Well, Sheridan had his day, or rather month, in court & emerged victorious. Whatever the conflicting accounts of the case, it seems clear that the News Of The World's reputation was also up for judgement in the Edinburgh court. In siding with Sheridan, a majority of the jury indirectly gave their own verdict on what is probably Murdoch's most venal outlet of propaganda.
As Sheridan & his wife emerged triumphant from court on Friday (looking almost Clintonesque in their sartorial splendour) it would have been tempting to add the image to those of other instances of wronged individuals having turned the tables on their accusers. This time, however, it was different.
One of those who was called to give evidence in support of the allegations was the SSP's trade union convenor, Richard Venton. I knew Venton on Merseyside during the 80s when he was the leading full-timer for the Militant. Even though my own political views have changed since then, considerably, it must be said, I have always regarded Venton as being a man of his word. So when Venton gave his testimony, more in sorrow than anger, by all accounts, that he attended the SSP meeting at which Sheridan admitted to visiting swingers clubs, the whole affair began to crystallize in the eyes of many who had been torn up to that point.
[This is a point I've twice made on the Guardian's "Comment Is Free" weblogs, amid shrill, partisan & downright ignorant postings on the matter.]
What now for the comrades in Scotland? Part of me couldn't care less; the SSP still clings to the utopian nostrum that a Soviet-style planned economy is attainable. However, the fall-out from the Sheridan case promises to be ghoulishly fascinating. It appears that a split will emerge on the old Trotskyite sectarian lines. Sheridan's old comrades from the Militant were most vociferous in their criticism of him, while the SWP element in the SSP have wasted no time in welcoming the verdict as a vindication of the former leader.
Meanwhile, the so-called Holy Land continues to take an almost carnal pleasure in carnage. Margaret Beckett has clearly been rattled by the criticism of her performance & the observation that she has gone from 80s Bennite firebrand to Blair's supine supplicant. It's prompted her to make the risible claim that the criticism of her is rooted in sexism (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,,1838342,00.html ).