The truth about Tommy Sheridan

The long awaited movie adaption of Tommy Sheridan's life

Today marked the end of 6 years of hell for members of the SSP. The jury in the perjury trial of Tommy Sheridan was able to see through his web of lies, and has vindicated the actions of our party in telling the truth.

He won’t be sentenced until the New Year, but we have no desire to see him punished by prison. We support restorative justice where offenders are helped to make amends to the people they have wronged. To do that, the first step is admitting what they have done wrong, and it’s time now for Tommy to apologise to the people he has wronged, particularly the women who he slept with and then publicly humiliated in court.

Now, after four years of being forced to keep quiet, and accepting the heaps of abuse piled on us by those who claimed to be socialists, it’s finally time for us to tell our story, the truth about Tommy Sheridan.

This piece has been written with the collaboration of a number of SSY members. It is informed by our experiences over the last 6 years – the things that until now, we’ve been restricted from saying, either legally or by the constraints of living through the hell of an internal war in the movement that we give so much of our lives to help build. We believe wholeheartedly in the principles of socialism and equality. Our ability to put forward our ideas has sadly been impeded for the last 6 years by the needless actions of our former Convenor and his assorted cheerleaders. With this trial finally over we are free to put across our story – the truth – about what happened, in SSY’s inimitable style. SSY is an autonomous organisation and as such we form our own views and express them in a way that feels natural to us as young socialist activists. You can read the Scottish Socialist Party’s statement on the verdict here.

This is necessarily going to be a mega huge post because there’s been so many issues that the Tommy saga has raised for us and for the future of socialism in Scotland. Feel free to dip in and out as you like, this will stand as a definitive account of SSY’s experiences of this period in the history of the Scottish left. This isn’t the kind of post that we enjoy having on our website, but it’s a necessary one – explanatory for those who wish to know what happened, critical and reflective of how we can learn from our mistakes, and cathartic for us to be allowed to finally express the truth. SSY consistently behaves in a non-sectarian manner – we’re willing to work with all genuine progressive and left wing people. The people who split the SSP are not progressives. Once we’ve put out the truth about this period which has shaped the Scottish left, we’ll be continuing on with our usual business – fighting the corner of young people against injustice and inequality. We do this every day and we have not let the restrictions of having to deal with the people who’ve regularly abused us over this issue stop us. We’re in the thick of student protests, anti-fascist work, climate change activity, the fight for LGBT & women’s rights.. the list goes on. We understand that the left extends far beyond us, but we know we’ve played a positive role in encouraging left unity, and that will continue.

We absolutely welcome genuine questions in the comments and will endeavor to answer them to the best of our ability. We will not accept abusive comments from pro-Tommy trolls. We’ve had 6 years of being abused, lied about and traumatised. There are many people whose behaviour over the last few years is indefensible. We’re done with listening to these people now. They’ve had their say, it’s time for us to have ours.

A tale of two Tommys

The epic saga of Tommy Sheridan begins back in 1964, when his Mum allegedly had a vision of the Blessed Virgin, who prophesied that her unborn son was destined to lead the working class (There are some things in this article that you will see are SARCASM for the purposes of JOKES. This is not one of them. She actually tells folk this story). His birth was accompanied by a double rainbow over the Campsies and the appearance of a new star (OK that last part isn’t in the official Tommy Nativity story).

Tommy went on to join the Militant (at that time a socialist group that was part of the Labour Party) when he was 17. Both during when Militant was part of Labour, and after it left to create Scottish Militant Labour (one of the forerunners of the SSP), Tommy helped build a huge base for socialism in Pollok, the area he came from in Glasgow. Among the people he worked with most closely in doing this were George McNeilage and Keith Baldassara, close friends and people who would go on to both be Tommy’s best man at his wedding. Both would later be condemned as traitors when they refused to walk off a cliff with him years later.

In ‘A Time to Rage,’ the first book that would be put out as having been written by Tommy, it says of when he was in prison: “Keith Baldassara became my eyes and ears in Pollok, and my voice.” About George, it says he “embraced marxism with an almost evangelical zeal… Everybody knew him… Everyone listened to him.”

Tommy at the centre of the anti-poll tax struggle

What brought Tommy to fame was the leading role he played in fighting back against the poll tax, which was imposed by the Tory government and caused misery for people struggling on a low income. In Glasgow Tommy and other Militant members helped build a mass campaign of defiance, which led to those that refused having their possessions being seized and sold to pay the debt. They famously took direct action to prevent Sheriff’s officers from being able to carry out these orders. Tommy was imprisoned for his role in defying the poll tax, and was elected as a councillor for Pollok while inside in 1992.

During the 1990s, Scottish members of the Militant broke from those in England, and argued the case for setting up a new, broad socialist party, to argue the case for socialist ideas, especially when it became clear a Scottish parliament was going to be set up. The case for making sure there was a more left wing party than either New Labour or the SNP in that parliament was strong.

The SSP was launched in 1998 as a project to unite everyone on the socialist left in Scotland. It originally brought together people from Scottish Militant Labour, anti-poll tax campaigners, as well as independent Socialists and left wingers from Labour and the SNP who now had a broad Socialist organisation to join. At this time Tommy was the National Convener of the SSP, the party’s figurehead and its first elected MSP. Tommy was elected on the back of his reputation for fighting the poll tax in the early 90’s.

Tommy was by far and away the most respected politican elected to Holyrood – he was a fantastic promoter of Socialist ideas inside and outside the parliament. Even the SSP’s most vitriolic opponents could not accuse Tommy of being motivated by self-interest. He was voted the second most popular living Scot at one point. SSP election literature called him a shining beacon against the darkness of corruption (maybe we went a bit too far, lol). It’s this reputation for honesty and integrity that helped set Tommy apart from the rest of the political establishment, and it’s a reason why so many of Tommy’s former friends and comrades were disappointed and dumbfounded by his decision to sue the News of the World on the basis of lies.

It’s hard now to imagine just how important the SSP was in the first few years of the 21st century. We rapidly built branches pretty much everywhere, we were constantly in the media and everyone in Scotland had heard of us. We put forward radical, popular ideas in the Scottish parliament that built huge support behind them, like our successful move to abolish warrant sales, or the campaign to scrap the council tax. It’s a measure of how significant we’d become that the SNP went on to steal many of our ideas, and claim they would implement them in government (they didn’t, of course.)

Rosie's famous oath at the opening of Parliament, 2003

In 2003, with anti-war sentiment at its height and with the hard work of Tommy and the numerous SSP members working alongside him never out of the papers, we managed to get 6 MSPs elected to the Scottish Parliament. They were Tommy Sheridan and Rosie Kane for Glasgow, Carolyn Leckie for Central Scotland, Colin Fox for the Lothians, Rosemary Byrne for the South of Scotland and Frances Curran for the West of Scotland. We were at the height of our powers and drawing attention from all over the world as a genuine and exciting alternative to the parties of the establishment.

The SSP was building a real attempt at a grassroots, democratic socialist party that managed to both make a real impact on the Scottish parliament and local councils, and at the same time be part of campaigning in local communities against cuts, poverty, war and racism. It’s important to look back and realise just how much of a fuck-up it was by Tommy to destroy what so many people (including himself) had worked so hard for so many years to build. No one imagined this amazing position we were in could unravel so quickly, propelled into craziness by the actions of our famous asset, Tommy Sheridan.

Tommy’s claims about folk trying to do him in and having longstanding disagreements with him before his resignation are fantasy; none of Tommy’s allies have ever been able to put forward a halfway credible explanation as to why Tommy’s closest comrades for decades suddenly decided to concoct a fantastic conspiracy against him. The proposition being put forward is that pretty much the entire leadership of the SSP conspired secretly to… become the leadership of the SSP! Tommy’s only argument has been that folk were jealous of him so bumped him – at what point after years of promoting him did the SSP leadership suddenly all decide to go mad and hate him?

In court some former SSP members said that Tommy was partly a victim of the faction fighting around 50/50 – a proposal to make sure women made up half of the party’s candidates for election. The idea was to try and tackle the obstacles put up to women’s participation in politics by institutionalised sexism, by actively ensuring that women got to be SSP candidates. It was an idea which the majority of the party supported, but drove the old fashioned sexist men bananas, and some began to resent the active role that women were taking in the leadership and public profile of the party. But the reality is that during the crucial votes on 50/50 within the SSP, Tommy was on the SAME side as Rosie, Frances and Carolyn, who were in favour of the progressive move. Trying to claim after the fact that this was where the divisions with Tommy started is re-writing history to create a sexist myth.

There were some genuine political disagreements with Tommy before his resignation – some members did oppose the motion he put to the Scottish Parliament opposing the extradition of the Natwest 3, three bankers wanted in relation to the Enron collapse, and our MSPs did not agree with his call for an elected Whip (oo-er) and Deputy Leader for the SSP’s parliamentary group. These disputes were absolutely tiny however, and Tommy was a massively beneficial ambassador for socialism and was recognised as such by the party. It was Tommy’s conduct since his resignation to the present day that angered and shocked activists in the SSP and our supporters.

Cupids: not exactly Moulin Rouge, is it?

On October 31st, 2004, the News of the World printed a story about an unnamed married MSP who was, basically, a mad shagger. It talked of how he had visited a dire “swinger’s club” in an industrial estate in Manchester where sad old men go to have bizarre sex in an emotionally sterile and biologically manky atmosphere. The MSP visited this depressing place with Anvar Khan, a News of the World journalist who was releasing a book about her life. Everyone from here to the moon (which apparently, is made of cheese) would now with hindsight be able to associate this story with Tommy, but at the time many people could never have believed that of someone who they trusted and respected.

His close friends, however, knew the article referred to him. Founding Party members and long-time friends of Tommy, Keith Baldassara and Alan McCombes, already knew about Tommy’s horrendously stupid preference for going to sex clubs to have affairs with FUCKING NEWS OF THE WORLD JOURNALISTS, having warned him that he was being reckless back in 2002. They asked him to meet with his friends, apologise for his indiscretions and deal with the issue privately. He refused. He was then asked to attend a meeting at Alan’s house with the other SSP MSPs and some other immediately impacted party workers to deal with the issue in an informal manner, giving Tommy the opportunity again to deal with the problems he’d created without dragging the Party into it. He again refused to turn up. By this stage it was clear that the only way to have Tommy deal with the allegations was to arrange an emergency meeting of the Party’s Executive Committee. They met at the Party’s then office in Stanley Street, on the 9th of November.

Tommy did actually manage to turn up to this meeting. He spoke to the meeting, admitting that he had visited Cupids on two occasions, in 1996 and 2002, calling it “cheap thrills”. He stated that he didn’t think that the NOTW could “prove anything” and that he intended to sue them for defamation, despite the fact that the bulk of what they had written was actually true. The meeting outlined clearly that the SSP was not prepared to back a false defamation action that would drag the party into disrepute. The point was argued 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.

Tommy left the meeting early, leaving many attendees in a state of shock and upset at what Tommy had revealed about his reckless and inappropriate conduct. A vote was taken, and the meeting unanimously backed the decision that Tommy would have to resign from his position of Convenor if he insisted on bringing his false case to court. This decision was not taken lightly, nor on the basis of moral considerations about Tommy’s questionable treatment of various women, but rather for the pragmatic reason that a credible socialist party could not be seen to be involved with something so stupid as a Jeffery Archer style false defamation action.

National Secretary Allan Green took possession of Minute Secretary Barbara Scott’s contemporaneous notes of the meeting, something which had never before happened in the democratic SSP. This was done, at the time, to protect Tommy’s privacy. They typed the notes up into an official minute, which was presented to a later SSP EC on 24th November which voted to keep the minutes private. A National Council meeting later backed this decision. Tommy stated of the decision then “I wholeheartedly support the SSP Executive Committee statement agreed at today’s meeting”. Here you can begin to see that Tommy’s story changed and mutated over time (from supporting keeping the minutes secret, to presenting a fake minute to the NOTW’s lawyers, to claiming that there never was a minute, to claiming that the minute was a concoction), hitting out with whatever seemed to be the favourable line to back up whatever his story was at the time.

Some have said with hindsight that the Party should never have allowed the minutes to be kept secret, as it only allowed undemocratic methods and lies to gain momentum as false accusations of ‘conspiracy’ began to be thrown around. It’s worth remembering though that at this time, even though the truth about the real Tommy was beginning to spill out, he was still very widely respected, and people simply could not have anticipated to what depths he would sink and how outrageous his lies would become. You live and learn.

After he went public with his resignation, citing the fact that his wife was pregnant with their first child as the reason, Tommy conducted a secret campaign of lies in the media, spreading about rumours that there had been “lovers’ plots” and “jealous backstabbers” lining up to remove him from power. These claims were simply untrue; malicious lies based around misogynistic myths that outspoken female comrades like Carolyn Leckie and Rosie Kane were trying to turn Tommy’s male BFFs like Alan McCombes and Keith Baldassara against him. The reality was Tommy’s actions and refusal to accept responsibility for them were what drove a wedge between him and the comrades he’d once relied so heavily upon.

An exclusive still image from the McNeilage tape

At this point, Alan went to the Herald in an effort to counter the misinformation Tommy was spreading about the reasons behind his resignation. The Herald refused to print any statement on the truth about Tommy’s resignation unless he signed a sworn affidavit. Contrary to popular Sheridanista myth, this affidavit did not contain the details of the minutes of 9/11/04. It simply stated that the truth was that Tommy had been asked to step down after the EC voted unanimously to ask for his resignation if he continued with a court action, after information which made his position untenable had come to the Party’s attention. It didn’t say anything about Tommy being a mad shagger. It is important to understand the context under which this happened, where Tommy was using his considerable media connections to undermine the democratic decisions of his own party. He was starting to build up his wall of ever-changing lies.

