Sunday, 1 June 2014

Trust me, I'm a perjurer

Disgraced former MSP Tommy Sheridan is back on the road again, advocating a Yes to independence.
He's still got the power to whip up a crowd, but the official Yes camp is far from happy at being linked to a convicted perjury.
Here's the story.

Tom Gordon
Paul Hutcheon

TENSIONS have erupted inside the pro-independence campaign over Tommy Sheridan, after it emerged the convicted perjurer spoke at a meeting under the offical Yes banner.

The former jailbird shared a stage last week with SNP MSP Christina McKelvie at an event organised by Yes Hamilton, a semi-autonomous offshoot of the Yes Scotland movement.

Yes Scotland board member Colin Fox, whose testimony helped send Sheridan to prison for lying on oath, reacted furiously to the news.

He said: “The guy is a convicted perjurer. He’s a liability to Yes. We don’t want him.

Sheridan, who was jailed for three years in 2011 for perjury during his 2006 defamation action against the News of the World, recently embarked on a one-man speaking tour to promote a Yes vote called “Hope over Fear”, but has been shunned by the official Yes camp.

In 2012, SNP Finance Secretary John Swinney said the disgraced former Glasgow MSP was “a man who has no political credibility whatsoever – none whatsoever. Not even political credibility, no credibility in terms of the judgments made by the courts of the land.”

Organisers of the Yes Scotland group in Glasgow later cold-shouldered Sheridan when he tried to become part of the organisation.

Despite the clear signal from Swinney, McKelvie, convener of Holyrood’s European and External Affairs committee, spoke along with the former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) at a miner’s welfare club in Hamilton on Tuesday before an audience of around 200.

Despite repeated calls and emails to her publicly-funded media adviser, McKelvie, the MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, did not respond to requests for comment.
Christina McKelvie MSP and Tommy Sheridan last Tuesday
Sheridan, 50, was a list MSP from 1999 to 2007 and a one-time convener of the SSP before forming the breakaway Solidarity Party in 2006. 
He launched Solidarity a few weeks after winning a £200,000 defamation action against the now-defunct News of the World, which had claimed he was an adulterer and a swinger who had visited Cupid’s sex club in Manchester.
During the civil case, Sheridan accused some of his old colleagues in the Scottish Socialists of conspiring against him and said they had engineered “the mother of all stitch-ups”.
Conflicting testimony during the case prompted a police investigation into possible perjury.
In 2010, Sheridan was found guilty of lying under oath and sentenced to three years.
The flyer for Tuesday's event
He was released after a year in prison.
Colin Fox, a Yes Scotland board member, a current SSP co-convener and one of those who testified against Sheridan at his trial, said: “I don’t want anything to do with him.
“I think he helps the No campaign.
“Last time last year he was leader of the anti-bedroom tax campaign. This year he wants to be part of the yes campaign. He’s got an addiction to limelight.”

The pro-Union Better Together campaign seized on Sheridan’s appearance under the Yes banner.
A spokesman said: “With Tommy Sheridan now joining the official Yes campaign, we can expect to see a swing to us.”

Yes Scotland stressed Sheridan was not part of its operation, and said local groups were free to arrange their own speakers.
A spokesman said: “Any individual’s involvement in Yes Scotland community activities is entirely a matter for the local groups.”
Sheridan could not be contacted for comment.


  1. Dear Tom

    This is an interesting ditto.

    Should Sheridan be allowed to campaign, well in a democracy the answer is Yes, does the SNP and SSP want him on their side?

    Probably not.

    Although Tommy Sheridan is still a brand name, he rather cooked his goose, that said he probably still wants to make a living out of politics.

    Although Sheridan is a liability we should also remember that so is Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and who can forget the recent scandal of Alex Neil.

    Or as I keep remind the punters type SNP Vote Rigging to see the real SNP.

    George Laird
    The campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

  2. George Laird, perhaps Walker should do a speaking tour? I know for certain that the SSP would not share a platform with him. But it seems SNP types and "radicals" such as McAlpine feel misogynists and women abusers are ok if they can shout loudly and have a tan (beyond that, what has this man to add to the campaign for a yes?)

    This character is extremely divisive and lots of the groups outside Yes (Radical Independence; Women for Independence;National Collective) have a "no platform" policy regarding him.

    1. The SSP seems pretty divisive to me. They seem to spend more time complaining about Tommy Sheridan when he's saying things they agree with 100% than on campaigning for independence or for or against anything else.

    2. and as for "misogynist" and "women abuser" some witnesses from the trial Sheridan was convicted in seem to be likely to face perjury charges

  3. Tom Gordon and Paul Hutcheon display an abysmal ignorance of the way in which the Yes campaign is structured that would be extraordinary in any moderately well-informed individual, but is unforgivable in people claiming to be authoritative political commentators.

    I don't doubt that Better Together keeps a tight rein on its little band of activists and has the power to forbid them to having unapproved speakers at events. But Yes Scotland exercises no such rigid control over the hundreds of groups involved in the campaign to restore Scotland's rightful constitutional status. Moreover, it was never intended that the Hope Street HQ should have that kind of authority and it is unlikely that we would have the massive grass-roots movement that has developed if Blair Jenkins and his team had been the control freaks heading the No campaign.

    Messrs Gordaon and Hutcheon may be incapable of comprehending this campaign, but the fact remains that all of the groups which come under the Yes Scotland umbrella are completely autonomous. I have had the honour of being involved with a number of these groups over the past couple of years, and I they don't take instructions from anyone. The Yes campaign is run by the people of Scotland, not career politicians or professional strategists. If and when Tom Gordon and Paul Hutcheon get their heads around this reality maybe they will be able to write sensibly about the referendum campaign.

