Our Enemies Lie Before Us 234

William Wallace did not turn to Andrew Murray at Stirling Bridge and say “I am not fighting alongside you, I hear you’re hard on your tenants.”

A declaration of interest. At the SNP conference in Glasgow in March I was feeling very down. Having been rejected at candidate vetting by the SNP leadership, and the fact leaked to the press with resulting brouhaha, I was effectively cold-shouldered at what was a very managed loyalist mass rally. I spent a lot of time on my own and people I knew were positively walking away to avoid me.

As regular readers know I am bipolar, and I know that when I am severely depressed my perception can be wrong. But in the SNP club a few weeks later a very sensible gentleman told me he and his wife had been appalled at the way I was treated at the conference. I am pretty confident it was not a distorted perception.

Anyway, I was sitting on my own in the conference hall when Michelle Thomson came and sought me out, sat with me and chatted to me. I have no doubt that her motive was simple personal kindness. I should add that the next day Chris Law did much the same.

In Scotland we have had five days of Michelle being treated by the media as though she were the Yorkshire Ripper. The BBC, who never once managed to ask Jim Murphy about the Henry Jackson Society, have been on 24 hour Thomsonwatch, including aggressive doorstepping a la Sky News.

I am not going to set out the detail of the case here, but highly recommend that you read Wings on the distortion of the issues, and Lallands on the legal position. Both are excellent, but to me neither quite clearly delineates the most essential point.

To preface that point, let me restate that Michelle is not under investigation, and her own role is unclear.

The key point is that at no time was any vendor selling their house ripped off. This is not a case of distressed people dispossessed, and the attempts by media and politicians to make it appear that way are tendentious.

The worst that allegedly happened is this. A and B are in cahoots. Mr Smith sells his property to A for an agreed market price. A then sells to B for market price plus 20 grand. The bank gives a mortgage for this, but A quietly gives the extra 20 grand back to B under the table.

The fraud is on the mortgage company which has been tricked into giving a higher mortgage than it otherwise would have. The fraud in no way harms the original vendor. The fraud does not even harm the mortgage company provided the mortgage is paid – and there is no accusation of default. What the mortgage company has lost is that it has as security an interest over a property with a false value.

But again, unless there were a default, it has actually helped the mortgage company too as in the weird world of banking its larger loan is an asset not a liability on its books.

So it is a fraud, but not one perpetrated on poor vendors. It is a trick played on the ludicrous banking system. Clever, dishonest but not morally outrageous. I repeat again, there is no evidence or even legal accusation that Michelle Thomson was involved in any of this. But in any case it is nowhere near as immoral as starting an illegal war with consequent deaths of millions of people. Lets get a grip.

I have never claimed to be perfect. All of us have done things wrong in our past. For me the Independence referendum campaign transcended all that. It was a millenarian movement, a time when people envisaged a world renewed and more just. That phrase about living in the first days of a better nation carried enormous resonance. It was the defining moment of my own life despite coming in its Autumn. Those of us in the frontline of the Yes campaign underwent a kind of emotional rebirth. Sins were wiped clean. It was a sacramental experience, and will lead on to that better world in an Independent Scotland in short time.

It sparked England’s chance for change with Corbyn.

I don’t care what mistakes people made before the Yes campaign. By dedicating themselves to that social movement, they wiped the slate clean.

Which leads me on to Tommy Sheridan. Neither Tommy nor Michelle will thank me for lumping them together, given the very different circumstances. But the continued shunning of Sheridan by pro-Independence organisations from Rise to the SNP is ludicrous.

Most ludicrous of all is the language parroted by the left about Sheridan, that “A space containing Tommy Sheridan is not a safe space for women.” You find it here in the comment by Edward Bonobo. You find it in this article by Tommy Ball. I have had it repeated to me several times.

One answer to this is that it is even more dangerous to be in organisations that teach members to parrot catchphrases, as opposed to think.

In what way precisely is proximity to Tommy Sheridan dangerous to women? If it were true that he has a Svengali like irresistible sexual appeal – which appears to be the nub of the accusation as far as I can make out any sense from Tommy Ball’s article – then surely there is not a woman in Scottish politics not warned against it by now? Is it not rather demeaning to women to argue they would not be capable of protecting themselves from Tommy Sheridan? What precisely about being in the same “space” as Tommy Sheridan is unsafe for women? What does “space” mean in this context? Room, meeting, city? The argument about “safe space” is clearly a nonsense.

