The groups formation follows a crisis within the party and publication of an open letter by former SSP convener Tommy Sheridan, distributed to members which detailed a long-standing slander campaign conducted against him, allegedly led by senior party figures, MSP's and some grassroots activists. Many senior party figures and three of the parties four female MSP's, Carolyn Leckie, Rosie Kane and Frances Curran have since joined the list of SSP United Left Signatories. Many see the groups formation as being an early indication of a self-initiated purge of the voices of disunity and calumy from the party some see as responsible for both the crisis and the apparent schism, which has reached a head this summer in the wake of the approach of the much-publicised high-profile libel trial involving Tommy Sheridan and British pro-war, right-wing scandal sheet, the 'News of the World'.
When these rumours - strenuously denied by Sheridan - of an alleged extra-marital affair were published in the newspaper in Autumn 2004 (which many grassroots activists and party members regarded as highly inflammatory and exaggerated, and indeed of little consequence or bearing on Sheridan's political position) many senior party figures saw political opportunity - and position for themselves - to be gained from both the story and securing his removal as convener. In the aftermath of this - and due in no small measure to a dearth of support from the party executive - Sheridan was effectively ousted as convener in November 2004.
Since then, party membership and public support, as well as the party's direction and impact on the political scene and in the anti-war movement in Scotland has continued to plummet. A substantial reversal in 2007 of their success in the last Scottish Parliament Elections, which saw his party's representation in the Scottish Parliament in his period as convenor increase from just himself to six members in 2003, is widely predicted by many political commentators
The groups founding statement was distributed in the name of Pam Currie, SSP LGBT spokesperson, and three rank-and-file members. However, signatories include three SSP MSP's (the aforementioned Curran, Kane and Leckie), co-chair Morag Balfour, and both the SSP councillors, Keith Baldassara and Jim Bollan.
Reminiscent of the campaign to undermine Arthur Scargill and the National Union of Mineworkers in the 1980's, revealingly recounted in Seamus Milne's ground-breaking 1994 investigation, The Enemy Within: MI5, Maxwell and the Scargill Affair, the ongoing crisis has led to mounting speculation in some quarters regarding the exact extent of the role of the British state in the party's recent troubles, which has been at the forefront in Scotland of opposing the war against Afghanistan and Iraq and spearheading the rapid growth of the highly successful Military Families Against the War campaign.
On 26th May 2006 - in an unprecedented move - an article titled 'Context is Everything' by internationally renowned, award-winning 'Rebel Ink' weekly columnist, Kevin Williamson, which attempted to question whether the News of the World story was simply a prurient, salacious sting or part of a calculated political attack against a perceived threat to the British state, was pulled from the party's in-house newspaper, Scottish Socialist Voice.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/nolavconsole/ukfs_news/hi?redirect=fs.stm&news=1&bbram=1&bbwm=1&nol_storyid=5046330 Video Link