Scottish Herald (Dec 10)Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:53
Dramatic fall from grace for champion of the people
by Alison Campsie
Published in the Scottish Herald: 24 Dec 2010
He advanced through a dark battlefield of sex, lies, power and truth, waging a war against the tabloid press and the stories it printed about his private life.
But Tommy Sheridan ultimately became his own enemy, isolated by his attempt to rewrite history and erase a predilection for kinky trysts and lust for women other than his wife, Gail.
Four years earlier,
Then, he praised the “ordinary people” of the jury for their ability to differentiate truth from muck. It is now clear that
Yesterday, he left court as he entered every day for 48 days, with his wife Gail, smiles clenched and hands gripped together. This time, however, he was mobbed by cheering supporters, surrounded by friends turned minders who scuffled with photographers in a bid to shield the
The seeds of his downfall were planted when
People connected with the man from Pollok who refused to take his full parliamentary salary. For some, his appeal endures today, with
But what is known now is that
Katrine Trolle, a former lover, took part in group sex with
All went to the now infamous Cupid’s swingers’ club in
The News of the World was already probing his private life, triggered by a tip he was having an affair with a high profile media figure.
The touchpaper was lit by a story by Ms Khan, then a freelance writer with the paper, during the promotion of her book Pretty Wild, described as a Scottish Sex And The City- style diary. In it, she included a fictionalised account of the trip to Cupid’s, using fake names to hide identities.
On October 31, 2004, the Sunday tabloid carried a spread on an unnamed MSP and his love for spanking and swingers’ clubs.
The story appeared just days after Gail, then 40, had the first scan of her unborn baby. On the day of publication, Mr McCombes, official spokesman for the SSP, stared at the front page of the tabloid in fear. He knew the story was about his friend and comrade.
Mr Baldassara, then a
An emergency meeting of the SSP was called. The date sticks in the memory for all concerned: November 11, 2004. It was described in court as the party’s 9/11, “the night our totem came crashing down,” according to MSP Colin Fox.
That night, tension rippled through party headquarters at Stanley Street,
The socialists were stunned, but
Grown men cried at that meeting, with the SSP suddenly shattered.
Carolyn Leckie recalled: “He manipulated the situation to make us feel guilty. He used his family as a human shield.”
That meeting was a major chapter in the prosecution’s case. Sixteen people said
By this time, journalists were in overdrive. Briefings were given that
Lord Turnbull awarded him £200,000 damages.
Just over a month later a new piece of evidence emerged – a secret video filmed by George McNeilage,
Mr McNeilage sold it to the tabloid for £200,000 and a police investigation was launched, with the video capturing a confession from
Yesterday, the power of the truth prevailed – not seen through a left-wing or right-wing prism, just the truth.
The latest draft of history has been written and Tommy Sheridan is guilty.
Ego led him to sack his lawyer ... and he lied to protect self-image
THE LIES: It was
Psychologist Dr Dorothy Rowe told The Herald Sheridan’s move to lead his own defence was an extreme position to take as he tried to keep his lies alive.
The associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and author of Why We Lie said: “It is a way of saying that nobody else will believe you – ‘I know that I am telling the truth’. It is a most extreme position to take. It also has the difficulty that, doesn’t his lawyer believe him?
“Sometimes people do convince themselves of the righteousness of their own case and delude themselves or overlook the bits where they really haven’t been totally truthful. We lie in order to protect ourselves. When somebody lies they tend think of it as being quite non-important or trivial. But behind all the reasons for why the person lies there is that necessity of just protecting the image you have of yourself.”
She added: “He seems to have been a man who wants to be noticed and for other people to admire him – not because he is a hard-working politician but because he has this flamboyant quality that people are supposed to love.”
Dr Rowe concluded: “When you lie to yourself, you end up lying to other people. It is part of the consequences of your lies. If you lie to yourself regularly, it becomes such a habit that you lose track of what is true and false. You can very easily convince yourself that what you said was true. You get into a terrible tangle … he would have found himself in a situation where his idea about himself and other people’s idea about him were in danger of being rubbished.
“He started to perhaps just tell little lies, just omit certain things. It is that basic need to protect other people’s image of us and our image of ourselves and to protect ourselves from being shamed.
“That is the idea of public exposure. You can sometimes live with guilt, but living with that feeling of shame is very difficult.”