I do not know the truth about the sexual shenanigans of which Tommy was accused by Murdoch. Nor do I in the least care if they were true. I have done all that kind of stuff. Often before tea. I do know that Sheridan was jailed for perjury, and that Coulson lied in court at the same trial but the judges ruled that it was OK for Coulson to lie, but not for Sheridan. I know there are allegations that Sheridan pressured other people to lie for him. I do not know if it is true, but I have had so many friends – of both sexes – ask me over the years to give them an alibi for marital infidelity I am not shocked by that. I am afraid to say that in my younger days I have asked that myself.

None of which explains the sheer hatred and bile poured out at Sheridan. This is a man who liberated poor families from the destitution and humiliation of warrant sales, who led the anti-poll tax campaign, who sparked the Murdoch phone-hacking revelations and has been repeatedly arrested and even jailed outside Faslane – trying to make the world a “safer space” for everyone. This tribute is undoubtedly true:

You supported individuals in the community; both in parliament and in the street, you were able to use your undoubted powers of oratory to press home your cause; you led the Scottish Socialist Party to considerable electoral success; and your contributions to the anti-poll tax campaign and the abolition of warrant sales will become part of the fabric of Scottish social and political history.

It was said by Lord Bracadale as he sentenced him to three years in prison for perjury in the Murdoch case.

Tommy Sheridan proclaims his innocence, but in any event he has undoubtedly made mistakes in life. But his achievements are very important, and the continued vindictiveness of the sex-negative feminists and their followers on the Left is extreme. Tommy has been to jail. Is offender rehabilitation only something the political classes claim to believe in because they don’t actually expect to meet any ex-convicts in their sphere of life? The attempt to dress the vicious vindictiveness up as warding off a present danger to women from Tommy Sheridan is intellectually ludicrous.

I shared a platform with Tommy Sheridan at Caird Square, Dundee on Sunday. I was not asked to speak until the gloaming, when 95% of those attending had gone home, but I accepted that and got on with it because I will do anything, anywhere to promote the cause of Independence. The SNP boycott of the event because Tommy was there cannot possibly be helpful if Independence is really the aim.

The Independence movement has a vast and powerful army arraigned against us. The entire British state, their corporate masters, the transatlantic neo-cons, both state and corporate media, the security services. For God’s sake, we need to be absolutely united if we are to reach our goal.

We need all of us. We must value all of us; as people, not robots. We should not be trying to project some corporate media image of a totally fake and hypocritical groomed perfection.

We have tremendously powerful enemies. We only have each other.

Our enemies lie before us. We should not look askance at our allies.

234 thoughts on “Our Enemies Lie Before Us

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  • Alex Birnie

    I have nothing to say about Tommy Sheridan’s past. My beef is with what Solidarity are trying to do in the upcoming election, which is putting party before the Indy campaign. Without making any attempt to form an electoral pact with RISE (and vice versa), which would reduce the chances of splitting any left-leaning votes, they are calling on SNP voters to give their second votes to another Indy party (which we all know is code for Solidarity), which if even only partially successful would have the effect of guaranteeing that the SNP’s chances of gaining or retaining list seats would be reduced. NO other outcome is certain. When challenged about the possibility of electoral pacts, Solidarity members have replied with phrases like “I would have no problem with talking to anyone from RISE”, but not once has any of them said “that makes sense”. It is a sad day for the independence campaign when the most successful of the pro-Indy parties has to fight against propaganda from parties which profess to have the best interests of Indy at heart, but who are using cunning words to further their own ends.

  • Very Puzzled

    This should also be construed as a post to rally all, undivided, behind Jesus Corbyn. The way the devils have arrayed all their media assets, including the freedlands,kuennsbergs,aaronivitchs,etc, committing yellow card/red button tactical fouls all over the political park, should further spur all the forces in opposition to unite no sheridan matter what. The devils are rattled and a great opportunity will have been lost to ensure state resources are allocated to the NHS instead of bombing Syria, satanyahu was not in London just to take in the Balfour Declaration, there is great danger ahead.

  • N_

    @Tony M, on the poll tax riot:

    some people wise up at such confrontations, and some people wise down.

    Did you know there was a general election in France in June 1968 that was won by the Gaullists?

