The Truth That Has Been Kept From Solidarity Members

truth hidden by lies 2After the misinformation, lies and bile coming from Solidarity, I think it is now time to set the record straight. I am doing this for all those who with heavy heart felt that they had no option other than to resign. Many have given their reasons for resigning, but some have chosen to make no statement other than a simple resignation announcement on facebook & others have not gone public at all. I am NOT a spokesperson for anyone, this is the reasons for my own resignation. I hope that you will respect the privacy of my comrades who resigned. I have protected the names of those who didn’t want named in the grievance below & will continue in that vein, so there is no point in anyone trying to quiz me via facebook or by any other means. Every word written is the truth, where I am talking of my opinion on something or someone I will clearly state so. I will not leave myself open to any kind of legal case. If the site is closed down I will simply open another immediately.

I will put my story down in chronological order of events, sending of disgraceful emails, text messages etc. including my own texts pleading with Tommy Sheridan to stop the rot and do the right thing. A heated one to one meeting with Tommy in Glasgow, I can with clear conscience state that despite Tommy’s accusation, I did not coerce a single member to resign, the exact opposite is actually the case, I begged members not to resign & said if you are hell bent on resigning your position, then to do as I had done and remain a member and fight the disgraceful things going on behind the scenes with certain individuals. In the end I was fighting it alone and eventually informed the Membership Officer to cancel my membership.

The purpose of this article is NOT for the amusement of anti-Solidarity haters, it is to disclose to existing members the information they have been demanding from the hierarchy, I have had dozens of messages asking me to give them the truth, so that is what I am now doing, I am already being called a “rat” so what more hateful empty rhetoric can they possibly throw at me and my fellow comrades ??

The resignations of two highly commendable & prominent lifelong Socialists in Jim Walls (National Organiser) & Joyce Drummond (Glasgow Candidate) seemed to me to be the catalyst for around 12 or 13 resignations in one day alone, all of whom were candidates or officers and some of them were both. The reaction or response from Tommy himself was another tipping point for others who continued to resign. See attached pic. TS

So I will now start with my grievances and the reasons for said grievances, I will then go into as much detail as I can about the conduct of the Solidarity hierarchy in the wake of the decision to uphold all my grievances & also an upheld complaint plus a grievance, again concerning John Park. I will point out at this stage that a grievance is different from a complaint. There is no disciplinary punishment (for want of a better word) meted out, the decision of the disciplinary panel is final & there is no right of appeal. The panel’s task is to iron out differences between two or more parties or clarify procedural matters when there is a conflict of opinion.

For the attention of National organiser Jim Walls to be forwarded to EC members delegated to deal with Grievance & Disciplinary matters.

As previously intimated, I stated my intentions to raise three individual grievance issues with the EC, having already exhausted existing procedures at branch level, and could never expect fair treatment now. I found that under the circumstances I could only now get any kind of redress by then raising it with National Officers, as per approved structures.

1/ I attended a Lanarkshire branch meeting in East Kilbride on Tues 16th Feb, the meeting started almost 30 mins late despite several members insisting that it should go ahead and start on time. John Park stated that it would not start until these members had arrived, upon their very late arrival, John then announced that he was going outside for a smoke while ‘meeting & briefing’ them outside!! Meaning it starting even later !! It was now my prior intention to wait until AOCB due to the fact that members were not contacted to invite them to submit any business to the agenda, I have no idea who compiled the agenda as it was never intimated.

The meeting was for the most part very unremarkable, and business like. However at one point while discussing candidates (listed as first item on the agenda), xxxxxxx xxxxx asked John Park if he was still a candidate, John said “why are you asking this ?”, xxxxxxx said “I thought you were Gail’s campaign manager ?”, he replied “that has not been confirmed, what exactly are you asking ?”. xxxxxxx said “I want to know if you are still a candidate ?”, John replied “yes I am but we’re not discussing it & we’re moving on”. xxxxxxx then said “you are being very disrespectful John I was only asking a valid question”, John again said “we’re moving on”. I then through the chair intimated to xxxxxxx that I would be bringing up the matter of campaign manager during AOCB and everyone would get an opportunity to discuss it.

With all general business completed we then came to AOCB, at this point John Park said to me, “I believe you have plenty to say ?”, I said “yes indeed I have John, and lets not pretend that you don’t know, because I know you were tipped off about my intentions and what I am about to say”, John Park then said “yes I was contacted by a concerned loyal comrade”(namely Pat Lee). Pat had pressed me for details about what my intentions were at around lunchtime on the day of the meeting, I told him in strict confidence of the nature of the several issues that I intended to raise. Pat for reasons that I will not divulge out of confidentiality (but which Pat did intimate to me during our private conversation) decided to go against my request for confidentiality, even though he had agreed that my issues were valid, he told me about tipping off John while driving to the meeting.

I then having the floor, proceeded to speak and was interrupted immediately by John Park, who said “I’m stopping you right there” I said “this is my floor now John you will get your chance to reply shortly”, John Park then questioned whether I was a Solidarity member, I told him “ofcourse I am a member”, he replied that he knew from a facebook post that I had infact resigned, so was not actually a member now. I corrected John and said “yes I have resigned but from my EC position only, and the reasons for doing so I would now discuss with the branch”. So I started again by saying that “I would do this as respectfully as I possibly could”, I then stated that “we could do this in one of two ways, either address each issue individually as they are raised, or raise them in a block and then discuss them all afterwards”. I then said to the members that after discussion it was my intention to put forward a motion, possibly two dependent on the vote of the first motion. I also stated that the members were entitled to remit one or both back to the next meeting if they felt further discussion was required. I said I would be agreeable to that and had no problem with it.”

So I then went to raise my first point, before I could speak, John Park interrupted me again and said “before we go any further, see if you think you are going to raise allegations against me in an open meeting, then I’m telling you that it’s not happening and this meeting is closed”. I reminded John that he could not just simply close the meeting in order to shut me up, he then said “ok well I’m relieving myself as Chair then, Willie Kelly can chair it from here on”. Willie Kelly neither said yes or no and we were left in a situation where no-one knew who was the acting chair, and if the meeting was actually closed or not. I then said to John Park that he leaves me no option, that due to his blatant disregard for etiquette and branch procedure that I would look to move a motion of no confidence, I then invited John Park to stand down as Branch Chairman. To which John said he would not be standing down from anything, he then asked what my other motion would have been, I then in all honesty stated that, had I been given the opportunity to speak, I would have moved a motion that he be removed or replaced as 2nd candidate, but that I was being refused procedure unanimously carried at conference.

John stated that I couldn’t remove anyone, I then said “I wouldn’t be removing anyone, the vote of the members would decide the outcome of that”. At this point John getting louder and louder said “only the Central Regional branch can remove me”. I then replied that “there was no such branch in existence, and that the criteria was infact that there had to be three local branches before a Regional branch could be set up”. John getting angrier by the second said “you’re talking shite and that the Central Region branch had been going for years before you ever joined the party”. I said “you do not run Solidarity John, the old boys network is gone, we ie the members run Solidarity now and THAT is democracy !!” I again referred him to the new structures and pointed out that there were actually no recognised branches within Central Scotland, as none had resubmitted the required new registration forms. John again said I was talking shite, but then Willie Kelly then pointed out to him that I was actually correct in what I was saying, but that it was a formality that would be taken care of asap.