Around this time, George McNeilage, seeing what his friend was becoming, hid a camera in his own house in Pollok. When Tommy came round, he was caught on camera admitting that he had been to Cupids, had conducted affairs with journalist Anvar Khan and party activist Katrine Trolle, and had admitted his indiscretions to the comrades at the emergency EC meeting. Make no mistake, the person you may have seen on that tape swearing and making vile comments about the people who had worked alongside him is absolutely Tommy Sheridan. It is the real Tommy Sheridan, not the sadact Scrabble-obsessed family man he wants you to believe he is. In this tape Tommy is caught calling the SSP EC “19 cunts” (yes, even the ones who later went on to perjure themselves twice on his behalf in court), and reserving special vitriol for fellow MSP Carolyn Leckie and certain other female Party members.

In court, a Tommy supporter said that the voice on the video “sounded more like Cartman from South Park than Tommy”. It’s funny he should say that, because we’ve noticed over the past few years just how more and more like Cartman he has become. While some of Tommy’s supporters were like Butters, easily manipulated by a selfish narcissist determined to use them to get his own way. The SSP, his true friends, are more like Stan and Kyle, the only ones talking sense to an out of control maniac. As a result, just like Cartman, Tommy has reserved his greatest hatred for the people who were actually the only real friends he had. “Screw you guys, I’m going to court.”

Now that you mention it, he is quite like Cartman…

George was clearly deeply unsettled by the side of Tommy that the recording exposed, and sat on the tape for 2 years. He decided to sell it in 2006, Tommy’s disgusting “scabs” article in the Daily Record becoming the straw that broke the camel’s back.

At this time, Tommy was also going around trying to canvas support amongst a number of “Millie men” (i.e. his old comrades from the Militant) who he thought would be sympathetic to his misogyny and ‘the-EC-are-out-to-get-me’ conspiracy theory. He was wrong. He met 6 male SSP comrades separately and admitted to all of them that the allegations of swinging and adultery were true, and that he believed the EC could be won back round to supporting him if he could convince enough people to support a coup on his behalf. They refused to go down that route, and in 2006, after the jury in his civil case found in Tommy’s favour, they released a statement discussing how he had admitted his deception to them.

The axis of ugly

After he resigned, Tommy took the classic supervillain route of retiring into the background for a while so he could rally a weird alliance of forces behind his one man crusade to prove that he was NOT a mad shagger and that anyone who said different was a BASTARD. He slowly put together a coalition of people who hated each other (many of whom had until recently hated him as well). What united them was that they hated the rest of the membership of the SSP even more, and thought Tommy was the route to getting elected, getting jobs or being politically relevant.

First of all, there’s the Socialist Workers Party, a group who we’ve been a little bit pissed off with in the past. The SWP were one of the most parasitic groups to attach themselves to Tommy. They joined the SSP in 2001 when it became clear they’d look silly if they remained the only major socialist group in Scotland not to. They thought it would be a great chance to do the two things that give them a reason to get up in the morning: SELL PAPERS and RECRUIT NEW DRONES TO THE HIVE.

This plan didn’t go so well in the SSP (at least in part because the young and impressionable had the much cooler SSY to get involved with). So – after years of deriding him as a “nationalist” and “reformist” – the SWP were tempted when Tommy came to them and offered them a place in his army of darkness. They thought that hitched to Tommy (who was popular, yeah, like a celebrity) they would be able to get more people to listen to them, gain influence, sell more papers and recruit people.

Their new found support for him was totally cynical. There was no real political principle at play for them. Unlike others, they weren’t motivated by misogynistic hate. All they wanted was to continue their mission (see above), and they utilised the misogynist sentiment amongst those who went on to form Solidarity to try to achieve control of what they thought would be a significant force in left politics. Today they’ve slowly backed away from Tommygeddon, hoping nobody will notice and they can pretend like nothing happened and the SWP will live happily ever after, which is pretty much their completely un-self critical response to all their fuck ups. They continue to think they are the best things since sliced bread and should have a God given right to tell everyone else on the left why they’re wrong and the SWP is right (which is odd because 90% of the time they’re spectacularly wrong. About everything.)

Then there’s the Coffin-dodging Withered Idiots (CWI). The CWI had at one time been a really sucessful socialist group, but most of their membership in Scotland had left in order to set up the SSP. The rump of codgers that were left were forced to get involved in the SSP or become totally irrelevant. So, they decided to make themselves into the official moany bastards that nobody listens to of the SSP, criticising absolutely everything for not being socialist enough. As part of that, they famously even went as far as to call Tommy a “Stalinist” in mainstream newspapers (something they would later claim must never be done). But that was before he promised them a place at his table, after which they miraculously discovered that he was the “greatest socialist in post-war Scotland”, and “a great class fighter.”

In reality, their new found love and uncritical support for Tommy’s madcap actions were motivated by the same thing as the SWP – they thought it was their ticket to influence with normal people, and being able to recruit and build their own organisation. It’s ironic that the CWI have been so vitriolic in attacking the SSP since they left, because they recently changed their name in Scotland to . . . the Socialist Party Scotland! If the SSP is as hated and discredited as they like to claim, you have to ask yourself why they would choose to give themselves a name exactly the same as it!

Both the SWP and the CWI are old school, “democratic centralist” groups. They believe that socialist organisations should be tightly controlled and hierarchical. They were never able to come to terms with what the SSP was trying to do – build a broad, mass socialist party, based on participatory democracy, where people think freely and debate things openly and honestly. Ultimately, they become political machines whose only real purpose is self preservation. People join them, and then either leave because it’s rubbish, or become another paper-selling, newbie recruiting robot. What interests them politically is what will allow them to keep building their own organisation, no matter the wider cost.

The other point about both these groups is that they were never really committed to the SSP’s vision of an independent socialist Scotland. When they were in the SSP they constantly sniped about our policies, claiming they were “nationalist”. The truth is that they remained controlled by a central hierarchy, and the head of the pyramid for both groups was in London. The SSP is a Scottish-only party because we are committed to the idea of Scottish self organisation, and believe there is a different political situation here than down south. The Scottish members of the London-based left, on the other hand, think that what we should do up here can best be decided by a committee of old guys over 300 miles away.

Then there’s the Addams Family independent supporters of Tommy, or to give them their proper name, the ‘Sheridanistas’. These were mainly people who were members in areas which were controlled by Tommy supporters. Many of the organisers that the SSP employed in the different regions of Scotland were still wedded to to the old way of doing things. They worried that  greater democracy would undermine their power bases, and that without Tommy the SSP wouldn’t win votes and be able to keep paying their wages. These men made themselves the only point of information or contact for members in outlying areas like the Highlands and Islands or the South of Scotland, and helped consolidate people into the pro-Tommy camp on the basis of lies and sexist myths. Tommy even had his own small group of personal supporters around him in his local branch in Cardonald, Glasgow. In hindsight, it was a mistake to let these fiefdoms develop, and the SSP failed in some parts of Scotland to live up to its aims of being open and fully democratic, because some individuals were able to monopolise information. What separates the Sheridanistas from the bulk of the SWP & CWI is that they were purely motivated to act the way that they did BECAUSE OF HATE!

Current National Secretary of the SSP: a femi-nazi woofter

The crazy old factions like the SWP & CWI would not be enough to defeat all the normal people in the SSP and so Sheridan took a calculated risk. He knew there were a group who despised the idea that young people and women were taking the lead in the SSP.  He knew there were those who couldn’t deal with the notion that there were new ideas and other more radical voices in the party.  So in his infamous “Open Letter” (see below) he decided that the best way to win the affection of these people was to attack women, young people and gay people.  “Class identity defines us first.  Not our gender or sexual orientation” he ranted.

Whether Tommy believes his own bollocks or not we’ll never know but we do know what this was.  In the same way as any other politician attacks asylum-seekers to gain a reactionary vote or talks about scroungers to detract from their own dodgy dealings – Tommy attacked people so he could win the affection of old, sexist, small-minded idiots.  This was nothing more than the summoning of the dark forces of reaction in the SSP in the hope that they would rally to Tommy… and they did.  Tommy counted heads and realised that if he said all the people who built the SSP on a daily basis (who all knew he was a mad shagger anyway and were therefore never going to be on his side) were evil femi-nazi woofters then he could get a few more votes for his cause.  And the gaggle of opportunistic allies behind Tommy wanted a few more votes too.  As one former Highlands & Islands Organiser with stupid trousers put it himself, “If we are going to win votes then we need Tommy.”

Very quickly after he resigned Tommy had assembled this bizarre alliance behind him, but he didn’t have much for them to do in the time while he was waiting for the court case to start. Instead, on top of building his power base, he spent his time talking to his pals in the press (such as STV windbag Bernard Ponsonby) about how everyone who didn’t agree with his court case were actually just jealous bastards. This included the leaking of details of his comrades’ personal lives to tabloids, whilst loudly and hypocritically proclaiming his own right to privacy.

He also, without the support and guidance of the comrades he’d previously relied on, hit out with increasingly wacky policy ideas that you would struggle to call socialist. A highlight of Tommy’s zany phase was his plan to make anyone who was caught carrying a knife receive a mandatory sentence of three years. At the time, SSY suggested looking at the ways poverty, abuse, alienation and cuts to working class communities contribute towards violence. Tommy’s idea could have been suggested by a Tory, it was the classic law-and-order right wing response to a social problem – LOCK UP WORKING CLASS PEOPLE! That’ll definitely sort it. The fact he was suggesting it revealed that his left wing instincts had begun to drift to the right, and he couldn’t even make a convincing case for his nutty idea. He wrote in the Daily Record:

“Just as we need a zero tolerance approach to poverty, racism, domestic violence and nuclear weapons, so we need to adopt a zero tolerance approach to knife carrying.”

(So apparently, all the above problems are all the same – perhaps they could all be solved by a mandatory three year sentence. Three years in Bar-L for the crime of living in poverty, off you pop!)

The shit hits the fan

Behind the scenes, Tommy’s daft court case was progressing. On 11th May 2006, four SSP members were cited to appear in court to hand over the minutes of the emergency executive meeting in 2004, where Tommy admitted that he was a mad shagger. As a result of Tommy’s choice to take out a court case, our internal party documents were now being demanded by the courts, and the SSP offices were raided by cops looking for them. We knew that the minutes would completely contradict everything Tommy was to say in court, and thought if they were released they would lead to his self-destruction. Another emergency meeting agreed then to place the minutes in the sole possession of Alan McCombes, who took personal responsibility for refusing to hand them over to the courts. This was called the ‘strategy of defiance’, the aim being to protect the Party’s right to keep the details of its private political meetings out of the hands of the state.

On May 22nd, Tommy and other members of Cardonald branch were summoned to court to answer to the fact that they had been distributing a motion (on the stupid bastard’s own parliamentary email account) openly calling for the minutes of the EC of 9/11/04 to be DESTROYED. That’s a pretty final word, there’s no wriggling out of you calling for something to be DESTROYED, n00bs. In court in 2010, they later said that this “wasn’t meant to be taken literally”, lol.

Around this time, a fake set of minutes emerged. Sent by Tommy an unknown person to the papers, the minutes were a badly rewritten version of Barbara Scott’s accurate minute of the 9/11/04 meeting (The fake minute was produced in an incompetent and wrong format, and Barbara HATES Times New Roman – get it right idiots!), missing out the fact that Tommy had admitted he was a mad rabid shagger, and missing out a couple of names from the list of those who had been present. Those names that were included in this fake minute, which was handed to News of the World’s lawyers, helped them come up with a list of who they would call in court. Tommy forced these people to testify by naming them as potential witnesses. Obviously, there was no option for honest principled socialists other than to tell the truth in court under protest, when obliged to attend – the alternative was prison, a choice forced on them by Tommy’s crazy actions.

On May 26th, Alan McCombes was held in contempt of court and jailed for 12 days for refusing to hand over the real minutes. The night he was taken to Saughton prison, there was a methadone riot and he was locked in his cell while other prisoners raged and took hostages. Clearly, the idea that Alan and the rest of the SSP were conspiring to do Tommy in was utter balls – Alan was willing to go through that to protect Tommy from the worst excesses of his bad behavior. There was never a plot to destroy Tommy politically. He did that all by himself, refusing to take the advice of well-meaning friends and stabbing them in the back with cheap misogynistic shots.

I'll have two unsavoury cabals and a steak bake please

With a senior member of the Party in jail protecting the Party’s right to keep minutes of political meetings confidential, tensions were running high. Things all came to head on May 28th 2006, a date which we all remember because it was one of the most bizarre and traumatic things many of us have been through. A National Council meeting brought together the two warring sides of the SSP: the people who thought it was absolute madness to take forward a libel case based on a lie, and those who thought that Rupert Murdoch was a shape shifting lizard who controlled the minds of the evil female MSPs, who were called an “unsavoury cabal”.

Under increasingly abusive and hostile attacks from Sheridan’s forces, many felt the need to group together. One of the founding principles of the SSP was that groups of people who held a shared view on what we should do would be allowed to organise in platforms to get their views across to other comrades. For years, groups like the SWP and the CWI had abused this process to build their own parallel organisation. Most newer and younger members didn’t get involved in a platform, because our only political loyalty was to the SSP rather than some London-based group. But in 2006 we felt like we needed a space where we could be safe, where we knew we wouldn’t be abused and we’d be listened to and given basic respect. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in the parts of the SSP controlled by the Tommy Alliance.

The group that many of us set up was called the United Left, and it aimed to defend the idea of the SSP as a democratic, participatory socialist party, that was committed to tackling all forms of inequality. But it was immediately attacked by Tommy’s goblins as proof that a conspiracy had existed going back years with the aim of doing in our most popular figure who we all liked. Tommy even went on to claim in court that the UL was evidence of the Rupert Murdoch/British state/police/SSP fantasy enemy he’d created. It was like hitting someone in the face, and justifying it by pointing out that they’d put their arms up to defend themselves.

