A Prosperous Future

Sean Lafferty on the difficult challenges of a work life balance.

Have you ever heard the story about the politician who struggled to find employment after their parliamentary duties had ended?

No? Me neither.

David Cameron is reportedly earning £120,000 per hour to provide audiences with “lessons in leadership” in global affairs. Similarly, Gordon Brown was paid around £75,000 for one speech that claims to give a “comprehensive view of complex issues”.

It’s no secret that Tony Blair has been raking it in from public appearances since his departure from No 10 in 2007. In addition to speaking to Holyrood journalists in Edinburgh about how he now finds it a “struggle” to vote Labour, he found time for a private meeting with former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson.

That 45-minute conversation, while being played down by Davidson’s office as being a regular part of her Edinburgh Central MSP duties, is being widely reported as a job interview for the head of the No campaign in a future independence referendum.

Anointing Davidson as the new face of the next anti-independence campaign makes political sense, particularly given she’ll no longer be busy with a pitch to become first minister in 2021.

The public is also unlikely to take issue with a sitting politician being sounded out for a similarly-aligned political campaign, but I’m not so sure that they will look kindly on a parliamentarian taking up paid employment in an additional part-time post that has little to do with her constituency or her party.

Davidson’s decision has already been denounced by public relations body PRCA, Francis Ingham, the PRCA director-general has said:

“It is simply wrong for lobbying agencies to employ legislators. The possible conflict of interest in doing so is clear, and damages the reputation of both our industry, and of the political process.”

There are already calls for her to stand down as a member of the Scottish Parliament.

Ruth will earn good money working for around a month a year for London PR firm Tulchan Communications, but is it really possible to do this side hustle without detracting from the service provided to constituents?

I doubt that and I’m convinced the people of Edinburgh Central were just an afterthought. Sadly this is becoming a trend by brazen politicians who cannot do the decent thing and wait until their term is up to find future or additional employment.

Catherine Stihler walked away from her role as a Scottish Labour MEP to become an organisation’s chief executive at a time when Scotland and the UK need its EU politicians the most. Similarly, Kezia Dugdale threw in the towel as MSP for Lothian, but not before taking sabbatical leave to appear on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

Ruth Davidson used her last conference speech to claim she will “never give up on fighting”, but this new financial adventure by the former Scottish Tory leader will only reinforce that well trotted out phrase that “all politicians are the same”.

If Davidson is forced to quit, I’m sure she’ll have plenty more well-paid job opportunities coming her way.

Comments (12)

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  1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    “Have you ever heard the story about the politician who struggled to find employment after their parliamentary duties had ended?

    No? Me neither.”

    A bit sweeping and condescending don’t you think and continuing the destructive narrative of the right wing media that there are no honourable politicians.

    In answer to your question, what about former Labour MP the late Mr Ron Brown? More recently, Ms Natalie McGarry has not had her troubles to seek, nor former Labour MP Mr Jim Devine. These three were, to a fair extent, agents of their own destruction, but, if we look at someone like former LibDem MP and millionaire, Mr David Laws, who was pretty dishonest and a major scale, regarding parliamentary expenses, but was dealt with as ‘one of us’, unlike the aforementioned Mr Devine or other MPs who spent time as guests of her majesty.

    There are genuine questions to be raised about how MPs can use their positions for personal gain, but please set discussion in an accuratecontext.

    1. Derek Thomson says:

      If there are any honourable Tories, I’ve yet to see them.

  2. Wullie says:

    For someone who has never as much as ran a wulk-stall, Davidson’s done well for herself!

  3. john burrows says:

    Astounding how this woman has glided through the political scene with nary an ill word spoken of her by the establishment press.

    She was a media creation from first to last. A front foisted on the electorate by a conniving press.

    Deerin, Farquson, Daisly et. al. will be busy sterilizing their commentary on her to reflect current reality. As for the BBC, they’ll be negotiating a new contract with her as we speak, as the ‘Voice of Scotland.’ I’m betting Sarah Smith will be looking over her shoulder.

    I wonder who will be the next poltical charlaton they will coalesce around in Scotland to champion this sorry excuse for a ‘Union.’

  4. Nick Kempe says:

    The way to deal with the two jobs aspect of this issue, is to extend the current limited right of recall to a general right of recall for all politicians where, if a certain proportion of voters in a constituency/ward called for a bye-election the elected representative would have to put themselves to the electoral test again. There would need to be rules about how often this could be done – limit to once in a term? – but it would enable voters to get rid, if they so wished, of elected reps who changed political parties, got second jobs etc etc.

  5. Graeme Purves says:

    I wonder what practical experience Ruth Davidson MSP can claim to bring to helping Tulchan Communications’ business clients “navigate a continually evolving public and corporate landscape”?

    1. James Mills says:

      For ”experience ” read CONNECTIONS !
      As always , it is not what you know but WHO you know that counts when dealing with the ”old boy’s club ” .

  6. Clive Scott says:

    When all is said and done it is pleasing that “the mooth” has finally admitted her many inadequacies to herself and that she would never realise her fantasy of being elected First Minister.

  7. David Allan says:

    The gravy train just won’t go away. All aboard for rewards and bonuses! what odds Dame Ruthie ?

    Obscene news on the day I hand in a Foodbank donation at Rugby Park .

  8. Wul says:

    15 years ago, when I worked part-time for the local cooncil, I had to fill in a form and get special permission from the boss to work 2 days/week in an unrelated trade.

    How come an MSP with a salary of £63,000 a year (and such a busy workload that they get a free office and P.A.) can waltz off and accept other work without any scrutiny or accountability?

    Is being an M.P. a part-time job? How many hours/week are they contracted to work representing their tens of thousands of constituents?

    Oh, I see. Because they are “right & honourable” we can always trust them to act in our best interests and not their own. Fair enough.

  9. Me Bungo Pony says:

    It seems that, because she is up-front about being in the pay of a lobbying group, Ms Davidson believes there is nothing wrong with the arrangement. However, I see little difference in the ethics of the situation between being secretly in receipt of £50,000 from people wishing to influence Parliament and being open about it. If anything, the latter is worse as it implies contempt for the institution of Holyrood and the role she plays there. Either way, she is in the pay of an external group wishing to influence Parliament while being an elected member of that Parliament and therefore in a “scandalous” position. That she cannot, or will not, see that reveals all we need to know about her character and “moral compass”.

  10. Bill McDermott says:

    The other issue relevant to this and so many other issues about our way of doing politics is that it is assumed that Tories can get away with this as part of the establishment. What would descend on the head of any other non-establishment figure if such a sinecure was offered.

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