The strange Steven Purcell saga is a private tragedy for the man (tragedy in its Aristotelian definition, of course) and his fall is huge. What I have found most distasteful, though, have been the reactions of his Labour Party colleagues. Brown, Murphy and Gray refused to pay any tribute to him as he left office as leader of Glasgow Council and the statement today after he left office as a councillor was made by a party spokesman rather than by a named politician, there is still nothing on Scottish Labour's website giving thanks of any kind to Mr Purcell (although there is a childish jibe at George Osborne), he got a passing mention from his erstwhile deputy who has temporarily taken over the reins at the council and some more fulsome praise from Alex Salmond, but nothing from senior members of his own party. Indeed, Labour members seem to be keen to get themselves into the newspapers telling him to divulge details of his personal life.
I don't think that his expensive PR team and lawyer have been useful to him throughout this and he must have a huge bill to settle with them for all their services, but he shouldn't have needed to lean so heavily on them at all. Whatever Mr Purcell's tragic flaw that has brought him to this end, he should have had support from his party and from his party colleagues - they seem, instead, to have been intent on doing him down.
There are people now saying that the public have a right to know the details of Mr Purcell's health, a right to know why he resigned. No we don't. We have no right to his personal information, no right to rake through his private life, prurience does not equate to the public interest. The administration in Glasgow might take a look over the decisions he made recently, just to check that nothing went awry but we have no right to probe into his private life - he was not owned by the public, he was employed by the public. I believe that the newspapers will be carrying more bad news for him tomorrow, news unconnected to his resignations. In a week his life has been turned upside-down and dropped on its head.
I find myself in the unusual position of feeling some sympathy for a Labour politician. By all means examine what his decisions in office were and whether they were good, but leave the man alone. He'll be needing time and space and the support of friends to recover from whatever he has been suffering. In the name of common human decency, leave the man alone.