Friday, November 5, 2010

George McNeilage Cross-examination by Tommy Sheridan, Day 1



There was not a single unoccupied seat in  court number 4 when Tommy Sheridan left the dock to cross-examine George McNeilage. Mr Sheridan began by putting it to Mr McNeilage that he was a "man of poor character" and  that he had lied to the police, in an article in the News of the World (NotW) and on television when he had said he had "been asked by people" to make his video tape. Mr McNeilage said he had lied on that occasion but denied being of poor character.


Mr Sheridan then asked the witness that out of his "long list" of criminal convictions which he thought was the "worst one." Mr McNeilage replied "you tell me Tommy?" at which point the presiding judge, Lord Bracadale intervened to instruct the witness to answer questions put to him. Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if he been a "housebreaker" to which Mr McNeilage replied he had two convictions for that offence from when he was a 'boy of 16." Mr Sheridan put it to the witness that he had "Robbed the poor when they were asleep in their beds." Mr Sheridan then asked Mr McNeilage if he had robbed "his own political party" and "stolen the proceeds of paper sales and collection to buy drugs" The witness responded that this was in 1986 and he had since organised rally's against drugs at some risk to himself.  was  then asked if he had taken any of the proceeds of Mr Sheridan's column in the Daily Record for himself. The witness denied this and stated that he "no money ended up in my pocket." Mr Sheridan then accused Mr McNeilage of fraud, the witness replied "You are the fraud" and  "You dont have real feelings" At this point Lord Bracadale again intervened and instructed the witness to answer questions and not make additional statements.



Mr Sheridan then asked the witness his views on the News of the World, which he described as part of the "most anti-trade union organisation on the planet" and called Mr McNeilage a "hypocrite and a fake." The witness  responded "you are, totally fake." and "you are not a Socialist." Mr Sheridan asked if the Mr McNeilage recalled being on a picket line in 1986 where he had been supporting 5000 print workers who had been sacked and asked if he remembered which company that was? Mr McNeilage replied "News International" and added "you've done similar things."  Mr Sheridan then put it to the witness that News International publications had called striking miners "scum,"  firefighters "Saddams henchmen" and had claimed that Liverpool fans had "urinated and stole from their dying comrades" Mr McNeilage responded by claiming that Mr Sheridan had contemplated writing a column for the News of the World. This prompted the judge to intervene and instruct the witness to restrict himself to answering questions put to him.


Mr Sheridan then moved onto the issue of the disputed video and asked Mr McNeilage that if he had the tape "existed " in 2006 (at the time of the civil trial) "why didn't you come forward" The witness replied that he did not want to become involved. Mr Sheridan then asked If the tape was real why he had not passed it to the SSP in 2006. Mr McNeilage replied  that "of course it existed and that "I didn't get Rory Bremner to impersonate you." Mr Sheridan replied that the court had already heard that particular soundbite before [from Alan McCombes] to which the witness said he knew that and had read it in the paper. Mr Sheridan remarked "not very original."


Mr Sheridan put it to the witness again that if they tape existed "you could have stopped the destruction of the SSP if only you had handed the tape to Keith Baldessera or the SSP."  Mr McNeilage answered that "I was too close to you" and "it scooped my insides out" The witness then added "you are a fake without an ounce of sincerity" and accused Mr Sheridan of "abusing your wife" by putting her through the trial. Mr Sheridan responded that "now we know you are feeling guilty" Mr McNeilage responded "you're trying to change your voice now."  At that point Lord Bracadale asked the jury to leave the court.


When the jury returned Mr Sheridan put it to the witness that the tape had been made after 2006. A suggestion Mr McNeilage called "nonsense." Mr McNeilage was then asked about his acting career, with particular reference to his work with the film director Ken Loach. Mr Sheridan then stated that there was a "fatal flaw" in the tape. 


Mr Sheridan put it to Mr McNeilage that on the tape the voice allegedly of Tommy Sheridan swears "115 times in 38 minutes" and that in 30 years of knowing him had he ever heard him swear like that. Mr McNeilage replied that night he had saw a "different person" and "I saw the real Tommy Sheridan, that is you." Mr Sheridan then stated that, what he called, the "C word" is used 9 times on the recording and that "I don't use that word." Mr McNeilage said "of course you use it, you say it at football." 


It was then put to Mr McNeilage by Mr Sheridan that the "next fatal flaw in the tape" was the missing 17 minutes and added "a lot can be said in 17 minutes" He added did "the actor stand up and face the screen?" Which Mr McNeilage said was "nonsense." Mr Sheridan then asked "did he forget it was not 2004?" a suggestion the witness called "absurd."Mr McNeilage then  turned to Gail Sheridan, who was sitting in the dock and said: “I am sorry that you are sitting there pal.” Mr Lavelle, acting for Mrs Sheridan then rose to object and the jury again left the court.


When the jury returned Lord Bracadale informed them that the case was adjourned until Monday and the court rose for the day.


The trial continues.

121 comments:

former ssp said...

that sounds very heated!!!

ethically, i think selling the tape to the NOTW was the wrong thing for Geogr McNeilage to have done.

i assume they'll have professionals in at some point to verify the tape. until then we can't really conclude anything- contrary to what conclusions we may have already drawn as individuals.

until then, i would hope Sheridan has a stronger rebutal than the fact he doesn't like swearing...

it's very sad that it has come to this.

Watcher said...

"There was not a single unoccupied seat"
There rarely is when a three ring circus is in town...

Anonymous said...

"When the jury returned Mr Sheridan put it to the witness that the tape had been made after 2006."

Did Sheridan really say this? I didn't think it was too long after the first trial (i.e. still 2006) that the tape was on the NotW website?

Anonymous said...

time to put a sock in the criminal record crap tommy...

Anonymous said...

I didn't think it was too long after the first trial (i.e. still 2006) that the tape was on the NotW website? - yeah, it was like a week or two later... more or less straight after TS won his defamation action.

Anonymous said...

"the actor stand up and face the screen", so it was an actor then and not "spliced" after all, hmm. Ken Loach, anyone?

Anonymous said...

"house breaking" - this was a young lad living in abject poverty in pollok for crying out loud. "robbing the poor while they slept" - how does tommy know that he wasn't robbing the big hooses during the day when they were oot working?

Confused said...

If George McNeilage was such an evil bastard going back to 1986, then why did TS continue to associate with him, and indeed have him as his best man at his wedding?

Anonymous said...

A pertinent question, Confused.

Anonymous said...