At around this point the meeting which we weren’t sure was actually still live or not, but John however still appeared to be chairing, descended into disgraceful utter chaos, 6 & 7 at a time trying to shout me down and prevent me from speaking every time I went to open my mouth, the hostility was blatantly evident, me adamant that I had a right to be heard & the majority saying I had no right whatsoever. I asked if this was still actually a meeting then they must go through the chair, this was met with deaf ears, and I now found myself being harangued by at least five or six people all still speaking at one time, with no attempt by the chair to stop or control this, John Park had totally lost control of the meeting. I reminded them of my rights as per the new structures, and then several members including John Park & Willie Kelly said they were not fit for purpose. My response was that not one single amendment was made against them, and they were carried unanimously at conference. John Park asked me if I had actually looked at the structures documents and I said “yes, back to front and inside out”, I also stated “that for further clarification I had contacted National Organiser Jim Walls (who had immediately said I cannot discuss any grievance with you, I said to him that I had no intentions of discussing anything specific to any grievance and was merely seeking clarification of my interpretation of Grievance policy, Jim confirmed that my interpretation was correct and we left it at that)” I said “if the branch needs clarification, then can an officer please phone National Organiser Jim Walls who wrote the documents and get the necessary clarification, needless to say they declined this suggestion several times over. I said I am seeking to move a motion, if I am refused that right, then I will be submitting a grievance, I said my issues were NOT of a personal nature and I was following procedure, they said confidentiality was the issue and my issues WERE of a personal nature because John Park would be mentioned in them.”

John Park then said “well they need to be rewritten then & I’ll be calling an EGM.” By this time I was being accused by a member Christine Hendrie sat next to me of attempting an attack of a personal nature on John Park, along with another accusation of being unprofessional, and was being disrespectful to a branch officer, I replied to Christine Hendrie that she was being disrespectful to myself also a branch officer by refusing to go through the chair. I will add at this point that Christine Hendrie was co-writing the minutes along with John Park, and I will be very interested to now see those minutes. Pat Lee was asked then to go through the grievance structures once again and read them out to the branch. Again the majority agreed that they were not fit for purpose and one member I believe to have been John McAuley (but I’m not fully 100% sure, so wouldn’t swear to it) used the words ‘a crock of shit.’ John Park then said he was not just going to sit there and let me bully him, I have to admit I laughed and told him “he was being utterly ridiculous, being twenty odd stone and twice my height !!” If anyone was being bullied it most certainly wasn’t John Park !! I said “John I am not intimidated by you or scared of you.”

I then said “I am going to exercise my right to be heard, and I WILL be heard, and that just one of my points were enough in my opinion to put forward a motion to replace or remove John Park as a candidate”, I then recapped a previous meeting, at which I aired an issue at the close of the meeting, whereby I told the members of a campaign being waged by a group of people, and messages from one of the group in particular who had been embroiled in a personal feud with John Park for many many months, these messages were in my opinion at the time, of a threatening nature. I mentioned videos memes etc aimed in my opinion at damaging both Solidarity & HOF, I told John that in no way was I going to sit there & be targeted along with another four Solidarity members in order to get at you John Park, I stated that if John Park would not get this sorted then I considered John to be more the problem if he had no regard for the possible safety of fellow comrades. John Park’s response to this was ‘John Marshall is a prick and I’ll solve it no problem I’ll do a drive by’ at his house, Pat Lee had said “c’mon now let’s not go there.” Somewhere in amongst this mayhem, Angela Buskie leapt from her seat and lunged over the table at me and was screaming in my face, I shudder to think what might have happened had the table not obstructed her.

So after recapping that previous meeting I stated that “I considered this to be conduct unbecoming of a Solidarity Candidate and that it was unacceptable & abhorrent to me, therefore if I’m not getting allowed to put forward a motion, I am now asking you John Park to stand down”, to which John just laughed, and denied having ever said it, some of the other members who were there that night said I was lying and that it was never said, I then turned round and said to Pat Lee, “you are the branch organiser (as Pat likes to call himself, despite there being no such position within branch structures) and I am now asking you to tell the truth, did John Park say that or not”, Pat Lee said “yes he did”, I said “and was your response correct that I quoted”, and Pat said “yes it was”. I asked John McAuley if that was said that night, John replied “I wasn’t there”, I said “oh yes you were there at that meeting John because you called me a liar that night, you said I was lying and that John Marshall had never made any videos, and I corrected you and said I only said he posted them I didn’t say that he made them. So yes John you were there at that meeting”, he said “aye ok so what ? so I was there, but I never heard John Park say anything about a drive by.”

John Park then said “I’ll solve your problem one on one like men” and ordered everyone to leave the room, people were obviously stunned and confused at what was happening and Neil Payling was clearly quite understandably animated and slammed the door on his way out, and people then started filing out, I believe Neil Payling said “this is the first time I have ever been ordered to leave a Solidarity meeting.” xxxxxxx xxxxx then said “no way are we leaving you in a room alone with him without a witness present”, John said “right ok then Pat will be the witness,” xxxxxxx then said “no way it has to be someone neutral” and suggested Stuart McLean who had been sitting there in stunned silence all night, John Park then demanded that another branch officer be present as per the structures, I disputed this and asked him to point out where he thought that was stated in the structures, Pat Lee was again asked to read out the relevant sections, Pat Lee stated to John that he was actually wrong, nowhere did it actually state that, three times John was adamant it was there and three times Pat Lee read it out.

John Park then stated that the meeting was over because it was agreed by a majority that I had no right to raise my issues, because they were about himself, and were of a personal nature, and could only be done in private, and that the structures didn’t support it anyway. I stated one last time, that nothing I had intended to raise was of a personal nature, and I had every right and that it was to do with obstructing me & interfering in my duties and his conduct, John Park stated that if I was going to name him in anything, then it would have to be in private and also in writing, given to the committee, which I said total rubbish, point me to that in the structures, I do not need to give you prior notice of anything to do with my motion(s) I then stated that this conversation was obviously very much over now, and I would now submit a grievance to the EC as I had been refused procedure at branch level by the committee, I also stated to Willie Kelly that I would also now be considering a complaint against himself for refusing to accept or recognise the grievance/disciplinary document, as approved unanimously at Conference. I then left the room.

So to sum up the events of 16th Feb, it is my view that the meeting was a total disgrace and shambles. I had made it perfectly clear several times that the issues I was attempting to raise were NOT of a personal nature, they were open Branch business, because they were pertaining to John Parks continuous obstruction of my media positions at both local & national level, I will detail these issues shortly. I would like to say that John Park knew exactly what I was meaning about “old boys network” as I have had cause to challenge him on this before. John Park has said to several members myself included, that despite our new constitution and structures, the original management committee would still remain in place, this ‘management committee’ would dictate to the EC how the party would be run, and the EC would in turn dictate to the new NSC. I can tell you that many members (myself included) are quite rightly raging and appalled at John Park’s rhetoric re: this secret ‘management committee’ and his refusal to accept change and the new documents. To suggest that some kind of elite ‘management committee’ will hold onto ‘power’ is abhorrent to me, it is anti-socialist and Right Wing top down mentality. This is what I had inferred to in my facebook post without naming the actual person involved, I removed the post and apologised to Tommy Sheridan by private message, for my outburst of total frustration, borne of inaction over John Park’s appalling conduct record and I will apologise again.

