[Marxism] What happened in the SSP?
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Oct 1 15:57:27 MDT 2006
Fact and Fiction - what's happened in the SSP?
by Martin Wicks
The Scottish Socialist Party was viewed by
socialists in Britain and around the world as a
success story. The election of six MSPs to the
Scottish Parliament was a breakthrough, taking
advantage of a partial PR electoral system. The
SSP united virtually all the socialist currents
on the left in Scotland in a single party; a rare
event in a country where fractious and warring
left of Labour organisations had long been the
norm. The conditions for this unity were created
through a number of years of common work, which
helped to overcome old hostilities. But today,
that unity lies in tatters. The SSP has been
split. Tommy Sheridan launched his new movement
on September 3rd: Solidarity the Scottish
Socialist Movement. This brings to an end what
has been described as the most successful socialist unity project in Europe.
The split resulted from Sheridans court case
against the News of the World. Whilst it was a
sex scandal case centred on reports in this
disreputable rag, the SSP leadership was
effectively on trial. Eleven leading figures
were subpoenaed to give evidence on the
discussion which had taken place in the Party.
Leading figures in the SSP gave contradictory
versions of events. When Tommy Sheridan sacked
his lawyers and took charge of his case he
questioned these people and accused them of
fabricating evidence against him. They insisted
that they were telling the truth, which centred
on whether or not he admitted, in a meeting of
the SSPs Executive Committee in 2004, attending
the infamous swingers club in Manchester.
Logically, if Sheridan was telling the truth,
then the 11 leaders of the SSP were prepared to
lie in court, inventing evidence to fit him up.
If they were telling the truth, then Sheridans
case was an incredibly reckless and cynical
action which threatened to destroy the party he
had played such a large part in building, in order to defend his reputation.
When you have two sides to an argument, telling
different versions of events, and you werent at
the meeting in question how can you possibly know
who is telling the truth? This was the dilemma of
socialists outside of Scotland, witnessing the
crisis played out in court. How can you chart a
course through these murky waters? All you can do
is to examine the facts as you find them.
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