Tommy Sheridan’s fall from grace is not something that gives me any pleasure. Unsurprisingly, the left is pretty bitterly divided between those that are for him and those agin. Or maybe I shouldn’t have spent this morning look at some of the British lefty blog sites.
The whole sorry saga and court case doesn’t contain one iota of politics. I remember when Tommy emerged as a leading figure in Glasgow Pollok with genuine grassroots support. He defended the local community against bailiffs and became the most prominent personality in the campaign in Scotland against Thatcher’s hated Poll Tax. A movement, which was ultimately successful.
What has happened since then is just sad really and Tommy’s decision to sue the News of the World was clearly a mistake and has led to years of legal battles, all diverting from any political activity. Tommy’s political career could have survived the exposure of what was, after all, things that happened in his private life.
It seems to me that if there is anything to decipher politically from this whole sorry affair it is that in spite of railing against “Stalinism” Britain’s Trotskyist left consistently engage in the cult of the personality. I think this is actually more the case than with those who come from a political tradition that did once support Stalin himself. Certainly, this could explain the endless splits in the ultra-left where the differences seem rather more about the personalities than any substantial political issues.