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Eye On The Ball


Here’s a link to a fine comment which was published on the Scottish Football Monitor* discussion forum this week.

Humble Pie’s post is a first class piece that highlights the cognitive dissonance in every department of our society.
The key recognition is that the bodies who take charge of almost every field – medicine, law, education, government, nutrition, banking, sport and many others – do the most damage to the supposed ends of these institutions.  They are an enemy within, exactly the opposite of what it says on the tin.  That is the context in which we must look at the running of the SFA and the major bodies which are affiliated to it.

It is not through accident or incompetence. Even when the general public is angry enough to mobilise itself into activism to demand change, the people in charge do not respond to the core demands for integrity and honour,  Instead, they concentrate their efforts on finding a way to carry on running their shop as before but with a slightly different window display. I blogged earlier this week about how the American people brought about the fall of Richard Nixon only to see his appointed successor, Gerald Ford, abuse his executive authority to thwart the ends of justice by unilaterally pardoning Nixon.  There are countless similar examples such as bankers who should be jailed for fraud being  given obscene bonuses for bankrupting entire nations.

I have no doubt that there are many people at the SFA who will not hesitate to do something similar with Rangers if they get half a chance. They have numerous allies in the SPL and SFL who will do their bit as well if they can.  That is why HP’s superb post should be circulated far and wide. The people running the game have done absolutely nothing to suggest for a moment that they can be trusted to do the right thing in this scandal. It is vital that they are not only kept under the closest scrutiny but also that the scrutiny is illuminated by the clear understanding of the dynamics at play.  In that regard, Humble Pie’s post is as good a source of illumination as any.  Please read it and share it as widely as possible.

The first thing we learn about playing football is that you have to keep your eye on the ball.
We have since learned that that applies equally to football administration and governance.

 

 

* The moderators of the Scottish Football Monitor have a tendency to delete posts which are not in tune with their site’s goals. This has an unfortunate consequence of rendering links to subsequent posts invalid. In case such a fate befalls Humble Pie’s post, I shall reproduce the full text of his comment here as a back up.

How Deep is the Rabbit Hole?
by Humble Pie

As we await the outcome of the Lord Nimmo Smith enquiry into breaches of SFA regulations on players registration by Rangers FC PLC (since renamed and placed into liquidation), I thought it worth taking time to consider the context in which this failure of governance has played out, or the ‘bigger picture’ if you will.

I don’t know about you but any childhood illusions that I may have had that ‘the authorities’ were there to ‘look after us’ has been well and truly shattered over the last two decades or more. In recent years almost all of our ‘most trusted’ institutions have been shown to wear no more than a wafer thin veneer of honesty and integrity. Break through that slim membrane of deceit and we are faced with the startling reality that self-serving corporate corruption is now absolutely endemic in our society.

The corporatisation of our civic life in particular has been imperceptibly slow and deliberate. While our little heads were filled with dreams of ‘change for the better’ with each new dawn and each new government, behind the scenes, men who care only for personal profit have been allowed to usurp our most coveted ideas of peace, justice, education, health, wealth and ultimately happiness. Almost all of the once venerated institutions that we entrusted with guardianship over our ‘public services’ have now been found to be morally bankrupt.

Successive governments have lied the people into wars of conquest, taking hundreds of thousands of innocent souls while our citizens slept on the streets and elected ministers claimed for second homes and £60 light bulbs.

The big banks gambled with our hard-earned money and lost the lot, then the government borrowed the same amount from the same banks (created out of thin air) and gave it back to them to gamble with some more.

The mainstream media continually distorts our view of the world and its people, distracts us with flashy advertising, sensationalist flannel, celebrity gossip and naked breasts, while fermenting discord and division among the citizenry and intruding on the lives of the innocent victims of crime.

The TV broadcasters have covered up the most heinous abuses against children perpetrated by their own staff, while we were busy being ‘programmed’ to become disengaged, disinterested and opinionated voyeurs of so called ‘reality shows’.

Hospitals now care more about bed space and cost benefit analyses than looking after the sick and the elderly, our nurses are overworked and undervalued while many doctors have become hopelessly corrupted by financial kickbacks from the pharmaceutical industry.

Education has again become more of a privilege than a right with the increased cost of hidden fees, accommodation, transport and the lack of any real, meaningful edification and purpose for our young people. Most of the good teachers have left what used to be a ‘vocation’, many of the rest are bored, disempowered and underpaid for the role with which we entrust them (developing the skills of our children).

