REFORMATTED: [Marxism] Galloway, Sheridan, SSP etc

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Dec 5 15:28:59 MST 2004

The SSP have issued a press release attacking Galloway for "attempting to 
split the left in Scotland".

Both the original article and the SSP's response are below.


The Mail On Sunday, 05/12/04

Galloway to team up with Sheridan for assault on Labour seats at Holyrood.

EXCLUSIVE By Jane Simpson

REBEL MP George Galloway wants to stand as an MSP and is planning to launch 
a ferocious assault on the Scottish parliament. And he revealed he is 
considering a radical joint assault on the parliament with former Scottish 
Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan.

Mr Galloway believes the recent implosion of the SSP, coupled with its 
treatment of Mr Sheridan over newspaper allegations, has created a crucial 
opening for his anti-war party, Respect, in the 2007 Holyrood elections. 
Attacking First Minister Jack McConnell's `parody' of an administration, Mr 
Galloway, 50, said he was certain Scots voters would support his alliance 
with Mr Sheridan in its bid to win seats from the Labour Party. Speaking 
exclusively to the Scottish Mail on Sunday, Mr Galloway added: `I would 
certainly like to contend in Glasgow for the Scottish parliament elections. 
`Tommy and I would be a great double act, a dream ticket and people would 
vote for us. I am certain that together we could set the cat among the 
pigeons. `Tommy is still fighting his corner in the SSP but I fear he will 
have to accept they have betrayed him and move on.' Mr Galloway revealed 
his Holyrood plans after winning £150,000 damages from The Daily Telegraph 
over an article suggesting he was on Saddam Hussein's payroll. And just 
days ago he announced that he will step down as MP for Glasgow Kelvin to 
stand for Parliament in Bethnal Green and Bow at next year's General 
Election under his new Respect party banner. Although he could be a 
Westminster MP if he wins the East London seat, he said that would not 
necessarily stand in the way of his Scottish ambitions.

He explained: `We are talking about two years down the line. `If I am in 
Westminster we'll have to see if it is possible and look at the situation 
in more depth. If I am not in Westminster then obviously it is more 
possible.' The MP, who vowed the Labour Party would `rue the day' it 
ditched him over his anti-war views, said Respect has already started to 
explore the best way to use the proportional representation list system to 
wins Holyrood seats at the 2007 elections. Yesterday, Mr Galloway kicked 
off his assault on Holyrood with a stinging attack on Mr McConnell and the 
Labour-LibDem coalition. He said: `Jack McConnell's administration is all 
about small-time with small horizons and lacking in its ideas. It is a 
shameless parody of what Labour is supposed to be. `They strike me more as 
people running Cumbernauld town council than powering the whole of Scotland 
and I think the country deserves better.' Mr Galloway, who won his Glasgow 
Kelvin seat for Labour with a majority of more than 7,000 at the last 
General Election, would have a powerful support base if he contested the 
Holyrood elections.

Respect, The Unity Coalition was launched last January as an alternative to 
Labour. It now has a reported 1,000 members Mr Galloway intends to steer it 
down a more socialist path. As well as its strong anti-war stance, party 
policies include linking pensions to earnings and repealing union laws. Mr 
Sheridan was one of the speakers who took to the stage to offer support at 
the launch of the party. Yesterday, Mr Galloway said he had discussed the 
extra-marital allegations about Mr Sheridan with the former SSP leader, who 
claims never to have met the woman at the centre of the reports - now the 
subject of legal action. Since the story appeared, there has been bitter 
division within the SSP and members have admitted they are in crisis. Mr 
Galloway added: `The Scottish Socialist Party has made a catastrophic blunder.

It is my estimation that much more than half, maybe even much more than 
three-quarter who voted for them, did so because of Tommy Sheridan. `The 
idea that these unknown Trotskyite apparatchiks who have done him down are 
going to get the same kind of vote that they did when led by Sheridan seems 
to me inherently improbable. These people who have done him down are not 
fit to tie his shoe laces.' Mr Galloway has stated he has made no plans for 
his libel winnings as they have been frozen until The Daily Telegraph makes 
a decision whether or not to appeal. He added: `In the end I will spend it 
on my political life, which is what I spend my existing earnings on.'


SSP Research, Policy & Media Unit Press Release: 05/12/04 Eddie Truman:

SSP attacks Galloway for attempting to split left in Scotland

The Scottish Socialist Party today angrily condemned George Galloway for 
coming to the aid of New Labour with a threat to split the left vote in 
Scotland In an article in The Mail on Sunday George Galloway raises the 
prospect of Tommy Sheridan standing as a Respect Unity Coalition candidate 
at the next Scottish Parliament elections.

Today Tommy Sheridan categorically ruled out any such move. Tommy said; "I 
don't know why George is raising this idea. "I am absolutely committed to 
the Scottish Socialist Party and expect to be a leading candidate for the 
party in the 2007 Holyrood election. "Respect is doing a good job in 
England of campaigning against the Iraq war and raising basic socialist 
policies but there is already a socialist party in Scotland, it is called 
the SSP. "I have no plans to be anything other than a representative of the 
Scottish Socialist Party and if George wants to stand for the same list as 
me he will have to join the SSP before the next Scottish Parliament elections."

An SSP spokesperson condemned George Galloway's comments outright and 
accused him of coming to the aid of New Labour by threatening to split the 
left vote in Scotland.

The spokesperson said; "We are disappointed that George Galloway has 
launched this astonishing attack on the SSP, based on ignorance and 
misinformation. We are angry that George Galloway has launched this attack 
in a right wing newspaper with a tawdry track record of promoting racism 
and virulent anti-trade unionism. "George Galloway has made no attempt to 
contact any member of the SSP executive to clarify the facts behind Tommy 
Sheridan's resignation. "The Scottish Socialist Party has assisted and 
supported the development of the Respect Coalition in England. 
Unfortunately, it appears that George is prepared to cynically exploit the 
short term difficulties faced by the SSP to further his own parliamentary 
ambitions. "The SSP has united the left in Scotland and was campaigning for 
peace and socialism years before George Galloway finally broke with New 
Labour. "The only people who could benefit from a divided left in Scotland 
would be the British establishment and New Labour on both sides of the 
border. "The Scottish Socialist Party will be writing to the Respect Unity 
Coalition in England to call upon the party to dissociate from George 
Galloway's divisive outburst." [ends]

Louis Proyect
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