Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/6726

Posted on 2 January 2009 at 0:00 GMT

Tommy Sheridan in Celebrity Big Brother

The appearance of Tommy Sheridan in Celebrity Big Brother will have disappointed many people who know of his role as an uncompromising fighter for the interests of the working class over the past 25 years. The Socialist Party/International Socialists/CWI shares this disappointment. We believe that Tommy's decision to take part in CBB is a mistake that will damage his standing in the socialist movement and among many class conscious workers, trade unionists and young people.

At a time when capitalism is being engulfed by the most serious recession in more than 70 years, with a cascade of job losses and attacks on workers rights, Tommy's involvement in the so-called "celebrity" edition of the Big Brother programme will jar with many.

Tommy Sheridan, members of his family and other leaders of Solidarity have undergone an unprecedented witch-hunt over the last two years. The police inquiry into alleged perjury following Tommy Sheridan's 2006 civil defamation victory over Rupert Murdoch's News of the World has now cost well over 1 million and has used up thousands of hours of police time in this politically motivated vendetta. Like other socialists and working class fighters before him Tommy Sheridan has been a target, inspired by the hatred of the capitalists and their mouthpieces in the right-wing media who will stop at nothing to try and effectively destroy an individual who has opposed their class interests.

Seven people including Tommy have been charged with perjury and are still waiting to hear if a trial will take place almost one year after being indicted. The consequences financially for Tommy and his family have been dire. It has proved impossible to find paid work and undoubtedly these difficulties and other associated financial pressures have played a key role in his decision to take part in CBB. We understand these pressures but it would have been better, via the large support that exists in the socialist and trade union movement for him, to find an alternative solution. When the Liverpool 47 councillors were surcharged and banned from office for the "crime" of standing up for the people of Liverpool in the1980's an appeal to the Labour movement raised more than 100,000.

Tommy Sheridan as a spokesperson for Militant, Scottish Militant Labour, the SSP and now Solidarity and has been a thorn in the flesh of big business and the capitalist establishment for many years. He played a leading role in the momentous anti - poll tax struggle of the late 80's and early 90's that culminated in the removal of Margaret Thatcher from power. Tommy was subsequently elected from his prison cell to Glasgow Council in 1992 and then in 1999 to the Scottish parliament where he served as a socialist representative on a workers wage for 8 years. He took on and defeated the News of the World in a defamation case in 2006 and is still by far the most widely recognised socialist in Scotland. Our opposition to Tommy taking part in CBB was because this largely positive view of him as an anti-establishment fighter by big sections of the working class could be undermined by his involvement. George Galloway's reputation has still not recovered politically from his appearance in CBB in 2007.

It is true that CBB will get a large TV watching audience. But this programme is widely criticised for its format which seeks to denigrate and humiliate those who take part while revelling in and encouraging personal clashes and conflict inside the BB house. As a platform for advocating socialist ideas it is a fruitless exercise as to all intents and purposes political views are almost always edited out before broadcast. This is in keeping with the big business interests that dominate the production and corporate sponsorship of the programme. Moreover, the tabloid media and especially the Murdoch press - who are still involved in legal action against Tommy Sheridan - will probably devote a huge proportion of their newspapers to covering CBB and will clearly have already marked out Tommy Sheridan as public enemy No 1.

The International Socialists/CWI have worked alongside Tommy Sheridan in the building of Solidarity since its launch in 2006. We, with the support of the CWI and its sections internationally, have been to the forefront in defending Tommy Sheridan against the vendetta being carried out by the Murdoch empire and sections of the police and legal establishment. Despite our differences with Tommy over this issue we will continue with this vital campaigning work. It is to be hoped that this episode will not be a barrier to the plans to take a broader left initiative in 2009 involving leading figures in the trade union movement in Scotland as part of the urgent task to strengthen the voice of the working class and socialism. We will strive might and main to ensure this does not happen.

Capitalism is being exposed as a reactionary and brutal system before an audience of hundreds of millions internationally. The murderous actions of the Israeli ruling class in Gaza which has produced an outpouring of anger across the world also proves the utter dead-end that capitalism and imperialism means for the poor and the oppressed internationally. 2009 will see the best opportunity to build the forces of socialism that we have seen for many years and it is to that task that we need to turn all our energies to in the months ahead.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Tommy Sheridan:

triangleCoulson case collapses amid stench of hypocrisy

triangleA parting of the ways with Solidarity

triangle'Political awakening' continues in Scotland

triangleScotland's referendum: A working-class revolt

Socialist:

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

triangleTwo in five 'right to buy' homes now for let

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/12/17

Haringey

Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

14/12/17

Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

13/12/17

London

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

13/12/17

Fracking

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

13/12/17

Devon

Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

13/12/17

Miners

Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

13/12/17

Bradford

Bradford campaign to save children's services launched

13/12/17

South London

South London health bosses' cover-up

13/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite day of action against blacklisting

13/12/17

Brighton

Brighton victory

13/12/17

Newham

Newham anti-academies strikes

13/12/17

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

12/12/17

Woolwich

Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2