Response to Sheridan's defamation case

Charlie McCarthyís statement

My name is Charlie McCarthy. It is for you to decide on my honesty and integrity.

In 1989 I joined the Anti Poll Tax Federation and soon after joined the Militant Tendency. I have been active in socialist politics ever since. I have represented the SSP on numerous occasions as a candidate in local, Holyrood and Westminster elections. For the past three years I have been the co-spokesperson on health for the SSP. Now as the party is torn apart and teetering on the historical abyss, I feel the time has come for me to enter into the record my account and contribution to be noted in our internal documents. I do this on my own as I refuse to take part in the platforms that are tearing our party apart.

As we are all painfully aware Tommy Sheridan was removed/resigned from his position as convenor of the party in November 2004. This vacancy sparked an election that was contested by Colin Fox and Alan McCombes. There were hustings meetings organised throughout Scotland and I duly attended the Central Scotland meeting. At this meeting the first question posed was from Hugh Kerr who launched an attack on Alan McCombes. I spoke next and tried to dismiss Hugh's attack by stating that Tommy Sheridan was no longer the convenor of the party as he had asked someone to lie for him. Without naming her I was referring to Allison Kane.

The next day I received a text message from Tommy Sheridan. He demanded a meeting with me over my alleged remarks at the previous day's hustings. I agreed to the meeting and met with Tommy in a pub across from Glasgow City Chambers.

The following meeting was the most difficult meeting of my political life. As previously stated, I became active in politics in 1989. I was full of rage at the poll tax and had spent my formative years observing the miners' strike and the Liverpool/ Militant city council struggle. However, without the inspiring Tommy Sheridan, I would still be ranting at the telly from my chair. Tommy Sheridan changed my life and channelled my anger into organisation, for this I will always be grateful to Tommy. Tommy was and remains the most skilful politician in Scotland.

I started the meeting by informing Tommy that I had one hour maximum as I would have to leave that night as I was on night shift. Tommy then started by acknowledging that we went back a long time, politically. He then said "I have made mistakes, mistakes of a sexual nature." I interrupted him to tell him I was not interested in his private, sexual life and that to me his crime was to ask Allison Kane to lie for him. He apologised and accepted that that was a mistake. Again I interrupted him and said it was Allison that he should be apologising to. I was under the impression that he was going to apologise to Allison Kane.

Tommy went on to explain why in his opinion it was a mistake for the EC to ask him to stand down as there was no evidence to support the News of the World claims. Tommy went on to admit to an affair with Katrine Trolle and Anvar Khan. He confirmed that he had attended a sex club. He did not name the sex club or where it was situated. He reiterated a number of times his belief that the EC had shown an error in judgement and that the News of the World had no evidence.

The conversation then turned to the fateful EC meeting and the existence of the most famous minutes in Scotland. I was trying to take in all I had heard and formulate a way out of the mess, after a couple of stabs I came to the conclusion that the party should give the minutes to Tommy Sheridan. Tommy agreed by saying "that's exactly what I want", he then spelled out his plans. "I would then produce a minute that listed who was present and decisions reached." To me, that seemed like an ideal solution, however, I have since been won over to the argument that the party needs a historical record as to why the most influential socialist in Scotland was effectively sacked.

Tommy and I went on to discuss the future of the party. Tommy was enthusiastic, saying that he would be able to put all this behind him and bury the News of the World. He would then have won £200,000 to bring back into the party. I canít remember his exact words but Tommy definitely gave me the impression that any money would be invested in the party.

At no point in our conversation did Tommy Sheridan admit to having an affair with Fiona McGuire nor to using alcohol or cocaine.

As far as I can remember, this was also the first time that Tommy and I discussed the issue of violence on working class communities and knife crime. Over the coming months I had several meetings with Tommy on the subject. Tommy was probably the closest to me politically at the outset of the knife crime debate. Our only big disagreement being his insistence on mandatory sentences for carrying knives. Many people were vehemently opposed to my stance without hearing my position. I thanked Tommy for his support. This is why it is very difficult for me now to come out and tell the party the truth about Tommy Sheridan and our conversation.

I fully back the position of the 11 who gave evidence. However, I would not be raising this if Tommy had not, after the trial, called them scabs. I take this as an insult. These 11 are 11 who I would trust beside me. These 11 have in many cases devoted their entire adult lives to the socialist movement. I can no longer stand by and watch an injustice. If Tommy Sheridan is coming to destroy these 11, then he should also come for me. I say what they say. Tommy told me it was true. It is up to every comrade to stand up and not allow the 11 to be isolated. Today itís me. Iím Spartacus.



August 2006

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