Bringing up a 30 year old conviction for house-breaking is daft. Has Tommy never heard of "rehabilitation"?

Steve said...

I don't know abouth the past, but I think Scottish actors will be repeating some of these words 200 years from now.

Anonymous said...

What about these "mobile phone records" that confirm the time and date of this "meeting". Do these place McNeilage Sheridan/the "actor" guy in the same locus?

James Doleman said...

Sorry I didn't go into the mobile phone records properly, was a lot to cover today. Essentially these appear to show a number of calls from Mr Sheridan's phone to Mr McNeilages phone on the date the tape was supposedly made. The records also show that Mr Sheridan accessed his voicemail, which the prosecution suggested means his phone was off during the 45 mins of the tape's recording.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clearing that up, James.

is it just me? said...

Am I wrong or is there a lot of 'evidence' turning up that witnesses claim they had before the libel case but chose to hand them over/sell them after Tommy won?

Do you think the NoTW will pay me a few thousand for my story - I saw Tommy driving to Manchester in 2002 (or was it 2001) and I am sure about the incident because I remember thinking about telling my wife to look, but didn't.

Anonymous said...

The tape was revealed in the NoW nine weeks after the defamation case ended.

I thought the behaviour of Carolyn Leckie was the worst I'd ever seen from a witness in a court - until today.

The Lumpen Sociologist said...

is it just me? said...

Am I wrong or is there a lot of 'evidence' turning up that witnesses claim they had before the libel case but chose to hand them over/sell them after Tommy won?

Well no matter what side you are on it is a fact that these stories became far more valuable after the initial civil action. And no matter what the outcome of this trial is, where the guilt must be proved beyond reasonable doubt,and that may not be too easy, their will be a NOTW appeal on the civil action which can would be based the "likelihood" of Tommy committing the indiscretions that he is accused of by the NOTW.
The saddest thing so far is that It is sad that criminal offences committed by witnesses as children are being raised by the defence, half the SSP/Solidarity leadership have been lifted at one time or another.

Anonymous said...

Can I ask James, given it was full up today, what has the average turnout in the public galleries been? If I were to roll up to the High Court, what chance would I have of getting in on any random day?

James Doleman said...

Today was the busiest yet, there are around 100 available seats of which about a 5th are reserved for the press. I went out when the video was on and could not get back in until the break.

So if you do come try and come early, then hope there are no ajournments cos in that case you have to leave and the people who did not get in before get in.

Anonymous said...

lumpensoc, you said "their will be a NOTW appeal on the civil action which can would be based the "likelihood" of Tommy committing the indiscretions that he is accused of by the NOTW."

No, the appeal judges will hear from the NoW on new evidence that would justify a re-run of the original proof. If the judges grant a retrial then the NoW will argue about 'likliehood" as they did the first time round.

All their appeal can do is show a need to have the defamation action again, it cant consider the evidence again or make a judgement on "likliehood"

Their Morons Not Ours said...

@Anonymous November 5, 2010 8:46 PM
why shouldn't TS bring up GM criminal record? or anyone else's for that matter?

I believe TS has criminal conviction for obstruction (poll tax auction)public knowledge and doesn't hide this fact. TS is up in front of a capitalist court not a socialist one. And when reaction kicks off and you are dragged there, as a socialist, you are required to have shed loads of contempt for it long before you are up in the dock. You have to work your case and hate the tedious process keeping you from effecting social change.

The trouble with the McNeilage's, Currans, Canes, McCombes etc.is that as so called socialist they lack sufficient contempt for capitalist courts and their tabloids which damn us all, and because of that they could believe a carefully engineered smear without question just accusation. .They make the biggest mistake of saving what little contempt they have for the courts for the courtroom itself.

The Lumpen Sociologist said...

Cheers anon 12:26

The Lumpen Sociologist said...

though here is a nice little line from the Scotsman in 2004 on the opening of a cannabis cafe:

Yesterday’s high-profile launch was attended by the SSP MSPs Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne, who came to show "solidarity" with those who choose to use cannabis.

The apostrophes were the Scotsman's, drug induce precognance.

Anonymous said...

You can basically get in if you're there by ten usually.

am no tellin yous said...

Their morons said
The trouble with the McNeilage's, Currans, Canes, McCombes etc.is that as so called socialist they lack sufficient contempt for capitalist courts and their tabloids which damn us all,

I believe that these comrades advised Tabloid Journalist and NUJ member Tommy Sheridan not to use the Bourgeois courts and take on News International.

Anonymous said...

Quote = "If George McNeilage was such an evil bastard going back to 1986, then why did TS continue to associate with him, and indeed have him as his best man at his wedding?"

My thoughts exactly.

Dementia Rules said...

I find it stange that there has so far been no mention of the fact that this individual was paid £200,000. If he has had the tape since 2004 why not sell it to the NOW before the case in 2006?
Surely the NOW would have wanted to squash TS and would have paid a similar figure?

Anonymous said...

@I'm no'tellin' you who said:
"I believe that these comrades advised Tabloid Journalist and NUJ member Tommy Sheridan not to use the Bourgeois courts and take on News International".

Crap advice in my opinion for such a mindblowingly predictable smear campaign against a socialist. s'pose it was just a little too much to expect of these parliamentarians and their cohorts to instantly defend TS against these accusation and such a gross invasion into his private life.

So what if an NUJ member like TS gets paid to write for a tabloid he despises, if what he writes continues the rage against the machine? so what if a UNITE member is paid to clean the same tabloids toilets? if they can put food on their table?

Anonymous said...

Demential said "I find it stange that there has so far been no mention of the fact that this individual was paid £200,000. If he has had the tape since 2004 why not sell it to the NOW before the case in 2006?
Surely the NOW would have wanted to squash TS and would have paid a similar figure?"

and who authorised such a grand sum?
why not sell it for the 2006 case?Perhaps GM thought TC would lose in 2006?

Bunc said...

@dementia rules
The motivation for selling the tape after the case would be anger at the result and the labelling of people as "scabs". What's so difficult to understand about that? If taht was indeed the scenario then no doubt many people by that stage were angry enough to be prepared to do things they wouldnt otherwise have been prepared to do - like being prepared to come to court to give evidence or selling a tape.

No conspiracy there - just genuine anger at TS - as revealed by witnesses interactions with TS so far in this case.

