The Fall of Tommy Sheridan

In 2003, the Scottish Socialist Party achieved 6.7% of the vote across the whole country, amounting to 128026 votes in the regional lists. This allowed six members of the SSP to be returned to Holyrood, the Scottish parliament.

Even in 1999, before the Iraq war, the SSP received 46635 votes across Scotland, and 7.2% in Glasgow, where the 18581 votes for Tommy Sheridan was in the same ballpark as the 20239 votes for the highly mainstream Scottish Conservative Party. Indeed it was enough for Tommy Sheridan to be elected, the beginning of a successful 8 years in Parliament.

At its height, the SSP had 3000 members in a nation of just over 5 million; and the model of party that the SSP represented, and the nature of their political campaigning was regarded as inspirational across the left internationally.

However, it would be a mistake to see the Sheridan court cases as the only factor in the decline in the SSP; and indeed the political divisions and factionalism in the party shaped the outcome of the whole saga.

The argument pursued by the SSP today is that Tommy Sheridan’s decision to sue the News of the World for libel inevitably pulled comrades into the court case. However, this argument is entirely disingenuous.

In October 2004 the News of the World had published an article saying that their journalist, Anvar Khan, has attended a swingers club in Manchester with an unnamed MSP. On 9th November, the SSP executive committee discussed with Tommy Sheridan whether or not that MSP was him. At that meeting, Tommy Sheridan announced his intention to sue the News of the World for libel, and the party’s executive committee voted that should he pursue that course of action, then he should resign as party leader (Convenor).

This was a closed and private meeting of leading members of the SSP. It is not unusual in political parties, commercial organisations, or trade unions to have frank and confidential discussions about matters that are legally delicate. It is certainly not unusual in the labour movement for a decision to be taken that discussions of a sensitive matter should not be minuted, and should be treated as highly confidential.

At that stage, Sheridan’s decision to sue the News International corporation would not have involved any requirement for testimony from SSP members. Any libel case, however unwise it might have been, would have surrounded the testimony of Anvar Khan, which as we have seen in the perjury trial was weak and unconvincing. The SSP executive meeting only became evidentially relevant because confidentiality and basic discretion were not observed.

In fact, news of the meeting almost immediately leaked out to the press; and as Richard Seymour ably explains “Alan McCombes secretly went to the Sunday Herald with a ‘sworn affidavit’ three days after Sheridan was deposed as party convenor, stating that if Sheridan had not resigned they would have “put certain information into the public domain which would have forced him to resign”.”

What is more, the minute taker, Barbara Scott not only recorded that section of the meeting where ordinary prudence would normally have meant that no minute should be kept; but the minute that she alleges is a genuine record of the meeting was extraordinarily more detailed than SSP exec minutes normally were.

It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that factional opponents of Tommy Sheridan grasped with both hands the opportunity to use the News of the World story to undermine Sheridan. What they should have done instead was treat the question of whether or not Sheridan sued the NOTW as an entirely private matter for him.

At this stage Tommy’s decision to proceed with the libel action was far too pregnant with potential disaster, and he should have found another strategy for dealing with the NOTW story. I have always believed and argued that Sheridan’s decision to pursue the libel case was mistaken.

However the responsibility for dragging the SSP executive members into that court rests with those people who almost immediately broke the confidentiality of the meeting with rumours to the press, those who recorded and retained detailed minutes, and those who issued a signed affadavit making clear that a faction of the SSP had some dirt on Sherdan. These were the actions that made the 09/11/04 executive meeting evidentially relevant in the libel case.

Of course the actions of Alan McCombes were even more duplicitous than this, because he never revealed until the perjury trial that he was the one who had issued the affidavit to the Herald, even after the SSP membership had voted that the culprit should be expelled. Furthermore, he indulged in a grandstanding stunt of going to gaol rather than hand over minutes to the courts, which was presumably designed to increase his own standing in the party, on the supposed principle of keeping the internal affairs of the SSP private; whereas it was he himself who had already breached that confidentiality with the Sunday Herald; and it was his cabal who had leaked the significance of the meeting into the public domain in the first place.

The factional atmosphere in the SSP was already poisonous, as former Labour MEP, Hugh Kerr, testified:

Mr Kerr told the court that before 2003 that in general “harmony” had existed in the party, although there had been signs of division during the 50/50 debate (a successful proposal that half of all candidates in elections should be women) he claimed that some of the new intake of MSP’s were “more interested in power and money” than maintaining party unity and that this conflict had also spread to the staff of the party. When asked he named Frances Curran, Rosie Kane and Carolyn Leckie for this state of affairs and added that he had become isolated as he had been seen as too close to Mr Sheridan. The witness further stated that he had been “sent to Coventry” Mr Sheridan then asked the witness what the reason for this division inside the party was. Mr Kerr replied that people were “envious” of Mr Sheridan’s public profile and “jealous” of him. He added that Alan McCombes had told him that “Sheridan would be nothing without me” and there was a feeling amongst some other MSPs that Mr Sheridan was “getting too big for his boots” and had to be “taken down a peg or two.” Mr Kerr agreed that he had been involved in other political disputes but that the SSP was “remarkable for the level of intensity and hostility.” with “a lot of hate, visceral hate.”

The reference to money should perhaps be explained, as the SSP’s elected representatives famously only drew a fraction of their salary for personal use, the rest going to the SSP: but during the period 2003 to 2007 the SSP had a highly expanded number of activists on the payroll, and a culture of loose spending and patronage.

The nature of the swinging allegations also had political relevance, as Lynsey, the daughter of a former MSP, explains on the SSY blog:

The point was argued [at the 9th November meeting] that if Tommy would only be prepared to either put his hands up and admit the truth, or simply say ‘no comment’ and keep his private life out of the tabloids to the best of his ability, the public would probably forgive him for being a mad shagger — but they wouldn’t forgive him for being a sneaky wee lying toad.

Concerns were also raised about where the dividing line between a swingers’ club and a brothel actually falls — at Cupids, women don’t pay to get in while men do, and that is club policy for a reason. The website for Cupids was also only a few clicks away from websites where prostituted women were sold. The SSP was at this time still formulating its position on prostitution, so it was a sensitive subject. We have since adopted the position that prostitution is abuse, and that the perpetrators of that abuse (men who buy consent from vulnerable victims) should be punished.

Note the moralistic and puritan tone about Tommy being a “mad shagger” (an interestingly insensitive use of language about mental distress), and the conflation between women getting free entry to a club, with them being prostitutes, and a further implication that this is related to lack of genuine consent to sex; suggesting that some consensual sex is really rape.

Despite Lynsey in this article describing her political opponents as “mad” and “coffin dodgers”, she rather inconsistently states:

One of the few fundamental political differences underlying the split in the SSP is that we wanted to go beyond a vision of socialism that thought you can take the economy under workers’ control and that’ll be everything sorted. We recognised the importance of discrimination apart from just class, such as patriarchy, homophobia and racism. We saw the need to confront these actively, including inside our own party. The people who are now in Solidarity by and large reacted defensively to this challenge to the social privilege they held as old white guys. They didn’t like the idea of women and youth self organising (part of the reason they were so hostile to SSY). They saw feminism as a distraction from the class struggle rather than a crucial part of it.

One of the characteristic features of the SSP’s behaviour has been a bastardisation and instrumentalist misuse of feminism. So for example, when Tommy Sheridan described a “cabal of comrades” out to get him, this was misquoted as a “cabal of women”, and when Tommy said that some of his opponents were advocates of the “dark arts” (i.e. political spin), this was misquoted as accusing them of being witches.

Clearly for a section of the leadership of the SSP the objective had changed from being a broad progressive party rooted in the everyday experience of ordinary working people, towards instead becoming an island of enlightened practitioners of lifestyle politics. How superior they were to the common herd.

This explains the antagonism to Tommy Sheridan, whose value as an asset to the SSP was precisely his common touch, and his connection with the values of ordinary working class people, who were unversed in the linguistic codes and social niceties of the lifestyle politics that were coming to prevail in the SSP leadership cliques.

The Shakespearean aspect to this was that it was the demand of real life politics which had forged Tommy. Not only electoral politics, but the street and community politics from whence the SSP had arisen demanded the building of charismatic leadership. Tommy Sheridan was part of the SSP’s brand identity; and he was indispensible for their electoral success: and it was winning elections that paid the wages of the inner clique on the SSP’s payroll. The SSP now complains that Tommy thought he was bigger than the party, but the party had only become successful by building up Tommy the brand.

At the end of the libel trial in 2006 the wise move would have been to put the whole issue behind them and move on. Clearly there were deep personal antagonisms, but that harm could not be undone. What happened next was extraordinary. Barbara Scott, Rosie Kane and Carolyn Leckie took the disputed minute of the 9/11 meeting to the police, having thoughtfully tipped off the TV news cameras to be there; and George McNeilage, an SSP member in good standing, sold a tape purported to be a secret film of Sheridan, for personal gain of £200000 to the News of the World. At this stage there can be no doubt that the SSP were the driving force in ensuring that there would be a criminal investigation, leading to the gaoling of their former comrade. Had they not carried out this act of betrayal, there would have been no perjury trial. Their behaviour is frankly inexplicable by any standards of ordinary decency; and that is why they will find no catharsis in their court victory.

So how had the SSP become such a swamp? Specifically there was both a structural political problem internal to the SSP, and also a broader, more fundamental instability due to the fragility of the party’s social foundations.

To deal with the first issue. The core of the SSP had come from the Militant tendency who had mutated via a relatively successful transitional period as Scottish Militant Labour, who had won a number of council seats, into the Scottish Socialist Alliance, then into the SSP. The core of members who had made that journey were the International Socialist Movement (ISM), a so-called “platform” in the SSP.

However, the ISM never really theorised what they were doing, and the ISM itself ceased to function. This meant that the SSP was living off the accumulated political capital and experience of its long term members from the Militant, but had little mechanism within it for developing the political knowledge or experience of new members, or members outside the central belt. Rather than developing any coherent political project, the SSP became riddled with cliqueism, as was obvious from the submissions to the 2005 debate over the future direction of the party. The SSP defined itself as socialist, but lacked any credible strategy for achieving socialism in Scotland; what is more its very political heterogeneity could not survive a rigorous debate about such strategic thinking. Yet it did not have the reserves of political capital that the Labour Party and SNP could draw upon, which enables these mainstream parties to sustain themselves as stable mass social institutions

There was indeed a crisis of expectation, that with 6 MSPs the SSP seemed incapable of actually doing very much concrete to promote the interests of their voters; arguably Tommy Sheridan had been just as effective on his own between 1999 and 2003.

