Writings, photos, politics and rants... *Original content - may not be reproduced without my consent.*

Monday, 28 February 2011

Blessed

I wrote this in February 2006... originally it was HERE




Back in November, I wrote something that may seem a bit facetious.  “Poor George Best.  I hope he really did have as good a life as he used to boast – I hope the pain at the end was worth it all.”


George Best was another icon of my youth.  I was never interested in football, but I knew who George Best was.  I had grown up with the “Cookstown Sizzle” adverts he used to be on.  My dad is a huge football fan.  He played for various teams in his youth including Bangor , but had to stop because of injury.  “Georgie Best” is who every lad I knew wanted to be when we played our street games of football.  George Best was someone who even I could see was talented. 


I remember when I lived in Dunblane in Perthshire, a Basque friend and I had an all night drinking session.  After a boozy day in the pub we went back to the hotel living quarters we were staying in (we worked in the Stakis Hydro, now the Hilton I believe) with a few bottles of wine, a few beers and something to smoke.  I can pinpoint the evening.  It was 22 May 1996.  I can pinpoint it because it is in Best’s Autobiography, “Blessed”.  The BBC had devoted an entire evening’s programming in honour of his turning 50.  I remember my mate, Aitor, being amazed as we watched the TV.  He hadn’t heard of Best.  He was shocked that he hadn’t because the George’s football was amazing.  He watched, stunned, as footballers such as Pele recounted what they thought of Bests footballing skills.  Pele rated him as the best player in the world.  And what amazed Aitor even more was that he was from the backstreets of Belfast .  A little corner of the world renowned for things much more sinister than sport.


I think Best did have mostly a good life.  He had found a way to escape the pressure around him.  I think the guy was damaged by the attention he got as “El Beatle”.  He was a teenager when all of this attention started and he was part of the ‘60’s culture – though like most Northern Irish people caught up in that, he hit the booze rather than the drugs.  He went from the fifth Beatle, with their look and taste in clothing and with as fanatical a following, to an almost Che look alike in the seventies.  I think leaving his family at an early age damaged him.  I think some of the people around him, living off him may have damaged him.  But I think Best was ultimately a shy person.  He says in his book that he ran from things by drinking.  But I think Best wanted to embrace life and everything around him and the way he could do that was by drinking.  Without the drink he would have shrunk away from the highlife and the TV and the newspapers.  With the booze he could command a place in a circle of friendly fun.  I wonder who his heroes were?


I think one of the things about alcohol addiction is that it is not just physically addictive.  It also helps people relax.   Not just relax about what is happening around them, but also relax about themselves.  Personal shortcomings can be forgotten.  Who you are can be replaced by who you want to be.  It helps people act.  I wonder what the statistics for alcoholism in the entertainment business is? 


I think it is the relaxation part of alcohol that I am attracted to.  I like to sit in a pub with a few friends and blether unselfconsciously.  It isn’t a physical addiction with me (though I’m not denying that that is something that I would not be immune to).  I like getting outside myself.  In the past I have been on benders that are days long.  I recognise it when George recounts his mates saying they had drank as much as him – but him knowing otherwise.  I remember being at a party, for example, and waking up on the couch in a house where I knew the people I was going to have to talk to were extremely confident people.  I got up and sourced a bottle of Vodka and mixed it with milk and boy did the party continue!  I was about 21 at the time.


When I lived in Banbridge, County Down, I knew the all nighter pubs and by the time I left to go to Uni (at the age of 27) I rarely went out on a Friday or Saturday night and came home within 24 hours.  When I went to Uni, I found all night pubs in Stirling , though I didn’t need to as as a student, someone was having a party somewhere.  I think what saved me was hashish – I became quite addicted to that and I didn’t like to drink TOO much when I was smoking!  My alcohol intake lessened as my uni career developed and it dropped further when I met my wife. 


So George, there for the grace of God, Dog or whatever, go I.  I am definitely not as in love with the booze as I was in my twenties, but I guess I was falling for it again coming home from work on a Thursday or Friday looking forward to a 6 pack of Stella or a bottle and a half of red wine.


