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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Vendetta against Tommy Sheridan results in "guilty" verdict

Vendetta against Tommy Sheridan results in "guilty" verdict - Socialist Party Scotland.

“I have fought the power of News International all my political life and I make no apologies for taking on the might of Rupert Murdoch. Several million pounds of public money has been spent investigating myself and my wife. Isn’t it about time that similar resources were devoted to investigate the activities of the News of the World.” Tommy Sheridan

After a12 week trial on charges of perjury – the longest and most expensive case of its kind in Scotland – Tommy Sheridan has been found guilty by a jury on a majority verdict. He will be sentenced in late January.

This outcome represents a blow to Tommy Sheridan, his family, friends and comrades. But it will also be widely regarded as a politically driven prosecution achieved through an unprecedented vendetta by the state against Scotland’s best-known socialist. As such it will provoke anger among many genuine socialists, trade unionists and working class people here in Scotland and internationally.

Tommy Sheridan may have been found “guilty” in a capitalist court of law. But for socialists he is innocent of any crime against the interests of the working class. This prosecution has only been achieved through an unholy alliance of the might of News International, the capitalist legal establishment, the police and the leadership of the SSP. Moreover, many will contrast the treatment of Tommy Sheridan with the way that the prosecutors and the police have allowed Andy Coulson and the News of the World to avoid charges over widespread illegal phone hacking.

Although this verdict will be celebrated in the plush offices of News International, it will prove to be an empty victory. It will neither defeat Tommy Sheridan as an individual, nor the determination of the new generation of workers’ and young people from looking towards socialist ideas in the coming period.

This was a trial through which the rich and powerful enemies of the working class and socialism saw the opportunity to inflict a defeat on an individual who has been a thorn in the flesh of the capitalist establishment for over 20 years.

Tommy Sheridan is Scotland’s most high profile socialist. He was a leader of the mass campaign that defeated Thatcher’s poll tax in the late 1980’s and early ‘90’s. As an elected socialist MSP for eight years, he fought for the interests of the working class and lived on a workers wage and donated the rest of his salary back to the socialist movement.

The verdict follows four years of a thinly disguised vendetta against Tommy Sheridan, Gail Sheridan and other members of Solidarity by the police and the legal establishment. The perjury investigation came after Tommy Sheridan had won a famous civil defamation victory over Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper in 2006.

After calls for a perjury inquiry by the judge in the 2006 case, the leaders of the Scottish Socialist Party, who were applauded by the Sun and the News of the World, handed in so-called minutes of a party meeting to the police in August 2006. An SSP member, George McNeilage, who was very close to the party leadership, sold a “video” to the NotW for £200,000 that was designed to implicate Tommy Sheridan in perjury. McNeilage claimed he sold the video to assist the SSP leaders. We would like to know how much of that £200,000 went to the SSP?

The SSP have attempted to justify their actions by claiming they were trying to "save the party" and on a desire to "tell the truth." And yet it was the actions of the SSP leaders who, rather than welcome the defamation victory in 2006 as a defeat for the News of the World, threw themselves into the arms of the enemies of socialism to get Tommy Sheirdan.

Police investigation

Their actions triggered a perjury inquiry for the first time ever following a civil case in Scotland. More than £2 million of public money was spent by the police which usurped tens of thousands of hours of police time.

During the police investigation Tommy and Gail’s house was raided by a dozen officers who were searching for evidence – traumatising their two-year old daughter. Tommy Sheridan was arrested in a media-staged police action outside his place of work and charged with perjury.

Gail Sheridan was suspended from work for 5 months after police tipped off her employer, BA, that miniatures, that they claimed she may have stolen, had been found in her house during the police raid. She was cleared of all these allegations. To add insult to injury, when being interrogated by police, Gail was accused of acting “like an IRA terrorist” because she refused to answer police questions.

During the trial Tommy Sheridan accused Lothian and Borders police and the Scottish Crown office of carrying out a “persecution not a prosecution”. And all the evidence points to a planned and orchestrated campaign against the Sheridan’s that amounts to an abuse of power by the police.

It also emerged during the trial that the News of the World had paid out huge sums of money to various witnesses for their stories, including the huge £200,000 paid for the “video”.

Gail Sheridan was also charged with perjury. But after 44 days of a trial, during which the prosecution did not bring forward a single scrap of evidence, all charges were propped against her. It’s clear that she was only charged in the first place to increase the psychological and emotional pressure on the Sheridan’s.

