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.