Now onto the original issues that I had attempted to raise along with either one or two motions. Firstly I was seeking to raise that John Park had repeatedly failed to commit or confirm as a candidate, admittedly he previously cited voluntary work and a cheque as being the reason for this, I was going to ask the members to consider the possibility of John Park being replaced as second candidate, and in effect each candidate in turn stepping up one place. I had intended to ask the members if they thought that John Park was going to be snowed under by his multiple jobs, ie 2nd candidate and very probably having to attend hustings, his work out in the streets on the Central Scotland campaign to maximise Pat Lee’s chances, his job as branch chair at Lanarkshire and then what I imagine to be another time consuming role, as Gail Sheridan’s campaign manager in West Of Scotland & then last but not least his role as National Secretary. Add to this his extensive voluntary work, and also practically single handedly running HOF. I don’t see where it is either in any way private, confidential or inappropriate for me to ask for discussion on this, it is alarming that he holds so many positions, and people simply assuming that he can efficiently do them all without detriment to any or all of them.

My next issue was about John and myself’s now non existent professional ‘relationship’, for instance after the Ayr Town Hall meeting, whereby John very matter of factly informed me that Garry Mclachlan would be joining the website, I said “excuse me John but that is a matter for myself and Bill Mair to decide”. I then called Garry over and asked him if I had previously invited him to be a webmaster/admin, and also what his reply was at the time, Garry confirmed that he had declined my offer over three months ago. With Garry still there, I then told John I was in the process of organising media training days and would handpick competent people to join admin on the website. To this John said “forget media training days, it has been decided that you, Bill & Garry will be running the website”. I asked John twice “who made the decision ?” He wouldn’t answer the question. I told John to concentrate on his own job and I wouldn’t interfere in his duties and vice versa. I reminded John that the website required first option on ALL official Solidarity Scotland media, previously approved by the EC. I asked him why he had still not given me full access to the youtube channel as previously agreed and promised at EC weeks previously. I also told John that I had sent him a link as a solution to protecting his other google services, most importantly his email account. I asked him if he had even bothered to open the link, to which he said he had been too busy. I told him that it was a simple 30 second operation to add me as an admin, and not one bit complicated, and asked him to attend to this tomorrow, because I would be looking for these videos in the morning. However next morning John totally defied me and posted the Ayr Town Hall videos all over facebook, after I had written a several thousand word article to accompany the videos, including transcripts of speeches and was sitting there waiting to publish. John knew what was expected and required, (under express instruction from the EC I might add), but John did what John always does and ignored instruction. There is no excuses acceptable for this, there is no question of it having been a mistake or breakdown in communication. (The EC must ask themselves why he decided to do this) So I intended to open this issue for discussion at the meeting and see if the members agreed with me or not, that John Park was deliberately obstructing me in my duties, bearing in mind that I was also Media Officer with Lanarkshire branch, a position which I had NOT relinquished. Is any of this of a personal nature & somehow confidential ?

My next issue was in relation to my receiving Solidarity mail as web admin re: disgruntled members that were leaving the party because they had never received a single email from us. And then also being contacted by comrades that I had personally persuaded to join, who were now complaining to me that they had not received one single email from Solidarity to confirm their membership, or even as much as a welcome to the party. I informed John about this and asked if he could address this asap, as it looked bad on myself. To this day that has not been done. I asked John to email Edith Steel of Falkirk Branch with an authorisation letter for the Credit Union several months ago and at other times too, as he had not responded to her emails or messages on facebook, he assured me he would deal with it. Knowing that I would be raising the issue that night, I asked Edith Steel to again request this letter on Tuesday morning, which she did and John announced at the meeting that he had ‘dealt’ with this and also one for Fife. I would like to point out that John knew prior to the meeting that I would be raising that matter, and his only reason for announcing something which was actually nothing to do with Lanarkshire business, was to make me aware that he was in possession of my issues before the meeting. Unbeknown to John was the fact that it was actually me who asked Edith to make this latest request to John. So again I think this issue is open branch business, it relates to nothing whatsoever of a personal nature, and I still say that I had every right to air it for discussion.

My final issue was the one previously mentioned about my consideration that threatening a ‘drive by shooting’ was conduct unbecoming of a Solidarity candidate, this one however WAS discussed. As an added note, I don’t remember anyone labelling this issue as a ‘grievance’ that previous night, what a difference a few weeks make I am now saying categorically that each issue could & should have quite rightly been discussed by the branch. John Park knew that nothing I wanted to raise was of a personal or confidential nature, it is my suggestion that it was obvious that it had been discussed and agreed prior to the meeting that I would be challenged using the structures against me somehow, ably demonstrated by the fact that the Grievance documents were laid out in front of them from the very start of the meeting & at all costs I was not going to be allowed to speak, as it would have to be minuted, and I at all costs would also not be allowed to table any motions either. I was not handing a grievance to the branch I was trying to move either one or two motions. Their stoic defence was totally irrelevant, the only time I mentioned complaint/grievance was at the very end of the night, when I told them that I would now be submitting a grievance to the EC. I had all the points I wanted to make to enact or enforce both motions, in front of me in a memo on my phone, I offered to show them said points, I told them if you cannot prove they are of a personal nature, then they HAVE to recommence the open meeting and allow me to move the two motions, they stated that the committee had to have them in writing because it is a private and confidential matter because it names John Park, I told them that no member is required to give the committee, prior notice in writing of any motion, they intended to move before the branch, they hotly disputed this and it was a stalemate.
2/ This second part of my grievance states that I cannot possibly expect a fair private hearing at branch level either verbally at a branch meeting, private or otherwise, or via written submissions against three fellow branch officers who very obviously conferred before the meeting took place, this by John Park’s own admission and who have clearly intimated, that they do not accept that the current Greivance Policy is fit for purpose to deal with this scenario, and all officers are now mentioned in my first grievance to differing degrees. So this is now a dispute, as I strongly dispute the legitimacy of those implicated to effectively sit in judgement upon themselves. The below excerpt clearly states that disputes will be dealt with by either EC or NSC.

So I would like to direct the EC to Constitutional Remarks in the Grievance policy –

quote: Constitutional remark :-
(3.7) Debates and discussions amongst comrades, should be conducted in a positive way, with the avoidance of personal attacks and with adequate space for the participation of individual members. Disputes relating to membership will be dealt with by the NSC (EC). Serious disciplinary issues, should they arise, will be dealt with by a committee elected by national conference NSC (EC)

It’s my belief that this should now be heard by EC.

3/ My final grievance is more of a formal nature re: validity & ratification by conference, but it is nevertheless still a grievance. I feel that if the documents were fit for purpose, then it has to be said that the Grievance document has failed myself at the very first time of asking. I am asking the EC to consider whether they need to revisit this document, and if so then instruct all branches that it will be adhered to as is, or that you are considering an amendment. It is very clear that procedure of the structures via the Grievance policy let me down. I would be more that willing to speak with whoever to address this and figure how it can be remedied, so as not to happen again in future.

