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I prefer my politicians to be flawed human beings, like Tommy Sheridan

The first time someone accused me of being a contrarian I thought they must be on drugs.

Since being obliged to leave the Lifeboys after the Embassy Regal incident of 1966, I've managed to totally avoid clubs of any description, and I wasn't about to change that situation by joining an organisation where you have to listen to interminable speeches and eat cardboard chicken casserole every second Wednesday. Then I realised I might need a hearing aid.  I thought they had said Rotarian.

Suitably chastened, I had to hold my hands up.  Even if I didn't know it, I was a contrarian, although in the past most people, my father especially, have tended to call me something else. Awkward bugger, usually.

Even as a very small child I hated harmless, sweet, innocent creatures like Mickey Mouse, far preferring the irascible, bad tempered, but much more entertaining Donald Duck. It's always struck me as strange that the Disney Corporation, a huge multinational with a deserved reputation for ruthless business practices, had Mickey Mouse as its figurehead, leading to the corporate suits asserting: "You don't mess with the mouse."

(Surely that's an opportunity missed.  If they'd gone for Donald as their mascot, then they'd be able to say, with cadenced conviction: "Disney?  Hey, you don't f…"  Well, you get the idea.

As I got older and started to watch cop shows, I always identified with the bad guys.  This wasn't all that hard to do, especially on shows like The Bill, where the crim was nearly always played by a half-decent actor in a cameo role.

The regular characters – the coppers – on the other hand, were invariably hammy, wooden or laughable and usually all three, and it’s no co-incidence that since the show was canned, none of the resident players have gone on to do anything much in their career. With the notable exception of the bloke who played Reg Hollis of course, who is now, apparently, big in porn.

(You can just image a bit of dialogue from his latest movie, which may or may not be called Dirty Old Bill.
Er, excuse me luv but do you mind if I take down your particulars?

Oh please do Reg.  Do you want me to go topless for you?

Uh no thanks, there’s only enough room in this movie for one diddy.)

The point is, I liked – and still prefer - my heroes to be human. Fallible. Not weak exactly, but definitely flawed.  With more than their share of human frailties because, to me, being human makes them more realistic, easier to identify with and infinitely more interesting.  
And even though I'd like to think of myself as a card-carrying contrarian, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who thinks like that.

Which makes it all the weirder that the advisers, spin doctors and mysterious focus groups who apparently make all the decisions these days seem to believe that the public is much more likely to vote for a politician who's squeaky clean with absolutely no rattling skeletons in the cupboard of their past.

Since very few people with any sort of life experience have led a blameless existence – even Nelson Mandela was a bit of a lad in his young day (though I don't think he got drummed out of the Lifeboys) – this is another example of that most heinous of societal felonies, sheer unadulterated hypocrisy.

Think David Cameron, Wassisname Milliband and the laughable Nick Clegg, all of them empty suits with a mouthpiece attached, a gob that only seems capable of spouting bland, non-controversial abstracts, utilising namby-pamby, fence-sitting euphemisms like "inappropriate" instead of "wrong" and by responding to any immediate crisis by proposing the formation of a tripartite, co-ordinated initiative which will hopefully report back in two years' time.

One of the things that always used to trouble me about Tommy Sheridan was the spotless back story he managed to create for himself. He didn't drink, didn't smoke, kept himself fit and – according to him - spent his spare time tending his allotment and breeding wild tofu.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who found Tommy infinitely more electable when it turned out he was a serious pants man; maybe it's just me, but I'd far sooner have an MP who's a bit too keen on ra burdz than one who's bent as a butcher’s hook, for sale to the highest bidder, be it an anonymous conglomerate or super-rich Middle Eastern Sheik.

Hypocrisy. The biggest crime of all. And it's not even illegal.

If Tommy Sheridan had been man enough to cough for it, his political career would probably still be intact.  Assuming of course that his missus, the formidable Gail – now there's a woman you wouldn't take a broken pay packet home to – hadn't chucked him into the Clyde with a lump of concrete round his neck, as she so memorably promised.

Trying to paint yourself as a cross between Saint Francis of Assisi and Ken Barlow when in reality you're more like Myra Hindley and Ian St John is bad enough, but trying to falsely award yourself some street cred is infinitely worse.

On the other hand,  it is much more fun. Who could ever forget Willy Haig assuring us that he was once a 15 pints a day man.  Hard as, he was. Rock.

Personally I was disappointed Willy didn't go the whole hog and arrange for some snappers to take his photo walking a couple of matching Pit Bulls, dressed in a pair of low slung jeans which offered a lingering glimpse of the skull and crossbones he'd  had tattooed on his bum.
More hypocrisy. More humbug. How thick do they think we are?

I can't be the only one who thinks politicians are – in the words of Terry Thomas – an absolute shower.

Thought not. I'm not that much of a contrarian.

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