Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Purcell and PR

The news that Steven Purcell has hired his own legal and public relations team following his decision to stand down as leader of Glasgow City Council has reportedly raised some eyebrows. Indeed, this does not stand well with the fact that he has resigned from his position for stress-related reasons and has been hospitalised, as reported on tonight's Reporting Scotland.

However, given the character of today's media and the image-conscious (obsessed?) nature of today's politicians, in Mr Purcell's defence it could be said that in this regard he's merely a victim of the environment rather than cynically attempting to retain his perceived status as Scottish Labour's perhaps pre-eminent rising star.

Of course, it's the political milieu of spin, accusation and the resultant response that's the main driver here, and the recent Gordon Brown bullying allegations and counter claims ably demonstrate how it's so difficult for politicians to escape this cycle, and how it's equally difficult for the public to get to the truth of such matters.

In Mr Purcell's case, there was some early speculation on the internet that he may have been stepping down to stand for a Westminster seat and that the stress issue was being used as some sort of pretence. Quite what the logic of such a move - which would surely have been just a tad transparent - would have been is anyone's guess, but presumably such a cynical interpretation of the events of the last 24 hours will now have been replaced by a more measured perspective.

But while the speculation over his long-term future in Scottish politics is perhaps a more legitimate debate, in the meantime it's surely more appropriate to take what Mr Purcell says at face value and also to wish him a speedy recovery.

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