Different Types Of Courage
Alex Thomson has returned to the scene of the crimes with some observations in a blogpost about Hunnish intimidation of those who wish to speak the truth about Scotland’s Shame.
I still have some reservations about Mr Thomson. Although his post is worth two cheers, I feel that he has once again stood in front of an open goal with the ball at his feet and somehow failed to score. I’ve posted the following reply to his article and I’m reproducing it here before it gets lost in the deluge of “whataboutery” that will shortly clog up his comments page:
Obviously, you’re writing this for a wider audience, Alex, but you’re not quite painting an accurate picture when you say that these matters pass without comment in Glasgow. There are plenty of us with a great deal to say but our points of view are suppressed or misrepresented by the mainstream media.
Thousands of pages of online research into shady dealings at Rangers get dismissed by Hugh Keevins of Radio Clyde as the inconsequential ravings of a shower of “internet bampots”.
Hundreds of thousands of Celtic supporters who have echoed every one of your points – and indeed have been saying them for decades before you took an interest in this scandal – were routinely accused of paranoia by the Scottish mainstream media and ignored by the UK networks.
Millions of hours of broadcasting will avoid any mention of the disease that infects a substantial part of the UK while at the same time no effort seems to be spared to bring us bad news from Middle East war zones, the American political arena or government corruption in some distant country.
The issue of corporate misgovernance is a vital one but the greatest misgovernance of all is the failure of news corporations to report accurately on what has being going on. The BBC is especially guilty because its own charter and mission statement unequivocally affirms its duty to “inform and educate” but no media outlet comes out of this mess with credit. There has been too little fair and impartial reporting on this; what little there has been has mostly been on the outside margins of the established media. While this is a welcome blog, it is nonetheless unlikely that its content will be featured on the Channel 4 television news tonight, once again leaving the inaccurate impression that nobody in Glasgow – or Scotland – is interested in making a comment on these scandals.
Take a look at your own blog roll, Alex; what other subject have you ever blogged about which has produced anything remotely close to the volume of comment which articles about corruption in Scottish football produce? Blogposts on the Rangers scandal do not pass without comment, either from Glasgow or elsewhere. During the close season, tens of thousands of Scottish football fans realised that the only way to make their views clear to their own club directors was by postponing the renewal of their season tickets until it was guaranteed that there would be no place in the SPL for the most corrupt club in the history of British football. That was a powerful and ultimately effective comment by supporters from Ayrshire to Aberdeen and yet the mainstream media has treated it as no more than an awkward interruption to its own determined agenda to misinform its audience.
The media – especially BBC Scotland – relentlessly recycled Neil Doncaster’s prophecies of doom about the prospect of a Hun-free SPL while giving short shrift to the huge volume of commentary from gleeful fans who, if given a voice, would have correctly pointed out that it was the best thing that could ever happen to Scottish football. Now that even Doncaster himself has been forced to concede that he was talking a pile of tripe, there is scarcely a comment from the same media on how utterly useless he clearly is.
There is no shortage of comment on the streets of Glasgow and the rest of Scotland about how utterly inappropriate it is that Campbell Ogilvie – deeply implicated in Rangers’ tax-scam – remains in position at the top of the SFA. But the silence is that of the media, not of the innumerable outspoken critics at ground level.
I could easily go on but the point is clear. There is no shortage of comment about Scotland’s Shame but decades of experience have shown us that there is an acute shortage of desire to reflect that commentary in the UK media as a whole and in the Scottish media in particular.
That is corporate misgovernance on a huge scale. It takes a certain type of courage to crouch in a bombshell crater, ducking out of the way of shrapnel while waiting for a quiet moment to file copy back to an editor. But, without being disrespectful, once you leave the battle arena, the threat is over and you can get on with your life.
It takes a very different – and far more demanding – type of courage for a mainstream journalist to do a piece to camera on location in Govan and resolve to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, with the support of his or her editors and publishers. But nothing short of that kind of determination to stand up to the bullies and their corrupt puppet-masters is required in order to confront the problem of corporate misgovernance in the media. Until programmes like Mark Daly’s excellent two documentaries on Rangers become the norm rather than the very rare exception, then the BBC, Channel 4, and every other media outlet, deserve the corporate misgovernance tag just as much as David Murray, Campbell Ogilvie, Martin Bain, Craig Whyte, Gordon Smith, George Peat, Dave King, Stewart Regan, Neil Doncaster or Gavin Masterton.
This has been a comment by one of those Glaswegians who reportedly watch corruption and criminality occur without comment. I’ll gladly amplify these comments if I’m ever allowed to do so on television but I won’t hold my breath while I’m waiting for the invitation.