our interview today with Labour frontbencher Kezia Dugdale will surprise many people both inside and outside Holyrood.
This is a young woman who is going places. Voted into parliament while still in her 20s, she has been widely talked about as a potential future leader of the Labour Party in Scotland. She still is being talked of as a possible deputy to Johann Lamont’s successor. Bright, a good communicator, with the common touch – and one of the few politicians to shine on the Better Together campaign – it is easy to see why she is so highly regarded.
Some will consider it unwise to rule herself out of ever standing for the leadership and to talk about her ambitions to forge in the future another career outside of the Scottish Parliament.
The ironic thing though is that it may yet serve to increase her stock. There are few things the public like more in a politician than to believe that they are not out to climb the greasy pole.
Will voters see her declaration as refreshing honesty and welcome the fact she clearly appreciates that there is life outside the parliamentary chamber?
There is food for thought too for her colleagues as they contemplate how the Scottish Parliament might work in future. How concerned should they be that one of the parliament’s up-and-coming stars does not see her long-term future at Holyrood? It is natural for someone who has achieved a lot at a young age to have broad horizons – and perhaps we should not worry too much about that.
It is worth considering though whether there is anything that the Scottish Parliament might change to make itself a more appealing place for young people, and especially young women, to work. The Edinburgh parliament has always rightly prided itself on being a more welcoming and inclusive place to work than Westminster, but it must not rest on its laurels. We want more able young people in our politics, not less.