Anonymous said...

yeah Bunc, that "scab" article was disgusting. Imagine having your face plastered on the front of the Daily Record with the word "scab" plastered on it and TS gloating and sneering. More so, if you genuinely believe that you were the wronged party. If it had been me, I'd have been off to the NotW with that tape like a shot, to hell with all that bourgeoisie press nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:09 In my opinion, its obvious, GMcN had the tape in his position pre the defamation action, like most folk?, he fully expected TS to lose the defamation action. TS rubbing their noses in it has just pushed GMcN over the edge. Put yourself in his position. You'd be furious, boiling with rage, I know, I would be.

Ca ching said...

Never mind moral outrage, 200k would be motive enough for me

James Doleman said...

Hello all, I've just had to delete a few comments as they were a little to definite about the veracity or otherwise of various bits of evidence.

Words like allegedly and in my opinion will go a long way to getting your comments posted.

Anonymous said...

Ca ching, you not think that although it would be nice to have £200K in the bank (just ask TS lol) that at least part of his motivation was to get even with TS. Maybe, that's why he supposedly said "I want what Tommy took off of you". Suppose what TS took of them was a higher or lower figure. GMcN also demanded £50K for a "community project".

Ca ching said...

" GMcN also demanded £50K for a "community project".

But appeared to have dropped that idea and just kept the £250,000

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, GMcN was acting out of purely altruistic motives. We all (in our own minds) justify all our actions. So in GMcN's case, his initial genuine reaction to the scab story gave him the justification and motivation to pursue the NotW for financial gain. It would be possible for GMcN to be both angry and greedy at the same time: It's like people at funerals grieving whilst at the same time squabbling over and carving up the deceased estate.

Anonymous said...

WASN'T acting out of purely altruistic motives lol

Anonymous said...

Say that TS had just kept a low profile after the libel trial and in particular if it hadn't been for the "scab" story had been published, what reason would GMcM had for running to the NotW then, would he have went to the NotW?

Gunboat Diplomat said...

I don't know any of the people involved but it seems to me it looks increasingly bad for Tommy.

The fact that so many of his former comrades - some going back decades - have are now lined up against him saying he lied... All of those people would have had to completely abandon their political principles to concoct a conspiracy in league with the bourgeois state against him...

Well I'm no fan of the SSP but this seems a bit much to me.

I haven't yet seen a smoking gun but this steady accumulation of evidence and accusations makes me wonder whether the jury will think one is necessary.

One way or another it looks like taking NoTW to the bourgeois courts wasn't a good idea. And also calling your former comrades scabs probably wasn't a good idea either. Long time socialists many of whom probably who never crossed a picket line in their life and indeed spent much of their life ON picket lines are likely to go through the roof with that accusation.

I wouldn't wanmt to be in Tommy's shoes right now, whether or not hes the 'author of his own misfortune'

Hmmm said...

I have to agree with TS on one thing, if this guy did have the tape why keep it hidden while the libel case was on, iirc it was the same with Barbara Scott, turning up with new evidence after that case was over.

Why were these two people not charged with concealing evidence in relation to that case?

Anonymous said...

it's simple Hmmm, they didn't expect Tommy to win. What would you have done if you had wanted Tommy to lose and felt that he didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning. For me, I would have sat on the tape and the "minute".

Anonymous said...

All this stuff about concealing tapes, how it was acquired, what was people's motivations, etc. is all by the by. It's whether or not it is genuine.

James Doleman said...

The minute was presented at the original trial.

Whatsy said...

It's surely perfectly acceptable of the defence to bring up past criminal convictions of witnesses, especially as McNeilage's sheet doesn't seem to include any politically motivated convictions of the type Sheridan has. I don't think TS can be accused of hypocrisy for this.

Of course, the age of McNeilage's convictions and the well documented (by Sheridan) efforts McNeilage has gone to since them to atone for these, as well as being the best man at TS's wedding, does rather weaken the point TS is trying to make in discrediting GM as a witness.

I don't feel TS has made a dent in the tape evidence, and the whole Ken Loach line was a bit embarrassing. He doesn't even seem clear what his main objection to the tape is - is it scripted, is it improvised, are actors used, is it TS's voice but spliced to be damaging?

I find the suggestion that it is scripted especially unlikely - there is so much info in the tape from "T" that would require access to his diary and/or the collaboration of several other individuals to get these details correct that I can't take it as a serious defence at the moment. I'm surprised Prentice hasn't gone through this in more detail to show how unlikely it is, but there is always TS's testimony to come.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, as far as the (possible) evidential content of this tape goes it wouldn't matter to the court if GMcN had been paided a million pounds by Maggie Thatcher for it.

Anonymous said...

@ Whatsy TS suggested that it was an "actor", but true he still appears to be wavering on what his actual defence to it was.

Anonymous said...

If the forensic evidence on the tape does stack up then TS's best line of defence probably would be that it is an "actor". It is not beyond the realms of possibility that someone could have been hired to play the part of TS.

Anonymous said...

aye, GMcN could have the criminal record of jack the ripper and it wouldn't put a dent in that tape.

friendslikethat said...

OK fair point ("am no tellin yous said... ") - but what alternative strategy did the wise helmsmen and women in the SSP politburo propose to defend their comrade and founder, TS? That he should just roll over and take it on the chin? Or go back to his previous career as a shop assistant at Burtons' menswear in Glasgow? If that's their idea of solidarity with someone who has played the kind of role in the socialist movement that TS has played then thank God that these SSP "comrades" are it seems incapable of ever building a political movement of any real power or influence that would come anywhere near what TS achieved in his heyday.

Back in 2004-5 the SSP leadership ought to have responded to all media enquiries by saying: "These allegations concern Tommy's private life. Everyone, even an MSP, has a right to a private life. We don't know whether these allegations are true or not. If they are true then it is a matter for TS and his wife and exactly nobody else. If they are untrue then it is hardly surprising that the NoTW might want to smear TS by making up silly stories about him. What we do know for sure is that TS denies the allegations and is pursuing a defamation action. He is perfectly entitled to do that. We in the SSP are not in the business of feeding the Murdoch press lurid tales about the private lives of our own members. Go away and find some real news."

Of course they didn't do that. Instead they walked right into the News International trap. They mounted their own Inquisition into the life of TS in a way that has utterly discredited them in the eyes of the average SSP voter in Scotland and in the wider working class movement.

am no tellin yous said...

friendslikethat said...
but what alternative strategy did the wise helmsmen and women in the SSP politburo propose to defend their comrade and founder

The truth be told it did end up a bloody mess with different groups and individuals pursuing their own programme. whether peaceniks, ultra nationalists, Stalinists or Trots, dissapointment on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Someone has set a trap, and a lot of people, TS included have been skilfully manoeuvred right into. But that all that has no bearing on the actual case, the court couldn't care less who the master puppeteers are, the charges under consideration are whether or not the Sheridan committed perjury during the successful defamation action.

justaglasgowguy said...