    You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

    You have obviously thought about it a lot, but not deeply – sorry. Your blanket use of “ugly”, your use of the word “anarchist”, your anti-violence position, your complete non-mention of state violence, your undifferentiated view of violence by demonstrators, and your commitment to the idea that only peacefulness is the way – they all show that.

    The riot was a success. It defeated the poll tax and it brought down Thatcher. That evening, the whole of London was buzzing with excitement and a feeling of community, of WAKING UP, of REALLY MAKING CONNECTIONS WITH PEOPLE, that has not been experienced since.

    Unfortunately it didn’t go further, and within less than a year the rulers got away with Gulf War 2.

    Holding a heavily built-up area with barricades – an area with an enormous property value – even for a few hours, defending it with violence while beginning to organise our power, to work out what tasks were necessary IN THE MOMENT and to GET THEM DONE – that was the way. That would have put the shits up the rulers even more and would have taken us even further forward.

    We might very well not be in the shit we’re in now, had things gone a lot further that day.

  • craig Post author

    Alex Birnie

    It is undeniably true that if the SNP wins all the constituency seats, it will win very few list seats. The whole point of the list system is to introduce an element of proportionality.

    It is undeniably true that if the aim were to produce the maximum number of pro-independence MSP’s, the most efficient way would be for the SNP not to stand at all on the list, and make way for other pro-Indy parties. I realise that will never happen and do not advocate it for a number of reasons. But if your aim truly is the maximum number of pro-Indy MSPs, that would be the way to achieve it and could reduce unionists to a near invisible rump.

    You are probably right to say that the divisions between RISE and Solidarity are mutual. There is much too much hatred going on. My preferred way forward, up till Independence, is for everyone just to join the SNP. Post independence it should split. That would entail the SNP leadership being a great deal less Stalinist about “discipline” however.

  • craig Post author


    The Wikipedia page on the poll tax riots seems very fair. It makes plain that the Labour movement including Militant denounced the violence while the SWP and anarchist groups broadly supported it. I am not much in favour of violence myself. But rehashing old SWP vs Militant disputes from 25 years ago is the sort of silly vindictiveness of which I speak.

  • Jon

    N_, there is not explicitly a centralised mods email address as far as I know. However I believe the Contact form (link at top of the page) works fine, and goes to Craig.

    A mod might be willing to email you, but don’t hold your breath – moderating can be quite draining and time-consuming without also having to get into dialogue with each disgruntled poster.

  • Mary

    A defector from the ranks.

    ‘Pringle left his role at the SNP in June and joined communications consultancy Charlotte Street Partners, which is based in Edinburgh and London, as a partner in August.

    The company was founded last year by BAA’s former communications director, Malcolm Robertson, and the former head of group communications at RBS, Andrew Wilson.

    “I am delighted to be joining the Sunday Times as a new columnist,” said Pringle. “The paper has a wide reach, and a readership that reflects a diversity of opinions on Scotland and its future. It is an excellent opportunity to communicate views to an engaged audience across a range of topics.”’

    Former SNP press chief to write weekly column for Sunday Times
    Previously an adviser to Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, Kevin Pringle will write about politics for the Scottish edition

    Large photo of Mhari on the front cover.

    ‘Mhairi Black: ‘I was born. I went to school. I left. I fried a fish. Now I’m an MP’
    Mhairi Black is the youngest MP for 350 years – and she is tired of hearing about it. And there’s much more to her than that: an SNP MP who genuinely doesn’t want to be in Westminster, but has a serious, fearsome approach to the bigger, longer game

  • N_

    It’s not SWP versus Militant. Most who took part in the violence of the poll tax riot weren’t in any political faction. Members of various (including Militant) did take part, but I’d put political group membership among the violent demonstrators at about 3%. No political group played an active part as a group.

    Some people took part who hadn’t even been on the demonstration, who were just in the West End at the time. That indicates just what a sense of inclusive community power there was that day.

    Most political factions were at sea, with the leaders not understanding what had gone on. If Galloway thought the SWP was behind it, that shows just how out of touch he was. Ditto with Sheridan and the “anarchists”. Like all politicians, they view the ‘masses’ as punters, who if they’re out of the favoured faction’s control, must be under the control of some other faction. But it wasn’t like that. Neither Galloway nor Sheridan have a clue about working class autonomy, other than to know they hate it.

