AW ah’m interestit in is an easy buck; an syne this hale writin business is no aw it’s cracked up tae be, ah’m thinkin aboot applyin tae be leader o Scottish Labour. Ah’m the perfect candidate, if ah say so masel. Ah’m white, ah’m male, an if ma hair’s no grey yet, the Accies’ll no be lang turnin it that wey. Fair eneuch – ah’ve no got ony experience, naebody’s ever votit for me, an ah’d need plenty o trainin on the job. But jist cause ah’m overqualified disnae mean ah shouldnae get a fair shout.

Politics, like fitba, is a results business; but it’s lang been unnerstuid that, in baith professions, there’ll ayeweys be a wee coterie o white-haired, grey-suitit eminences whase faces jist happen tae fit. Alan Pardew. Mark Hughes. Nae maiter hou mony clubs they leave in tatters, they’re never lang in waitin for the gravy train tae loop back roond. Mair lives than a cat, but nane o the charisma. Professional euthanisers o ither fowk’s dreams.

Richard Leonard’s shapin up tae be mair o the same. Aye, we’re aw fed up o style ower substance in politics nouadays. We could dae wi some politicians that arenae bothert aboot hou they leuk. But Leonard cams ower as bein sae crucially lackin in self-awareness that ye hauf expect him tae come trauchlin intae FM’s Questions wi his shirt hingin oot an a length o toilet roll danglin oot his trooser leg.

It’s mebbe harsh tae lay the blame for Labour’s current strauchles at Leonard’s door, raither than wi a pairty leadership that’s makkit shuir its membership never hae better choices for high-heid-yin than plastic figurines like Jack McConnell an Jim Murphy. Kezia Dugdale micht aye hae cam ower as somebody strauchlin tae dae an impossible job. But somebody that’s visibly strauchlin is somebody that’s at least tryin. There’s a swan-like serenity tae Leonard as he skites ower the surface o things that’s kind o unsettlin tae watch. When Dugdale went aff a cliff, she kent the grund had went fae unner her. But when Leonard daes the Wile E Coyote bit, he disnae even leuk doon. He jist keeps joggin alang, aw the wey tae the verra bottom.

But whit really gets tae me aboot Leonard is that, for aw his proclaimed socialism, he’s never angry aboot onythin. Austerity has near eneuch bitten this kintrae in twa, but still Leonard sits there smilin placidly, like a hauf-drunk uncle that’s been planked in front o The Great Escape on Christmas Day. Every noo an then a wee flash o fury flits across Jeremy Corbyn’s glesses, like he’s a supply teacher that’s jist heard a whoopee cushion gaun aff, but ye cannae imagine Leonard ever lossin the rag. He’s like a Hitchhiker’s Guide tae the Galaxy parody o total detachment, a man in a burgundy dressin goun staunin in his front gairden wi a cup o tea in his haun an a leuk o faint interest on his face as the bulldozers plough through whit uised tae be his livin room... For ony politician that’s meant tae be on the side o wirkin fowk, there’s plenty tae be fizziin aboot, an a wee bit anger would be an appropriate reaction tae whit’s gaun on.

See, like mony independence supporters, ah’m fae a Labour-votin faimily. For aw its associations wi Winnie Ewing, Hamilton (in aw its various parliamentary permutations) wis a safe Labour seat when ah wis growin up there, the stompin grund o crabbit wee trade unionists like Bill Tynan an Tommy McAvoy. An tae see Laird McAvoy noo, roondin up the barflies at the Hoose o Lairds, gauns some wey tae explainin why fowk in ma faimily, an mony ither faimilies like thaim, widnae vote Labour again if Gordon Broon cam tae their door on his hauns an knees ... which is jist aboot whit it’s comin tae.

But whit ah’m sayin is – ah scrieve this as somebody that’s fundamentally sympathetic tae whit Labour uised tae staun for. Ah respect the institution, at least, if no the current bourach o toerags an snake-ile salesman that are joyridin it aroond the schemes o Broxburn. Ah see masel as a socialist, an ah’ve dyed-in-the-wool Labour-votin pals that ah agree wi on 99 per cent o the issues. Coorse, the ither one per cent includes some awfy muckle airticles o interest... But the Labour voters ah ken richt noo are like the Night’s Watch fae Game o Thrones, a desperate, leaderless people, mannin the waws for the final staun. Labour, in this kintrae, could verra weel die – or warse, live on like the soulless things ayont the Waw, a shamblin zombie naebody’s got the hert tae put oot o its misery. But ach, ah suppose the LibDems never did me ony hairm.

Still. Ah ween the mair important question is whit the fate o the Labour Pairty’s got tae dae wi the likes o us. Weel, that is a tough yin – especially seein as it’s hard tae merk oot a single meenit in livin memory whaur Labour were the gemme-chyngin force they mak oot tae be, raither than anither bunch o warmongers an careerists up tae the eyebaws tae corporate interests an media maisters.

Weel ... mebbe that IS hou it maiters, exactly because the faw an faw o Labour is sic a pouerful metaphor for oor broken democracy. Thoosands o weel-meanin citizens turnin oot for a fairer warld an gettin hee-haw in response. Thoosands o wirkin-cless fowk giein a leg up tae yin o their ain, anely tae be trampled unnerfit in the mad rush for ermine an MBEs. Whit’s wrang wi Labour richt noo is, in a real sense, whit’s wrang wi the hale kintrae. Mebbes the hale warld.

Leonard is a safe pair o hauns at a time when Scottish Labour need onythin but. The anely thing that can save thaim is the active embrace o danger, an openness tae risk. An if politics really wis like fitba, the answer tae aw Labour’s problems wad be starin thaim richt in the face. A high-energy leader wi scores tae settle, time on his side, an plenty o tap-tier experience. Available on a free transfer an aw, which is Labour’s price point richt noo.

It cannae happen, ochone, but ah dout maist o us wad pey guid money tae see Alex Salmond’s Audi roll up at Scottish Labour’s trainin grund, like some 21st-century reboot o Brian Clough’s 44 days at Leeds United. But we live in strange times, an Willie Rennie is still in a job, which goes tae show ye that onythin can happen in Scottish politics. Alex Salmond tae Scottish Labour wad lea Mo Johnston staunin, yet there’s nae dout that a transformative figure in the Salmond mould is the anely thing that can stap Scottish Labour fae sinkin intae second-tier irrelevance.

For the sake o oor democracy, that’s something ah widnae want tae see, thoosands o awready disenfranchised fowk stuck votin for their second choice, or mebbes no votin at aw. The global rise o right-wing extremism has cam aboot as a result o fowk wha feel pouerless an excludit fae the political process – an if that disnae describe the average Labour voter richt noo, ah dinnae ken whit daes. A Scottish Labour that genuinely representit the interests o its voters wad shuirly be a force for guid in the warld, an in oor pairliament. But ah dout that’s a bus we’ll be waitin tae cam a lang time. A lottery ticket wad be a better investment richt noo than a fiver on Richard Leonard tae be First Minister.

Harry Redknapp wance said lettin his best player awa on international duty wis like watchin somebody drive his Lamborghini aff a cliff. That’s no faur aff hou ah feel aboot Scottish Labour. It’s no the job o the rest o us tae dae onythin aboot it, an mebbe we widnae even if we could. But when Keir Hardie an a hunner years o Scottish history an Scottish socialism are bein set tae the torch by a gaggle o shysters jist for the insurance money – when the reid flag disappears aneath the icy waves, an anely Captain Leonard is left there on deck salutin, a leuk o blissfu calm on his pus – it seems like regret is the anely appropriate reaction. Regret an – jist mebbe – a wee touch o anger.