I will drink again, but gone are the 24 hour sessions.  Gone are the nights trying to find somewhere to continue the party.  Gone are the nights sitting in front of the telly until the drink was drank.


I don’t have the talent of George Best – the man WAS a genius in his youth.  I don’t have that talent to “squander”.  People talk of Best squandering his talent.  I don’t think he did.  His talent is there to enjoy now.  I wish Best hadn’t have died at 59.  I wish his death wish had not been so strong.  I wish he had have found other ways to relax his head. 


Go to the BBC site I have linked above.  Watch the videos.  Buy or borrow his autobiography, “Blessed”. Spend a few pounds on Itunes on the Colin Hay video, “My Brilliant Feat” – the song he penned about Best that was re-released after his death and in aid of a charity set up in his name.  And watch with a lump in your throat for the boy from Belfast .

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Destruction, decay and painkillers...

I have been off work after falling on ice just before the New Year.  I fractured three vertebrae.  One of the things that suffered during this time, was my walking.  I have tried to keep walking with the dog, but the pain afterwards is not so good, so walks tend to be short.
One of the places I love to go with the dog, is Mugdock Country Park, which is just five minutes up the road from me.  I decided that today I would give it a go, so loaded up on pain killers and off I went.
Mugdock is a place where it is difficult to take a bad photo.  There is just so many beautiful things and places.

One of the most beautiful things in the world is decay.  In cities, when old buildings fall out of use and are taken by nature, or brought down to make way for something new, I love to stop and watch or photograph.  This isn't destruction.  Decay is renewal.  It is some wonderful thing coming to the end of it's usefulness and making way for something new or better.  This is the same in the forest.  

I don't think the same of people though.  I feel that mankind must conquer death, as it is waste.


Mugdock has a good few old, decaying buildings, and some that have been given new life.  Craigend Castle may be beyond saving, though I like to think it could be rebuilt.  The ruin is slowly being reclaimed by the forest; by the dripping and climbing illuminescent green life.




Have you ever seen the film (fillum - I am re-claiming my Northern Irish accent), Avatar?  I have watched it once.  The scenes within the forest are beautiful.  The colours glow.  I really do believe some people are so alienated from the world, they believe the glowing colours of nature are only science fiction.  They aren't.  A walk in the Campsie hills or in the Narnia of Mugdock is Pandora.  Stopping, listening and looking, you can hear her speak.  





In the Park, there are a number of Lochs.  Today they were rain speckled and hazed and blurred. 





The dog doesnt really appreciate my stopping our walk to take a photograph or rest or look.




We are back in the house, dried off, dog snoozing in his basket.  I have my pot of coffee, more pain killers and flicking between BBC News 24 and Aljazeera.  The destruction of the tories shining through the flickering window.  

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Heartache...

I was speaking to a new friend in SL today who pointed me to her blog.  Mariyta is in a group called "Virtual Writers" - a group I joined before I drifted away from SL a few months back.

I touched base again with it last night when I invited members to come over to the SL demo in support of the Libyan people and this morning I thought I would ask in their group IM if anyone had blogs or knew of any interesting blogs I could read.  Mariyta sent me a link to her's.

I loved it.  Lot's of it is really dark.

One piece I read today (I haven't read the longer pieces yet), caught my eye.  It is called Heartache.  I really enjoyed it.  Mariyta told me it was part of a "Dash"- which is when someone in the group suggests a title or theme or a word and then people have a set amount to time to complete a piece on the theme.  Which makes her piece even more remarkable.

Anyway, I liked the piece so much, I wrote a "prequel" - which is better if you read Mariyta's piece first - so go do it HERE and then come back and see what this was all about (well - perhaps not what Mariyta thought - but it pushed me into doing a bit of writing, which i have been finding hard to do of late!)  It is a first draft... so be kind...

