Wanna call me a prick? Knock yourself out: sticks and stones. Wanna accuse me of being absent without leave? Let’s discuss that, shall we?
Those who know me may be aware that I have not attended demonstrations for some time. I have not attended conferences neither, nor marches, nor forums. That sort of thing. I have dropped off the radar pretty much totally. That’s been the case for most of the last eight years. Conferences of Solidarity after the split with the Scottish Socialist Party were an exception to the rule. For most of the last decade I didn’t even function as myself in cyberspace. I adopted a phoney identity in order to have something approximating human contact. I have been in hiding. I have lived pretty much in solitary confinement for the last eight years. Sad, isn’t it?
This might seem incongruous for someone so passionate about Chris Harman’s Hegelian critique of academic Marxism. I am going to try to address part of what has been going on.
Over the years I have developed agoraphobia. This crept up on me. I know how it happened. I know who I blame for it. I know those responsible will challenge what I am going to say. And I know they have gone to great lengths to protect themselves from civil damages. I will be naming and shaming them nonetheless.
I do not know when the agoraphobia became a diagnosable condition. I do not know because long before I developed adverse physiological responses to being out in public (being out on my own), I had became a shut-in. This has been my status from the time Renfrewshire Council moved out of Paisley in 2005 to another town I did not agree to move to. Before explaining why I became a shut-in and why I ended up in this town I never agreed to be moved to I need to go back even further. I wish there was another way, but there’s not.
On 16 March 2003 my home in Paisley (50c St Ninians Road) was broken into, and I was subjected to a thirty minute violent assault with a razor blade and a metal bar, fists, and boots. I was hospitalised and needed stitches. One of my front teeth was punched out. I was told by these two thugs that I had seven days to get out of Paisley, the town I had been born in and lived my entire life, or they would return and kill me. One individual associated with these thugs had already gone to jail for threatening to kill me, and then wrote fifty more death threats on my home the day he was released from jail. That individual had made several previous death threats, including in the presence of witnesses. Every last one of these death threats were reported to the police, but that individual was never charged for any of the other death threats, and no investigation was conducted, the witnesses not interviewed. I don’t know about you, but I find this interesting.
My hospitalisation and the threat that I had seven days to get out of Paisley or I would be murdered was reported the day I was released from hospital to the editor of the Communist Party of Great Britain’s weekly newspaper (Peter Manson), a member of the Alliance for Workers Liberty (Gerry Byrne) who told me she’d alerted Martin Thomas and Janine Booth to my circumstances too, a friend who shall remain nameless (for the time being at least), the national secretary of the Scottish Socialist Party (Allan Green), Barbara Scott who promised me she would tell Frances Curran MSP. Frances Curran never responded to any of my telephone calls to her after Barbara Scott gave me her phone number, after I’d spent a half hour on the phone to her explaining what this threat was all about. When I eventually got to speak to Frances Curran, she told me that Barbara Scott never told her anything about the death threat unless I vacated Paisley within seven days I would be murdered. She didn’t seem at all bothered about the daily smashing in of my windows and front door, death threats made in public in broad daylight before witnesses, my having lost hundreds of pounds in criminal injuries compensation due to Frances Curran not accompanying me to the police station to cooperate with their investigation into the thugs who told me they were working hand in glove with the police, which I believe to be the case. Frances Curran told me she would investigate why Barbara Scott kept this from her. From the time Frances Curran told me this, her attitude suggested that she was lying. She certainly did not seem bothered that Barbara Scott had done all these things. And she found it impossible to stifle a smile as I was telling her all this. When I complained about this she insisted she was taking all this seriously. She was having the time of her life as she heard me give my account of my being hospitalised with a razor blade, cops destroying evidence of a riot, my losing hundreds of pounds due to the incompetence either of Frances Curran, Barbara Scott or both. Frances Curran also refused to get in touch with me about a malicious prosecution and my need to get legal representation to deal with this. Allan Green told me to stop bothering him about Frances Curran MSP’s attrocious negligence, her refusing to respond to any of hundreds of telephone calls all of which ended up in her answering service, calls about all the daily smashing of my windows, smashing in of my front door, liquid being poured through my letter box, a riot of thirty adults threatening to murder me in the presence of two police officers, both of whom threatened to arrest me if I tried to take photographs of the rioters. I did try nonetheless to photograph these scumbags. Unlike on previous occasions when I had to pretend to photograph some of these crimes I managed to get film for my camera. But I had no flashlight and it was about 8pm or 9pm and all I captured was a blur. No one was identifiable as human, nevermind identifiable as any specific indivdual. The police log of this incident, including their threat to arrest me if I once again left my home to take pictures of the rioters, vanished without trace. The police denied having any record of the phone call I made that brought the two police officers out in the first place (whose presence was witnessed by my neighbours, after I had liquid poured through my letterbox, a liquid I assumed to be flammable. I had itemised telephone bill that proved that I had phoned the police when I said I’d phoned, which if nothing else proved that the police records had been tampered with, which was also proven by my neighbours testimony as they were witness to a riot. By the way, the scum who poured liquid through my letterbox had told me as far back as November 1998 that they intended to burn me out of my home, a fact that I believe was mentioned in a one page story in the Paisley Daily Express. I also had a video tape, recorded on equipment set up by two police officers (equipment involving three cameras that recorded in some kind of relay system at both ends of my home). That video that caught 25 fireworks being placed outside my front door and their going off while about ten adults were caught simultaneously celebrating in a manner I think is powerful circumstantial evidence they were behind this incident. On several occasions (I think it happened three times), I had fireworks shoved through my letterbox, including lit ones. For eighteen months following the threat to have me killed unless I vacated Paisley within seven days I had to endure a living nightmare. And that nightmare has not really ended. That is a decade now. Do I suffer the daily violence I suffered when I lived in Paisley? No. That has gone. But the nightmare continues. The nature of it has merely changed. But my agoraphobia can be directly traced to the events of those eighteen months when Allan Green, Frances Curran and others sat back and told SSP comrades to ignore my pleas for help. Indeed the violence and threats started as far back as November 1998, a fact that was known to leading members of the CPGB as well, especially the editor of their weekly paper, Peter Manson.