Monday, December 27, 2010

The Truth about Tommy Sheridan? - a reply to the SSP's claims

Click this link to see the Scottish Socialist Party Youth Wing's animation on the break with Sheridan - it seems to have had more work put into it than their self-contradictory 'The Truth about Tommy Sheridan' website post, discussed below

The youth wing of the Scottish Socialist Party have a long, rambling, self-contradictory diatribe against Tommy Sheridan and anyone who supports him as being supposedly “misogynists” and “patriarchs” and about how SSP members’ testimony has been completely vindicated, despite all the claims they made about Gail Sheridan lying and 6 of the 12 allegations many of them made against Tommy were thrown out of court. It's titled 'The Truth about Tommy Sheridan'.

Below I’ve responded to some of the main points made in it (the parts in italics). For sources for the claims I make in response to them (parts in normal text) see my previous blog post

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.

So in other words, by backing making half the candidates women, Sheridan proved he wasn’t a misogynist at all – yet you go on to claim he is one

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

Is that what you call claiming that going to a swinger’s club with other consenting adults (sleazy if he did it but no-one's business but his and theirs and his wife's) equals having sex with prostitutes and trafficked sex slaves? I’d hate to see you when you’re losing your heads then

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 scrota

That tape doesn’t even show the face of the speaker, has repeated and unexplained long gaps in it and you’re telling us the £200,000 McNeilage took for it had nothing to do with it? I doubt it.

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

Excuse me? Solidarity don’t like women, but give a woman the candidacy in a winnable council seat?
Or are you trying to claim Ruth’s a man? You’re tying yourself in knots here.

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.

So if everything SSP members have testified in court to is true, how is it that Tommy not only won the defamation case, but even in the perjury trial all the allegations against Gail and 6 of the 12 allegations against Tommy were dropped – many of those allegations having been supported by SSP witnesses?

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.

Hilarious spin there. Colin Fox, your party leader, only got 319 votes in the General Election , because he couldn’t even organise getting leaflets printed correctly and in time. Even I got more than twice that as an Independent – and Sheridan got significantly more. Sheridan was the only SSP or Solidarity candidate to come very close to being re-elected in the last Scottish Parliament election – none of the remaining SSP candidates even came close.

After 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

Strange you don’t say how many councillors the SSP have since the “United Left” decided to jump at the chance of getting rid of the person who got the left in Scotland to stop squabbling long enough to form a single party and won them 6 seats in the Scottish Parliament

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.

Well I’ve been to Solidarity meetings and never heard any of those words used about any woman at them. I’ve also heard Rosie Kane imply, without any evidence or reason to think it, that Sheridan had sex with prostitutes including trafficked sex slaves, rather than consensual sex (you make a similar implication yourself).

That seems more like political opportunism than principle to me. You seem to have a stereotype of all male politicians as oppressive patriarchs – which is misandry (irrational hatred of men) and just as bad as misogyny - and I suspect you had it long before any of this happened.

Alan McCombes is the one of the few anti-Sheridan witnesses whose testimony I’d trust at all – and no, not because he’s a man, before you put that through your misandrist glasses , but because he was such a close ally of Sheridan for so long.

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