Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Has Tommy Sheridan Made a Fool of Himself?

In a democratic counter revolution, Brother Tommy Sheridan was evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother house this evening. In an interesting interview, Tommy admitted he did it purely for the money (law degrees don't come cheap), and mused about the balance of forces in CBB. He more or less outed Coolio, reveled in the house machismo, and is absolutely unapologetic. And he plans to stay in touch with Coolio, Verne and Terry, which could mean Solidarity socials this year might be a touch interesting.

The main question is whether Tommy, Scotland's most famous socialist, has been damaged by his Big Brother experience. On the surface, I would say no. Yes, he did prance around pretending to be LaToya Jackson. Yes, he did dress up as a pepper pot and a toy car. He didn't do his anti-sexist credentials much good. But compared with the car crash that was George Galloway's stint on the show, Tommy has come up smelling of roses. At times the Sheridan charisma was able to shine through and, in all, he acquitted himself as well as anyone could do in a show that thrives on pathological behaviour.

Will his antics on reality TV have harmed Solidarity, and the left as a whole? Again, probably not. As Mark Perryman of
Philosophy Football noted in the Sheridan discussion on Socialist Unity, Tommy's habit of wearing their shirts has generated a lot of interest in his company. Maybe, just maybe, a few CBB viewers will be googling 'Tommy Sheridan socialist' and will read the entries that come up. Who knows, some might even be introduced to socialist ideas on that basis.

But on the other hand, you have the effects of the celebrity game. Most will probably see Tommy as interchangeable with any other celebrity, despite his
CBB billing as a politician and socialist firebrand. At worst those who may have supported Solidarity in particular and socialists in general in the past might now views us as no different as the establishment clowns.

Time will tell.


The Sentinel said...

I can't really see how this guy would have embarrassed your 'solidarity movement' when he was he merely acting as a private citizen. Even as one who admitted being motivated by capital gain.

I must admit I didn't watch very much, but from what I did see he didn't really include much politics in his 'act' - except maybe to malign the US after the inauguration speech, and at every opportunity before it.

What was striking though was his very fast submission to the human - indeed natural - hierical pecking order of society, albeit a small enclosed one, and the erosion of his expected ideological stand against contemporary ideas of misogonism; and very real misogynism involving much talk of 'bitches' and 'whores' and 'pimps' - his 'sisters.'

And what was even more striking was his attempt at maligning the leader of this pecking order and the main protagonist of this misogynism with an 'outing' within minutes of leaving his pecking order behind - something he didn't have the bravery to broach whilst in company.

Robert said...

Interesting, not.

Eddie Truman said...

You mean apart from confirming himslef as a sexist moron the minute he opened his mouth. Perhaps that doesn't count as a negative in sections of the left these days.
The biggest negative for Sheridan is that he couldn't have picked a worse time politically, and I found it curious that this is missing from your narrative, given that a mass movement took to the streets in protest at events in Gaza.
In Scotland there was a mass mobilisation that brought thousands out on the streets;
Sheridan missed all of this because while the bombs rained down on Gaza he was, by his own admission, lining his pockets by appearing as a clown on reality tv.

skidmarx said...

"At worst those who may have supported Solidarity in particular and socialists in general in the past might now view us as no different from the establishment clowns."

When Lisa Simpson finally succeeds in persuading Krusty the Klown to return to his day job, it is by pointing out that he is more respected than all the teachers [and some other profession I forget] in the country.

I think you're generally right that he did alright. No great embarrassments, perhaps to much pandering to sexism. I'm surprised you didn't reference Ulrika's “Jag Har En Stor Kuk" remark.

Maybe he wouldn't have had to "line his pockets" if SSP members hadn't gone to bat for the News of the World. I can't be sure of the truth of the whole matter (I did find Kevin Williamson's account interesting and disturbing), but I think Eddie Truman's contribution cannot be viewed except in the light of a pre-existing anti-Sheridan bias, he couldn't now do anything to satisfy you.

Anonymous said...

He outed himself as a non socialist long ago. A sad caricature more to be pitied than scorned.

The socialist movement must learn to exist without self appointed trotskyist messiahs like Hatton or Sheridan

Cat said...

i watched it despite myself and he wasn't as awful as I thought he was - in faqct I even laughed a few times. Totally over my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, so that's positive. But I found him really boring, a bit of a prick, sexist and didn't put much effort in. Has he damaged his "socialist" standing, well I think that's damaged already.

CWI and SWP are embarressed off him, in three weeks work he recuperated 4 years salary he donated from his parlaimentary wage, he earned nearly tentimes that of a home help's annual earnings.

Skidmarx can you see the irony of comparing Sheridan to a clown?

Just glad he off the telly just have to avoid the Now and Heat magazine for a few weeks however I recon he has planned to join the Z celebrities, so it might be a few months. I agree with Anonymous I think the tanned one is to be more pitied than chastised.

"Pandering to much to sexism" really is not a ringing endorsement of a socialist, is it? Or is it?

Eddie Truman said...

Ah, dear skidmarx, I read what you write in several places and generally agree with it.

"I think Eddie Truman's contribution cannot be viewed except in the light of a pre-existing anti-Sheridan bias, he couldn't now do anything to satisfy you."