The Police which used to provide the public with a ‘service’ has now become a ‘force’. No longer do we have policemen and policewomen, now we have ‘officers’. Each individual police force is now an separate corporate entity (look it up on Companies House) their officers obliged to generate income by issuing ever more fines and charges to balance their dwindling budgets.

So the question is, why should I expect football be any different?

Football is governed by a set of rules or customs, which serve to ensure fair competition, and allow consistent adjudication of the winner. These rules are encompassed by the principles of respect, fair play and sportsmanship and are agreed to by all participants….or so Sepp Blatter would have us believe.

During the last couple of years, particularly throughout the Rangers saga, I have become more and more disillusioned by the lack of morality and integrity that has been displayed by the Scottish football authorities. They have ignored their own rules when it suited them and applied them with full ferocity when it suited them. At times their obfuscation and outright hypocrisy has been breathtaking. Compare and contrast the SFA’s treatment of Spartans for accidently failing to put a date on a form twice, and the former Rangers, who deliberately withheld information from the SFA, failed to pay millions of pounds to their civic taxes nor their many creditors (football related and otherwise) and have brought the entire game into disrepute in this country on more than one occasion.

How can they possibly get away with it? I hear you ask.

That the SFA, the president of which is ‘heavily conflicted’ in the entire shenanigans, has fobbed this enquiry off to the SPL (who have no real jurisdiction over the breaking of SFA rules) who in turn fobbed it off the retired Lord Nimmo Smith’s ‘independent panel’ tell us what exactly? That they want justice to be done and to be seen to be done? Perhaps.

However, that the same SFA still fails to state categorically the status of the club called The Rangers currently plying their wares in SFL3, even though the answer to this simple question remains fundamental to the integrity of the sport and any hope of reconciliation among the now deeply divided supporters, doesn’t fill me with confidence in their governance of the game.

What do I expect to happen? Well my experience has taught me to expect the worst and to hope for the best. No doubt, whatever the outcome of this enquiry, that will not be the end of it. In my humble opinion, ‘interested parties’ will seek to make this a long drawn out affair (ain’t it always been so) with judgements and appeals, claim and counterclaim, appeals to the SPL, SFA, CoS, CAS, UEFA perhaps even finally ending up on Sepp Blatter’s Louis XIV style oak desk in Zurich. Where we can expect………………………..?

Michael Ellner noted, “Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.”

Will we have to add ‘and the SFA destroyed Scottish football’?

I hope not but I am beginning to expect so.

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Shameless Chancers And Crafty Rogues


Imagine, if you will,  a property developer called Mr. Emerald who had recently acquired a large lawn surrounded by some red bricks. Having bought it for at about a tenth of its possible value, he felt that he had got himself a bargain. He could see considerable potential for developing the acquisition by changing it from a football stadium into a far more sensible business which might actually generate a profit.
There was a slight problem, in that the previous owners were an unsavoury assortment of Crafty Rogues who still seemed to harbour ambitions of controlling future uses of the site. When it suited them, the Crafty Rogues could threaten and intimidate their enemies by activating mindless mobs of Vicious Hooligans. One toot of a magic flute could send these maniacs into a frenzy of homicidal hysteria. Until they were required to wreak havoc, it was vitally important to keep them distracted with preposterous myths about their supreme birthright, feed their bizarre sense of entitlement and regularly warn them to look out for the Unseen Fenian Hand.

So why did the Crafty Rogues sell the original business in the first place and why do they think they still have a say in what it can be used for? The answer to the first part is a mere technicality. Their stewardship of the football club had run into a trifling practical difficulty.  Through a mixture of complacency and arrogance, they had inadvertently drawn unwelcome attention to their propensity for spending everybody else’s money. The business was so saturated with debt that it had been noticed by the Unseen Fenian Hand so a decision was taken to shuffle it out of sight and replace it with an upgrade. The Crafty Rogues agreed amongst themselves that the best way to do this was to engage the expert services of some professional Shameless Chancers to perform the kind of dirty work which would ultimately enrage the Vicious Hooligans. Shameless Chancers are hardwired to run that kind of risk if they think they can make money for themselves in the process.  Only after the Shameless Chancers had been chased out of town by the Vicious Hooligans could the Crafty Rogues openly resume control of their reconditioned enterprise.

