Bonapartist demagogy in barbed financial appeal

Tommy Sheridan's no-holds-barred letter to Scottish Socialist Party members and below the official diplomatic response distributed by national secretary Allan Green

Dear SSP member

I enclose a copy of the open letter I felt compelled to distribute at the emergency NC meeting of May 28 in Glasgow. I apologise for not sending a copy to you sooner, but things have been hectic. Since I wrote the letter on late Saturday May 27, several important developments have occurred:

1. The Sunday Herald of May 28 ran a front-page story about a "senior SSP official" who apparently supplied that paper with a signed affidavit concerning the details of the special EC meeting of November 9 2004 "within days" of the meeting! What a scandalous breach of confidence and party discipline. Who was it and how many others have known about this? Details will emerge in the course of my court battle with News International, as the particular journalist involved has been cited to appear. The case begins on July 4.

2. The emergency national council meeting of May 28 was the largest in the party's seven-year history. One hundred and fifty delegates and over 150 visitors attended from branches from across Scotland. It was the most representative meeting of party opinion since our conference. The EC's strategy of continued defiance of the court over the secret document was rejected after lengthy debate. After admitting in court to the existence of a secret document, and it being publicly admitted to in the press that such a document existed, it would have been wrong to have continued to resist the court, as it was clear long prison sentences and sequestration of the party would have followed. The party complied with the court in the first instance, so a strategy of continued defiance after the jailing of Alan McCombes and the obvious financial impact on the party was never a serious option.

The meeting also rejected the earlier EC decision to publicly call on me to drop my action against the reactionary Scum of the World. Instead the NC voted to offer me "100% political solidarity" in my court case by 81 votes to 60. It was great to secure such support, but sad that 60 delegates voted against. Regardless of personal feelings toward me, I am fighting the most powerful and reactionary representative of the boss class on the planet. I expect other socialists to support me, not assist them. It's about basic class solidarity!

3. The Cardonald branch motion forwarded to me and then from me was passed to at least two newspapers to assist in mounting a case against me of attempting to pervert the course of justice re the call to destroy any secret document. The actual email sent from my computer terminal was passed on to the press to cause maximum damage to me. Again who would commit such treachery?


Our party is clearly divided at this time. Blame for the crisis we are in is laid on my shoulders by sections of the EC. Yet the reality is those who have promoted the alien practice of keeping personal records of confidential discussions and alerting the press to such documents are the ones to blame.

For too long the rank and file of our party have not had the chance to bring the leadership of our party to account for their actions and unacceptable methods which are responsible for the crisis our party is now in. This has to change. What is now needed is a complete democratic renewal of our structures, our apparatus and our leadership. All of us on the EC and all national office-bearers must subject ourselves to re-election at a specially convened conference in September.

Not all members will agree with my criticisms. That's reality. I do appeal to you, however, to engage yourself in your branch. Our branches are the most important building blocks of our party. Get along and have your say. If your branch is not meeting regularly, make the current serious debate about the future of our party the reason to re-establish it. Whether you support or oppose the points I have raised in my open letter or in this covering note, get yourself involved in the party's democratic process through your branch

This party was built from the bottom up. By returning to that basic philosophy and the class-based politics we championed in our formative years we can emerge from the current crisis wiser and stronger. A democratically renewed SSP can reconquer the 132,000 support base in time for 2007's parliament and council elections.


Although I opposed the EC court strategy, we cannot allow the subsequent punitive costs to be borne by only a few members. In the real SSP we win together and we lose together. Now is the time for collective effort to raise the money required to meet the legal costs incurred. We also desperately need to establish an election fighting fund. Towards these ends I appeal to you to send or make a donation locally. From £10 to £100. More if you can afford it. Please send donations to our national convenor directly at the Scottish Socialist Party, 52 Dark Street, Edinburgh EH8 9JD to ensure proper recording and administration.

Comrades, our party has achieved so much in a relatively short space of time, but we have so much more to learn and achieve. We have been derailed and diverted from the class war and those responsible must be held to account for their actions. But let's not lose sight of our magnificent goal of a world based on people, not profit; peace, not war; and love and human solidarity, not hate and violence. The only war worth fighting is the class war against unnecessary poverty and obscene inequality.

Forward, comrades, to an independent socialist Scotland and a new and brighter socialist world.

Yours in solidarity

Tommy Sheridan
national co-chair


Most of you will by now have received an open letter from Tommy. I wish to make no comment on his letter per se other than the paragraph he has included under the heading of finance.

I would like to state from the outset that I both welcome and endorse Tommy's appeal for money to be raised for both the legal costs and the forthcoming 2007 elections. To that end a general appeal to all party members and supporters went out in this week's issue of the Voice and will continue to be carried over the next six weeks or so. Once again I would echo Tommy's call to give generously - no amount is too little nor too great! An appeal letter was also sent out by me to all branches yesterday from the national office.

I must reinforce, however, the need not only for the monies donated/collected to come directly to myself as the party treasurer but also to the party's national office. Failure so to do would result in serious problems for the party with both the electoral commission and potentially with our party auditors. I and several other office-bearers are registered with the commission, as is our premise at 70 Stanley Street and it is legally incumbent on me to record and report all monies raised with particular emphasis at election time to the political parties' governing body, which is the electoral commission. That is why we have a national account set up and this is the only legally recognised account for collection of monies at national level. We have operated in this way since the Political Parties Reform Act became law in 2001. Any breach of the act could result in hefty fines and even imprisonment!

In conclusion, I would wish to end by endorsing wholeheartedly Tommy's closing sentiments, that "the only war worth fighting is the class war"!

In comradeship

Allison Kane
national treasurer