Whilst those of us who are still in the SSP now decided to come to the May 28th meeting with a strategy of being completely reasonable and not losing our heads, Tommy’s supporters had their own, interesting strategy: go absolutely batshit crazy, shout and scream abuse until they got all their own way. Every pretence of having an orderly democratic meeting was abandoned after countless speakers were shouted down (particularly female ones for whom the most hatred was reserved).

Tommy was given more than double the time anyone else got to speak, in order to deliver a melodramatic rant, the high point of which was basically accusing then Party Chairperson Catriona Grant of trying to kill his unborn child. If you think being at this meeting sounds bad, it’s worse than what you’re imagining. Those that took part were left literally in a state of shock afterwards. It was clear that Tommy’s supporters had abandoned any hope of a united left, and had whipped themselves into a state of raw, unjustified and misogynist hate against people who were supposed to be their comrades. Nothing would be the same again.

Since this meeting, Tommy and his supporters have tried to claim that we ignored its decisions. Quite how they thought we would respect a group of people who turn up and scream abuse in your face, expecting to get all their own way, was never explained. One of the decisions they stampeded through was that the minutes should be handed over to the court, which resulted in Alan’s release. But their reason for doing this had nothing to do with concern for him – the plan, which Tommy followed in court, was to claim the real minutes were bollocks and his ones whipped up on an etch-a-sketch were the real ones.

Tommy took the opportunity of the May 28th National Council to release a stunning piece of writing that for once in his career hadn’t actually been written by Alan McCombes. In his open letter, in between rambling, misspelling Pollok and consistently dismissing gender as unimportant (“We are a class-based socialist party. Not a gender-obsessed discussion group”), he also found time to… make up some lies about SSY!

His open letter claimed:

“At a youth event last year, several members spread poison to the effect that I ‘regularly used prostitutes’”.

What actually happened was that we had a discussion about what we think as socialists and feminists about the sex industry. One Sheridan supporter in the meeting, obviously prickly of any mention of any of the things that Tommy TOTALLY DEFINITELY DIDN’T DO, reported back to him about it, and in his paranoid world the whole thing became part of our plot to destroy him.

OH NO HE DIH-INT!

On the 4th of July the long awaited libel case finally began. Nobody had been quite prepared for how low Tommy would go. He accused his friends and comrades, who had been forced to appear there by his actions, of being liars. But his most unacceptable behaviour came once he’d taken over his own defence, and was cross examining women. In particular his treatment of Katrine Trolle was up there with the worst sexist excesses of the patriarchal legal system. He accused of her of being out for money, and demanded to know how many sexual partners she had had. The impact of his actions on Katrine has been massive, but Tommy didn’t care as long as he got a shot at making 200 grand while defending his image as a “family man.”

He got several of his supporters to go up in court and perjure themselves alongside him, claiming that he’d never admitted being a mad shagger to them. This bordered on the farcical at times – one of his witnesses, South of Scotland SSP organiser Graeme McIver, actually fainted when he was asked by the judge if he knew what perjury was! (We’ve decided to follow his amazing example and use that as a get out for any kind of awkward question; “Did you eat all my biscuits?” *Down I go*). Many of these people who Tommy convinced to follow him have now been investigated for perjury as well, having chosen to lie in court for no good reason. A revolving door of idiots have lined up to provide him with false alibis. More fool them.

On the 7th August, by a 7-4 majority, the jury gave everyone the biggest surprise of their lives when they voted to give Tommy a victory in his court case. This was completely unexpected by those of us who knew he was at it, and that he blatantly was a mad shagger.

He immediately went on the offensive. He sold his story to the Daily Record (a paper that once described him as a “working class zero”) for reportedly £30,000. They put him up in a swanky hotel and gave him a platform to broadcast how he planned to “destroy the scabs who tried to ruin me.” It printed pictures of all those who he’d forced to appear in court with “SCAB” printed across their faces. It was now crystal clear that Tommy no longer had any interest in working with his former friends and comrades; he wanted to see them destroyed.

For a socialist, being called a scab is about as bad an insult as you can get. It means people who have betrayed the struggle of their fellow workers, and has huge resonance for generations of people who have fought back and gone on strike for their rights. To try and compare their struggles with Tommy’s epic fight to… prove he wasn’t a mad shagger (when we all know he is) was an absolute insult, not just to the people he targeted, but to socialism as a whole. The hypocrisy of claiming to fightback against the capitalist media while taking cash from the Record was breathtaking. Even more insulting, some of those he accused had successfully led and won strikes and trade union struggles, and calling them scabs was simply ridiculous.

It is worth noting that libel laws, in practice, exist to allow the rich and famous to deny the press the right to speak freely about the bad things that they often do. Working class people are slandered in newspapers every day of the week, but only those with money and power can afford to take on a media outlet in court. The idea that a so-called socialist used his position to order a police raid of the Herald offices based on his tower of lies is outrageous. The press have the right to expose corrupt and sleazy politicians. Tommy’s misuse of libel legislation is completely inappropriate behaviour for a socialist who professes to believe in freedom of speech. Real police oppression and miscarriages of justice happen every day. Tommy’s false cries that this is what was happening to him, when actually he was in a mess all of his own creation, demean the real struggles of ordinary people.

There was no conspiracy of the SSP leadership to work with the “Murdoch empire” to destroy Sheridan or socialism. Tommy’s court case was never a battle between left and right. It was a battle between a tabloid newspaper and a celebrity. Because of Tommy’s choices, the SSP were unfairly dragged in to the eye of the storm, and we and our supporters (many of whom have now become disenchanted with politics having been let down by the initial promise that Tommy showed) became the victims of Tommy’s stupidity and arrogance.

Wicker Bam

And so we come to one of the more hilarious episodes of the crisis. In August 2006, SSY was angered that the Gods had failed to meet our request for a favourable outcome in the civil case, and so we turned to a more dreadful sacrifice…

Confonted with a gigantic stack of newspapers all about a guy that we didn’t really like (which we were using to light a fire anyway), someone at Camp Secret Squirrel 2006 took the fateful decision to make a small cardboard man with Tommy’s face on it. As one eyewitness, Sheik Yaboutie, said at the time:

it was a shitey bit of cardboard aprox 30cm in height with a picture taped on. a tiny cock and hairy legs was then drawn on to make it more recognisable and a stick was then added for puppetering purposes

Not one of us gave a second thought to the cruel fate of this cardboard man who we so viciously burned. This astounding drunken behaviour proves once and for all CONCLUSIVELY that a massive conspiracy was hatched by the SSP and the State to bring down the most important socialist of the post-war period (despite this campfire incident happening literally years after the News of the World accused Tommy of being a mad shagger).

This miraculously made it to the front page of the Mirror (We know it was you Sam Beaton, if you want to claim otherwise we’ll see you in court) right before Tommy jumped ship to form Solidarity. This earthshattering story transformed Scotland’s political landscape forever, and won its author the prestigious ‘Tartan Bollock‘ award for the worst (and most spectacularly inaccurate) Scottish newspaper story of the year.

Bob Bird

Around this time, the McNeilage tape was released. We’ve since learned that when George McNeilage, upset and angered by Tommy’s defaming of honest socialists as “scabs” for refusing to lie for him, decided to sell the tape he’d made of Tommy confessing to being an odious wee troll and a lying scrote, he forced News of the World editor Bob Bird to strip down to his scants before he’d let him view it. We at SSY think that’s pretty hilarious, gwan yersel George!

The News of the World released bits of the tape on their website, and if people hadn’t been convinced that Tommy was a mad lying shagger by that stage, they certainly knew it now. But then again, who framed Roger Rabbit??????!!111!!!!1!1!???????

Squalidarity

Tommy’s supporters had presumed that they would be able to regain control of the SSP. In the weeks following his victory however, Tommy realised the motley band of followers he’d amassed wouldn’t be enough for them to seize control of a democratic party. At this point they mysteriously began to claim that the atmosphere in the SSP had become “intolerable” for them, and that they had no choice but to leave and set up a party where nobody disagreed with them and everyone loved Tommy.

Solidarrrrrrity was launched in a blazing fit of rousing political rhetoric and inspiring revolutionary song, as you can see in this moving footage of clairvoyant crooner Alice Sheridan:

The worst piece of art inspired by the Oedipus Complex EVER

Solidarity launched themselves with a manifesto identical to the SSP’s in every policy except the ones about equality for women (which they’re totally in favour of, it’s just that us femi-nazis go too far!!1!). Apart from not being keen on women, the other thing that was distinctive about Solidarity was being really really really keen on Tommy Sheridan. It was a political party composed of people who were betting their future careers on Tommy being re-elected to Parliament. They went on to reach the stunning electoral success of managing to not re-elect Tommy, but electing Ruth Black as a Glasgow City Councillor (who then defected to Labour when she realised her chances of being a career politician in Solidarity were nothing compared to the corruption that would be possible if she teamed up with Steven Purcell) – someone who SSY have had quite a bit to say about in the past!

Tommy also made a mockery of his claim to be standing up for workers when, during the course of the split, he tore up the collective agreements between the SSP MSPs and their parliamentary staff. All the MSPs had agreed to pay their wages into a collective pool and employ staff together. But Tommy and his ally Rosemary Byrne withdrew their money from the pool, leaving people who had worked hard for them for years without an income. This put them in direct dispute with staff trade unions, the NUJ and the IWW.

Tommy and Rosemary also like to claim the SSP owes them a load of money. What they’re actually talking about is deductions that came off the official massively inflated MSP wage as part of the SSP’s worker’s wage policy. This was then put into the collective funding pool. When the gruesome twosome decided to run away and form Solidarity, they demanded their money back. These are not the actions of principled socialist representatives.

They teach you how to deodourize your balls on the first day of socialist school

After the Campaign To Elect Tommy Sheridan Cos He is Amazing Solidarity failed in its number one mission in 2007, it began to slowly disintegrate, because the only thing that had bound such a disparate group of people together was that Tommy Sheridan was an electoral asset who gave them all reason to live. Their numbers dwindled, their website is pish, and their only elected representative is now a Labour councillor under investigation for corruption.

One of the major groupings still in Solidarity are the so-called Democratic Green Socialists, a group formed by former Highlands SSP organiser Steve ‘Magical Mystery Trousers’ Arnott to be his own personal platform. Their main output is an online magazine – the only problem is it looks like it was made on geocities in 1998. One of their main campaigns so far has been to acquit a convicted rapist, cos they know him and he’s totally a good guy. (We’d like to provide a link to the horrendous article they wrote on the case, but their website is too crappy to find it any more! Here’s a follow up one, minus all the disgusting rape myths and continued abuse of a survivor they perpetuated in the original.)

In the past few elections Solidarity (on paper a pro-independence party, but largely consisting of London based groups that are really against it) has ditched the idea of Scottish self-organisation, and merged itself into UK wide attempts to create a left wing slate with about 2 weeks notice and silly names that no one understood (No2EU and STUSC.) The votes they have received have dwindled (from their greatest height of not getting Tommy elected). Sadly, with the split in the Scottish Socialist Party and the unfortunate trashing of the Party’s reputation in all of the papers (with the charge being led by Tommy), the SSP’s votes have suffered badly too. The fact remains however that we’re still here and still recruiting, with the knowledge that we did the right thing and that the truth is still the truth. That’s the difference between us and the confused bunch of losers who attempted a wrecking job on the SSP. We’re still here and we’re moving the Party in a positive direction, working with others and participating in the struggle against the many injustices of capitalism, patriarchy and inequality.

Worst. Party Political Broadcast. Ever.

After losing his seat, Tommy became increasingly desperate in his search for work. He started a radio show, did some celebrity boxing with people who weren’t celebrities, and even got a job on countdown as the conundrum writer. He also fronted his own Fringe show. According to the dire reviews, this consisted of him sitting on a leather throne surrounded by blown up front pages giving details of his sex life. Whilst still officially claiming he was NOT a mad shagger, he happily came on stage to King of the Swingers, before listening to a string of comedians ripping the piss out of him for being… a mad shagger. In other words, he was quite happy to hear them repeated, as long as people were paying him for the privilege of laughing at his increasingly ridiculous reputation.

That’s not to mention he compered a book launch for Glasgow gangster Paul Ferris. How was that a good idea?!

And then of course there was Celebrity Big Brother. Following in the footsteps of that other entirely credible “socialist” firebrand George Galloway, Tommy took his celebrity aspirations to new heights, appearing on one of TV’s most embarrassing shows. George at least claimed he was doing it to spread his political message, whereas Tommy admitted that he just fancied the cash. In between deodourizing his balls, dressing up in lycra and completely bemusing your one from Liberty X by incomprehensibly suggesting that they might fancy each other, he even found the time to start advertising for his new corporate paymasters Endemol. In one of the most stunningly effective ONLINE ads of all time, he managed to use his incredible oratory skills and his natural ability to connect with the working class to increase Big Brother applications by 8 billion:

(At least one person was deeply inspired by Tommy’s ONLINE appeal. This man was later selected as Head of Media for Solidarity.)

Tommy was finally able to combine his two lifelong ambitions – being a vapid celebrity and presenting a bullshit family man image – when uncle Coolio came round for tea! And so they all lived happily ever after.

Until his lies caught up with him of course, in the form of a lengthy police investigation and high court trial. We’re sure you’ve read loads in the papers about what evidence has formed the basis of the trial over the last couple of months. What might not have been so clear from the news is the absolutely reprehensible, unsocialist arguments that Tommy put forward in his defence case.
One of those arguments is the idea that witnesses are unreliable or indeed are liars if they suffer or have suffered from mental health problems. Seriously, what a fucking prick.

Tommy be spendin most his life livin in a gangsta's paradise

Another was the idea that witnesses who had in the past suffered with drug addictions, and had lived lives of crime to pay for their addiction, were therefore untrustworthy and bad people, despite the fact that they were reformed and had since dedicated their lives to the struggle to end poverty and inequality in Scotland. What Tommy didn’t tell the jury in that courtroom was that he had previously held up the prior convictions of witnesses like George McNeilage as a testament to their working class credentials and an example of how it is possible to lead a fulfilling and positive life through class activism. Everything that came out of Tommy’s mouth while defending his indefensible actions in that court was simply things he was making up on the spot, anything to drag the reputations of others through the mud to continue the pretence that Tommy Sheridan is the great infallible leader of the working class.

