As an ordinary West Lothian bloke, I never thought I’d be somebody to make a contribution to history; no matter how small. But last week I got the chance, and I grabbed it.
A national newspaper took me along to the sentencing of Tommy Sheridan at Glasgow High Court. The purpose for my presence was to observe his body language and comment on what was going on in his mind.
Not too difficult a task… I mean, if you were sitting between two prison officers before The Beak, waiting to hear how long you were going to be a guest of Her Majesty, what would be going through your mind? Pretty much the same, I wager.
The use of a mobile phone in court is frowned upon. Actually, it’s more than that. Try texting your chums from the High Court to tell them what’s happening, and you would find yourself – minus your phone, belt, shoelaces and tie – in the back of a prison van before you could hit the “send” button.
However, at this case the officials decided to try an experiment. For the first time ever, those in the Press Box were told that on this occasion – and on this occasion only – they could “tweet” as the case developed. This meant that the reporters could send a rolling report to the newsdesks of their respective papers.
The reporters started discussing the ramifications of such a momentous change in the rules. I, on the other hand, discussed nothing. Instead, I flipped my phone open and posted something on my Facebook page before anybody had the chance to do likewise.
In other words, readers of my page were the first in the world to get a message via mobile phone from inside a court during the proceedings. How cool is that?
Okay, it may not be much in the Grand Scheme of things, but I’m delighted to be a little bit of a part of the history. And I was delighted to make my Facebook friends part of that, too.
Well, you’ve got to grab opportunities when they arise, don’t you?