations that her oversights (i.e. law-breaking) were unintentional may be true, but the sanction imposed upon her (a one day parliamentary ban) is mild compared to what would probably have been visited upon any ordinary citizen who had inadvertantly broken the law. She has belatedly done the right thing by resigning and should be grateful her actions have been treated so leniently. Above all she should quit moaning! A period of silence from her is profoundly to be hoped for.

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