…to Richard Leonard
I really know nothing about him. In fact, I’d never heard of him before this year’s contest.
I read that he is genuinely in the Corbyn Camp (unlike Kezia and Anas, who just said they were when Corbyn was on the up, and said they weren’t when he was on the down). If he takes the party to the left, it will be a new experience for the SNP to have an ally on many of the social justice questions. It will also, of course, create competition for the left vote. That could damage the SNP and it might boost the Tory vote as Blairite voters melt away from a Leonard-led Labour Party.
It will be interesting to see what his view on Europe turns out to be, and how likely he is to want to work with Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon to stop Scotland and Wales being dragged into a disastrous hard Brexit.
The contest was apparently divisive and accusations of cheating and talking “pish” abounded. Of course, people always say that it is all behind them as the loser swears allegiance to the winner… but it never REALLY is behind them, so Leonard will have to watch his back. Jackie Baillie may be a figure of fun, but I suspect she could still be a dangerous enemy. One of his first jobs will be to unite a parliamentary party that may largely have voted for his opponent.
He takes power at a difficult time in any case. At the same time as learning his new job, he will have to manage the fall out from the Alex Rowley business ensuring above all that Mr Rowley gets a fair hearing. We must be mindful that lack of opportunity to clear his name may have contributed to the death of an AM in Wales.
And, it can’t help that one of his MSPs has decided to absent herself for a month or so to take part in reality tv in Australia. People might ask, which other public servants could simply decide to do that all by themselves… teachers, doctors, rent rebate clerks, social workers?