Letter issued on 7th August 2006 by Tommy Sheridan and his supporters in the so-called SSP Majority
Dear Comrade and Friend,
The SSP has reached a crossroads. The issues raised by Comrade Tommy Sheridan’s titanic victory over the gutter rag News of the World have underscored a number of political differences, outlook and methodologies within the SSP that have been increasingly apparent over the last few years. The collaboration with the scabs of News International during the trial by leading ‘comrades’ of the now declared ‘United Left’ faction, and their camp followers, saw a new and saddening low reached in Scottish socialist politics.
These actions were a shameful and colossal misjudgement from any point of view of socialist solidarity. Let us never forget that the party NC voted overwhelmingly in 2004 to respect Tommy’s right to take his action, to keep his confidentiality and to keep the party out of the trial.
It was the actions of the cabal, in first of all taking and keeping a dodgy minute of the 9th November 2004, and then advertising its existence to the media that saw the party dragged into what should have been, in essence, a private action.
The Executive of the SSP is now a redundant body until we can elect a new leadership in October. The EC ignored both the spirit and the letter of the decision by the Emergency National Council of the party to give Tommy
100 % political support in his fight against the News of the World.
We understand the ULN faction have distributed the illegitimate ‘minute’ of 9th November to party members, together with a sectarian anti-Sheridan rant disguised as official party documentation. We call on genuine socialists to treat this document with the contempt it deserves.
Despite their inevitable protestations to the contrary, the ULN has been a centralising and bureaucratising tendency. It became clear in the course of Tommy’s defamation trial that these individuals met and caucused outwith the party structures prior to Executive Committee [meetings] of the party – including preparing the stage managing of the meeting which saw Tommy Sheridan resign as Convenor of our party.
The time has come to take our party back! SSP Majority arose from hundreds of rank and file activists pledging their full support to Tommy Sheridan in his battle with News International. It is not a platform, a faction, or a network, but exactly what it says on the tin the majority of SSP members who are heartily sick of the antics of this minority grouping and who now want to see the democratic renewal of the Scottish Socialist Party in time to fight as an effective political force for working people and their families at next year’s Scottish Parliamentary and council elections.
The signatories to this Open Letter propose to harness that democratic, renewing spirit and to utilise the SSP Majority blog and e-mail network to build for National Council in August and Party Conference in October. We call on all members and branches to:
- Take our People not Profits campaign, with its ten key demands out into the streets, workplaces and communities over the next period, campaigning proudly in the best traditions of the SSP
- Demand the immediate resignation from their positions of all party workers who co-operated and collaborated with the News of the World and their lawyers, thereby ignoring the clear will of the party as expressed at our Emergency National Council of 28th May
- Ensure all other decisions of that Council are upheld
- Defend the right of all party members to a private life, without prurient party judgement or interference
- Offer the hand of friendship and reconciliation to those party members who have been genuinely politically mislead or misinformed by the posturings of the ULN faction (declared and undeclared) and who now want to work with the majority to reunify and build a broad, open party. It is not to late for those who made mistakes for reasons they believed to be genuine to return to the fold
- Organise Majority supporting delegations both to the National Council on the 27th August, and for Conference in October
- Campaign for the de-selection from the Executive, and all key party positions, of ULN members and co-travellers, and for the election of SSP Majority signatories and supporters at the first available opportunity. Only by taking vigorous and decisive action now can the SSP be put firmly back on track, and once again become a potential mass pole of attraction for working people and socialist politics in Scotland and internationally.
- Tommy Sheridan MSP
- Rosemary Byrne MSP
- Steve Arnott Highlands and Islands
- Mike Gonzalez SW Platform, EC
- Penny Howard SW Platform, EC
- Sinead Daly CWI Platform, EC
- Philip Stott CWI Platform
- John Aberdein Author and activist
- Anne Macleod Highlands and Islands
- Gill Hubbard SW Platform, EC
- Jim Walls TGWU Convener, Opencast Miners Scotland
- Alan Brown NEC PCS, Vice-President DWP (personal capacity)
- Janice Godrich CWI Platform
Please note this communication was paid for by individual donations from supporters of the SSP Majority (sic).