Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One way the SSP and Solidarity / TUSC could move forward after the Sheridan trial

Photo : Tommy Sheridan and Rosie Kane campaign together before the split in the SSP

One solution would be for Sheridan and Fox to both stand down as party leaders, allowing the members of both parties to choose a new leader acceptable to all of them, while Fox, Sheridan, Kane and Leckie could still stand for the Scottish Parliament in future.

My previous posts have probably been too strident in taking one side of the argument in the dispute between Sheridan and Solidarity / TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition) on the one hand and Colin Fox, Rosie Kane, Carolyn Leckie and the Scottish Socialist Party on the other.

Anyone with any sympathies towards the left in politics – or even for social justice or the poor even if not on the left – should have some admiration for Tommy Sheridan for managing to get fractious left wing splinter parties to join into a single party and for getting warrant sales abolished ; and many will share some pity for the Sheridans whether they share their political views or not.

However Rosie Kane did have a point when she implied that a ‘swinger’s club’ which only charges entrance to men might be a front for prostitution – and that that could included trafficked sex slaves for all that the men going there knew.

Even if Sheridan made that mistake though, no-one is perfect and he should have had another chance. If he demanded other party members lie about it, that is far less forgivable.

Jack of the SSP Youth Wing also responded to my argument that Solidarity could not be misogynists as they had given a woman candidate a winnable council seat by saying ‘of course it's possible to be a misogynist organisation and put up women for leading positions! By that reasoning the Tories are feminists for electing Thatcher.’

This is a fair point, although, from attending a couple of Solidarity meetings in the past I don’t believe all or even the majority of Solidarity are misogynists in any way.

I don’t know the truth of the matter one way or the other for certain, beyond that it seems unlikely that Alan McCombes, who founded the SSP along with Sheridan and co-wrote books and pamphlets with him, would have testified against Sheridan if there wasn’t at least some small kernel of truth to the News of the World’s claims - though it's still possible, as he, along with Colin Fox, was one of the candidates for 'Convenor' or leader of the SSP to replace Sheridan in 2004.

Equally the News of the World added many lies to their accounts of events, paying at least two people – George McNeilage and Anvar Khan. McNeilage admits taking money to provide his dodgy video and testimony. Khan admitted to adding lies about Sheridan to her book to increase sales and said the newspaper offered money to set Sheridan up (which she refused).

The question now though is how the SSP and Solidarity can move forward from what has been a disaster for them both electorally.

One solution could be for Sheridan to stand down as leader of Solidarity and Colin Fox to stand down as leader of the SSP. Then the members of the two parties could vote on a leader acceptable to both parties (which would rule out Rosie Kane or Carolyn Leckie or Alan McCombes as they, like Fox and Sheridan, have been too prominent in the bitter dispute between the parties).

Sheridan, Fox, Kane, Leckie and McCombes could still all be candidates for the Scottish Parliament in the future.

As for me I’ve joined the Green party, which is also progressive on reducing inequality and poverty but is not nearly so divided and (from my perspective) more balanced in it's policies.

I hope Solidarity and the SSP manage to overcome their differences and make some progress in future elections though, because we need a counter-weight to the constant shift to the right among the main parties over the decades.

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