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Working class hero: Tommy Sheridan

Do I need to go over the history behind this? Do I need to point out that Sheridan cynically split the Scottish Socialist Party?

12 Com:

Alex Miller | October 01, 2007

This is the man that following the split George Galloway described as "a socialist of the highest integrity". And people ask me why I'm not in Respect ...

Red Wombat | October 01, 2007

In any case, it is likely that the constabulary will have yon tangerine by the short and curlies soon enough.

Honestly, in an age when the working class is struggling to regain its dignity (and save the planet along the way), how do we end up with the likes of this as one of the high profile "leaders" of our cause?

I think I have a hair in my eye...

Korakious | October 01, 2007

See, I wonder what the "Marxists" of the SWP and CWI who went over to Solidarity actually think about that.

Poor Tommy, now that celebrity big brother isn't on anymore, he has to pose naked for the Daily Record.

Red Wombat | October 01, 2007

Out of curiosity, are Solidarity visibly active at all, and if so, where?

Naturally, given the acrimonious split, depending upon who you ask you will get a different answer, so it's a hard question to ask if you expect an objective response.

But the problem is that in Australia it is impossible to get a sense of the "on the ground" balance of forces, so it'd be interesting to know if there's anything going on in "Scotland's Socialist Movement" except for junk like that photo-shoot above.

Lynsey | October 02, 2007

Red Wombat, I'm an SSP member but I will give you an honest account of what I've seen.

I really hadn't seen anything until I started back at university. The SWP have always targeted students and this year was nothing different.

Now Solidarity contains two groups that operated as platforms within the SSP - the CWI and the SWP. At the freshers' fair at my uni there was *drumroll* a Solidarity stall and a separate Socialist Workers Students stall. The CWI also had a couple of stalls around campus but not in the actual fair. The Solidarity stall was manned by SWP members but the ones on there were generally the ones who are not as good at recruiting people. They had much less material on it and were obviously taking it less seriously.

My general assessment is that the groups who joined to further their own interests were gutted after TS didn't get in at the election as basically all their hopes were pinned on it, and now that the perjury investigation has reared it's ugly head they are panicking and looking for an exit strategy.

Anonymous | October 02, 2007

In order to destroy Tommy Sheridan and his supporters, the SSP is now working hand in hand with the police and the News of The World. The latest news report is an account of a meeting where it is alleged that Tommy's sister refused to vote for a resolution ordering(?) SSP members not lie or to perjure themselves in court. See it here http://tinyurl.com/2czvhh

What ever you think of Tommy and his actions is this a principled stance for a socialist organisation?

Lynsey | October 02, 2007

Hahahahaha, working hand in hand with the NOTW. Aye, right. Tommy and his supporters lied in court and it is biting them in the arse. When the polis come round to interview you as part of a perjury investigation you either go along with it or you go to jail. Same goes when they ask you to hand over all notes of any meetings they consider relevant. If you think there is any way the SSP or any individual members the police are talking to can avoid this you are either A) living in a dream world or, far more likely B) Deliberately trying to muddy the waters and obscure what has happened so you can portray the SSP as a horrible bunch of back stabbers.

To you, anonymous, I quote a fellow member of the SSP's youth wing who very accurately sums up all the ways that Tommy and his pals actually DID try and use the courts, the police and the tabloids to do in people they didn't like, rather than co-operating with an investigation because it's a choice between that and getting thrown in jail.

“They didn’t have any problem cooperating with the states and the courts when they,

* initiated a libel action in bourgeois courts,
* voted to hand over the minutes (which is de facto cooperation, maybe forced, but cooperation nonetheless),
* and of course handing the fake minutes into News International itself.

These people arent demanding solidarity, theyre asking people to shut up under some bastardised “class solidarity” while they accuse them of being fraudsters, liars and everything under the sun.

Socialists aren’t christians - accuse us of this shite and we arent going to turn the cheek, we’ll provide the documentary evidence to show you are lying.”

So quit trying to kick up dust. Tommy fucked about behind his wife's back, asked the SSP to lie about it and we said no. Because he was going to lie he was asked to stand down. The EC at that time (which included people who later lined up behind him to claim oh, it was never an EC meeting/they're all lying/they're all plotters) voted unanimously in favour of his resignation. When the court case approached, Tommy cranked up the actual smear campaign he had been conducting within the SSP since he had stood down and tried to convince people that he was telling the truth and this was all about a bunch of jealous women/witches/scabs who wanted his job.

Pish. He will reap a whirlwind and he has nobody to blame but himself. It seems that lots of people who lied for Tommy thought they were untouchable; now that it's all come back to bite them in the arse they've stopped swearing up and down that Tommy is telling the truth and started trying to divert attention back on to the SSP by going "Look! They're answering the questions the police ask them instead of going to jail for obstruction/perjury/conspiracy to pervert the course of justice like us geniuses did! SCABS!" It's pathetic.

Lynsey | October 02, 2007

Oh, I'll also add that the people who like to demand "solidarity" and go on about us "collbarating with the state" for answering questions honestly put many SSP members who told the truth in a position where they could have went to jail by lying in court and causing the perjury investigation. And yet we never hear about that, eh?

