"The Scottish Socialist Party descended into open warfare last night when Tommy Sheridan, the former leader, accused a "cabal" of spreading lies to discredit him.When the News of the World allegations broke originally, I wondered why Tommy's comrades weren't standing behind him in his defamation action against the paper.
Mr Sheridan sent an open letter to all SSP members claiming that senior figures in the party, including MSPs, had spread malicious rumours about him, including allegations that he was a drug dealer, that he trafficked women from eastern Europe and that he used prostitutes.
The Glasgow MSP warned that the SSP was in danger of becoming a "gender-obsessed discussion group" rather than a "class-based socialist party"."
Then I heard a few rumours myself, which are not for repeating. Nothing quite as lurid as these, I hasten to add, but I think Sheridan's rantings about a 'cabal' should be taken with a pinch of salt.
I dare say there'll be personal jealousies and ideological differences behind this as well - they are the comrades, after all, and fratricide is what the comrades do best.
But a fair proportion of the animosity towards Sheridan has to do with the fact that the anonymous "senior figures in the party" are a little miffed that he is by default drawing the party into his legal action, which they believe he can't win.
Anyway, what I was wondering was: is the SSP technically big enough to have a cabal?