Severe Gail Warning
We learned at the end of the week that Gail Sheridan is to stand for Solidarity in Glasgow, as a sort of Mary Archer of the Left, I suppose.
To put it bluntly, I doubt she will succeed: being Tommy Sheridan’s wife did not get her elected to the Cardonald Ward of Glasgow City Council at the height of the unified SSP’s strength in 2003; and Tommy himself could not get re-elected in 2007 – chiefly as the vote was split between two parties. And that was when he was the hero who had taken on Rupert Murdoch and won. Now, he’s the convicted perjurer. Doubtless, she’ll be preaching the miscarriage of justice line, but will many people buy it? And if they do, will they buy it enough to vote for Solidarity? Again, that wasn’t the case in 2007, so why it should be the case now is not clear.
Besides, last time, Solidarity’s potential vote was split between two parties – three if you count Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party. This time, a new division has emerged, thanks to George Galloway. Needless to say, Galloway is peeved at this latest development as it takes votes away from him.
But his attitude was fascinating: he ruled out a joint Galloway/Gail Sheridan list as he felt she wouldn’t add anything to it. He also effectively ruled out any Solidarity/Respect co-operation as the two have different policies: Solidarity favours independence; Respect does not.
Yet despite not wanting a Sheridan presence on his List, and not wanting to co-operate with a political party with a different platform to his own, he’s upset that the woman he didn’t want on his List is standing for the party he didn’t want to work with on a list of their own.
It’s also interesting that having spent so long claiming that Tommy Sheridan was his friend and comrade, George Galloway’s election strategy has been predicated on Sheridan’s downfall and the implosion of his party, along with the premise that Sheridan’s wife is some sort of useless bint. Which goes to show that if Gorgeous George is your friend, you don’t really need enemies. And it’s a flawed plan: this move by Solidarity shows that the Sheridans are not completely out for the count yet, that the Party in Glasgow still has someone to rally round and Gail might not necessarily be the toom tabard that Galloway perceives.
I’m going to make a prediction here: Gail Sheridan will win the battle of the Left in Glasgow, insofar as she will get more votes than the others, but all four parties will lose in that none of them will get a seat – chiefly because there are four of them.
And if George Galloway is of the view that the parties’ position on the Union is the key faultline, then he really does have a problem: his target vote is in fact not Solidarity or SSP voters at all, but the aforementioned Scargillite Socialist Labour Party. It is possible that Galloway might peel off vote from Labour, but not when the vote is to be so tightly contested and not when both Arthur Scargill and Tommy Sheridan have tried to prise current Labour voters away from their long-standing allegiance and failed. But Galloway seems unable to see that.
Hubris did for Tommy Sheridan in the end. It looks set to do for his so-called friend, George Galloway.