Lacking any practical, achievable aims that the party could work together on, the SSP came increasingly to emphasise their points of differentiation with the rest of the labour movement, hence the rise of lifestyle politics, and emphasis on identity. After all they were THE socialists, so it was necessary to stress how much more socialist they were than the left of Labour and SNP.

The broader weakness of the SSP was that it was built on sand. The rise of the SSP coincided with the triumph of Blairism in the Labour Party, which temporarily interrupted the Labour Party being able to play its traditional gatekeeper role of incorporating innovative radicalism back into the political mainstream.

Through their role in the poll tax, and their relatively successful electoral experience, the comrades from the Scottish Militant partially transcended some of the limitations of small group politics, which is what allowed Sheridan to be elected to parliament in 1999, and allowed the SSP to grow to take on some of the characteristics of a small mass party.

But this was a very unstable project, because the space for a left electoralist party only existed because Labour had abandoned that political constituency; and because the Labour Party membership had become a more inhospitable experience for social radicals. However, Labour still represented a viable potential government, and the SSP did not. Labour was still backed by the unions, and RMT notwithstanding, the SSP was not. The electoral boost in 2003 was conjunctural because the SSP already had a high electoral profile through Tommy, and anti-war sentiment could not find expression through a Labour vote; but those circumstances were not going to be repeated.

So the demise of the SSP has deeper roots that the Sheridan trial. The task of consolidating the gains of 2003 was beyond the SSP’s capabilities, and the factional tensions created by the resulting instability fed into the machinations and back-biting of the libel trial and subsequent perjury conviction.

The irony is that the biggest asset that the SSP had was Tommy Sheridan, and they have conspired to destroy him; in the process setting back the cause of the radical left in Scotland for a generation.

147 comments on “The Fall of Tommy Sheridan

  1. Mondobo on said:

    Andy,

    You have just argued in favour of a political group conspiring through silence to aid a false claim through the courts. This is untenable. I hope you are never asked to give evidence in court in support of a colleague, as you are now on record as saying that you would aid a false claim by withholding information, a position which would fatally undermine any evidence you ever give in the future.

    Out political system only works through respect of the law, a respect that you have now show is second to party politics in your book. Not healthy, not wise.

  2. Were I called to court then I would tell the truth as my conscience dictated.

    However, in all sorts of commercial, volutary sector, trade union and political contexts, various information is confidentially discussed where people decide it is not in their institutional interest to get publicly involved.

    For example, commercial organisations may become aware of theft by an employee of their assets, and decide not to pursue a prosecution in order to avoid publicising the fact; which is argumably contrary to the public interest. However this practice is commonplace.

    There is no moral or legal duty on a civil case to come forward and volunteer that you have information advantageous to one party; or to publicise the fact that you have knowledge that is evidentially relevant.

    You might take the view that if the NOTW could not make their claims about cupids, Anvar Khan and Sheridan stand up under the scrutiny of a libel case, then they should not have published them

  3. statement from socialist party:

    After a12 week trial on charges of perjury – the longest and most expensive case of its kind in Scotland – Tommy Sheridan has been found guilty by a jury on a majority verdict. He will be sentenced in late January.

    This outcome represents a blow to Tommy Sheridan, his family, friends and comrades. But it will also be widely regarded as a politically driven prosecution achieved through an unprecedented vendetta by the state against Scotland’s best-known socialist. As such it will provoke anger among many genuine socialists, trade unionists and working class people here in Scotland and internationally.

    Tommy Sheridan may have been found “guilty” in a capitalist court of law. But for socialists he is innocent of any crime against the interests of the working class. This prosecution has only been achieved through an unholy alliance of the might of News International, the capitalist legal establishment, the police and the leadership of the SSP. Moreover, many will contrast the treatment of Tommy Sheridan with the way that the prosecutors and the police have allowed Andy Coulson and the News of the World to avoid charges over widespread illegal phone hacking.

    Although this verdict will be celebrated in the plush offices of News International, it will prove to be an empty victory. It will neither defeat Tommy Sheridan as an individual, nor the determination of the new generation of workers’ and young people from looking towards socialist ideas in the coming period.

    This was a trial through which the rich and powerful enemies of the working class and socialism saw the opportunity to inflict a defeat on an individual who has been a thorn in the flesh of the capitalist establishment for over 20 years.

    Tommy Sheridan is Scotland’s most high profile socialist. He was a leader of the mass campaign that defeated Thatcher’s poll tax in the late 1980’s and early ‘90’s. As an elected socialist MSP for eight years, he fought for the interests of the working class and lived on a workers wage and donated the rest of his salary back to the socialist movement.

    The verdict follows four years of a thinly disguised vendetta against Tommy Sheridan, Gail Sheridan and other members of Solidarity by the police and the legal establishment. The perjury investigation came after Tommy Sheridan had won a famous civil defamation victory over Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper in 2006.

    After calls for a perjury inquiry by the judge in the 2006 case, the leaders of the Scottish Socialist Party, who were applauded by the Sun and the News of the World, handed in so-called minutes of a party meeting to the police in August 2006. An SSP member, George McNeilage, who was very close to the party leadership, sold a “video” to the NotW for £200,000 that was designed to implicate Tommy Sheridan in perjury. McNeilage claimed he sold the video to assist the SSP leaders. We would like to know how much of that £200,000 went to the SSP?

    The SSP have attempted to justify their actions by claiming they were trying to “save the party” and on a desire to “tell the truth.” And yet it was the actions of the SSP leaders who, rather than welcome the defamation victory in 2006 as a defeat for the News of the World, threw themselves into the arms of the enemies of socialism to get Tommy Sheirdan.

    Police investigation

    Their actions triggered a perjury inquiry for the first time ever following a civil case in Scotland. More than £2 million of public money was spent by the police which usurped tens of thousands of hours of police time.

    During the police investigation Tommy and Gail’s house was raided by a dozen officers who were searching for evidence – traumatising their two-year old daughter. Tommy Sheridan was arrested in a media-staged police action outside his place of work and charged with perjury.

    Gail Sheridan was suspended from work for 5 months after police tipped off her employer, BA, that miniatures, that they claimed she may have stolen, had been found in her house during the police raid. She was cleared of all these allegations. To add insult to injury, when being interrogated by police, Gail was accused of acting “like an IRA terrorist” because she refused to answer police questions.

    During the trial Tommy Sheridan accused Lothian and Borders police and the Scottish Crown office of carrying out a “persecution not a prosecution”. And all the evidence points to a planned and orchestrated campaign against the Sheridan’s that amounts to an abuse of power by the police.

    It also emerged during the trial that the News of the World had paid out huge sums of money to various witnesses for their stories, including the huge £200,000 paid for the “video”.

    Gail Sheridan was also charged with perjury. But after 44 days of a trial, during which the prosecution did not bring forward a single scrap of evidence, all charges were propped against her. It’s clear that she was only charged in the first place to increase the psychological and emotional pressure on the Sheridan’s.

    Of the 42 prosecution witnesses, 24 were members of the SSP, including 16 of the original Executive Committee who gave evidence against him in the 2006 defamation action. Without the SSP there was little possibility of a prosecution being achieved. Their central role in this vendetta against Tommy Sheridan, alongside that of the police and the legal establishment, will condemn them forever in the eyes of genuine socialists and class-conscious workers.

    Socialist Party Scotland has supported Tommy Sheridan over the last six years in his battle against those powerful forces ranged against him. We will continue to give our full support to Tommy Sheridan, Gail his family, friends and comrades in the continuing battles that lie ahead.

  4. David Ellis on said:

    #1 I’d have to agree with that. Have you pushed your own self destruct button or something?

  5. Andy,

    Now that you have openly said you are in favour of economising with the truth, I have to ask myself, what is your reason for continuing to fan the flames of this?

    I suspect you are ensuring that the whole thing remains a fucking mess to make it nice and easy for your mate, George Galloway.

  6. #4

    really David?

    What moral or legal obligation did the SSP exec have to publiscise the fact that they had a discussion about the facts behind the NOTW story?

    i am not arguing that they should have lied in court, I am arguing that the fact that this subject matter was discussed was a private and confidential mater to them. They were under no obligation to make it public that the party had discussed it; if they felt the need to discuss the case, then they coudl have done the whole thing off the record, and after advising Tommy not to cntinue, could have made it clear it was a private matter for him.

  7. David Ellis on said:

    #5 I don’t think so Mondobo and now it is you who is playing fast and loose with the truth. Galloway is nothing to do with this mess and has no desire of getting involved in this fratricide or of fanning any flames. Let’s stick to the matter in hand shall we if we want to be taken seriously. I do agree with you that the above blog is intemperate and rather foolish however. Just leave Galloway out of it or we’ll be thinking you’re that Palestinian hating Zionist Jim Denham.

  8. #5

    “Now that you have openly said you are in favour of economising with the truth”

    No – “being economical with the truth” is a euphimism for lying.

    I am pointing out that most organisations at some time or another have an institutinal interest in having an off the record discussion about a delicate matter.

    I am also pointing out that in a civil legal case, there is no moral or legal obligation to come forward with information that may or may not aid the parties.

    The discussions of the SSP exec only became evidentially relevent once the fact that they had happened was leaked.

  9. So obvious on said:

    This is a pathetic article so no need to go into it, but just to point out – why are you demonising Lynsey in this article? She didn’t write the SSY article. It’s clearly stated that the article is written with the collaboration of a number of SSY members (a large number of whom were OH MY GOD men!!) and it’s posted under the username ‘Scottish Socialist Youth’. It’s really really pathetic to attempt to personalise that to Lynsey when the views are ones shared widely by sensible people on the left in Scotland.

  10. #11

    “She didn’t write the SSY article”

    I am sure that she posted a comment here on SU saying that she was ther author of the article.

    It makes no difference, whether she was the sole author, or one of a team, the politics are the same.

  11. albacore on said:

    #1

    Couldn’t the attendees still be called to testify as to what was said in the meeting, even if it was not minuted.