The Crafty Rogues had planned well in advance. They had installed their members and allies in numerous positions of influence, far from their operational headquarters. A few remained near the base but most of them were embedded in rival clubs, the mainstream media, the football administrative offices, a bank or two, the Referees’ Lodge and wherever else they might be useful. They could be depended upon to spring into action to perform their part as and when they were needed but for the most part they were expected to maintain as low a profile as possible and avoid unnecessary scrutiny.

And so it came to pass that the Shameless Chancers began their assignment while the Crafty Rogues in the media threw up a smokescreen around them. Reports began to emerge that nameless Vicious Hooligans believed that they had been poked with a stick which, according to the testimony of various eyewitnesses, had been wielded by the Unseen Fenian Hand. Intrepid investigative journalists heroically researched the allegations and eventually produced the sensational revelation that the Unseen Fenian Hand was bringing troubles on itself. For one thing, it had invented internet bampottery, a development which neither the Crafty Rogues nor the Shameless Chancers had fully anticipated. It was also beginning to assert an unexpectedly strong grip upon the supporters of un-Feniany football clubs. Even football club chairmen with lots of surnames and no Christian names would ultimately be suspected of being locked in its dread grasp. And it had already demonstrated that it was controlling the tax authorities and numerous other law-enforcement agencies.

By this time, the first of the Shameless Chancers had already decided to pass on the baton in order to concentrate on spending the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. The response time of the Vicious Hooligans was now being periodically tested for battle readiness with exercises involving, amongst other things, postal sorting offices.

When the baton eventually reached Mr Emerald, the last of the Shameless Chancers, the Crafty Rogues deployed more of their operatives, mobilised the Vicious Hooligans and prepared to smite the Unseen Fenian Hand with mighty blows. Accompanied by the toot of a flute, Crafty Rogues from Hampden Stadium took turns to propose surreal solutions to the crisis, each of which was duly shot down by the Shameless Chancers with an inspired series of catastrophic PR stunts. “Who are these people? We demand to know!” was followed by an excursion to the Court of Session, a disruptive March Of The Zombies to besiege empty Hampden offices and other examples of pantomime villainy which stretch credulity. Even for Huns, this is just about too stupid to be real. It’s scripted.

Up until that point, it seems that everyone was playing their role more or less properly.  The club’s core support saw that Mr. Emerald totally lacked credibility as a football club owner. Their distrust was reinforced by the demonstrable fact that he still didn’t actually have a football team, wasn’t giving much attention to the acquisition of football players and didn’t have a single fixture arranged. Season tickets remained unsold and no money was coming into Mr. Emerald’s brand new enterprise.  This should have been the point at which he could throw up his hands and say, “Eeeeh, I gave it my best shot but, unfortunately, I don’t have t’confidence of t’Rangers support. There’s nowt I can do to change that. This job needs proper Rangers man to lead t’club back to glory days. I’ll sell up – at slight profit, mind – and wish you all t’best of luck.”

A man in a cardigan, epitomising the very essence of staunch dignity, should have emerged at that point and introduced his millionaire backers to the roar of thunderous, Hunderous applause. While Mr. Emerald was legging it back to Yorkshire, a few million better off than when he’d arrived, Crafty Rogues in the media would inform us that relief was sweeping across an entire nation. Now that the Most Respected Human Being In Scotland’s History had stepped in to salvage a previously hopeless position and compromises would somehow be reached in all of the seemingly intractable football disputes that mere mortals were struggling to resolve.
But that didn’t work out.
The Unseen Fenian Hand had struck again. Mark Daly revealed details of the EBT scam on the BBC and triggered a stampede of Rangers legends galloping out of the public eye as far as they possibly could. Mr. Emerald’s prospect of a quick success with his buy-low, sell-higher wheeze was on the back-burner.

Increasingly worried Crafty Rogues desperately engineered a glimmer of an opportunity to smuggle Sevco into the SPL to replace a club which no longer exists. But, at the meeting, the Shameless Chancers ignored their coaching and played the “We Are The People” card with consummate arrogance to ensure that not even a Crafty Rogue from Ayrshire could bring himself to vote in their support.  That has really tipped the Crafty Rogues into a serious panic, suspecting that the Shameless Chancers are now out of control. They fear that Mr Emerald may have abandoned the original understanding and decided upon a new, more self-serving agenda.  This would NOT involve selling the upgraded Huns v2.0 back to the Crafty Rogues, ready to be rebooted in the SPL as if nothing much had happened. He has also stated that he’ll have to throw in the towel if FC Pseudo-Hun is placed in Division 3 of the SFL.

