Sunday, January 23, 2011

Scottish Newspaper Roundup

As many of our readers are not in Scotland I thought it would be useful to round up some articles from the Scottish press relating the trial that have appeared this weekend.

The Daily Record has this story, "Tommy Sheridan trial provoked resignation of top spin doctor Andy Coulson" Which quotes an "insider"as saying of Andy Coulson's resignation  "having to give evidence at the Sheridan trial was the tipping point for Coulson, adding  "He had to take a week off before Christmas to prepare and give evidence in the Tommy Sheridan trial and was then being filmed and photographed arriving and leaving the court. He was right at the centre of the story instead of trying to manage it and he knew then that he had to go."

The Scotsman has a similar piece, "Sheridan helped bring down No10 spin doctor and it's Sunday stablemate Scotland on Sunday has a fine analysis piece "Sheridan: Will he be a hero behind bars? which discusses possible sentences in the case and the prison system Mr Sheridan  faces entering this Wednesday. Last weekend Scotland on Sunday ran a long interview with Rosie Kane, the former MSP and friend of Mr Sheridan who testified against him during the trial, that can be found Here

Finally The Sunday Herald has a story by Paul Hutcheon, "Doubt over Gail Sheridan’s candidacy" which states that paper " has learned Sheridan has told friends that his wife will not be a Solidarity candidate. One close associate said: “Tommy is saying that Gail cannot cope with the fact that he is going to jail, and that she won’t be standing. She’s in no fit state.”


Open your eyes said...

It looks like Tommy Sheridan is a key player in both the downfall of Maggie Thatcher's poll-tax government and - if News International can't purchase Sky - the U.K. branch of Murdoch's empire.

Not bad going for one man.

It's a shame that so many are blinded by the tabloid press as to what is really going on - this man should be Scotland's first minister.

I guess the right-honourables in Holyrood know that as well - it's a good incentive for them to keep quiet.

Anonymous said...

"which discusses possible sentences in the case and the prison system Mr Sheridan faces entering this Wednesday." James, I thought we weren't allowed to discuss possible prison sentences? Or is it one rule for the Scotsman and one rule for the rest of us?

Bunc said...

TS should be Scotland's First Minister? What planet are you living on? The man's a convicted perjurer !

TS may certainly play his part in the NI crisis but I would suggest that the role of just for one example the Guardian in doggedly pursuing the story is far more central.

IF there is ever any perjury investigation into Coulson then the fact that TS called him may play a key part - but so far the NOTW / NI issue has a momentum which is far from just down to TS's actions. TS was simply another nail in the coffin for Coulson.

Anonymous said...

From the Scotsman: "Trying to guess Sheridan's sentence has become something of a legal and journalistic parlour game since Sheridan's conviction in December, with the smart money on five years." Five years!?

James Doleman said...

Hello anon, my interpretation of the rules around contempt would be that publishing a discussion about possible sentences might be construed as "predicting the course of the trial" so to be on the safe side I did not permit comments
on that subject. Scotland on Sunday clearly take a different view. They are probably right of course but in the abscence of legal advice we will stray on the side of caution.

Best regards


Anonymous said...

With all due respect, Open Your Eyes I disagree with your assertion that Tommy Sheridan was key to bringing down Thatcher and the Poll Tax. As far as I am concerned Sheridan et al were part of the "blowing of steam" movement that set out to maintain the status quo. In my opinion it was the Poll Tax Rioters and the Porsches and Rolls Royces going up in flames in the side streets of London that brought down Thatcher and her Poll Tax, and those responsible were "named" and as a consequence served long prison sentences. It is these brave people that we owe a debt to - not Tommy Sheridan IMO.

Not a sun worshipper said...

That's right anonymous rewrite history. There is a precedent of course. Stalin rewrote the history of the Russian revolution and in his version Trotskey's role was irrelevant.
Maybe Alan McC will right a new book on the Poll Tax, and abolition of Warrant Sales, with TS airbrushed out?

Anonymous said...

@ Not a sun worshipper - it's not a case of "re-writing history". Some of us were they're at the time; we have vivid memories of the violence dished out by Thatcher's Stormtroopers, then the sense of betrayal and timed served in Pentonville Prison.

Anonymous said...

If my memory serves me right the demo in London and the "violence dished out by Thatcher's Stormtroopers" was soon followed by Thatcher's resignation but of course the party was still in Government under Major.

TS condemned the violence in London.

Senior Tories argued that the issue of Europe was the biggest factor in Thatcher's forced resignation but I do believe all those that campaigned against the Poll Tax also played a part along with many things.

yulefae said...

ANON January 23, 2011 3:32 PM

You seem to be saying it,s okay to burn rolls royce cars in dide steets in London,so whats wrong wae a wee porky?

TS denounced the violence,so maybe LB will remember that on wednesday

jim mclean said...

I often feel the Hackney riots probably had more effect for this was local, in London, and sustainable. In Trafalgar Square we came from all parts and would disperse at the end of the day, the Tories could handle that.

