Thursday, 20 December 2007

Supporting Tommy Sheridan

In 25+ years of being a socialist, like most activists in recent times in the West, I have not really been required to sacrifice or risk much at all. A bit of money in terms of financial contributions over the years and some of my time. There has been the odd occasion of fairly low level physical danger in anti-fascist activity, but much more frequently, a large dose of boredom in dull meetings.

However Tommy Sheridan, who has been charged this week with perjury, is no stranger to run-ins with the law. He has been arrested and detained several times – most recently in connection with the anti-nuclear protests at Faslane. And of course he served six months in prison for his part in the Anti-Poll Tax campaign.

Which is why it leaves a very bad taste in the mouth to read the relish with which many so called fellow-socialists and activists have greeted his current problems from the comfort and safety of their laptops.

Are they really so sectarian or naïve that they imagine for one minute that Tommy Sherdian faces prosecution for any reason other than his political stance and his temerity in suing the Murdoch press?

Personally I don’t particularly like Sheridan’s style. I also have some issues with his politics. Do I think he lied or acted stupidly to cover his 'indiscretions' ? Don’t know. Possibly. Probably. Do I really give a toss ? No.

But given the choice between the Strathclyde Police and the News Of The World on one hand and a rare socialist representative who has been prepared to put his liberty and his money* where his mouth is – there is no dilemma at all in supporting Tommy.

* Tommy has donated much of his salary and expenses to the movement over the years - to back up his electoral promises to live on an average worker’s wage.

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