TS is denying the tape is real that its not him on the tape, whether it was scripted or an actor or spliced is irrelevant surely?

More broadly, again we have TS allegedly confessing at a time when he should have been sticking to his story that he didn't confess. Every time this supposedly happens he creates another person convinced that he is indeed a liar and the 'scab' insult is terribly wrong. Not only that, most of the individuals that he allegedly confessed to turned out to be some of his worst enemies. Remember these are people he has known for most, if not all, of his political life. Sheer bad luck, terrible judgment or monstrous conspiracy?

Confused said...

The alternative strategy of the SSP would have been DON'T raise a defamation action.

If the SSP evidence is accurate that he said he had done it but was going to pursue a defamation case anyway, then the advice he was given (FFS don't do it) was solid and could have avoided all this madness.

Instead he could have denied, just not in court, or said no comment it's none of your business. None of which would never have resulted in a perjury investigation, and would have resulted in this whole business being forgotten long ago.

Anonymous said...

@ justaglasgowguy, but if that tape is forensically sound that would be like denying the fingerprint evidence, dna evidence is fake. Still, fingerprints/dna have been proven to be fake in past cases. You can sit with a straight face in any court and say that all witnesses are liars, all evidence is fake. Even if the Holy Trinity were on that tape there is no way that TS would ever turn round and say that that tape is real.

Anonymous said...

Aye, confused Tommy should have just battened down the hatches and waited until it was all over.

Watcher said...

Considering the story he sued about, the tale about Fiona McQuire has been shown to be untrue why should he have not sued?

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, it does sound, if not exactly, as close a match to Tommy's voice as would lead me to believe that it can only be Tommy, so in essence TS's defence would be like someone offering a defence that someone else's fingerprints or dna samples matched theirs so closely to be almost a statistical impossibility.

Anonymous said...

You never think then, Watcher, that the Fiona McGuire story was the "trap" to get TS to sue in the first place? See how it all fits together?

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, TS was tricked into suing the NotW.

justaglasgowguy said...

Anon 3.40 pm "tape is forensically sound"

People might be getting the idea that the tape is TS sitting in full view chatting away. When in reality a person, whose face you don't see, is briefly seen walking across screen and the rest is a picture of a wall and audio of poor quality. One of the reasons that is of poor quality is because there is a constant whining noise in the background.

Anon 3.42 pm "batten down the hatches"

Yes but this TS supposedly building support for himself within the SSP and everyone that he supposed to have confessed to has ended up in court against him. Is that not strange?

Anonymous said...

How sad that at a time when the Welfare State, NHS and Social Housing
is being decimated and workers are being trodden all over, at a time that we are in desperately in need an effective Left we don't have one. Coincidence or what?

Anonymous said...

@justaglasgowguy Someone TS? an actor? can be clearly seen sitting themselves in an armchair.

Anonymous said...

@justaglasgowguy, it's obvious that there is a lot more to this than meets the eye, I doubt if we will ever get to the bottom of it. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if TS was trapped, tricked or manoeuvred into taking what actions that he may or not have taken, the Sheridans are on trial on charges of Perjury.

Mickey Mouse said...

I agree, the Fiona McGuire story was the cheese on Tommy's mousetrap.

BamSmeaton said...

@3:56
"In my opinion, TS was tricked into suing the NotW."

How?!

Anonymous said...

friendslikethat (2.36):

If you read the evidence of SSP members who have been forced to testify in both trials you will see what the problem with your suggestion was. (According to the SSP witnesses and documents), after TS confessed the truth of the allegations in the NotW, the entire leadership (including those who eventually changed their positions and decided to back TS in court and in splitting the SSP) agreed that TS ought to either i)ignore the story completely, ii) admit the allegations publicly and apologise to his family etc or iii) dismiss the story as nothing to do with his or the SSPs politics and a stupid attack on his private life not worthy of responding to.

However TS (allegedly) declared his intention to sue the paper due to his belief that they couldn't prove anything - he explicitly rejected the party's advice. This put the leadership and the party as a whole in a difficult position. Personally (for executive members) it now meant that TS expected all of those present to commit perjury on his behalf (something socialists might be prepared to do for politically useful purposes, but not to cover up a comrade's sleazy personal life). And for the party it meant that, if TS was to press ahead, and evidence was to appear that the allegations were substantially true, then TS and the SSP would be politically on the scrapheap (as indeed has more-or-less come to pass).

Of course if TS had not admitted the (alleged) truth to the SSP leadership (i.e. lied to the executive and other members) then the strategy you suggest - letting him get on with suing the NotW while taking a straightforward public stance of "this is a personal issue for TS and nothing to do with the politics of the SSP", would have been perfectly acceptable to the party, and he would never have been forced to resign. This is why he (allegedly) says (in the McNeilage video) that "confessing to those F**** C**** was the biggest mistake of my life" (paraphrasing a bit as I don't know where to find a transcript).

Anonymous said...

P.S. I agree with those who have expressed their disappointment in the lack of an effective left at this time of the biggest attack on the working class in a generation (http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2010/11/pilger-britain-british), however (assuming the accuracy of the SSP member's and most other witnesses' testimony), Tommy Sheridan and his supporters clearly hold a significant portion of the blame for that situation.

Sceptic said...

The biggest indictment of the SSP leadership has been 1) Their performances in court, they do not act like they have been forced to be there, they seem to be eager to heap vitriol on TS's head. 2) One of their leading members sold a tape to the scab News of the World for an obscene amount of money yet remains a member in good standing.

They are now just an anti-Tommy Sheridan rump, whatever the outcome of this case they are finished politically. Who could ever trust them again?

Anonymous said...

"...whatever the outcome of this case they are finished politically. Who could ever trust them again?"

I joined the SSP in 2000 and finally decided it was time to leave when the party split.

What I want is for a new, pro-independence socialist party to be launched that will be open to anyone except those involved in the trial or the 2006 libel case. That is the only way forward. Until that happens I will have to make do supporting the SNP (which is not ideal but better than the alternatives.)

Anonymous said...

In The Scotsman today, an article about the trial states: 'The tape was played to the court, and a voice, said by Mr McNeilage to be Sheridan, was heard stating that he had "made the biggest mistake of my life by confessing something in front of 19 … c****.'

