Professor Adam Tomkins (Later Tory MSP)
Tomkins, with little known family links to very senior officers in the Foreign Affairs branch of the US State Department, is an intellectual and political genius, (but perhaps only in his own mind). He is a leading constitutional scholar and latter day hard-line republican who relocated to Scotland from England in 2003, and took up employment with Glasgow University as a lecturer in constitutional law. The appointment to a prestigious post of a republican minded professor created disquiet in the minds of some and raised the question. Is this guy for real or is he a British Secret Service plant? His behaviour since confirms the latter assertion.
Getting to know you
But Tomkins new employment was gifted to him by design and it provided him with a safe passage right into the heart of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) enabling his influence on policy, report rumours, weaknesses and anyinternal strife.
2004: The Calton Hill Independence Rally
The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) arranged a rally for independence at Calton Hill in October 2004 at which the “Declaration of Calton Hill” setting out a vision of an inclusive and outward-looking Scottish republic was presented. The case advanced was for a Scottish socialist republic without a monarchy or nuclear weapons, with a currency independent of England, a much-reduced level of military spending and a relationship with the European Union safeguarding Scotland’s independence.
Addressing a cheering crowd, Law Professor, Adam Tompkins of Glasgow University, reminded them of the Queen’s previous reluctance to pay tax despite her massive income. He said that the queen had special powers or `prerogatives`, which included being able to appoint anyone she liked as Prime Minister. He continued saying “Tony Blair used these special powers to attack Iraq and there would have been no Iraq war without the support of the crown. In a democracy it is the people who are sovereign and not the crown. I strongly urge the abolition of the monarchy. If you want democracy down with the crown!” (paraphrased a wee bit)
2003: The rise and fall of Solidarity and the Scottish Socialist Party
Left wing activists Tommy Sheridan and Colin Fox set aside their political differences and formed the Scottish Socialist Party. Its arrival on the scene was immediate and the Party made significant in-roads into Scottish politics. This gave cause for concern in Westminster and triggered long-established correcting measures the implementation of which was charged to the British Secret Services.
Not long after his arrival in Scotland Tomkins established friendships with Colin Fox and other officers of the fast expanding Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and in the 2003 Holyrood election, the SSP increased their MSP representation from one to six and a number of independent MSP’s also entered the new “rainbow parliament”.
In the first year of the new parliament, the SSP fought, without success for policies such as free school meals and an end to prescription charges (both introduced in a later parliament by SNP) and campaigned against Home Office dawn raids to remove failed asylum seekers.
But the outward show of unity within the SSP was deceiving all was not well. The Unionist supporting press started to undermine the Party through the publication of rumours of leadership rivalries and misuse of funds which had placed the Party in debt. Tommy Sheridan stood down as leader in 2004. Colin Fox took over and in Parliament under his leadership, the SSP continued to pursue socialist policies, frequently disrupting parliamentary business by way of volatile protest.
Rupert Murdoch Enters the Fray
A few months after the shake up of the SSP, Rupert Murdoch’s, “News of the World” destroyed Sheridan’s political career exposing his hedonistic lifestyle using information gained from his colleagues, other secret intelligence gathering and illegal phone tapping of Sheridan and his close friends and political and legal advisors.
The editor of the News of the World in Scotland was Bob Bird, then the husband of a recently appointed BBC news-reader Jackie Bird who had returned to Scotland from London.
Sheridan fought back alleging he had been defamed and took legal action against the News of the World winning £200,000 for defamation and costs. A remarkable victory given that eleven of his former SSP officers, including Fox, gave evidence against him. A disillusioned Sheridan left the Party in 2006 and set up a new left-wing party, “Solidarity.”
The MI5 sting hastened the demise of the SSP and Solidarity who never recovered from the catastrophe and folded not long after.
With friends like his who needs enemies
The News of the World refused to give up its attacks on Sheridan and tit for tat revelations rumbled on between 2004 – 2010.
Events came to a head in 2010 with “Operation Rubicon” an inquiry into alleged criminal behaviour within the News of the World in London and Scotland. Strathclyde Police triggered a separate investigation which ran in parallel with the London inquiry.
The fall out from Operation Rubicon was devastating for the News of the World which was shut down by Rupert Murdoch as a result of being found guilty of illegal phone tapping, harassment, fraud and other charges.
The defamation case against Tommy Sheridan was reopened in response to allegations from ex-colleagues of Tommy that he had lied in court.
Tommy was jailed for perjury after a 12-week trial at Glasgow’s High Court and sentenced to 3 years in prison.
Sheridan’s allegations against the News Of the World vindicated
Tommy Sheridan’s victory over Murdoch and the News of the World was confirmed when he was allowed to keep the £200,000 libel damage settlement.
Appeal court judges ruled that a civil jury were “judges of fact” and they were “entitled to believe parts of what a witness said, and to disbelieve other parts”. The jury clearly believed Tommy Sheridan had been wronged and his erstwhile colleagues were settling old scores. The judges also felt they “should not ignore” Sheridan’s proved allegations of phone-hacking by Murdoch’s empire and its “disregard for proper journalistic conduct” and “wilful contempt” of the criminal process also fed into their decision.
Many years later despite being in the forefront of campaigning for independence he is still trying to live down allegations of infidelity in his private life that if true occurred 18 years ago. His wife stood by him throughout the ordeal and their marriage is a strong as it was at the outset. I believe he deserves another chance at the highest level of politics. He would be an asset to Alba on the campaign trail