Is it necessary for me to say that because I reprint this from my comments section I don’t support it all? I print it because it should have more publicity than a comment gives it.
I have no idea who the author is. I only know his name.
By Iain Galbraith
I am neither a supporter of Solidarity or the SSP, but I am a nationalist and republican and I have a number of deep concerns about this case.
The Senior Investigating Officer is now to retire. He has worked full time on this case for more than 4 years. He normally worked full time investigating murders and rapes and other serious criminal activity. For 4 years though he was instructed to investigate whether a former MSP had lied in a civil case against the News of the World… how can this possibly be an appropriate deployment of resources by Lothian and Borders Police?
The relationship the NoW has with the police is already well documented with Rebecca Wade, former Editor admitting to a Westminster select committee that the “newspaper” regularly paid the police for information, leads/tip off and inside information. In Philip Knightley’s “First Casualty” book on the history of collusion between the establishment and the newspaper industry in particular he highlights how the state have worked hand in glove with editors and select journalists to run a black propaganda campaign against those perceived to be a threat to national security.
We also know from records released and in the public domain from the National Archive in Kew that Special Branch heavily infiltrated the trade union movement and “leftist” political groups during the 1970s acting explicitly in a agent provocateur activity in order to destabilise these groups. There is additional evidence from papers, still closed for a further 15 years, that the same happened to the SNP and other Scottish nationalist groups. This is not paranoia, but fact which anyone can confirm by going to the NAS website themselves.
Someone in Lothian and Borders police released the interview tapes of Gail and Tommy Sheridans interviews. Will there be an investigation by the Chief Constable to determine who did that? It would seem that the release of these tapes, even if you argue the release of Tommy’s interview was in the “public interest” (for public interest you can generally read the state’s interest, two mutually exclusive concepts), then the Police have breached the Data Protection Act, Article 8 of ECHR, and the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 in relation to Part 8, evidential, jurisdictional and procedural matters. Will an investigation follow? Don’t hold your breath.
There is no doubt the investigation and prosecution were politically driven, arguably by both sides. Sheridan, whether he did what he was found guilty of or not, rather naively (it would now seem) believed that comrades in the SSP, regardless of the personal venom they held for him, would not consciously or subconsciously act in collusion with the state and their co-collaborators in the NoW. The sight of SSP office bearers going to police headquarters with internal party papers without even being asked to by police is surely evidence enough of the over eagerness of some to collaborate with the very forces they were meant to be politically opposed to. As an external observer, but someone opposed to the continuation of the British state, I found that particularly nauseating.
The most tragic aspect however is that right at a time when a strong socialist narrative is required, the left has completely imploded. The SSP leadership, despite its proclaimed “horror” and dislike of Sheridan must have known that would be the outcome regardless of what position they took, but nonetheless charged, eyes open, into the abyss. The state and their pals in the NoW meantime go laughing all the way to the bank.
The bigger message is surely that to defeat the “dark forces” (i’m quoting directly from the Queen!!, who would have thought?) at work and operating to undermine ANY counter view to theirs is that conventional means are not effective. They have the resources, the capacity and the money to destroy all civic forms of resistance. That is precisely what they have done here. Someone in the SSP leadership should have recognised that was the direction and sought to resist it more vigorously, with some collective amnesia strategy which would have protected them from the court process (albeit a corrupt process) that they appeared to hold in great regard.
The previously much vaunted Scots legal system has been dragged into the mire in recent years with the examples outlined by Iain already. A justice system worthy of the name must always be able to demonstrate that it is impartial and fair. Personally as a committed republican I no longer recognise the jurisdiction of any court in the UK that represents the authority of the Crown. Neither would I collaborate in any form with the state police and certainly not their propaganda wing in the NoW. Hopefully this case will demonstrate to socialists and nationalists committed to securing real tangible freedoms that “conventional” methods are utterly ineffective. As socialist, republican, nationalist and poet Hugh MacDairmaid once said: “No one in their right minds wants warfare. But if we are determined to be absolutely independent then it may be and almost certainly will be, forced upon us.”
There is a revolutionary spirit appearing across the “capitalist” world as the masses recognise conventional means are not enough to secure the freedoms we are all entitled to. In response, states are resorting increasingly to type and the kind of totalitarian tactics we have been taught, ironically by the state, to despise. Kettling, water cannon, battening of protesters, a corrupt justice system, corrupt police and a complete subverting, dare I say prostituting, of the (what was always an imaginary) civic society.
Despite his (alleged) failings Sheridan offered an alternative, strong and fighting voice that sought real justice. The Crown Office, Police, NoW and SSP have ensured that voice is silent for the next crucial years ahead and Scotland has lost