The Trouble with Tommy

tambbThe trouble with history is that it has a habit of repeating itself.  The trouble with Tommy Sheridan is that people either don’t understand why he is dangerous or have chosen to ignore that fact.  We can’t let history repeat itself and we will not ignore the fact that Tommy Sheridan is dangerous.

If you’re wondering what’s brought on this repeat performance of our most notorious party piece, it’s the fact that some in the independence movement still seem keen to carry a torch for a man who’s a political pyromaniac. We could go into the finer points of the latest stooshie, but why bother?  It’s mainly just the kind of misogynist morons you’d expect to defend their own, defending their own.

In an attempt to justify the unjustifiable – being in the same room as him – we’ve witnessed a familiar pattern in which history is rewritten, his abusive past is glossed over and people are being misdirected towards misunderstanding.

This piece is not to address any of the unrepentant evil bastards, who willingly inflict Sheridan on others, fully aware that they are promoting an abuser. This is for those people who don’t know the full extent of what he has done, what he’s capable of and why it’s not OK to be associated with him.

“What’s the big deal?”

Over a period of over a decade, Tommy Sheridan was sleeping around while he was SSP leader.  When he pumped a journalist from the News of the World, she wrote about it.  Tommy fessed up to the party Executive and asked if they would allow him to remain as leader while he constructed a sham libel case, deliberately misled thousands of party members about what had happened and made sure his image as a family man wasn’t tarnished.  The SSP declined, saying the public cared more about politicians lying than shagging and didn‘t want to be needlessly dragged through the courts to defend a false image of someone’s personal life, which no-one in the party or the wider public gave a fuck about.

Tommy then set about destroying his circle of friends, his party and anyone who stood in his way, in a fruitless attempt to unshag loads of people, heaping bile on anyone who refused to lie for him or who refused to disregard the women he was becoming increasingly and publicly abusive towards.  He won his ill fated court action against the NOTW and split the SSP to form his own personality cult, Solidarity (which existed solely to give solidarity to him).  The lies he had told unravelled in a court case his pals and his party had warned him not to bring and in the end, he was convicted of perjury and served just over a year of his 3 year sentence.

tamcabal

Tommy. Bread. Contempt.

“Who cares who you sleep with?”

The women he slept with were forced to appear in court, to be publicly humiliated and called liars.  He conducted his own defence, allowing him to use the full powers of the law to compel women to stand in front of him and be shouted at and shamed, for daring to sleep with him.   This isn’t therefore about sex, it’s about abuse of power and abuse of women for political ends.

“His conviction was shaky”

Tommy was convicted by a jury because the evidence was clear. He lied, repeatedly, on matters large and small, in court, and lying in court is a criminal offence.  He “couldn’t remember” why his phone records showed that he had phoned each person in the group he had attended a sex club with, on the very day he confessed to doing so to the SSP Executive, (a confession he later denied making). He concocted a conspiracy – that the entire grassroots leadership of the SSP were plotting against him, to seize “control“ of the party (which neither he nor they had, since the party‘s policies were decided by the membership). He claimed he called a former sexual partner over 60 times to discuss Denmark’s “liberal attitudes to prostitution” and to discuss the Danish minimum wage, which doesn’t exist.  You couldn’t make it up – but Tommy did.  His tower of bollocks came crashing down. He was refused an appeal because there was no grounds for it.

tommyspin

The harder you stared, the more his spin looked like bollocks.

“He’s paid his debt to society”

It wasn’t society he fucked over (although it is pretty messed up for the “honest, left-wing alternative” politician who stood for the people, to lie to the people he represented for personal gain).  Along with the women he slept with and then demeaned, there were all his real allies – those who told him what he needed to hear, not what he wanted to hear – who he set the dogs on.  He destroyed a political movement which thousands worked tirelessly to build. Him doing time changed none of that.

“OK, well he’s done his time anyway…”

We don’t believe locking Tommy up solved anything because we don’t believe punitive justice works. This has been posted about by a Victorville accident attorney Emery Ledger explaining how, Tommy has yet to accept the responsibility for or make amends for his behaviour, he has yet to publicly ask his band of bullies to leave those telling the truth alone.  Worse still, he still blames the victims.  His real crimes remain unpunished, he has not been rehabilitated and is at severe risk of reoffending.  He is still a liar. And he is very capable of destroying movements.

tamscabs

Nae joy pal, nae joy.

