Tommy, the libel wizard, has announced that he is to set up a new political party named – with no little irony – Solidarity (presumably James Nesbitt was auditioning for the role of Lech Walesa during Murphy’s Law with his very fine moooostache). The party is to be led by Rosemary Byrne (the SSP MSP that gave evidence in Tommy’s support). Solidartomsc is in favour of an internationalist socialist independent Scottish republic – at least until its likely divisions on whether or not to back independence come to the fore given the SWP involvement in the new party.
In an interview on Newsnight Scotland where Tommy went through a fascinating array of facial tics and grimaces (the physical mannerisms had shades of Michael I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE Murray) he claimed that the new party was being set up to avoid bitter internal warfare in the SSP. The interview should be available on the Beeb’s Watch again facility (for any English reader wondering whatever happened to Gordon Brewer – the nearly man of Newsnight – well he presents Newsnight Scotland as badly as he did the UK programme).
After viewing this I started to see Sheridan as the Dr Owen of Scottish politics: breaking down each party he is involved him, until ultimately he will be left alone – cast adrift – with, like David Owen, only Rosie for company.
When Solidartomsc fails to poll as high as the Monster Raving Loony Party or the OCV the transition will be complete.
In other news from the left Solidartomsc and the SSP have lost the services of one of their most persuasive advocates. Kevin Williamson resigned from the SSP. WIlliamson is a man for whom I have the utmost respect. He was a pivotal figure in modern Scottish fiction through his publication and promotion of various talents through his short-lived Rebel INc magazine and Rebel INc imprint for Canongate. He has been an advocate of a progressive drugs policy for some years and seems to bee a thoroughly decent man. His resignation letter from the SSP is worth reading for anyone interested in the Sheridan affair and its aftermath. In it he notes the case was a defeat for the News of the World rather than a victory for Sheridan and in some powerful passages criticises Sheridan’s conduct in pursuing his action. He writes,
“Tommy Sheridan had decided in advance of this court case that the end would justify the means. He decided from the outset that he would fight dirty. No lie would be deemed unutterable. No betrayal would be deemed too underhand. No humiliation of former sex partners would be deemed unacceptable. Any damage to the party or cause he was elected to represent would be considered collateral. This was a strategy based on win at all costs and to hell with the consequences.
“Maybe I was being a bit naïve. I knew Tommy Sheridan would have to defend himself vigorously and to the best of his abilities – as anyone would in his place – but never in my wildest dreams did I have any idea of the methods that he would employ. “
There then follow observations on Sheridan’s treatment of his SSP colleagues:
“It was shameful the way that Tommy Sheridan rubbished the reputations of former friends and political comrades, even going so far as to throw the best man at his own wedding into the deep trench that he had dug between the truth and his own carefully cultivated self-image.”
But Williamson’s most damning comments are for Sheridan’s treatment of Katrine Trolle.
“It was also shameful and morally repugnant, the way that Sheridan humiliated and disparaged women he had previously used for casual sex. Maybe there was much fiction concerning the original stories in the News of the World. Maybe there was indeed money changing hands in the cases of both Ms Maguire and Ms Khan. …. Katrine Trolle in particular must have walked out of that court room feeling sexually humiliated.
“No genuine socialist who cared about truth, justice, or the feelings of other human beings, would have gone down the road that Tommy Sheridan chose to go down. The means by which he fought that court case have brought deep shame on himself and stained the very causes he purports to champion. “
He also writes,
“On the morning of the verdict Tommy Sheridan told the media scrum outside the court that despite the result he considered himself the luckiest man in the world. The verdict confirmed this. “
His discussion on the internal aspects of SSP politics and his comments on Sheridan’s celebrations are very perceptive and informative. The left in Scottish politics can ill afford to lose people of Williamson’s calibre. It cannot afford to split into multiple parties. From the most recent Scottish opinion polls it appears the main beneficiaries of the fall of the SSP and the dissatisfaction with Labour are the Nationalists. With less than a year to the next election it looks like the Scots are living in interesting times.