    If so, Sheridan’s decision still potentially put people in a very difficult position.

    But, as you say, there’s still a very big step to actually publicising the contents.

  12. #13

    Yes, but who was to know that a potentially evidentialy relevent meeting had even taken place?

    Did Sheridan really people in a difficult position; but they were the exec committe of a political party, they have to deal with the messy reality of life, that is their job. They could have just washed their hands of the libel trial and said it was a private matter for Tommy

    the people who realy made it difficult were the McComes faction who let it be known that the SSP exec knew some relevant facts relating to the NOTW libel trial.

  13. Graham Day on said:

    Good analysis, though I always thought that the non-Scottish left were way too optimistic about the SSP.

    The fact that SSP members can’t face is that they were a busted flush even before the original case, the appalling behaviour of their leadership during it merely hastened that process. The saddest aspect of the whole thing (and the earlier SLP episode) is that some good people have wasted their time when they could have been doing something more productive.

    One aspect you don’t mention is that the SSP commitment to scottish nationalism – I may be overly sensitive to it, but at times they seemed to bang on about that more than about socialism – was forcing them to the margins after Alex Salmond’s return enhanced the appeal of the SNP. Nationalism is not a vote-winning position in Scotland, particularly the Central belt.

    SSP’s elected representatives famously only drew a fraction of their salary

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t they draw all of their salary from the public purse, and then redirect a portion of it to the party?

    The rise of the SSP coincided with the triumph of Blairism in the Labour Party

    Both coincided with the global dominance of monetarist/neoliberal polical and economic ideas. This wasn’t a coincidence, and I always felt that retreating to our tents wasn’t a good way to address that. The SSP was always a political party built on despair – even if socialism would never win, at least we could lose in the company of like minded people… Nah, I’d rather win.

  14. Matt Collins on said:

    How many members does the SSP/SSY have left?

    Also all the high-mindedness about ‘the truth’ being tossed around seems a bit hollow, grassing’s always been seen as the more significant moral failing where I come from, especially when mates are involved.

  15. albacore on said:

    I’m with you too on the puritanical tone of the SSY article.

    Thinking of the various “shaggers” I have known (mad or not) everyone around them knew what they were up to, and nobody needed a newspaper story to tell them.

    However serious this transgression may have been between Tommy and Gail, it’s pretty small beer looking from the outside, and it leaves the author(s) of the SSY post looking a bit obsessive.

  16. #15

    “The SSP was always a political party built on despair – even if socialism would never win, at least we could lose in the company of like minded people…”

    yes, well put.

    You are correct about the salary, they only drew upon a proportion fr their personal wages.

    I don’t exactly know how they handled that for tax purposes.

  17. Andy,

    Bollocks. You’re beating a path for Galloway. Nothing else. You really shouldn’t try to argue for a morally principled course of action in order to support dishonesty and perjury, especially when you have already said you would be economical with the actualitie. This is not something the leadership of the SSP were prepared to do.

    They came over very well on BBC Scotland last night, even The Rat Catcher General. What the Scottish electorate are now seeing is a group of honest people fucked over by an egomaniac, and what is your answer to the problem?

    Another fucking egomaniac to replace him.

  18. Graham Day on said:

    #18, so they had 6 MSPs donating around twenty grand or so each per year, and they were still on the verge of bankrupcy…?

    Dear oh dear.

  19. #21

    They put a large number of their activists from the old inner circle on the payroll, and I am told there was a culture of expense claims and profligate expenditure.

    Remember also that the G8 stunt by some MSPs cost the party I think £30000

  20. Graham Day on said:

    #19, Isaiah 6:9 “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear you indeed, but understand not; and see indeed, but perceive not.”

  21. Andy McPake on said:

    As an ignorant Scot and member of the Scottish Socialist Party for eight years, I would like to thank the omniscient Andy Newman from delivering me from my ignorant stupor. You see for six years I have heard Sheridan and his supporters admit to lying and defend political corruption. However I, a mere Scots peasant, needed an English master based 300 miles away to interpret these event for me. After having read this astute and relevant piece of political writing I now realise that I am wrong and I should knowingly have gone along with a figure now recognised to be Scotland’s most corrupt politician of the twentieth century.

    “The minute that she alleges is a genuine record of the meeting was extraordinarily more detailed than SSP exec minutes normally were.”

    As the former Minutes Secretary of the SSP one might assume I would know something about the SSP’s minutes. Whilst in the position for two years, I knowingly recorded both decisions and the rationale for them. How kind of Andy to deliver me from such unethical procedures! I thought the minutes of the 9th of November 2004 to be concurrent with the SSP’s minutes taking practises. But my knowledge of those could never match that of Mr Newman! Thank you comrade! Andy has now revealed that these were minutes were a monument to the aberrant Barbara Scott’s mendacity.

    Ms Scott – a mere gut-brained serf like me – was a secretary by trade. The heroic Tommy Sheridan was able expose her pedantic minute taking when threatened to assault the prestige of the great one. For six glorious years, she was deprived of her trade (all Scottish peasantry should be willing to make sacrifices for the great one). However, yesterday’s diabolical verdict has publically restored the Ms Scott’s truthfulness at the expense of the Holy Tommy (glory be upon him)! How lamentable!

    I am also a member of the injurious Scottish Socialist Youth. Being a former member of their National Committee I have little insight into the machinations. For instance, I would be unaware that they have more than one member. Lynsey is clearly the sole member of the SSY! It is not a vibrant network of young people that grows larger by the day! It is not an irreverent but relevant force in Scottish politics that is the catalyst of the student movement up here! They are a mere conduit of that witch Leckie (by the way Tommy actually used the word “witch” Newman – get your fucking facts straight before you have a go at us eh?). There is no prospect of there having been a collaborative effort on that article. There is no way that there were more authors for that post than some of the sects fond of commenting on here have members.

    “The biggest asset the SSP had was Tommy Sheridan and they have conspired to destroy him”

    Of course! How could I forget? The way to free the majority of people in society is to offer obsequious subservience to the self-styled leaders of the working class! Of course, such supine mindlessness would never create corrupt leaders. It would never lead to the unquestioned superiors driving the movement into the ground. It would never lead to one of the worst crimes in history like Stalinism. Thank you for this wonderful advice Andy: I will make a far greater effort not to question the powerful in future in the hope that by following them they will lead me to glory.

  22. Both Lenins Tomb and Andy have given “qualified” support to Tommy Sheridan but have suggested if you read between the lines that its possible that all is not quite as Tommy has stated in court.
    Now I really dont think this is good enougth, as someone like many others, who has read the day to day evidence in court I am convinced that Tomy Sheridan is innocent of all charges. Many reliable and decent people have given evidence in defence of Tommy Sheridan and I belive they are telling the truth – Tommy Sheridan was not at a “swingers club” (whatever that is) but in Glasgow at the time as many have testified (and I am sure in any appeal more evidence of this will be forthcoming). Too many, far too many people who supported the prosecution case were paid sums of money by the NOTW and in one case £200,000 for a fake video (and at no point was TS ever seen – its a bloody video not a voice recording!!). If nothing else and at worse the prosecution case was “unproven” (its was a “majority” jury verdict so some cleary thought he was not guilty or case unproven) and in my opinion and many others the verdict should have been not guilty.

    So no sitting on fences, no dilly dallying, its time to support Tommy Sheridan and his family 100% and to build a fighting fund that will allow him to have the best legal team possible if and I hope he does appeal.

    Its just not pssoible to push Tomy to one side and hope that the Socialist movenment in Scotland will recover. What happened to Tommy can happen to anyone of us (and in some casew ill). The Murduch Empire tried to the same dirty tricks on George Galloway (remember the fake sheikh – Mazher Mahmood a reporter for the NOTW)and have neen phone tapping 100’s of well known people and no doubt TS himself. No only by going on the offensive and fighing for Tomy Sheridan and the truth can we move on because Murdoch and all he stands for is what we have to take on and defeat.

    I would recommend James Doleman fantastic blog of the trial prceedings. Read and learn!

    http://sheridantrial.blogspot.com/

  23. Andy is right, there is no legal compunction for anyone to give evidence in a civil trial, yet SSP members willingly went to court in order to support the NoTW’s defence.

    This was not a liberal pressure group like Greenpeace or CND defending a defamation case…….. this was News International who are widely reviled by sections of the working class for their relentless attacks on unions, refugees, single mothers, etc etc

    Yet leading SSP members chose to take their side and gave evidence for the NOTW defence.

    At that point in my opinion, they crossed class lines and began the descent into the organisation that is now commonly referred to as the Scottish Scab Party.

  24. Andy McPake on said:

    Sorry, maybe I should be more succinct:

    Sheridanistas you lost and the great one is finished. We no longer have a gag on our mouths and can come back fighting. Be prepared to see the come-back of the SSP in 2011.

    Enjoy your Christmas here on this irrelevant blog, greetin about how Tommy lost. Sad bastards.

  25. So obvious on said:

    “Andy is right, there is no legal compunction for anyone to give evidence in a civil trial”

    No, Andy is not right. That is not true. If you are cited by the court, including the court of session which is SERIOUS BUSINESS, then you have to either turn up, flee the country forever, or face contempt of court charges and an indefinite jail sentence

  26. Andy McPake on said:

    @ Neil Williams Wow thanks for the link to the Doleman blog! I have never seen that before! You are soooo clever and original. Having lived the case for the past six years I no idea Tommy was innocent! I will read and learn! Clever you!

    Prick.

  27. Matt Collins on said:

    Another comrade has said regarding being called for evidence:

    ‘Throughout time there has been classic examples of selective loss of memory – Bill Clinton, innumerable other US presidents, people feeling threatened by the accused, people who don’t wa…nt to be part of a witch-hunt but are forced to testify.

    “I don’t remember” is the answer. The gleeful way the SSP were complicit in and are celebrating the conviction of Sheridan is sad, very sad.

    I was obliged to testify against some young joyrider who smashed into my car (while I was in it), wrote off both cars and legged it.

    “Do you recognise that man as the person who crashed into you?”

    “I don’t remember”

    Case dismissed.’

  28. David Ellis on said:

    #19 `Andy,

    Bollocks. You’re beating a path for Galloway. Nothing else.’

