Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Well, they don't look like ringers...

I'm probably not the only person to have come away from the Tommy Sheridan trial with mixed feelings. On the one hand, like most people I was delighted to see the orange-tanned former Scottish Socialist Party leader give the tabloid press a good kicking in the courts. However, it was still tragic to see the SSP publicly tearing itself apart, particularly given the hope that it had inspired in so many of us, that the disparate strands of the left really could put their differences aside and fight for a real progressive political alternative nationwide.

Because of course, Tommy wasn't just fighting against tabloid hacks in the courts. He was also fighting several prominent members of his own party who testified against him, and who are now presumably tarred as perjurers. This video carries some testimony from people who seem remarkably confident that the Sheridan verdict is a travesty. I'm no expert on this case, and I'm certainly not qualified to offer a firm judgement on the allegations against Tommy, but it does seem to me that either they're part of an ongoing conspiracy against Sheridan, or else something went badly wrong in court. I'll leave it for you to decide.

(Hat tip: Darren at Inveresk Street, whose blog first brought the video to my attention)


Blogger Jim Denham said...

The bourgeois court has made its decision, just as it did with Mr Galloway. and who are we, who have not heard all the evidence, to disagree? But today's 'Guardian' (G2 section) carries a fascinating description - from former SSP activist Catriona Grant - of the behaviour of Sheridan's (male) SWP supporters within the SSP (including 'Sonic'?- I don't know), towards female critics at an emergency council meeting in May: "they were shouting 'You cunt', and 'Shut up, you bitch', says Grant. 'It was really scary'".

None of which goes to prove anything - one way or the other - about Sheridan's guilt or innocence as an alleged "swinger": But it does tell you a lot about his supporters and their attitude towards women; and their willingness to destroy the SSP in defence of a posturing demagogue's ego. Mind you, having grovelled before one vain demagogue (Galloway), the SWP has obviously got the habit. And at least Sheridan (unlike the Moseleyite Galloway) is a little bit left-wing. but it's still nauseating.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

I don't understand the issues; I only know it's tragic.

6:29 PM  
Blogger ajohnstone said...

One of the more over-looked elements of the Sheridan farce is the question of political party democracy . Secret minutes of EC meetings . Star Chamber interrogations .
The SPGB minutes of EC meetings are posted on our website for all to see .The EC meetings of the SPGB themselves are open to the public .The SPGB don't have the party leader position such as a convenor , one , who on oath said he was prepared to tell lies to his members and voters concerning another member's indiscretions .

THAT IS our commitment to party democracy .
THAT IS one of our ways of maintaining membership control of our party .
THAT IS the lesson of the Tommy Sheridan court case .
Lets ram THAT message home .

9:59 AM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

Yeah but you've gotten nowhere in the past century-and-a-bit that you've been practising the "get 50%+1 to join the party and say 'I'm a Socialist'" school of revolutionary politics.

12:14 AM  
Blogger David Broder said...

The most interesting thing about his "lifestyle" is that he must be pretty well off...

Guilty or not (he certainly is) I was not pleased to see him win, since it will galvanise him to be a Bonaparte in a "broad" (nationalist, anti-feminist) party, the real Left being kicked out and the SWP being the "radical" element.

The SWP's attitude is totally opportunist. It denounces the "scabs" as if Alan McCombes had not been to prison - of course, Sheridan wanted McCombes to give up the minutes, so that he wouldn't get a share in the "martyrdom".

The United Left has the answers...

7:09 AM  
Blogger Darren said...


there are many ways to diss the SPGB and its tradition. We both know them off by heart, but I don't think our longstanding commitment to transparent democracy is one of them.

And anyway, the AWL tradition that we were both linked to is marking its fortieth anniversary this year. What's its balance sheet? Answers on a postacard, please. ;-)


12:46 PM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

Has it won the world to socialism? No. Have I always agreed with it? No. Did I leave it? Yes. Has it done things that I thought were bloody awful? Yes.

But... has it done and achieved rather more than certain other groups which have stood aloof from political life, writing pamphlets and turning up in Hyde Park every Sunday for a century? Yes. ;-)

1:20 PM  

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