Ruth Davidson’s embarrassing hubris

Ruth Davidson’s embarrassing hubris

by Frankie Hutcheson
article from Monday 28, October, 2019

THE RESPONSE to the news that Ruth Davidson has taken on a £50k-pa, two-day-a-month job with Tulchan Communications has been unanimous: being an MSP and simultaneously working for a lobbying company is not on.

People usually wait until they have left office before stepping through the revolving door between politics and the lobbying industry – which is bad enough. But the temptation was evidently such that Davidson couldn’t even wait the eighteen months before she has said she would give up her seat.

Scottish Conservatives are still reeling from Davidson’s decision to eschew front-line politics for the joys of motherhood. But being seen to sacrifice – so publicly – the party interest for the overwhelming lure of lucre will only heighten the anger and disappointment felt by Tories at her departure.

Davidson’s tawdry attempts to defend her decision merely rub salt in the wound. She misses the point: it isn’t whether she is technically within parliamentary rules, but whether as a matter of principle, such behaviour is acceptable.

Davidson’s resignation as leader created a gaping hole, which Jackson Carlaw, for all his ebullience, cannot hope to fill. As it is, the party at Holyrood is at best a provincial side-show to Boris’ Brexit drama, with Scottish Conservative MPs already likely has-beens as every poll predicts their decimation in the coming general election.

Ruth’s lobbygate – before she even does a penny‘s worth of lobbying – not only threatens to put a final black line under her political career, but to overshadow her legacy tout court.

Credited, above all, with detoxifying the Scottish Tory brand, she has deftly retoxified it – or revealed, as many suspected, that the detoxification was no more than a trick of the light.

In the most excoriating op-ed, Holyrood editor Mandy Rhodes concludes:

“Davidson says capitalism needs a reboot but, in her greed, it is her that has stuck the boot into politics and hit bonanza time. Pure Davidson. Pure old-school Tory.”

Davidson’s former advisors and MSP colleagues must be shaking their heads. Is it a case of baby brain wrecking her judgement? Or is it that she thought renouncing the leadership would – or should – release her from the rules of the political game?

Or did she come to believe in her own exceptionalism? That her genuine genuineness, her puppy-dog likeability, her incredible success as a mold-breaking politician – her stardust, in short – meant she could get away with it?

After all, why shouldn’t she, a mother facing redundancy and with no independent wealth, mop up some of the financial opportunities thrown up by a political career? Her posher, richer male colleagues have been doing so with alacrity for generations.

Like some awful fairy tale, Davidson’s PR gift vanished the moment she tried to cash it in.

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