A more detailed quote of this part of the tape in The Herald article on 8 October reads: “I then make the biggest mistake of my life by confessing something in front of 19 people. What am I doing confessing to these c****?”

Given that Sheridan was aware after the so-called '9/11 meeting' that there was a minority of four who had attended this executive who rejected the United Left members version of events, why would he refer to his own supporters as 'c****'?

The Lumpen Sociologist said...

Now I don’t know exactly how the trial will affect the Scottish Socialist Party but the future for Solidarity seems poor. Party membership figures are low but I believe that at the moment the SSP outnumbers Solidarity 2 to 1 in membership and that they are having some success in recruiting left leaning nationalist supporters, people not aligned to any major grouping, there are also many individual members of the SSP who are in essence Social Democrats disillusioned by the main parties. Solidarity is an alliance between the former members of Militant still named by most as the CWI but who have just changed there name to Socialist Party Scotland and the Socialist Workers Party.
Militant, CWI to Socialist Party Scotland, a move that has brought ridicule from all sides, as this seems childish in the extreme. Solidarity is dead in the water as far as many are concerned, the SSP are on life support but showing signs of recovery, the most amazing thing in Scottish politics a massive surge in Labour membership,on or two followers of this blog being new recruits, a step too far in my eyes. Good unbiased explanation of the current state of Solidarity here.
http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.com/2010/06/introducing-socialist-party-scotland.html

Anonymous said...

"The biggest indictment of the SSP leadership has been 1) Their performances in court, they do not act like they have been forced to be there, they seem to be eager to heap vitriol on TS's head. 2) One of their leading members sold a tape to the scab News of the World for an obscene amount of money yet remains a member in good standing."

Well if you consider all the above discussion - what TS's actions have done to the SSP, the left as a whole, and to individuals dragged into this whole thing in 2006, of course they are not going to sit back while TS accuses them of perjury (+ colluding with the state, Rupert Murdoch and whoever else ends up being implicated)! What exactly do you expect of people in such a situation? If Sheridan wins the case the implication is they are liars and perjurers. How would you react to such a situation?

On the latter point, while I believe GMcN might still be an SSP member (though am not certain), a 'leading member' is not an accurate description - he held and holds no place in the party leadership, and to my knowledge was not seriously involved in the party at a national level for many years.

Question said...

@Sceptic

"2) One of their leading members sold a tape to the scab News of the World for an obscene amount of money yet remains a member in good standing."

George McNeilage is a leading member of the SSP leadership?

Anonymous said...

What is clear from this mess is that factional based parties DO NOT WORK. Why would you want anything to do with these parties?

Denizen said...

I have taken a vow of deafness to the blog part of this blog. James's account is excellent. The trouble with the bloggers is that like the Media they are utterly partial. For heaven's sake, there is some truth out there. The problem with those who would look at the evidence for the defence is that we are not allowed to say the truth because that has to be left to the jury. However finding TS guilty on partial evidence, hearsay and complete ignorance of the testimony given - never mind the truth which has long departed in disgust - seems to be the new Scottish Self-Righteousness. The number of educated, middle-class and apparently reasonable people in the professions (including the law) who announce loudly as if anything else was offensive to their greed, that Tommy is guilty and will get his come-uppance, is a cause for shame rather than celebration. Tommy is innocent until found guilty by a jury. That is his basic right and the basic human right of all of us. For God's sake (or for Marx's sake if you wish) respect the man's rights. Respect!!!

Denizen said...

let me add this to my previous blog.
'This has become a trial by media'. Day after day prosecution witnesses show up with their prepared soundbites which they are allowed to spout in open court. These comments are produced without the least relevance to the questions asked. The media (who might well be the purveyors of some of these irrelevancies) immediately jot them down and hurry away. The irrelevancies become the story. The Sheridans reputations are trashed again and again and again. The evidence is nowhere examined but the soundbites get blaring headlines. Witness after witness has done this. I am beginning to have serious reservations.

Denizen said...

Sorry but my temper is up!
It does not matter how ethical or unethical G MCneilage was in selling the story to the NOW. What matters is whether it is undoctored recording of an actual event. This will be proved, or disproved or be left doubtful by the evidence led. Nobody should be putting forward an opinion as to its admissability as evidence on a blog. That is the role of the prosecution and defence. Sorry James, but all this bickering about irrelevancies is getting on my nerves.

Anonymous said...

The Scottish Scab Party are finished as an electoral force, even if Sheridan does go down.

am no tellin yous said...

Dennizen said
Tommy is innocent until found guilty by a jury. That is his basic right and the basic human right of all of us. For God's sake (or for Marx's sake if you wish) respect the man's rights. Respect!!!

yes 100%
Gail is innocent
Yes 100%
and that is the way it should be until the jury decides one way or another, but give a thought for the majority of prisoners in Scottish gaols who are innocent.
Yet I have been in company of women members of the SSP who have shook in recounting the trauma of the split, and I have no hesitance in saying that the Committee of the Workers International is guilty of a witches bitches slags and c@nts approach to the women who dared cross Tommy to the point that whatever they do or say in the future they have lost the political and moral battle within the Scottish Left.

Anonymous said...

there seems to be some contradiction in the SSPs position. They are claiming that Sheridan rejected their advice about not taking on the NoW. At the same time they are saying that the "minute" is accurate.

the disputed minute in court says that the SSP voted against asking Sheridan not to take the case, instead opting to allow him to take the case as long as he stood down as leader.

Could it be that some people get confused between the "party" and the McCombes group?

Iago said...

"but not to cover up a comrade's sleazy personal life"

The trouble with the old SSP is that it was more or less unquestioningly accepted that Tommy's (alleged) activities in Cupid's were sleazy. For me, it is (or would be if true) a matter for him and his wife.
Insisting that monogamous relationships are the only valid and ethical ways to express your sexuality is a completely blinkered view, and, sadly, one which I've heard too often in the discussion of this case.

sickened ex-ssp member said...

As a former SSP member I am really angry when I hear of all the backroom plotting. McCombes telling a newspaper that they were holding information that they would release to the press - BEFORE the party had decided what to do!

Green and Fox stating in court that they met Sheridan to ask him to drop the case - who gave them authority to do that?

McCombes saying he was advised not to come clean about the affidavit because of the mood at a meeting - who advised him?

All of this explains a lot about the mood at that meeting in May 2006. The membership were angry about the affidavit and the leadership's disastrous strategy about defying the courts but I couldnt understand (at the time) why some people were so desperate to stop the motion about the affidavit, I can now - they were covering for McCombes.

