Thursday, 21 October 2010

Swingergate Day 11: 'How's He No' Gettin' Drapped Aff?'

It is a bright cold morning on 20 October, just after 9 am, and we are heading from St Enoch Underground to the High Court for another day of the Sheridan Trial. For Day 2 see
As we all expected, much has happened since then. Some talking points so far include Sherry's sacking of his defence lawyer, Maggie Scott QC (oh and see Donald Findlay's magical appearance at the end of this post), in order to represent himself in court, thus inspiring the Sun headline
and many confrontations between Sheridan and his former comrades, most notably perhaps a clash with former MSP Rosie Kane who said
'When you managed to wangle a victory in court you made me look like a liar. I couldn't care less about the victory or what happened afterwards. But you called me a liar. And then you stood outside court rejoicing. And my mother - who adored you - went to her grave eight weeks later with me being called a liar. I'm not lying now and I wasn't lying then.'
This exchange (as quoted in the Sun) then took place -

Ms KANE: "Tommy, you went to Cupid's and you told me. You're saying that I made it up?
"Are you saying that we sat around waiting for a story to appear in a newspaper? So we waited for a random story and we went 'Can we make that Tommy?'. Is that what we did?"
SHERIDAN: "Did you do that?"
Ms KANE: "Jeezo Tommy, I'd be Derren Brown if I did that.
"How on earth can you claim that? It's not it, Tommy. How long did we wait, six months? A year? It's embarrassing."
SHERIDAN: "Miss Kane, you throw dust in people's eyes with your flowery stories. It's not cutting much ice here." Ms Kane, 49, described how after the story emerged she had "gone round Parliament taking bets on who the unnamed MSP" was.
She said: "I was having a laugh. It was things like 500-1 Annabel Goldie."
And she told Sheridan: "I even came to you and asked you who the Member of Parliament might be. I had to be taken from Parliament and told to shut up."
Ms Kane's admission sparked sniggers in the packed public gallery of the court.
She continued: "You used to be someone I got on with, Tommy.
"I was at your wedding. I was at your lawyer's wedding. I thought of you as my friend - but I think you are probably going to say you're not."

which has another great Sun headline -
(Rosie was invited to Havana a wee while ago to meet Fidel Castro and give him the best wishes of the Scottish people - Castro, one supposes, has no opinion on the Sheridan trial)
On 19 October, the former Scottish Socialist Party Holyrood candidate Katrine Trolle told the court that she and Sheridan and his brother-in-law had a threesome in Sheridan's marital bed (the trial was stopped briefly as Gail became upset at this point).
The Wikipedia entry for Trolle says that 'An election leaflet from her election campaign shows her photograph and Sheridan's with the slogan "Dare to be Different".' It may sound like a wikifact, but in this affair the oddest things may turn out to be true.

So on we go. The part of Glasgow between St Enoch Underground and the High Court is short and full of Glasgow history. We have just turned left out of St Enoch Sq and into Howard St
Some flats in some buildings in Howard St will cost you over £200,000 to buy. Others may be had for rather less. On the left behind the bus stop is St Enoch Hotel. Like many such Glasgow 'hotels' it is a halfway house for recovering addicts. If you are still tempted to visit you can find a review at

The St Enoch Centre may not look particularly beautiful, but is a magnificent light trap. See

Reconstruction work at the back of the Roman Catholic cathedral which faces on to the Clyde

Lovely 1890s use of red sandstone
Looking back
Now crossing Stockwell St - you can see Glasgow Central Mosque in the distance over the Clyde in the Gorbals. See
Looking back at the Scotia bar, founded 1792. Famous in modern times as a place to hear folk singers and writers. See

Into the Bridegate now. . .
. . .and here we are approaching the court on the right. And who is this smart young chap whom we see about to cross the road?. . .
. . .tt is none other than Sherry's friend and solicitor, Aamer Anwar. . .

. . .there are not enough megapixels in my camera to capture the balefulness of the stare I'm getting
Anwar heads for the car park. . .
. . . obviously waiting for the Sheridans
Shipbank Lane through the metal-fenced arch. . .
. . .where Paddy's Market used to be. See

Anwar's lonely vigil continues. . .
. . . let's leave him in peace. . .
. . .and press on down to the High Court
The Sheridans now also arrive this way - by tradition. . .
. . .with witnesses usually dropped off by taxi here

Here they come
Note wee Glasgow punter in street, doubtless exchanging cheery words of working-class solidarity with Sherry

Anwar still giving me dirty looks - 'pure drawin' me growlers' the wee neds call such facial expressions
Not sure what's in Sherry's sports bag. He used to play junior football, one of the rougher legal activities for young west of Scotland males. Perhaps it's for luck

And as the closeups are taken of the Sheridans, here is a familiar face and pipe at the door - Donald Findlay QC, one of Scotland's most renowned defence lawyers. He preceded Maggie Scott as Sherry's defender and was sacked by him in September 2009 (before the trial began). See
Findlay has often been described as 'colourful'. A former vice-chairman of Glasgow Rangers, he was once videoed singing 'The Sash My Father Wore', and was accused of making sectarian jokes in August 2010. See
He and Sherry may come from opposite ends of the Scottish class and political spectrum, but they have a few things in common - an air of the unpredictable, and a pervasive whiff of danger.
I overheard a passer by who had been watching the Sheridans go in ask one of the photographers, 'How's He No' Gettin' Drapped Aff?' - the photographer shrugged and said 'He likes the walk- he likes the attention'.
Donald also likes the walk, likes the attention.
Perhaps imagining a world without lawyers?
Probably not. But many people would love to know what Donald thinks. Like the former denizens of Paddy's Market, he has seen it all, heard it all. He may be 'colourful', but his memories include deep knowledge of the dark spaces in Scottish life, and his peers in the unforgiving world of Scots law respect him. Today he is representing Khalid Sarwar, who is accused of murdering a popular Glasgow radio host, Nasim Jamil. (Sarwar was found guilty the next day and has been sentenced to 20 years.)

Heading away from the court. . .
. . .and up to Argyle St and Marks
There is no doubt that this will be one of Scotland's most famous trials. We are not supposed to speculate, but to paraphrase Marx, it has the air of a tragedy enacted as farce, and the movie in Sheridan's head as he walks to the court seems unlikely to be played out in real life.

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