    You are undermining an otherwise good point with this senseless sectarianism. Andy is not in Respect anymore and Galloway is not interested in fanning the flames of this dispute so please stop making shit up otherwise we’ll have to conclude that you are motivated by things other than the truth yourself.

    #25 `Both Lenins Tomb and Andy have given “qualified” support to Tommy Sheridan’

    I think you’ll find Seymour’s support is a lot more qualified than Andy’s even if at first it doesn’t appear to be. There is nothing that individual writes that could not be read four or five different ways. He keeps all the bases covered. Andy however has foolishly been a bit more unequivocal.

  29. Anonymous on said:

    The SSP was an attempted con job from day one. It produced an appropriate leadership The core leadership was breaking from marxism towards scottish nationalism in the hope of becoming relevant and building political careers. In that regard it succeeded for a while. In essence the SSP was about trying to sell to workers in scotland the neo liberal indpendence project promoted by a section of the scottish establishment. The SSP was servility to the scotish establishment masquarading as rebellion. It deserved to die and it has done so. The scabby behavour of the SSP leadership flowed from the basic mendacity of the SSP project. Those within either wing of the old SSP who still wish to fight for working class power have to take stock and draw lessons from the debacle

    sandy

  30. lol I wrote NOTHING you have supposedly quoted me on. A draft post got written, it was already done and I just suggested a couple of factual details to get added in. This is just incredible.

  31. Be prepared to see the come-back of the SSP in 2011.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    HAHAHAHAHAHA

    HA. HA.

    You’re fucked. Seriously.

    It is not a vibrant network of young people that grows larger by the day! It is not an irreverent but relevant force in Scottish politics that is the catalyst of the student movement up here!

    Take out the sarcasm here and your description of SSY is bang on.

    Face it, you’re now nothing but a tiny band of Sheridan-haters who the rest of the left won’t touch with a barge pole. Enjoy losing every election you ever stand in and seeing your membership gradually slide towards single figures.

    Sad Scab Party.

  32. Excellent piece Andy. Demonstrates how a faction in the SSP was out to destroy Tommy right from the start. Well they’ve succeeded but I think they’ll find it’s a Pyrrhic victory. Not many people will want to vote for these scabs and they will be pariahs throughout the movement.

  33. Pedant, A on said:

    3 comments
    “It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that factional opponents of Tommy Sheridan grasped with both hands the opportunity to use the News of the World story to undermine Sheridan.”

    Probably some did – but we should be wary of assuming that the current rigid battlelines and hatreds were present at the time. L’Affaire Sheridandeveloped and formed factions far more than it reflected them

    “What they should have done instead was treat the question of whether or not Sheridan sued the NOTW as an entirely private matter for him.”.

    ….And leave him as Party Leader while he takes a case into court which was based on a lie – that he had admitted to them all was a lie? Not tenable.

    The insistence that if he pursue the case then he should resign as leader was the only sensible political judgement reached by anyone in this whole squalid mess.

    Tommy Shouldn’t have taken the case. When it became clear that the Party executive were going to be feaured in the trial – THEY should have made it clear to the party (and indeed the wider public ) what had happened at the meeting. This might have shut down the affair before it reached court and the worst of the damage was done.

  34. So obvious on said:

    The funniest thing is that the truth is the truth is the truth. And it will always be the truth. So you can be gleeful about what you think the fortunes of the SSP will be all you like – it will never change the fact that you’re wrong and know nothing of the real situation amongst people who’re not bitter sad pathetic losers desperately gasping for political relevance. I’m happy for you that you have found something to live for. Still, no matter what your opinion of the truth is it is still THE TRUTH! 🙂

  35. #28

    “If you are cited by the court, including the court of session which is SERIOUS BUSINESS, then you have to either turn up, flee the country forever, or face contempt of court charges and an indefinite jail sentence”

    If you are cited in court.

    But why were the SSP exec members cited in court over a case involving Sheridan’s private life?

    Only because Sheridan’s factional opponents leaked and made it public knowledge that facts evidentially relevent to any libel trial had been discussed at the SSP exec.

    If that leaking had not taken place, then News International would have had to put up or shut up based upon the evidence they had about the story’s truthfulness when they decided to publish.

    I am not referring to the testimony given in the libel trial, where my position was the comrades summonsed would have to follow their own conscience, and tell the truth according to how they saw it.

    What I am referring to is the lack of any civil or moral onligation to come forward, by leaking to the press, keeping minutes or giving signed affadavits, which draws attention to the fact that you may have eveidence relevent to a libel trial.

    If the meeting on 9/11/04 had been kept confidential, then no-one woudl have been summonsed to court.

  36. Catriona Grant on said:

    It is a truism to say that minutes would not normally be taken in such a situation however this is not a precedant at all. The meeting was NOT a private or a secret meeting it was a meeting of the full EC of the SSP, it was extraordinary meeting. The constitution states that all EC meetings should be minuted, which this one as all were. Barbara Scott, Minutes Secretary attended – she only had an administrative role and did not have a vote, why else would she be there? Also noone knew what was actually going to be said or what the outcome would be. Therefore how and when would you decide when and when not to minute the meeting?

    The minutes were kept confidential there was even a vote at the NC on 27th November 2004, there were over 100 delegates in attendance.

    For me this is the end of the sorry debacle and Mr Sheridan and his friends and comrades can do or say whatever they want. If I lived my life again I would do it again and with tenacity.

    The SSP attempted perhaps in romantic niavity to unite the left in Scotland and it is true to state that we failed on this momentous task however only because we tried to lash together groups and individuals whose interest was not left unity but taking power and control of the left in Scotland.

    There is a lot to lament about however for me it is to look towards the future without the burden of holding accountable and responsible former comrades for their actions.

    Mr Sheridan was given counsel and was warned not to take forward his libel action, the libel action would have been bad enough but the attack on his friends and comrades for me is unforgiveable. The consequences belong solely to Mr Sheridan and those that supported him to continue with his web of deceit

  37. Emmanuel Goldstein on said:

    I’m not sure of the position that the non-SSP left are taking here – they should ask themselves some questions based on the following possibilities, which seem to be the only ones available.

    1 – Tommy was lying and asked people to cover it up for him
    2 – Tommy was telling the truth and the SSP/his enemies used the NOTW scandal as an excuse to get him.

    As for 1 the consensus here seems to be that everyone should have lied in court without worrying about the personal consequences. As some have pointed out these people have families too. If they didn’t lie they were scabs. A horrible word to throw around, and in my view a disservice to the non-celebrities with more than just a reputation to protect who have been sold out by genuine scabs in the past.

    As for 2

    If 2 is true then fair enough, then the behaviour of the SSP etc was despicable, but I don’t think a fair look at the evidence presented, even if a lot of it was shown to be spurious makes this plausible. More importantly, unless we are to believe in a grand conspiracy involving MI5 etc why would people who rode on Tommy’s coattails want to ‘do him in’ in such a convoluted manner? Whatever their political differences, which seemed to be gender based, why would the likes of Rosie Kane etc want to jeopardise their position in this way? Maybe as a very very minor participant in branch activities and lapsed member of the SSP I’m not versed in the pythonesque possibilities of left wing politics and how petty squabbles about Gramsci or Marcuse can lapse into open warfare.
    Some of the posters on here are trying to have it both ways in my opinion based on either of the two possibilities – that is defend Tommy at all costs, whether 1 or 2 is true. Surely that is not defensible. If there was a grand conspiracy against him I’ll hold my hands up and admit I was wrong but I wouldn’t for one minute suggest that ordinary SSP members (outwith the ruling cabal!) are scabs for not wanting to jeopardise their lives/careers etc if 1, which it seems likely, is the truth. One point I will concede is that maybe some SSP members should not have been quite so proactive following the civil case, but perhaps being labelled as a scab does that to you. Likewise, some of the stuff on the SSY statement was a bit much, understandable frustration perhaps.

    I watched the BBC programme last night, it mostly rehashed known material, but at the end my eyes were damp (to qoute the great Arab Strap) when I watched Tommy singing the Internationale – I thought of all the potential he represented back in the day and how things have turned out. A tragedy, I hope he gets the most lenient sentence possible, can return to making some contribution to socialist politics and we can put all of this crap behind us.

  38. So obvious on said:

    Newman.. er, no, they were cited to court by the NOTW’s lawyers after Sheridan handed over a fake minute with their names on it, and they were ALSO cited by Sheridan’s lawyers. You can’t just make stuff up cause it suits you.

  39. I have always believed and argued that Sheridan’s decision to pursue the libel case was mistaken.

    In other words, Sheridan acted like an arrogant, hypocritical idiot: he brought a case based on lies against the most powerful media group in the country, which gave the state the perfect opportunity to nail him for perjury. Bringing that action set this whole disaster in train. I’m not impressed by an argument that seeks to stack up all the bad things SSP members did and make them add up to “hurrah for Tommy!”

  40. #44

    The minute handed over by Sheridan’s lawyers was after the fact of the meeting was already leaked; and speculation already n the publc domain – via the McCombes faction – about what the content of that meeting was.

  41. #42

    It is a truism to say that minutes would not normally be taken in such a situation however this is not a precedant at all. The meeting was NOT a private or a secret meeting it was a meeting of the full EC of the SSP, it was extraordinary meeting. The constitution states that all EC meetings should be minuted, which this one as all were.

    This is hiding behind constitutionalist pedantry.

    Notwithstranding rule book commitments to keep minutes it is not unusual for sections of meeting not to be minuted where they are highly delicate.

    It would have been sufficient to have noted the decision reached to ask Tommy to stand down as convenor if he proceeded with a libel action.

  42. #43

    As for 1 the consensus here seems to be that everyone should have lied in court without worrying about the personal consequences. As some have pointed out these people have families too. If they didn’t lie they were scabs. A

    no. In my view Tommy made a bad strategic error in taking the libel action given the political risks.

    However, there was nothing inevitable about SSP exec members being called in that libel action, they were only called because the fact that the 9/11/04 meeting had discussed the issue became public knowledge, through leaks, the signed affadavit, etc.

    The discussions at the 9/11 meeting were effectively put into evidence for factional reasons by the McCombes clique

    With regard to the later perjury investigation, trooping down t the police station with the minutes, with two former MSPs, and TV crews in tow pretty much guaranteed that there would be a criminal investigation and prosecution.

