Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Swingergate Day 37: Andy Coulson Doesn't Slip Up

Welcome to my wee photoblog on Glasgow, where we feature the joys and unjoys of walking and cycling through a fascinating, beautiful and often badly run city. For the blog's origin and an alphabetical list of posts see the 'Introduction' post -
Today is 10 December and we are making our 4th trip to the High Court for the Sheridan Trial. For the previous trips (and useful links) see
Swingergate Day 2: Tommy and Gail Sheridan on Trial
Swingergate Day 11: 'How's He No' Gettin' Drapped Aff?'
Swingergate Day 28: A Large Pinch of Salt

Coming out of St Enoch Subway we step into the wonderland of a Glasgow Christmas

Emerging from here you would not guess at the Victorian Gothic splendour behind -
The Somerfield in Howard St - it's actually of course a Co-op
Now walking along Howard St to the Bridgegate; for the delights of the St Enoch Hotel, see previous posts
A very pink nail salon
Pacific Apartment for sale or let - you choose

As we've seen before, round the corner in Maxwell St is that charmingly entitled (and closed) establishment Legs and Co (it's moved on down the street)
The building in between the old and the new lapdancing clubs
An undercover car bootie - created by Strathclyde Police to catch crooked dealers?
Legs and Co have become Forbidden. For what it's all about see previous post - and if you think the women on display inside have similar body shapes to those on the shop front, you are the club's ideal customer. This is the oldest part of the city - Glasgow is, as the BBC soap has it, a River City, in origin, growth, and flower and decay, a city of transients, merchants, rogues, politicians and whores.

At Dirty Dick’s and Sloppy Joe’s
We drank our liquor straight,
Some went upstairs with Margery,
And some, alas, with Kate;
And two by two like cat and mouse,
The homeless played at keeping house.

- Auden
Back on Howard St, we return to the world of saints and see the back view of the Roman Catholic Cathedral, scaffolding now down. There is something fey about this Christian building - it looks as if it belongs in a Caspar David Friedrich painting, or in a Neil Gaiman or Susannah Clarke story; indeed all of Howard St has the feel of the 'half world' of Heinlein's Magic, Inc.

A stone's throw out on either hand
From that well-ordered road we tread,
And all the world is wild and strange;
Churel and ghoul and Djinn and sprite
Shall bear us company to-night,
For we have reached the Oldest Land
Wherein the powers of Darkness range.
Kipling, 'In The House of Suddhoo'

To let - Retail or Leisure
That's a Rangers pub flying its flags down the lane; Tommy Sheridan is teetotal, but he wouldn't want the orange juice here
Moving again along Howard St
Pretty railings; what lies behind?
Pavement quite icy, which is why many are walking on the road

The car park looks easier for walking
No Anwar to cross our path this time alas, as happened previously
Heading down to the High Court
Intriguing wee green space in here, at the apex of the triangle between Shipbank Lane and Toll Court
Andy Coulson - former editor of the News of the World and now David Cameron's Director of Communications - is to resume giving evidence today. For the secretly recorded video purchased by the NOW, which purports to show Sheridan conceding he is in trouble, see

And he duly appears from the right in a taxi - a spotter just behind me alerted the photographers
Coulson on the right there moving fast, the photographers pressing hard. There seems to be no hierarchy among the photographers but I stay well out of their circle - this is their job after all. Some prefer 'tight' others 'wide' (as Kipling observed, you can learn from eavesdropping on craftsmen)
And there he is at the back entering the court building, already in the past, as the photographers take stock. There are minor diagreements about tactics. NB: you are not allowed to take pics that show the interior
Just the Sheridans to come now. One of the photographers expresses the wish that Coulson had fallen 'on his arse' getting out of the taxi - no such luck for them. They are an agreeable bunch but that pic would be big money
No Sherry. . .
. . .still no Sherry
The photographers will get another whack at Coulson and the Sheridans after 12.30 but can't really break for coffee before the Sheridans arrive
Bernard Ponsonby of STV on the right there. he may look avuncular but he is a sharp questioner - one of the best in the business
Fag ends - few of them from the photographers
Two magpies in one of the trees the Sheridans will pass under - will it be 'two for joy' as they go by?
A familiar face behind the wig with the fag - Donald Findlay! Last time we saw him here he was perambulating up and down, and casting his cold eye over his former employer, Sherry. Glad to see he has a friend.
The lady in the white coat is Catriona Renton of BBC Scotland - unlike several other BBC Scotland presenters (and high-ups) I can think of, she is really nice - as with Bernard Ponsonby, however, she is not to be underestimated
Donald is still empillared
The lane between new and (on right) old High Court is quite tricky to walk on
No. . .
. . .Sherry still. One of the photographers complains 'He did this yesterday'.
Donald leaning against a pillar of the law. . .
. . .puffing away

Nothing. . .
. . .nothing
Ah, at last
Donald and his fellow death eater go in; I would guess that Donald sees as much of Sherry as he wants to these days
Going past the first tree - the portent-laden magpies in the nearer (to us) tree are off, perhaps fed up hanging around being symbolic
The photographers seem to quite like Anwar; he generally greets them in a friendly manner. Like the doomed Mafia boss at the end of The Godfather he knows it's all business: life goes on; oblivion goes on.

In court, there will be an odd moment (even odder than is normal for this trial) when Sheridan accuses Coulson of winking at him. See
What does it all mean so far? I gather Coulson seemed to be not quite on form in court, yet hasn't slipped up there either, indeed was in no real trouble at all (he seems to have stared at Sherry like a mongoose watching a wounded cobra) and conceded nothing of consequence.
One of the more curious developments of the last few weeks actually took place outside the court, with George Galloway breaking the Respect pact with Sheridan's Solidarity. He intends to stand at Holyrood in May, says Gorgeous George, largely because Sheridan has 'imploded': 'Scottish politics has a void at its heart, particularly since Tommy [Sheridan] imploded.There was clearly public support for a left-of-centre alternative and that gap has now opened up.'
The whole interview (by the splendidly deadpan Catherine Deveney, a master of the trade) is well worth reading. Fascinating that Galloway sees Sheridan's demise as opening up a 'left-of-centre' gap. That's not quite how others see it. See
Galloway is thus adopting the line of the Scottish Socialist Party that Solidarity is a personality cult, a one-trick pony (with the pony becoming catmeat) . We'll see how this pans out, but a three-corner race between Solidarity, Respect and the Scottish Socialist Party for the privilege of coming 6th or 7th in the contest for Glasgow can only be a bitter one.
The days when Galloway and Sheridan stood side by side - see
are only last year, but seem far distant now.

1 comment:

  1. Every time I see Mrs Sheridan approaching the court in yet another fur coat, that old Glaswegian expression of "she's aw fur coat and nae knickers" passes through my mind. Apology but can't help it :-)