Friday the 13th is going to be very interesting. The outcome which the Crafty Rogues are trying to steer the SFL clubs towards is also the only one which Mr. Emerald hasn’t yet admitted would impel him back to the property development business. I’ll be interested to see whether he or his people contrive yet another reason for people to turn even further against the Zombies.

That’s Yer Dinner Oot.


Last night, Alex Thomson published a transcript of a letter to the Boards of Directors of the Scottish Football League member clubs from David A. Longmuir, Chief Executive of the SFL.  Here is a link to the blog post.

The first part invites the member clubs to make themselves accessories to a fraud. They will be asked to give their consent to a proposal “that the Scottish Football League Members agree to admit Sevco Scotland Limited as an Associate Member and agrees to permit Rangers F.C. to play in the League during Season 2012/13.”
There’s a somewhat fraudulent aspect to this since the club called Rangers FC is insolvent and in the process of being liquidated.  The application for Associate Membership is being submitted by Sevco Scotland Limited.
In Section 1 of the Scottish Football League’s Constitution And Rules, we find that the Scottish Football League is defined as an “Association of football clubs” and that “Associate Member means a football club however constituted which is admitted to the League pursuant to the provisions of Section 2 of these Rules.”

Associate Members of the Scottish Football League are supposed to be football clubs.
But Sevco Scotland Limited is not a football club.
It never has been.
Look, here is its record:  P0 W0 D0 L0 F0 A0
See?
Sevco Scotland Limited doesn’t play football.  It’s not a football club.
So it cannot be admitted to an Association of football clubs such as the SFL.

In 1985, Sean Connery, Christopher Lambert and I made the movie “Highlander.” I noticed that in the released version of the film, Mr Connery and Mr Lambert had all the best lines and were very much the focus of the audience’s attention. This goes some way to explain why my own performance as the nose-picking peasant in the background of the 15th century McLeod village has been largely overlooked by the critics, even to this day.
Nonetheless, I have more right to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor than Sevco Scotland Ltd has to join a league of football clubs.

In December 1979, I was in the audience when Paul McCartney and Wings recorded a jaunty little ditty called “Coming Up” in the legendary Glasgow Apollo theatre. A few months later, I was working in the United States of the USA when the version of “Coming Up” which was recorded in Glasgow topped the US charts.  On discovering that I had notched up my first American Number One hit single, I was able, without a word of a lie, to impress my American colleagues with the revelation that I was on “Coming Up”. It is admittedly difficult to distinguish my applause from the thousands of other people’s but I care not a jot.
I’m closer to being a Beatle than Sevco Scotland Limited is to being a football club.

So this should be a very short meeting.
As soon as the first proposal is rejected, the rest becomes a dead letter.
Except for this bit:

“A buffet lunch will be served at the conclusion of the meeting.
Kind regards,
David A. Longmuir
Chief Executive, SFL.”

If the SFL club representatives treat themselves to an early lunch by handing the pseudo-Huns their dinner, they will do more than simply preserve the integrity of their own league. They will send a clear message to the frauds, the cheats, the bullies, the criminals, the hypocrites, the cowards and the cynics that they’ve had their day. They will demonstrate their recognition that Scottish football fans have opened their eyes to the corruption which has been covered up for so long. What has been seen can not now be unseen.
With one voice we have condemned those whose craven complicity has allowed that corruption to eat into the essence of our game. The root cause and source of that corruption is on a life-support system which the SFL representatives are perfectly entitled to switch off on Friday.  For the sake of the fans, for honesty, for football and for justice, there is only one correct choice to make.
Pull the plug.

Bon appetit!

And Thomson Must Score . . .


Re-reading my article on Alex Thomson‘s “solutions” for the problems which Scottish football now faces because of Rangers, I think I haven’t made it clear enough that, for all the good work that Alex Thomson did up to this point, I feel let down by his emphasis on starting again with a clean sheet through a straightforward corporate rebranding exercise.
I should have made my feeling clearer that there is no reason to expect anything to change if there isn’t a full investigation into how this shambles was allowed to happen.

Campbell Ogilvie remains the President of the SFA. The mass of Scottish football fans have absolutely no confidence in either Stewart Regan or Neil Doncaster. The mechanism by which people of that calibre can be appointed to oversee the game remains the same.