“Regardless/irrespective of…”

Not an argument as such but worth a menshie.  If you understand what he has done and say “regardless” or “irrespective” when discussing Tommy, you are saying exactly that – you disregard and have no respect for women, other activists and ordinary punters who just wanted to create a better society, whose lives he destroyed. Have some regard and show some respect.

“But it was all just his personal life”

He shagged activists, people he met at meetings and people he encountered whilst being a politician, and then threw them under the bus.  It was his political clout and his abuse of power which allowed him to believe he could fabricate a web of lies to destroy ordinary people‘s lives.  It’s nothing personal, we’re against anyone behaving this way.

“He’s a good speaker ”

Being “inspirational”, “an orator” etc. etc. doesn’t mean you deserve to be handed power.  By elevating Tommy, we deny the opportunity to other people to have their say and develop, people who may be capable of listening as well as shouting.  The idea he is the only individual capable of whipping the servile masses into a frenzy not only underestimates the vast talent which exists in our political movements and in our communities, it completely derides the people we’re allegedly trying to reach, by saying they just need to be shouted at in the right way.  For a decade, the SSP used Tommy’s charisma and personality as a shortcut to power, it turned out to be a long road to a dead end.

tamshouting

Shouty shouty catching monkey: But do we need to keep aping the same failed methods?

“We need unity right now”

Unity never has and never will include everyone, quite the opposite; a movement which is open to racists for example, isn’t open to people of colour, a movement which is misogynistic isn’t open to women.  We need a movement which actually works to be inclusive, not one which merely manages to hang together by actively choosing to exclude “difficult” marginalised groups or those who challenge anyone who happens to be “in.”

Tommy’s history of building unity is as follows:  after his destruction of the SSP (which split into pro and anti Tommy factions after he shafted the grassroots leadership), he ended up in jail.  On his release, he set about involving himself in the movement against the Bedroom Tax, which split into pro and anti Tommy factions, after he shafted the grassroots leadership.  You can have Sheridan or unity, not both.

“Criticism is a gift to our enemies”

Tommy is a gift to our enemies, his entire history has been exposed. He’s also a master of “with me or against me” rhetoric.  If you criticised Tommy in 2004, you were with Rupert Murdoch, if you criticised him in 2013, you loved the Bedroom Tax and if you criticise him now, you must be in Better Together.

Caring about our movements enough to be prepared to be brutalised for the pleasure of speaking up doesn’t mean someone has switched sides, rather it means people want their own side to win so much that they are prepared to take the heat.

tami

Kinda hard to put the genie of truth/touring theatre back in the bottle…

“So we just need to win, no time for principles then!”

Good tactics are ones which win and Tommy is a proven loser & a massive liar-ability. We reject damaging, useless tactics, like staging a repeat of Tommygeddon.  With a massive gender gap in voting intention, the last thing we need is more men screaming at each other.

We might lose and we will always make mistakes but let‘s never make the same mistakes we‘ve already made before. If you want to screw up the political movement you’re involved in, AT LEAST be fucking original about it.

SHOUT! She'll soon come round!

JUST SHOUT AT HER: She’ll soon come round!

———————————————————-

Whenever you’re reading this, Tommy will be touring the country with his tiny gaggle of loyal fannies, driven in from suburbia to shout at working class folk about how great the world would be with him in charge.  Much as we’d love to stop this from happening, it’s beyond our limited powers.

What we can all do is make sure we never, ever allow him even a tiny amount of political power, while he remains an unrepentant abuser – that means no sharing of platforms, organisations, meetings, rallies, social media or oxygen with him, no exceptions.

The single most important thing we can do to deal with Sheridan, is to create a movement where his way of doing things is redundant.  As well as just thinking about who should be on the platform, we should always think about whether there needs to be a platform at all.  Do we need speaking tours and shouting – or would talking to each other, sharing ideas and organising from the ground up actually work better?

Rejecting top-down organisation, personality cults, unearned power, misogyny and abuse aren’t “nice to have” extras, they are the only way we can really build what we all claim to be fighting for.  Sheridan hated women having autonomy in the SSP, he hated that there was a movement against the Bedroom Tax which he couldn’t brand as his own, he hates that there is a campaign for a Yes vote that won’t be used a stepping stone to his re-election in 2016, when he’s legally allowed to run for office again.  In other words, Tommy hates independence.  So if you’re fighting for independence, you know that Tommy is trouble, trouble we could all do without.

