Citizen Tommy makes his point

Tommy Sheridan. Pic: Neil Doig
Tommy Sheridan. Pic: Neil Doig

A packed and positively buzzing Methilhill Bowling Club waits patiently for the guest of the night to arrive.

It’s 7.20 p.m. - 20 minutes after he was supposed to take the stage - and people have been arriving at the club, pouring in through the back door, for the last hour.

Tommy Sheridan. Pic: Neil Doig

Tommy Sheridan. Pic: Neil Doig

Evenutally, Marie Penman, who has organised the night, announces over the mic that he is stuck in traffic and will arrive shortly, adding “He’s worth the wait”.

The figure the crowd is waiting on - Citizen Tommy, or Tommy Sheridan to those of you who don’t use Twitter.

He’s back in Fife following a packed out show in Kirkcaldy back in January, a video of which has now had more than 110,000 hits on YouTube.

And on the agenda - Scottish Independence.

This will be the first time I’ve seen Mr Sheridan in person, and I don’t quite know what to expect. Apart from the shouting, that must be a given.

Sure enough, he arrives and takes his spot on the stage at 7.30 p.m., starting his speech with a pledge to listen to some advice - use notes, and don’t shout as much.

Within the first 20 minutes, where he has barely stopped to take a breath, he’s covered the bedroom tax, Faslane and nuclear disarmament, the health system, MP’s expenses, and the sell-off of Royal Mail. And his attempts at not shouting - failing I’m afraid.

But, no matter if you agree with his deeply impassioned arguments for Scottish independence - “We are big enough, smart enough and courageous enough to break out of the shackles” - or not, there’s no denying that Mr Sheridan is a hugely accomplished public speaker.

A bit like the Duracel bunny, it seems as if Tommy could talk all night, reeling off facts and figures, with a few jokes for good measure, just like second nature.

A Q&A session proves popular with the audience, with topics such as cancer treatment, gold reserves, carers allowance and the armed forces all up for debate, and Tommy’s mum even makes an appearance, showing just where he gets those speech-giving skills from.

When he is asked a question about the Scottish media and the closure of the News of the World, he takes it in his stride, even claiming that his conviction for perjury will be quashed within
12 months.

A standing ovation rounds it all off, and I know my ears will be ringing well into tomorrow.