Just a couple of Sunday afternoon short thoughts and notices. Firstly, I've composed this week's Scottish Roundup, which I've given the Keatsian title of "Season of tiffs and mellow fruitiness..." Plenty there to keep you entertained, I fancy, from analyses of Ed Miliband's big speech, devolution and its policy contortions, women's participation in Scottish politics, the writings of Thomas Carlyle and the legality of waving the ubiquitous flags of Scottishness. Excellent stuff. It is also the night before Her Majesty's Advocate v. Sheridan and Sheridan is due to begin in the High Court in Glasgow before Lord Bracadale. If you missed it and are still wondering what the Sheridan perjury trial is all about, you might like to take a look at the full indictment, which I reproduced here earlier in the week. For myself, the most mysterious and pregnant charge on the indictment is the first listed against him, that he attempted to suborn perjury from Colin Fox before the latter testified in his defamation trial. The Crown allege that this meeting took place on the 18th of June 2006, its setting the Beanscene coffee house, just outside of Holyrood. Here's that complete charge, extracted from the rest:
(1) you THOMAS SHERIDAN having raised an action of defamation in the Court of Session, Parliament House, Parliament Square, Edinburgh against News Group Newpapers Limited, 124 Portman Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow, a company incorporated under the Companies Acts, being the publisher of the News of the World newspaper, in which you alleged that on 21 November 2004 the said newspaper had published an article communicating the false idea that you had visited a "swingers club" with Anvar Begum Khan, c/o Lothian and Borders Police, Police Headquarters, Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh, and knowing that a civil jury trial had been fixed for the hearing of said action on 4 July 2006 and having on 9 November 2004 at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Scottish Socialist Party held at 70 Stanley Street, Glasgow, attended by, among others, Colin Fox, c/o Lothian and Borders Police, Police Headquarters, Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh, admitted attending such a club and in particular Cupid's Healthclub, 13-17 Sutherland Street, Swinton, Manchester on two occasions in 1996 and 2002 and knowing that accurate minutes of the said meeting existed and had been lodged on 16 June 2006 at the said Court on behalf of the said defender and that said Colin Fox was to be called as a witness at said trial did on 18 June 2006 at the premises known as The Beanscene, 67 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh attempt to suborn said Colin Fox, to falsely depone as a witness that the minutes of said meeting were not accurate and you did thus attempt to suborn said Colin Fox to commit perjury;
For those of us who dabble in Twitter, the critical question to settle and settle soon is what handy hashtag ought to denote Sheridan's judicial ordeal? More obvious suggestions include #sheridan, #sheridantrial, #sherrytrial. This morning, Love and Garbage and I have shared a few other more or less inspired suggestions, including...
All other (lawful) suggestions welcome. No doubt the organic god of popular usage will determine this particular conundrum of new media modernity for us and the angst of contingency shall settle down into a prescriptive stability. Finally, might I suggest that anyone minded to publish their thoughts on the Sheridan perjury trial reads this quite carefully. The Contempt of Court Act 1981 does not mandate an blanket omerta and require popular silence, but it certainly counsels a wee bit of caution as we put fingertips to our keyboards.