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Why I take Tommy with a pinch of salt.

Byline: John McKie

AS Tommy Sheridan was jailed, his mum Alice piped up in the courtroom: "There goes a man who can't be bought."

Tell that to the producers of Celebrity Big Brother, who shelled out a reported pounds 25,000 so that Tommy could dance on ice in a pepper pot costume with La Toya Jackson.

Tommy was then led away in handcuffs. Some would say he'd pay good money for that.

If he thought that was demeaning, it was nothing to one of the Sunday papers, which had a pic of Tommy in women's suspenders, full make-up but unfortunately no all-over body wax.

It was like that PG Tips ad with the wedding, and a setback for animal rights protesters who want an end to make-up testing on primates.

Gail is standing by her man and standing for election as a councillor.

Mrs S has responded to encouragement from her friends who said: "Run, Gail, run!" She never twigged they meant from her husband.

Tommy has been jailed for perjury but could be out in nine months wearing an electronic ankle tag.

That could be a handy place to attach his loyalty card for Cupid's Night Club in Manchester.

Like Dr Kildare and the magic sponge, time is a great healer.

Sheridan will always receive a hero's welcome in some parts of Scotland because he called the Labour Party useless sell-outs, he fought the Poll Tax harder than most conventional MPs and he stood up to a pretty unpopular London news-gathering organisation.

As he said himself: "I tell truth to power."

Except that newspaper, all the colleagues in his former party, the women who claim affairs - either they're all lying or he is.

And a court has sided with them. So when he emerges from prison and starts repositioning himself as a political maverick bravely taking on the establishment, don't think of the politics or your personal view of the paper he took on.

Think of the rights and wrongs. Now he's in chokey, he may talk of himself in the same bracket as Nelson Mandela or Aung San Suu Kyi.

He's more like Jeffrey Archer or Alex Reid.

That won't stop his supporters disregarding all sorts of facts which should be staring them in the face.

The most unfortunate comment of support came from family friend Irene Lang: "If they think this is going to keep Tommy Sheridan quiet, they are very much mistaken.

"Tommy Sheridan is not going anywhere."

Certainly not for nine months.

CAPTION(S):

SHAKEN: Tommy and La Toya
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Title Annotation:Editorial; Opinion, Columns
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 1, 2011
Words:425
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