It was deception on a grand scale, treating members as dirt, ignoring democratic decisions, pursuing their own strategy. Their pomposity is staggering.

I left that party shortly after that, when it fell apart but still I am angry now that I have found out the extent of the manipulation by McCombes and his pals.

No wonder the SSP are so isolated these days, who would trust any of them?

Their only salvation can be if the membership clean up the house after the trial, oust McCombes and the plotters and try to build a party based on openness and democracy.

But that will be difficult as we have seen that they will do anything to cling to power, even if it means destroying their own party.

jock tamsons bairn said...

We socialists in the SSP are not stupid so don't treat us as such. The Party was damaged by people who bailed out like you. If you were unhappy with the ssp executive why leave? what did you hope to gain by leaving? You and your pals decimated the left in Scotland and for that I will never forgive you. So don't accuse others for the damage that you and your pals are responsible for.

Do you really believe that Solidarity are are our hope for the left in future years? Don't make me laugh.

Sceptic said...

I would note the bitterness you can see from SSP members inside the court is mirrored on this blog

Lets not forget that Barbara Scott, Rosie Kane and Carolyn Leckie were so enraged by Sheridan's Daily Record article that they marched off to Fettes police station with "new evidence" and essentially forced this trial on us. They then gleefully testified in court.

They could have fought Sheridan politically, using debate and argument like the left has always done, instead they ran to the cops.

No forgiving that.

James Doleman said...

jock tamsons bairn I don't like deleting your posts because you usually make good points, however sticking the word "allegedly" in brackets is not enough to cover that sort of stuff.

Anonymous said...

Sceptic.. That could read "Sheridan could have fought NOTW/his political opponents politically, like the left has always done, instead he ran to the bourgeois courts, allegedly according to the crown based on a series of lies"

Anonymous said...

Come of it Spectic - Tommy trousered £200,000 out of the defamation action. No amount of "political fighting" is going to assuage that.

Anonymous said...

@lago (5.01am)

"The trouble with the old SSP is that it was more or less unquestioningly accepted that Tommy's (alleged) activities in Cupid's were sleazy. For me, it is (or would be if true) a matter for him and his wife.
Insisting that monogamous relationships are the only valid and ethical ways to express your sexuality is a completely blinkered view, and, sadly, one which I've heard too often in the discussion of this case."

Hi Lago, apologies for the use of such shorthand, allow me to make mine - and I'd imagine the SSP's - position clearer. I've nothing against any and all sorts of freely chosen sexual and relationship choices anyone might make, and similarly the leadership of the SSP - allegedly - didn't have a problem with TS admitting to the allegations in public and remaining a leading representative of the party. The problem was - as with Bill Clinton, who (according to SSP testimony) was mentioned as a comparison at the executive meeting - that TS is alleged to have wanted to lie about it, in order to protect his own "family man" image (some of you may recall newspaper spreads of his wedding pictures, etc.) and the pretence of fidelity. In other words it was TS's values - or at least those of his public persona and his family life - that were offended by his (alleged) personal behaviour - not those of the SSP.

(Of course some of the details that have since emerged are more problematic from a socialist and feminist point-of-view. While the cupids visit was apparently arranged between consenting adults, other allegations involve using prostitutes and cupids does have links to the sex industry as well. Furthermore - if the allegations are true - then the way TS and his legal representatives has behaved in court towards ex-sexual partners is absolutely reprehensible, and hugely misogynistic.

James Doleman said...

@lago (5.01am) "The trouble with the old SSP is that it was more or less unquestioningly accepted that Tommy's (alleged) activities in Cupid's were sleazy. For me, it is (or would be if true) a matter for him and his wife. Insisting that monogamous relationships are the only valid and ethical ways to express your sexuality is a completely blinkered view, and, sadly, one which I've heard too often in the discussion of this case." Hi Lago, apologies for the use of such shorthand, allow me to make mine - and I'd imagine the SSP's - position clearer. I've nothing against any and all sorts of freely chosen sexual and relationship choices anyone might make, and similarly the leadership of the SSP - allegedly - didn't have a problem with TS admitting to the allegations in public and remaining a leading representative of the party. The problem was - as with Bill Clinton, who (according to SSP testimony) was mentioned as a comparison at the executive meeting - that TS is alleged to have wanted to lie about it, in order to protect his own "family man" image (some of you may recall newspaper spreads of his wedding pictures, etc.) and the pretence of fidelity. In other words it was TS's values - or at least those of his public persona and his family life - that were offended by his (alleged) personal behaviour - not those of the SSP. (Of course some of the details that have since emerged are more problematic from a socialist and feminist point-of-view. While the cupids visit was apparently arranged between consenting adults.

[edited as it mentions allegations not yet made in court] sorry

Anonymous said...

James - you seem to have accidentally allowed my post then copied it out in your own with the offending passage removed.

However I would add that the allegations came out and were widely reported during the 2006 civil case.

The Lumpen Sociologist said...

Are you going to publish the deleted posts after all this is over James, would make interesting reading, .........

James Doleman said...

As they have not come out in this case I'd rather just leave it there for now.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough.

Anonymous said...

jock tamsons bairn, i didnt say i joine solidarity, i left the ssp because it was finished, when i now see the extent of the deception from the 'leaders' my decision is more than vindicated.

If I see the members deal with mccombes, mcneilage leckie et all, i might rejoin

Anonymous said...

Any truth in the rumour that James is planning on publishing a book of deleted posts?

Anonymous said...

We also have the "official files" to look forward to, wonder what they will reveal in 30, 70, 100 years time.

James Doleman said...

That would be a pretty repetitive book anon!

Fantasist said...

Could George Galloway not start a resurgence of te left in Scotland? e is considering standing as an MSP, and could probably get a Glasgow List seat.

Anonymous said...

And be laughed out of town by every normal person in Glasgow.

Anonymous said...

Fantasist - ROFL !!!! George Galloway??

James Doleman said...

Looks like fantasist was right on the money

http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=7118

iain brown said...

i am furious at previous remarks re CWI(actually now Socialist Party Scotland)by blogger "who had no hesitance in saying were guilty of a witches,bitches,slags & c+++s approach to women who dare cross Tommy). I have never been a member or close sympathiser of them having had many past and present sharp disagreements.I can mainly only refer to my experience in Dundee over 20 odd years.But i can categorically state that none of their members have come out with anything like this at any time.And i would confidently wager £200k that no other socialist(SSP members include)could say otherwise. If any individual(s) have and that means from all organisations,then they should have been jumped apon from a great height.But to say this about a whole party is deplorable.And as to them all being mysogenists is patently pathetic and doubly insulting to their women comrades who played prominent roles inside the SSP for years.Gladly the political and personal relationships locally have been much less accrimonious. We have all known and often worked with each other for years and rest assured this would not have been the case if the CWI/SPS were remotely like they have been characterised.I will end by reiterating my anger.Seems the more these kind of people are on the back foot,the more vicious their vitriol becomes.Little wonder that so many have problems being in the same room,let alone the same party.

