A comment from Gregor Gall, biographer of Sheridan:
Comment: Real tragedy is the squandered credibility
The Tommy Sheridan narrative is a personal and political tragedy. For many, he was the pre-eminent “working-class hero” of his generation. He became the most widely acclaimed socialist tribune of the post-1979 period in Scotland when elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999. His clenched fist defiance at the swearing in ceremony became the defining and iconic image of the first Scottish Parliament.
Now that he is beginning a jail term for perjury, many of those who lionised him will now think he has regrettably become a “working-class zero” because he has squandered the credibility and support he so astutely built up for socialism. But, worse than that, he did so on issues that were not concerned with the fight for socialism.
His political career now lies in tatters. Electorates can usually forgive, if not quite forget, those who get caught out. But voters are usually less willing to forgive hypocrites and liars.
When he comes out of jail, Sheridan’s socialist message may still be the same but the willingness of people to listen will be very much diminished. For the radical socialist left in Scotland, this is the continuation of a fratricidal nightmare. While the position of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) on “Tommygate” may be vindicated, the party is but a shadow of its former self. It will not suddenly regain lost ground just because of the verdict.
Sheridan split the most successful socialist party in the post-war period in Scotland just when it had gained that most precious of commodities, a mass following. He wanted the SSP to lie for him. When it would not, he set up a rival but identical party – Solidarity.
The result was both parties were wiped out from having a presence in the Scottish Parliament. The electorate looked at both and saw them as a plague on both their houses. Sheridan fell along with the five other socialist MSPs. It has been said that this is the one crime Sheridan will never stand trial for.
For Sheridan, spending most of the past six years fighting former comrades and preparing for a perjury trial meant not only that he trained only a fraction of his firepower on the enemies of capitalism, neo-liberalism and the political associated with both, but he missed out on leading the attack at a time when these enemies were in their gravest crisis. This is the tragedy of Tommy.
Gregor Gall, professor of industrial relations at the University of Hertfordshire, is writing a biography of Sheridan
excerpted from here: http://www.heraldscotland.com:80/news/politics/brought-down-by-out-of-control-ego-1.1082219