Anonymous | October 02, 2007

You say there was no option but to grass on Tommy, but many on the executive managed to not to line up with the NOTW and avoid being thrown into jail. So there seemed to be another option available to the EC members, wouldn’t you say?

But it doesn’t explain why the SSP is working hand in hand with the state, taping conversations and handing them, over to Rupert Murdoch etc. Worse, many SSP members, like yourself, seem to be happy that the NOTW is destroying one of our own.

Lynsey | October 02, 2007

Well nobody's been thrown in jail yet because the case hasn't started. Don't be surprised if people who did lie for him do receive sentences or some other kind of punishment. Anybody who gets off may well do so by making a deal with the police. And will they be villified as well? No, there was not another option and you're living in cuckoo land if you think there was. Lie and risk going to jail for perjury. Refuse to appear and risk going to jail for contempt. Or you could tell the truth. And that's it. There is no magic other choice.

We didn't bloody well "grass" on Tommy. That's a loaded word in socialist politics. Tommy was the one who started a court case and despite what you'll hear from him, Tommy was actually the one who called many of the SSP members as witnesses.

Also, ONE member who was Tommy's friend taped him. And wait a minute, I thought that tape wasn't genuine? Just what Solidarity line are you punting here? You may want to get that straight in your head. George has said he did it because Tommy refused to meet with a group of people from Pollok branch, so he taped the conversation. After what he was told he told the branch members what was going on but thought the actual tape would be too upsetting for them. So he put it aside. Then when Tommy started calling people who told the truth "scabs" in the tabloid media, George decided to make the tape public. He never told the SSP he was going to do it, it was all him.

And nobody is happy about this investigation since it means that many of our members and friends will once again be up in court being called liars, traitors and scabs by a man we once considered a friend. We ALL told him it would end like this if he lied to win a court case. WE were the ones who warned him off it, not those who have now cyncically lined up behind him. Just because I know who is to blame and am not going to shed one tear if he gets banged up doesn't mean I am enjoying it. I just want it all to be over.

And Tommy is not "one of our own". He is an egotistical, self-interested, lying, misogynist non-socialist who has shown he will do whatever it takes, including splitting the most successful left wing project in Scottish history, to preserve himself. Not very socialist and collectivist, is it?

Your arguments are tired and have been defeated again and again. The basic facts remain the same; Tommy lied, we told him not to, he villified us for daring to tell the Scottish public the truth and now he is looking at a jail sentence. And it is nobody's fault but his own.

jimk47 | October 02, 2007

what a tosser used to think the sun shone out of his arsehole. Now realise it was only the loghtbulb reflecting off the ice cube

Dave Riley | October 02, 2007

It seems to me that the the Respect dispute has created a major opening for real regroupment politics in England. It is not simply a falling out between George Galloway and the SWP. At stake, it seems to me, is advancing Respect as a regroupment vehicle that is accountable, open and democratic without being held hostage by the key stakeholders who have tended to restrain its trajectory.

It remains to be seen how much of a crisis this may become for the British SWP, but it's clear that theres' a lot of concern about the outbreak of disputation which they've been unable to contain :

As Nick Bird has described the SWP position:
"Galloway had launched an attack on the SWP and attempted to split it. There was a left/right battle being fought out in Respect and on the right were Galloway and his allies, some of whom were in danger of succumbing to communal politics. The electoral achievements of Respect had led to these pressures and dangers and the SWP had to counteract them and defend the idea of Respect as a “united front of a special type”.

Don't we in the Socialist Alliance here know that mantra of the special kind of united front!

But that aside there's this crude naivete in vogue both here and among sectors of the British far left that asserts that "regrouping" into broad multi tendency pluralist parties is not the pressing dynamic; that all that's feasible is a hybrid electoralism and anything else is a recipe for programatic dissolution.

From where I'm sitting, I fear it is too late to be so proscriptive. That in one form or another these 'new parties' fostering a 'new and regrouped' left will come into being in dribs and drabs; unevenly perhaps and often stumbling and tenuous-- but in a sense this is the "new left" in the same way that there was a 'new' and 'old' left divide 40 years ago.

It amazes me therefore that this far left seeks to resist changes to the same mode they've been stuck in for the past 40 years. That when it comes to elections -- in the case of the ISO here and SAlt -- all they are offering the world this time around is an urgent first preference vote for the Greens.

So we are told that all we can hope for in way of advancing the socialist agenda is the Greens. We are similarly informed by dint of a few selective excuses that left unity and regroupment isn't possible. That the problem with the Socialist Alliance was that it was too hard on the ALP(according to the ISO)! Or that left regroupment is a political fantasy (SAlt).

So when Respect runs into difficulties I think we all need to sit up and take note because, at least, according to the ISO Respect is the way it should be done if we are to do anything at all together ...primarily because Respect leaves these outfits' organisational and political integrity in tact

But I think we also need to consider the fact that after the petulant exit from the SA almost a year ago of its far left affiliates the project did not collapse, did not flounder nor go belly up. That, in fact, the internal life of the Alliance has improved markedly since the far let generated factionalism has declined. And the SA fronts to this coming election as the largest and most contained and best organised and only national left and socialist project in the country.

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