Richard Leonard Retweeted Scottish Labour
Richard Leonard added,
Dr Philippa Whitford Retweeted Richard Leonard
Dear Richard Leonard,
I know what it’s like in your first few days in the job. You’re not entirely sure where the toilets are, if you can just go make a coffee when you want, or when yer granny phones, you’re not sure if you can take the call or not.
You also aren’t quite sure of what the organisation does in all its detail, and of what your personal responsibilities are.
It’s a difficult time, these first few days and weeks, as we can see from your first FMQs (as recently tweeted by Wings):
It is completely reasonable, in these initial days and weeks, that you get mixed up from time to time about whether your organisation is, or isn’t responsible for a variety of things.
But don’t worry, after you have been in post for a few months all of this will become clear. And never forget that you have a paid team of researchers to help you out. So don’t worry about having to go and ask.
They should be able to find you a list like the one I include here for your use. And I’m sure that, if you ask nicely, someone will provide more detail.
Reference to this information may save you making silly and quite high profile errors like criticising the government for something over which they have no control… you know, like drugs policy, or employment legislation, industrial relations, telecommunications, railway nationalisation… etc.
Many of these things are reserved for the Tories at Westminster, which can make governing rather difficult.
Maybe too, you should check with someone to see whether you campaigned against the devolution of a reserved matter before criticising the current government for shortcomings in that area. It may go against the grain, but you can always criticise the Conservatives.
And finally, remember that your close friend and colleague, Mr Jones, runs a government in Wales. He has responsibility and power for some things. You can always give him a call, or look over his result statistics, before you launch into an unfortunate criticism of a better performing similar service in Scotland.
Now I realise that the Press, or some of it, is, to an extent, on your side, and that they won’t make a huge deal of little errors. Indeed, even the parts of the press that aren’t really on your side will probably give you a by on some stuff, because they’d rather shut up shop than let the SNP government look as if it knew what it was doing.
But you need to remember that there are sites like Wings over Scotland that are read by more people in a day than is most of the Press. And these sites will be relentless.
So take care.
I’m sure these little blunders are just teething troubles and that you’ll soon find your feet.
And one further wee piece of advice. Don’t just take for granted what your top team says. Perhaps most particularly, Neil Findlay, Jackie Baillie and the sit down man.
PS: Notes and Corrections:
I fear I may have fallen into the trap against which I warned you. Having just checked with my trusty (more or less) factotum, Tristan, or whatever he’s called, I find that you have, in fact, been in your current job for nearly a year and not nearly a fortnight as I had been led to believe.
I can’t help feeling that, by now, you should have got past asking people where to find the Gents.
Oh, and obviously, I don’t REALLY know what it’s like in your first few weeks at work as I don’t actually work. Clearly, as owner and proprietor of Munguin’s Republic, if my granny phones me, it’s my business.