Heartache II

All those years ago and in the end, he defeated me.
….
I sat in the waiting area, watching her stand on tiptoe, reaching for the glasses on the top of the display for the customer. This elongated her ankles. Through the misty, stingy blur of my newly fitted contact lenses, my gaze followed the line from her ankle, up through the white, lab coat; the curve of her hip and straight back; her long, shining, conditioned black hair, and fell on her perfect, olive skinned face. I was in love.
She served the customer in her bright, attentive way and then came back over to me.
She stared into my eyes, intensely, and furrowed her brow .
“How are the lenses, Mr Fergusson?”
“Yes, fine Penny. Though my eyes must look like lumps of steak through poking them trying to get the things in!”
She laughed, her white, perfect teeth unselfconsciously and delightfully revealed. My heart jumped at her appreciation of my comment.
“Ok, come into the fitting room and I’ll take a look.”
I followed her in and sat across from her. She told me to place my chin on the little rest and she adjusted the big white machine and flicked off the wall switch beside her.
“Ok Mr Fergusson…”
“Hey, less of the Mr, I’m not much older than you!”
She laughed, this time with a wry smile.
“Ok, Richard…”
She knew this wasn’t my name.
“Richie,” I smiled back.
She leaned forward and stared through the lenses, her face no more than 50cm from mine. I held my breath.
“Look over my left shoulder… Richard.”
I harrumphed my mock disdain at her use of my filed name and flicked my eyes over, conscious of her gaze fixed on my eyes.
She turned the control wheels. I could hear her breathing. There was no other sound in the room. Just her and I, 50cm away from each other; her staring into my eyes.
“Now look over my right shoulder… Richie.”
I could sense her smile behind the big white machine.
Silence, wheel turning, breathing.
The light switched on and burned into my eyes. I pulled back from the beautiful machine.
“No scratches.”
She pushed the machine to the side and stood up.
“Ok, you should go outside and take a walk around for about twenty minutes and then we’ll take them out for the day. You need to build up the time you have them in, slowly.”
She opened the door and walked through.

I walked, dazed through the town. The cool air was a relief on my stinging eyes, though I never noticed. I was buzzing. I had to. I was going to.

“Thankyou, Richie, but I can’t! I’m going out with someone. Do you know Iain Phelps?”
I knew him. He didn’t deserve her.
“Just for a drink. A chat. That’s all.”
She smiled shyly and looked down at her appointments book.
She whispered, “I can’t!”
Her boss, the owner of the practice, came through from the big white machine room with his patient.
“I’m not leaving this desk until you agree to a drink. After work. I’ll meet you. We can go to the “Red Spot.”
“I… I can’t! Iain would…”
“One drink… and I’ll go.” I smiled across the desk at her.
“Penny, when you have finished with Mr Fergusson, could you help Mr Paine choose some frames?” Her boss looked over his half rimmed glasses, hand out, directing the small, hobbling ancient crisp of a man towards her.
She looked up and the smile flicked quickly to a sober, officious look.
“Yes, I will. Mr Fergusson is just about done.”
I whispered over to her, “I’m not going until you agree!”
She bent down to her appointment book.
“I can fit you in next Tuesday for a follow up…”
“I’m not going until…” I almost hissed.
Her eyes met mine.
“OK. One drink.”

We met secretly every other night for the next fortnight. She had to build up the courage to quit Phelps. She said she owed him a meeting. She had been with him for two years, but she said they both knew it was coming to an end. Exactly two weeks after asking her out she phoned me to come and collect her from outside his house.
When I pulled up in the car, she was crying. I opened the passenger door and she climbed in. She stared straight ahead and sniffed away her tears. I drove on. We drove for an hour long two minutes.
“Stop the car.”
I pulled over into a parking space beside the KFC. I looked down.  She took off her Claddagh ring, turned it around, slipped it on again and leaned over to me and I knew. She was mine.