As a footnote I think John Park has a massive control/power issue, I think his treatment of women especially, is obscene and he demeans, demoralises and dismisses women continuously, he is a creature of habit and I have raised many concerns privately including a meeting with Tommy Sheridan in a hotel in Glasgow City Center along with a very concerned fellow Exec Officer, which have fallen on deaf ears, this party now needs to waken up and realise that John Park is a common denominator in so many disagreements, fallouts & people walking away from the party, the situation is mirrored by HOF who at a rough count stand at about four committee members now, compared to around two dozen a year ago. (I as a representative of Yes Connect at that time alongside Pat Lee & Lindsay Jarrett, had to challenge John at a Committee meeting in Bellshill Ballroom, after he attempted to bully the co-chairpersons Liam Stephenson & Jordan Daly, I went to their defence when John attempted to railroad the meeting, by dictating that he alone would control money and merchandise, I reminded him of how democracy works & moved a motion to have another committee member co-opted in with him to keep things transparent) The motion was carried by a large majority. John Park was warned several times during this meeting, for threatening, abusive and aggressive conduct. If the party believes that this is down to others or some kind of conspiracy or ‘smear campaign’ against John Park (a favourite claim of his that I have heard him say dozens of times), another being that he or she has mental health issues, which is a horrendous slur on victims of his wee vile whisper campaigns. I have personally heard him make derogatory comments about fellow comrades and former comrades, with xxxxx xxxxxxxx & xxxx xxxxxx being two of those people. My statement is 100% truth and I place my trust fully in the EC to deal with this sensitively and positively to a satisfactory outcome.

In my personal opinion what happened on Tues 16th of Feb was censorship at it’s worst, and the fact that John Park had conferred with and lobbied other members, meant that this meeting was corrupted from the very start. John had prejudiced the majority of members, this is unacceptable behaviour. The minute I spoke a word the atmosphere was one of antagonism, I had been tried & convicted of the wrong crime, because they had decided that I had a grievance. In my conversation with Pat, I told him I was putting forward two motions 1/ A no confidence in John Park as Branch Chair

2/ A motion to remove or replace John Park as 2nd candidate, if any of the members had put forward a motion to move John to 5th place, I would then have withdrawn this motion in favour of theirs. That is why I previously said I would look to table either one or two motions, and the reasons why I was seeking to move these motions to the branch. When I got into Pat Lee’s car on Tues night he informed me that he had told John Park that I would be raising issues, he did not say grievance, Neil Payling is witness to this, I would like to know why & when Pat changed this to imply a grievance ? I take great offence to John Park sending out a misleading email to multiple recipients, stating that a grievance cannot be raised at a branch meeting, without ALSO stating, that a member is well entitled however to hand a written grievance to the branch sec. (proper procedure) and say “for the attention of the committee and I trust you will get back to me post haste” Under these circumstances I will be asking the EC to instruct John to send out another email to those same recipients, stating that his email was incorrect and misleading and to emphasise that the two quotes were actually from disciplinary and NOT grievance procedures which are not branch concern or remit, they are a National remit. Especially the first quote > I would draw your attention to the last sentence on page two, paragraph one of the policy. “all disciplinary matters will be dealt with without undue delay and allow for information to be kept strictly confidential.” The issue of confidentiallity that John Park has quoted is suggesting that somehow a branch committee has some non existent right to be dealing in disciplinary matters, and cannot be used to defend any stance they had of confidentiality on 16th of Feb. And again in the second quote > “Before taking formal disciplinary action, the appropriate individual(s) will make every effort to resolve the matter by informal discussions with the member.” This has nothing whatsoever to do with that night either, the quote in question is the penultimate stage of Disciplinary procedure and has nothing whatsoever to do with grievance procedure, so he is again wrong in trying to mislead members that it somehow re-inforces their absurd allegation that I had raised or attempted to raise any grievance that night.

Pat Lee has now also sent a very accusing email to everyone that attended the meeting, exonerating themselves and again finding me guilty of something which simply didn’t take place, while misleading those same recipients that the EC has found in their favour, before a ball is kicked. He has inferred that the contents of my issues were of one or several of either threatening, bullying or akin to ageism, sectarian, ethnicity, creed, colour, gender or religion, and stated this will not be tolerated, the branch members were never allowed to hear the issues, that I wanted to discuss prior to moving my motions, so they are now under the mistaken impression that it was one or several of the above. This email shot was sent out to all except myself ofcourse, but which stated should be forwarded to ALL, xxxxxxx xxxxx forwarded it to myself, when she was concerned that I had not been included, when the whole email is actually about me. It could easily be construed now that it was to get their stories straight, in the event of further revisiting of the events of that meeting. Again it was a breach of our grievance policy, by discussing what is supposed to be a private ongoing grievance. On one last note, John Park for reasons that escape me informed the branch that he in his National Secretary role, had sent authorisation letters to Fife & also Falkirk branch (xxxxx xxxxx) I can assure you that he sent no such letter to xxxxx xxxxx, so why then lie about it ??

Pat Lee email – Dear Comrades

Following on from the discussions that took place at the Lanarkshire Branch meeting held on Tuesday the 16th of February I feel that I have to highlight for the sake of clarity some of the issues raised at that meeting and the conduct of some of the participants and the dialogue used during this debate.

Myself – Note the use of the word “issue” above

Pat Lee email – First I would like to reiterate to everyone in attendance that there was no attempt to simply shut anyone down when a member raised some grievances’. However, the forum (open meeting) in which this grievance was raised is not correct approach to address with such matters and certainly not in line with the recently adopted Disciplinary and Grievance procedures agreed at conference.

This was confirmed at the recent E.C which, I attended and took place on Wednesday the 17th February 16.

Myself – John Park told me that “this meeting is closed” before I got to read out any of my issues, so therefore Pat Lee is lying.

Pat Lee – It was confirmed by Jim Walls (National Organiser) that confidentiality of member(s) which is a major component of these procedures and these would have been seriously breached if any member had been allowed to continue to raise grievances’ in such an open forum.

Myself – I wouldn’t like to think that any details of the meeting were discussed at this EC meeting, after I had informed Jim that I would be initiating the grievance process. Because this is where confidentiality most certainly does apply, no one should be discussing anything to do with an ongoing grievance irrespective of position at a meeting.

Pat Lee email – I believe that even in the absence of such policy it is simply good practice to refrain from raising such issues that could be considered personal in an open meeting without exhausting all avenues, such as simply taking the person aside and having a private discussion or indeed seeking the involvement of another branch member or officer to aid seeking a solution.

Myself – Again I would like to point out Pat Lee’s use of the word “issues” above.

Pat Lee email – However I am also aware that on that night steps were taken to allow a member an opportunity to raise his concerns informally although that would have required all to leave the room allowing the member(s) concerned, and if required a branch officer or officers to remain for this discussion however, this compromise was deemed unacceptable by one of the members concerned.

Myself – Once it was obvious in the latter stages of these discussions, that I indeed now had legitimate grounds for a grievance, they were still given the opportunity to resolve the matter, I gave them the opportunity to debate the issues, and prove whether they were deemed to be either, of a personal, private or confidential nature, and if they couldn’t do that then I must be allowed to go ahead, it was my fellow branch officers who found compromise unacceptable and not myself.

Pat Lee email – I also must add that it has been and I hope always will be, that discussions at branch meetings are conducted in a fraternal and comradely manner and Solidarity and indeed it’s members will not tolerate statements from members that would appear, intended or otherwise, threatening, bullying or akin to ageism or sectarian. Such behaviour does not fit into the ethos of a socialist party.

Solidarity is an open and inclusive Party and like most organisations may have members who from time to time may not see eye to eye with issues on policy or direction. However, disagreements and discussions should always be cordial without reference to ethnicity creed colour gender ageism and religion.