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Further reading:

It’s time to drop the macho crap and listen to the voices of women on the left

The left has failed me

Beware the Ides of March…and “left-wing” sexist bawbags

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Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AThousandFlowers

Follow us on Twitter @unsavourycabal

 

31 responses to “The Trouble with Tommy

  1. Thanks for this, I think…

    I’ve always discounted the bad things I’ve heard about Sheridan because I’ve put it down to how much the right wing press likes to traduce left wing people who put their heads above the parapets; and I also think that you can have an interesting sex life without necessarily being a bad person…

    But, if what is said above is true (and I have no reason to doubt it, on the contrary) them I need to adjust my perceptions. Bullying a former lover in a court of law is a despicable thing to do; I hadn’t followed the story closely enough to know about that.

  2. This is awesome (not sure about the “gaggle of loyal fannies” though). The permatanned one was in my town last week and over 150 folks turned out to listen to his brand of pro-indy chat, not as many as our RIC branch attracted to our last event but at least double that of the local YES meetings. I suspect (and hope) that most who attended don’t know or understand the issues this blog post addresses. While we reject everything about Tommy we are not above acknowledging his (perceived) strengths, we just don’t think they come close to outweighing his enormous failures.

    • He’s got a crew Tricia! Not the people who go to hear him speak but rather a tightknit group of loyal followers who bully & intimidate their way around the Glasgow left

  3. His followers are all complete fucking bastards too. The mad bunfights on social media when Tommy tried to attach himself to the Bedroom Tax campaign were all sorts of fucked up, with all sorts of weird attacks on anyone that even suggested that Tommy isn’t PR gold, on account of being a convicted liar and a seriously dangerous sex pest.

    • The exact same thing happened a few days ago when I suggested having him as the Main Speaker at a Protest about BBC Bias might detract from the message.

      The organisers took to censoring any such opinions through deletions, and expelling people. It transpired that the protest was less about Journalistic Bias, and in the organisers eyes, only to be used as a Platform for Yes rhetoric.
      Ultimately it’s caused a rift in the Protest, which has resulted in multiple factions.

      Very unhelpful.

      • Aye, I was through in Paisley to see family and nipped along to the most recent anti-BBC demo. I was disappointed that so much of it focused on independence, rather than BBC coverage of independence AND Gaza AND all of the other issues that there is a clear lack of balanced reporting on. It seems just to be Yes speakers and Yes musicians. Nice event, good speakers, just not on topic…

  4. I’m so glad I found this. I used to think Tommy was the dogs bollocks until I met him. Me standing there with my 5 yr old daughter asking him about visiting Cuba and him checking me out from head to toe with a horribly pervy expression on his face and then taking my arm to lead me away somewhere. My look of absolute horror shut him down and he walked off, can’t look at the guy now. That in itself is not a big deal – so he’s horny, it’s the lying and bullying that are abhorrent. Perverting the course of justice is just so against everything he allegedly stood for and he crapped all over the sheeple like me who believed in him.and he shafted the dedicated people who had worked so hard to put Socialism forward.

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  6. I always had my misgivings about Sheridan. I could tell right off what kind of man he was and expressed my misgivings to my friend who was trying to get me involved in the SSP at the time. He persuaded me to join, pointing out the party was growing because of the unique ‘platform’ system that was helping to bring the jormally squabbling left together. I watched and helped the party grow to its heady, pre 2006 heights, but I always felt that Tommy was bad news. When he effectively crushed support for the party I was beyond furious, sometimes I hate being right.

    I’ve been thinking about his surprising, new, ‘altruistic’ move of encouraging people not to vote for him but to help the snp grow for independence. It’s a crock of shit. He knows ‘solidarity’ is going nowhere, and he wants to stimmy the regrowth of the SSP, spitefully. Secondly, I think he hopes loads of his supporters will join the SNP so he has a hope of worming his way into a position within an established and powerful Scottish party. It’s a cunning strategy, I just hope nobody falls for it.

    I strongly suspect Tommy Sheridan has a psychopathic personality disorder. He is very dangerous, politically if not physically. Not all psychopaths are physically violent, but they are all impulsive, manipulative and selfish, qualities Tommy Sheridan possesses in abundance.

  7. Yeah! Screw anyone that uses grassroots campaigns to promote their own political careers. Unthinkable that anyone attached to that whole sordid situation should be expecting activists in 2016 to work to get them elected. Very hopeful that the new generation can put these issues in the past. Surely, with all the sexism, abuse of power, bullying and secrecy that goes on (even on the left!!), progressive people can put forward new faces. Maybe young people. Maybe young female people? Maybe not Colin Fox.

