SCOTLAND is home to a travelling troupe of political opportunists who feed off our ever-increasing political sector. They are not front-line politicians and activists, engaged in trying to improve society by making legislation according to a set of values. Rather they have identified an entire field dedicated to the science of politics which moves in and around the actual world of politics without ever getting its hands dirty or committing to anything which might require deeply held convictions. They are always disdainful of the way that ordinary people do politics and always talk about restoring decency and politeness.

This political repertory company has no natural habitat but can often be found near those shadowy intersections where public money (directly or indirectly) and private equity meet. Some of them call themselves “think tanks”; others simply attach the phrase “public policy” on to their titles to make it seem that their work is important and its research is ground-breaking. It is neither of these but will offer a temporary home for out-of-work politicians and strategists to ensure that their CVs are not disfigured by unexplained gaps.

On Monday we got to discover the existence of another of these types of facilities. This one is called the John Smith Centre for Public Service and it resides within the august surroundings of the University of Glasgow.

READ MORE: Kezia Dugdale 'ready to quit Holyrood'

We now know of the existence of the John Smith Centre for Public Service, which resides within the university’s school of social sciences, because Kezia Dugdale is to be its new director on a hefty annual salary. Dugdale’s statement, which came with the announcement of her new role, is dripping with arrogance and self-entitlement. Along with the mission statement carried on the website of this political outfit it is emblematic of all that is wrong in the world of Scottish and UK politics. It is a meaningless job that advances the shallow credo that we must all be nice to one another. It will not create a single real job for a real person or address the roots of any of the real challenges that face modern Scotland.

Dugdale said: “Throughout my career I have taken on tough and challenging tasks, and my next task is to rebuild faith in our politics. Disruptive events and the rise of populism has led to increasingly polarised and emotional politics where rational, evidence-based thinking has lost its standing. Faith in public service, politics and the political process has to be restored and that progress must be sustainable.”

READ MORE: Wings Over Scotland v Kezia Dugdale: Sheriff rejects blogger's claim

It is a statement whose smugness and pomposity is mirrored in that which greets you when you check out her new employer’s website. “Politics has become a discredited and disrespected process,” it claims. “This acts as a huge disincentive to talented people choosing to enter politics. People passionate to effect change will go elsewhere, and we will all suffer as a result. We need to act now: it is critical to the social and economic wellbeing of our country that the most able and willing to serve represent us.”

The National:

Translated into no-bullshit English this reads: “Let’s all calm down and stop being nasty to each other. You won’t solve multi-deprivation, child poverty and health inequality by going on protest marches and shouting. These sorts of things will always be with us. Best to keep your voice down and train for a nice job in politics to ensure that Britain is protected from radical change. That way we all get to keep our nice second houses and find fancy non-jobs in places such as this.”

We’ll leave aside Dugdale’s recent track record in politics which included taking a holiday from her handsomely paid job representing a political party committed to combating inequality to crawl about in the Australian jungle for a reality television show. And then using some of her substantial fee to help with the purchase of a chi-chi property. And we’ll pass over her recent appearance at court where she escaped paying damages for falsely accusing a member of the public of holding a belief that in most cases gets you the sack from your job and a visit from plod. We’ll refrain, too, from advancing the uncharitable suggestion that her abject leadership of the Labour Party in Scotland partly contributed to it becoming irrelevant in public life, thus depriving the most needy in society of a powerful voice to combat the rise of hard-right Conservatism.

Instead, we ought to be asking if any authentic Labour politician should ever be associated with a grandiose facility that exists for the sole purpose of ensuring that we all pipe down and be civil in the face of the obscenity of inequality in a very rich country blessed with bountiful natural resources.

The Labour Party was formed more than a century ago to improve the lives of most of the UK’s citizens by campaigning for a more genuinely decent and caring society. These included free healthcare, better housing, the right to a good quality of education and the right to earn a reasonable living to help support family life. These were all strenuously opposed by the Tories and those who always stand to profit from the practices of that immoral party. In the 21st century the Tories remain tireless in their quest to make life as difficult as possible for the most disadvantaged people in our society. You do not defeat these forces by “promoting a positive vision for representative politics” (whatever that means) or seeking to avoid “disruptive events” as Dugdale would wish us to do.

Those who stand to gain the most from the bland and vacuous activities of the John Smith Centre for Public Service are the political elites who will always be fearful of raw and justifiable anger. It’s why they commit large amounts of money and effort on their former Eton fags and Oxford drinking chums who run the UK newspaper industry to ensure that manifestations of behaviour which they consider to be unruly are immediately slapped down. They do all this, of course, with the help of useful suckers like Kezia Dugdale and the John Smith Centre for Public Service. There is a reason why the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party is on the board of this body.