The SNP’s newest councillor has been criticised over a £600 “telephone and ICT” expenses bill.
Anne McTaggart, who defected from Labour to the SNP last week, incurred costs nearly fifteen times higher than her colleagues…
McTaggart was a Labour MSP between 2011 and 2016 before she was effectively deselected by party members.
– Paul Hutcheon, 6th November 2019
So sayeth Paul Hutcheon in his ongoing Saga of the Evil Provost, as serialised in the Daily Record. I have highlighted the curious phrase “effectively deselected.” Deselected would suggest a fairly matter-of-fact presentation of the process: that the membership was unhappy with Ms McTaggart, & undertook the established deselection process: effectively deselected, on the other hand, suggests that her deselection came about by somewhat less conventional means. I wonder if anyone could elaborate on that?
Well, Mr Hutcheon covered this in 2015.
SCOTTISH Labour leader Jim Murphy is considering reforms to his party’s selection procedures that could effectively sack weak MSPs and replace them with fresh talent.
Several party insiders said Murphy was sympathetic to ending the system of “protected places” for Labour List members, in a bid to attract new blood.
Nearly 60% of Labour’s MSP group were elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011 on regional lists.
Existing re-selection procedures mean that, subject to passing a ballot of local members and unions, sitting list MSPs are guaranteed the top places in Labour’s rankings process. Party members must settle for spots lower down on the lists.
In Glasgow, if sitting MSPs Anne McTaggart, Hanzala Malik and Drew Smith get through their ballot, the top three places on the list go to them.
– Paul Hutcheon, 11th January 2015
Scottish Labour have announced their list candidates rankings for May’s Holyrood elections.
With the election taking place through Additional Member System (AMS), there are two types of candidate, constituency and list. Given current polling, and the near wipeout in last year’s general election, it is expected that the vast majority, if not all, of Labour’s MSPs come May will be elected via the the lists.
The candidate shortlist was announced in December, and was the largest ever for the party – with 106 people competing for the 56 places. Party members finished voting earlier this week, and the full results were officially announced today. Turnout was 62%.
Under new reforms brought in by former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy, only the leader Kezia Dugdale and deputy Alex Rowley have places secured at the top of their region’s list. Each regional lists is also ‘zipped’ along gender lines, to try and ensure a more equal gender representation.
1. Anas Sarwar
2. Johann Lamont
3. James Kelly
4. Pauline McNeill
5. Bill Butler
6. Patricia Ferguson
7. James Adams
8. Soryia Siddique
9. Paul Martin
10. Samantha Ritchie
11. Hanzala Malik
12. Anne McTaggart
Now the “effectively deselected” comment becomes clear: Ms McTaggart was selected on the Glasgow list – but placed so low that it seemed extremely unlikely post-General Election 2015 that even a third of their list MSPs would be elected (in the end, only the top 3 made it).
Exactly what Mr Hutcheon meant by “effectively deselected” is undoubtedly up to the reader. You could say, justifiably, it is simply shorthand for saying “members did vote for her, but because 11 other people got more votes than her across the board, there was little possibility she would be elected at all.” The exact same could be said of the other 8, who were also “effectively deselected” by the membership despite the membership actively voting for their placement. Given the party were celebrating their “largest ever selection,” it seems logical that Ms McTaggart’s placement was simply an unfortunate result of superceding by much more popular candidates (wheesht youse)
You could also say – again, I think justifiably – that Mr Hutcheon’s use of “effectively deselected” without clarifying the process of the “effective deselection” could be interpreted by readers as suggesting that members, one way or another, made the active decision to ensure Ms McTaggart was not selected through means other than the formal deselection process – that she was so profoundly unpopular & unwanted by the party membership that they actively sought out a way to remove her from public office. This is, of course, entirely possible, given we know how the party can be about their own elected members. I’m sure you could argue that the party membership didn’t want Ms McTaggart returned at all – I note that Mary Lockhart, one of the most prominent supporters of Scottish Independence within the party, was also placed at the bottom of the list (Mid Scotland and Fife) – but then, if she was truly that unpopular, why would the party settle for “effective” deselection when they could just have ensured she wasn’t on the list at all?
Ms McTaggart is the latest in a line of politicians from other parties who have joined or voiced their support for the SNP since the 2014 independence referendum – a former Lord Provost announced her support for the SNP’s Stephen Gethins last month alone. It isn’t up to me to say what was in Mr Hutcheon’s heart when he used the adjective “effectively” in conjunction with “deselected” (and “sacked”). But hopefully he’ll update his article to clarify to any readers who reached the second conclusion. It’s just that using the term “effectively deselected” for a candidate who, in fact, by definition, was selected without explaining the qualification could lead to confusion on the reader’s part.