Monday, 4 February 2008

Time to fall on your sword Wendy

“I am confident that I will be exonerated of any intentional wrong-doing when we finally get the Electoral Commission's report."
- W. Alexander, 3 February 2008.

In addition to the Electoral Commission’s investigation into an illegal donation (which, it should be said, came to light in November), the Scottish Parliament’s Standards Commissioner Dr Jim Dyer has reported the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland to the Procurator Fiscal for not publicly declaring donations in her register of interests as a Member of Scottish Parliament.

So, under investigation for breaking the law once, and having been referred to prosecutors for a second breach of the law, what course of action has the esteemed leader of the largest opposition party in Scotland followed? Amazingly, Ms Alexander has managed to break the law, admit doing so, blame others, claim its only a distraction, claim it was "unintentional" and deny that she will resign.

Now, I’m not a lawyer or a judge (and for sure not as sober as one) but there are a couple of things which strike me as odd here.

1) If you admit that you’ve broken the law – intentional or not – you must still face the consequences of that. “Aye sir, I did sir, but I didnae mean tae m'laud” is not a defence.

2) If you are going to blame someone else for it – and I agree that Charlie Gordon is culpable to a great degree for the Jersey donation – then make sure that the person you blame is going to accept the blame and resign.

3) To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to deal with one dodgy donation is unfortunate. To get into a bigger mess about declaring donations might be considered careless. It might also be considered criminal.

It’s time to accept responsibility for your actions. It’s time to show that you know you’ve done wrong, that you are sorry for your actions – however intentioned they were. It’s time, Ms Alexander, to resign.

Scottish politics will not be ill-served by your resignation. It has been ill-served by your leadership of the Labour Party.


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