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Tommy Sheridan – targeted because he is a socialist

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Socialist Worker is appalled that an alliance of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World and the police has secured a perjury verdict against socialist Tommy Sheridan.
Issue 2233
Tommy and Gail Sheridan leave court after hearing the verdict (Pic: Duncan Brown)
Tommy and Gail Sheridan leave court after hearing the verdict (Pic: Duncan Brown)

Socialist Worker is appalled that an alliance of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World and the police has secured a perjury verdict against socialist Tommy Sheridan.

Those who gave evidence against him should reflect that only the rich and the powerful will rejoice when, as is very likely, Tommy goes to jail.

The blog which has produced excellent reports on the case tells how, ‘At 3.40pm today the jury returned to the court and gave their verdict. A hushed court heard the jury’s spokesperson declare that on a majority, the verdict was one of guilty on the charge of perjury.

‘The Clerk of the court then asked if there were any parts of the indictment the jury wished to delete. The court was told that the jury wished to remove the parts of the charge relating to Anvar Khan and part of the charge that had said Sheridan had a sexual relationship with Katrine Trolle.

‘The court then heard from the Advocate Depute who informed the judge of Tommy Sheridan’s ‘criminal record’, which he said were charges relating to ‘protest activities’. The judge Lord Bracadale then asked Tommy Sheridan to rise and informed him that he would continue to grant him bail but when he returned for sentencing, on 26 January 2011 Sheridan should ‘expect to be sentenced to prison’.’

Tommy’s real crime was to be a principled socialist and then to win a libel case against the Murdoch press.

That is why he was singled out for a perjury case, an extraordinarily unusual procedure.

Tommy was one of the foremost leaders of the great anti-poll tax movement during Margaret Thatcher’s Tory regime.

He was jailed for his actions, but still managed to be elected a councillor. Later he was voted in as a socialist Member of the Scottish Parliament.

The case that concluded today dates back to 2004, when Andy Coulson, now David Cameron’s media chief, was editor of the News of the World. The newspaper, one of whose journalists has been jailed for illegally tapping phones, ran a story about Sheridan’s private life.

Sheridan sued the paper for libel and, in August 2006, he was awarded damages of £200,000.

News International responded with fury. It demanded that Sheridan be hounded down for daring to fight back.

The Lothian and Borders police launched a major investigation that cost over £2 million.

Now Sheridan is found guilty but Coulson, who gave evidence in the case, escapes without charge

Solidarity, which the SWP supports, has put out the following statement:

‘Scotland’s Socialist Movement today reiterates our support for our co-convenor Tommy Sheridan despite the jury’s verdict following the most expensive perjury investigation in Scottish legal history.

‘Tommy Sheridan’s only crime has been to speak truth to power for as long as he has been involved in socialist politics.

‘For over four long years, Tommy, his wife, their family and other members of Solidarity have found themselves under investigation by the police and the crown office following his libel victory over The News of the World in 2006. During this time and despite the pressure we have found ourselves under, Solidarity as a party has remained united and committed to raising socialist arguments and campaigning on the issues that matter to ordinary people.

‘We will enter 2011 determined to campaign and fight with renewed vigour against the public sector cuts and austerity measures introduced by a class of politicians determined to make ordinary people pay the price for the bailout of the banks.We will continue to oppose illegal wars, campaign for justice for the Palestinians, support asylum seekers and stand shoulder to shoulder with trade unionists and communities fighting back against the cuts.

‘We will demonstrate SOLIDARITY WITH those fighting against low pay and oppression. SOLIDARITY AGAINST poverty and discrimination in all its forms. SOLIDARITY FOR an independent socialist nuclear free Scotland.

‘Between 1999 and 2007, Tommy Sheridan was a fantastic advocate on behalf of the poor, the disadvantaged, the vulnerable and the working class of Scotland as an MSP in the Holyrood Parliament.

‘During this time he had an unparalleled record in raising the issues that matter most in an effective and mature manner.

‘Tommy took only the average wage of a skilled worker, donating the rest back to the socialist movement and worked tirelessly to build the socialist cause. He is a working class fighter who has waged war on poverty and injustice where ever he has found it.

‘We in Solidarity are proud to call ourselves comrades and friends of Tommy Sheridan.’

For full coverage of the trial go to

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