Throughout this whole sorry affair Tommy has used his family as human shields. The problem with this is that it’s Tommy’s own fault that his family are in this position. Also, he’s not the only one with a family. Those who Tommy accuses of conspiring against him have loved ones too. Tommy’s actions have caused these people to be dragged into court twice, harassed by reporters and had Sheriff officers acting on behalf of Tommy turn up to their door in the run up to the defamation action. Their relatives are attacked too, but we never hear about them. In court, Tommy’s supporters openly scoffed and laughed at witness Carolyn Leckie when she, in response to a question about her state of mind when questioned by the police, told the court that the interview occurred only a short time after her mother’s death and so she was grieving. Apparently, this was hilarious, and worthy of contempt. Perhaps the thinking there is that of course people other than Tommy don’t have real lives, and could only ever be bringing their families up as a cynical device. Which, you know, gives us yet more delicious ironic lols.

Tommy also took his court case as a chance to shit all over his own legacy. He dragged witness after witness in to shout at them that they were “trained liars” because they had been members of the Militant Tendency. Beyond being incomprehensible for the fact that Tommy was also in the Militant and therefore must have been learning to operate politically in the same environment as those he falsely accused of being perjurers, this pretty much disproves any claims that Tommy lied like he did ‘for the benefit of socialism’. Defaming the history of important socialist organisations in a desperate attempt to drag everyone down with him has to surely be an aspect of Tommy’s arrogance and spitefulness that even the most virulently anti-SSP Tommyfans out there will be shocked by. It beggars belief that the CWI choose to remain loyal to him when he pursued these outrageous claims in a state courtroom.

Tommy’s defence this time round amounted to a man he met in ASDA (who confirmed to a stunned jury that, yes, Tommy had been good at football when he was a wee boy), a ‘part-time poet’ and various members of his family all saying that in their scientifically trained opinions there was no way it was Tommy on the tape, and he definitely wasn’t a mad shagger. Lol. One of his main arguments was also the idea that he doesn’t often swear, which as anyone who has ever met him, read A Time To Rage, or watched him in Big Brother would know, is absolute bollocks.

This verdict vindicates the SSP’s struggle for the truth. We were right to refuse to co-operate with Tommy’s lies, and a jury has now found that Tommy is officially guilty of lying in court. Tommy Sheridan’s credibility has been entirely destroyed. He’s not going to be what he once was ever again. If you try to scour the internet for information about Tommy before he went completely radio rental, it’s really hard to find what you’re looking for – it’s buried under piles of pish about him being a mad lying shagger. His once commanding political presence and large voter base in Glasgow has collapsed. He’s the butt of a joke, and everyone in Scotland knows he’s been at it. Of course it saddens us what has become of this man who once inspired us. But what we need to do now is forget about Tommy and focus on repairing what he and others damaged. As a group, SSY escaped the damage of the split relatively unscathed because we were not committed to the old ways of doing things – there was no conservative force within the SSY telling us what to think, we hadn’t been trained to behave in a secretive way, there were no strong divisive factions manipulating the membership, and we had relative freedom of information so we were able to discuss openly what was going on in our party. As such, while we’ve suffered the knock on effects of the war within the left generally, we’ve not lost our functionality or had to fundamentally reassess how we operate as an activist group, because our methods are good. Hopefully the end of this protracted legal shitstorm will give the left in Scotland the closure it needs to begin to move forward. Only those who have truly learned the lessons of what went wrong with Tommy Sheridan will be able to do this in an effective and principled manner.

Looking to the future

It’s been an epic job bringing you all the background you need on today’s verdict. If the shit we have endured over the last six years sounds horrendous, that’s because it was. But the good news is that there’s now a whole generation of socialist activists who are too young to remember how this mess all got started (which is why we wanted to lay it all out for anyone with questions.)

While Tommy has been destroying himself, and publicly trashing people who used to idolise him, we’ve been slowly rebuilding. Its obvious to any regular reader that SSY is a vibrant group of people who are at the heart of key struggles affecting Scotland’s youth, from the struggle against the far right to the recent mass movement of students against cuts and fees (a struggle that Solidarity have watched from the sidelines, because they have nothing to compare with SSY.)

The future of the left doesn’t lie with celebrity politicians and their lying egos, and it doesn’t lie with old guys who think women shouldn’t get too uppity. It lies with the type of people who make up SSY.

There are some serious and important lessons that we have learned from our experiences with Tommy Sheridan.

SSY getting right in aboot the action during the student protests. We're looking forward to the future

1) Don’t hero worship anyone, no matter how much of an electoral asset they are to your party. For years we built the SSP on the back of Tommy’s power as a celebrity, an incorruptible man of the people. We couldn’t have known then that we were helping to create a monster. Our charismatic leader meant a shortcut to success, but it was a double edged sword. His fame made him feel like he was untouchable, and unaccountable to the wider movement that put him in that position. Given the history of the socialist movement, we all bear a huge responsibility to hold our leaders to account. We didn’t succeed in doing that with Tommy, but we mustn’t ever let that happen again. Since the split we’ve tried to strengthen the participatory democracy within the SSP, and make sure its a party of equals, not leaders-and-led.

2) Take feminism and women’s rights seriously and never let any fuckwit misogynist attempt to ‘put you in your place’. It’s not enough to say that you’re for equality for women. You have to consider the myriad ways in which patriarchy manifests itself, particularly within left-wing organisations – what myths are we perpetuating within ourselves that patriarchy creates in wider society? The response of some “socialists” to Tommy’s behaviour shows just how powerful stereotypes like the jealous witch, desperate for money and power, are in even among the left. Tommy and his supporters were never afraid to use the most sexist language about the women who disagreed with them, calling them bitches, cunts, witches and whores.

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.

Fortunately, this Victorian-era thinking belongs to the left of the past, and SSY is proud to play its part in making self organisation of oppressed groups a central part of the struggle for socialism.

3) Don’t let anyone revise history – keep historical records like minutes, conference motions and videotapes as open as possible. The only way to defend the truth and remain truly democratic is to have true freedom of information within our organisations.

4) Always fight for the truth, because you don’t know how important it is until someone attempts to subvert it.

And finally, grab a DeLorean, go back in time to 1964, and point out to Tommy’s maw that her ‘premonition’ was in fact just the result of eating too much dodgy mooncheese.

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108 Comments

  1. Ross says:

    Sheridan has been your greatest advertisement of the past few months though, I can’t remember the SSP got mentioned so much in the news.

  2. Erofeeva says:

    A perfect response to a perfect outcome for that absolute cunt.

  3. Muzza says:

    I cannot fully express my happiness at this outcome! As difficult as it was buttoning it throughout the trial, I am proud of the dicipline shown by our comrades in public (especially when faced with unbeleivable cuntitude on that fucking doleman blog’s comments) and of the fortitude shown by those called as witnesses. Well done. I had prepared myself for the worst but finally this ordeal can be put to rest forever.

    Let this be the last post about Sheridan, and lets not continue to cover his sentencing etc.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  4. cullens91 says:

    I’m so glad this megalomaniac prick has finally been exposed as a lying bastard, and I hope this is accepted as fact by folk who just couldn’t bring themselves to believe that st. tommy would ever visit a stripclub and have a gangbang. He seriously damaged the cause for a socialist republic with his verbal diarrhea and gave socialists in Scotland a bad name. I have little sympathy for that man.

  5. LydiaTeapot says:

    As Muzza put it: This is the end of the past and the beginning of the future. We can throw out the rubbish and turn ourselves to the future. Here’s to the socialist movement.

    Whoop whoop SSY!

  6. CelticEwan says:

    What an absolutely excellent, excellent post.

  7. TheWorstWitch says:

    Regrading the “Democratic Green Socialists” and their rapist defence campaign. The entire issue (the second one) that the article appeared in has been removed from their website.

    You can still see the response they received from Rape Crisis Scotland, which contained details of some of their vileness here: http://www.democraticgreensocialist.org/archive3/letters3.htm

    Sheridanistas, if you’re thinking of removing this too, I’ve saved it and will host it elsewhere if you try. :)

  8. TheWorstWitch says:

    In other news, I was disappointed not to see this image included in the post.

  9. LydiaTeapot says:

    CAN’T. UNSEE.

  10. Ian Bone says:

    One of the best pieces of political writing I’ve seen in years – passionate, vitriolic, funny and compellingly reasoned.

  11. Erofeeva says:

    It’s like he’s wearing a onesie made out of pubes.

  12. David says:

    Ah… knobhead’s corner… back where he belongs.

    Best line: on the SWP: to “SELL PAPERS and RECRUIT NEW DRONES TO THE HIVE.” I’ll be laughing all night at that.

  13. Omar says:

    Lest ye forget how Tommy earned the nickname Shop Em Sheridan:

    he describes the comments made by Tommy Sheridan (Chair of the All-Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation) immediately after Trafalgar Square as “defensive” (pg 104). In this statement Sheridan denounced the rioters. The next day he and Steve Nally were to say that they intended to “name names” and “root out the trouble-makers”. This was to earn them the well-deserved epithets of “Nally the Nark” and “Shop’Em Sheridan”. There was nothing defensive about the remarks made by these gentlemen. They indicated a real desire go on the offensive… against the proletariat! In a similar vein he describes the All-Britain Federation’s “People’s March Against the Poll Tax” as an “inadequate response” (pg 116). This consisted of a few dozen Militant supporters (OK, one or two weren’t) in expensive track suits marching to London from various parts of the country. It was Militant’s response to widespread demands for more demos in London after Trafalgar Square. To call it “inadequate” is to mask the fact that it was an attempt to demobilise the movement.

  14. Squeak says:

    Just seen him on STV saying “in a rare slip from Ms Leckie she admitted they discussed LYING at a meeting but we decided not to”

    I’d just like to clarify for the record that what he’s talking about is a vote that was put forward at the EC saying “all witnesses should tell the truth”. This was because people were being told to lie or they were scabs. The only people who opposed the motion to tell the truth, or abstained, were Tommy’s Chumps.

  15. Paul Evans says:

    I’m only a bit of the way through reading this, but I’ve already got one comment:

    It seems to me that it’s an odd thing for a party that doesn’t have a chance of doing anything more (in the short term) than building a foothold of electoral support to be forming detailed policy positions on contentious issues. On the issues around prostitution, for instance, it’s a contentious argument. I’ve lefty friends of all different varieties and they all hold slightly differing views on this question (and I really don’t want to get into a rehash of it now, but I’m sure anyone reading this will have been party to such disagreements). There are all kinds of rational and cultural dimensions to it and when a party such as the SSP even aspires to forming a fixed position on it (when the bigger fish are real material issues around poverty, workplace rights, criminal justice, discrimination) it’s gliding towards a fall.

    Now I know it’s an important issue and one that a lot of people feel strongly about, but if I wanted to destroy a lefty party, I’d make sure that every meeting had an issue like this on the agenda!

    I suspect that a left party will only succeed if it holds itself agnostic and conversational on many issues and concentrates on the things – particularly material issues rather than highfallutin matters of principle – the issues that are guaranteed to unite it.

  16. Alan G says:

    At the time, the SSP had 6 members in parliament and there was a bill on the issue going through the process of being voted on

  17. Nick says:

    Just wanted to say thanks to the comrades who wrote this. Was a really emotional read actually but dead funny with it. Lets move on with the struggle now and put all this shit behind us.

  18. Aidan Kerr says:

    I am one of the new generation of ‘socialist activists’ however I know full well the history of this horrid case however my knowledge has been massively improved after reading through this nothing short of epic post.

    Congratulations to those who wrote this stunning piece. Look forward to get more active within the SSY within 2011.

    P.S Hi Ian Bone, I could do a whole speech to how I admire you but I ‘ll just simply say you come across as a sound guy who did some amamzing shit.

  19. Ben Courtice says:

    I’ve followed this sad tale for years after previously being very inspired by the SSP. Glad to see some ending and hope you get on rebuilding all well and good. But it’s always rankled me the way it started. It seemed that if the SSP at the outset just said “mind your own business, and who cares what News of the World says anyway” the whole thing might have blown over. Reading this it’s become clear for the first time that that is exactly what Tommy DIDN’T want to do so maybe it’s irrelevant. But if there was a moral attitude that Tommy’s misdeeds (prior to it going public) were some horrible smear on the party that would only fuel the flames of NOTW etc. If SSP does support the “swedish model” position that “prostitution is abuse, and that the perpetrators of that abuse (men who buy consent from vulnerable victims) should be punished.” I’m saddened. I think it’s a reactionary position that patronises sex workers and drives the industry underground where worse abuses can happen. No doubt you’ve had the discussion, just registering my disappointment.

  20. Euan Benzie says:

    Its over at long last… I wasn’t a member of the SSP when this started off or during the first trial but as a socialist sympathiser at the time of the first trial I followed it as much as I could. The SSP witness told the truth and have put to bed rumours or mad conspiracies (which is the biggest heap of paranoid shite I’ve ever heard) but its time to concentrate on the task at hand; continuing the struggle against Capitalism and end the exploitation of the working class people! Justice has been done and now its onward and upward for the SSY and the SSP, the long term future shall be painted red!