    Selling a tape – whether real or faked – to the NOTW for £200000 almost guaranteed that such a trial would result in a conviction and custodial sentance.

    This is what the SSP leadership stand accused of.

  43. David Ellis on said:

    #37 `Excellent piece Andy. Demonstrates how a faction in the SSP was out to destroy Tommy right from the start. Well they’ve succeeded but I think they’ll find it’s a Pyrrhic victory. Not many people will want to vote for these scabs and they will be pariahs throughout the movement.’

    This is proof that you are no more than a provocateur. `Right from the start’ eh? I doubt even Andy would claim his piece demonstrates that.

  44. Graham Day on said:

    #43

    I’m not sure of the position that the non-SSP left are taking here

    Most of the non-SSP left don’t really care, to be honest. Personally, I’m sad to see Mr. Sheridan go down in what was basically a battle with the News of the World, and disgusted by the actions of various SSP figures in volunteering information they didn’t have to, and taking such pleasure in doing so. I think most people are. But whether the stories are true or not…. .

    It’s noticeable that the SSP response to this piece is basically “yah boo Tommy’s guilty we were right yah boo sucks”. It certainly fits with the holier-than-thou spiel which has been their stock in trade for the last decade, but it’s not much to build (or rebuild) a political party on…

  45. “This is what the SSP leadership stand accused of.”

    What, in the Andy Newman Kangaroo Court? What the SSP did was tell the truth after they were placed in an impossible position by a now convicted perjurer. They had the good sense to realize that having been told what he had done by Tommy himself, if they supported his planned action, they were fucked.

    He essentially said, I’v mada a mistake, but now I’m going to fix it by doing something illegal, and you should support me.

    They said no. He went ahead anyway. Stop trying to spin this, Andy. The man is guilty. Get over it.

  46. #49

    “`Right from the start’ eh? I doubt even Andy would claim his piece demonstrates that.”

    I would agree that the small clique around Alan McCombes have been seeking to destroy Sheridan since 2003 or before, and used the opportunity presented by the NOTW trial.

    The wider ebbs and flows of opinion in the SSP and solidarity has been more fulid and has developed with time, but remember most of the 3000 members they had in 2003 have just waked away in disilusionment with the lot of them.

  47. David Ellis on said:

    #41 `If that leaking had not taken place, then News International would have had to put up or shut up based upon the evidence they had about the story’s truthfulness when they decided to publish.’

    Andy, which part about `these people did not want to participate in Sheridan’s conspiracy’ don’t you get and why are you the only one insisting that they should have?

    #52 `I would agree that the small clique around Alan McCombes have been seeking to destroy Sheridan since 2003 or before, and used the opportunity presented by the NOTW trial.’

    Really. That’s a bit out there.

  48. #53

    Andy, which part about `these people did not want to participate in Sheridan’s conspiracy’ don’t you get and why are you the only one insisting that they should have?

    David you are being dense here.

    The exec discussed the background to the Anvar Khan story.
    Sheridan said he intended to sue
    The SSP said, we advise against it, and if you proceed you should resign as convenor.

    None of the above is contested.

    Nothing involves the SSP in supporting a conspiracy.

    The discussions only became evidentially relevent for the libel trial because:

    the discussions at the meeting were leaked to the press
    Alan McCombes gave the affadavit, confirming that the SSP exec knew something evidentially relevant
    ordinary discretion was not followed, and the SSP exec maintained a minute of what shoudl have been an “off the record” discussion.

    It was these indiscretions that brought SSP exec members into court for the libel trial; who after all had no direct knowledge of the truth or otherwise of the Anvar Khan story. The NOTW woudl never have known that the issue was discussed on 9/11 if Sheridan’s factional oppionents had not put that knowledge in the public domain.

  49. When u read claims that Sheridan was the most corrupt politician in Scottish history its clear that it is pointless appealing to any form of socialist principle in this disscussion.

  50. The real tragedy here is that not one single bit of the whole shemozzle is about socialism. It’s about sex, the media, lying (or not lying), dealing with the police, dealing with the News of the World, factions (or not factions)…

    Tragic.

    True, that Andy is trying to get some theory out of it about how to build left and socialist movements…but the core content of the whole story is complete bunkum and shit and could be the kind of difficulty a football club, or a PTA or any self-governing body could get into. In fact, the more I read of it, there really isn’t some core socialist truth about any of it – even the stuff about not going to the media. Well, since the rise of these new socialist alliances over the last 10 years, then to a certain extent, they’ve relied on giving a hearing to Sheridan, Galloway and others.

    Take a step back: it’s sex, lies and videotapes. It’ll be Sven Goran Eriksson next week…or some such.

  51. #53 “these people did not want to take part in Sheridan’s conspiracy”

    Fair enough, but why was it acceptable that they then decided to participate in the NoTW one ?

  52. #42

    Barbara Scott, Minutes Secretary attended – she only had an administrative role and did not have a vote, why else would she be there? Also noone knew what was actually going to be said or what the outcome would be. Therefore how and when would you decide when and when not to minute the meeting?

    Cat, I have been going to labour movement and trade union meetings for 35 years, and I have attended board meetings of a charity that I used to be company secretary of.

    What you would expect to happen, with an experienced minutes secretary at what is after all still a relatively small meeting, is for the minutes secrtary to ask whether or not to keep a minute of a particularly delicate area of discussion; perhaps only recording the broad headline of what topic was discussed.

    SSP members keep stressing what an experinced secretary and minute taker Barabra Scott is, so why did she not follow what is completely standard process in meetings where delicate personal matters are being discussed?

    If the minutes secretary doesn’r ask, you woud expect the chair to rule that detailed minutes of personally delicate stuff should not be kept.

  53. jim mclean on said:

    58# In my experience when delicate subjects were being discussed as a former Branch Secretary in the Labour Party, standing orders were suspended, this also happened in other organisations I belonged too, so the minutes should not have existed, that is one point that has also puzzled me, but it does not alter the fact that Tommy was on self destruct, he had been warned by members of the press, including News International employees, that they could not keep the lid on it. It does not alter the fact that those behind Solidarity created that party for the sole purpose of getting Tommy elected and behind the facade of Socialism adopted a populist stance, this organisation now has two options, wind up or get a new figurehead for the Glasgow lists, with only Gail Sheridan having the ability to fulfil that role.

  54. #56. “Dealing with the Police, dealing with the News of the World”

    Is that a new euphemism for collaborating ??

  55. Mondobo on said:

    So now Andy Newman’s definition of a good secretary is someone who can redact on the fly without the need to be told how to conspire, so guaranteeing plausible deniability to everyone else.

    Andy, are you aware how deep a hole you are digging – you have argued for supporting a false legal claim and the party benefits of inaccurate minutes of meeting. Nothing you ever say in future can ever be seen as the whole truth, merely a Newmanised version that may or may not have some relation to the actualitie.

    I pray your word never has to be depended on after this.

  56. John Dennis (Dumfries) on said:

    Now that the verdict in Tommy Sheridan’s trial has been reached, it’s time to mend the fractured socialist movement in Scotland.

    While both SSP and Solidarity members have issues (see posts from various others), they must not lead to 2 separate socialist campaigns in the Scottish Parliament elections.

    The establishment in Scotland deliberately delayed this trial to prolong the divisions in the socialist movement.

    All 4 big political parties in Scotland have accepted the cuts agenda of the Westminster Government. Not a word about increased taxation for the rich (whose excess funds the bankers were handling when they caused this crisis) comes from the leaders of Labour or the SNP.

    The working people of Scotland urgently need a single credible socialist campaign against the cuts.

    For that to happen, SSP and Solidarity members must get over these recriminations. All socialists in Scotland have to work together now to agree a single socialist campaign for May.If we can’t do that, we’re no better than the irrelevant bickering sects caricatured in Life of Brian which no-one will vote for.

    Once Xmas is by, I’m going to consult widely locally about standing on an Independent Socialist – Action Against Cuts platform in the constituency here. I’d happily take part in a single socialist platform for the South of Scotland list vote.

    But if we get more than one socialist list,the state and the NOTW will have succeeded in perpetuating the divide and marginalising socialism in Scotland.DON’T LET THAT HAPPEN!

  57. Is Mondobo an SSP member or someone from Harry’s Place. As in George Orwell’s fable its becoming a little hard to tell. Terribly depressing.

  58. No Gods, no masters, when will we learn this simple lesson. The fact Tommy Sheridan decided to defend himself in court shows just how divorced from the reality of life he has become.

    There is a lesson for the left here, for a large, long established party, a charismatic figure can be a blessing and pay dividends electorally. But for a small party it can prove disastrous, as we have seen with this kerfuffle, for when the great leaders star dims or burns out, the party goes down with him. (they are almost always a him)

  59. Nick Fredman on said:

    “It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that factional opponents of Tommy Sheridan grasped with both hands the opportunity to use the News of the World story to undermine Sheridan”

    Andy it is very possible to avoid this conclusion when the “faction” of opponents as cited by you consists of two people, one of whom stands accused of taking too detailed a minute. McCombes’ actions at this time might have been unfortunate but you don’t cite anything which shows they were anything more than his actions, whether taken in a misguided attempt to defend his party or less worthy motives. Rather than conspiracy theorising about secret factions Occam’s Razor suggests the brutal struggle was most escalated by the person most self-interested in the matter. Later actions by other SSP leaders may have been pretty bad, but this was well after nastiness by the other side (denouncing “scabs” in well-paid exclusives in the media, etc), and so not really any evidence of any long running cliques or plots.

    Your general points are more thought provoking: in general it is quite difficult for socialist parties to gain a big hearing in a relatively stable capitalist country in anything other than a contingent way, and even this generally requires popular mass leaders who often seem to come with pretty big egos (the western CPs lasted for a long time on the political capital gained from the serious crisis of the 30s and the prestige of the USSR particularly in the 20s and 40s). In such a context personal conflicts can escalate, spectacularly it seems when fed by a particularly narcissistic ego. Nevertheless every attempt to gain such a hearing needs to be grasped and the positives and negatives learned from.

  60. #63

    So now Andy Newman’s definition of a good secretary is someone who can redact on the fly without the need to be told how to conspire, so guaranteeing plausible deniability to everyone else.

