Three years ago this week, Sean Clerkin made a complaint to the police that led to Operation Branchform.

Police Scotland launched the probe to investigate the finances of the SNP which led to the arrests of Peter Murrell, Nicola Sturgeon and Colin Beattie.

Other complaints followed from independence activists who had donated to a fundraiser and were later asking where the money had gone.

The Glasgow Times met with the 63-year-old to find out why he made the report and what makes him tick.

Clerkin said: “I read that three members of the party’s finance and audit committee had resigned.

“People were giving money for a ring-fenced fund and it's very simple really.

“These people gave money for a ring-fenced fund for a referendum.

“I am standing up for the 2000 people, ordinary working-class people in the main, who gave their well-earned money to a cause they dearly believe in.

“They are what we call real patriots for Scotland.”

The operation is currently ongoing and Mr Murrell, Ms Sturgeon and Mr Beattie were all released without charge.

Despite reporting the SNP to the police his belief in independence is unshakable.

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He adds: “The movement at grassroots level is the mechanism to achieve it.

“And it will happen because, despite everything, the majority of people in Scotland still want independence.

“I'm out in the streets two days a week. Because I'm 63, I go with the pensioners for independence, and we're handing out leaflets, promoting independence in Scotland.”

Asked to describe what he does, Clerkin said: “I'm basically a political and community activist.

“As a socialist, I believe in helping the people that are the most vulnerable in our society and to give them a helping hand to give them a better quality of life, to help improve their situation. 

“It doesn't get any attention. I wouldn't want it to get any attention.”

He lists his political heroes. It would make quite the fantasy dinner party.

Helen Crawford, John McLean, Tony Benn, Eric Heffer, Jimmy Reid, John F Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

On Reid, he adds: “I got to know him very well in his later life rather well and I got on really well with Jimmy.”

Of the list, McLean and King are his major inspirations.

He said: “Martin Luther King Junior represents the quintessence of what a moral human being should be about in life. To strive for human rights and to strive for working-class people to get social justice.

“King wasn't just a civil rights person. In 1966, he went into Chicago and he was a he was a beacon for housing rights for black Americans and poor white Americans in Chicago.”

On Mclean: “He was for housing rights and he was for the rights of working-class people.”

The Kennedys, he said, were a “beacon of hope” and his first political heroes growing up in a Roman Catholic family in Glasgow.

He adds: “I'm a committed socialist, my socialism comes more from Christianity than it does from Marxism. Though Marxism plays a part in the analysis of things. I'm more of a Christian socialist.”

Clerkin attended Bellarmine Secondary in the south west of Glasgow but now lives in East Renfrewshire. He said he has inherited his late father's house.

An independence campaigner social and housing activist he is not a stranger to the police or politicians.

With others, he walked into a police station as they declared “We want to report a crime, an international war crime”

He has also been arrested six times, and convicted twice, for his protests.

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While campaigning or protesting he is also known to get in the faces of senior politicians, famously chasing then-Labour leader, Iain Gray, into a Subway shop and ultimately into a taxi.

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Amid all the activism, he said: “The bread and butter issue is housing and homelessness.”

On his housing activism as campaign co-ordinator for the Scottish Tenants Organisation, he is, on a weekly basis - sometimes daily - advocating for people who have an issue with their landlord.

Wheatley Homes Glasgow, formerly GHA, is often the target.

Clerkin has history with GHA, in that he was one of the most prominent opponents of the stock transfer of Glasgow’s council homes in 2002 that led to its creation.

He said: “We came very close to winning that. We had no money. We had very little resource.”

The 2002 vote was 29,126 (58%) yes to 20,836 (42%) no.

Now he regularly takes up cases of damp and mould or people refused housing.

He wants a law “laying down standards for damp and mould repairs and a strict timescale”.

He said: “Damp and mould is a massive issue. It is massively underestimated in housing in Scotland.”

Homelessness is another issue.

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“I just believe that that homeless people in Glasgow and through Scotland have been abandoned.”

He adds: “The street homelessness figures have gone through the roof, as you know from the official figures.”

And he knows the figures, he is a prolific Freedom of Information submitter.

He knows how many people are in temporary accommodation, how many children and people have died.

He said more and more are being refused accommodation.

Those on the receiving end can have an issue with his approach and behaviour towards them. He has been banned from council offices over complaints about his conduct.

Those he advocates for are more often than not happy he is on their side.

In the independence campaign, Clerkin can be seen by some as unhelpful, he has been arrested for unfurling a banner, but not convicted, and some of his stunts are seen as a turn-off.

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Clerkin said he has been targeted and threatened by some people within the independence movement.

Now, in his 60s, he is not showing signs of hanging up his megaphone.

“People have been abandoned. The safety net and the welfare state have been shredded to bits and basically, people are just being allowed to die in a society that's deeply embedded with income and wealth inequality.

That's what I fight on. That's what I campaign on, and that's what I'm about.

“I don’t care if I’m liked or disliked.”

He added: “I am a dog with a bone. I never give up.”