Socialist Sheridan snubs gentry listing

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Indy Politics

A socialist politician yesterday snubbed the publishers of Burke's Peerage, the directory of Britain's aristocracy, after he was listed in its latest edition.

Editors of theguide to the nation's most powerful figures had hoped to win popular appeal by including personalities from the "modern establishment" in "The Landed Gentry of the Kingdom of Scotland".

But Tommy Sheridan, the leader of the Scottish Socialist Party and an anti-royalist, reacted to his inclusion in the 1,500-page tome by saying he was "underwhelmed" and would throw his copy in the bin.

Mr Sheridan, who was included on the grounds that he is an elected member of the Scottish parliament, said: "They are now recognising that there are people like me who are elected and who believe others shouldn't have titles and shouldn't have land.

"When we get power in an independent socialist Scotland there will no longer be a need for Burke's because the land will belong to the people." He said the editors were trying to move away from values of the 14th and 15th centuries "where they belong".

Harold Brooks-Baker, the general publishing director of Burke's Peerage, called this "inverted snobbery"and said listingleading Scottish figures was a modernising move. Peter Beauclark Dewar, the editor of the new volume, said that alongside historical families, peers and baronets, they had included the "good and great" of Scotland "by virtue of the position they hold".

Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, is the first name from the world of sport.

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