The Scottish Press are running for the high ground. Articles are printed and pulled within hours.
We now know that Steven Purcell was riding ‘high’ as befits a Labour high riser on Thursday night when he joined Gordon Brown at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow for dinner. Who knows what was on the menu? Who knows which other guests created so much turmoil and stress in young Steven’s mind that by Friday morning he was telling Labour colleagues that he was quitting. Surely not being in the presence of Gordon?
Curiously, it was only some Labour colleagues who were party to the news that he was quitting, for on Friday morning he also had a meeting with Labour MSPs who were completely unaware that Steven’s star was about to crash, they noticed no difference in him.
By Saturday morning his family were ‘alarmed’ and persuaded him to spend some time at Castle Craig, the celebrity centre for Drug and Alcohol Addiction.
As Monday dawned, the Glasgow Council’s in-house team of PR specialists had drafted a press release claiming that Steven had gone to Castle Craig for help with a ‘chemical dependency’. By Monday afternoon, the high powered Glasgow law firm of Levy & McRae had detailed Peter Watson to quash such scurrilous rumours.
‘Chemical Dependency’ – perish the thought. There are, after all, other reasons why people go to Castle Craig. Hmmn. Like Alcohol Dependency – but there was no attempt to quash this rumour. Perhaps because, unlike Cocaine, alcohol is still legal.
A new PR team was appointed in place of the cack-handed in-house team, and now we have a Mr Irvine of Media House, cautiously admitting that Steven had been to Castle Craig – but by Tuesday he had ‘been and gone’ and was now back home with his family.
A four day cure for a dependency? This is miracle country. Castle Craig is a high profile clinic with some unusual cures on offer – one of which famously involves learning to talk to horses in order that they can be made to carry out simple tasks, which may have made a welcome change for young Steven from talking to asses all day, but could it really cure his problem in four days?
I think a more likely reason for his swift departure is the determination with which Castle Craig follows its policy of expecting total truth and honesty from clients, particularly politicians, in order to face up to their problems.
Listen to Castle Craig Director Peter McCann talking of Charles Kennedy’s problems:
“We also read today, about the inappropriate way that Liberal Democrats covered up on their former leader’s alcoholism. This is a typical response we see throughout industry and institutions when members of organisations try to cover up for their sick colleagues. It is quite disgraceful that politicians weld so much power while addicted and when their judgment must be warped. This applies to all political parties. Addiction must be confronted at all times and “tough love” applies to politicians just as much as to doctors, lawyers and family members. “
Does that sound like the sort of expert, Steven, a man who has spent so much time and money obscuring the truth of his problems would appreciate finding himself in the care of? Truth and Honesty? That’s more stressful for a politician than dinner with Gordon Brown.
No wonder Steven high tailed it out of there.