From prison cell to the political limelight, and back again, there is no doubt that Tommy Sheridan - tanned, handsome and armed with a soundbite for every occasion - was one of the most colourful figures in the drab, dusty world of party politics. Yet behind the charismatic exterior of the man who first came to public notice during the anti- Poll Tax movement and later led the Scottish Socialist Party to become a strong voice in the new Scottish parliament was a deeply flawed, manipulative individual whose own actions led to one of the most spectacular political downfalls in recent history. Written by his closest political associate for over twenty years, and based on a raft of documentary and eyewitness information, much of it appearing in print for the first time, this is the no-holds barred inside story of the rise and fall of one of the most fascinating figures in recent Scottish politics. Combining elements of tragedy, thriller and farce, it presents the stark, ugly truth behind Sheridan's victorious defamation action against the News of the World in 2006 and subsequent perjury trial in 2010, which contained some of the most dramatic courtroom scenes in Scottish legal history.
Yet despite the lurid and sensationalist aspects of Sheridan's life and career, this is also a serious exploration of wider political and psychological themes which offers some salutary lessons at a time when public confidence in politicians has seldom been lower.
Alan McCombes is a freelance writer and journalist and previously editor of the Scottish Socialist Voice. A founder member of the Scottish Socialist Party, he was an executive member of the party and also its national press and policy co-ordinator. He lives in Glasgow.