Tommy Sheridan – a socialist fighter on a worker’s wage

Glasgow North East by-electionBy Ray Gunnion, International Socialists (CWI in Scotland) Tommy Sheridan is standing in the Glasgow North East by-election on 12 November. Standing as a “Workers’ MP on a Worker’s Wage” for Solidarity – Scotland’s Socialist Movement – Tommy contrasts strongly with the disgraced former incumbent, Michael Martin (now Lord Martin of Springburn), whose resignation as Speaker and as an MP, triggered this by-election, in an area that has been represented by Labour since 1935.

The continuing saga of MPs’ expenses will give the voters an excellent reason to vote for a proven champion of workers’ rights. As a Member of the Scottish Parliament for eight years from 1999 and a Glasgow city councillor for eleven years from 1992, Tommy is the most experienced politician of any of the up to ten candidates seeking election on 12 November.

His proven track record as a class fighter contrasts sharply against the cuts programmes of all the major parties; their failure to outlaw the continuing bonus culture of global banking which contributed to the financial crisis; their attacks on the postal workers in an ongoing attempt to privatise Royal Mail, and their continuing pursuance of the war in Afghanistan.

At the press conference launch Tommy explained that he was generally opposed to short-term contracts but on this occasion he urged people to give him a “short-term contract.” With the general election due mid-2010, this would be an excellent opportunity for voters to give Westminster a judgement on its miscreant behaviour. “I am confident that I will prove to be a champion for this area,” he claimed during his adoption speech. “And if you think after six months you have made a mistake, you will have a chance to rectify it.”

Glasgow North East suffers from some of the highest unemployment, poverty and rates of social deprivation in Britain. 77% of children are brought up in families on low incomes, unemployment affects more than one in four of the adult population.
The scandal of the drinks company Diageo – who have made billions in profit but saw fit to axe hundreds of jobs, including at Port Dundas in the Glasgow North East constituency – underlines the need to build a strong opposition to the bosses’ system.
Solidarity’s campaign is highlighting the scandal of throwing billions at rich bankers and greedy bosses, and is demanding investment to create tens of thousands of jobs to help build quality council housing, decent public transport, and proper health and education services for our communities. Young people, who are facing the brunt of the recession also urgently need quality apprenticeships and decent wages, not a life on the dole.

Solidarity and Tommy Sheridan’s message is to reject the parties of sleaze and greed and elect someone who lived on a worker’s wage for eight years as an MSP.
“It is time to squeeze the rich until the pips squeak and to make the millionaires pay for the crisis they have caused with their greed and their obscene salaries,” says Tommy Sheridan. The voters of Glasgow North East have the opportunity to echo that sentiment.


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