  21. ross says:

    not sure if he’s a regular in the comments but just wanted to say that the guy at the top isn’t me

  22. Abe says:

    As someone who was at one point recruited into the SWP hive (like a few others at the time I thought I was joining the SSP) and while I agree with the need to be critical of the Tommy supporters I also think the article is a bit harsh in places. The way I’ve always described the SWP and CWI is as organisations they are fucking shocking – though as individuals the majority are decent folks (with sadly a good number of wankers who stand out from the rest). During the original trial I know a couple of people who opted to drop out of politics altogether instead of speaking out against their friends in the SWP / CWI. I’m hoping there are a few people out there who have been questioning the Sheridan stance and believe we should be as open to them as possible. I realise part of the harshness in places is sarcasim but thought it would be worth stressing as well that anyone who realises they have been on the wrong side is more than welcome to join us. From someone who as a young member new to socialist politics had experienced the horrible pressures of so-called “democratic centralism” I know how tough it can be to speak out and for those who are having doubts seeing an article by the SSY being so critical is likely to put them off approaching us. Now the worst is over the major role of the youth should be in helping to establish a united left for the future. Obviously there will be those who’ll stick to their position, either because they believe its the correct path or they have invested so much in it already, but I remain hopeful of once again seeing a united left in scotland – even if it takes another generation.

  23. Sarah says:

    We know it’s not you ross – you’d never start your name with a capital letter

    Re: Abers, we can have a proper comradely debate about this at some point when I’m not in the pub on my phone but I respectfully entirely disagree – I don’t think we have been too harsh on the SWP & CWI, who as organisations have to be culpable for their actions and without whom the split wouldny have been possible

  24. davie says:

    Whichever way todays outcome turned out to be, its tragedy for socialist cause in scotland , lets everyone not forget this please. A few years ago we had 6 strong committed socialists fighting for a fairer scotland in the scottish parliament. What have we now ?

  25. Paul says:

    The whole case, whether you’re pro Tommy or anti Tommy, is a complete disaster for the left in Scotland. To see so many comrades going up against each other in two court cases is utterly demoralising to your average voter. Scotland has, in my opinion, a far higher number of voters who are sympathetic to socialist policies. This case has made the SSP/Solidarity/SWP and all other left leaning parties look foolish and amateurish. I’ve read the points above and I’m sure you felt compelled to put your side of the story forward but this won’t help. The Sheridan trials have wrecked Socialism in Scotland for a generation. In my opinion the average voter will now think that the left completely lacks any credibility and has just committed the classic “left wing shoot themselves in the foot” situation by fragmenting in a blizzard of argument and counter argument. Judean People’s Front? Fuck off, we’re the People’s front of Judea.

    I’m not pro Tommy or anti Tommy. I’m pro Socialism. This case has fucked it for me. There used to be a solid voice in the Scottish Parliament who raised important issues regarding socialism. Those 6 SSP members are now gone and I’m afraid they won’t be coming back.

    I’m utterly dejected by today. I want to vote for a socialist in the Scottish Parliamentary elections but to vote for a Socialist party will just be a wasted vote. It’s terrible to say that but that is how I truly feel. For the first time in my 33 years I probably won’t vote as there isn’t a candidate for me. I can’t say I respect the Socialist parties out there enough to give them my vote.

    This case has been a complete disaster for socialism in Scotland. Tommy, Carolyn, Rosie, Colin, Rosemary, the rest of the SSP, the SWP, the comrades who were once allies but destroyed the movement….you’ve ALL let us down.

  26. ajohnstone says:

    And where were you all when the SPGB have always been defending the principles of open democratic organisation with no leaders, no secret EC meetings and, yes, you can check out our EC minutes on our website, and you don’t even need to be a party member. But perhaps you have heeded your lesson, but it was a painful and unnecessary one.

    Now you might also now realise the folly of reformism and policies of palliatives and save yourself yet more disappointment and disillusionment .

  27. Abe says:

    @Sarah – Don’t get me wrong as organisations I fully agree they need to be held responsible for their actions – and that their role in the split needs to be made clear. What I was meaning was I think it needs to also be made clear that we are open to those within them who are doubtful of their previous Sheridan stance so that they are comfortable approaching us. The SWP isn’t as united as it pretends – I remember a time when around four / five young SWP members including myself were only so since they were led to believe they were joining the SSP. If I was to place myself back to that time where I would get regular calls to inform me of the ‘line’ (they still phone my mum’s house to this day with it being nearly weekly during the court case), having secret meetings before meetings, given sheets informing me how to vote at conference, where majority of my information came through SWP channels etc I think I could of misinterpreted an attack on the SWP / CWI as an organisation for an attack on all its members. Obviously there are many members of these organisations whose behaviour has been beyond forgiveness but, and I admit this could be optimism, I still think there is a reasonable number at the grassroots level who are at heart decent socialists who have been fed disinformation and are not forever lost.

  28. Neil B says:

    lol, i’m pretty sure that’s not the main point on which most of us don’t consider it worthwhile joining the SPGB..

    (as an aside, it wasn’t a matter of practice to keep any minutes secret, it was a very difficult decision for those involved – generally SSP minutes are made available to all members).

    Just want to say this article is a really excellent (and accurate) account of the whole, bizarre scenario in which we’ve found ourselves in the SSP in the last few years. Much respect to all the authors involved.

  29. Sarah says:

    Right, just to deal with some issues that have come up re: moderating comments.

    Firstly, we’re not being Stalinists, we’ve just been exceptionally busy tonight so couldn’t be arsed with dealing with a few comments. Someone at some point in the future will probably get round to dealing with your points, so chill out.

    Secondly, if something has clearly already been covered ad infinitum in the article then don’t expect you will automatically be put through even if you’re polite. You’re not the most important thing in the world to us and it gets tiresome having to explain our positions again and again. We’ve written 10,000 words on the subject for you, why would you seriously expect us to want to go over AGAIN in the comments what our position on minutes or whatever is?

    Thirdly, it really is not our place to have to put up with pish about how shite we are all the time all over our website. If you want a free-for-all where you can slag SSY to your heart’s content, there’s basically a whole blog dedicated to it over at the ironically named “Socialist Unity”. Our blog is the blog of a group which exists to be a safe space for young socialists. Why people think that wouldn’t extend to our comments policy on one very highly charged issue where we’ve taken SIX YEARS of endless abuse is beyond me. We don’t have to accept any comments at all, but we decided that we wanted to moderate them instead because we wrote this piece mainly for all the young socialists out there who wanted to know what went on with Tommy and weren’t sure what the truth was. We want them to have a chance to ask genuine questions about what went on and where we go from here.

    RE: Paul Evans. And Ben Courtice. As has been said, our position on prostitution was formulated at the time when this debate was very high profile and we had 6 MSPs. It’s ridiculous to suggest that organisations based on principles of ending injustice and equality shouldn’t have positions on the abuse of women. Feminism is not a sideshow to “the real struggle”, it is a very large part of the real struggle. I’ve only put your comment through to say this really: this article is not about our position on prostitution. That was put in as a brief explanatory point. If we write an article about our position on prostitution then of course feel free to vehemently disagree with it (in a comradely tone) and I’ll be free to vehemently disagree with you (for example, I really don’t care that other socialists have a different position on prostitution – there’s plenty of other groups that think buying consent from vulnerable women is A-OK. I’m not going to pander to them just because they say so, I very much believe that we should take a zero tolerance approach to the abuse of women – that’s my position.). But this article is about Tommy Sheridan, and it’s our duty as the people who run this blog to make sure that a) people don’t abuse us or other young socialists who’ve come here to find a safe space to put across their views, and b) that the blog doesn’t get derailed. This is not the time nor the place to be debating our position on prostitution, and we don’t want the article to be derailed into a massive argument about how wrong we are for thinking abusing women through prostitution isn’t ok. It’s just good housekeeping skills. But thank you for at least taking the time to engage with some arguments rather than coming to abuse us like countless people (languishing in our spam queue) have.

    Sorry Paul (no surname), but I am not in any way let down by the principled actions of people like Rosie, Carolyn and Frances. They’ve inspired me by standing up to bullies and misogynists. They are not infallible but they have not acted in a way that is unprincipled or wrong here

    By the way, our blog was going to be EXACTLY THE SAME (other than the 2 paragraphs where we make reference to the verdict) regardless of the outcome, because THIS IS THE TRUTH. Nothing can ever change that. This has only ever been the truth. We’re not gloating about anything, we’re sad about what Tommy did to us and himself, we’re happy that our comrades are vindicated, and we’re relieved to officially be able to say “fuck you” to all the people who’ve (very, very actively and viciously) abused us over all this time. That’s really all there is and needs to be. We’re not sorry if our style of *being humourous about things* insults you. It says more about you than it does about us if us condensing all of the crazy things Tommy’s done into the handy phrase “mad shagger” offends you.

  30. cara says:

    hey guys (comrades?)
    not a capital S socialist but a green, who worked alongside Tommy, Rosie, Carolyn, Barbara and many others 2003-7 in the parleymeant (i.e the parley that was meant to happen, but didnt often. My aged blog post says it all from my point of view: http://tinyurl.com/2vytac2
    Would just like to say that i love your post and particularly your endpiece on top tips- we can all take these forward. i’m not one of yours, ploughing a slightly different political furrow, but i’m genuinely saddened by it all. I have great respect for many of the folk who ended up on the Tommy is not God side, and have huge sympathy for the damage one man’s ego can cause. Plus, he was always one of those guys who would talk to your tits. I knew it was true instantly. But that didn’t make it nice. I’ll never really understand why he didnt take the Bill Clinton route- ‘fess up and rehabilitate. Shows that his own personal agenda was always more important to him than the party’s.
    Anyways, continue to fight the good fight! And with humour.

  31. Mark Victorystooge says:

    I hope you can all now turn the corner and get over this.
    I was and am no sympathiser of Sheridan (to put it mildly) but I felt that the courtroom antics were going to undermine socialism in Scotland for some considerable time to come, whatever the legal outcome. The damage will still last a while.
    It looks like Gorgeous George had an idea this was going to happen, hence he threw his own hat in the Glasgow ring. I suspected, as others did, that this was an interesting straw in the wind concerning Sheridan’s own lack of a political future.

  32. James Connolly says:

    Good article on the whole, sad situation the mess that Tommy Sheridan has left socialism in Scotland in due to his own ego. Like the article said, he was given the option to keep his private life private, or admit in public to what he had admitted privately. However, his own narcissism and desire to save his public face prevented him from doing so, and selfishly set back the socialst cause years.

    However, I do have a couple of points. While the article is written in a light hearted way at points, I feel that the reference to “the immaculate conception” of Tommy feeds into sectarian undertones with Tommy and his mum being Catholics. I think this was not needed in another wise spot on article. This sectarianism was also fed into by the police accusing Gail Sheridan of IRA techniques, for simply keeping her right to remain silent.

    Also, can you not see the irony in claiming to be completely unsectarian (politically, not in the Scottish religious sense,) and happy to work with all left wing groups, but a paragraph later attack the SWP?

  33. Kate Rolwich says:

    A showman till the end,what a sad demise. Ihave no interest in Mr Sheridan’s sex life but I do find it nauseating that he continues to portray himself as a paragon of virtue whilst attempting to dupe those he claims to love and those with whom he was once close. Those who have stood by him too will have to live with the lies. The corruption of ego, power and greed knows no bounds. My thoughts are with his wife, what will she do now ? I know what I would do.

  34. Alistair Mitchell says:

    Tommy needed a top-flight silk for this case. He sacked three of them over the course of this long, sorry affair. Mr Anwar may have known all too early on that he was dealing with a head-strong client who could not or would not accept the bad news that lawyers often have to convey.

    One of the great ironies which seems to have escaped Tommy is that – despite his failure to give evidence – his decision to represent himself meant the jury heard his voice for many weeks whilst they contemplated the provenance of the McNeilage tape!
    He made valiant efforts to cross-examine but was all-too-often completely out of his depth.

    The final rhetorical flourishes (in amongst a raft of irrelevant and emotionally-charged material) smacked of desperation, conveying the impression of a man who thought polemic quite enough to persuade a Glasgow jury. The plea to be able to spend Christmas at home came across as a particularly naked attempt to interpose his child as an emotional ‘human shield’ between the evidence and the jury. That crass piece of advocacy alone was more than enough to insult the intelligence of his audience; working class or otherwise. Howevermuch he claimed that the original NotW article endangered the life of his unborn child; to expect to use her in the criminal proceedings without alienating the jury was a high-risk strategy.

    There is little doubt he will receive a substantial sentence and that the NotW will be hot-footing it to the Appeal Court to try to claw back their losses over the defamation trial. Whilst Gail pledges her continuing support for Tommy, jointly-owned matrimonial assets will be at risk if the defamation judgment is overturned and Tommy is hit for enormous legal costs on top of his sentence.

  35. Liam says:

    James, I don’t think the immaculate conception joke was wrong, though I can see where you’re coming from – the IRA thing was fucking ridiculous, watching the cop ask Gail who “trained” her in that police interview was laughable, and you can’t help but think it might have been something to do with her holding her rosary beads.

    As for the SWP, SSY has done and continues to work with people from various groups on the left, including the SWP. I don’t think it’s necessarily incompatible to realise that there are plenty of good people in the SWP and to criticise their undeniable role in causing the split. Not being sectarian shouldn’t mean ignoring disagreements where they exist.

  36. brusselsprout says:

    Tommy may have harmed the Socialist movement big time in Scotland, (nothing that cant be fixed through time though), bet the owners of cupids aint complaining, anyone who didnt know where the nearest top drawer swinging club to Glasgow was certainly know now!!. Guarantee the trial coverage ensures the place is packed with Scots most weekends!! See you there lol!!!

  37. Sausages says:

    The Socialists have destroyed any remaining credibility they have had with this blog post, which ended up descending into a gigantic slagging match- hardly the actions of a political party that wants to be taken seriously; even if it was written by the youth wing it would have had to be sanctioned by someone higher up the pecking order. I appreciate the personal attacks that some of you have endured over the past six years, but resorting to similar tactics only fuels the allegations of back biting and in fighting among the ssp. You should be putting your energies into trying to galvanise and rally the young socialist movement ahead of next year’s elections not wasting time writing a 10’000 word diatribe that will do you no favours and makes you look as petty and vindictive as Sheridan was made out. Some of you can be the new figureheads for the left and inspire people again, instead of relying on also ran demagogues like George Galloway to speak for the movement.
    The whole affair is just desperately sad.

