17 August 2006

Has Tommy pressed the self-destruct button?

The Herald suggests that he has, with rumours abounding that Tommy Sheridan is to abandon his leadership bid and set up a new party. He's citing the fact that even if he were to win, the United Left faction would constantly try and undermine him. United Left are saying that he knows he can't win. A couple of weeks ago, I would have accepted Tommy Sheridan's reasoning, but events have led me to question that: after all, in the last week or so, we've gone from Tommy standing as long as an overwhelming number of branches support him, to Tommy maybe quitting from politics, to Tommy possibly setting up a splinter party.

So what can we draw from that? Well, the most obvious conclusion is that the levels of support that Tommy Sheridan thought were there for him simply aren't. Secondly, we can actually take the basic premise of his interpretation at face value (even if it isn't the real reason for his move): the SSP has now descended into two rival factions that can't stand each other. Victory for one means the other will seek open civil war, and a stalemate (Sheridan as National Convener, but a United Left Executive), would see the Party grind to a halt. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Sheridan is gambling that regardless of his position within the SSP, he is more popular than his soon-to-be-ex-comrades among the general public, and thinks that in an open contest, he can defeat them. He's probably right, but as I've said time and again, that will leave only a combined total of one for the SSP and the Sheridan Popular Front. And there are no prizes for guessing who that one will be.


Anonymous said...

The problem Tommy has is that the UL control the party apparatus and have a disproprtionate number of people in key positions. Overall the numbers in the party who support Tommy far outweighs the UL, but the undemocractic structures of the SSP leave the small grouping of the UL in control.

I think his current view is more to do with the fact that the continuing personal vitriol is destroying the SSPs image. Tommy probably could win the party back but what would he be winning?

As a party member I would estimate that if he did start a new party he would take more than 50% of the membership with him instantly and far more than that once those remaining have to put up the centralist control freaks of the Ul being left in charge.

Neil Craig said...

His mistake was to immediately say that "Solidarity" would fight every region. He should have offered to give a bye in seats held by SSP members if they did the same. At the worst this would have made his enemies, rather than him, look vindictive when they turned him down.

I suppose this is what the socialists call brotherhood.