Nine years ago I had never met Wendy Alexander, I had heard of her of course in the small world of West of Scotland Labour Politics, anyway she and I met and I agreed to be her election agent.
She was of course elected which was down to her far more than to me, and indeed others who helped, as we seemed to get dragged along in her slipstream. We came from different backgrounds and did not share the same political space in the party but we shared a desire to see Labour succeed and we decided to do our utmost to win.
I think of that time and compare it to a favourite movie scene from "all about Eve" the great Bette Davis says in anticipation of a stormy party beginning "fasten your seat belts it's going to be a bumpy night" I didn't know the half of it.
She was young, well educated and opinionated, just like my own two daughters, I took to her instantly and spent the next 9 years encouraging her, helping her and on some occasions trying to reign her in, again like my own two.
Candidates are always resented by some members for various reasons, more often than not it's because they didn't get the job, in her case this was compounded by the fact that she was a woman and she was young and confident, this was only among a very small group of older male members who were a bit stuck in the past, I'm proud to say I was never of that opinion.
Within a matter of days everyone, even the grumps were admitting that she was something special she won them over with a mixture of good humour, respect and most of all by being "first in and last out" she was quite simply the hardest working candidate I have ever worked with, she led from the front at all times and never shirked any job no matter how menial.
I'm proud to have been her agent on two further occasions where her majority went up both times. I was particularly proud of her when she stood up to the bullying from so called Christians and the campaign run by Brian Souter over clause 28, she showed more courage than some of the senior male figures in the party at the time who wanted to cut her loose, she won because she was right, she believed she was right and, she stood firm, she was prepared to risk her career by doing what her conscience told her was right, an unusual stance which marked her out in my eyes.
Today saw her resign as the result of a witch hunt that would have made Senator Joe McCarthy proud, a partisan campaign of poison by the SNP supported by the reactionary elements of the Scottish media, particularly the Herald which was once a decent paper, many of these people suffered from the same attitudes of the Labour "old grumps" mentioned earlier.
Following a year of the most vicious attacks which were on many occasions horrible and personal she was then stitched up by 'the spiv'
A non whipped committee saw the SNP members voting as a block while the others voted across party lines, this usually means that the decision is not to proceed and people are searching at the moment to see if this decision is unprecedented, this was Salmond's dark shadow coming into play.
Astute observers will note that this business could and should have been settled 2 or 3 days before it was but, the SNP chair delayed his decision until the last day of parliament.
Why did it take him 3 days to use his casting vote ? Well, by doing this he ensured that any sanction, in this case a one day suspension would not be carried out in this session. This meant that the whole vicious farce would continue through the summer recess and the SNP and the press would be able to keep pouring petrol on the fire, I predict a political future for this very typical SNP rising star, I wonder which user of the dark political arts came up with that one ?
I reckon it will be party time in Bute House. Some have already described this as scandalous but, I think it is typical of a party which puts on the ballot paper "Alex Salmond for first minister"
Throughout my time working with Wendy, which I will continue to do, I have found her to be honest, courageous and completely without malice.
I remain confident that she has a big part to play in Scottish political life, Scotland is not so well off that we can ignore the talent and commitment of people like Wendy Alexander.
Scotland slipped backward today, this was not about the good name of parliament or for the benefit of Scottish politics, Wendy decided that it had gone on long enough and it was getting in the way of what parliament should be doing, which is addressing the real concerns of the Scottish people and pursuing this sham of a government, it was a personal vendetta by the SNP and that guy who casts the big dark sinister shadow, he has shamed us again.