    You coulda had style, you coulda had class, you coulda been condenders, instead of bums- which is what you are.

  38. TheWorstWitch says:

    @Sausages (or is it sosijiz?)

    even if it was written by the youth wing it would have had to be sanctioned by someone higher up the pecking order.

    Um, no, lol – ever hear of a little thing called autonomy? Self organisation?

    If we had to have our politics “approved” or “sanctioned” by the grown ups, then we wouldn’t be in this organisation – we would have made a new (autonomous, self-organised) one.

  39. Messiah Complex says:

    The “vision of the blessed virgin” story is a bizarre one that Alice herself has told plenty of people on the left over the last few years. It’s absolutely surreal, and I don’t think it’s sectarian or anti-Catholic to point that out. I’m pretty sure the Church would back me up in saying that’s not Catholicism, it’s just someone suffering from delusions. It obviously also comes on top of her strange and silly behaviour in court, flinging holy water at witnesses etc., which actually got rows of the public gallery closed off at some points. It may allow us a little psychological insight into how it is that Tommy came to believe he was totally untouchable and God’s gift to socialism.

    The reason to point it out isn’t to in some way tar the Sheridan family as Catholics, but to point out just how strange and unhealthy some of the things they say are.

  40. saucy socialist says:

    I really love the SSY!

  41. Jack says:

    I’ve been loving the abusive comments (why are you all still bothering, we’re the only ones that will see them and we think they’re funny!) Sheridan defenders really have nowhere left to go apart from spewing their hatred and bile for us because WE WERE RIGHT and THEY WERE WRONG. We correctly predicted that there was no way that the state was going to accept a socialist MSP blatantly committing perjury, which has been his explicit plan since 2004. The stage the SSP was at at its height was strong, but ultimately we were still just a skirmishing group, picking our battles where we could while we built up our forces (with the aim of one day being part of a movement that would be able to directly fight for power). What Tommy did was take the fight right into the very backyard of enemy territory, somewhere where they hold all the courts. We told him in 2004 it was political suicide and unfortunately we’ve been proved to be absolutely right. As such, we were the true friends of Tommy, and those who have encouraged and pushed him on down the road of self destruction should hang their heads in shame.

    On the thing of attacking the SWP/CWI, of course there are folk who are decent in these organisations. My problem with them is organisational – they employ working methods that are sectarian, that see their own opportunist interests as more important than what’s best for the struggle. It’s like natural selection – the people who are uncomfortable with that internal culture are rapidly weeded out, leaving only those who can adapt to that way of doing things. I also think that things are different now than they were during the time the SWP were in the SSP. For better or worse, people that join them now know what it is they’re joining.

    We’ve been working with the SWP on the student stuff, and will continue to do so whenever it’s appropriate. But yesterday was a day where they have to face up to their responsibility of having played a major role in destroying the Scottish left. They have absolutely no self-awareness as a group though, and are of course off ranting about “scabs”.

    The only other thing I wanted to say about this piece is that it isn’t written for the increasingly sad and pathetic band of abusive Tommy fans on the internet. It’s for people who want to be able to get the real deal on what we went through. As such, these trolls really don’t get a lot of it. For example, people claiming on Socialist Unity (how that website even has the nerve to keep calling itself socialist I don’t know) that calling Tommy a “mad shagger” is evidence of a puritanical attitude to sex. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The point we were wanting to hammer home is the surreal absurdity of the fact that everyone in the SSP knew he was a mad shagger, and yet he thought he bullshit the entire world in order to defend his image as a bourgeois family man. It’s hilarious (as well as being horrible and terrifying). There’s no moral judgement implied in the phrase “mad shagger”. It’s a simple statement of fact of what he was and is. It’s just madness that he ever tried to convince people otherwise.

  42. cullens91 says:

    “Whichever way todays outcome turned out to be, its tragedy for socialist cause in scotland , lets everyone not forget this please. A few years ago we had 6 strong committed socialists fighting for a fairer scotland in the scottish parliament. What have we now ?”
    @davie
    I agree that both court cases were a disaster for socialism in Scotland, it saw the virtual collapse of the SSP vote in 2007 and the consequence was no socialist representatives in the Scottish Parliament; which frankly is surreal within what is traditionally a country with a strong socialist movement. However, I don’t agree that “The Sheridan trials have wrecked Socialism in Scotland for a generation” (Paul, earlier ^). There are still as many, if not more, real socialist activists in Scotland now as there were in 2003, and there would certainly appear to be a strong and well-informed youth movement for socialism in Scotland with a damn fine political blog; which wasn’t the case, I believe, in 1999. Personally, I think the last 11 years have been a case of taking 3 steps forward and 2 steps back; it’s very saddening that the left in Scotland has “self-destructed” in the last six years, due to having faith in a sex addict (who I thought was totally great a few years ago), but I believe it will become more and more apparent to the public that the only credible Scottish Socialist party is.. the Scottish Socialist Party. The majority of socialists in Scotland don’t think that a ‘British road to socialism” is feasible, and don’t appreciate hero-worship, and that is part of the reason why I believe the only socialist vote that could actually make a difference in Scotland is a vote for the SSP. Thanks for the honest article SSY people.
    -Alexander Cullens

  43. LydiaTeapot says:

    STOP CALLING US “THE” SSY!
    DROP “THE”!
    IT’S JUST FUCKING “SSY”.

    LERN 2 AKRONIM.

    That’s to all of those in spam and on here.

  44. Liam says:

    I don’t know about elsewhere but in Pollok “mad shagger” is often employed as a term of endearment.

  45. aberfoyle says:

    In truth i was tryin to post on the Tommy line,takes to long to down with all that vid stuff,not got the broadband,but heh!.Super impose Tommy in that pic and its about the size of it.You cats have been takin a hamerin on the blogs,radical feminist, radical youth taking control.All socialist thinking parties are radical,all i can say and im a million miles away is the youth are the future of any reform in social sharing.Don!t let the text book lead to snobbish control,for there is no progression there, for those you wish to gain support,it turns them off. Keep it simple and dump the ego!s,and don!t forget your time will come, listen to the elders.Au the best for the May bus stop.

    [moved by mod to correct comment thread]

  46. Bobo says:

    As a ex-member of the SSP,the result of this trial is vindication to the brave comrades who told the truth,depsite extreme pressure by supporters of the Tommy cult.
    Dragged to court by Tommy,they had to not only endure him trying to break them,but the gauntlet of his cult verbally abusing them in and out of the court building.
    To think they were accused of siding with the NOTW,when Tommy and Gail can not only sell their story to the right wing Daily Record,but do fashion shoots,interviews etc etc,this has been missed by many.
    Yes the right wing Daily record,same as the NOTW,so it was not about TS against the NOTW but TS and everyone who stood in his way,including the women he had affairs with,he would even sacrifice his wife and others.
    I think there is more to come about Tommy and his double life,a few other women who he had affairs with,infact telling ones he would leave his wife(yes,the same one he really loves)for them.
    What Tommy did not like was women he could not wrap around his finger,not that i am having a go at women he had affairs with,there are victims.
    Rosie,Carolyn,Frances stood up to him and he did not like that.
    Tommys supporters knew what he done,infact some agreed with me if it was a female relative of theirs who was treated like this,they would go mental,but then came back with,its those women ie Rosie,Carloyn and Francis,yes folks so called Socialist blaming the women.
    Alan MC,Keith and other good socialist who stood up,make me proud to have worked with yous since the start of the SSA and then the SSP.
    The left has been damaged for decades to come,allowing the far right to make more footholds in Scotland but TS and his cult.
    But at least the comrades who i admire for what they stood up for, have their respect and dignity intact.

  47. Andi Rossetter says:

    firstly, great article. secondly i’m still really emotional about this two days later, ive been to most of the perjury trial and have endurded all manner of nastiness from sheridans supporters (even as the verdict was read out i was called a scabby class traitor) there are no victors in all this just survivors. the SSP did not ask for nor seek this whole legal proccess, we activley tried to stop sheridan going to the courts in the first place and it is no surprise that things have ended where they have. i’m really pleased for those on the front line who have endured hell over the last 6 years and who have now been vindicated.
    i’m not celebrating i’m relieved. we can now get on with the proccess of rebuilding the left in Scotland.

    the SSP did not want this proccess, sheridan has no one to blame but himself.

    merry christmas to all in SSY
    Andi

    ps re Cara – greens and socialists should be working together, i’ve alot of respect for many in the environmental movement, and i think that an environmental analysis should be at the heart of socialist politics

  48. James Doleman says:

    “ive been to most of the perjury trial and have endurded all manner of nastiness from sheridans supporters (even as the verdict was read out i was called a scabby class traitor)

    My exeperiencewas there was utter silence when the verdict was read out, due to the judge’s instructions and the large number of police officers in attendence. Of course I have no knowledge of your particular circumstances.

  49. Barbara Scott says:

    I really like this article it will be great for explaining to people all the ins and outs of what’s been going on. (Ooh er Mrs, Benny Hill style comment unintentional!)

    Thank you SSY!

  50. SSP Campsie says:

    Brilliant article with juast one flaw – no pictorial evidence of the “former Highlands & Islands Organiser with stupid trousers.” Stupid trousers picture, please.

  51. Sarah says:

    Mr. Doleman, a well-known SWP member and former STUSC candidate called Angela McCormick was sitting behind Andi and leaned in to call him a “scabby class traitor”. Very nice.

    On another, nicer note, was very pleased to see the comment left by Cara – and think there is a lot of space for greens and reds to work very closely over the coming years. I think you’ve got to be green to be red and you’ve got to be red to be green.

  52. Hamish says:

    Trenchant article, articulate and pasionate.
    Three minor niggles:
    1. Bad language: expressions like ‘mad shagger’ and ‘neo-Nazi’ weaken your article, not strengthen it.
    2. Irrelevance: you may feel strongly about prostitiution, but it wasn’t an issue in this case.
    3. Ad hominem: I don’t know James Doleman, his background or affiliation. But his blog was informative.

    And one major niggle:
    The article repeatedly refers to ‘we’. Sometimes it seems to mean the SSP, sometimes United Left, sometimes SSY.
    In the interests of transparency, do ‘we’ have names.

    Hamish Dewar.

  53. TheWorstWitch says:

    @Hamish.

    1. We used the term ‘mad shagger’ because it’s part of our language and culture, and is commonly used by young people like us, and is easily understood. There is nothing wrong with being a mad shagger whatsoever. As was said above, mad shagger is often used as a term of endearment. It’s the launching of an insane court case and the subsequent backstabbing, misogyny and destruction of the scottish left that we condemn.

    2. When do we say ‘neo-Nazi’? We say femi-nazi quite a few times. But that’s their words, not ours. One male SSP member announced to us after the split that he would be leaving because the party was “pussy whipped by the feminazis”.

    3. The Doleman blog was informative on some things, but it was also very selective in the information it presented. I’m sure other people who were present in court and have better knowledge of what was/wasn’t included in Doleman’s articles can fill you in more on this.

    4. I looked through the article at all the times the word “we” it is used, got about half way through before I got bored.
    We generally means us as SSY, apart from on occasions when it is used directly after discussion of what was going on in the SSP at the time, in which case it can be taken to mean we as the SSP. The United Left is referred to once in the article, so no, ‘we’ does not mean the United Left.

    5. Yes, we do have names. Many commenters above have identified themselves above. I am not comfortable doing so.
    We do not have a responsibility to be transparent to random members of the public and commenters on our blog, only to our own membership. All of the authors of this blog article are more than happy to identify themselves and take ownership over what they’ve said to our own members, but for their safety and wellbeing, we will not be identifying them in public.

  54. jeff says:

    Comrades, as a lifelong active socialist, Labour Party member, and trades unionist in England. I admired what you built in the SSP and I applaud you for keeping going despite the setback youi have suffered. Your statement explains a lot.
    But do you not think that Murdoch’s NoW – and MI5 – wanted to bring down Tommy Sheridan and the SSP, so they would have played on his weaknesses, put people close to him (ex-NoW journalists?) to lead him astray, and also tried to turn/bribe/blackmail some of those close to him? I wouldn’t accuse any comrade, but any socialist or trade union group that is at all effective will be a target for penetration by MI5 – that is a fact of life. For younger comrades like yourselves in SSY, try to get hold of a copy of Spycatcher by Peter Wright, former deputy director of MI5 – his comments near the end about how he would have gone about targetting the IRA match up with what has emerged since about MI5 penetration of that organisation.

  55. TheWorstWitch says:

    Jeff, you’re right when you say that “any socialist or trade union group that is at all effective will be a target for penetration by MI5″ – but nobody did this to Tommy, he did this to himself by choosing to try to sue a newspaper for reporting the truth.

  56. Omar says:

    Regarding the use of the word feminiazi. I think its disgusting that women in this day and age have to put up with people spreading this term when there are martyrs for gender equality still all over the world. We are supposed to be moving on and evolving into a more equal society and carrying forward the struggle that our predecessors laid foundations for. Hearing this word more and more in usage it sickens me that people do not wake up to the idea that we DO live in a patriarchal society and that the riches of the world are largely controlled by a male dominated culture. There are only a few countries where women have an almost equal footing but feminism needs to be encouraged and nurutured at home and on an international level especially.

    The idea that the SSP had a member with this word in his vocabulary, and as something that defined his perspective on life is, quite frankly, disgraceful.

    Good riddance to those that use the term. May they learn to mend their ways.

  57. Jack says:

    I’m sure the state has taken an active interest in the SSP over the years. But Tommy did their work for them. He constructed a slapdash criminal conspiracy that the state could see through from the word go, and expected the entire party to join him in jumping off a cliff. Tommy’s perjury is a greater gift to those who want to see the left weak and divided than any actual agent or officer could have given them.

