Posted on October 1st, 2018
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
I’m not going to comment on the defamation case between Kezia Dugdale and Wings Over Scotland. That’s a matter for the courts, so I see no point in expressing an opinion on what might happen. However, I was very interested in some comments I saw online which were made in response to Kezia Dugdale’s remarks about the trustworthiness of the Labour Party.
As you would expect, many people responded with replies suggesting that Labour had been recognised as untrustworthy by a great many people some time ago, but there were also some very conciliatory replies urging Ms Dugdale to quit Labour and join the SNP, with many people telling her she would be very welcome.
Now, this is exactly the sort of reaction we should have towards anyone who voted No in 2014 and is expressing doubts or regrets of any sort. As yet, of course, Kezia Dugdale has not expressed any doubts as to her former opinions on self-determination for Scotland, and I don’t expect she will do so any time soon even if she does feel betrayed by Labour.
Here’s why. For one thing, Ms Dugdale was elected as a List MSP for the Labour Party. She cannot simply declare that she wishes to leave Labour and represent the SNP as, much as we might disagree with the sentiments of Labour voters, their views must be respected. So, rather than crossing the floor or, given the layout of the Scottish Parliament, moving round the seats, Kezia Dugdale would need to stand down so that the Labour Party could appoint a replacement from their List.
This would mean she would no longer be an MSP unless the SNP were to appoint her to replace one of their existing MSPs, a situation which is difficult to imagine.
So is she likely to decide to stand down? Given that she has already bemoaned the fact that the potential costs and outcome of the current legal case against her could bankrupt her, thus barring her from being an MSP, it seems that her current status within Parliament is extremely important to her.
This suggests that the only courses open to her are either to declare her support for independence in defiance of her party’s official stance, thus further alienating her from her fellow MSPs and possibly risking deselection, or keeping her thoughts to herself and carrying on as a loyal Labour MSP.
I’m not prepared to bet on which of those she will choose because it seems pretty obvious.