The Socialist 11 June 2008 |
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Stirring rally backs Tommy Sheridan
Tommy Sheridan in 2007
AT AN inspiring rally in Glasgow on 7 June, 250 people pledged their support for Tommy Sheridan, Gail Sheridan, Gus Healey, Graeme McIver, Rosemary Byrne, Jock Penman and Pat Smith.
Jim McFarlane, CWI Scotland
All these people face perjury charges, from the police and multi-millionaire press baron Rupert Murdoch, following socialist former MSP (member of Scottish Parliament) Tommy Sheridan's momentous victory in a defamation case against the News of the World (NoW) in 2006. After the NoW appealed, Lothians and Borders Police have spent £1.1 million of public money accusing Tommy of perjury.
After messages of support from socialists and trade unionists, Janice Godrich, civil service union PCS President and a CWI Scotland member, spoke about her socialist-led union's record in defending jobs and services, which showed that socialists have an alternative to the madness of the market.
Kenny Ross, Scottish Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union gave unconditional support. Tommy Sheridan and the others had a proven record in fighting for workers' rights going back decades.
He described his shock at some of Tommy's former comrades giving evidence supporting the Murdoch press, claiming they had no choice. Kenny angrily proclaimed "They had a choice, and sided against the movement. It's a sordid story of disgrace and dishonour, they are class traitors."
Jim Walls, TGWU Convenor of opencast coal miners in Ayrshire and Margaret White, a former Sunvic striker in Lanarkshire, said that Tommy and the others supported their struggles and had their full support.
Gerry Conlon, one of the Guildford Four, said every gain for the working class was won through struggle. He and others were set up and framed by the state. Labour's proposals for extending the anti-terror laws to include up to 42 days detention without charge will make things worse, particularly for young Muslims.
Paddy Hill from the Birmingham Six talked about the support he received from Tommy Sheridan going back years and how proud he was to return that support. He showed up the hypocrisy of those at the top in the society by asking how the government, the police and solicitors "all investigate themselves when a complaint is made against them?"
Irene Lang was a candidate for Tommy's Solidarity movement in the Scottish local elections. A NoW story falsely claimed she was off sick with back pain while contesting the election and demanded her sacking from her nursery nurse job. Under the Representation of the People's Act, publishing rubbish like that is a criminal offence.
This was reported to Strathclyde Police yet no further action was taken.
Coventry Socialist Party councillor Rob Windsor said that the socialist ideas espoused by Tommy and others, will be even more important with the impending economic crisis. He urged people to get involved in this campaign and in socialist politics by joining Solidarity.
Tommy Sheridan's fighting speech said that the fight was for a fairer society, where the creed of greed is replaced with a socialist society that doesn't waste £1.1 million of public money doing the bidding of the powerful and wealthy! He appealed for people to help build the socialist movement. Over £500 was collected for the campaign.