Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/517/3659

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 January 2008

Defend Tommy Sheridan

Tommy Sheridan speaking at a Campiagn for a New Workers Party meeting in Liverpool, photo Harry Smith

Tommy Sheridan speaking at a Campiagn for a New Workers Party meeting in Liverpool, photo Harry Smith

ON 16 December, former Scottish Socialist Party MSP Tommy Sheridan was charged by Lothian and Borders police after the most expensive perjury investigation ever in Scotland. This investigation, instigated by the Scottish Crown Office, was ordered following Tommy Sheridan's defamation victory over Rupert Murdoch's News of the World in July 2006. The same Crown Office will now decide whether a criminal trial takes place.

Philip Stott

Tommy was arrested and held for eight hours for questioning in Edinburgh while nine police officers descended on Tommy and Gail Sheridan's house in Glasgow. They detained Gail, who was alone with her two year old daughter, for eight hours while the police searched the house.

The press were tipped off about this stage-managed raid, an action that earned the police condemnation from many quarters for their intimidation and heavy-handed methods. As Tommy Sheridan commented: "I am being treated as if I am a murderer."

The unprecedented usurping of police resources to carry out this campaign exposes how far Murdoch's media empire, sections of Scotland's legal establishment and the police are prepared to go to try and target Tommy Sheridan.

Prominent Scottish journalist Iain McWhirter, writing in the Guardian, made the point: "The histrionic arrest and subsequent charging of the former Scottish Socialist MSP, Tommy Sheridan, as he left his radio talk show, is quite extraordinary. Perjury investigations are very rare even in criminal cases in Scotland, and it is unheard of for such an investigation to follow a defamation action.

"You can't help wondering why Lothian and Borders Police saw fit to devote hundreds of thousands of pounds to this case, when there are so many other demands on their time - such as pursuing rape cases in a region where fewer than 2% lead to successful prosecutions. One hopes similar effort will be devoted to investigating the illegal donations received by Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander's election campaign."

A colossal 500,000 of public money has been spent so far on the police inquiry by a force that had last year the worst rate for successful prosecutions of alleged rape of any police force in Scotland. Thousands of hours of police time have been diverted to this case, and for what purpose? To try and destroy the reputation of one of the most prominent socialists in Scotland.

Moreover, it is unprecedented in Scottish legal history for a civil defamation case to be followed by a criminal investigation into possible perjury having being committed.

As BBC Scotland solicitor Alistair Bonnington said on Newsnight Scotland on 17 December: "lies are told every day and in every case in courts across Scotland. What happens about that? Absolutely nothing. Just because this case involved a politician and a newspaper is not a reasonable basis at all to proceed with a perjury investigation. For Scotland this sets a precedent."

Anti-poll tax

TOMMY SHERIDAN has been the foremost figure in the Scottish socialist movement for nearly two decades. He was a leader of the anti-poll tax movement that was central to organising the mass non-payment campaign that defeated the Tory government in the early 1990s and in the process ended the career of Margaret Thatcher.

He served a four-month jail sentence during that campaign as a result of his leadership of it, and he was elected from his prison cell to Glasgow city council in 1992.

Tommy was elected as a socialist living on the average wage of a worker to the Scottish parliament in 1999. His uncompromising stand against racism, poverty, injustice and as a fighter for ordinary working people earned the hatred of the right-wing press and the big business establishment.

It was this that made him the target of the Murdoch media empire whose stable of papers include the Sun and News of the World, papers with a long record of attacking workers, trade unionists, asylum seekers and socialists. Murdoch's vendetta against Tommy Sheridan is part of a campaign to destroy any opposition to the billionaires and the system that the Murdochs of this world seek to defend at all costs.

This vendetta has increased in intensity and desperation following Tommy Sheridan's defamation victory against Murdoch's News of the World in 2006. The now possibility of a perjury trial is a continuation of this witch-hunt by the Murdoch empire. As Iain McWhirter commented: "It is hard not to conclude that the police's diligence has been inspired by Rupert Murdoch's News International."

A 'defend Tommy Sheridan campaign' website has been set up. Hundreds of people have pledged their support including leading members of the trade union movement like Bob Crow of the RMT and Janice Godrich of the PCS union. As have George Galloway MP, Socialist Party councillors Dave Nellist, Rob Windsor and Ian Page, Paddy Hill of the Birmingham Six and Gerry Conlon from the Guildford Four.

