[Marxism] New Scottish Socialist Formation

Darren Williams dazza1970 at tiscali.co.uk
Wed Aug 30 05:06:51 MDT 2006

www.leninology. blogspot.com wrote:

>They [the 11 SSP members who gave evidence against Sheridan]
>were not obliged to lie, however, and according to the verdict they
>did.  Even if some of them told the truth, evidently a number did not since
>their claims were often contradictory (except for the curiously concerted
>memory of the infamous meeting, which the magistrate commented on at the
>close of the trial).

Are you saying that we should accept as ultimate truth the verdict of a jury
in a bourgeois court? Whatever the inconsistencies, my understanding is that
15 of the 19 who had been present - from a variety of political tendencies
- agreed that the minutes were genuine, including Sheridan's admission that
he had visited the club mentioned by the NoTW and that this had been 'reckless'.
The legal victory of a socialist over a vile right-wing scandal-rag like
the NoTW
is obviously a good thing in itself, but the implications for the future
of the SSP and the left more generally are far more important.

>The SSP's votes have gone right down following the shameful ousting of Sheridan,
>so that is one good indication.  The Lib Dems were the principal beneficiaries
>of any antiwar vote.

The SSP undoubtedly did very badly in last year's Westminster parliamentary
election, as Colin Fox and others acknowledged. No doubt this was, in part,
a result of the party's internal problems, but I'm not sure that this can
be laid exclusively at the door of the post-Sheridan leadership, rather than
Sheridan himself. In any case, it is misledaing to talk anourt the 'shameful
ousting' of Sheridan: this was a unanimous decision, for which he even voted
himself. In addition, the SSP should have  expected to have done less well
in a Westminster election conducted on the basis of first-past-the-post,
than in the 2003 Scottish parliamentary election, conducted with a form of
proportional representation. In the latter, a vote for the SSP was always
more likely to contribute to the election of an SSP MSP; in the former, an
SSP vote might have been considered 'wasted' and many voters will have voted
tactically for Labour or the SNP. In Westminister elections, too, voters
are inevitably more focused on the question of government at the level of
the British state, rather than on specifically Scottish issues.

>There are several socialist parties across the UK

No - there are several, mostly tiny, sects across the UK; parties are a different

I notice that you say nothing about the shameful misogynistic vilification
directed by Sheridan against the three female MSPs who dared to criticise
him, as well as his dismissal of issues of women's representation as at odds
with class politics.


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