PaulHutcheon <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I read your letter in Weekly Worker and I was wondering if we could talk
about it. I’m on any of the numbers below.
Scottish Political Editor
9/10 St Andrews Square
Edinburgh EH2 2AF
(t) 0131 718 6440
(m) 07803 970 293
(f) 0131 718 6105
Sorry for the delay in replying. For reasons too complicated to explain right now, I have not had a chance to check this email address for some time. Your colleague, Robbie Dinwoodie left a message on my mobile phone answering service on Friday. He too has asked me to speak to him, in response to a request I put in to speak to Duncan Fraser some months ago. For reasons that I am happy to explain at length (for the time being at least) I want to avoid face to face meetings with any journalists from the so-called bourgeois press.
There is, however, a separate story which may turn out to be related to the SSP’s crisis that I am prepared to discuss face to face with yourself or other Herald journalists. That story relates to a series of allegations about one of our MSPs – Frances Curran. I am happy to publicly denounce her, and call for her resignation, even to register an official complaint through the Holyrood official complaints procedures. I would not pursue this matter through the “bourgeois” media (nor Holyrood) were it not for the fact that I have exhausted all other avenues: the national secretary, Allan Green, emails to all the party’s MSPs, attempts to address all the party’s MSPs at a private meeting at Holyrood, to be set up by Eddie Truman, and, finally, attempts to get our then national convenor to investigate: three weeks prior to Tommy’s resignation, I had an eight and a half minute telephone conversation with Keith Baldassara (our Housing Spokesperson, Pollock councillor, and member of the party’s executive). Baldassarra, unfortunately, screens all calls to Tommy, and he would not let me speak directly to him. He told me he would pass on a message to Tommy that I wanted him to invesigate Curran. However, on the Sunday after Tommy’s resignation, I phoned again, but Baldassarra simply responded with “You have the wrong number. This is Keith Baldassarra.” He then put the phone down. The following afternoon, I explained on the Leslie Riddoch Show that the telephone number listed for contacting Tommy in the party’s weekly paper was useless, since Baldassarra is refusing to take calls for Tommy. It is for exposing malpractises like this by McCombes’ leading supporters that lead McCombes to refer to “An Iago” operating inside the SSP, spreading misinformation. Every party activist knows that McCombes was refering to me. However, although he promised to name this “Iago”, he has yet to do so. That is because he does not want to address any of the issues that I have raised – twice on the Leslie Riddoch Show, twice in the Herald letters’ page, three times in the Weekly Worker, and on several other occasions on internet discussion lists.
The editor of Weekly Worker has encouraged me to write for the paper under a pseudonym, which would protect me from certain repercussions, but only by my having to pretend that I am not the real author. I have repeatedly refused to do this. I have refused for the same reason that I am inclined not to speak to either yourself or Robbie Dinwoodie *off the record*. I have been falsely accused of resorting to the dark arts of politics that other members of the SSP have been indulging in, prominent examples being: McCombes, Curran, Leckie, Baldassarra. When I tell party members that I have not sank the the level of these “comrades”, I want to know that I am telling the truth. That is why when I tell you and Robbie my side of the story *on the record*, I want to avoid the temptation of spoon-feeding you a few extra titbits off the record.
That said, I *am* prepared to submit my spin on the party’s crisis in a series of open letters to Robbie Dinwoodie and yourself. I will make these open letters publicly available to all members of the SSP, via a few internet discussion lists. I intend to draw the party’s press secretary, Eddie Truman, and any other interested party into a dialogue with myself on the matters I raise. It will be up to Robbie and yourself whether or not you want to quote short or long passages from any of these open letters.
P.S. : To show good faith, I want to alert you to some factual errors that appeared in the 12 December 2004 issue of your paper. In an article that day, you reported that at the previous (emergency) national council meeting of the party, the SW platform lead a standing ovation at the end of Tommy Sheridan’s speech, and that two thirds of the attendees failed to join in. It is obvious that this story was lifted straight from one written by the editor of Weekly Worker. I have already complained (twice) to Peter Manson about the erroneousness of this story. Unfortunately, party members are forbidden to discuss what happened at that meeting; otherwise I would explain that there is a half-truth contained in it. But I can say for certain that there was no standing ovation *at the end* of Tommy’s speech. Had there been, the SW platform, far from having lead it, would have been among the least likely to join in. Tommy’s speech will have deflated them as much as it did me. His speech could have been written by the executive majority, and I have no doubt that virtually all of it was. Tommy called for national council to vote for both parts of the executive’s motion, whereas the SW platform voted against both, as would I – if I had a vote.
P.P.S: I have already – twice – publicly called on two of the party’s MSPs to resign, to allow the party to select a substitute from our regional lists. The two being Frances Curran and Carolyn Leckie. This was cut out of my letter to Weekly Worker, and it was also contained in a letter submitted to the Herald letters’ page: the letter was not printed. I would be delighted if the Herald or the Sunday Herald carried material from me explaining why the three thousand members of the SSP should call on Leckie and Curran to resign. And I would be delighted to see Curran invited back on Newsnight Scotland to counter each and every one of my accusations. I think she would rather resign than do that.
FOR ATTENTION OF DOUGLAS FRASER
I have been warned by SSP national secretary, Allan Green, to stop writing articles for a paper called the Weekly Worker. He informs me, plausibly, that journalists at the Herald are picking up titbits about the internal crisis of the party from articles I and the editor have written. I told him I would not be intimidated by him or anyone else to communicate my views in any way I can. I did, however, chose to keep a lid on much of what I know because it could not help the party in the run up to the general election. I am in two minds about keeping most of my cards close to my chest this side of the G8 demonstrations. After that though, the gloves are coming off. Not only will I use the CPGB’s paper; I have no problems going directly to the Herald to maximise the impact of what I have to say. And, if I do say so myself, much of it will prove devastating to certain leading members. Possibly two of our MSPs will have to resign. Many members of the executive may feel unable to hold on until the next elections: at next February’s AGM.
As I say, I am still mulling over whether to wait until after the G8 demonstrations to hit the party with these bombshells. I am, however, able to give your paper a second story, which may or not be intimately connected. It concerns Frances Curran. From her actions as a constituency MSP, I have decided that she reeks of an agent of the British state. Her behaviour vis-a-vis the party crisis merely adds weight to this suspicion of mine. I have tried to get the party hierarchy to investigate her action, including the national secretary, the press secretary, one of our co-chairs (since voted out of office), and Tommy Sheridan himself. Tommy was at the time national convenor, and it was through Keith Baldassara that I got in touch with Tommy. Baldassara promised (in an eight and a half minute telephone conversation, three weeks before he and Curran voted to have Tommy “resign”) to tell Tommy that I wanted him to investigate my complaint against Curran. I would like to speak to you personally about why I have these suspicions about Curran.
My mobile number is ***** ******