MY TALK to you involves frequent deployment of the word "allegedly".
Never knowingly controversial, I just feel that, on this occasion, given the sensitivities of the personnel cropping up in the course of proceedings, I should sprinkle a few allegedlies around.
My intention is to give the spurious impression that I have covered myself legally and, more improbably, that I know what I'm doing. That brief legalistic exegesis or gloss must serve as foreword for my main thesis, which concerns the return of Thomas Sheridan – hereafter known as the People's Tommy – to the world of politics and, less importantly, life.
The infamous socialist politician is free, not from capitalism alas, but from prison, and the nation is asking this: what will Sheridan do next? First, while remaining seated, I should state where I stand. I admired him as a politician – more specifically as an orator – and wanted to believe him when alleged peccadillos came up.
He may have to wear a tammie shortly. There's nothing alleged about his encroaching baldness, which could harm him in the politicals. Although bald people have had the right to vote since 1968, it's rare for them to achieve high political office. Covert prejudice remains and, in parts of rural Scotland, you can still see signs forbidding bald persons from sitting up the front on public transport.
If Sheridan feels obliged to liberate anyone, he could start with the follicularly deprived before the often relatively hirsute proletariat. I have come within a hair's breadth of forgetting my main point, which is this: how must the People's Tommy conduct himself henceforth?
If he has been a bad boy in the alleged past, he'll have to be a goodie-two-trainers in the unalleged future. He'll need to be more like me, deriving pleasure from the simple things in life: feeding garden birds, watching Star Trek and phoning the Samaritans.
Politically, he has vowed to campaign for independence, which should give the cause a shot in the arm, provided the electorate can separate the two Tommies. Citizen one might say: "I'm not voting for independence on account of that balding man's alleged carnal proclivities." But Citizen two might say: "Listen to that fine, if follicularly sparse, fellow: someone arguing with real passion for a change. I'll have what he's having, particularly that stuff with the word alleged in front of it."
Certainly, Sheridan will be more highly esteemed than Labour politicians by many "ordinary, working class people" – do they never get insulted at being described as ordinary? – in Glasgow. But that's hardly difficult. It's just a shame Sheridan is following my political journey, backing two sets of losers, first the working class then Scots generally. There must be easier folk to liberate.
It'll probably be too difficult for him to kiss and make up with his former comrade, Colin Fox. Mr Fox is a political gem, an ex-MSP who sets out a stall in Princes Street every week and campaigns for the socialist cause. Again, it's the passion, the belief, that provides relief from sanctioned soundbites and language careful to the point of anodynity, a word unlisted in many dictionaries, which I believe is a lexicological pity.
It's also a pity that many of us have a would-be nemesis in our lives. Mr Fox feels betrayed by his, so there's little chance of these two skipping arm in arm through the daisies singing Flower of Scotland any time soon. Sheridan, meanwhile, needs to spend time with his family and his few remaining follicles. I can't comment on his private life, as the storeroom says they've run out of allegedlies. But Sheridan can still spice up our public life, and they cannae touch him for it.
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