Common Weal board to look at the decision of its founder to speak at Tommy Sheridan-organised protest
A high profile think tank and campaign group has been thrown into turmoil by the decision of its founder to speak at a pro-independence rally.
Robin McAlpine, director of the left wing Common Weal (CW), one of Scotland’s foremost civil society groups, caused anger after he took to the platform at Saturday’s Hope Over Fear (HoF) rally in Glasgow’s George Square, which was attended by around 1,000 people.
Large parts of the pro-independence left has distanced itself from HoF – seeing it as a front for its organiser, the disgraced former politician Tommy Sheridan.
Sheridan has faced criticism and has been osctracised by many of his former allies for his role in the destruction of the Scottish Socialist Party and his treatment of women witnesses during two high profile court cases – the last of which saw him jailed for perjury.
Prominent groups such as Radical Independence and Women for Independence – which have a large cross-over in members with Common Weal – refuse to share platforms with Sheridan.
And until Saturday, the Common Weal, which includes actress and high-profile indepedence campaigner Elaine C Smith on its board, had kept its distance from HoF.
TFN understands that McAlpine's decision to speak at the rally on Saturday has resulted in a major fall out on the Common Weal's 16 strong board – which was unaware of McAlpine’s intentions.
Local Common Weal groups such as Edinburgh North and Leith are among those which have objected.
A source told TFN that Common Weal was inundated with emails about the affair – and now the board will meet to consider how to respond.
Your legitimising the perjurer Sheridan is an incredible insult to all
In an open letter to McAlpine, pictured above, Common Weal supporter Scott MacDonald said: “You doubtless already know Sheridan is a convicted perjurer…his ridiculous, divisive, septic antics, throwing dozens of committed socialists and activists under the bus in an effort to cover up his sex life is a matter of public record.
“He brought the full force of the law to compel and humiliate women and activists whose only crimes were to either stand up to his hugely destructive madcap tower of lies, or to share a bed with him.
“Your legitimising the perjurer Sheridan is an incredible insult to all.”
McAlpine confirmed to TFN that the issue will now be discussed by the CW board.