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Saturday, 3 January 2009
Tommy Sheridan on Celebrity Big Brother: the Madness of George II
Oh. My. God. He actually did it. Tommy Sheridan leaps in where angels fear to tread and gets a new bail address.
After MP George Galloway’s performance in the 2006 Celebrity Big Brother season 6, where he took the awesome combat skills he’d wielded to such great effect in the US Senate on the issue of the Iraq war and used them on his sweet young co-contestants, you’d think politicians would give reality shows a wide berth. Shooting minnows with a bazooka is not something the British public considers endearing. Yet. What profit a man that he gain a radio show but lose the respect of the multitudes ?
Is Tommy, a former Scottish Socialist Party MSP and now Solidarity leader, like all politicians — so in love with himself he assumes that to see him is to love him? Well, he’s managed to get me calling him the more familiar “Tommy” instead of “Sheridan”, so there’s a start.
Last night Tommy risked all during a crucial period when he is under investigation for perjury, and entered the CBB house along with ten other “celebrities” (can socialists please unpack that term?). He got the worst reception of all with the crowd booing his entrance. Even the hardened Davina McCall called it, “Harsh”. Considering so few of the Big Brother audience even knows who he is, arousing so raucous a response took some doing.
Davina went on: “He thinks the Big Brother House will be more regimented than prison.” Ooh, there’s a swipe. Ratting on his claim to a “great friendship with George Galloway” probably did him few favours with this particular audience, either.
You have to admire his chutzpah for playing his hand like this with so much at stake. He is probably more desperate than any of the other contestants, and that's in a line-up that includes Ulrika Johnson. Tommy wants a wider audience as a Man of the People. Great. That’s the entire CBB audience who will now be finding out what it is, exactly, the perjury charge is about.
Mind you, he could come out of it better the way Robert Kilroy Silk did from I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, when he waded through crap and creepy-crawlies for our amusement and never complained. Do we think Tommy will likewise make us proud of him? What helped Kilroy, of course, was the addition of Timmy Mallet, the evil shrimp with the serial killer laugh, against whom even a steaming pile of poo would look good. But I’m not so sure there’s a villain in the CBB house who’ll make him shine.
Rapper Coolio’s temper and sexism (he doesn’t want any “ugly chicks” in the house) might afford Tommy the opportunity to show he has the Right Stuff. But remember how Galloway sucked up to Dennis Rodman in 2006? Will fear of conflict with an alpha male and the urge to male-bond override Tommy’s anti-sexist credentials? (Fnaargh! I just read what I wrote there!) It’ll be down to what’s expedient, what's principled, and won’t that give us lots of fun working out which is which?
Will he acquit himself? They’re all on their best behaviour now but will the dreaded finger-wagging creep into his interactions as conditioned by years on the left? He does have 20 years with Militant, remember.
The game will be to see who reverses expectations. Terry Christian has already impressed me with his observation that our political masters don’t want us participating in politics, and his story about the Lancashire publican during World War II who responded to the US officer’s demand that he instate a colour bar with a sign saying, “Black troops only”, was quite moving. Can Tommy do it? Can he repress the urge to blurt “And another thing, comrades ...”.
George Galloway gives his chum tips for success in The Daily Record: “Don't get involved in any arguments. Although history has absolved me re sleazy Michael Barrymore and sneaky Preston, at the time, I paid the ultimate price - eviction after 22 days.” George, you are delusional, mate. Did you not learn anything?
Poor George suffered mightily and cried all the way to a massive radio show. And now Tommy can count on the support of Galloway’s 800,000 listeners, plus The Daily Record, Tommy being their pin-up, a bit like Lucy Pinder in the Star.
It would be great to see him representing socialism at its best but I have a horrible feeling in my gut that has nothing to do with seasonal over-indulgence.
Madam Miaow says ... If he don’t act shit, you must acquit.
Also blogging on Tommy in CBB, AVPS and Splinty.
Let’s revisit some highlights.
Bewildered by a small puppy