About a week later we were sitting in her living room. I was wrapped up in her. She made me warm. I walked, cockerel proud to be with her. She made me happy. I wanted to make her happy.
The first strange thing was the phone call. She looked shocked and signalled to me. I knew it was Phelps.
“Why, Iain?... no… oh Iain, don’t. Please.” She started to sob and clicked her phone off.
“What is it? What is he up to?”
She walked over to the window and pulled the curtain back.
“Oh god…”
I looked over her shoulder. The small scrub of a garden was awash with colour. And then I realised what it was. It was absolutely chock-a-bloc with stuffed toys! Toys of all colours and type; giraffes, lions, teddies, hundreds of teddies and horses and monkeys... he must have paid a fortune for them!
“That’s just mental… I thought he was ok about it?”
“He has been phoning me. Telling me he needs me.”
I was panicking. What if she wants him now? This is either the most romantic thing I have ever seen or the creepiest.
She looked at me and must have saw the worry and pulled me close.
“Don’t worry, Rich. It’s over.”
The next day I gathered all of the toys up into black bags and took them to a charity shop. All I could think of was the desperate waste of the guy’s money. I actually felt sorry for him. She was beautiful and wonderful and worth fighting for, I suppose, but he must know it is over?

The next time I saw him, I didn’t feel as sorry for him.
We were in the “Red Spot” to watch a band. It had been a good night – the place was packed and the beer was flowing, the band where dirty. We had been sitting with some of my mates laughing and dancing to the odd familiar tune. Penny recognised a friend at the other side of the bar and went off to speak to her. I went off to the toilet.
When I came back, one of my mates signalled towards the bar. Penny was sitting on a bar stool and Phelps was shouting into her tearstained face.
I pushed through the crowd and just as I got to them, he turned round to me. I thought he was going to hit me. He looked wild. I looked at Penny. Her head was in her hands. He pointed at me and said something. I reacted instinctively.
I went for him.
We fell awkwardly against the bar, spilling beers and knocking against the shouting mass of people. He grabbed my shirt and I couldn’t get a swing at him. I felt as someone grabbed me, separating us. I wanted to hurt him. He just looked frightened.
The bouncer held me back and told me we would wait until Phelps had gone before I would be turfed out. Penny waited with me, holding on to me, sobbing in to my shirt.

The taxi pulled up outside her house.
“Oh no.”
“What’s wrong?”
“The light’s on.”
“And?”
“He has a key.”
“Fuck. I’ll kill him.”
“No – I’ll go in first. I’ll get him to go. Wait here.”
“Meter’s on, mate!”
“No problem, we’ll pay.”

I waited for about fifteen minutes. The Taxi Driver said if it was his girlfriend and her ex, he would be through that window. I paid him and went to the front door.
It was slightly opened, so I pushed it and walked in.
Penny was sitting opposite him, looking concerned. He was crying.
Pathetic.
To think I had felt sorry for him.
Then I noticed the walls… the blood. The broken mirror and glass pictures, blooded. I looked to him. His hands were dripping in blood. I looked to Penny. She was clean… it was his blood. I looked to the walls again. He had written I heart you in his blood. He had smashed the pictures and mirror with his fists. This was the last straw.
“You fucking bastard!”
I grabbed him by the collar. Penny jumped up.
“Richie, don’t!”
“I have to, Penny. This has to stop!”
I dragged him to the front door and down the short path to the main road. Penny didn’t follow.
I bent down and grabbed him by the front of his shirt.
“Look you fucking creep. It is over. She is with me now. Stop embarrassing yourself!”
His face twisted and contorted and he spat, “It isn’t over you stupid shit!”
I pulled him to his feet and still holding him, I pushed him back against the wall of next doors garden.
“If you annoy her again I’ll rip your fucking…”
He slipped from my grasp and ran towards the house. I made a grab for him and tripped. He ran into the house and the door slammed.
I ran to the door and shouted for Penny to let me in. I could hear shouting and screaming. He was begging her not to leave him.
“Let me in Penny!”
“Wait, Richie, wait!”
The shouting died down. I could hear mumbling and shuffling about.

