British SWP and the SSP

Michael Keaney michael.keaney at
Wed Dec 11 02:45:56 MST 2002

Ed George writes:

Clearly there have been frictions within the SSP with the incorporation
of the Scottish SWP; it's difficult to see how it could be otherwise.
But can I be the only person on this list to find comrade Irritable's
ill-concealed delight at these developments sectarian and objectionable?


Thanks Ed for the URLs. I for one do not take delight in these
developments -- far from it. I had a sense of foreboding when the
incorporation of the SWP into the SSP was announced, based on experience of
various characters within the SWP apparatus, one in particular mentioned in
the Weekly Worker article. The recent Marxmail discussion on "Zinovievism"
and related topics put that experience into much clearer perspective,
articulating many of my poorly understood feelings about organising. I've
criticised the SSP before for threatening to form a personality cult around
Tommy Sheridan, whilst continuing to support its campaigns. In fact I think
that the far more dangerous cult is that indoctrinated into members of the
SWP. Many original SSP members behaved in an open, respectful way towards
the incoming SWPers and one went so far as to use the letters page of the
Herald to complain of "Sheridanites" acting deliberately to exclude SWPers
from the levers of power. However I think that especially the hierarchy of
the SW platform should be viewed with deep scepticism concerning its ability
to adhere to any agreement based on principles of openness and cooperation.
The benefit of the SSP's platforms strategy is that it acts as a useful
counterweight to any developing personality cult around Sheridan --
something hopefully further dissipated by the election (hence rise to
greater public prominence) of another MSP next year, whilst Sheridan himself
and those closest to him can coordinate efforts to ensure that no one
platform behaves factionally. Unfortunately I think that the SWP are
predisposed, nay pathologically condemned, to behaving factionally and
conspiratorially, and for that reason I would argue that they are prime
suspects in any investigation of sectarianism.

Whether Brian takes any pleasure in this is another question for him to
answer. It's difficult to understand what possible pleasure any leftist
could draw from the sabotage of efforts to unite disparate left currents
into an effective movement of working class and allied mobilisation.

Michael Keaney

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