Pages set up on myspace and facebook have attracted support from many people including Paul Heaton, singer from the Housemartins and the Beautiful South, as well as Edwyn Collins. Tens of thousands of copies of a four-page newspaper have been produced by Solidarity, Scotland's Socialist Movement, to highlight this case.

A series of Defend Tommy Sheridan rallies are planned with prominent speakers from the socialist and trade union movement as well as a concert and possible CD.

Add your name to those speaking out in defence of Tommy Sheridan; be one of many willing to stand up against the Murdoch vendetta. Demand an end to the shocking waste of public resources being used to prosecute this witch-hunt. For the right not to be silenced by the rich and powerful.

  • For more information, contact www.defendtommysheridan.org
  • Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


    In The Socialist 23 January 2008:

    Why should we pay for capitalist crisis?

    Shock of recession draws near


    Workplace news

    Strike against poverty deals in PCS

    Marching behind the Burslem 12


    Socialist Party women

    New threats to abortion rights


    Scotland

    Defend Tommy Sheridan

    SNP 'trusts' are PFI in disguise


    Socialist Party campaign news

    Tower Colliery closes: A brave attempt

    Post office campaign: Changes in the law to break the poor

    Keep Marksbury library open!


    International socialist news and analysis

    Bolivia at breaking point


    Workplace analysis

    NUT national executive: Left fighter stopped from standing

    More work for less pay


    Socialist Party workplace news

    Shelter staff under attack from management

    Cadburys close Keynsham factory

    Council spends thousands fighting workers' pay claims

    No more stooge union reps!


     

    Home   |   The Socialist 23 January 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

    Subscribe   |   Donate  




    Related links:

    Tommy Sheridan:

    triangleCoulson case collapses amid stench of hypocrisy

    triangleA parting of the ways with Solidarity

    triangle'Political awakening' continues in Scotland

    triangleScotland's referendum: A working-class revolt

    Police:

    triangleUndercover policing legal challenge

    triangleIrish capitalist state: rotten to the core

    triangleOrgreave campaigners' Halloween 'Death of Justice' march

    triangleThe "club no-one wants to be part of" - march by families of those killed in police custody

    Scotland:

    triangleWhat does the left victory in Scottish Labour mean?

    triangleScotland: BiFab workers' occupation and march secures jobs and pay guarantee

    triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Catalonia, Scotland and Wales

    Witch-hunt:

    triangleLivingstone's smear of Militant

    Glasgow:

    triangleWhere is Scotland going?

    Reports and campaigns

    Reports and campaigns

    17/1/18

    Women

    Socialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

    17/1/18

    Newham

    Packed Newham meeting against academies

    17/1/18

    Liverpool

    Lobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation

    17/1/18

    Barking

    Heating scandal on east London estate

    17/1/18

    Policing

    Undercover policing legal challenge

    17/1/18

    Woolwich

    No to the Woolwich monster block

    17/1/18

    Union

    Workplace news in brief

    17/1/18

    Union

    PCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership

    17/1/18

    Hackney

    Hackney school cleaners strike

    17/1/18

    RMT

    RMT strikes against driver-only operation continue

    17/1/18

    Yorkshire

    Ferrybridge: Workers down tools over unpaid wages

    17/1/18

    Cuts

    We must fight all council cuts!

    17/1/18

    Socialist Party

    Southern Socialist Party conference

    16/1/18

    Birmingham

    Home care workers to strike

    12/1/18

    Waltham Forest

    Outrage against 'monster block' plan

    triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


    Join the Socialist Party
    Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
    Donate to the Socialist Party

    triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

    triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

    triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

    triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

    triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

    triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

    triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

    More ...

    triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

    triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

    triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

    triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

    More ...

    Socialist Party Facebook page
    Socialist Party on Twitter
    Visit us on Youtube

    Archive

    Archives:

    January 2018

    2017

    2016

    2015

    2014

    2013

    2012

    2011

    2010

    2009

    2008

    2007

    2006

    2005

    2004

    2003

    2002

    2001

    2000

    1999

    Legal

    SP RSS feed RSS

    Platform setting: = No platform choice

    V2