Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 January 2011

Tommy Sheridan trial - guilty verdict is a sham

Statement from Socialist Party Scotland (CWI)

Tommy Sheridan speaking at Socialism 2006, photo Paul Mattsson

Tommy Sheridan speaking at Socialism 2006, photo Paul Mattsson

AFTER A 12-week trial on charges of perjury - the longest and most expensive case of its kind in Scotland - Tommy Sheridan has been found guilty by a jury on a majority verdict. He will be sentenced in late January.

This outcome represents a blow to Tommy Sheridan, his family, friends and comrades. But it will also be widely regarded as a politically driven prosecution achieved through an unprecedented vendetta by the state against Scotland's best-known socialist.

As such it will provoke anger among many genuine socialists, trade unionists and working class people here in Scotland and internationally.

Tommy Sheridan may have been found 'guilty' in a capitalist court of law. But for socialists he is innocent of any crime against the interests of the working class.

This prosecution has only been achieved through an unholy alliance of the might of News International, the capitalist legal establishment, the police and the leadership of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP).

Moreover, many will contrast the treatment of Tommy Sheridan with the way that the prosecutors and the police have allowed Andy Coulson and the News of the World (NoW) to avoid charges over widespread illegal phone hacking.

Although this verdict will be celebrated in the plush offices of News International, it will prove to be an empty victory. It will neither defeat Tommy Sheridan as an individual, nor the determination of the new generation of workers and young people, away from looking towards socialist ideas in the coming period.

This was a trial through which the rich and powerful enemies of the working class and socialism saw the opportunity to inflict a defeat on an individual who has been a thorn in the flesh of the capitalist establishment for over 20 years.

Tommy Sheridan is Scotland's most high profile socialist. He was a leader of the mass campaign that defeated Thatcher's poll tax in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

As an elected socialist MSP for eight years, he fought for the interests of the working class and lived on a worker's wage, donating the rest of his salary back to the socialist movement.


Tommy and Gail Sheridan, photo IS

Tommy and Gail Sheridan, photo IS   (Click to enlarge)

The verdict follows four years of a thinly disguised vendetta against Tommy Sheridan, Gail Sheridan, and other members of Solidarity, by the police and the legal establishment.

The perjury investigation came after Tommy Sheridan had won a famous civil defamation victory over Rupert Murdoch's News of the World newspaper in 2006.

After calls for a perjury inquiry by the judge in the 2006 case, the leaders of the SSP, who were applauded by the Sun and the News of the World, handed in so-called minutes of a party meeting to the police in August 2006.

A SSP member, George McNeilage, who was very close to the party leadership, sold a video to the NoW for 200,000 that was designed to implicate Tommy Sheridan in perjury. McNeilage claimed he sold the video to assist the SSP leaders. We would like to know: How much of that 200,000 went to the SSP?

The SSP have attempted to justify their actions by claiming they were trying to 'save the party' and on a desire to 'tell the truth'. And yet it was the SSP leaders, by their actions, who rather than welcoming the defamation victory in 2006 as a defeat for the News of the World, threw themselves into the arms of the enemies of socialism to 'get' Tommy Sheridan.

Their actions triggered a perjury inquiry for the first time ever following a civil case. More than 2 million of public money was spent by the police, which usurped tens of thousands of hours of police time.

During the police investigation, Tommy and Gail's house was raided by a dozen officers who were searching for evidence - traumatising their two-year old daughter.

Tommy Sheridan was arrested in a media-staged police action outside his place of work and charged with perjury.

Gail Sheridan was suspended from work for five months, after police tipped off her employer, British Airways, that miniatures, which they claimed she may have stolen, had been found in her house during the police raid.

She was cleared of all these allegations. To add insult to injury, when being interrogated by police, Gail was accused of acting "like an IRA terrorist" because she refused to answer police questions.

During the trial Tommy Sheridan accused Lothian and Borders police and the Scottish Crown office of carrying out a "persecution not a prosecution". And all the evidence points to a planned and orchestrated campaign against the Sheridans that amounts to an abuse of power by the police.

It also emerged during the trial that the News of the World had paid out huge sums of money to various witnesses for their stories, including the huge 200,000 paid for the video.

Gail Sheridan was also charged with perjury. But after 44 days of a trial, during which the prosecution did not bring forward a single scrap of evidence, all charges were dropped against her.

It is clear that she was only charged in the first place to increase the psychological and emotional pressure on the Sheridans.

Of the 42 prosecution witnesses, 24 were members of the SSP, including 16 of the original executive committee who gave evidence against Tommy in the 2006 defamation action.

Without the SSP there was little possibility of a prosecution being achieved. Their central role in this vendetta against Tommy Sheridan, alongside that of the police and the legal establishment, will condemn them forever in the eyes of genuine socialists and class-conscious workers.

Socialist Party Scotland has supported Tommy Sheridan over the last six years in his battle against those powerful forces ranged against him. We will continue to give our full support to Tommy Sheridan, Gail, his family, friends and comrades, in the continuing battles that lie ahead.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 5 January 2011:

National Shop Stewards Network

We'll resist Cameron's 'hard times'

NSSN anti-cuts conference: Trade unionists to debate the way forward

A real strategy to fight the cuts

Socialist Party youth and students

March together, win together: students and workers join the demonstration in Manchester on 29 January

29 January demonstration in Manchester: Students and young workers unite

Socialist Party feature

2011: a year of sharpening struggle

Socialist Party news and analysis

Rail operators profit from commuter misery

Northern Ireland water crisis: Privatisation agenda wrecks service utility

NHS cutbacks - health bosses and government to blame

Tommy Sheridan trial - guilty verdict is a sham

Private ownership, public pollution

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Fight the NHS pay freeze!

Heinz strike again

Birmingham bin workers fight back

More pay strikes at Newsquest papers

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition conference on 22 January 2011

Trade unions must fight for agency workers' rights


Tribute to John Macreadie, trade unionist and socialist fighter

Grunwick: leader of historic strike dies

Socialist Party review

Fela! the musical


Home   |   The Socialist 5 January 2011   |   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


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


triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: France in May 1968

triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: Japan - Stagnation and Military Tensions


triangleWhat does the left victory in Scottish Labour mean?

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

News International:

triangleCoulson faces prosecution over Tommy Sheridan

Socialist Party Scotland:

triangleWhere is Scotland going?

Scottish Socialist Party:

triangleThe left unions and the Labour Party affiliation debate

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Refugee Rights campaigners on the 17.3.18 anti-racism demo - pics


Socialist Party

Socialist Party congress 2018



Strike continues: set dates for next national action


Socialist Party

Members dig deep into their pockets to support the party


North West

Campaigners continue to demand Chorley A&E is fully reopened



Swansea Labour council votes for cuts



Derby public meeting: Women's Lives Matter



Seeing-off the bigoted, billionaire toff!



Continuing the fighting tradition of working class women



Workplace news in brief



Leicester: Blairites block Labour Party democracy



Leaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise



We feel that we will win - a striker speaks



Woolwich ferry workers win automation campaign



UCU strike: bosses on the run

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018