    • I agree with your points but to say “anyone attached to that whole sordid situation” makes it sound an awful lot like a plague on both your houses.. we need to be clear that in the Tommy Sheridan situation there were people abused, and there were abusers. We need to put the blame where it lies with the abusers, Tommy and his enforcers, not shame the people who were forced into court to testify against him by his actions. A lot of those people were seriously seriously abused. “Involved” does not mean “complicit” and a lot of good people – especially women – were forced out of activism due to their involvement, and it was no one’s fault but Tommy’s

  8. That’s a marvellous dissection of this egomaniac! Sadly, many Scots still hold a candle to this man but he is very dangerous to any movement! I noticed when he got out the clink and jumped on the Yes bandwagon, that he was solely trying to gain a political soap box again. Many listened, unfortunately, and for the time leading up to the vote, that was fine but he needs to be stifled again. This man has no place in the hearts and minds of the Scottish people! He’s always been out for himself!

    • Erm, no coz he had sex with a NOTW journalist, meaning she didn’t need to hack his phone to know that. Just sayin’

  9. “trying to unshag” is a pretty good tagline.
    Need to ask you something – and I liked the article content and it has, pretty much, changed how I will interact with anything TS is associated with until I learn otherwise –
    So without prejudice –
    Excluding TS from one side of a multifaceted argument for his abuses/crimes etc I can understand. Let’s say 1000 flowers and associated cohort members continue to gain momentum for the forseeable future. Will there be a point where, with admission and the seeking of forgiveness (publicly?), TS would indeed be forgiven? What would be the conditions of that forgiveness?
    Liability yes, criminal yes, part of society…..yes. Do we all want a fairer society yes. Where do we draw the line? Our exclusion would feed the fire. Our inclusion leaves a bad taste. The division prevents progress for all.
    TS doesn’t seem to be the type to fade away with lack of attention, on the contrary,…if we detract from that type are we not encouraging growth of said type? It’s kinda like ignoring someone with a serious attention addiction problem…and he’s not gone away, he’s probably just getting started. And he’s the figurehead of part of our society.

    • It’s not for this blog to forgive on behalf of anyone more affected than us, this isn’t and has never been about us vs him. We called for restorative justice at the time and we still do, those calls remain unanswered and he continues to demonstrate his desire to be a danger to radical politics. So this issue still needs to be raised in these concrete terms.

      TS has always had a good face for radio, I’m only half joking about that. I’d always imagined he’d land a job as a talking head and leave actual politics alone, like Neil Hamilton or Jeffrey Archer and that’s most likely what he’ll do if he doesn’t get elected in 2016. We have to make sure he doesn’t.

  10. I completely and entirely agree with the comments raised here. Tommy will never be rehabilitated until he accepts that what he did was completely unacceptable. The actions taken by the SSP in refusing to collaborate with his machinations appear to be principled, honourable and entirely appropriate.
    That being said I will be in the Square tomorrow for two reasons.
    1. The YES movement needs to rally its forces to remind the working class, it’s allies AND the forces of reaction that it ain’t over till WE say it’s over.
    The forces of reaction will bend every effort to give the impression that its business as usual. We need to let them know that this is a pipe dream. Perhaps the other elements of the YES movement could ask themselves why they did not call this rally?
    2. The progressive forces in Glasgow that delivered the stupendous YES vote in the Labour heartland of Scotland need to be supported and reassured Glasgow belongs to them

    Let me remind my friends, I can listen to a comic singer without becoming a comic singer myself.

  11. I concur that in some (ok most) instances Tommy Sheridan has been indeed what one would refer to as….a prick, but I’m sure I just saw him call to the nation saying NOT to vote for him in the next Scottish General Election so as SNP can have a much greater impact on Parliament. Yes, before you retort I am fully aware this may be so that eventually he can be placed in power with his bulldozing once Scotland can decide for ourselves who should lead us. Like every other politician Tommy Sheridan uses rhetoric that is SUPPOSED to invoke deep feeling within us, whether we agree with the words he uses or not. But continuing to judge people for past behaviours is both unjust and unfair. All he did was shag a couple of people, lie about it (such being the nature of politics, he should just have came clean, he would ironically have gained more respect anyway) of which he was found guilty and punished for it. Our current government is destroying our country, repeat destroying. He contributed a fantastic amount to the YES campaign and for equality for the people of Scotland. And may I re-iterate I am not an SSP voter nor a fan of Tommy. While Barack Obama, David Cameron and the likes are still alive, then I shall endeavour to project my hate elsewhere and especially not at a fellow Scot, who in Scotlands desperate hour of need and in the face of a barage of media bias stood tall to support those who didnt have a voice.