It is inevitable, in my view, that the same problems will arise again if the same conditions exist; therefore we’re no further forward and a lot of culpable people will never be held to account under Thommo’s proposals.  His willingness to gloss over the causes of the scandal does him no credit.

What he flagged as an investigation into corporate misgovernance ends up with a solution that comes straight from the corporate playbook, benefiting only the corporation.

When someone dribbles the ball right through the defence, past the keeper and up to the goal-line, it’s reasonable to criticise him for then putting the ball out for a shy.
The question then is not, how did he miss?
It’s, why did he do that?

How To Re-brand A Toxin


Alex Thomson, the chief reporter for Channel 4 News, has suggested a way forward for the supporters of the now extinct Rangers Football Club.  In his blogpost of June 23rd he proposes a solution which is based upon the principles –  we are probably stretching the meaning of that word beyond its limits here – which guide the thinking of the leaders of multi-national corporations such as Nestlé™ and Tesco™.
To give Mr. Thomson his due, he hints at an acknowledgement that there is far from universal consensus that these companies represent ethical standards to which the rest of us should aspire.  I, for one, do not consider either of those companies to be worthy of my support and I have deep misgivings about many of the methods which they employ in order to maximise their profits.  But that can be left for another day; let us move on to the substance of the proposed strategy for resolving the problems which have been created by the self-destruction of Rangers FC.

In line with the materialist, corporate thinking of the company men, the first recommendation is to identify the existing concerns which make it hard to sell products associated with the brand name of Rangers FC.  That’s easy.  The name of Rangers is now a byword for a long list of offence such as corruption, dishonesty, remorseless arrogance, aggression, shameless cheating and so on and on and on. Not an easy sell.

In the Gospel According to St. Tesco™, it is written:

Here is wisdom; blessed is he who hath ears to hear.
Shouldst thy very name be like unto a stumbling-block to thy prosperity, yea, even to such degree that the very ears of the righteous are sore offended by its sound; thereunto I say to thee, “cast thou thine name into the burning pit whereupon it canst be consumed by the flaming tongues of fiery devils. For what doth it profit a man to cleave to that which causeth the very foundations of his corporate strategy to crumble?  Verily, I say to you, better to take to thyself a New Name and store up thy treasure on earth than to atone for the sins committed under thine old name.”  (© All rights reserved. )

This is known as rebranding.
It’s simple but very effective.
Has it become generally known that the Windscale nuclear power station is causing too much leukaemia?  Change its name to Sellafield and restart the clock.
Anglo-American imperial ambitions repeatedly having a spot of bother in Mesopotamia?  Okay, we’ll call it Iraq instead.
Is that boardroom full of fully-fledged, clinical psychopaths?  No, no!  We say now that they’re afflicted by some narcissistic tendencies.  Or they’re suffering from borderline personality disorder.  (For pity’s sake, don’t give the game away by calling them psychopaths.)
A bare-faced lie is rebranded as a terminological inexactitude and a liar is someone who is economical with the truth.
A British person who goes to a foreign country to steal its resources and murder everyone who resists is called a war hero but dark-skinned people going about their lawful business are called terrorist threats.  Someone who steals a tenner from a shop is called a thief but someone who robs the entire population of billions of pounds is called a banker. Or a financial expert.  Occupy someone else’s back lawn and you are called a trespasser; occupy the whole of India, Australia and half of Africa and you’ll be called Your Majesty.
What a great wheeze!

So step one is to rebrand the toxic, disgraced Rangers as something less repellent.  Alex suggests Govan Rangers™.  I don’t know about you, but that looks to me like exactly the same name except it has the word Govan in front of it.  I’m not entirely convinced, even though it worked for New Labour.  I think Hun Loving Criminals would be much better.  But I’m not going to argue with revealed corporate wisdom, so Govan Rangers™ it is for just now.

By some process of corporate marketing doublethink which I admit I cannot fathom myself, this totally new identity somehow separates the new G. Rangers™ from the negative associations of the word Rangers while simultaneously rewarding the “extraordinary brand loyalty of fans which is the one real asset” the club still has.   Or something.
So the loyalty to the brand will survive because the brand has been rebranded as a totally different brand to remove the negative associations of the brand name Rangers which is still in the brand’s new, re-branded brand name, Govan Rangers™?
Nope, I still don’t get it.
But maybe that’s why I’ve never made millions out of dissuading mothers in Third World countries from breast feeding their babies so that the infants have an increased chance of dying from water-borne diseases in Nestlé™ baby formula solutions.  Guess I’m just not a corporate kind of guy.

