Leader comment: Cost of Sheridan's guilt

Yesterday's conviction of Tommy Sheridan is understandably dominating not just the news agenda but conversations across Scotland.

Every aspect of his epic perjury trial is under scrutiny, and even if the ex-MSP can't comment ahead of sentencing next month, and a possible appeal, the debate will go on for years.

But today the News wants to dwell on one specific aspect which has particular importance in the Lothians: was it right to spend 1 million - and some argue much more - investigating Sheridan?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That money has come out of the Lothian and Borders Police budget, after all, cash intended to protect residents in this area, not to hunt down a politician.

Even so, the local force was correct to pursue the case once told to do so by the procurator fiscal, following allegations that Sheridan committed perjury at his defamation action at the Court of Session in 2006. Not to have done so would have been an affront to justice.

Much was at stake here and the trial was high-profile for a reason: Sheridan is the most charismatic politician of his generation and has a massive and disproportionate influence on thousands of Scots.

Many supporters will continue to protest his innocence and believe his claptrap about taking on the Rupert Murdoch empire, like some working class Vince Cable. But the evidence against him was overwhelming and that's why a Glasgow jury found Sheridan guilty.

Hypocrisy and lies should always be exposed, and they were yesterday. Yes, it is unfortunate it came at a huge cost to our local police - but as this was a case of national importance perhaps effort can be made to have the money recharged to central funds.

Going nowhere

As the year draws to an end, there's something symbolic about the tram which is sitting forlorn in a yard in Broxburn.

Broken up into individual carriages, with bits under wraps or boarded up, and becalmed in snow, the current fate of the first of our 2m trams just about sums up the project so far.

Like the 600m-plus scheme as a whole, the vehicle which was until recently a visitors' attraction on Princes Street, is going nowhere.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We can only hope for a better year in 2011 for both this particular vehicle and the bigger plans for the lines itself, which should be in the hands of an independent mediator early in the New Year.