    Class War were the exception, although as a group they too played little or not part – that was just a police fantasy. I remember watching a video – supplied by the Crown Prosecution Service – which included audio from a police helicopter in which a policeman, spotting a small group involved in a skirmish with police somewhere near Admiralty Arch, reported that “a group of Class War are trying to storm Buckingham Palace”. Like, duh! They were probably wearing black or something. How they were going to whizz down the entire length of the Mall and get past the submachine guns of the Household Cavalry at the end of it, goodness knows.

    I think it was the same officer who, watching his colleagues charged demonstrators using horses, said “You’ve got to hand it to ’em – to keep on going when you’ve got half a tonne of horse wrapped round your neck.”

    In Glasgow around 1990, the attitude of the group around Sheridan was that they were the only show in town, and that if anyone wanted to co-operate with them, even on something like organising speakers on a stage, they had better recognise who was in charge. This law was often laid down with the pulling of knives by one of Sheridan’s two or three main associates. I am talking about the pulling of knives not even in a heated argument (when it would be bad enough), but before an argument had even arisen, just to show who was boss. Many many people were threatened with violence by Militant thugs, and the same happened in London and Liverpool. After the poll tax riot, Militant were collecting names of those who were involved in violent resistance on the day, or those who they believed to have been involved – because they were outraged that their faction was being made irrelevant, was losing what control it had – and this should not be forgotten, even 25 years later.

  • Socrates MacSporran

    I have never met Tommy Sheridan, what I know of him has been gleaned from the media. But, I see in Tommy, a smaller-scale, white, Scottish version of Muhammad Ali – he is very attractive to women, he talks a great game, he takes-on his opponents full-frontal and never ducks a challenge.

    When Cassius Clay became Ali, he scared white America shitless. Here was a “Nigger” who didn’t know his place, and wasn’t prepared to stay in the place white establishment America wanted him to stay.

    Over the years, Ali paid a terrible price for his defiance. Tommy Sheridan has paid a high price for his anti-establishment stance, but, not as high as that paid by Ali.

    Each, however, has made mistakes, but, each in his different way, has terrified the Establishment in their countries, which has made them targets.

    The SNP might be right in not wanting Tommy Sheridan inside the tent, peeing oot. But, there is something to be said for reaching an accommodation with him, whereby he went over and peed into the Unionist tent.

  • Mark Golding

    Fuzzy had mood swings, amplified by fixating on the source of the change into depression, normally combined by a terrible headache. I learnt after some years I easily made her depression worse, into deep depression, by antagonism. I determined there may be a brief period of time after the onset of depression where one can learn to regain equilibrium, or ‘pull oneself out’ by diversion of thought – and a good partner can be instrumental in achieving that departure from a dark place. I hope that helps Craig.

  • Jon

    An excellent and heart-felt post. However, I would question whether the independence movement in Scotland sparked the leftwards move in the Labour party and the landslide win for Corbyn. That force has always been there, and it has been the substantial deficit of internal party democracy that has deliberately prevented it.

    I should love for a Corbyn-led LP to achieve the same kind of success in England as the SNP in Scotland, but English voters are a different kettle of fish. In any case I worry that the good advice in this post will not be heeded by the LP south of the border, and the right-wingers would rather scuttle the boat than win on a Left-leaning ticket.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Of course there was an offence against the vendors, they were paid less than market value for their properties.

  • Tony M

    N_: I think you’re a bit of a fantasist where gangs and knives are concerned, this isn’t the first time you’ve come out with that rubbish on here.

  • Anon1

    “An excellent and heart-felt post. However, I would question whether the independence movement in Scotland sparked the leftwards move in the Labour party and the landslide win for Corbyn. That force has always been there, and it has been the substantial deficit of internal party democracy that has deliberately prevented it.”

    The Little Scotlanders always have to believe they are at the vanguard of everything.

  • Anon1

    “N_: I think you’re a bit of a fantasist where gangs and knives are concerned,”

    I think he’s a bit of a fantasist all round. And now he has a personality disorder to boot!

  • Tom Minogue

    I agree with much of what you say Craig but find it hard to forgive Tommy and his friends and enemies in the SSP.
    They had built something very special, a political party with MSPs in number at Holyrood, which represented the spirit of Red Clydeside.
    To throw this away, to destroy it in a factional war was/is unforgivable.
    Unity at all costs, despite personal opinions was called for and the SSP’s members and MSPs failed miserably in this regard.

