Thursday, August 18, 2011
Strathclyde force assigns 50 officers to phone-hack probe, pyrrhic victory for Tommy Sheridan, his career as serious politician shattered
Scotland’s Nelson Mandela, Tommy Sheridan sits in Castle Huntly Prison waiting for the day he will be free to walk the earth.
And plan his political comeback, major work need on that front, he and his party have been incredibly damaged.
But in politics anything can happen and usually does, although not a key part of his trial, a side note brought up by Sheridan was phone hacking by the News of the World.
As an outsider looking at this, Tommy Sheridan and the NOTW weren’t on best terms so when the opportunity came over ‘shaggergate’, it was too good an opportunity to miss. Tommy Sheridan was an MSP at the time they broke the story so it was newsworthy.
Was it in the public interest or just of interest to the public, I leave that analysis to you, but the story had all the hallmarks of great gossip.
Local hero come good is ploughing into all sorts of top ‘totty’ while being a family man.
Katrine Trolle is someone who said that Tommy Sheridan had sex sessions with her.
Trolle is from Denmark which prompts the phrase.
Because it was sizzling!
Anyway, time moves on, and Sheridan’s sideshow has led to up to 50 detectives working on Operation Rubicon.
This is Strathclyde Police’s inquiry into alleged phone-hacking in Scotland.
The inquiry is led by Detective Superintendent John McSporran and in this instance, I expect Tommy Sheridan to be helping police with their inquiries.
Give it name.
Operation Rubicon is Scotland’s answer to Operation Weeting, the probe into phone hacking being run by the Metropolitan Police.
How many people were hacked it not known but lists of people run into thousands and with Clive Goodman’s letter, it looks bad for News International.
Scottish Detectives were handed a dossier of 1100 names by Sheridan’s solicitor, Aamer Anwar accompanied by Labour MP Tom Watson.
Who said that Sheridan’s conviction was unsafe, if you strip out Coulson and the News of the World evidence, you are still left with videotape evidence and witnesses to him confessing, plus other witnesses such as Katrine Trolle and people from Manchester who placed him at the scene.
Add it all up, and you get guilty.
But let’s not forget the former Scottish Socialist Party leader is human and getting payback is high on the agenda.
That and trying to rebuild a shattered party who have seen public confidence drop like a stone.
Strathclyde Police are examining a host of serious allegations on phone hacking such as breaches of data protection law, perjury against News International staff including Prime Minister David Cameron’s former communications director, Andy Coulson, an ex-editor at the News of the World, and police corruption.
“My understanding is a huge amount of resources are being devoted to this.”
It seems that the Tommy Sheridan story will continue, Sheridan has still got a brand name, but it cannot be repaired on the back of any alleged guilt by the NOTW staff.
He may get his other day in court revelling in payback and trying to create a narrative that as Scotland’s Nelson Mandela, he was Scotland’s sole ‘political’ prisoner and then the circus will go on.
For the narrative to work, it has to go on the belief that people aren’t bright, have poor memories and can be swayed.
Unfortunately, this is Scotland, we can read, write and think and I suspect ‘Comrade’ Sheridan once released will man the barricades in true Russian Socilaist style of Ilya Ehrenberg pounding his chest.
As to his career there is a song, ‘walk on by’.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University