John MacDougall dies

Yesterday was not a good news day for Fife.

John MacDougall, the MP for Glenrothes, passes away and parts of Fife suffer severe flooding.

Sympathies must go to John MacDougall’s family and friends. Although suffering from a protracted illness – meosthelioma, an asbestos related cancer of the lungs – his death will still hit hard.

Gordon Brown, the MP for the neighbouring constituency Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said John MacDougall was a ‘good personal friend.’

The newspapers have been quick off the mark – as usual – with by-election speculation. The Guardian confidently announces the likely contenders.

In today’s 24 / 7 media its the old adage of ‘The King is Dead. Long live the King!’.

Its almost as if they are worried the public will just lose interest in politics, celebrity or whatever if there is not a constantly changing update of today’s story.

I’ll pause to consider two things.

Gordon Brown is now the acting MP for Glenrothes; as nearest MP from the same party – under the 1975 Recess Election Act – until the speculated by-election takes place. So would he campaign this time?

Under the terms of that act ANY TWO MPs can inform the speaker of a vacant seat and trigger the proceedings for a by-election.

Probably things washed over in the flood of speculation.

Where are those sandbags when you need them?

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