    • He remains barred from standing in the 2015 General Elections, hence he called for an SNP vote – for entirely selfish reasons. He will however be allowed to stand in 2016.

  12. Reading this article made me really question my decision to talk at the rally Tommy Sheridan organized called Hope over Fear. After the fall of the Scottish Socialist Party I had never really trusted his intentions and already the event wasn’t sitting well with me. Then reading this and being reminded about how he treated the women that testified against him appalled me. It lead me to contact women for independence who informed they and radical campaign for independence refused to share a platform with him. Both of these organisations I really respect and the book “Scottish Independence a feminist response” has been a massive influence on me and has lead me to question many things on the equalities of women and has also lead me to have new principles. So in the end I decline to go and talk and felt much better about knowing I was sticking to my principles. So thank you.

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  14. Katie23

    ” All he did was shag a couple of people, lie about it (such being the nature of politics, he should just have came clean, he would ironically have gained more respect anyway) of which he was found guilty and punished for it. ”

    Seriously, did you even read the article or do any research on TS at all?
    He didn’t just shag a couple of people, he systematically used and abused women for years, decades in fact. Then, when the full extent of his activities were exposed he further abused those same women, forcing them to go to court and calling them sluts and liars, gold diggers and fantasists. Every single one of them. Yes, thats right. TS did nothing wrong, it was all a massive conspiracy against him. His ego wouldn’t and still doesn’t allow him to take any sort of responsibility for what he has done, so he determined that his own personal reputation was more important than a political movement and set about destroying it. How fucking dare they tell the truth about him after all he’s done for Socialism in Scotland! They should have protected him because he’s Tommy, the golden boy himself. He IS Socialism!!

    Now he’s attached himself to the YES campaign and is using his old tactic of conflating his own person with the aims of the party. There are a lot of people who don’t want him at rallies or making speeches, but if you dare to say so then you’re branded as anti independence or an agent provocatuer, or, worse, a feminist!! TS is deliberately using divisive elements loyal to himself to smear anybody who opposes him as a disruptive or dangerous element within the 45%, and he wants then expelled. Make no mistake, TS is less interested then the YES vote then he is about rebuilding a support base for himself, made up from apologists, misogynists or just people who aren’t that fussed about what he’s done.

    Scotland is a progressive country, and we will very likely see females at the head of the three main political parties in the near future. There is no place in Scotland for an unrepepentant misogynist bully and ego maniac like Sheridan. If the Tories had allowed someone like him to crawl back into political life we would be ridiculing thier disciplinary processes and making unfunny jokes about him. Think on that.

  15. Overall this article seems to be a clear enough summary of the whole situation and Mr Sheridan’s despicable behaviour, the consequences of which effectively destroyed a growing and successful socialist party built by lots of dedicated people over many years.
    As noted in a previous comment , some terminology used in the article is offensive to women, such as referring to a NOTW journalist being “pumped” by TS.
    I can only assume that a woman might feel further humiliated by this type of description compounding the feelings she may have around the original exploitative experience.
    People involved in campaigns, political parties, or groups that are promoting a core set of basic values ( justice, inclusiveness, respect, equality etc.) as part of their vision, are understandably expected to live by these values in their own lives. If a group is advocating for change in society based on these values , each individual must live by the same values . Every society is made up of individuals. It is clear that Mr Sheridan doesn’t have the required principles to be considered a socialist due to his consistent exploitative and bullying behaviour over many years, and his refusal to accept any responsibility whatsoever for his actions.
    He seems to have a nasty habit of leaving a trail of destruction in his wake, and many men and women, Socialists and non Socialists are still living with the negative consequences of coming into contact with him.
    People who have been bullied, mistreated and exploited deserve to be supported, not told to get over it and move on, whilst the person responsible is hailed as a great person and never held to account.

  16. great to see that most people see this guy for what he really is.
    i have no links to the left or socialism in any way but felt really sorry for those that really believed in it and were suckered by this convicted liar and then humiliated by him and his equally toxic wife.

    he tried to hijack the bedroom tax demo’s and now it’s the Independence bandwagon he’s attempting to get on…the guy has no shame or guilt and deserves everything he gets.

    sadly there are a lot desperate and gullible people out there who will go on believing his shit but thankfully they are getting fewer and fewer in number.

  17. I believe that TS involvement in the independance referendum a few years back was a disaster for the YES campaign, he would have turned many potential YES votes away, it was a massive blunder to give him the stage,

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