I was tickled earlier to see the characteristically inventive line of defence that Scottish Labour's one-man online presence Duncan Hothersall was using in an attempt to insulate his party from the Robert McNeill scandal. He claimed that it wasn't actually true that a Labour politician had urged people to vote for the Tories to keep the SNP out - because McNeill "isn't a politician". I pointed out that this seemed to be a case of if all else fails, let's redefine the meaning of the word 'politician'. But then I really started cracking up when Duncan, who is just as senior a Labour official as McNeill, replied by saying "Robert was no more a politician than I am". I said that I wished I could have seen him attempt to keep a straight face as he wrote those words, and urged him to stop speaking about poor Robert in the past tense.
Duncan was furious by that point, and severely scolded me for my tone of frivolity -
"He's been forced to resign. He is personally very hurt. It's not in the least bit funny. It's very sad."
I have to say that, on reflection, I think Duncan has a good point here. Although it's true that Robert McNeill has brought this on himself by breaking Labour rules, that doesn't change the fact that he has just suffered an immense personal tragedy. Being a non-office-holder of East Lothian Labour party is a terrible cross to bear, as those of us similarly afflicted can readily testify. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Robert and his family as he attempts to salvage something from the wreckage of his life.
Light a candle
Light a candle with me
A thousand candles in the dark
Will open our hearts