Myself – Again Pat Lee inferring or implying that the issues I had tried to raise had fallen into one or all of the above categories. Pat Lee on the night to his great shame said that this was the first time that he had looked at the documents, I find this an unbelievable & unacceptable statement from a lead list candidate !! All Branches were requested to discuss the documents at meetings and ask if any member(s) would like to move an amendment to them by the given date. Lanarkshire Branch didn’t discuss them at all.

Pat Lee email – It is also worthy to note that the Disciplinary/Grievance document is a means to bring consolidation to issues and allow all parties to move on and advance the party as a whole. It is not a means to obtain some form of retribution for perceived hurt or personal injury.

Myself – Absolutely and totally wrong, disciplinary procedures ARE there to seek retribution for perceived hurt or personal injury, by whatever form of punishment is felt or deemed necessary by the Dissciplinary panel.

Pat Lee email – I would ask that all who were in attendance at said meeting can draw a line under the unfortunate events which took place, in the knowledge that I and others who attended the EC have had assurances that proper procedure was being followed and allow those members concerned to now follow due party process. Any whispering and smear campaigns targeting any member is wholly unacceptable.

Myself – No such assurances were given to anyone that procedures were properly followed on the night of Feb 16th. A rep from Lanarkshire Branch asked a question about grievance procedure and raising of grievances and were duly answered by Jim Walls, they did not ask opinion of what had happened at the branch meeting. Jim Walls would not be allowed under any circumstances to discuss it, as I had already initiated the grievance process. Yet more misinformation to the branch members from Pat Lee.

We as a Party, and indeed the Lanarkshire Branch in particular, are in a good position moving towards the Scottish Election campaign and solidarity and unity will be key to our success.

Yours in Solidarity

Pat Lee
Branch Organiser

The aftermath of the decision of the disciplinary panel to uphold my grievances in full, saw conduct that beggared belief, the people named in the grievance decided that they no longer recognised the grievance & disciplinary documents, but then strangely demanded a contradictory “appeal” despite the fact that no such facility existed, simply put, you either recognise the procedural document or you don’t !! Tommy Sheridan championed their cause as advocate for them, demanding that an outside third party should have heard the grievance. This is worse than ridiculous owing to the fact that the whole thing was supposed to be about some falsely perceived confidentiality issue. That kinda contradicts their original stance does it not , Tommy Sheridan was prepared to take a confidential matter outwith the confines of not only the elected panel, but outwith the party itself !!

The accusations rained down now, and statements of documents not fit for purpose, the National Organiser Jim Walls was isolated, pushed and goaded until finally he felt he had no option other than to resign his position and leave the party. The same day saw around 12-14 resignations, I lost count on the day. All of these resignations were people who held office or were candidates and some falling into both categories. Tommy was now orchestrating his customary hate campaign, he has previous form form for waging hate campaigns with his wilful use of words such as “rats” and “scabs”, this time was no different.

Here is a message sent out to a member who has since resigned after taking great exception to friends & comrades being labelled as “rats” >> Fwd: I agree comrade. Our party is certainly under a coordinated and concerted attack from within. So called friends are trying to destroy us. We need to show what we are made of. We need to meet soon. I will organise that once I get my father’s 80th birthday party tomorrow out of the way. We will meet next week. But in the meantime we have to stand up and defend our party and our comrades. Those resigning are trying to inflict damage by making public pronouncements. All this 5 weeks before the crucial election. Who is behind it comrade. Who is the rat or rats? Don’t ever let your head go down. We are a seed. We will keep growing. Stand firm. Stand tall. See you next week once I have booked a venue. Take care comrade. Tommy

I have in my possession hate filled emails calling their former comrades resigned as “scum, rats, ba***rds, infiltrators etc etc. John Park installed the previously mentioned Angela Buskie as a candidate in South Of Scotland, without consulting the Branch, procedure dictates that candidates are nominated and selected by the branch. Again another abuse of a non existent power, again a breach of procedure.

I had a heated meeting with Tommy at my request after resigning from the Executive, Tommy arranged to meet in a Burger King of all places. I sat down and went through the contents of my grievances in their entirety, I then asked him how he could possibly condone or defend those named, he replied that I had tried to deal with issues of a personal nature, contrary to the grievance policy. I said “how do you work that one out Tommy ?” He said “well you clearly said that you had a personal phone call with Pat Lee” I said take off the wig and robes Tommy, I said “yes a personal as in private and what I had wrongly assumed was a confidential conversation that was to go no further, I said that to Pat several times during the call & Pat promised it would go no further” I then said “is that all you have to say about this disgraceful conduct on that night by these members ?”

Tommy replied that he questioned the legitimacy or validity of Jim Walls & Rosemary Byrne to sit in judgement on these grievances” I said to him “Tommy the panel was elected by the Executive to deal with such matters and not one concern was raised nor questions of legitimacy or validity when they were elected onto the disciplinary panel” Tommy then incredibly said “that grievances & complaints should actually be heard by an outside third party neutral panel” I was raging and said “are you serious ?? this whole disgraceful carry on centred around a wrong assumption, that the concerns I was trying to raise were of a personal nature & that confidentiality would be breached, I then said are you now suggesting to me that confidential hearings should not only be taken not only outwith the internal private confines of our own elected panel, but outwith the party itself ? That is an absolutely unbelievable statement to make !!” Tommy wouldn’t comment further on it.

I then pulled him up about the shameful leaking of the party political broadcast without consulting any other member other than John Park who posted it up on youtube and then shared all over the Solidarity group pages by both Tommy and John Park. I said it was total mayhem that night, with over twenty members in one chat box alone, demanding to know who sanctioned this without consultation. I told Tommy I was supposed to have total control over ALL official Solidarity media, I said “you asked me the pre-conditions I wanted to set, in order to accept my position of National Web & Social Media Officer and that was a primary condition which the EC assured me would be put in place” I then said that it was no coincidence that the PPB was posted a few minutes after I had had an argument with John over him posting the web blog videos on facebook that I was just minutes away from posting on the website with accompanying brief articles.

I then said to Tommy that I had proof in black & white of him lying to angry members demanding to know who had sanctioned this, I said you told members in a chat box or a thread, that the first you knew about the PPB was when “someone” put it up on youtube, but a short while later in another chat box, where Lynn had demanded to know who sanctioned it, you then said that it was yourself that instructed John Park to go live with on youtube and to get it out as far and wide as possible to capitalise on it, well before the date that it was to get it’s first showing on national tv or words to that effect. Tommy denied that there were any pre-agreed conditions to me taking on my Exec position. Shortly afterwards Tommy announced that he was getting picked up in a few minutes and had to leave.

A general all members meeting was called last Tues 5th April and Tommy was challenged to explain the resignations and gave some cock and bull fable that he didn’t know why the spate of resignations had happened, and that it was an attack on the party from within. The subject of my meeting with him came up at some stage, he said the only valid thing I came to the meeting with was the party political broadcast stuff. That’s a bit strange since my meeting with him lasted well over two hours !! So Tommy is caught lying again. Tommy was well aware also of the public resignations, copies of which were posted up on facebook, many of them citing John Park & Tommy’s unexplainable defence of the indefensible, with a plethora of verbal complaints, grave concerns & total of four grievances & a serious complaint having been upheld against him, yet the democratic will of the members was being demolished in order for John Park to escape any form of punishment of any kind. John Park walked away scot free from everything and it was business as usual, back to dictatorial running of the party and democracy denied.