Anonymous said...

If you honestly think that members of the CWI didn't use those words during the crisis in the SSP (especially during the events of May 28th National Council) you are incredibly deluded.

May 28th said...

Iain, CWI were part and parcel of the baying mob at the May 28th 2006 National, and I heard that kind of misogynist language used again and again at one of the most horrendous lynch mob style gatherings I've ever had the misfortune to attend, so please save your outrage.

If you weren't there then count yourself lucky!

Pay Up said...

Guess you owe me 200k cos I heard them.

James Doleman said...

Lets leave it there peeps, that meeting has been part of the case so lets leave it.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough but we can't be having blatant lies about the nature of that NC

Anonymous said...

sheridan didnt ever refer to anyone as witches but the legend that he did has become almost a fact

Iago said...

@ Anonymous, Nov 7th, 11:19PM (can't you all choose NAMES????)

You said:
Hi Lago, apologies for the use of such shorthand, allow me to make mine - and I'd imagine the SSP's - position clearer. I've nothing against any and all sorts of freely chosen sexual and relationship choices anyone might make, and similarly the leadership of the SSP - allegedly - didn't have a problem with TS admitting to the allegations in public and remaining a leading representative of the party. The problem was - as with Bill Clinton, who (according to SSP testimony) was mentioned as a comparison at the executive meeting - that TS is alleged to have wanted to lie about it, in order to protect his own "family man" image (some of you may recall newspaper spreads of his wedding pictures, etc.) and the pretence of fidelity. In other words it was TS's values - or at least those of his public persona and his family life - that were offended by his (alleged) personal behaviour - not those of the SSP."

I am aware that this is the official SSP position, if you like. I am not, however, certain that it is the actual position.
I have heard very senior people in the SSP refer to TS as a 'sexual predator' in conversation, for example. And perhaps you remember the issue of Frontline which was circulated immediately after the end of the civil case? In it, Carolyn Leckie writes that she had initially considered TS's activities 'not a resignation matter, but an educational matter'.

But if the SSP exec did not have any principled objection to what Tommy suposedly omitted, what would the education be about?

I think a large section of the SSP objected to sex/swingers clubs on principle, and I think that is a very bad thing.

As for the other things you mentioned (which I won't go into out of respect for James' moderating decision) : all i can say is - firstly no-one has testified that such things were admitted to at the meeting in question, and secondly, the focus of both trials so far has been on Cupid's. I haven't seen any credible evidence YET about those other allegations.

I do agree with your point about how some of the women have been treated in court though, if its all true.

Iago said...

Hi Anon, Nov 7th, 11:19pm

You said

"Hi Lago, apologies for the use of such shorthand, allow me to make mine - and I'd imagine the SSP's - position clearer. I've nothing against any and all sorts of freely chosen sexual and relationship choices anyone might make, and similarly the leadership of the SSP - allegedly - didn't have a problem with TS admitting to the allegations in public and remaining a leading representative of the party. The problem was - as with Bill Clinton, who (according to SSP testimony) was mentioned as a comparison at the executive meeting - that TS is alleged to have wanted to lie about it, in order to protect his own "family man" image (some of you may recall newspaper spreads of his wedding pictures, etc.) and the pretence of fidelity. In other words it was TS's values - or at least those of his public persona and his family life - that were offended by his (alleged) personal behaviour - not those of the SSP."


I am aware that this is the official SSP position, but not convinced it is the actual position. I have heard some very senior people within the party refer to TS as a 'sexual predator' in conversation, for example.
Then, there was the copy of Frontline circulated after the end of the civil trial. In it, Carolyn Leckie writes that she had initially considered TS' supposed admission to be 'not a resignation matter, but an educational matter'. But if the SSP exec had no principled objection to the supposedly admitted activities, what would the education be about?
I think a significant section of the SSP felt that sex/swingers clubs were objectionable in principle, and that is borne out by how many people are testifying that they were 'shocked' 'shattered' etc when they first supposedly found out. I also think that this is not a socialist position.

As for the other allegations you mention - which I won't go into out of respect for James' moderating decision - the focus on both trials so far has been on Cupid's, and I haven't seen any really credible evidence yet to back them up.
I do agree with your point about how some witnesses have been treated, if it's all true, however.

Deluge said...

Can I just say, it's not for us to say whether TS is guilty or not, that is for the jury and I will respect their decision

However, on a matter of principle, I have to take umbrage at the people who say 'going to sex cclubs is between tommy and gail and anyone who thinks otherwise is a moraliser' - there has never been any suggestion that Gail Sheridan attends, enjoys, approves of sex clubs - only 2 suggestions. A) that TS went to a sex club with 4 people, none of which were his wife, or B) TS wasn't there at all, would never do such a thing and if Gail ever caught him cheating he'd be at the bottom of the Clyde (make of that 2006 quote what you will).

TS maintains the position that he is 'clean living' and would never go to Cupids, so to hold the position that the SSP are 'moralisers' rather than lying chancers therefore means you accept that Tommy Sheridan committed perjury, otherwise TS didnt go and is just as much of a 'moraliser'

If he did go as the crown alleges, then sorry it is not a case of just having an alternative life or alternative relationship - to live that alternative relationship without one partner (Gail) 's consent and behind her back would be a textbook case of an abusive relationship. Having an affair, which involves feelings presumably, or going to clubs for casual sex (which doesn't involve feelings but rather a wish to cheat on your partner in a 'kinky', sterile, distant, anonymous environment, is entirely different and clearly shows a lack of respect for your wife. To justify the position that going to Cupids is morally ok we'd have to presume Gail's consent, which there is not a shred of evidence for.

So, it's ok that some people hold the position I've outlined (what you've falsely called 'moralising') and it's ok that some people would rather not think if it that way and would rather not judge their pal, so there you go there's your explanation to why a few people's opinion on Cupids is different from the SSP's position, and there's nothing sinister or Mary Whitehouse about it.

The Lumpen Sociologist said...