Of the 42 prosecution witnesses, 24 were members of the SSP, including 16 of the original Executive Committee who gave evidence against him in the 2006 defamation action. Without the SSP there was little possibility of a prosecution being achieved. Their central role in this vendetta against Tommy Sheridan, alongside that of the police and the legal establishment, will condemn them forever in the eyes of genuine socialists and class-conscious workers.

Socialist Party Scotland has supported Tommy Sheridan over the last six years in his battle against those powerful forces ranged against him. We will continue to give our full support to Tommy Sheridan, Gail his family, friends and comrades in the continuing battles that lie ahead.

Link: Socialist Party Scotland



At 9:38 a.m., Anonymous CB said...

"Tommy Sheridan may have been found "guilty" in a capitalist court of law, but for socialists he is innocent of any crime against the working class."

So you say. Then you congratulate him for winning the defamation case HE brought against the NOTW ... Where? In a "capitalist court of law"!

Consistent or what?

And how did he win his (non-capitalist?) £200k? He told lies and expected other people to perjure themselves for him! What was all this about? The poll tax? Nuclear weapons? Iraq? Alas, no. It was merely to cover up some bonking exploits, as if anyone gives a toss.

If you really think that this behaviour is in the class interests of working people you must be nuts.

At 11:56 a.m., Blogger Neil Williams said...

You clearly believed Tommy was guilty before, during and after the trial so anything I had to say in his defence will fall on deaf ears.

There have been many reliable crediatable witnesses who testified in court that Tommy was in Glasgow and could not have at any "swingers club" but more to the point its not just Tommey Sheridan that the Murdoch Empire wants to attack and destroy but anything that working pople have won and value and anyone who speaks up for us. Today Tommy - tomorrow it could be you!

At 1:03 p.m., Anonymous CB said...


If you believe TS didn't in fact do the bonking, and was telling the truth in the defamation case, why didn't you say so in your article?

The important thing is to speak the truth, or say nothing at all - which is what Tommy should have done. Lies are not in the interests of the working class, whether told in a capitalist court (under oath or affirmation!) or anywhere else.

But I believe, as a matter of fact, and as a person acquainted with Tommy and many of the witnesses for and against him, that he was lying. Almost the entire population of Scotland believes this as well.

The reason is that most of the witnesses against him had no credible reason for inventing slanders out of thin air and perjuring themselves twice over a period of several years; but TS did have a motive to tell lies, or even two motives - the money, and protecting his clean living goody goody reputation.

However that may be, the question at issue in this case is the truth of statements people choose to make, and to swear to, not the social class of the people involved. Again I say it: lies never serve the interests of the working class.

At 11:11 a.m., Blogger Neil Williams said...

The idea that Tommy took the NOTW to court for money is a joke - a very dangerous stratagy indeed and in most cases a 0% of victory but Tommy did win and gained compensation but if you had weighed up the odds of beating the Murdoch Empire and all its resources you certainly would'nt be expecting a finacialsl reward would you?

No "almost the entire population of Scotland believes this as well" - this is pure horse shit. The Court was packed day in day out with suporters of Tommy Sheridan and 10,000's supported him and still do.

There were many good reliable people who gave evidence that Tommy Sheridan could not be at any such "swingers club" or that minutes were taken or agreed at a SSP excutive meeting where it was stated Tommy confessed to attending a "swingers club". Did they all lie? - you are suggesting they did.

You clearly give you anti Tommy Sheridan position away when you state "the money, and protecting his clean living goody goody reputation". It only confirms what Tommy stated in Court that within the SSP there was a group out to get him for both personal and political reasons.

The msot disgusting part of this situation is a leading members of the SSP selling a video to the NOTW for £200,000 and other leading members of the SSP going to the poice to make statements against Tommy (they were not under any duress to do so). Most of the key evidence against Tommy was supplied by the NOTW with active support from the SSP who will never ever be able to again to us the word "Socialsism" with regard to their party and their actions in this case.

You will the result of this in next year elections. Come back in June and let me know what you think the Scottish people are telling the SSP.

The article was not mine by the way - I intend to write one soon.

At 3:31 p.m., Anonymous CB said...


I'll be fascinated to read your article, when you write it.

In fact I'm not a member of the SSP; I was in the SSA, but I didn't believe that Scotland requires yet another party. Events have proved me right, I think.

By the way, the SSP are even more goody goody than TS. They are quite incredibly sexually puritanical, which is probably why TS had to adopt the clean living persona in the first place.

As to what the people will tell the SSP at the next election - they have already told them it at the last election, and they told Solidarity the same thing. You don't deserve to represent us any more.


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