Monday / 25 November / 2019
Ruth Davidson is the guest speaker at Scotland’s annual fundraising lunch: By Georgia Edkins (Reporter, Scottish Mail on Sunday)
HUNDREDS of journalists, editors, politicians and public relations professionals from across Scotland came together for the Journalists’ Charity Scotland annual fundraising lunch last week.
The event, at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow and generously sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland, raised many thousands of pounds for the charity, which has been helping journalists and their dependants since 1864.
The much-anticipated guest speaker, former Scottish Conservative leader and MSP for Edinburgh Central Ruth Davidson, spoke of the important relationship between journalists and politicians.
After extricating herself from her party’s leadership to focus on her family in August – she welcomed her son, Finn, with partner Jen Wilson last year – Miss Davidson was able to speak freely about her life in politics.
Listing a number of funny childhood faux pas that had not yet been dug up by journalists, she said there was ‘a ball of tension’ that every politician carries made up of everything that you do not want to end up in the Press.
But, as a former BBC journalist, she said she would always support journalism and its funding – however frightening it was to receive a call from a political editor on a Friday night.
New challenges for journalism, such as the proliferation of social media, also present difficulties for politicians, Miss Davidson said.
At any moment, a piece of grainy camera phone footage capturing a youngster’s devil’s advocate discussion, for example, could later undermine the values a politician currently stand by – and be shared online in an instant.
She said there were incidents and accidents that are all part of real life that would simply not be tolerated in this social media age.
Miss Davidson implored journalists and editors in the room to be mindful of that fact, adding that we cannot ask for politicians to be routed in the real world if we punish them when they show real world tendencies.
She ended her thought-provoking, quick-witted speech by saying she had enjoyed being a journalist and loved being leader of the Scottish Conservative party – but was ‘terrified’ of having to find a ‘real job’ in 18 months’ time.
Speaking in a YouTube video filmed at the event, Miss Davidson said she recognised how difficult journalism could be, and explained why she supported the Journalists’ Charity.
‘I’m here today supporting the Journalists’ Charity because I’m an ex-journalist myself, so I know what a great and important job it is but I also know that it’s a very tough industry and sometimes when people leave the industry they can fall on tough times, or get into other difficulties too.
‘The Journalists’ Charity has existed for more than 150 years and it’s there to help – to be able to tell people, look, there is a hand up if you need it when you leave the industry. And that’s why I’m here supporting it.’
Our thanks go to the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow, who laid on a fantastic three-course meal for our 250 guests and to Jessie Cuthbertson from the St Columba’s School Pipe Band, who piped the top table to their seats.
A raffle drawn by former Scotland captain and BBC rugby pundit Andy Nicol saw prizes, including hotel stays, concert tickets, bottles of rare whisky and easyJet flights, won by guests.
Andy Harries, chairman of the Journalists’ Charity in Scotland, said: ‘My thanks to everyone who attended, and in particular to Ruth for her excellent and provocative speech, and to the Royal Bank of Scotland for their very generous support of the event’.
To pledge £1 a week to help journalists please follow this link.