Painful to watch, and I don't just mean the shaky camcorder camera work. This clip posted on Youtube is, I'm guessing, something that has been put together at short notice by the United Left, the main anti-Sheridan grouping within the Scottish Socialist Party. By all accounts, the two opposing sides are now entrenched and the National Conference of the SSP, which has been brought forward to October of this year, will be the occasion when the rest of us will see who will be left standing from the political fall out between Sheridan and his former colleagues.
Sheridan and his supporters - which includes the Socialist Worker and the CWI platforms within the SSP amongst others - will be contesting the leading positions at the Conference, and I understand that Sheridan will be standing against Colin Fox for the 'leadership' of the SSP. I'm sure if the Conference and the leadership contest was held today, Sheridan and his supporters would be odds on to win but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a greater fall out in the time between now and October, and I wonder if Tommy will still be considered the 'working class hero' a few months from now.
From following the case and the reaction to the verdict from a few thousand miles away, it does appear that the immediate reaction to the verdict is that - whether he was telling the truth or not - most people are happy that Sheridan gave the News of the World a bloody nose. Not sure how those same people feel about Sheridan promptly selling his story to the Daily Record, but they seem to be happy to overlook the fact that Sheridan accused eleven colleagues of being liars; Some of whom were his closest political allies, spending the last twenty years working alongside him in the Militant Tendency, Scottish Militant Labour and the SSP and, whatever else you think about the politics of all concerned, were as integral to the growth of the SSP as Sheridan himself was.
And maybe the thought of SSP members going into the witness box and giving evidence that would corroborate part of the News of the World story against Sheridan does stick in the throat, but I find it less than credible that there was a grand conspiracy involving the News of the World, the 'Establishment' and political opponents of Sheridan within the SSP - "the mother of all stitch ups", no less - that came together to bring down Sheridan. It's the stuff of an over inflated ego and bad political fiction, and my cynicism about the case is compounded by the fact that opportunists such as the Socialist Worker Platform have lined up behind Sheridan. If anyone is seeking to make political capital out of this whole sorry business, it's not the United Left but the Socialist Worker and the CWI Platforms hanging onto the coat tails of Sheridan.
Whatever else happens, the Scottish Socialist Party, as we now know it, is going to be shattered into a thousand pieces.