My partner was personally questioned by Sheridan while under oath in the Court of Session, the highest court in Scotland, about the details of her relationship with me.
So, yes, you're right.
Sheridan is a turncoat, a judas.
He built his fame on the militant working class and our struggles, cashing his dividend in when he needed it.

Highlander said...

Never really liked him and, although I didn't watch it, his CBB appearance hasn't improved his standing in my eyes.

I've always found him worthy of distrust which has been compounded by his vaguely orange perma-tan and the fact that he is from Glasgow - not the sunniest of climes. A guy I used to work with knew him and was much less forgiving.

Has his appearance harmed the Left? Probably no more nor less than the bickering that occurs on Socialist Unity from time to time. We need action underpinned by ideas - not celebrities or their endorsements.

skidmarx said...

I'm suggesting that you needn't be so abusive to clowns, and that your response is somewhat predetermined and unlikely to be typical of those who've had less involvement

I'm also suspicious of perma-tans. And with his and Galloway's appearances, do you think that people will think socialists are boring people who never drink?

Cat said...

I think its oK to be abusive to clowns and about them - they really give me the creeps and freak me out? Does anyone else have this experience?

And the point I often make, though it is slightly extreme is, Fred West was liked by his neighbours! And Dennis Neilson was a contact for Militant and the SWP! HOwever others had a predetermined view of them e.g. their victims! One of course does not negate the other.

Renegade Eye said...

In the US we don't have a C list celebrity, who get on such a show.

Renegade Eye said...

In the US we don't have a C list celebrity, who get on such a show.

Madam Miaow said...

Disappointingly dull and safe. I was surprised to hear more politics coming from Terry than Tommy — Terry's bubbly rap about Irish and Scottish names which spontaneously turned into a potted history of Northern Ireland was genuinely engaging whereas Tommy's tub-thumping was just phoning it in.

Somehow Terry seemed much brighter, more imaginative and sparky than I'd hoped from the Man of the People.

I also noted how he was down on Michelle and Ulrika while chumming up to Coolio despite lip service and half-hearted attempts to prove his anti-sexist credentials. I think the public vote got it right.

Benjamin Solah said...

If a socialist on Celebrity Big Brother lifts the profile of socialist politics, he lifts the profile to that of a joke.

Lobby Ludd said...

"Has Tommy Sheridan Made a Fool of Himself?"

He went on Celebrity Big Brother. Of course he made a fool of himself, that's the whole point of the programme, 'celebrities' demeaning themselves at the whim of the programme controllers.

It says something about the egos of Galloway and now Sheridan that they think they can rise above the well contrived bollocks that is CBB.

Mick Hall said...

Whether Mr Sheridan made a fool of himself is not the point, the real question is did he make a fool of those comrades who supported him, in some case not once but twice. I suppose we will have to ask them.

His argument that he did it for the money is pretty thin gruel, as most socialists of his ilk claim they cannot be brought. Still we all have to eat but sometimes supping from such a table is not wise.

I only saw a bit of the show but along side Terry ? he did seem an empty vessel and very insincere and sexist to the core. Why the need to be a smart ass and out the American, a two year old could see where the guy was coming from, but that is show business. Sheridan must have been aware of the damage he 'might' do to Cooleo's career. Not good.

For me there is an even bigger issue here, maybe I am just an old fart but do we on the left really wish to endorse such mindless TV by appearing on it, should we not be setting our bar just a little higher.

Our people in the main cannot get on the main news but it seems the door is always open for the most vain amongst us so they can portray themselves as greedy nincompoops.

When the capitalist media says jump, we do not have to reply how high nor how much?

Veteran of Israeli embassy protests said...

When I was stuck inside a freezing police pen outside the Israeli embassy in London for several hours on January 10, I thought of Tommy Sheridan on CBB.

My thoughts would not be printed by a family blog.

Phil BC said...

I see the Sheridans are going to be hauled into court to answer the perjury charges after all. That's another one of my new year's wishes dashed on the rocks of disappointment. Cue another round of ugly bloodletting later on this year.

Lobby Ludd said...

These matters are no doubt sub-judice, so I will make no comment re the case other than ask the question - do you think that more 'ugly bloodletting' is sufficient reason for silence?

Phil BC said...

Seeing as last time round the UKLN and leftyblogland became an unpleasant place to be, I would say yes. I won't be commenting on the case until it is safely over.

Anonymous said...

he was boring on big brother - but he could have done something worse or been humiliated far more, so in a way he didn't tarnish the left too much!

i think we all would have to agree that going on a tv show like that when mass demonstrations were taking place against war, and the economic situation worsened and people lost their jobs, was idiotic and selfish to say the least. he should have taken the opportunity on the outside and been building the solidarity party and promoting socialist ideas.

is tommy on the way out of politics? will he be a lawyer or a z list celebrity in a few years time?


Veteran of Israeli embassy protests said...

ks - Regardless of the trial outcome, I don't think he has much future in left politics. He has been thinking of himself, and only himself, for some years now.

Mick Hall - "His argument that he did it for the money is pretty thin gruel, as most socialists of his ilk claim they cannot be bought." TS does give the impression he will do anything for money and/or media exposure.