Tommy Sheridan: From Hero to Zero?
By Gregor Gall
In Scotland, Tommy Sheridan scaled the political heights, achieving something quite remarkable. He became the best known and most widely respected socialist leader in the post-war period. As a radical socialist, Sheridan became the second most famous living Scot. He was an icon and a voice for the voiceless. He led the Scottish Socialist Party to its historic breakthrough in the 2003 Scottish Parliament election, gate crashing its way into the political mainstream. But in a very short space of time, the achievements of a lifetime were thrown away and all the progress put into reverse. From being jailed for fighting Thatcher's hated poll tax, he ended up back in jail for committing perjury. The supreme irony is that Sheridan landed himself back in jail as a disgraced socialist at the very time when he was most needed to help lead resistance to the Westminster government's public service spending cuts following the crisis of neo-liberalism. He was not there to help turn it into another poll tax revolt. Why did he throw this all away? Was it, as the media alleged, because he was an egotist, delusional and arrogant? Was it because, as he alleged, he was stitched up by an unholy alliance of the state, News International, and his former comrades? This biography tells the story of the socialist who had it all, but who was attracted to risk like a moth to a light. Tommy Sheridan always played for political high stakes, but only on the basis of strategic calculation.
Publication Date: 2/29/2012