  58. Hamish says:

    Thanks TheWorstWitch for the prompt and reasoned reply.
    I apologise unreservedly for suggesting that you used the term neo-Nazi. It’s just I don’t like to see the swastika symbol used in jest.

    Regarding James Doleman’s blog, I repeat that I don’t know him and my opinion is based entirely on his blog. In my view he has provided a useful public service in giving a full running commentary on the case. Do point me to another blog which has done better.
    But I gather from your remarks that he is persona non grata with your lot because he has an affiliation with the SWP or maybe the CWI.
    Shades of the Judean People’s Front, for heavens’s sake.

    I do take issue with you that Tommy single-handedly brought the SSP down.
    The SSP has been brought down by petty rivalries and back-biting.

    If you want to show that SSY are different, you won’t persuade me by making snide remarks such as “the first book that would be put out as having been written by Tommy”, and “Tommy did actually manage to turn up for the meeting”.

    I trust that those spilling the beans in the News of the World this week and next are not members of SSY.
    But since you’re coy about revealing your identity here, we’ll never know.
    And if you’ve been in the party since the year dot, are you not too old to speak for the SSYouth?
    I’m 73 years of age by the way. How old are you?

  59. Liam T says:

    1. SSY has members up to the age of 26. As such, there’s members that have been around since the early days of the SSP.

    2. Maybe we should’ve been more explicit – the book at Joan McAlpine wrote on Tommy’s behalf, which preceded the book that Alan McCombes wrote on Tommy’s behalf.

    3. I can also confirm that no members of SSY, past or present, feature in the NOTW today.

    4. The ‘petty rivalries and back-biting’ were for the most part, from what I can see, invented in order to justify the split.

  60. Jack says:

    Plus, the quote about “Tommy did actually manage to turn up for the meeting” comes directly after it was explained about how he’d dingyed several meetings that week to try and resolve this mess informally (he didn’t come because he was choosing a quite different, CRAZY resolution.)

  61. lovebug says:

    Hamish, regulars to the blog will know that snide remarks with regards to idiots are a trademark of SSY (http://ssy.org.uk/2010/03/stephen-purcell-and-the-chemical-dependency/)

    Regular subscribers will also know why we dont compel everyone to give out their full names (http://ssy.org.uk/2010/09/dress-down-friday-anti-fascist-bonanza/)

    We used to have meetings to play out our petty rivalries meaning the public didnt have to endure them. Since the pied piper of Pollok led his followers off into the wilderness we don’t now have that chance. And there was those who thought that back-biting was best saved for the pub rather than the court…saddly Tam the Bam wasn’t one of them.

  62. Hamish says:

    Thanks Liam T, Jack, and lovebug.
    Fair points.
    Over and out.

  63. Sacha Ismail says:

    The point isn’t that the SSP shouldn’t have a position on prostitution – it’s that the position it does have is reactionary. Where we should be supporting full decriminalisation both as a way to make the industry safer and to help sex workers’ unions/organisations, the SSP has instead adopted a moralistic, non-socialist critique. (Unless I’ve misunderstood…)
    There’s a more general point too – you don’t have to be from the “feminism is a distraction from the class struggle, women should wait for the revolution” school (which is clearly anti-Marxist shite) to think some aspects of the SSP’s feminism are problematic – liberal and radical feminist ideas (eg on prostitution) bolted on to a previously non-feminist socialism (Scottish Militant), rather than developing an integrated, class-based Marxist feminism.

    Anyway, I actually came onsite to post the AWL’s statement on the Sheridan verdict.
    http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2010/12/27/sheridan-affair-and-left-scotland

    Cheers, comrades.

    Sacha Ismail, Workers’ Liberty

  64. Mark Victorystooge says:

    I was particularly intrigued by the way he trashed the legacy of “Militant” in an attempt to explain why so many of his old comrades were not supporting him. There must have been some quiet gnashing of teeth in the CWI after that one. In 2006, he toyed with that red-baiting, but he used it big time in court this year.

    Perhaps they would rationalise it as a “workers’ champion” resorting to every technique at his disposal to defend himself against the “class enemy”. Including disowning the left organisation that actually formed him politically.

  65. Andy Bowden says:

    Sacha I don’t think the position we have on prostitution is reactionary. The bottom line is that prostitution is women being sexually abused for money, which is why most women involved in prostitution do it to fund a drug habit/or have been forced into it by relatives or partners. It’s not just another career women choose to make money that’s a bit shite. It’s fundamentally abusive.

    Carolyn made a good point about prostitution in this article – http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/42151

    “Let’s be clear about what organisation on a trade union basis is – collective bargaining for better rates for blow jobs. Would we argue that, instead of abolishing slavery, we should have organised for better conditions – say, fewer beatings and three square meals a day?”

  66. hobnobs says:

    why are there all these people saying the ssp/ssy are finished? Why? Just because of a mad shagger? You all seem in pretty rude health to me!

  67. old friend says:

    it was all tommys fault the crisis of the ssp then… just bad luck that we ended up with a dickhead leader. comrades, we put him there!! in the position where he could and would have this effect on our hopes!! so i think the analysis has to go a little further. is this story not a clear refutation of the belief that electing socialist leaders to parliament will lead to radical social change? if not, where are the “good” leaders to contrast to Tommy? Chavez? Funny guy but is still basically sucking the earth dry to flog petrol all over the world. comrades, learn the lessons… nothing happens by accident… what has been exposed by this saga is the illusion of the parliamentary road. in fact, of following leaders in general. forget elections, comrades, and forget about those mythical revolutions, change has to be constant, and radicalism too, revolutionary action is now not postponed until some future date, “when the conditions ripen”, while in the meantime we prance about as actors in the parliamentary pantomime put on by the bourgeois state or discuss what type of oppressive institutions to replace it with “when the revolution comes”. (whether to give a harder time to the dirty old men or the crazy young women when we´re in charge?) no, comrades, “experience is evergreen”, live the moment, revolution is now… throws brick at computer narrowly missing…

  68. Bobo says:

    The SSP is over i am sad to say,the damage is huge,everyone knows what Tommy did,but some still think the SSP took sides with the NOTW,while others seen it as one big fight between members,socialist ripping each others throats.
    Personally as someone who joined the SSA and SSP at the begining along with lots of other comrades,would not touch another left wing group again.
    The left always fucks itself,most are cults for either dead Russians and Germans or modern day swingers,i put my doubts behind me and worked away hoping things would get better,even although i knew the bad history of Militant and other groups of working with each other.
    But i never thought it would end this way,you can have splits,fair enough,but for one man to bring it all down is earth shattering,worst is the sheep who followed him,like the 2nd coming.
    Can i ask any of his supporters,why did yous and still do,support someone who treated woman so bad,other comrades too.

    The left is too damaged to do anything,great people like Alan,Keith,Carolyn,Frances,Rosie and more have had their good name tarnished,some clearly still traumatised to this day,other women who he had affairs with must be scared that their story will come out and ruin their lifes too.
    The right wing have a clear run now and all thanks to Tommy and his sheep.

  69. Mark Victorystooge says:

    It is too early to tell when socialism in Scotland will recover from all this. However, the people saying the SSP/SSY are “finished” say it because they want it to be the case, not necessarily because that is really the case. The wish being father to the thought and all that. Galloway’s own ambitions depend on inheriting whatever was left of Sheridan’s vote in Glasgow, for example. He wants the SSP to be negligible. The same for the SWP and CWI.

  70. Jack says:

    Bobo I think your assessment is a little bit too pessimistic. Yes huge damage has been done by all of TS’s nonsense, but the recent mass movement of students is just a foretaste I think of what’s going to happen over the next year. I think the left needs to be humble and realistic about the position we are in, but that’s not the same as giving up – there’s a whole world of people out there who don’t care about the history of the SSP, and Sheridan will soon be yesterday’s news. Meanwhile, there’s plenty for us to do.

  71. Bobo says:

    You could be right saying i am pessimistic,but iv seen they way we were,to the ordinary person not touching the left with a barge pole now.
    I admire the comrades fighting on for the party,but to me its gone,the SSP will never get to anywere near the heights it was.

  72. It might be able to – if the SSP and Solidarity/TUSC formed a single party again. I can’t see that being possible without Tommy stepping down as TUSC leader and Fox stepping down as SSP leader – and it’d rule out Kane, Leckie, Fox or McCombes as leader of a re-united party because they were too involved in the bitter dispute too. Then other candidates from both parties could put themselves forward and the membership of both could make their choice together on someone acceptable to both.

    Unless the two sides are reconciled neither has any prospect of any significant election success for the foreseeable future – and there’s no chance of either side just surrendering and accepting the other side was 100% in the right, so i can’t see any better solution (though maybe i’m missing one).

    If they got their act together and formed a single united party then electoral pacts with the Greens (who share many of their policy aims and values – including independence) might become a possibility too. If that was achieved then between them the Greens and the left could get enough seats in the Scottish Parliament to have influence in most elections and Scottish governments.

  73. P.S Sheridan, fox, McCombes, Kane and Leckie could still be candidates to become MSPs again as part of a truce to allow the divisions to be ended – they just couldn’t be party leader

  74. Also “Old Friend” your “revolutionary action” talk is dangerous pie in the sky. You think the majority of people in the country will back a revolution when the majority won’t even vote for you? You think the police will? You think the army will or that you can defeat them? Or by “revolution” do you mean something that you can’t define (i.e you’re just talking hot air)

    Elections are the only road to progress that’s open or viable- and the second vote in the Scottish parliament is the one on which small parties have a chance of getting some influence, especially as there will usually be Coalition or minority governments.

    If the SSP and Solidarity re-combined into one party they could pick up a few seats and have the same kind of influence the Greens have – over time both they and the Greens could get more seats and more influence.

  75. Unless i’m badly misinterpeting what you’re saying and you’re not calling for a revolution to overthrow the government by a popular uprising – in which case sorry

  76. Mhairi McAlpine says:

    Oh, Duncan, Duncan, Duncan.

    This may be a youth blog, but such nieveity is seriously out of place.

    1. There is *no* prospect of any reconsiliation with Squalidarity. The SSP have *no* interest in joining forces with the Tommy Sheridan supporters club. Recognising the difficult conditions prevalent in the 04-06 period we may consider applications for membership from individual members so long as they appreciate that the SSP takes womens rights seriously; that hero worship is no basis for a socialist party and that deceit and fraud for personal gain, be it financial or reputational, is repugnant to all that we stand for.

    2. In such a hypothetical merger, the leader would be the least of our concerns, We have had quite enough of “leaders”. As this article shows the SSP is a much more collaborative and autonomous outfit (although I appreciate many commenting here dont seem to be able to get their heads around those concepts. The position of “leader” is increasingly an irrelevance. What is important is that leadership is provided by the most able and best placed comrades to lead any particular action.

    3. Yeah, maybe if we followed that course we could get seats, MSPs, electoral success and jam butties. On that score I’m v. much with “old friend”, not necessarily the position of the whole party here, but personally I think we can do much greater good outwith the parly than we can within it, until at least we have a very clear mission of what we would do with the role.

  77. Hi Mhairi – Not having a single leader, i’ve no problem with. In fact it sounds better to me – but if you don’t reconcile with Solidarity/TUSC one way or another neither you nor they have any electoral prospects at all for the forseeable future. As a result Labour won’t worry about anyone outflanking them on the left and will keep moving to the right – and the SNP and Labour won’t see any need to have your support on anything in the Scottish Parliament.

    I’m not saying campaigns to influence policy that aren’t about winning elections are worthless. If you influence public opinion and policy that’s a victory as big as if you got candidates elected and they got it through (and if that’s all “Old Friend” means i actually partly agree with him and you – but it’s a lot easier if you have some elected candidates too. Remember that when the SSP and Solidarity were one party you got 6 MSPs elected and managed to get warrant sales abolished. So turning away from reconciliation entirely might not be for the best.

    I agree that getting candidates elected shouldn’t be made an aim that trumps everything else, or else you just end up with Nick Clegg or Tony Blair or David Cameron, but there’s no doubt you have more influence if you have some candidates elected to worry the bigger parties a bit that they might lose some seats to you if they don’t adopt some of your policies.

    Some people in Solidarity /TUSC will have as much antipathy to the SSP as some in the SSP have to them, but i’ve met lots in Lanarkshire who want nothing more than reconciliation with the SSP in order to be able to achieve more together.

    The feud has gone on 4 years. It could go on another 20 if both sides focus on trying to defeat one another when basically they actually mostly agree on policy – and the real opponents we should all be focusing on are the right wing of the Labour party, the Lib Dems, the Tories and the big multinationals and the billionaires.

    Whatever both parties do hopefully we can all make common cause in campaigning against the unfair public service and benefit cuts, against the pointless wars and for protecting people’s health and our planet (i’m in the Greens currently by the way) and fighting poverty and inequality.

  78. p.s. my criticism was based on it sounding like he meant overthrowing the government by force/rioting etc – if he means campaigning for better policies and against bad ones i partly agree with “Old Friend” – but only partly – giving up on elections entirely and being fragmented into lots of splinter groups fighting over personal animosities when they all broadly believe in the same policies and principles is not going to help the cause much.

    If you want greater democracy within a party on the left, great, but there isn’t room for two socialist parties in Scotland – and the only way to get one big enough to make a real difference is reconciliation between the SSP and Solidarity/TUSC – that could include greater internal democracy within the party though.

    Ideally it’d be good to go further than that and have a greens-socialists-independents alliance. Until you can get the two halves of the old SSP to reconcile though, there’s no real chance of expanding beyond that.