But, having come this far, I’ll see it through to the end.

So.  The next two parts of the deception are called re-positioning and relaunch.

The 10-point plan involves a gratuitous insult directed at the Hearts owner who declared that he would not vote for admitting Sevco 5088 Ltd FC into the SPL.  Further repositioning apparently requires a pointless jibe about “Neanderthal” men dressed in green – which is pretty rich, coming from a supporter of Newcastle Utd.   But Mr. Thomson doesn’t stop there – he has eight more great ideas.
Govan Rangers™ draw a line (it says here).  They become clean.  They do a thing called being demonstrably detoxed.  Everybody respects them because they also do paying bills.  Their new Glasgow Govan Rangers™ brand name attracts a fantastic support from somewhere, fantastic supporters who had previously been repelled from attending football matches by the toxic word Rangers in the old brand name and supporters who are so fantastic that they had nothing to do with any of the old “WATP mentality” (although, according to Alex, pandering to this toxic mentality will continue to sell papers.)

Somebody blows the whistle to start a new season.  Govan Rangers™ get to win all the league championships for the next few years and everyone loves them even more, especially because their fantastic supporters with the extraordinary brand loyalty are nothing like the ones they used to have when they had a totally different name without the word Govan in it.

Even better, as the icing on the cake, the SFA and the SPL suddenly see that everything is wonderful now that a totally different G. Rangers™ isn’t cheating while it wins all the time.  Everybody has completely forgotten about the decades of fraud, dishonesty, bias and corruption.  Those honest mistakes have all been forgiven and the spineless cowardice has been completely forgotten about because of the successful rebranding of Sir Stewart Regan, the noble Lords Doncaster and Dallas and that lovable old scamp, His Royal Highness The Prince Campbell Ogilvie, Duke of Larkhall.

And the best bit of all is that there are no impediments to this brilliant marketing strategy.
We “Just Do It,” according to the corporate manual.
So that’s that, then.

What a wonderful world it will be!
What a glorious time we will see!
Suddenly, with one mighty bound, Carruthers was free!

What an insulting and patronising proposal.
I seriously wonder why Mr. Thomson suddenly stopped trying.
At exactly the same time as the SFA, SPL and SFL came up with the most conclusive proof yet of their utter contempt for every vestige of sporting principle, financial probity, general decency and even their own rulebook, Alex has just thrown in the towel.
We have been invited to swallow the contents of a bottle of deadly poison.
We are told that it will be good for us.
Why? Because the bottle has been relabelled as Vitamins.
What is the next, new brand name going to be for cover-up?  They’ve already used Investigative Journalism, Inquiry, Probe, SFA Tribunal, Holyrood Summit, Disciplinary Hearing, Police Investigation, Appellate Tribunal, SPL AGM, Fit And Proper Person Test, Licensing Requirements,  SPL EGM and due process.

Farewell, Alex Thomson.  He came; he saw; but in the end, he couldn’t be bothered.
It was always up to the supporters to stop the corruption of the game.
It still is.

Suicide By Cop


In the USA there is a phenomenon known as “suicide by cop.” If some poor, troubled soul wants to end it all but doesn’t have the bottle to throw himself in front of a train or hang himself, he creates a disturbance to which the police are summoned. When the cops arrive, they find the suspect recklessly waving around a firearm (which is frequently unloaded) and call upon him to drop the weapon. Instead of complying, he points it at the police. They shoot him to death.

My feeling is that Rangers FC (In Administration) have been actively trying to provoke a punishment which will tip them into liquidation.
That might seem odd but it fits the facts.
McCoist’s “Who are these people?” statement was designed to stir things up and tempt the appeals panel to increase the original punishment.
The decision to go to the civil courts was designed to bring FIFA into the equation to put pressure on the SFA to expel the Huns.

So why would they do that?
First of all, I presume that Rangers FC (In Administration) have prepared a lifeboat for when the ship goes down. They may have recognised that there is now hee-haw chance of playing in the SPL next season (having been knocked back in their attempts to sound out the possibility of taking over St. Mirren) but they have calculated that a single season of SFL Div 1 football is not a bad second option. They could achieve that by taking over Cowdenbeath FC.

