Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Scottish Socialist Sleeze

The wounds of the Tommy Sheridan affair were re-opened this week. Police are beginning a perjury investigation, and George McNeilage has leaked to the News Of The World a tape of a supposed confession by Tommy .

It seems at this point that the objective truth is unlikely to emerge, assuming that any kind of objectively can ever be expected in a media that is hardly neutral when it comes to its reporting of Left organisations.

As a member of one of these organisations since the early '80s, I obviously have a vested interest. But I long ago lost my taste for factional polemics or 'party patriotism'.

So here goes with what seem like the only certainties from the case:

1. Tommy Sheridan is one of the best agitational speakers on the Left today. He also appears to have an ego that is as striking as his perma-tan.

2. The News Of The World is a reactionary rag. It hyprocritically mixes sexual puritanism with titillation and is openly hostile to the Left and the labour movement in general.

3. There are political differences between Tommy Sheridan and the Scottish Socialist Party leadership on the question of independence for Scotland and on femminism. These differences make less interesting copy for the N.O.W. than Tommy's bedroom antics.

4. NOBODY has come out of this affair with much dignity or integrity. Former comrades have stabbed each other in the back and broken with all labour movement traditions by using the courts and a hostile press for their own purposes.

Everything else seems open to doubt.

But the final certainty is that Scotland needs a Left party to challenge Labour. The SSP has self-destructed in the course of this fiasco and so at the moment Tommy Sheridan and the new Solidarity Party looks like the best option.

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