Anonymous said...

yulfae, no-one takes any pleasure in torching rolls royces (lovely motor), but it was invading the toffs territory and terrifying the living daylights out of them that got the job done - the ranting speakers in hyde park were a side-show - handy diversion, that was not where the real work was done.

Peter said...

In terms of prison sentences for physical resistance to the Poll Tax Tommy Sheridan's was one of the longest served.

Direct action in opposing a warrant sale of a poor persons meagre belongings as opposed to trashing posh cars round the town. Mmmmm.

Many people in Trafalgar stood up to the police and they were recognised and supported.

No names given by anyone in the campaign leadership about anyone else in the campaign.

I am sorry you are wrong there but it is an old chestnut.

We did name the Metropolitan Police who attacked the demonstrators.

We did condemn the certain ACTS of the rioters (some of whom were agent provacateurs) eg. the attacks on fire fighters and stewards were particularly stupid.

No names were given.

Sheridan did not troop into court to name people (as in this trial and the perjury trial) - sorry you are wrong there again.

MP Terry Fields (a much older man) from the same political tendency also did a lengthy stretch and refused a plea bargain.

Both were principled leaders whilst in prison. They were looked after and in turn were helped by many men inside.

Outside and inside both had and will remain in the affections of many.

A sentence accrued during a challenge to the powerful is a risk - it is not sought or welcomed of course but there is no shame in it at all.

Can others stay the same?

Sigh said...

We read an article that says Tommy might get 5 years in jail and the "left wingers" here want to argue about who did what on a demo 21 years ago. Says it all really.

Critical-eye said...

Your post here entirely supports the case I have been making about the moral ambiguity of the Left:-

"We did name the Metropolitan Police who attacked the demonstrators."


"We did condemn the certain ACTS of the rioters (some of whom were agent provacateurs) eg. the attacks on fire fighters and stewards were particularly stupid.

No names were given."

One standard for the police and another for rioters!! How can the law be supported if citizens are not prepared to bring forward evidence against those who break the law??

yulefae said...

ANON as you dont have a handle tell me when Trafalgar Square became the toffs area? a thought it was TS who started the Poll TAX defiance as it was in this neck of the woods a year before the other mob got it,so i would say TS done enough to get somebodies back up and well done to him

CB said...

Critical Eye

You will require to show that there are never any similar ambiguities on the right.

I have given the example of supermarkets flouting the Sunday trading laws and forcing their amendment, which drew very little condemnation from right-wing commentators.

Anonymous said...

Good point about the supermarkets and the Sunday Trading Laws. Here we had coppers sauntering past when a clear violation of the law was taking place. The same coppers that would speed round to, sirens blazing when the said supermarkets suspected a mother of stealing a doughnut to feed her starving wean. One law for big business and one law for the rest of us.

Steve said...

More grist to Critical ee's mill?

Critical-eye said...

Steve - many thanks for this reference. It illustrates how different people can come to very similar conclusions from very different directions.

Credit is also due to James and this blog, for permitting civilised debate with people one would never normally encounter; and, for me, gives reference to articles I would never otherwise have found.

Not only, does his ideology give some part of the explanation for TS's perjury (in part, I accept, it was simply an attempt to save his political career), it also throws a lot of light on those SSP members who testified against TS.

TS’s confession to these members together with his decision to sue the NOTW, posed an acute dilemma. Notice how in this trial he asked them all what they thought of the NOTW, eliciting the response that they considered it a vile newspaper. The silent implication of the question was, I believe, that if the NOTW was vile, they should not be giving testimony in support of it - i.e. they should be defending a fellow socialist, even if that meant perjury.

Note too that the SSP held a meeting before the libel case to decide their attitude: deciding to answer truthfully to a direct question. However, their decision was qualified, as while they answered questions truthfully, they refused to voluntarily bring forward any evidence which would support the NOTW.

The reasons are, no doubt, complex: desire not to assist the NOTW; recognition that TS's fight was in reality for personal not political reasons; and human decency which dictated that one should tell the truth.

Things changed, however, when TS won the case, and branded them "liars" and "scabs". I believe, this made them realise that their half-way position was not sustainable: if you are going to tell the truth, and be believed, you must bring forward all the evidence you have to support your case (hand-written notes of meeting and tape).

Thus, we can see these SSP members as having been on a journey: I hope they have come to realise that what their politics dicated was morally very questionable, and that there is a sense of morality which is much deeper than political conviction (and is not political: is not either Left or Right) - namely a fundamental human honesty and decency.

Steve said...

My own view is that there are slippery slopes on all sides in relation to strict legality. If you doubt it, Critical Eye, watch the film Sophie Scholl.

For the reason that unjust laws are passed, I do not repudiate the tradition of CIVIL disobedience as a means of protest that evidences conscience, even though it is another slippery slope.

The revolutionary socialist project is something distinct and, to my mind, flawed in that it tends to bring the most ruthless individuals to power.

I think we are all on a learning curve.