    As for Tommy Sheridan, he's done his time. He has paid his debt to society. Despite the personal animosity of some, Sheridan continues to be a widely respected figure on the left of Scottish politics and a powerful voice in the independence campaign. If that was not so then unionists would not consider him a worthwhile target of their hate-mongering.

    A sure sign that there is something seriously amiss with your thinking is when you find a nutter like George Laird agreeing with you.

  4. Interesting to see Colin Fox, the SNP leadership and the Better Together campaign unite to attack Tommy Sheridan. Imagine to have the audacity to be speaking to hundreds of people in packed halls on the issue of the referendum. Fox and the SNP leadership might want to ask themselves why Tommy Sheridan is drawing such a large following. Could it be that he's putting a case for independence - public ownership of oil and the energy companies, an end to austerity and the need for socialist policies - that the official Yes campaign is ignoring ? Could it be that his record as an uncomprimisig fighter for working class people is still widely remembered. Could it be that at a time of unprecedented cuts and falling incomes for the majority socialist ideas are beginning to gain ground ? Or perhaps it's just envy that Sheridan is drawing the size of crowd that Fox could only dream about ? Anyone interested in hearing Tommy Sheridan and others speaking can find a full list of upcoming meetings at

  5. I think Colin Fox may be jealous of the fact that Sheridan is just a better speaker than he will ever be - and the fact that that means the "limelight" will always be drawn away from him and onto Sheridan. The people who testified against Sheridan at his trial include the former editor of the News of the World, who went on to work for snake-oil salesman David Cameron, along with people jealous of him within the SSP. It's time the SSP focused on the real enemy - the banks, the billionaires, the big firms and the big parties who they buy up with their donations. The SSP had 6 MSPs. It threw that away through the feud with Sheridan and as long as it remains focused on that feud it will prevent any MSPs from socialist parties - including itself - ever having any influence in the Scottish parliament again.

    And by focusing on attacking Sheridan rather than on winning independence it could help lose Scotland a chance at independence too.

  6. Is there anything more important to the SSP than attacking Tommy Sheridan? Ending the bedroom tax? (achieved, partly through Sheridan's contribution to the campaign, just as he led the campaign against the poll tax). Seems not. Independence for Scotland? Is that more important than attacking Tommy Sheridan? Not to Colin Fox.

  7. For those who say Tommy offers nothing but a loud voice and a tan, ask yourself who you are insulting the most? Tommy? The many hundreds that turn out to hear his "hope over fear " speeches or indeed themselves? Tommy has heard it all before. Those who go along to the packed events would have right to feel pretty insulted by the accusations they go to see a character as opposed to hearing the case for socialism.
    Colin Fox said on record that Tommys victory over the news of the world was a "victory for socialism". Aiming to insult Tommy by saying last year he was head of the anti bedroom tax movement and now he's talking at "yes" meetings simply isn't an insult. It shows Tommy is true to the fighting socialist people recognise him as. Tommy didn't earn a penny from the role in the bedroom tax campaign and nor is he earning a penny touring Scotland with the "hope over fear" message.
    I personally spoke with Alex Salmond around 5 weeks ago in his home town (village). He was complimentary of the work Tommy had contributed to the Yes side of the debate.
    This infighting is pathetic. The article tells us Tommy couldn't be reached for comment (not quite fitting in with his obsession for limelight Fox claims) it's more likely Tommy chose to ignore the pathetic hatred from them.

  8. This is just the kind of infighting that puts people off politics, and the author should be ashamed for whipping up such division at such an important time in Scotland's history.

    Should any of Sheridan's detractors manage to go to one of the meetings where Sheridan speaks, they'll hear him talk with passion. From the heart. He believes in Independence for Scotland and he inspires audiences to see the big picture and to see the opportunity we have in front of us. He has a skill, a gift that's needed in this historic campaign, and it serves none of us well to give in to spiteful attacks on those who are on the same road with us.

    There's a quote by the late, great Maya Angelou that goes thus: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Sheridan makes people feel empowered, strong, capable of going out and bringing home the Yes vote. Let's cut this divisive nonsense and choose to pull together. This fight for independence should be our only priority and we must not let petty differences get in the way of our winning back our beautiful country. Make that choice. Pull together.

  9. " Let's cut this divisive nonsense and choose to pull together. This fight for independence should be our only priority and we must not let petty differences get in the way of our winning back our beautiful country. Make that choice. Pull together."
    Absolutely. Keep your silly points-scoring to yourselves and let's REGAIN OUR INDEPENDENCE. Once that's done, you can go away and have your punch up behind the bike-shed - or wherever.

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  11. I would like to know who elected the Board of YES! what rights they think they have over a civil democratic movement for change in our Nation. Will everyone who takes part in a YES event have to undergo a scroll check, will they have to have credentials that appease and uphold the arrogance of a judgemental and politically introverted group of non elected and it would appear unaccountable cabal. The Yes Campaign seems to have failed in spectacular fashion in its timid efforts to engage with those who have not and will not readily interact with a political campaign. The only thing that will eventually matter to the poor, the needy and the future of our Nation is delivery of an Indy Scotland, that and that alone should drive and set any agenda and any engagement with the electorate, not judgemental and patronising attitudes which divide and if allowed, will conquer!!