Saturday, 23 June 2007

Brothers my arse



Most of you will probably remember the rather amusing public meeting held by Solidarity just before the election, when Tommy Sheridan and George Galloway referred to each other as "brothers" during their oh-so-original thunderously booming speeches. To those of you who -by some hideously bizarre paradox of the universe- believe that Galloway is even vaguely associated with the concept of principle and honesty, I am extremely sorry to bring you the following revelation.

Yesterday's Herald reported that RESPECT is planning to start organizing north of the border. Our ultra-ninja-squirrel-informants had already informed us that this was being planned, with Galloway proposing at RESPECT's last National Council the setting up of a committee to investigate the possibility of establishing RESPECT presence in Scotland (or is it North Britain?). Back then, I did not want to comment on that filthy idea back then, as there were no other sources and the Squirrel Vanguard always protects its informants. Now however, it's all out in the open and thus, I can rip into it.

From what I know, Galloway is not at this moment planning to set up yet another party of the left (although whether RESPECT can be considered "left" is rather debatable at this point), but rather, as the Herald puts it, to forge a new alliance, no doubt under his shining leadership. It is quite telling however that, again according to the Herald piece, "a source close to the Respect leader said yesterday the Respect-Solidarity pact not to compete with each other 'expired with the election'".

The questions surrounding this potential move are manifold. First, assuming for the sake of argument that it was even theoretically possible for the strange mixture that is Squalidarity to somehow align with RESPECT, it would be rather interesting to see how the two "brothers" will resolve the matter of who gets to be the Great-Wise-Dear-Sunoftheparty-Leader. In Squalidarity, the Sheridan-Byrne co-convenorship was such only in name, with the Tangerine Man always in the spotlight and Byrne being a grey blur. Neither Galloway nor Sheridan however strike me as the kind of person who's willing to share, let alone forfeit, their Caesarian post. It seems to me that Galloway and the SWP have realised that Sheridan is going to get his arse handed to him by the Scots legal establishment and are preparing to abandon him. Some brotherhood right there!

What's more striking however is the sheer dumbness of the whole project. Firstly, there's the cadre problem. No one in Solidarity, apart from the SWP, would contemplate joining RESPECT Scotland. Everybody knows that CWI-Scotland hate the swips. In a discussion I had on the now no longer public Militant blog, one of the CWI Squalids was busting his arse to convince me that Solidarity is not RESPECT-Scotland. If Solidarity does become RESPECT-Scotland and CWI stay in it, they will face the contradiction of their Scottish group being part of an organization that's in opposition to their pet project in England. The non-platform Squalids on the other hand are almost exclusively pro-independence Sheridan worshipers. It is rather hard to imagine them joining a unionist coalition that is mostly known for being led by George Galloway. While this might not seem much of a setback, considering that the main activist base of Solidarity in the Central Belt are the swips, it should be kept in mind that the distinctive characteristic of Solidarity is that the bulk of its cadre is concentrated in rural areas like the Highlands and Islands and the South of Scotland, where there is little, if any SWP presence.

Secondly, it appears that the SWP all-wise Central Committee has failed to realise that the RESPECT model has next to zero chance of working in Scotland. The Muslim community in Scotland is not nearly as politically important as it is south of the border and more importantly, there is already a figure in Glasgow around which war-resenting Muslims can rally. Bashir Ahmad was elected to Holyrood from the SNP regional list, becoming the first ever Asian MSP. Similarly, the other half of RESPECT's politics, George Galloway, has little, if any, popularity in Scotland. On what basis a Scottish RESPECT could function remains a mistery to this humble Squirrel Lair.

Finally, there's also the possibility that the initiative will create trouble within RESPECT itself, as I suppose that the more principled, less colonially minded organizations that participate in this strange blend of anti-war politics, socialism and political Islam, will not be quite happy about the move.

Bizarrely, this might even end up benefiting the far left in Scotland, by replacing Solidarity with something even more idiotic and even less popular.

6 comments:

Charlie Marks said...

Was waiting for you to comment on this. Personally, i think it's a mistake for galloway to get involved in political matters in scotland. He's a left-unionist, most socialists in scotland are pro-independence; he's the odd man out.

I've said this elsewhere, but i think there needs to be regroupment, and it needs to happen before Sheridan winds up in jail for something other than protesting... The man took defeat in the elections without kicking up a fuss, any chance of him conceding that there's no point in having to electoral socialist parties in one country?

Korakious said...

Not likely. The schism caused by Sheridan's antics had deep personal implications and then of course, there are the political matters too. How can people who believe destroying a socialist party for the ego and image of the Dear Leader ever be considered socialists?

SSP policy is to accept any Solidarity members who might wish to rejoin, but nobody is prepared to allow people who were instrumental to the split back in.

Andy Bowden said...

The court case, IF it goes ahead, and IF Sheridan is found guilty may devastate Solidaritys standing publically, may not affect the organisation internally in terms of possible defections etc.

Remember that the majority of Solidarity members were in the SSP - they know the facts of the matter, their position is that the SSP should have covered it up/confessed to more than it should have/orchestrated the appearance of witnesses.

None of that will likely go away if Sheridan is found guilty. And many Solidarity members will honestly believe he has been singled out by the state etc and will still defend him even if he was jailed.

Bear in mind Solidarity can, with some measure of credibility, point to the whole thing as a joke, who cares if he lied etc.

Particularly if Sheridan recieves a brutal sentence of 7-10 years - entirely possible for 'double perjury' under Scots law.

So we have to prepare for worst case scenarios, and bear in mind that unless we can position ourselves carefully over the next few months and year, while Solidarity might be fucked that does not equal a massive return in credibility for the SSP.

Korakious said...

Hey Andy, I take your points!

While Tommy getting fucked might not affect the allegiance of the non-platform members of Solidarity, it will most definitely mean the defection of the swips. The whole rationale behind their backing of Sheridan was, apart from hurting the SSP, that he was the vote winner. If he is in gaol, or even if the media decide to smite him, he is no use to them. Remember too that it is the swips that are the main ground forces of the Squalids in the central belt.

Note also that there apart from perjury, Sheridan faces the possibility of intimidate charges. This would not go down well with anybody; at least that's what I think.

The thing is, if Sheridan is sent to prison, Solidarity will have nothing to focus on. Sheridan is all Solidarity is about. They have little, if any, core politics apart from TOMMY SHERIDAN!!!1111!!!, ban airguns and Scottish Kilts for Scottish soldiers.

That of course is not to say that we shouldn't prepare for worst case scenarios. May 3rd taught us that.

Renegade Eye said...

Is Respect a mass organization or a party? Do you need to be an SWP member to join?

I agree with every word you said about Gallaway.

Korakious said...

RESPECT is a strange coalition of left groups, Muslims and anti war activists.

Its membership is falling and there was a story last year that it was less than that of RESPECT.

One doesn't have to be an SWP member to join RESPECT, in fact, one can very well be a reactionary piece of crap as long as they don't support the war. The SWP however is in control of RESPECT.