Cowdenbeath will need a new place to play very soon because their stadium is under threat in the short-term. Cowdenbeath have an arch-Hun chairman (Donald Findlay QC). Cowdenbeath play in blue and were previously called Cowdenbeath Rangers FC. (But not Cowdenbeath Rangers In Administration FC.)
For the average supporter of Rangers FC (In Administration) to buy into this new arrangement, it’s important (and easy) to convince them that someone else is to blame for the demise of Rangers (in administration). As usual.
The plan is to be liquidated because of the Feniany skulduggery of the SFA or FIFA or Peter Lawwell or Lord Carloway or HMRC or Ticketus or Mark Daly or Catholic Schools or Alex Thomson or the local newsagent or Lord Nimmo-Smith or Neil Lennon. (Delete as applicable.)
The story will be spun as a dastardly example of the club’s enemies putting the boot in just as Mr. Emerald Green was on the point of successfully presenting a CVA worth 0.000000001 pence in the pound to the grateful creditors and thus guaranteeing a glorious future for the Huns.
If that’s not the lifeboat plan in detail, then there will be something similar gestating in the bowels of the Beast.

One way or the other, Rangers FC (In Administration) are actively trying to commit “suicide by cop” at the moment but HMRC and the SFA haven’t fallen for it yet.

After the Deluge.


THE Blue Knights have once again walked away from the bidding process, pausing only to call a surreal press conference in which they presented some sketchy details of their limping dog of a rescue proposal before issuing some veiled threats and indications of future reprisals.  To put their risible proposal to rescue Rangers (in administration) in some context, let us remember that they must satisfy creditors who are owed up to £135,000,000 before they can even begin to finance a competitive team.  The sum of money that they were prepared to put on the table was less than what Martin O’Neil paid to acquire Neil Lennon from Leicester City in 2000.  Fergus McCann spent more in 1994 to save Celtic from a far less parlous condition.

As I see it, the Blue Knights knew themselves that they hadn’t a hope of succeeding.  What they were doing instead was keeping themselves visible and attempting to appeal to the core Rangers support, knowing full well that these fans are incapable of understanding the administration procedures at even the most basic level.  Using threatening language about Duff and Phelps having “blood on their hands” is designed to evoke a response at the most visceral level from Rangers supporters who are addicted to denial and impelled to blame everyone else for their problems.

The Blue Knights have merely added Duff & Phelps to a list of scapegoats which already includes Craig Whyte, David Murray, HMRC, the SFA, the SPL, Neil Lennon, the Bank of Scotland, Mark Daly, three formerly anonymous SPL judicial tribunal panel members, the Vatican, Alex Thomson, the Republic of Ireland, FC Maribor, Professor Tom Devine, the BBC, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, the White and Kelly families, UEFA, Jock Stein, the city of Manchester,  Dick Advocaat, Chelsea supporters in disguise, Martin O’Neil, the Scottish newspaper industry, Hugh Adam,  the Romanian Police Force, Fergus McCann, the RTC blog, faulty giant-screen televisions, Celtic supporters websites, Peter Lawwell, Lloyds Banking Group and Catholic schools.

The cynical nature of this tactic should surprise nobody.  It’s the only thing they have to offer.  Paul Murray’s record speaks for itself. He joined the Rangers board of directors in 2007.  For five years he sat by and allowed the club to run up a level of debt which frightened Lloyds Banking Group into demanding seats on the board to protect itself from further damage.  Like Martin Bain and other fellow directors, he was able to make money for himself out of the club while presiding over its terminal decline.  That’s too good a gig to abandon without a fight, especially if there isn’t an alternative source of easy money.

Having steered their luxury liner at full speed into an iceberg and having recognised that it’s definitely going to go down, Paul Murray and his cohorts decided to stand on the bridge and curse the elements for a few minutes before leaping heroically into their reserved lifeboat and advising everyone else to follow their example.

Their bid was merely a pantomime which they knew had no chance of being accepted.  But it’s given them a public platform to growl the kind of confrontational rhetoric which plays so well with the Rangers die-hards.  They plan to be seen as the fans’ choice when the battle begins to claim ownership of Traditional Rangers FC (est. 2015) after all the post-liquidation litigation finally comes to an end.  And they are sticking to what has always worked for them in the past – eliciting knee-jerk responses from the mob with defiant rhetoric and posturing rather than attending to the fundamentals of running a sustainable business.

Are Laws only for the Little People?


Sir Isaac Newton told us why
An apple falls down from the sky
And from this fact it’s very plain
That other objects do the same…

But.
If it was up to the courts to rule on the Laws of Gravity, we’d probably spend years hearing legal arguments that an apple falls from the ground up to the tree.

