Email about police spies on the left

I have just sent the following email to someone who asked what I know about some police spies I’ve referred to on the left on twitter in the last twenty four hours. I am leaving the typos in. I’m passing this email on although I think most of what I am saying here has been made public before on twitter and on other parts of cyberspace, although possibly not all in one place. This is just the briefest of introductions to a much larger story:

Hi *****,

Sorry for delay in getting back to you. I have attention deficit disorder which makes me easily distractible, and when I’m ranting losing track of things is easy. I am willing to communicate in email but I want to set a few things out first. You mentioned the police spy, but I mentioned two I’m clear about: Frances Curran and Chris Bambery. Not sure what the former is doing these days, but the latter, while no longer a member of the SWP, remains politically active, I believe playing a leading part in an anti-SWP split, which I am sure he is using to further divide the left at the behest of British Intelligence. I will tell everyone what I know about both of these individuals. But when I spoke to Alan McCombes a month or two after the formation of the Scottish Socialist Alliance I referred to a third individual, who died in the last few weeks: Julie Waterson. She is involved in this, but it is possible she is entirely innocent. I was given her name by someone else who remains active in the SWP. I believe she follows me on twitter and will have read everything I said last night. She told me she was acting as Julie Waterson’s emissary and told me I was no longer to attend SWP meeting and wait until she got back in touch with me to tell me I could re-join the SWP. John Rees got two members of the Paisley branch committee to get in touch with me to ask me to get active and I was under the assumption he must be aware of my appeal against expulsion from the SWP. Apparently, John Rees knew nothing about it. Neither did Chris Harman when I spoke to him. He told me that Chris Bambery will be dealing with it, but Bambery told me he knew nothing about it, which didn’t stop Bambery telling another member of the Paisley Branch (the SW organiser) that he did know about it and I was an SWP member but one who would be expelled if I did not stop the letters of appeal that he told me he had never set eyes on. Chris Harman told me to speak to Lindsey German and I intended to do that, but before I could find her, I was told by members of the SWP that I had to sell Socialist Worker outside the building where Marxism was held. While doing that paper sale, this woman told me I was not allowed to sell Socialist Worker, which came as a surprise to me since I had been doing that ever since John Rees contacted Paisley branch to ask me to become active again. Bambery was aware that I had been invited to an SWP aggregate which was when I told my branch that I wasn’t able to go since I wasn’t a member and we all realised that while I had been working under the assumption that the branch knew about my appeal against expulsion no one else knew anything about it. Bambery has been expelling SWP members without informing his central committee members and this Glasgow SWP member told me that Julie Waterson was involved in this too. I assumed she must be telling the truth, but she told me I had to wait for her to get back in touch with me before I spoke to anyone about this. I have never heard from her since. I do not trust this woman but I have no witnesses as she took me away from everyone else before telling me all this.

I discovered from two subsequent conversations, one short one involving Chris Harman, that there was no way to get any of this addressed, so I got in touch with Peter Taaffe, who apparently got Alan McCombes to set up a meeting with me. I told him what I knew and believed that Harman would want to get the SWP involved in the Scottish Socialist Alliance, which at that time they didn’t want. I felt if Harman knew what was going on he’d tackle those members of the central committee who were purging members without the central committee knowing about this. At the time I assumed the information I had been given about Julie Waterson was correct but I have no way of verifying this, and since she is dead I don’t want to say anything since has no way of defending her reputation.

McCombes tried to recruit me to Scottish Militant Labour which that organisation had been trying to get me to do since 1987, but I refused. I told them I was not going to drop my appeal against expulsion which had been going on since 1987.

I no longer believe that McCombes passed the information I gave him to his boss, Peter Taaffe, and via him on to Chris Harman, which is what we agreed he would do.

Most of what I have said here I have put in the public arena before. Obviously I have omitted a lot of details because this is complicated and we are covering decades and there are a lot of other people involved. I am not mentioning everyone’s name for many reasons. In the first place the person who gave me Julie Waterson’s name may be innocent. She may simply have been obeying orders. That would mean that Julie Waterson must have been working with Chris Bambery to expel members without Harman, German or Rees being kept in the loop. I don’t see why she would do that if she wasn’t a police spy. If Waterson is innocent then her so-called emissary needs to explain what she did and I think that would prove that she’s got serious questions to answer and would presumably have been a party to Bambery’s unconstitutional expulsion of members without permission from his central committee colleagues: Harman, Rees, German and presumably most if not all the rest.

Why McCombes never kept his promise to me I don’t know. Even after I discovered what he had done to protect Frances Curran I still didn’t think he was a police spy. But I am not ruling it out anymore. The fact he knew the two negotiators for the SWP joining the SSP were the two people he told me he was going to get Harman specifically to investigate as possible police spies suggests to me that neither the SWP central committee nor his boss at the time (Peter Taaffe)  were ever given the documents I handed him all those years ago.


Tom Delargy

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