10 August 2006

A clutch of Sheridans

(Or perhaps the collective noun is a Soviet?)

Anyway, we start with the non-SSP Sheridan, by the name of Jim, who is the Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, and until yesterday was the Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Ministry of Defence. He has, however, quit, citing opposition to Blair's policy on the crisis in the Middle East. In contrast to his recently defamed namesake, Jim Sheridan is (or was) a Blair loyalist, always available for a rent-a-quote about how the Tories/LibDems/SNP/Keep Clackmannanshire Smiling Party (if it existed, he would criticise them) are terrible and will take us back to the dark days. He's now one of the many angry ex-senior Party members on the Backbenches, and he's got an axe to grind. However, in terms of resignations, this doesn't rank up there with Robin Cook's, but Sheridan's previous loyalty to the PM will mean that this is a blow: it's clear proof that Blair is losing the few friends he has left. It's doubtful that this will be the last resignation either.

Now we move on to Tommy, who has backers in Orkney, but might not have them in Glasgow: Rosie Kane is threatening that the Glasgow SSP could move Sheridan down to third or lower on their regional list (first place goes to a man in the Glasgow SSP, second place to a woman). Frankly, I suspect that this is just hot air from Rosie Kane, who must surely realise that the bulk of grass-roots members have so far taken Sheridan's side, and she's simply trying to make life difficult for him while she still can. However, if it turns out that she's right, then it'll totally derail Sheridan's convenership bid (which is her real priority), and probably force him to follow in the footsteps of Dennis Canavan and Margo MacDonald.

Finally, there's Gail, who insiders are tipping to make a bid for election herself (though she's probably more likely to appear on Richard and Judy than on any ballot paper). However, she could well find herself second on the List at this rate, defeating Rosie Kane. Perhaps the Sheridans are on the verge of becoming a Socialist version of the Ewings?

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