The door opens and he is sitting on the settee staring at the wall ahead.
“It’s ok, Rich, he is going to go.”
I stare at him, rigid with anger.
He get’s up and walks towards me. He stops in front of me.
Penny comes over and wraps her hand around mine.
He looks down at our enlaced hands and looks up at me, sadly, and says softly, “I find it ironic that the hand she is using to hold you back from thumping me is the hand with the Claddagh ring I bought her.”

The psycho walks out and I never saw him again.

We only had one more incident, but through her email account. He wrote,

“Penny
I love you and always will. I do need you. I won’t mess up again. Hopefully see you soon.
Iain”

Friends say he was never the same again. She said he must have had the cancer while they were together. She said he had said, in the house, when I was in the taxi, that he was dying, but she hadn’t believed him.

How could she have been so callous? She kept asking…

I couldn’t compete with a dead lover.

After the funeral, she started to make excuses and I knew.

He had won.

Some of my fiction...

I once placed some of my fiction HERE

Monday, 21 February 2011

SL demonstrations

There was a rather impromptu demonstration in support of the Libyan people in SL today. I reported on it for SL Left Unity

Second Life Projects

I'm working on two projects for SL Left Unity. One, is to help in building a new "SLUNCUT", kind of based on the very successful UKUNCUT and it's campaign against the tax dodging billionaires and their companies (a new USUNCUT has recently been set up in the USA).

The other project I am working on is introducing a SLLU stream into our parcels with music and items of interest, but need contributions from other members. I need sound files of comment and suggestions for music - and would love original music by bands or singers or musicians from around the world to include on it.

I am going to create an experimental SLLU broadcast using podbean. I already use podbean for my work with my Scottish Socialist Branch, HERE

PLEASE, comrades on Second Life who are interested in either of these projects - contact me inworld via notecard or email plottracer@googlemail.com

Sunday, 20 February 2011

I'm not oppressed. I'm not an oppressor...

One of the most difficult things for people to realise is their chains when normality is chains. I think as difficult a thing to realise is that you are part of an oppressive system and that you are oppressing when your life is reflected in the normality around you.

How normal must the stitchers and shoemakers in India think their long hand gouging hours are for the few pennies that pays for their food and light. How normal it is for us to buy cheap throw away clothing to balance our books in order to pay the food and light companies who "need" to make bigger and bigger profits to ensure the billionaires can champagne toast democracy from their sun-soaked yachts.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Review - Thee Faction - AT EBBW VALE

A superb Album... I reviewed it. I hope you "get" it (and buy it!)

Click on the logo

Friday, 18 February 2011

Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

I have just finished reading the most amazing book on the USSR I think I think I have ever read.

(Not a recommendation to buy from Amazon - just a link to Look Inside!)

Most of what we read on the topic is either dry analysis or books taking the stance that this system was always meant to fail because of the inherent stresses within it. This book does show those stresses and dichotomies, but from the point of view of people actually living them. It also shows that the system was not always meant to fail - but that attempts to make it work were hampered by the bureaucrats and those who profited from it.

Not to spoil the book for you (and to give a dry analysis of it!) - it is a novel based on real events with people who existed as characters plus some fictional "composite" characters. It traces the history of "scientific socialism" and how people thought that all could be provided by a huge industrial monster really, a monster that had inflexibility built in-and hence the seeds of its own destruction.

The book traces the triumphs and optimism of the early system with output surpassing that of the USA, and the promise and ultimate failure of the Kruschev era, and the falling into Breznev stagnation.

The real sadness is that at nearly every part of the system, they believed it would work, but ultimately they were hampered by bureaucracy and bureaucrats and people who decided that the "greater good" was to defend the failing system by denouncing those who could have fixed it as dissidents etc- and worse, even in Kruschev's day resorting to shooting striking workers. It shows the difficulty of emerging from the Stalinist era of austerity and forced work, to one of openness and plenty. It also shows the corruption of those at the top and in the middle who like in all political and economic systems, control and walk over others in order to hold on to their bit.

