Fate has dealt Duncan Hothersall a cruel hand over the last eighteen hours or so. Deep down, he probably always anticipated that mystery man Richard Leonard would take the Scottish Labour crown, bringing an end to the branch office's resistance to Corbynism. But the news about Kezia Dugdale....well, it's a real Ramsay MacDonald meets the Chuckle Brothers moment for poor Dunc, whose idiosyncratic vision of "International Socialism" now lies in tatters. He hasn't been seen on Twitter since the news broke, and many suspect he's pondering a new career as a Spanish public prosecutor - something he can really put his heart into.
Scottish Labour leadership election result:
Richard Leonard 56.7%
Anas Sarwar 43.3%
I'm trying to decide whether that margin of victory justified the extreme 7/1 odds on a Sarwar win. Probably not quite, although it looks like the result was never in that much doubt, in spite of what we had been led to believe.
I'll be completely honest about this - faced with the very limited options available to them, I think Labour have made the right choice (just for once). We've seen enough of Anas Sarwar over the years to know that he would have been a disaster area, and that no-one would have taken him seriously as a potential First Minister. I thought Leonard came across reasonably well in the STV debate with Sarwar - it sounded like he was actually thinking about his answers rather than reading from a script, which is quite rare in this day and age. If he can keep that up when debating with opponents from the SNP rather than his own party, he might do OK...but that's a big "if". He seems to have exactly the same irrational rage towards the SNP that all of his immediate predecessors have displayed.
I saw Christopher Silver say on Twitter earlier that the "pro-indy left" will have to drop their "instinctive dismissal" of Labour in the light of this result - well, that rather depends on how serious they are about the "pro-indy" part of the equation, doesn't it? Leonard seems to be an absolute dinosaur on the constitutional issue.
It'll be interesting to see what the significance is of Leonard putting off any decision about suspending Dugdale for a few days. The expectation that she's going to be cut adrift is now so strong that it'll be hard to pull back from that, but on the other hand a few days' grace will give her a chance to actually appear on the programme and mutter "for the many, not the few" as she devours assorted insects. Maybe we'll hear some waffly excuse about how they can't suspend someone who may have been unwise, but who is nevertheless "reaching out to young people".
If she does go, it'll mean that the people who were leader and deputy leader of Scottish Labour in late August will both no longer even be members of the party just three months later. A totally unprecedented state of affairs.