The mask has slipped. There is something dark behind Ruth's second act

The mask has slipped. There is something dark behind Ruth's second act

by Dr Sutherland MacNeill
article from Wednesday 30, October, 2019

NARCISSISM is a very interesting beast. For good reason it goes by the moniker of the Papillon Noir, the black butterfly.

While a person can seem sprightly, dainty, vulnerable and colourful – in reality there exists an empty void filled with an overcompensating sense of importance. It pervades everything in the person's life to the point it really IS the person.

Narcissists can appear very agreeable and open yet they are famously intolerant of criticism or dissent. They must be the centre of attention to be sure they are getting enough. While they can act like the rest of us, maybe acting as a Unionist or a Conservative, if you look hard enough the fine cracks begin to appear.

Triangulation is core to their strategy. Being a void they measure themselves by contrasting with others, to be somehow in high demand and irreplaceable; when attacked they position themselves as victims; when placed in a position of responsibility they run if they cannot blame.

Team Ruth, Only Ruth can... and then she was gone.  

There must be many Tories who feel they have been Keyser Soze’d, to be abandoned mid act.  Even in the most absurd situation of being hired by a lobby outfit her first reaction is she won’t be doing any lobbying.

Genius. Really quite beautiful. Such answers betray much. Yes it IS a second act because her political job is an act too. She wouldn’t be lobbying because that's all she ever does anyway, for herself

Let's have another look behind the mask. The person who met Tony Blair to discuss... oh, I don't know... indyref2? Yes that sounds good. Not Brexit. Not lobbying. No, indyref2 sounds about right. 

Then Andy Feldman, Cameron's old chum, now a partner in a lobbying firm. Then, having agreed terms far more lucrative than any normal job (£500,000 pro rata), she of course would have met advisors, and the interim Scottish Tory leader, and friendly journalists to bounce the idea off.

At  no point was the alarm bell rung that this was about as cretinous and gluttonous a decision as an MSP could make. Like slices of Swiss cheese lined up, there were enough holes in a row for this to fall through. Now we are told, having held her heart all night, she will not now take up the job.

That's OK isn't it? Poor Ruth made a bad call.

No, sorry but it isn't. This was not a bad call, it was a rotten plot. And the Tory press office fastidiously defended it. Its first reaction was to defend it. Only after the trade-offs were made, the comments analysed and digested was it decided on balance that it was not worth going through with it.

This is the consequence of having a dependent clique running the party, in turn the consequence of the pathology of narcissism breaking the spine and morals of a serious political party.  I'd have expected it of a cult like the SNP. Their cult is based on a tautology, an idea. The Tories have no such excuse. For heaven's sake – the lobbyists' own lobby group condemned Ruth Davidson's appointment by Tulchan Communications. 

There has been no apology, no resignation. Just a tweet about Finn growing up (awww) and an implication that by making a trade-off she is still in high demand. Given the number of surgeries she has held in the three years of being MSP for Edinburgh Central that's no surprise. If she had spent 25 hours a year lobbying for her constituents having met them, that would have been something. 

The idea of being paid to lobby as an MSP is perfectly sound, but the pay is from the taxpayer and the lobbying should be for the constituents. 25 years ago cash for questions was a shady scandal. Now it's well and truly out of the closet. That's the danger of embracing infallibility of a dear leader. 

Steven Byers was ruined for touting himself after government as being a "taxi for hire". Others, strangely all Remainers, have been fingered for being too close to lobbyists. Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw were stung by reporters suggesting fees running into thousands of pounds.

How this makes unionism look is of course irrelevant to Ruth. She's already moved on to the next flower though the nectar may not be quite as sweet now.

To aid reflection let us consider the Nolan Principles, on the standards expected in public life:

  • Selflessness – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
  • Integrity – Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
  • Objectivity – Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
  • Accountability – Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
  • Openness – Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
  • Honesty – Holders of public office should be truthful
  • Leadership – Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

Suffice to say I'm glad I'm not handling Ms Davidson's public relations this week. £2000 a day wouldn't cover it!


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