Here is my resignation letter which was submitted twice, I say twice because the first time around the EC said they would not accept it until they had spoken with me first to go over my reasons. I was then persuaded to stay on in my position & returned to work as webmaster and caught up with a backlog of work. I was assured that the obstruction in my duties would be remedied and I would have full control over official media and in particular the official Solidarity Scotland Youtube channel, which I needed access to in order to link it up to the website. This obviously never happened and the situation between myself & John Park got worse instead of better, culminating in him blocking me. How can I work with and co-ordinate the release and distribution of media with him, when I had no contact with him ? This was after the grievance decision and his refusal to accept the decision or recognise the new grievance/disciplinary documents, supported fully by Tommy Sheridan.

To Solidarity SSM National Organiser Jim Walls, Co-Conveners Tommy Sheridan, Rosemary Byrne and whomever else it may concern:

Please accept this as a letter of resignation on Wed 10th February with immediate effect. After several days of reflection and self questioning, I came to the conclusion that my position was no longer acceptable or tenable. I had previously raised grave concerns about John Park re: his refusal to work co-operatively with others around him. His attempts at domineering and general interference in the work of others tasked with various duties, activities etc and his obstruction of people’s duties. Add to this his failure to carry out his own duties of contacting new members atfter repeated electronic contacts by myself, either by email or by private messaging, and non return of phone calls. It is also unacceptable and a ‘Red Line’ to me that John Park should be announced as Gail’s campaign manager while in the middle of an investigation into his conduct and possible disciplinary hearing, and also his possible suspension if that were to be the outcome. I and others at Branch level have been alarmed at John Park’s refusal to commit as 2nd Candidate, citing outside reasons ie C.U.P.I., candidates were reminded that if it interfered or in any way put their job at risk, then they must NOT accept candidacy. John Park has refused to step down the list at the branch’s request previously, although the request was not done formally, John intimated that he was 2nd candidate and our own choice Stuart McLean would not be taking preference, when this was and is a Branch decision if made, he has a blatant disregard for etiquette rules & procedures. As of yet I am undecided on whether to pursue this formally through the new discipline & grievance procedures, I will confer with some members of my own branch and also any concerned members peripherally who have also raised grave concerns. It certainly will play on my conscience that I am letting people down, I am well aware of that, but I am a man of principle, I cannot and will not compromise on my principles, there is not a single doubt in my mind whatsoever, that my decision is both correct and final.

There has been a very worrying pattern all through the problems and concerns that people have taken to Tommy Sheridan, whether it be emails or “private” meetings. A pattern of Tommy lying and talking of procedural matters that exist only in Tommy’s imaginative legal eagle inspired head. Tommy is big on rhetoric but woefully short, on any kind of written or recorded facts to back up his legalese styled statements. Trying to baffle, belittle & patronise concerned or angry members, with legal jargon that has no place in such conversations. I have emails where Tommy has deliberately lied, and sadly his sister Lynn now as well, whom I have the utmost respect for, as they shore up the defences, but I can perfectly understand why they are doing so.

There are no questions of misinterpretation of procedural matters, simply because Tommy consistantly refers to points of procedure that simply are not there. It is a total disgrace that Tommy has sought to act as QC for John Park in matters that he should not have meddled in. Tommy is quite prepared to disect & destroy the policies that were unanimously carried at conference, incidentally without one single amendment to them, in a win at all costs to defend his pal John. Tommy is now talking of procedural practices, which infact should have been the content of amendments, but that particular ship has sailed & like every other member he is bound to strictly adhere to them as written, moved & subsequently carried. No amount of legal or political knowledge can forcefull or illegally railroad that into existence, there are no grey areas within the grievance/disciplinary documents, no EGM has taken place to re-write anything, which is correct procedure.

Here are some excerpts from a report of the EC meeting which I have in my possession, held on 5th April in Glasgow:

Going to the fourth paragraph we see either a blatant lie, or at best a deliberate piece of misinformation by way of omission, quote “we also discussed a grievance received by one member, which contained allegations of bullying and sexual harassment, by one member or another. The comrade who had received the grievance, had discussed it with the member making the allegations, but not with the member against whom the allegations were levelled”. The truth is that there was a grievance AND a complaint submitted against John Park. This is a very disingenious play on words by Tommy Sheridan, in order to confuse and misinform members. From experience, I know only too well that Tommy tries to create confusion with the over-use of the word “grievance” after him having coached the guilty parties in my own dispute and eventual grievance against (at that time) fellow branch officers John Park, Pat Lee & Willie Kelly, of the Lanarkshire Branch. Tommy Sheridan attempted to engineer discussion about my ongoing grievance at an EC meeting, with all of the above three in attendance, but was very quickly, censored by fellow Executive Officers and reminded of the issues of total confidentiality being breached, is this either clever or wise conduct becoming of the Co-Convener of Solidarity, or what you would expect of a man who seems to be so learned in law & posible prejucing of the Disciplinary panel ??

Still in paragraph four, the members are again lied to or misinformed about the process of that complaint, the complaint in question went from first to last steps, simply because John Park (in my opinion under the “legal guidance”) of his “advocate” Tommy Sheridan, deliberately refused to engage in the process, they deliberately tried to stall & postpone the process until after the election. The first step of the procedure carries a 7 day time frame, I have it on good authority that John Park was given a very courteous extra 7 days grace, after saying he could not make any day within that period. From there on in, both Tommy Sheridan & John Park challenged the validity of the complaint/grievance policy document, questioned the professional ability of National Organiser Jim Walls, and questioned the legitimacy of the disciplinary panel to sit as both judge and jury.

I am sure that many people reading this have attended a summary criminal case, where a single judge both tries a case & passes sentence. I find this a ridiculous statement from a man with such a supposed extensive knowledge of legal practices and procedures of Scottish Law. So rather than defend the actual complaint, they instead set their stall, on dismantling & refusing to recognise the due process of structures approved unanimously & carried at conference. Tommy Sheridan had prematurely donned his wig and robes and attacked his own party’s constitution, and the fact that he appears to above any kind of reproach for this, should be strenuously challenged by the membership, afterall no one person should be bigger than the party. This complaint WAS upheld, both John Park & the complainant WERE informed of the decision, I am in possession of a copy of that decision.

I would like to draw everyone’s attention to said procedures and what happens when an accused person or person refuses to engage in the process, page two of Disciplinary Policy under Notification Of Meeting section, quote – “If it is decided that there is a disciplinary case to answer, the member will be notified of this in writing (electronic or postal). The notification will contain sufficient information about the alleged misconduct and its possible consequences to enable the member to prepare to answer the case at a disciplinary meeting.

The aforementioned notification will also give details of the date, time and venue of the meeting plus a reminder of the right of the member to be accompanied.
The aforementioned notification will also be provided at least seven (7) days before the scheduled meeting. Every effort should be made by all parties to schedule meetings at a reasonable time to ensure attendance.

Failure by the member to attend meetings may result in a decision being made in their absence based on the information available at the time.