The characters are not the cartoonish USSR era people we see with in other writing and representation of the period nowadays. All are in some way part of their system - even the dissidents want socialism to work but are hampered by those who are profiting from the system - or are simply afraid of change. Discussion, debate and experimentation closed down by "correct line" argument.

This book gives a view of the Soviet Union in a way that the West has analysed and presented 1950's-60's USA. It is a place of hope and a place were people lived out their lives through struggle and through political and personal discourse, not all marching to the Stalinist or McCarthy-ist drum beats.

"Paradise is a place where people want to end up, not a place they run from. what kind of socialism is that? What kind of shit is that, when you have to keep people in chains? What kind of social order? What kind of paradise?" - Kruschev 1968

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Tweets! I've got the Coffee Jitters

I entered a competition to win Tesco vouchers and coffee on Jane Alexander's blog, DIARY OF A DESPERATE EXMOOR WOMAN. I'll come to the Tesco bit of that later...


The competition is to "Simply tell me what your take is on coffee – love it? Hate it? Uber-snob or anything goes? Oh, and give me a reason why you'd like to win (go on, make me feel better about my crap life - gimme your sob stories!)." Enter HERE

I forgot to tell her why I would like to win. Hopefully this exchange of tweets will put that right -

@exmoorjane (Jane Alexander) Ha! Loved your rant... :) Shocking that a socialist entered such a capitalist sell-out comp! Kinect comp not finished yet.

(Me) socialists need to feed their teenagers as well... :)

@exmoorjane ain't that a fact! Just that I used to work in a co-operative where one would have been shot for the T word.

(Me) aha.well-as I live in an area surrounded by a tripartite of moral dilema (M&S, ASDA & TESCO)I have decided the other 2 are worse :)

... anyway - this is my desperate entry...

Coffee is the drink of Gods. Very fidgetty and almost cocaine nervy Gods if you are like me and drink 5 expresso every morning before work. It will shape the world- and has done already.

Coffee will be what changes this world, totally. It, along with twitter and facebook have completely transformed how and when we communicate. I have spent nights re-tweeting the Tunisian revolution, the Egyptian revolution, student sit ins and the up coming Scottish revolution. None of these changes would have been possible without coffee, twitter and me. Coffee, sometimes Cuban, will have us Glaswegians out storming the City Chambers at 3.36am, all paley-wally and panda-eyed (watch out for the tweet).

The brown stuff, the ground stuff, the fidgetting around stuff- coffee, with a small tray bake or scone, is all the mover and shakers of this world need to move and shake. My car moves Tron like across the motorway, utilizing small spaces between cars to deftly "ride that 'jam"- rush hour driving skills that have been bestowed upon me by the eight cups of mahogany rich, cigar smoked, south American elixor of mad driving. I rarely crash.

A day without coffee is a day under the covers, curtains drawn, head screaming and stomach churning. I need my fix. My ducking and diving reduced to treacle like wading under water with a pair of gators on and heavy chains weighing me down. No revolution will be won by my caffeine withdrawal.

But here's the rub. Should someone shove a handful of caffeine in an insipid brew such as tea or Coke or (dry boaks) Irn Bru... in front of me when I am sweating and retching my call for my addictive drink, I would throw it at them. Coffee is more than it's drug (though caffiene free coffee might as well be tea) -it is an experience beyond wine tasting. It awakens the taste buds; the brain synapsis and will awaken the youth and the revolutionaries typing insanely over their laptops at 3.36am.

Vive la revolucion!

(pushes the plunger on the cafetierre and retweets someone extolling the virtues of small caramel covered traybakes in Milngavie... nom nom...)

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Red Mist Blog

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Tommy sheridan (or who framed Rampant Rabbit) HERE

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Solidarity/Galloway

Galloway to enter another marriage of convenience HERE

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Sheridan Trial - summary of post conviction commentary.