  • fedup

    I am talking about the pulling of knives not even in a heated argument

    Anyone who pulls knives and does not use them are pussy cats waiting to be caressed the crap out of! those who proceed to use them, then they are fair game to have their ears handed back to them and sent to hospital for a quick patch up job. You are reading far too much into political violence, it is 99 percent posturing and one percent action until they piss against a hard wall!


    I am trying to work out where is impropriety in these transactions? If the property is not worth as the sale value, then why should the banksters loan the money?

    If it is worth as the value of the loan then what in hades has it got with the banksters how the money is handled and who gets what?

    This just shows the free market at its best, market are free for the banksters and we the people can go suck our thumbs and ask for permission to use our own money. There is something rotten in this equation and it is not the vendors or the borrowers, but it is the lenders and their terms and condition!

  • MJ

    “Bad news.

    Freed ‘British’ Guantanamo inmate who was awarded £1 million in compo payment fled to Syria to join Islamic State”

    Look on the bright side. There’s a good chance that he and his US/Israeli equipment are now dust.

  • Robert Crawford


    Stay off sugar and all the things that are full of sugar, including carrots.

    If you feel you need sweet foods, buy Stevia.

    Introduce a fresh organic and raw tomato daily into your diet.(That goes for everyone).

    I think most of us here are like minded and realise our government has been abusing us and the rest of the world for centuries. However, courage has started to creep into the public’s actions. The results are obvious, all the liars, con merchants, incompetent and control freaks wiped out, in Scotland. The same has started in England, thank God! England is where the big change has to happen for the rest of the world to benefit.

    I particularly like the fact that you attract so many clever and caring people to your blog. I wish more people were aware of you. I am sure they would be delighted by what they read here.

    We certainly need each other to act in unison, and with courage. And to support and encourage.

    The lack of courage shows in the the petition to have Obama and Cameron charged.

    I take it for granted that you are receiving, and or, looking for the best professional help around. If not, don’t be a smart arse who knows better.

    Do not let them/it grind you down. You are much more valued than you realise.

    Onwards to Independence. The English like their Independence, and we want our Independence too. So, cough up Ma’am!. You know it makes sense. So don’t be another Ebenezer Scrouge.
    You have billions and we have nothing. “Can we have some more?”.

  • Robert Crawford


    Our Mharihi is also a talented musician. Did you see her playing the piano in her interview with Jon Snow? Plays the guitar as well. Not just a pretty face.

  • Robert Crawford

    Mary, I am doing great thanks very much. How are you?

    I see the Urologist on Tuesday to discuss what the supervision will be over the next years.

    I met a man the other day who told me that they monitored him for twelve years after he bad a growth removed from his lungs and later one removed from his bladder. After twelve years they stopped monitoring him. That was three years ago. So, they seem to look after their patients for years afterwards, great!.

    I am going to watch again, our Mhairi from your link. She is so inspirational!

    Mind you, so are you!

    All the very best, and thank you very much for your input here. You are a STAR!!!.

  • Republicofscotland

    Nice one Craig, can’t fault you on this one.

    We are up against a very powerful media machine, apart from maybe one or two newspapers, and certain social media sites. For those reasons I understand why the SNP runs a tight ship.

    Mhairi Black, speaks about how the powerful unionist media machine reached out and frightened pensioners, by claiming only in the union is your pension safe, many who had no access to social media to learn the of truth it, believed the lies.

    Ironically the right wing Tax Payers Alliance is urging the Tories to cut pensions right now, and remove winter allowances for pensioners, adding by the time the next General Election comes around those pensioners will either be dead, or riddled with dementia, ergo they won’t recall who slashed their pensions.


  • KingOfWelshNoir

    One of the many torments you have to face with depression is constantly having your suffering belittled and trivialised by people who have no idea what depression is and assume it is similar to their own experience of being blue, or glum, or down-in-the- dumps. Real depression is a savage and inexplicable horror that is unimaginable to those who have never had it. It bears very little relationship to ordinary unhappiness. Telling sufferers to eat more of this or that, or ‘not to let it get you down’ is just insulting. As is suggesting they can pull themselves out of it. You can no more pull yourself out of clinical depression than a man with a broken leg can run. It is also completely unacceptable to prescribe medication to someone via the comment section of a blog.

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