So it is clear that John Park having refused or deliberately stalled the process, was found guilty in his absence. The only legitimate course of action afforded by him now by the complaint policy is NOT to go back to step one of that process. Policy dictates that he only has the right of appeal. But his “legal team” are attempting to usurp or over-rule due process and in effect start a “new trial” I am not the slightest bit surprised that the National Organiser Jim Walls felt he had no option other than to resign. When your Party Co-Convener stands against his own Party’s Constitution without resigning his position, then the Party is corrupt at the the very top. Why are the members allowing these people to walk all over the constitution that they unanimously approved ?? Why be a silent non engaging acceptant member of a Party ? why will they not engage and mould the Socialist party they want ? That is what my fellow comrades who resigned were trying to do, but we were resisted strongly, (in my opinion) to keep the “old boys network” in place & continue with a status quo.

Still in paragraph 4 They again misinform members while saying – quote “It was emphasised that those taking part in the investigation, should not take any part in the decision on any action or otherwise, as no-one can be judge and jury as per our own procedures and the procedures of every trade union and decent employer” Wow !! lol where to start with this pack of lies, 1/ Never was it said before the process was initiated, about anything to do with an issue of being both Judge & Jury, Policy dictates procedure & NOT opinions of people not involved in that process. Policy can NOT be rewritten without an EGM, Trade Union or Employer policies are totally irrelevant, have no bearing on these matters, abuse of perceived power is the key to this whole corrupt disgraceful fiasco.

Here is copy of June Dickson’s letter of resignation and an attached complaint that was never heard due to her resignation and leaving the party:

June Dickson

20TH March 2016

 

Mr Jim Walls

National Organiser

Solidarity

Dear Comrade

It is with deepest regret and sadness that I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from my position as Branch Secretary for the Lothians Branch and I’m also writing to cancel my membership with Solidarity.

I have attached a copy of a complaint that I have been pulling together with regards to the Lanarkshire Branch Meeting on the 16th February.  I believe that this document clearly shows my strong reasons for leaving the Party. 

However, whilst constructing this complaint further events have occurred some of which I touch upon in the attached document, which have made my position in Solidarity untenable.

Further to my concerns recorded in the document, additional concerns are:

 

  • Issues with the situation regarding Merchandise for Branches. There seems to be real confusion over the position on this.  I was informed on many occasions by various people that there was a Central Stock of Merchandise available to all Branches that could then be sold for profit to raise Funds for branches.  However, not only has the National Secretary turned up without prior arrangement to Lothians Solidarity events selling Solidarity Merchandise, he has also informed me by email that the Central Stock is only to be sold for the Central Fund.  I found this a peculiar arrangement considering all Branches have been asked to raise their own funds.  Therefore at Individual events the National Secretary can turn up and sell merchandise at an event that Branch Members are trying to do the same to raise funds. 

 

  • Comrades have been frequently heard references to the “Central Branch”, when there is no reference to a Central Branch on the Solidarity website – is this not the Central Pot of funding that is being refereed to? There seems to be again a very small group of people making decisions regarding what this Central Pot is spent on without any real consultation with other Branches or a chosen few…again not the behaviour of a Socialist Movement.

Most concerning is the discussions around Hope Over Fear funding. I am greatly concerned that there was a discussion either on or off the record regarding HOF Funding being offered to Solidarity through a fund that any Political Party can apply…I would like to know why Hope Over Fear business is being discussed at an Executive Committee Meeting of Solidarity and more importantly the person raising this, what steps they took to discuss any of this with HOF Committee members.  As a member of both I have never been approached to discuss any such thing.  Considering the lengths myself and others in Solidarity, and also my friends and family went to defending Hope Over Fear throughout the various rallies,  I’m appalled that this has been discussed in any way. It seems there are some within Solidarity who are hell bent on proving other Political Parties and Yes Movement individuals, right, regarding everything they said about HOF being a front for Solidarity.  

 I had been considering my resignation a few months before the Conference and what made me rethink was receiving drafts of policies, procedures. Structures and roles and responsibilities.  I greatly appreciated the work my Comrades involved had put into pulling these together to try and create the transparency and accountability within Solidarity,  that we demand from others.  This was short lived due to my experiences recorded in the aforementioned attached document and the points I make above.

The greatest sadness for me is leaving the fantastic team I have in the Lothians Branch, it’s been a pleasure working with Kevin, Jimi, Anne and Ian, however I cannot continue with a clear conscience and I cannot continue within a party that I now feel is being driven by people I can no longer trust or respect.

 There are many fantastic people within Solidarity and I wish them all every success in the future.

 MY first experience of standing up and speaking was at the Solidarity Conference in 2015. I stated then and it still stands…I will not follow any Political Party blindly…I stick by that.

 To you Jim, and others who assisted you, many thanks for striving to turn the Party into an effective and strong movement, I for one greatly appreciated all the work.

 I now want to go back to what I have always done, steering clear of Political Parties, helping people where I can and supporting various grassroots activism groups, I feel I achieve more this way.

I hope that my resignation brings to an end the whispering campaign I feel has been waged on myself and others as I wish to walk away from the Party quietly to show respect to the Comrades I have the highest regard for.  If it doesn’t bring an end to this I will have no other option but to defend myself publically in whatever form that may take, I truly do not want it to come to that.

Wishing everyone all the best.

June

June Dickson’s Complaint (not submitted because of resignation)

Dear Jim

It is with regret that I find myself writing to you to express my concerns regarding the Lanarkshire Branch Meeting held on the 16th February. 

As a visiting member, I was appalled at the behaviour of members throughout the meeting, which I expressed on the night by following due process as to being heard at the meeting.   I had decided to leave it as a private matter between the Lanarkshire Branch and any senior officer bearers within Solidarity, as appropriate,  and would place my trust in the processes and procedures presented and passed at Conference, therefore had also decided to treat it as a confidential matter.

However, not only was I insulted when I received the email below  from my comrade John Park, I also felt patronised by the tone.  Furthermore I feel this email gives a greatly distorted impression of what happened at the meeting and would like to clarify as clearly as possible what I witnessed at this meeting. In the interests of simplicity and clarity I shall endeavour to respond to each paragraph of the email if appropriate:

Dear Comrades

Following on from the discussions that took place at the Lanarkshire Branch meeting held on Tuesday the 16th of February I feel that I have to highlight for the sake of clarity some of the issues raised at that meeting and the conduct of some of the participants and the dialogue used during this debate.

The most important word here is “issues”.  My comrade, Eddie Travers, did not raise any “grievance”.  I would go further and state that my comrade was obstructed from talking at every opportunity. Therefore the meeting did not in fact get to hear anything regarding the issues that said Comrade wanted to raise

First I would like to reiterate to everyone in attendance that there  was no attempt to simply shut anyone down  when  a member raised  some grievances’ However, the forum (open meeting) in which this grievance was raised is not correct approach to  address with such matters and certainly not in line with the recently adopted Disciplinary and Grievance procedures agreed at conference. 

Unfortunately I disagree with this observation and would question the observations skills of someone who states that a “grievance” was raised when in fact:

 

  • A comrade was interrupted continuously when he first started to speak. The first time was The Chair (John Park) raising his hand in front of Eddie Travers face and asking if Eddie had resigned from Solidarity.  Therefore what issue was being raised no one could make a judgement on with regard to confidentiality and due process.
  • Eddie Travers at no point, when he was permitted to speak, used the word “grievance” he stated clearly that he had a list of issues.
  • The Disciplinary and Grievance procedures were not being triggered by Eddie Travers that night, a few issues were being tabled at Branch level and I believe Eddie Travers also stated he wanted to put forward two motions. Again, I reiterate at no point did Eddie Travers use the word grievance, in fact, other members around the table were the ones who introduced that phrase.