Up until recently I thought that I was more or less keeping in touch with the general shape of the developments as Rangers FC heads into perdition as a well-deserved consequence of the scandalous running of the club for at least the last twenty years.  The charge sheet includes three separate instances of tax fraud which could total nearly one hundred million pounds in unpaid monies to the Treasury.  It also includes routinely running up a preposterous level of debt with no serious prospects of repaying it other than by adding it to the already over-extended overdraft of Murray International Holdings, a liability which eventually exceeded one billion pounds and played its part in the collapse of the Bank of Scotland and its subsequent bail-out, funded by the UK tax-payers.  We’re looking at one of the biggest corporate scandals in Scottish business history.  One would be forgiven for expecting jail sentences to have been handed down to the guilty parties long before now.

And yet I’m beginning to feel that this whole case is becoming too Pythonesque to make any sense.  The latest bizarre twist is the surreal sight of the Administrators of Rangers FC applying to the Court of Session to be appointed … the Administrators of Rangers!
It’s particularly frustrating to me that there seems to be very little overlap between easily understood, natural justice and the immensely complicated procedures of the Law.

Tens, if not hundreds, of millions of pounds have been ripped off by various parties involved with Rangers FC and MIH and it looks increasingly likely that those responsible for these scams are still in with a shout of getting something out of it, even if Rangers itself goes down the pan.
Every time that it looks as if anyone is going to get their comeuppance, another bizarre legal wheeze appears out of thin air, in defiance of all common sense, which muddies the waters and makes it appear that there is always a possible escape route for the shameless and the dishonourable.  Amidst the carnage of the revelations about how Rangers FC has been conducting its business, one of the club’s former directors is still proposing that he will play a leading role in taking the wreckage for which he is partly responsible and turning it into a successful business after it has been liquidated.  There has not been one word from Mr Paul Murray about his moral duty to repay the colossal debts which the club ran up under his stewardship; not a single syllable to suggest that he feels the slightest shame about his part in the reckless business practice of the directors’ board of which he was a member.  No repentance, no remorse, no sign of a guilty conscience.

I have got more money than the likes of David Murray, who was knighted for services to business. Unlike Sir David, I am not in debt to the tune of six hundred million pounds. Yet he is the one who is still living like a king. An entire bank went to the wall to enable that man to enjoy the luxurious lifestyle to which he has accustomed himself. And he’s not even in the picture yet, as far as the Law is concerned!

The Law is taking an eternity to get its act together.  Somehow, when tasked with a case in which somebody pursues his own objectives by spending hundreds of millions of pounds of other people’s money, m’learned friends spend months and years dragging out a tortuously slow series of procedures.  They forensically examine every conceivable interpretation of every obscure contention.  It is as if their primary objective is to find the route by which the most blatant wrongdoing can turn out to be perfectly legal.  And to charge by the hour as they proceed at a glacial pace.
Now, for the first time, I’m genuinely beginning to fear that a fix is in whereby there will once again be no punishment for the villains of the piece while the decent, honest little guys will be the only victims (cf bonuses for bankers).

Something stinks very badly here.  The media, on an industrial scale, have relentlessly covered up as much of the criminality as they possibly could, even after much of it was already public knowledge.  They have weakly claimed in their defence that libel laws prevented them from publishing known facts about the affairs of Rangers and its various directors, even when these facts were already matters of public record.
To take but one example: it would clearly be in the public interest for journalists to regularly scrutinise the ongoing, chaotic tax affairs of Mr. Dave King, Rangers’ second largest shareholder and until very recently a member of the board of directors.  The South African Revenue Service is pursuing literally hundreds of charges of tax irregularities against Mr. King and yet I can think of no example of a single journalist asking the obvious question: why has such a man been a senior director of what we are often told is Scotland’s second biggest institution?

This is not an unreasonable question for a decent investigative journalist to ask, nor would it require much research to pad out.  Merely to copy half of what has already been published in South African newspapers would raise the question.  What is it that prevents the editors of our national newspapers from pursuing this story?  Could it be that their experience in their profession tells them that, no matter how grievous the fraud, the Law will usually find a way to give psychopathic predators a free pass so long as they wear suits and ties?  And therefore, in their judgement, it is always safer to back rogues who have a place in the Establishment rather than trust in the Law’s ability to ensure that justice is done in major scandals?

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