My regular reader will recall the story so far in the new reality soap from Scotland “the Sheridans” – an everyday story of socialist folk. But to recap..
The story so far in summary (for more see here or for real enthusiasts see here which takes you back through the past year and a half): Tommy Sheridan blah blah sunbed blah blah scrabble blah blah club in Manchester blah blah hotel in Glasgow blah blah sacks lawyers blah blah fish supper blah blah is she not fragrant? blah blah bottom of Clyde blah blah block of concrete blah blah wins famous victory blah blah Gretna beating Real Madrid blah blah Lord Turnbull blah blah investigation launched blah blah splitters blah blah Popular front for the liberation of blah blah Solidartomsc blah blah wiped out blah blah fringe blah blah radio blah blah allegations about blah blah The Sweeney blah blah I’m the king of the Swingers blah blah arrest charged with perjury blah blah vendetta (1) blah blah his lawyer charged with contempt of court blah blah search of house blah blah what did they find? blah blah more arrests blah blah ex Selkirk shop steward blah blah
All of which led up to last night’s stunning cliffhanger.
The fragrant Gail – she of the Jackie O sunglasses – suspended from her work as an air hostess over an alleged incident with some tiny bottles. And only days after being arrested. And her a 44 year old mother of one (an odd way to describe your wife, Tommy, but never mind. I’ll bear it in mind if ever asked to describe Mrs LandG to anyone). So what can possibly happen next dear reader?
NOW READ ON…
“Last night, a source close to the family said: “If Gail didn’t think there was a witch-hunt against her before, she certainly does now. It’s fair to say she’s gone off her trolley. She’s absolutely livid.””
“Police raided the Sheridans’ Glasgow home in December as part of the probe into perjury allegations. It is understood they seized an amount of miniatures like the ones served on planes. Gail was quizzed about the booze haul when she was interviewed by police in Edinburgh on Tuesday and charged with perjury. Lothian and Borders Police are believed to have passed information about the miniatures to BA. The airline reacted swiftly and mounted their own internal inquiry. Yesterday, a source said: “Gail feels as if there is a conspiracy against her and the police have got it in for her and her family.””
An opinion echoed by Mrs Sheridan’s solicitor Aamer Anwar (who faces trial for contempt of court in April) who is reported to have said (in a statement carefully phrased to ensure no-one could doubt it comes on behalf of the clients):
“”Mr and Mrs Sheridan have already stated their anger at the manner in which they have been treated by the police. They deny any allegations of criminality and are determined to clear their names.”
While the allegations are denied the story has prompted a fair range of reactions on the blogosphere.
The Professional Pilots Rumour Network is running a thread headed “Perk of the job or theft?” which asks if those on the board always trust their fellow crew members. The thread contains a variety of comments ranging from ZTC
“Make no difference what your occupation is – remove employers property without (written) authority at your very real risk. I’ve unfortunately had to dismiss staff for less”;
to Pandora who – helpfully to followers of the various cases – notes BA policy
“BA crew are allowed to buy 6 miniatures on a BA-approved crew purchase scheme if they operate a flight to a destination outside of the EU. If you are caught with minatures but no receipt, it does not necessarily mean you stole the miniatures – just that you have no receipt. In the past anyone who has bought crew purchase has taken any they didn’t drink down route home with them. Once home it was not deemed a necessity to keep the receipt. Apparently now it is.”
And jimworcs who puts things in context for the airline industry and readers
“1. The police were searching her home in relation to an investigation into perjury, for which she has now been charged. When police search someones home, if potential evidence is found of other crimes, this is investigated. In this case, the police advised her employer that there may be property belonging to BA. This is not a case of a vendetta.. unless we are suggesting that the police should just ignore possible evidence of other crimes when they search peoples homes.
2. BA have not accused her of stealing the minatures. They have suspended her pending investigation. She will now have an opportunity to explain how the minatures came into her possession and if they are legitimately obtained, or even if BA cannot prove that they were obtained illegally, she will be reinstated. (That is if she is not in prison for perjury). “
The second point of which is surely worth bearing in mind.
Outwith the airline industry this new development has generated various comments. While the Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for War (Ronseal would be proud…) summarise matters by describing Tommy and Gail as “incompetent as well as thick“: pointing out “Alcohol miniatures? What kind of redistribution of wealth do they call that then? … So what else did Lothian and Borders police find in the couple’s home – a stash of facial fresheners?”; others wonder just how many of the miniatures Gail had (a thought which crossed my mind – how many were there? And Ian Hamilton QC, who last night wrote “Edinburgh and Lothians Police are conducting a vendetta against justice itself. I am ashamed of being a lawyer.” has silently amended that (until admitting the edit in a comment on the post) to end with the rhetorical flourish “Edinburgh and Lothians Police are conducting a vendetta against justice itself. Who can curb these officers who are clearly out of control? “
And the new developments have prompted some more general thoughts. Nich Starling writes,
“In many ways it would have been better for the News od The World to make it’s allegations regarding his sex life and just accept it because everything he has done since has done more to damage his politics and his reputation than the original allegation did in the first place.”
which echoes a point I have made many times – originally seen in Alastair’s blog in original comments on the Sheridan case (but echoed throughout his regular series of posts on libel and defamation cases – for a summary see his post here)
“Even if the story isn’t true
It isn’t always advisable to sue
Taking on the News of the Screws
Even if you win – you lose”
So, today ends with Gail denying everything. Tommy denying everything. And Jock, Graeme, Rosemary (am I the only person who whenever I hear that name follow immediately with the words “the telephone operator” before going on to “Henry the mild mannered janitor”?), Gus, and Pat. denying everything. So the Sheridan Seven deny everything and can take solace from an erstwhile critic at Socialist Unity calling for a general rally behind their banner (despite all of the splits and problems and self-proclaimed preference for the SSP) because “we can all agree that no socialists should go to gaol” (hat-tip Harry’s Place update). This is a view with which my regular reader may disagree. And so, a poll
Anyway as is traditional sign off – the inquiries continue.
(1) In relation to the vendetta allegation – a quick net trawl tonight revealed a few contemporaneous posts on the case from sources other than myself. I draw one to attention. During the original proof Alastair wrote,
“May I pause at this point to note that while, almost by definition, both sides in a court dispute will give different versions of events in relation to disputed matters, it is quite clear that in this case the dispute goes way beyond shades of meaning or different intepretations of the same facts or genuine but mistaken beliefs – it is perfectly apparent that either (a) Tommy has been the victim of a criminal conspiracy backed by perjured evidence or (b) the raising of this action by Tommy is a gross perversion of justice and if he gives evidence on his own account along the lines suggested in his cross-examination then he he will inevitably commit perjury”
That’s the real issue here. Ordinarily matters can be put down to differences in recollection, experience of events being coloured by one perspective or another. Here, people at the same meeting claimed completely different versions of what happened at that meeting – in relation to the very matter the meeting was about. BUt, lest it be thought this LJ is anti-Sheridan, the actions of those that gave evidence against Sheridan must surely have been questioned, particularly if Pan’s allegation on the post from Alastair is accurate.