    Andy, are you aware how deep a hole you are digging – you have argued for supporting a false legal claim and the party benefits of inaccurate minutes of meeting. Nothing you ever say in future can ever be seen as the whole truth, merely a Newmanised version that may or may not have some relation to the actualitie.

    To give an example, our local Stop the War group used to keep minutes, and we occassionaly had attendance from a Lib Dem councillor.

    When we had to discuss flyposting – which is illegal – we suspended standing orders, and the councillor coverered his ears or left the room. It was discussed informally and not minuted.

    I have often been in union meetings where personal details of a members circumstances were discussed, and standing orders are suspended so that the discussion is not minuted.

    I have been in formal meetings of commercial organisations where finanical improprieties have been discussed, where the company has decided to bear the loss rather than suffer the loss of reputation; the details were not minuted.

    I have been in trade union negotiations over disciplinaries, where we have formally suspended proceedings and the minutes have stopped, so that we can have an off the record and without prejudice discusion of options with management for a mutually beneficial resolution.

    this is a pretty standard way of doing business. It is not lying.

    There was no obligation on the SSP to keep a minute of confidential private matters, and indeed it is highly irregular to do so.

  61. #67

    Andy it is very possible to avoid this conclusion when the “faction” of opponents as cited by you consists of two people, one of whom stands accused of taking too detailed a minute. McCombes’ actions at this time might have been unfortunate but you don’t cite anything which shows they were anything more than his actions, whether taken in a misguided attempt to defend his party or less worthy motives

    I don’t want to inflame the discussion any more than is necessary, however, the existance of an anti-Sheridan faction is hardly conjecture, as they formally constituted themselves as the United Left.

    But even before then, the existance of a leadership clique is extremely widely known as Hugh Kerr testified in court. I have enough discretion to know there is no advantage here for me to name names.

  62. There was no obligation on the SSP to keep a minute of confidential private matters, and indeed it is highly irregular to do so.

    Indeed, there is only one reason for the existence of notes purporting to be such minutes.

  63. Gallowglass on said:

    Mondobo sounds like a cop. He certainly has their thought processes.

    McPake is the lad who left the voice message on Sheridans phone wishing his mother Alice die of cancer whilst she was fighting the illness. Some day exhooligan [ haha] Andy.

  64. what the hell is this? as Lynsey says, she didn’t write ANY OF THE STUFF you’ve attributed to her. Please correct it – the article was written by SSY as a collaborative effort.

  65. mondobo you are disgracing yourself and socialists in general. I don’t know Tommy Sheridan and can’t talk about his ego. But the way in which you and your comrades are throwing shit around to justify your own tells its own story to any disinterested reader. Certainly I would never trust your word again if I knew you. Who could tell when you might decide that a quick visit to a police station was in order?

  66. Even supposing Tommmy is guilty it is perfectly possible to believe that he is a perjurer egomaniac son of Satan and also to recognise that the actions of a faction in the SSP in leaking to the press, selling tapes to the NOTW for 200 grand and parading to the police station with highly suspicious minutes having arranged for the media to be in tow are all totally despicable.

  67. South of the M74 on said:

    77. says “the article was written by SSY as a collaborative effort.”

    Then all of you should hang your heads in shame – you’re giving young people a bad name.

  68. Yes these charming nerks at SSY are kind enough to call the CWI “coffin dodgers” Is ageism not a problem for them?

  69. During 2009 people were spitting in the faces of SSP members out in Glasgow on campaign stalls – after Jan 26 what will happen to the scabs – I only hope the working class of Glasgow and elsewhere sort the SSP out Glasgow style. The scumbags that worked with the police and the News of the World should be left in no doubt that thay are the scum of the earth in the eyes of any decent working class person.

  70. David Ellis on said:

    #76 `Mondobo sounds like a cop. He certainly has their thought processes.’

    Why? Because he/she thinks that Andy in arguing that the SSP should have conspired with Sheridan after he’d told them he intended to perjure himself is slowly destroying his own credibility. No doubt this thread is in the files of every rightwinger in Britain ready for the day Andy ever has to go to court as a witness. However much the likes of John G or Richard Seymour `Lenin’ (how pathetic is that, doesn’t he know post-modern irony was a middle class joke now long past its sell by date?) or `Ray’ or any of the SWP twats feign support for Sheridan none of them would be stupid enough to say what Andy has said outright at least not in their own names (they might do it anonymously or wind other up to do it) just as SSP people weren’t stupid enough to go along with Sheridan’s not so secret conspiracy given the inevitability of the outcome and the patheticness of its purpose.

    #78 Look at this comment from Johng. A classic example of SWP waffle, saying absolutely nothing about anything whilst feigning indignance and apparently showing solidarity. Nothing there to hang your coat on I’m afraid just fanning the flames and creating a smoke screen to cover for the fact that once again the SWP are majorly implicated in yet another fuck up. No wonder Sheridan went off the rails when you’ve got people like the SWP CC and their minions manipulating events behind the scenes.

  71. RedDragon on said:

    “McPake is the lad who left the voice message on Sheridans phone wishing his mother Alice die of cancer whilst she was fighting the illness.”

    How do you know this Gallowglass – can you substantiate it???

  72. #85

    David Ellis, I have no idea why you continue to peddle this lie:

    ” Andy in arguing that the SSP should have conspired with Sheridan after he’d told them he intended to perjure himself is slowly destroying his own credibility. No doubt this thread is in the files of every rightwinger in Britain ready for the day Andy ever has to go to court as a witness. ”

    I have said quite clearly that once summonsed to court, winesses had a duty to their own conscience to tell the truth as they see it. They have a legal duty to tel the truth.

    I have not counselled or condoned perjury.

    Nor have i countenanced any conspiracy.

    What I have said is that when private and confidential matters are discussed at a formal meeting it is usual for standing orders to be suspended, minutes not to be taken, and for there to be an “off record” exchange of views “in committee” as it is called in the jargon, before reconvening the meeting.

    And when a matter is confidential and private it is not usual for people to almost immediately brief the press about it and issue a signed affadavit to a newspaper afterwards saying that they now have dirt on the person involved, etc, etc.

    What should have happened is that once Tommy said that he was going to sue the NOTW, and the SSP counselled against it; they could have made clear it was a private matter between him and the NOTW, which given the demands on his time and risk to reputation would be sufficient reason to ask him to step down as convenor.

    McCombes went out of his way to ensure that the SSP was dragged into it, by going to the Herald with a signed affadavit. Alan Green and Barbara scott went out of their way to ensure that a minute of confidential private information was recorded and retained.

    there was no need to do what they actualy did, which was to get on the phone to anyone who would listen divulguing the confidential matters that had been discussed. to leak rumours to the press, and to issue a signed affadavit to a newspaper saying that they were in possession of facts that could have forced Sheridan to resign. there was no need to have kept minutes, etc, etc.

    the strength or otherwise of Tommy Sheridan’s libal action aganst the News of the World was not something that the SSP had any legal or moral obligation to take a public view upon. They could have privately disagreed with Sheridan over the wisdom of the libel action, suggested a cooling off period, and then allowed him to discretely resign after a few weeks if he decided to pursue the action, for private reasons.

    Instead, by their actions, the SSP leadership clique manouvered the situation so that the 9/11/04 meeting, and what was discussed became a matter of public record, making it inevitable that they would be called by NOTW.

    What you seem utterly unable to grasp is that the libel action against NOTW need not have involved the SSP executive at all.

  73. ““McPake is the lad who left the voice message on Sheridans phone wishing his mother Alice die of cancer whilst she was fighting the illness.”

    No he wont be able to substantiate it because it is not true.

  74. Go on, be honest – some of you love this stuff, don’t you? You think this is a bloody sight more interesting than doing that boring stuff like leafleting, organising meetings or working out why we think we’re socialists, what kind of socialists and how to convey that to other people. Who lied about who was having a fuck with who is 500% more interesting…and the recriminations even more so… It’s probably more exciting for some than the original shags actually…

  75. Those who talk about Archer and Aitken should remember this: The bourgeoisie NEVER turned their back on those people, even if they went through a charade of ‘punishing’ them for their crimes in the easiest conditions imaginable.

    look at them today, they are nicely rewarded for their roles with cushy jobs, plenty of cash and no worries about their futures.

    The ruling class understand and practice class solidarity far better than any of us.

  76. I don’t know. But Andy McPake was my boyfriend at the time and I know it is not him; his name got brought up when they were just clutching at straws for a new handy hate figure. It’s ridiculous.

    Loving how it’s all about how we’re bad bastards when we are actually the ones telling the truth, and not the ones who started this.

  77. Mondobo on said:

    A conspiracy of silence is still a conspiracy.

    Sheridan attended a meeting, told everyone there he intended making a false claim of defamation against a multinational corporation and expected the support of everyone in attendance. They said, “No.”

    He said he would go ahead anyway.

    Whichever way you cut this Andy, this was a monumental act of stupidity that can only be explained as a decision made in his trousers instead of in his head. This decision would start the ball rolling and no-one knew where, how or when it would stop. He knew what had happened to Aitken. He knew what had happened to Archer. He knew what he had done. He knew he would have to sacrifice others for his own survival.

    And when he though he had won, he sold his story to The Daily Record.

    “I’ll destroy the scabs who tried to ruin me!”

    He didn’t. The Solidarity faction will face the Scottish electorate next year having gone on record as saying they support perjury in pursuit of political gain, and that what they say in public and what they say in private are two different things.

    Sheridan will probably get four years and serve 28 months. His political career is over. It is sad, it is very, very sad. Perhaps he should have learned a few lessons from Galloway, who dealt with sex allegations by simply saying, so what, it is none of your business.

    For most of the Scottish public, the BBC Scotland article last night will become the defining document of this sad charade. The SSP should watch the programme many times – they have never come across better in the media. No ranting, no raving, just plain, honest and reserved. It works.

  78. Anonymous on said:

    That is not the question that Andy asked, Lynsey! Who was it? And don’t say “I don’t know”, because the truth is that you DO know!

  79. jim mclean on said:

    Tommy did join the old Scottish tradition of leaving the Court and straight into a reporters car after the 1st case, its what we are best at, talking shite and counting the money. Now we can all look forward to Qatar in 22.