  79. Dave Leishman says:

    Bloody hell, my compliments to the author for an epic post!T

    Having trawled a number of lefty blogs since the verdict I’m surprised at the polarisation of opinion. Forgive me, I forget the names of the fractions because they largely involve the same three words (a mix-and-match of Scottish, socialist and worker). Some of your “comrades” are adamant that this is a right-wing conspiracy to defeat socialism in Scotland- as if Mr Murdoch really gives a a flying fuck about socialism in any guise, especially in Scotland,- and that the man was innocent because he was standing up for honest socialist principles. This certainly can’t reflect well on you lot. As much as you may intend in your conduct to distance yourselves from it, you must respect and adhere the principle of the rule of law? The man who was quite influential at the time for reasons pertaining to his moral, and oddly socially conservative, position was caught shagging in a seedy sex-club. He then sued the paper, he lied, and compelled others to do so in a bit to enable him to win his case, and then was rightly prosecuted. Truly, end of story.

    Anyway, that’s the point. My kudos to the author for a balanced article which is poignantly tinged with regret and, in no small part, shame-by-association. I don’t think this verdict will banish socialism in Scotland for a generation, there are too many lunatic students happy to lay claim to other peoples’ money for that to happen. It will however banish organised socialism for the foreseeable future, this is a akin to the British right-wing movement losing the influence of Dan Hannan or David Davis.

    Best
    Dave

  80. old friend says:

    what i mean by revolutionary action is not violence at all. it means simply what it says, acting in a way that is revolutionary. the anti poll tax movement i think was an example of that. standing for parliament certainly is not, because you are just reinforcing the institutions you supposedly oppose. nor is going to court, whether to sue a newspaper or accuse a former comrade of perjury. “we couldnt do anything else!” … no? but youre supposed to be revolutionaries!!your political action is supposed to be challenging the state not cooperating with it. but on the other point, about left unity, whether you think revolutionary politics is about counting how many votes you got or requires a bit more imagination, any supposedly socialist party which is going to refuse people membership because of their opìnion on a particular court case is surely taking sectarianism to a new level, surpassing even what existed before the SSP took the memorable step of breaking down that endemic sectarianism for a while. unfortunately ssp now looks like another one of those old-time sects which many of us hoped it had superceded.

  81. Mhairi McAlpine says:

    Its not about refusing people membership of the SSP based on their opinion of the court case, but what their opinion of the court case represents.

    Supporting Sheridan indicates an acceptance of the manner in which he cross examined his former lovers; an acceptance of lies and deception for personal gain; an acceptance that he is right to use his public profile built on the back of many of the people he smeared in court and in the papers for personal advantage; an acceptance that one electoral asset is worth sacrificing the entire movement for.

    If the SSP starts letting in people who believe the above, I will be the straight out of the door, with the vast majority of the current membership.

    As the article shows the SSP did everything in its power to protect him from his own stupidity. If he had responded to the papes by stating “Yes, I am a mad shagger and what of it?” or “My private life is nobody’s business but my own”, that is an entirely different matter. Instead he wanted to protray himself as a clean living family man, with no greater deviences than sunbeds and scrabble, was prepared to take on a libel case to defend that false image and didnt give a shit who was harmed in the process, including his comrades, party, friends and family.

    As far as supporting a perjury investigation, I would not hestate to have gone to the police if I had evidence in the Archer or Aitkin investigations – why should Sheridan have been any different. I think that as socialists we have a responsibility to hold corrupt politicians to account. This obligation is even more beholden to us, where we are the ones who have facilitated and supported them.

  82. Bobo says:

    Good post Mhairi.
    The ones who support TS know what he done,they know he is guilty.
    Thats the part that turns this into nothing more than a cult,support TS no matter what he has done.
    While the SSP members who were forced to go to court seem to be very clam and dignified,TS supporters are hysterical verbally attacking anyone who doesnt support him,while foaming at the mouth.
    People who say they are for womens rights,but support someone who treats women this way.

  83. Nick Long says:

    Greetings & solidarity comrades. What matters is the organisation and party not the individual leadership and it would seem that you still have an active and on-going party to build. In my own local borough party we have a ‘leader’ simply to comply with the requirements of election registration law in name only. Organisations cannot be built around one individual.

    Good luck with building and growing your party.

    Nick Long

  84. Joanne Telfer says:

    Interesting though not exactly objective. I think Duncan McFarlane makes some useful points. On a point of accuracy in relation to the Democratic Green Socialists: No pages have been removed and what the author of this blog found was a broken link. This has now been repaired and I thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  85. GregWard says:

    Great post, think I learned lot a lot about Tommy and the demise of the ssp. Some of the digs at the swp are a bit childish though and ive always felt that there needs to be only one socialist and green party in Scotland. Regardless of whether they are wrong or not socialism is built upon the idea of workers unity. If we can’t even agree with each other then that just discredits the whole argument and puts a lot of people off the whole movement.

  86. anon says:

    For reference, the article which defends a convicted rapist and prompted the letter from Rape Crisis can be found at
    http://www.democraticgreensocialist.org/archive2/chriswiles.htm

    note from admin, added 09/01/11 – they have moved the page, it can now be found here: http://www.democraticgreensocialist.org/archive2/chris_wiles.htm

  87. Mark Victorystooge says:

    I notice from today’s “Sunday Herald” that Galloway is putting a bit of distance between himself and TS.

    One thing about both 2006 and 2010 that interested me was TS’s repeated sacking of barristers. Alistair Mitchell on Dec. 24 said on this thread that it was due to him being a headstrong client who could not take bad news from lawyers. This is probably one explanation. I also think he could not bear to yield centre stage to a barrister, as he would have to do. His need to be in the limelight was perhaps pathological. I am not a qualified psychologist. It would be interesting to know what a qualified psychologist would make of TS, though.

  88. Alex says:

    I think Mhairi McAlpine’s comments are spot-on. I joined the SSP as an associate member in 2006, and since the split I’ve been saying to people down south that the SSP still contains the finest socialist hearts and minds in Scotland. That remains the case today.

  89. Stroppyoldgit says:

    Ian Bone’s comment (near the top) has already said all the complimentary things which were forming in my mind as I read this.

    Just one note jarred. Several reference to “old guys” etc. as a sort of automatic pejorative. Misogyny is unacceptable from ANY guys and is not the exclusive preserve of greybeards like me. I like political debate with a bit of wit and piss-taking, and CWI no doubt deserve that, but “coffin dodgers” is not the way to do it. Ageism should go in the same bin as racism and sexism. The difference is that you’ll all be old one day (I hope). When you are, I expect you’ll find misogyny did not die out with my generation. I’d like to be wrong about that, but I don’t think I am.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’ve so clearly seen that our class needs leadership trips and dominating egos like a hole in the head. I was talking to some former Yorkshire and Durham miners a couple of months ago, and they’d come to more less the same the same conclusion as a result of their experiences with Arthur Scargill after the strike. You right, there’s no future in being leaders and led.

  90. Alan G says:

    “On a point of accuracy in relation to the Democratic Green Socialists: No pages have been removed and what the author of this blog found was a broken link.”

    So why is it links to the article about Chris Wiles now result in the following

    “Please read the whole blog and not this just the article about a local community defense campaign.
    You have been directed to this page by an organisation with malicious intent.”

    with the page having been removed – or dropped down the memory hole, whichever term you prefer

  91. Sarah says:

    Alan, well done for spotting that little changed link. They couldn’t get more pathetic.

  92. 00DGS says:

    They added an underscore to deal with all this malicious intent: http://www.democraticgreensocialist.org/archive2/chris_wiles.htm

    Hardly James Bond are they?

  93. Mhairi McAlpine says:

    Framing this as a “local community defence campaign” seems rather a long shot.

    Who or what are they defending their community from- the victim?

  94. Alistair Mitchell says:

    Mark Victorystooge:

    I’m sure many psychologists would give their right frontal lobes to interview Tommy on the couch.

    It is interesting that after the sacking of Maggie Scott QC, Tommy was left with his solicitor, Aamer Anwar who (I gather from the Doleman blog) did not possess Higher Court Rights and thus could not address the Court. It is said Lord Bracadale then made Mr Anwar an ‘amicus curiae’ (friend of the court) so he could take part in the trial. Without possessing any advocacy training for the High Court….

  95. Alistair Mitchell says:

    Continued…

    …because he did not have the Higher Courts Qualification. In addition, his acceptance of the amicus curiae brief (for which the Court would pay him) meant that he owed a duty to the Court – as well as to his client.
    Now that is true for all trial lawyers, but what would give rise to real difficulty in this situation would be if Mr Anwar felt the need to intervene during Tommy Sheridan’s frequent breaches of the
    rules of examination-in-chief and cross-examination in order to keep the questionning within reasonable limits. If he intervened too strongly, TS woul feel hard done by whilst if he simply sat by
    and did nothing to assist the Court he would surely be neglect his duty.
    Now I am not saying he ever intevened – but if he did – would he risk alienating TS in order to be a proper friend to the Court!

    Usually an amicus curiae is called upon to cross examine for a limited time when a Defendant representing himself would otherwise get to question his accuser in a rape trial.
    In this case, Mr Anwar was amicus curiae for many weeks during the evidence of dozens of witnesses. No doubt he sought to discharge his duty to the Court but I query whether
    he could represent his client once he accepted instructions for the Court and whether he should have accepted an amicus curiae brief if he had no Higher Court Rights.

    Indeed, after the verdict, Mr Anwar appeared outside the Court with the Sheridans and read out a statement on behalf of TS. If he was still engaged as an amicus curiae,
    did that paid role require him to make press statements on behalf of TS? Should he have been promoting TS’s cause whilst employed by the Court instead of the Legal Services Commission?

    It will be interesting to see if the Law Society has a view on the ethics of this unusual affair.

  96. Mark Stevens says:

    This statement is being miss represented elsewhere (surprise!) .So it was good to read it first hand. I was prepared to give Sheridan the benefit of the doubt, he has gone to prison for past socialist activities. But its clear that he’s beyond redemption politically and its this & not his sexual activity (which is just sad at the end of the day) that is important. The statements of intent at the end are spot on. As to the importance of truth to socialism I can’t put it better than this guy ‘ Truth is the greatest of all national possessions. A state, a people, a system which supresses the truth or fears to publish it, deserves to collapse!’ Kurt Eisner (leader of the bavarian socialist revolution 1918)

  97. Mark Victorystooge says:

    His creative use of the courtroom (a “campaigning” amicus curiae, repeated sacking of barristers, emotive rants and haranguing of witnesses) probably will be taken into account if a decision has to be made on granting an appeal. It does not look good.

    On the matter of truth, I think there are people out there who see truth as a bourgeois construct, or as a moveable feast depending on the convenience of a Central Committee’s current line.

  98. Andi Rossetter says:

    the last line of Leon Trotsky’s brilliant book The Revolution Betrayed. – “the motor force of progress is truth and not lies”

  99. Mark Victorystooge says:

    Questionable whether this applies to all parts of Trotsky’s political career, or indeed that of his followers, then or later.
    On the question of historical truth, I like a Robert Graves poem entitled “The Persian Version”. It is meant to be a Persian downplaying his empire’s defeat at the Battle of Marathon. Graves wrote the poem just before or during WWII, when the air was thick with propaganda. We actually do not have a Persian record of their wars with the Greeks – only Greek accounts have survived.

  100. Sandino says:

    It may be so that truth is a virtue to have but I don’t believe any state to be truthful. Our world is propaganda and points of views. Of course the idealised version is always vastly different to the reality of things.

    The SSP use propaganda like any other and it would be a lie to state otherwise but politicians are not praised for saying the truth so they don’t tell people the truth. What is needed is for the proletariot to be willing to hear hard truths only then can society become better as a whole.

  101. len greg says:

    u lot are like the judean peoples front in monty python

  102. hoohaahee says:

    Tommy’s coupon staring ootta that jail van is my new facebook image.

  103. bill kinloch says:

    like many others both myself and my late wife thought that tommy sheridan was a great guy who wanted nothing more than to help others on the bread line so we both joined the milatant labour party and had tommy come to our home in dundee in order to campaine for a member of the party standing for election in the whitfield area of dundee, so we both got to know tommy very well. and the more that we got to know him, then the more we began to dislike and distrust him because he was all self, self, self, and very bitter about others with more money than him. indeed it was and still is, my personal impression that he was driven by greed anger and resentment while pretending to fight for the poor and the needy. since it was always about money with him as he sent us around the doors collecting for what he said were party funds. therefore it was get more and more and more for tommy. and while in my home he boasted that while in jail previously he got people sending him money which he was very proud of receiving, and smiled about. but during private conversations with my late wife and i he reviealed to us that he was simple an egotst bent on personal gain. i could say more but i will not because i think that most people know what he is by now. too bad tommy, you could have made it if only you were an honest guy.

  104. Sarah Irving says:

    @Abe wow that point about your mum’s house being rung years later by SWP evangelists really struck a chord. About 20 years ago, when I was 14 or 15, I got involved with the Anti-Nazi League in South London – in my youthful naivete not realising that it was an SWP front and simply being passionate about anti-fascism. I then went to an SWP meeting that an ANL person told me about, specifically because it was about anti-fascism, and had my details taken by the local SWP group. After that one of the local co-ordinators took to ringing me at my mum’s, just to ‘let me know’ about a meeting or ‘to see if I wanted a lift’ to an event. I was 14! I’d been brought up to be polite to adults! When they took to ‘just dropping by’ in the car on the way to meetings to see if I wanted to come along I ended up sending my Mum in to pretend that she didn’t approve of me going, just because they apparently wouldn’t take a polite no for an answer from a teenager. Creeped me out good and proper.

  105. [...] Looking back, it still amazes me how badly the Far Left in Britain has done in the 6 years since I wrote this. I know nothing should surprise me about the Far Left’s ability to screw things up-but still… Just looking at this May’s election results makes me seriously wonder whether there is any serious future for the Far Left in British political life. Ten years back it seemed to stupid here that the Socialist Alliance (before the SWP killed it) was the best hope for a Far Left breakthrough, not least if it modelled itself on the Scottish Socialist Party (a very good dissection of the SSP’s demise can be found here). [...]

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