This was confirmed at the recent E.C which, I attended and took place on Wednesday the 17th February 16.

The entire sentence above concerns me greatly.  I am uncomfortable that issues/topics discussed at EC level are being discussed in a round robin email, an email that seems to be placing great emphasis on confidentiality!

It was confirmed by Jim Walls (national organiser) that confidentiality of member(s) which is a major component of these procedures and these would have been seriously if  any member had been allowed to continue to raise  grievances’  in such an open forum.

I believe that even  in the absence of such policy it is simply good  practice to refrain from raising such issues that could be considered personal in an open meeting without exhausting  all avenues, such as simply taking the person aside and having a private discussion or indeed seeking the involvement of another branch member or officer to aid seeking a solution.

I reiterate the points above, Eddie Travers did not raise a grievance.

However I am also aware that on that night steps were taken to allow  a member an opportunity to raise his concerns informally although that would have required all to leave the room allowing the member(s) concerned, and if required a branch officer or officers to remain for this discussion however, this compromise was deemed unacceptable by one of the members concerned.

I also must add that it has been and I hope  always will be, that discussions at branch meetings are conducted in a fraternal and comradely  manner and Solidarity and indeed it’s members will not tolerate statements from members that would appear, intended or otherwise, threatening, bullying or akin to ageism  or sectarian. Such behaviour  does not fit into the ethos of a socialist party.

The above paragraph concerns me deeply.  It was extremely evident that the discussion held at the Branch meeting was anything but “fraternal and comradely “ and would go as far as stating that the Comrade trying to raise issues at Branch level was subjected to very aggressive behaviour both obvious and passive.  Being interrupted and shut down on a continual basis whilst trying to convey issues you have at Branch level is demeaning to any member. 

Eddie Travers was subjected to people leaning over tables and pushing of faces into his, many members started raising their voices and trying to either stop him speaking or drown out his words.  I was stunned and appalled, as people seemed to be reacting to words that hadn’t even been uttered.  I was also surprised to see one of the people in question who behaved so openly in this way, be announced as a List Candidate a few days later. 

I witnessed no comments or behaviour from anyone at the meeting that warrants the following “it’s members will not tolerate statements from members that would appear, intended or otherwise, akin to ageism  or sectarian” From all I witnessed I am surprised to see this statement in the email circulated as there was no evidence of this type of behaviour or comment from anyone that justifies inclusion of the above

Solidarity is an open and inclusive Party and like most organisations may have members who from time to time may not see eye to eye with issues on policy or direction. However, disagreements and discussions should always be cordial without reference to ethnicity  creed colour gender ageism and religion.

Again, as above concerned that the author of the email felt the need to include this statement, I witnessed no examples of references to  “ethnicity  creed colour gender ageism and religion”.  My concern is that this implies comments such as those listed above were uttered at the meeting. 

It is also worthy to note that the Disciplinary/Grievance document is a means to bring consolidation to issues and allow all parties to move on and advance the party as a whole.  It is not a means to obtain some form of retribution for perceived hurt or personal injury.

I reiterate above that a Grievance and Disciplinary procedures was not triggered, there was no grievance.  I also feel very uncomfortable at the implication that “retribution for perceived hurt or personal injury” was the motive behind a Comrade raising an issue regarding being obstructed from carrying out his role as Media Officer by a member of the Branch. IF my Comrade Eddie Travers had been permitted to speak by the Chair and others at the meeting they may have then realised that an issue and not a grievance was being raised….

I would ask that all who were in attendance at said meeting can draw a line under the unfortunate events which took place, in the knowledge that I and others who attended the EC have had assurances that proper procedure was being followed and allow those members concerned to now follow due party process.

It was brought to my attention that in fact the only assurances the author of this email and others got was that a Grievance could not be brought to a Branch Meeting, this is absolutely correct.  However, no grievance was raised…in fact nothing was really raised by Eddie Travers as he did not get the opportunity to talk properly.  I was informed that the grievance subsequently lodged by Eddie Travers on the night had been upheld, all three grievances, therefore I truly hope that the author and others adhered to their own advice regarding “following due party process” emailing everyone this email was sent to apologise for the misinformation and misguided comments would be a start.  I have since been told that there are members who were in attendance that night who have stated they do not recognise the procedures and processes, some whom stated on the night of the meeting that the policies and procedures were not fit for purpose…not the healthiest of attitudes for people who proclaim to be building Socialist Movement in Scotland, considering all policy, procedural and structure documents had been circulated well in advance of the Conference they were all passed at in February.  In fact some Senior Office Bearers admitted on the night of the 16th February that they had not read the policies and procedures before that night!

Any whispering and smear campaigns targeting any member is wholly unacceptable.

Now…where to start with this one…Since the meeting it has come to my attention that John Park has been telling Comrades that I was part of a clique and that I was very vocal that night.  I attended the Branch Meeting that night as I am entitled to do as a member of Solidarity, for me I should not have to justify my attendance with anything other than that fact.  I witnessed all that I describe above, I was appalled, disgusted and upset at the behaviour displayed towards a Comrade regardless of the situation or perceived situation.  I sat respectfully with my hand in the air waiting for permission to speak which was eventually given by Willy Kelly, I calmly but strongly expressed to the meeting that I was appalled at what had just happened and I felt that a Comrade was being shut down and stopped from speaking.  Members were asked to leave and as I go up to go I approached John Park and quietly told him that regardless of who was involved in the situation that what just happened was wrong. Considering the very aggressive behaviour of many around the table that night, I’m astounded that someone is stating that I was one of the most vocal.  I also do not take kindly to the Chair if the meeting that night relaying messages to me through another Comrade after the EC meeting.

I have since watched this person  goading and consistently pushing a comrade online in various ways.

It has become very clear to me that there is a very small group of people who are dictating what does and does not happen within Solidarity.  This is not the Socialist Movement I thought I was joining.  I am extremely uncomfortable that a very small group of people appear to have such autonomy that they are given carte blanche to disregard the policies and procedures the Party passed at Conference.  There is no transparency nor accountability it seems,  This has been further clarified by comments made to Party Embers that a “Management Committee” has and always will dictate what happens in Solidarity, granted no-one has stated this direct to me however I have heard this repeated by various people and quite frankly I’m tired of all the “whispering and smear campaigns” that seem to follow the same small group of people around from event to event.

We as a Party, and indeed the Lanarkshire Branch in particular, are in a good position moving towards the Scottish Election campaign and solidarity and unity will be key to our success.

Sadly, I witness very little unity and solidarity within our Party.

Yours in Solidarity

Pat Lee
Branch Organiser

 So this concludes day one of this blog which will lift the lid on integrity, honesty, comradeship & justice “Solidarity Style” This is only the tip of the iceberg, I have evidence in my possession thanx to Comrades who want the truth out once and for all, it may be too late to salvage anything from Solidarity, but surely the truth is more important than the selfish Political aspirations of people who want elected, and will do so at all costs and trample over anyone to get there, and trample over the truth as well. If Solidarity are looking for a target for their hate, then man up and direct it at myself and leave out my fellow comrades who have resigned. many of whom are sickened and heartbroken by the vile hate campaign coming from former “Brothers & Sisters” Unity you may preach but you certainly do NOT practice. Tomorrow I will show how Solidarity have conducted the hate campaign behind the scenes, evidence based of course.

 

 


 

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