  80. former ssp on said:

    when people join Solidarity are they told that the SSP witnesses lied or are they told that Sheridan lied?

    surely the starting premise for any discussion is what we have all known for a long time. Sheridan lied and asked others to lie on his behalf.

    there are some people here who might think that is ok. all i can say is that i would NEVER commit perjury to save anyone’s marriage. there were no political principles at stake here, the NOTW made allegations of sexual misconduct, how fucking trivial. before you say ‘oh but NOTW went after him because he’s a socialist’ this isn’t true either- one the same day they exposed Sheridan’s double life they also exposed that well known socialist Boris Johnson.

    before you all say ‘i dont care what someone does in their private life’ it’s worth responding that Tommy obviously does, or he wouldnt have taken a long drawn out legal action.

    perhaps if Sheridan hadn’t been getting egged on and supported by a bunch of angry folk then none of this would have happened. after a year or 2 in prison i doubt he’ll be so thankful for the ‘support’ of people like John Wight.

    i feel very sorry for his wife, she has been put through 6 years of legal hell, had her private life laid bare in the press and has been made to look like a complete idiot, is this what gets classed as solidarity? When the penny drops i’m sure she’ll be so thankful for the support of people like the SWP.

    the lesson here is that when you go down a legal road you leave yourself open to legal consequences, Sheridans vanity is what’s to blame for all of this. if he had denounced the article like Scargill did with the Mirror then none of this would have happened, instead he’s little more than a former Big Brother star who’s now the Archer of the left. very sad.

  81. Anonymous on said:

    #91 I suspected it might have been James Nesbitt actually. No insider info, just a gut feeling. Could well be wrong.

  82. I suspect TS felt compelled to sue the NOTW to stop them unearthing any more stories about his private life.

    It was more of a defensive move than an offensive one.

    Perhaps the silver lining in all of this is that it stops anyone having any illusions about the nature of the people who comprise the SSP leadership.

  83. Brilliant article, Andy.

    The demise of the SSP as a party and its rise as a cult is one of the phenomenons of not just the left in Scotland but the European left in recent years and requires serious analysis. Your piece has set a high bar in this regard.

    The degeneration of the SSP from a party whose focus was class to a party in which the social maladies resulting from class antagonisms were separated out and treated as causes of oppression rather than the symptoms, underpinned the political fault lines which eventually destroyed the SSP. Thus right wing feminism as a progressive doctrine and the way in which it inevitably resulted in not only a retreat and alienation from class based politics, but a paradigm in which the working class itself became the enemy.

    Sheridan exemplified, in his manner, speech, demeanour, appearance, etc., an enhanced example of a working class guy from a Glasgow housing scheme. This was the secret, as you suggest, of Sheridan’s inordinate success in articulating radical ideas and being listened to. Within him people saw the best of themselves -courage, strength, purpose and defiance – and it inspired them.

    Moreover, the vast majority of ordinary and non-political people I have spoken to on this issue over the past few years, whenever the subject has ever come up, have treated the allegations that he attended a swingers club with a shrug of the shoulders. They do so because they know that rather than make TS the brute he’s been painted as by the SSP, such allegations, if true (and I continue to believe otherwise), only made him more human in revealing a chink in his otherwise sanitised public image, reflecting as a result the duality with which they and the vast majority in society are forced to live their lives.

    The degeneration which took place within the SSP led to the invidious situation whereby TS enjoyed more sympathy and support among the working class than among many so called socialists in his own party. The SSP’s most egregious mistake is in believing that a guilty verdict will change this. Somewhere along the way in the process of developing such a distorted worldview, one founded on a desire for revenge rather than understanding, basic class consciousness was at first submerged and then completely subordinated to identity – to the point where class became an impediment to the SSP’s purpose.

    Anger over injustice and inequality is healthy in a socialist or socialist party. Hatred of the flawed humanity it produces is not. It was precisely this hatred of the working class and the flawed humanity of which it’s comprised, packaged as a cohesive political doctrine, which led to the anathematization of Tommy Sheridan and the logical conclusion of socialists wilfully colluding with Murdoch and the authorities in trying to destroy him.

    Note I said tried. Sheridan may have lost this particular battle, but it would be folly to assume that he is finished.

  84. Jim Monaghan on said:

    This might not be over yet. The NotW have just phoned me asking about benefits and informed me that I am the subject of a police investigation.

    This is good news as it could mean that the events of 27 September 2002 could be tested in court again with a different jury. The Crown office will not be pleased.

    Don’t forget that the judge gave a clear instruction to the jury that they had reasonable doubt on that charge, the jury ignored that instruction.

    This could be the breakthrough Tommy needs, the same date, different jury. Thanks to whatever SSP tout made the complaint to Police.

  85. Mondobo on said:

    You can always rely on John Wight to put things in the accessible, clear and succinct language of the proletariat.

  86. “Is Mondobo an SSP member or someone from Harry’s Place. As in George Orwell’s fable its becoming a little hard to tell. Terribly depressing.”

    Yes I noticed the zionist laban and the racist Ed D posting with glee about Sheridans conviction. It’s not surprising that some of the most right wing bigots are rejoicing with the SSP over this conviction. The nasty rhetoric of Lynsey and Andy McPake is further proof that they will resort to any smears and innuendo to get rid of Sheridan. What a bunch of dishonest scabs.

    “I suspect TS felt compelled to sue the NOTW to stop them unearthing any more stories about his private life.”

    They were made up but a faction in the SSP made sure they concocted so-called “evidence” which they were paid for handsomely by Murdoch to take him down. The SSP will live to regret lining up with the right wing gutter press and the state.

  87. SSP member on said:

    ***But why were the SSP exec members cited in court over a case involving Sheridan’s private life?***

    Because the mad bastard had no fucking common sense. Someone concocted a fake minute and sent it out from his parliamentary email address which listed all the people that were at the exec meeting, so that the NoTW knew who to cite.

    There was really no bounds to Tommy’s fucking stupidity and no telling him how fucking stupid he was being – the only thing riveling his stupidity was his arrogance.

    Poor bastard. Five years and for what – to nurture the clean living family man image so beloved of the Daily Mail. It wasnt the SSP that were the moralists in this, it was Sheridan.

  88. Mondobo on said:

    “Because the mad bastard had no fucking common sense.”

    Now that is what I call a summation. End ae’ story.

  89. “You can always rely on John Wight to put things in the accessible, clear and succinct language of the proletariat.”

    Your concern trolling would be quite touching if it weren’t so disingenuous. Wouldn’t your time be better spent clearing out all the racist posts off HP? Perhaps not, because then you’d have to shut the site down.

  90. “It wasnt the SSP that were the moralists in this, it was Sheridan.”

    Even if what you claim about Sheridan were true which it’s not your party’s moralistic attacks on prostitutes and people who have consensual group sex are the reactionary politics of the most bigoted Telegraph reader. Even the Tories take a less persecutory position on prostitution and sexual liberation. Your discriminatory politics are shameful.

  91. Mondobo on said:

    Ray

    OK Ray,

    “Consciousness is part of the dialectic of reality,” says Marx; however, according to Wight , it is not so much consciousness that is part of the dialectic of socialist reality, but rather the collapse, and some would say the fatal flaw, of consciousness.

    The subject of Sheridan is contextualised into a dialectic discourse that includes the narrativity and nativity of the personality cult as a paradox.

    In reality, Sheridan is a predominant concept, the distinction perhaps between closing and opening. In a sense, the main theme of this existence is as a rubicon, and subsequent stasis, of neopatriarchialist class. Wight merely suggests the use of social realism to attack class divisions.

    … Is that better?

  92. Anonymous on said:

    I am not a legal expert lol, but I don’t think that Thomas Montgomery’s “evidence” did Tommy much good.

  93. Jim Monaghan on said:

    Nugent, In Scotland we dont get to hear what helped juries to convict. are you saying that the jury are communicating such information?

    Today the Crown Office confirmed that there will be no further charges against Rosemary Byrne, Graeme McIver, Angus Healey, Jock Penman and Pat Smith.

    The last thing that the Crown want is the whole thing back in front of another jury.

    And then some SSP tout, and the NotW throw a spanner in the works by pushing for a prosecution of me. You can hear the groans from the Crown Office from here.

    Its 1-1 in the test series with another jury imminent 🙂

    On the phone call where the SSY members wanted a woman to die of breast cancer, I heard the call and it was me who called Jack Ferguson about it. I am sure Jack Fergusons voice wasnt on it, certainly not shouting abuse, he has a very distinctive voice, very posh. As for Andy mcPake, that was the name given to us by SSY members who thought they were going to get a visit from the police, from what I heard it was someone else called andy who shopped him in as he was scared he would get the blame. But I, personally, have no idea if it was or not as I dont know the guy, dont know what he looks like or what he sounds like. It sounded like about 5 or more voices to me, with the main one up front calling tommy an ‘orange bastard’ and calling for the death of his mother, who had breast cancer at the time. They identified themselves as the SSY – “We are the SSY!” and sang a song about Solidarity to the tune of ‘the adams family’.

  94. former ssp on said:

    the phone call sounds pretty fucking juvenile

    the way Jim has been treated has been appalling, even though i believe he lied in court, and even though i believe he has sycophantically encouraged Tommy to do something very stupid in even going down a legal route to begin with.

    i wouldn’t expect any further perjury investigations, and even if to avoid all of this coming up again i would doubt that the crown will be racing to put Jim on trial any time soon.

  95. Anonymous on said:

    Unlike you, Larry Nugent, Jim Monaghan has a spine. If you had an ounce of his courage and principles you’d be doing all right.

    You don’t.

    Prick.

  96. #15 Please do not equate the SLP with the SSP. One important and substantial difference was/is the constitutional arrangements of the two organisations. The SLP has a unitary constitution – i.e. no factions. The SSP (and all the other left organisations who have made serious electoral challenges) are faction based. It was this “tying together” approach that was trumpeted as “inspirational”. Anyone with sense could see that such an approach was a disaster waiting to happen – and in a range of ways, we now know, it has! The SLP, to their credit, said so at the time. In Scotland, as it happens, the SLP are the one socialist organisation who are not contaminated by this disaster, even the CPB tied up with TS, the SWP and the Militant in NO2EU.

