As a spinoff from the hysterical Scottish media witch-hunt over last week’s piece on Neil Mackay, today we found ourselves listening to a podcast from last May by Courier editor Davie Clegg and former Scottish Labour branch manager Kezia Dugdale.
While it was obviously of personal interest, we had a specific reason for listening – we suspected it might contain some helpful information that our lawyers had been looking for (which as it happened it did).
But there was also something else really interesting that we weren’t expecting.
(We could in truth write a 10,000-word piece on all the hilariously one-sided, dishonest, ironic or flat-out untrue comments from both Clegg and Dugdale during the 45-minute episode, but you’d get bored and we’re going to focus on one in particular.)
At almost the very end (38m 40s), Clegg references an article we wrote after losing the appeal against the original sheriff’s finding. It mentioned the fact that Dugdale changed her “principle” about donating all her extra-Parliamentary earnings to Motor Neurone Disease Scotland, a charity championed by her best friend and former Labour/Better Together activist Gordon Aikman, who was tragically killed by the awful disease.
The change, which was made in the summer of 2017, meant that Dugdale trousered all the money from her appearance – which Labour had in fact refused her permission for – on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here that November, which would otherwise have gone (after tax) to the charity “as a matter of principle”.
That meant MNDS lost out on around £45,000 to fight the monstrous and incurable disease, which currently afflicts former Scotland rugby international Doddie Weir.
But Dugdale has never offered any sort of defence or explanation of why she did so – partly of course because a fawning Scottish media has never asked her for one, even during literally hours of airtime and many column inches in which she’s been allowed to give her side of the case unchallenged – a privilege never offered to us by anyone.
But on the podcast she does, and it’s startling.
(The Stooshie, 29 May 2020)
So in essence Dugdale is, remarkably, blaming Wings for the fact that she pocketed £45,000 that should have gone to MND Scotland,
Now, even on the superficial level that’s a massive lie, because the court case wasn’t costing Dugdale a penny – as she notes in the interview, all her legal fees were being picked up by the Labour Party and then by the Daily Record. But let’s take it at face value just for the sake of argument.
Because as we know, Dugdale won the case. She had no legal fees to pay. (We, in fact, are paying her legal fees.) So if she wanted to she could have given the money to MND Scotland then, when any threat of costs was gone.
But she didn’t. Because by that point – rather than holding onto it to pay any potential legal bills that might have arisen from our appeal, which wasn’t heard until April 2020 – she’d already blown it on buying herself a house, almost two years earlier.
Dugdale is very well paid for being the Director of the John Smith Centre For Public Service – her salary isn’t disclosed publicly but is widely believed to be higher than the £62,000 that she got as an MSP when she wasn’t off abandoning her constituents to debase herself in the jungle.
That’s a pretty tasty wedge, especially as she now lives with SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth, and therefore has a household income well in excess of £120,000 a year.
So we’re pretty sure that to help with the restoration of faith and trust in politics she could easily afford to donate £1000 a month to MND Scotland for the next four years to replace the money her conveniently vanished “principles” cheated them out of.
If she does, rest assured we’ll place our sincere approval on the record.