Sunday 2 January 2011

Defend Socialist Unity from Murdoch

Incredible. In the wake of the Sheridan trial Euan McColm, political editor of the Scottish edition of News of the World has called for the police to take action against Socialist Unity. John Wight has the story here.

McColm takes umbrage at threats supposedly made against witnesses for the prosecution in SU's comments boxes. While the recent threads were some of
the most unpleasant I've seen (you've got to ask what someone new to socialism made of them), this reflects real life feelings around an issue that has become a dividing line for large parts of the far left. What threats there are were the kind of silly bravado you expect to surface in any heated internet dispute. If one wants to be consistent, applying McColm's definition of 'threat' would see about 90% of Britain's political blogging scene come under police scrutiny.

This move has to be located in the context of Murdoch's campaign against the Sheridans and their supporters. Having seen Tommy lose the court case it is not enough
NOTW appeal the original civil action that started this whole mess. Murdoch's minions have to demonise Tommy and anyone associated with the defence. If successful NOTW's appeal will bankrupt Tommy, but News International want to see him and, conveniently, the politics he represents destroyed.

I've made my feelings about the Sheridan case
pretty clear. But now this has spilled over into an outright media witchhunt against a section of the left, the labour movement cannot stand aside. Murdoch and his goons should back off, and Socialist Unity be defended from any and all attempts to shut it down.


Alex Dawson said...

I suspect both myself and many other NUJ activists would be keener to help out and support it if another post on the blog this morning hadn't called for the sacking of journalistic staff (and NUJ members) on the Morning Star and parroted exactly the same tired ideas about the future of the journalistic trade as the likes of Murdoch do all the time.

Anonymous said...

Do you know what the NOTW actually said about this?

To be honest SU is such an embarassment at the moment I'd want to see for myself before making my mind up whether this is realy an attack on the left or more fantasy intent on permnanently dividing us.

Lobby Ludd said...

You are, of course, right.

Unfortunately, going by the current nonsense on Socialist Unity, I doubt whether the best defence will come from that quarter.

Derek Wall said...

Readers may enjoy this competition, the only election the Liberal Democrats are likely to enjoy

Phil said...

You know I think that piece was ill-judged Loz, but I have stood up for far worse blogs in the past. The defunct Tory Politico and Harry's Place springs to mind - I'll leave it up to readers to determine who is the more despicable of the two!

Anonymous said...

Is there any end to the extent that the Sheridan business has damaged the British far left? Surely the protagonists can step back from their strident alignments and recognize that the whole saga-- regardless of Sheridan's guilt or innocence -- has been an unmitigated disaster .

The tragedy is not so much that it's one man's decision to follow a certain course and consequence but that the fall out is a symtom of a diseased far left. I mean the Sheridan issue was the 'accident' waiting to happen . It has congealed everything that was wrong with British socialist politics: the waring tribes, the river of blood alignments, the ready shibboleths, the circle spirit, etc.

Haven't you all had enough or do you all want to go to hell in a hand cart while you abuse each another oblivious to the direction?

Who needs a proactive bourgeoisie when the left is so set on its own self harm?

And everything that was tactically disastrous these last ten years is refracted in and has merged into the Sheridan storyline.

Phil said...

I find it hard to disagree with what Anonymous says here.

By going after the Sheridan-supporting far left this way the Murdoch press will be making sure the wound the case inflicted will run, and run, and run.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile on the "Inspector Gadget" cop-blog, an anonymous poster has called for baton guns to be used on students ("rioting yobs")
Others have debated how to assault student leader Simon Hardy without breaking the law and one said he'd like to stub out a flare in his eyes.

Phil said...

First anonymous, the column in question said:

"Andy Newman, boss of Ultra-left website Socialist Unity has been doing his best to stir up hatred against those who gave evidence against Sheridan. He’s publishing veiled threats against them on his site, cops should shut him down-NOW"

I don't think it gets more clearer than that.

Anonymous said...

Well apart from 'Ultra-Left' the first sentence is hard to argue against, isnt it?

What does the second sentence amount to? If they realy wanted to shut down SU wouldnt they just make a formal complain to the police? Havnt they got their own lawyers?

If they havnt done that my suspicion is that they are just trying to draw attention to SU as it goes about destroying both socilaist unity and credibility.

Who needs a witchunt when we are our own worst enemies?

Anonymous said...

the comments about SU certainly never appeared in the online version of Euan McColm's article.
I've yet to see evidence that they appeared in the print edition either.

Imposs1904 said...

I agree it's a serious business but you had to raise a smile at the description of Andy as "ultra-left".

If I didn't know any better, I'd suggest the journalist is a poacher turned scumbag journalist . . . so to speak.

Lobby Ludd said...

Phil quotes from the article:

"Andy Newman, boss of Ultra-left website Socialist Unity has been doing his best to stir up hatred against those who gave evidence against Sheridan. He’s publishing veiled threats against them on his site, cops should shut him down-NOW"

Anonymous says:

"What does the second sentence amount to? If they realy wanted to shut down SU wouldnt they just make a formal complain to the police? Havnt they got their own lawyers?"

It's not clear who 'they' are by Anonymous's reckoning . But such talk certainly keeps things stewing, as no doubt pointing this out does.

Denzil said...

Phil you're good at applying an alternative logic to things, so what do you make of the statement by Ian Hamilton QC on The Firm website when he says:

'Why did Coulson hand over £200,000 when the police could have got the same evidence for nothing? Either the recording was evidence or it was not evidence and, if it was fabricated, no amount of money could make it sweet.'

In other words, he is saying, if Bob Bird had gone to the police and told them that George McNeilage had a tape of Tommy Sheridan confessing, then the police would have gone around to George's and confiscated it - all for no cost!

To me this insight blows George McNeilage's tape out of the water. Why would Notw pay all that money for something it didn't need to pay for? It begs a question, doesn't it, surely?

Phil said...

I guess John Wight entirely made the story up then anonymous, in full knowledge that anyone would look at the Scottish edition of News of the World and make him look a prize pillock later on.

Denzil, there have been plenty of occasions when News of the World has handed cash over for stories relating to invents that break the law. In this instance, the aftermath of the defamation action, Murdoch's minions (who are in the tradition of 'working toward' Murdoch, rather than being dictated to personally) simply purchased the tape and made a splash with it as a means of shoring up their own reputation and damaging that of Tommy.

IMO the tape is genuine. If it was a fake then why didn't the defence introduce experts to take it apart?

None of this alters the fact that McNeilage crossed a very clear line in making and flogging the tape. Nor that the pro-Sheridan section of the Scottish left should be defended against press attack.

Anonymous said...

SU has done much to stoke the fires of the Sheridan debate on the left. So much so that the name SU has become an oxymoron and protestations of of innocence while 'legally' may be correct; in political terms they are a smokescreen for the poisonous campaign the site has run against the SSP.