    Incidently, the SLP are still there, an excellent by-election result in Liverpool last month coming third ahead of the Tories, the Greens, UKIP, the ED’s and the BNP. And the excellent 2009 Euro Election results where we beat NO2EU across Britain and got more than the combined vote of NO2EU and the SSP in Scotland.

    Roll on May 2007 and the Scottish and Welsh elections.

  97. What surprises me most about all this, is someone who was a revolutionary socialist seriously believed he could get justice in a bourgeois court. What was he thinking when he sued Murdoch, did he really believe if he won the ruling class was going to roll over and accept the judgement, that was never a possibility. They must have thought it was Christmas day when Sheridan won the case.

    At the time and throughout the previous decade Tommy has been the most high profile left wing socialist in Scotland, if not the UK. The secret state would have been all over his life throughout that decade, yet he sued Murdoch on the bases of whiter than white, happy family man.

    Ignorance and arrogance are an unfortunate combination in any human being, but in a left wing politician they are the kiss of death.

    By the way John, if you seriously believe a majority of working class people would shrug their shoulders [as if it is of no importance] at the thought of their MP going to a swingers club, let alone betraying his wife’s trust, then you need to get out more and meet a wider section of working class people.

    I will tell you why we think such behaviour is unacceptable, for an MP who will lie too and cheat on their partner, the person they claim publicly to love above all others, would, if push came to shove, not give a second thought about betraying us.

    The bitterness amongst a section of the left in Scotland is displayed in this thread, But this side show, as traumatic as it has been for some, now needs to be put to bed, in truth there are more pressing issues which need to be dealt with and if this fails to happen the Scottish left can look forward to an endless roundabout of ‘whataboutary.’

  98. Are the people saying things like the SSP degenerated into a politics where “a paradigm in which the working class itself became the enemy” including working class women in that?

    Cos some of the most admirable working class women I’ve met are on the “other” side of the SSP/Sheridan clusterfuck, and the thing that most bothers me about Sheridan’s supporters is the easy resort to tactical sexism.

  99. Jim Monaghan on said:

    Nugent “Monaghan, AP said that in front of jury and you are aware of it.”

    I sat there in court when Prentice summed up. From memory, he said about me “then there was Jim Monaghan, the leafletter, who claims he saw Mr Sheridan that night”. As far as I can remember, that was all he said.

    Former SSP, I didnt lie and I didnt even know Tommy Sheridan when he went down the legal route, so didnt encourage him to do anything. The judge, when instructing the jury, pointed out that they had cause for reasonable doubt on the charge of being at cupids on that specific night.

    The doubt being that Khan had changed the date of the event twice and Trolle had, in 2006, swore that she was certain that it happened in November 2001 because of the work placement that she was on at that time.

    I cant testify as to where Tommy was on the dates that the NotW alleged or the dates that the witnesses claimed but I know where he was after 9pm on 27 September 2002. There were other defence witnesses as well, that were never called as the defence had thought that we had won the argument. The Judge’s instructions to the jury seemed to confirm this. Unfortunately the jury decided to ignore the judges instructions.

    Thankfully, the SSP/NotW are doing their best to give us another shot at it with a different jury.

    As it stands there are 3 witnesses who put Tommy in cupids that night, two of them have had three different dates under oath and one of them denied it on 8 occassions when asked by Police. If the touts in the SSP get me charged, I’ll be delighted to call them again.

  100. Jim Monaghan on said:

    I really dont remember him saying that at all. I was there when he summed up and didnt hear that. Are you sure you are not getting mixed up?

  101. jim mclean on said:

    Trials are meant to be in the Public Interest, further trials would not be, were the friends and famoly of Archer and Aitken prosecuted. For those who still say this is a NoTW case and a miscarriage of justice, bollocks, the man basically took the cowards way out and did not hold his hands up when caught out and still made a mint from the bourgoise press in the passing.

  102. Emmanuel Goldstein on said:

    Navel gazing!
    As a friend used to say to mean when Celtic got beat – it doesn’t matter, they don’t pay your wages, why worry about it? The vast majority of people in Scotland who are going to struggle under a tory government will think the same way about all of this.

  103. jim mclean on said:

    121# Not only was in two different places in one night, hanging outside a cultural event in Glasgow and in Manchester, a miracle worker.
    Get over it for fucks sake he was in Cupids, the SSP have not lied although cancan question their actions, I wouldnt bother trying to heal the rift in the Scottish Left, as long as the SP and SWP are still lying through their teeth why bother.

  104. jim mclean on said:

    125# Lets hope the STUC keep up the good work, no one else will, got to go, dogging tonight.

  105. Mark Porciani on said:

    Larry your out of the order. The only Tossers are the SSP (Scabbing Stool Pigeons) who backed stabbed Tommy. I first meet Jim Monaghan shortly after the Libel Trial in 2006. In the time I have knowing Jim he has stuck by Tommy. Not only that. He has helped restore a confidence in the belief that your Comrades are your friends. This is one of the most tragic and hurtful aspects of this case. The manner in which Tommy S was backstabbed by the people he was suppose to trust the most.
    As for the night in question in Sept 2002. This was the same night many of us travelled from Glasgow to London to join an anti-war demo. We left from the Central Mosque. The collective experience of leaving from Mosque was marred by a rump of the SSP back stabbers. After we was asked to come into the Mosque to join Prayers. Pam Currie and other members of the split went off on a Feminist Islamophobic Hissy Fit.
    Even in 2002 the problems of the SSP was clear for all to see. We should not forget that Tommy was found guilty from a trial in which the charges was disappearing quicker than November Snow that fell in Glasgow. The first 4 witnesses stood up and informed the Court that had “mislead” the 2006 Libel Trial. To mislead a trial is called Perjury. I look forward to the appeal !!!

  106. All Sheridan had to say was it is mistaken identity. But he thought he would play the capitalist game and go for the money. Even if he did win the NofTW would have carried on as normal. It is pocket money for them. His big achievement is splitting the loony left even further. And that is something he can be proud of although not his intention.

  107. All this backtracking by the SSP supporters is pathetic. Not only do they lie about Sheridan but try to turn on anyone who supports him. It’s a recipe for disaster and I for one won’t forget their betrayal. I’m sure I’m not the only one who will bring their scabbing up whenever they are referred to in any and every context. They are political poison for the left, not to be trusted and need to be shunned. I’m not surprised that nasty little shit stirring troll Nugent supports them.

  108. 128. Well done Pam Currie for protesting against Islamo Fascism. 130. Do not worry the left has always and will be a disaster. Take the Tommy blinkers aff ya mug.

  109. #133

    “why shouldn’t a feminist be uncomfortable about Islam?”

    The creatures outside looked from SSP to Harrys Place, and from Harrys Place to SSP, and from SSP to Harrys Place again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

  110. Anonymous on said:

    130. Grow up no one lied about Sheridan except his friends and the CWI for their own reasons.

  111. Mark Porciani on said:

    Protesting against Islmo Fascism. You have not got a clue Jimmy. We was invited into the Mosque. How many times do the Muslim Community open the doors to White Socialist Groups? Once in a lifetime. You don’t raise bollocks about prayer practices during those times. Shooting themselves in the foot seems to be the only consistency in the history of the SSP.
    I first met Pam Currie at Uni in 1997. At that time her head was so far up Tommy Sheridan’s arse he could walk sitting down. How things changed quicker than a blink of the eye.
    They built him up like a game Kerplunk. And then flung Kerplunk in the bin when it wasnae going their way.
    During the court case they admitted they went for Tommy because of his support of the anti-war movement. When Tony Blair lied Millions died. When the SSP lies a Comrade who opposed Blair’s lies goes to jail. What an arsey verse world we live in !!!

  112. Mark Porciani on said:

    Larry – Quality is always more important than quantity of evidence. Fling enough shit into a court room and the small elements of truth start to stink!!!

  113. 138. The evidence was so overwhelming that some in the Jury cried but they had to be truthful. That says it all. The Judge SHOULD GIVE HIM COMMUNITY SERVICE. It is time he got a job doing a bit of graft and dirty his hands. He will then know what it is like to be working class.

  114. Jim Monaghan is a true socialist.
    He is no sycophant of Tommy or anyone else.
    More importantly he is neither scab or collaberator.
    He gave his evidence with honesty and dignity, words I’m sure some posters on here have no idea of the meaning of.
    In solidarity with Tommy and Gail,
    Joyce.

  115. The fact is that the minutes were not ‘leaked’ – they was openly discussed in the SSP right after Tommy’s resignation.

    In his open letter on May 28th Tommy claimed their existence was leaked to the Herald in January 06, when a journalist asked the SSP if minutes existed, a few months before the case.

    In reality they were discussed openly in November of 2004, they were signed for at an EC meeting on the 24th and then at the National Council of the SSP on the 27th of November which accepted Tommy’s resignation it was made clear that they would be kept confidential.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/ssp-leaders-to-face-the-party-without-crucial-meeting-s-minute-1.69623

    So from November 2004 up until May of 2006 there was no dispute that minutes did exist and were kept confidential.

  116. 139. Re- Head up arse. Could it not have been the other way round! Ask Pam. This is getting interesting.

  117. Anonymous on said:

    It would be a right laugh Tommy going into court expecting to go off in the prison van like the big hero martyr that he thinks he is – and getting hit with community service. It’s what the prick deserves.

  118. #146 No chance of that. The judge told him to expect a custodial sentence. If you commit perjury you can expect prison like Archer and Aitken.

    Aitken’s made something of a comeback but then in some ways conservatives are more forgiving than the left.

  119. vAitken’s made something of a comeback but then in some ways conservatives are more forgiving than the left.

    1. Aitken owned up and said he was sorry.
    2. It was The Guardian that did for him. His rightwards friends didn’t want to side with The Guardian. The revolting Taki in The Spectator was quoting Aitken’s poetry that he wrote in prison.

  120. 149. Aitken re-found religion whilst in the nick maybe Tommy will follow. Seems to get the sympathy of the religious nutters. The criminal has found Jesus. AWWWWW LET HIM OUT. Nice man now.

  121. Jim Monaghan on said:

    look at Davy Landels, he thinks that it is OK on a siocialist forum to link to a tabloid story that he has no idea if it is true or not, and throw another person, Billy davies, who he doesnt know, into the cult’s sacrificial pot. I wish it was funny. Billy Davies’ family are now also fair game to the SSP.