Mince, Doughballs & Sectarianism

Its been a particularly bad month for those keen to persecute the Scottish football supporter, a persecution which has seen our very own Union Bears subjected to treatment, which on occasion would not have looked out of place in Stalin’s Russia.

Of course as always in these matters the most potent of criticism came not from the victims themselves but from a neutral observer in the shape of veteran broadcaster Archie MacPherson. His comment that the current political administration appear intent to “stamp on” Scottish football supporters will have ruffled a few feathers.

But not as many as Dundee Sheriff Richard Davidson will have caused when he threw out a case involving a Celtic supporter and in the process used oft used legal term to describe the Scottish governments anti-sectarian laws – “mince”.

But you know the saying about bad things come in threes – well right on cue today’s Glasgow Herald provided merit to that age old adage. It will come as no surprise to any of us that an MSP has let the cat out of the bag with regard to the motivation of many behind this legislation, or plate of “mince” to use Sheriff Davidson’s expert legal opinion. But nine million quid for a few photo opportunities ? That’s a helluva lot of happy snappies. Especially for a country which has some of the worst child poverty and alcohol abuse in the whole of Europe.


What particularly jumped out at me from that article, was not what we alreadyk new regarding photo opportunities, but firstly that the Scottish Catholic Church appears to have spent it’s three or four weeks in sackcloth and ashes, and as unrepentant as ever, is keen to highlight that hate crime statistics are rising. Well of course they are because the other revelation in that piece reveals that the Scottish Government pumped £2 million to help create the new FOCUS Unit. And you can rest assured in these days of performance management and value for money the same administration will be looking for a return on their outlay. That return comes in the form of arrests under the legislation referred to as “mince”

But its good to see the Scottish Catholic Church has found it’s tongue again, it was remarkably silent over the revelations surrounding Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the man the gay community labelled “Bigot of the Year” for his concerted and vociferous attacks on their community and lifestyle choices. Perhaps in view of the revelations regarding him, “Hypocrite of the Year” would have been a more apt title. If Carlsberg did hypocrisy….

But perhaps the irony of it all is that those various charities, and by that I mean the ones which are in existence, not the one awarded cash even although they don’t yet exist, have failed to do what overzealous Policing, bean counting and justifying your existence have – unite the the Old Firm support as a untied shout of harassment, intimidation and bullying echo from the stands at both Ibrox and Parkhead.

And all the while the the most definitive academic research into sectarianism in Scotland undertaken by Prof. Steve Bruce goes unheeded, which demonstrates unequivocally that Scotland does not have a problem with sectarianism.

Still that wouldn’t be a good photo opportunity would it ?

Double Standards at the double.


Its funny (actually perhaps convenient is a much more apt description) how certain things get ignored, particularly on the subject of double standards. Let me give you an example – When Tommy Sheridan gave evidence at the News of the World libel case his alleged committing of perjury was the subject of a media frenzy eventually leading to an investigation and his subsequent prosecution and conviction.

Fast forward with me to the Leveson enquiry and the evidence of 2 well known media celebrities – Jeremy Paxman and Piers Morgan. Morgan gave evidence under oath that there was no phone hacking on his watch whilst he was editor of the Daily Mirror, Paxman on the other hand gave evidence, again under oath, that the aforesaid Morgan had trained him how to hack a phone. Whilst the Leveson report was particularly damning of Morgan and his evidence there has been no media frenzy or calls for a prosecution. Whilst I’m no supporter of sun tan Tommy, I would concede there are double standards at play with regard to his treatment in comparison to others.

It’s been a remarkable few weeks, not only at or club, but within our country as a whole, with many of the events unfolding before our eyes being characterised by a considerable display of standards which appear to be operating at the double. So much so the Double Standards Society have declared Scotland to be their new Mecca.

But lets move closer to home and our former CEO Charles Green. Such was his revulsion of offensive songs or language he threatened to ban sine die not only those responsible, but also anyone unfortunate enough to be on their vicinity and who failed to become unpaid police or stewards. Yet fast forward a few Weeks and Chuck – the proverbial bull in the China shop – is scoring a spectacular own goal in terms of offensive language.  Though I wonder what kind of choice language Chuck used when he learned that Craig Whyte had released tapes and documents pertaining to their (alleged) business dealings.

Which conveniently gives rise to our next double standard – Whyte himself. Those of us who hoped we had seen the last of this charlatan were to be disappointed. Not only has he re-surfaced, but he has done so with a vengeance.  Suddenly the press and media, once so keen to rightly discredit him, are more than happy second time around to give this proven liar a platform. Perhaps not so much a case of all is fair in love and war, but more all is fair in the hatred and destabilising of Rangers.

But my real question in all of this is how Whyte is still at liberty to cause so much chaos? There are three essential elements to the crime of fraud – Pretend, Induce and Obtain. When Whyte presented himself before Ticketus there was considerable pretence offered by him as to his position with regard to Rangers. Such pretence induced Ticketus to loan/advance him 24 million quid based on the future sale of season tickets.

Crime complete. Pretend – Induce – Obtain.

Of course there is probably a further fraud pertaining to the sale and acquisition of our club but I’m sure the “duped” Sir David Murray can fill the blanks in for plod. So why is Whyte not in custody awaiting trial for fraud? I know plod like to be thorough and that its a complex case but surely the acquisition of the club is a clear prima facie case.

But going back to standards for a moment, and in particular the Rangers Standard which revealed exclusively this week that Green’s business partner Imran Ahmed had been posting on a Rangers forum and revealing secrets of the goings on behind the scenes at Ibrox. Not professional, not appropriate and certainly not the Rangers way, but in his defence, not entirely different from certain persons inside Ibrox briefing their press pals who then reveal all via their newspapers. At least Ahmed had the foresight to cut out the middle men.

But by a unanimous verdict, the SPL are to be crowned the undisputed Kings of Double Standard. Some of you might remember them from the era of “Sporting Integrity”. These are the men who told us their fans wishes were of utmost importance, so much so that they deferred their decision on Rangers re-election to the SPL to those same supporters whose voice they not only listened to, but religiously adhered to. But on the subject of league re-construction suddenly those same SPL chairmen are no longer listening to their fans. Funny that eh ?

So double standards are they good or bad ? Appropriately it seems to depend on 2 things :-

  1. Who your friends are and

  2. If such an exercise of double standards will be detrimental to Rangers FC.

Yours in Rangers