Why I take Tommy Sheridan with a pinch of saltBy John McKie on Feb 1 2011 HERE

A Very Public Sociologist comments on Sheridans conviction HERE

Tommy's Place in History HERE

Gail - don't stand - Lesley Riddoch HERE

SSP's Colin fox and Solidarity's Graeme McIvor on TV (Politics Now) HERE

SSP's Frances Curran, George Galloway and Solidarity's Philip stott on Newsnight (discussion starts at 10mins 27secs preceded by information on the case and an interview with Sheridan's solicitor Aamer Anwar - HERE

The Women who Refused to Lie for Sheridan HERE

SSP's Colin Fox reaches out to Solidarity supporters HERE

Gregor Gall, John Curtice and blogger, James Doleman discuss the implications of the trial for the Scottish Left on Politics Scotland HERE

Sunday Mail (Sister paper to the Scottish Daily Record) - opinion on Tommy Sheridan Conviction Sunday 30th January 2011

Tommy Sheridan's answer machine used to tell callers that he wasn't in because he was out fighting the Tories.

Maybe that's what he told his wife too. At least Gail knows where he is today - in his cell imagining that he will soon return to lead socialists into battle. Then again he is a delusional sociopath who has just taken a running jump off the towering cliff's of his own ego.
He is far from the first arrogant man destroyed by his own hubris but, astonishingly, he still managed to put new wrinkles on this age-old story.

Thankfully such protracted, public and pointless hara-kiris are rare.

We might be biased but we are no great fans of people suing newspapers over stories they know to be true. Equally, we have no time for the kind of reckless journalism that encouraged Sheridan - and others like him - to think that he could.

But it was not the NoTW that turned his squalid enthusiasm for soulless sex with strangers into a three-ring circus of trial and retribution that ultimately cost him his freedom and taxpayers a fortune. That was Sheridan.

The same man who confessed to a meeting of his party executive; who admitted all in a taped conversation with his pal; who went to a sex club and wrote his own name in the visitor's book.
And then went to a court and lied about it. Is it right he should be exposed as a hypocrite, a liar, and a cheat? Absolutely. Was it worth the many hundreds of thousands of pounds spent investigating, prosecuting and now jailing him?

Possibly not, but his brass-necked gold plated mockery of our justice system could not be allowed to stand.

Of course, people commit perjury every day and are not pursued like Sheridan. but not many demand their day in court, or attempt to trouser hundreds of thousands of pounds after their lies are briefly believed. In any case, apart from his ragtag army of halfwits who are looking for a martyr when they should be searching for some common sense, Sheridan has been found guilty by the public, bored by his bluster and repulsed by the low-rent squalor exposed at this trial.
Sadly putting him behind bars does nothing but burnish his laughable self image as a great socialist hero, like jailed Red Clydesider John Maclean.

Mr Sheridan, we have heard about John Maclean, we have read about John Maclean. You are no John Maclean.

the tragedy is that, many years ago, a lot of Scots hoped he might be.

When he led his five fellow Scottish Socialists to Holyrood, there was a breeze of change in our corridors of power.

They were unlike the tuppenny-bit councillors, risen without trace, skulking in the shadows of our parliaments backbenches.

Former sunday Mail columnist Rosie Kane, and her colleagues, came from social work, from the NHS, and from our schools. They had an understanding of the realities of working class life that was lacking and still is lacking in too many of our elected representatives.

They spoke for thousands on our stricken schemes where most of our MSP's would not venture on a bet. And Sheridan has betrayed every single one of them. sadly for him, his shame will forever taint his genuine achievements when he was an inspirational orator taking to the streets to help defeat the poll tax and the mundane barbarity of warrant sales.

Today we could be doing with a similar firebrand political street-fighter giving a voice to the voiceless.

The Tories are taking a flame thrower to our welfare state and the blaze will fan north, incinerating jobs and vital lifelines for our poor and ill.

Tommy Sheridan should have been in the vanguard of the fight against this savagery. Instead. he was in a prison van.

Hell mend him.