The phrase a "Cabal of witches" leaked to the Scottish media was allegedly from a source close to Tommy, around 2006, I have rarely seen it attributed to comrade T himself but as with the man who Shot Liberty Valance when the legend becomes fact print the legend, these women comrades were also labled Gender Police by another source close to Comrade T.

Iago said...

Hi Deluge

"
TS maintains the position that he is 'clean living' and would never go to Cupids, so to hold the position that the SSP are 'moralisers' rather than lying chancers therefore means you accept that Tommy Sheridan committed perjury, otherwise TS didnt go and is just as much of a 'moraliser'"


Without wanting cross the boundaries on what it is possible to comment on, I do believe that it is indeed *possible* that TS is a perjurer. My comment was intended to discuss the broader issues arising from the case and the attitudes within the SSP, not the Sheridans' guilt or innocence.
I also never used the word 'moralising' which you falsely attribute to me.

"If he did go as the crown alleges, then sorry it is not a case of just having an alternative life or alternative relationship - to live that alternative relationship without one partner (Gail) 's consent and behind her back would be a textbook case of an abusive relationship. Having an affair, which involves feelings presumably, or going to clubs for casual sex (which doesn't involve feelings but rather a wish to cheat on your partner in a 'kinky', sterile, distant, anonymous environment, is entirely different and clearly shows a lack of respect for your wife."

No, I don't agree that cheating on your partner constitutes abuse of that partner. It may constitute an abuse of the trust your partner placed in you, but that is not the same thing. Gail's integrity as a person would not have been threatened. And, it is for Gail and Gail alone, not anyone else, to determine what the consequences of that should be for the relationship, if the allegations are true. Some people consider cheating to be the worst thing someone in a relationship can do, others do not.

"To justify the position that going to Cupids is morally ok we'd have to presume Gail's consent, which there is not a shred of evidence for."

Whether it is morally ok depends on your own concept of sexual morality. Some people would not see homosexual sex as morally ok, others would see extramarital sex as morally wrong. Society is evolving to a point where we give each other the freedom to decide our own values and standards. This should be the case here.
Moreover, we have no evidence about what Gail's attitude was or would have been either way, beyond her own testimony at the trial - and those who think Tommy perjured himself surely think Gail perjured herself too, so that is not conclusive. And in any case, it's a private matter for the two of them. I would not want someone I work with expressing their opinion on my domestic arrangements, which are nothing to do with them, and the same would go for parliamentary colleagues and fellow executive members.

someone said...

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JudgeNot said...

That's a very interesting debate between Deluge and Iago - but either way it's premised on the notion of TS being guilty, which of course has not been proven as of now.

Deluge does make some convincing points - but I still think that even if TS had done something as morally reprehensible as what is alleged it is questionable whether it would necessarily be for the SSP to police what its members do in their private lives. I tend to be with Iago on that point.

Nevertheless I also understand that a political party, especially a socialist party, ought to set a high standard of personal conduct for its members, especially those in positions of leadership. For example one could not seriously claim to be opposed to the oppression of women whilst at the same time engaging in conduct which perpetrated and/or perpetuated such oppression...

In any case nowadays it is naive to think that one can draw a dividing line between the personal and the political - especially in an environment where the media is as powerful and intrusive as it is in the UK. Any politician of any persuasion who thinks otherwise is obviously heading for trouble.

I take the position that TS is innocent until proven guilty and so he deserves the support of all socialists. I simply don't understand how anyone on the Left could think otherwise, especially given TS's outstanding track record in countless campaigns over the years.

Granted, if I were privy to any evidence to the contrary then I might think differently - but as of right now I have not seen or heard any evidence that convinces me of TS's guilt.

So far we have only heard from the Crown's witnesses and as far as I'm concerned "it's not over til it's over".

Iago said...

Hi JudgeNot

Couple of things:

You said "
In any case nowadays it is naive to think that one can draw a dividing line between the personal and the political - especially in an environment where the media is as powerful and intrusive as it is in the UK. Any politician of any persuasion who thinks otherwise is obviously heading for trouble."

and while that is true, I don't think it necessarily would be the end of Tommy's career if it came out that he had been unfaithful to Gail. We can think of lots of politicians who have cheated and survived : Robin Cook, Chris Huhne, Paddy Ashdown, Bill Clinton.
And others who have cheated but did not survive : David Mellors, Iris Robinson.
THe difference is that politicians who lecture others on how to live have no credibility left when they cheat, what the public hates is hypocrisy.
Despite unconvincing attempts to suggest that Tommy's family photos, etc were meant to build an image of him as a 'clean family man', I saw nothing in his conduct or his public comments that suggested he was trying to lecture others on how to live. So, I don't think the voters would necessarily have turned against him.

As for the conduct which perpetuates oppression of women... I don't want to try and get you to say something that will see your comment deleted, but just to clarify, are you suggesting that visiting a sex club such as Cupid's is inherently oppressive to women? Or are you referring to other allegations (not necessary to specify what they are at this time)????


Final point : now that it has been admitted in open court that McCombes and Leckie had an affair, surely they deserve equally as much - or equally as little - opprobrium as Sheridan ???

Anonymous said...

"Final point : now that it has been admitted in open court that McCombes and Leckie had an affair, surely they deserve equally as much - or equally as little - opprobrium as Sheridan ???"

But people already knew, and they didn't deny it, or take a defamation action out about it.

JudgeNot said...

Iago - no far from it, wasn't suggesting that at all. In fact I actually agree with your comments.

JudgeNot said...

Of course it's not really comparing like with like to compare the allegations made against TS with the alleged affair between AM and CL. I don't recall any allegations about the private lives of AM and CL being splashed all over the NoTW. Besides, compared to TS, relatively few people had ever heard of AM or even CL - so maybe nobody cared what they did anyway?

On another subject: there are those (including some professional PR people) who have tried to say that even if the allegations against TS are false then for tactical reasons he was somehow wrong to have brought the defamation action. I don't buy that. If something is a malicious lie then the person affected by that lie has every right to sue. That's true whether someone is rich or poor, in the public eye in the way that TS is, or is a person who is not a public figure. This has been reaffirmed time and again - notably in the interesting ECtHR case of Pfeifer v Austria.

Of course there's a difference between the right to sue and the act of lying whilst doing so - but then that's what the jury in this case has yet to determine...

Iago said...

Anon 1:48pm

"
But people already knew, and they didn't deny it, or take a defamation action out about it."


Agreed, but that wasn't my point. It's about what conduct socialists should regard as acceptable - not what they should or should not take out defamation cases over.