Graham Spiers – A cause for Celebration

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/spiers-on-sport-rangers-new-club-or-old-and-the-bbc.1371631860

For those who haven’t read Graham Spiers Herald article from today, may I respectfully suggest you do as I doubt you will find a better example of sub standard journalism anywhere.

The article by Mr Spiers follows on from yesterdays BBC Trust ESC ruling which declared BBC Scotland inaccurate in their use of language and terminology to describe our club. Mr Spiers argues that Rangers did in fact die and are in essence a new club. To support his assertion he cites a number of examples including comments from Richard Gough, Charles Green, Jim Traynor, Walter Smith and an Ibrox debenture .


Those who are familiar with courtrooms will notice the absence of any expert witnesses from the examples cited by Spiers. An expert witness of course has both the authority and expertise rather than just the passion for the subject matter.

In terms of journalistic integrity one has to consider how Mr Spiers can omit the testimony of so many expert witnesses who have ruled on the issue, and only include the passionate but nevertheless unqualified indivduals he has seen fit to support his assertion. It seems almost inconceivable that such an experienced journalist could make such a glaring and schoolboy error.

But we have a newspaper industry in crisis with plummeting sales and I’m sure more than a few journalists are getting a bit twitchy about what the future holds. I noticed the aforementioned Mr Spiers recently on twitter blowing his own trumpet (no doubt for his editor’s benefit) with regard to his interview with Donald Findlay, hailing it the most read article in the Herald. Is this the game Mr Spiers has been reduced to ? Imbalanced articles and controversial characters in order to boost his readership figures ? This latest one has all the subtlety of a fisherman with a enormous hook deliberately baiting the Rangers support in order to get hits. I say that because quite honestly no journalist could be that bad surely ?

I of course realise that in providing a link to his article I will boost his figures. But I quite sure in the long run the excellence and quality of the articles produced by another Herald journalist, Richard Wilson, will win out over the nonsense produced by Spiers. Richard Wilson is obviously a journalist in the thick of things, working contacts, sources and following up on leads to deliver articles of balance and substance. Spiers on the hand is the epitome of Alex Thomson’s attack on the Scottish press – “lazy and sycophantic”. If ever there was a case of a journalist resting on his laurels then Graham Spiers is it. (For the hard of hearing please note I said laurels not morals, as that is something, which like his expert witnesses, Mr Spiers appears to be lacking)

And what of those expert witnesses which Mr Spiers fail to cite. For instance Lord Nimrod Smith, one of country’s most respected legal experts who ruled :-

In common speech a Club is treated as a recognisable entity which is capable of being owned and operated, and which continues in existence despite its transfer to another owner and operator. In legal terms, it appears to us to be no different from any other undertaking which is capable of being carried on, bought and sold.

The irony is of course that such a ruling was made on the occasion of this “new club” answering to the charges of “the old club”. Another aspect Mr Spiers appears to have missed when he was busy noting responses from debenture holders.

Mr Spiers also fails to mention the SFA, the SPL, UEFA and the European Clubs Association. Not forgetting the Advertising Standards Authority whose very involvement highlights the ridiculous measures some will stoop to.

With no disrespect to Richard Gough, Jim Traynor or an Ibrox debenture holder, I think I know who I would rather have ruling that my club has a continued existence.

But I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Spiers. His shoddy, poorly prepared and poorly researched article only serves to highlight the absence of intelligent argument for those who wish to delude themselves that Rangers have “died”.

Rangers – Now, Then & Forever, (Confirmed by expert witnesses)

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BBC Sahhaf – Absolute Comedy Gold

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-22951447?utm_source=gersnews&utm_medium=twitter

The above response from BBC Scotland came as no surprise to me. It displays all the characteristics of an organisation I have dealt on a number of occasions over the last two years, and whose hatred, arrogance and lack of objectivity is dissipating any semblance of credibility it had left. And it didn’t have a lot left I might add.

Apparently they know better than everyone else – The Advertising Standards Authority, UEFA, the SFA, the SPL, the European Clubs Association,  even their own BBC Trust Editorial Standards Committee. They also apparently know better than one of the most qualified legal minds in our country – Lord Nimmo Smith – who commented as follows :-

It will be recalled that in Article 2 “Club” is defined in terms of “the undertaking of an association football club”, and in Rule I1 it is defined in terms of an association football club which is, for the time being, eligible to participate in the League, and includes the owner and operator of such Club. Taking these definitions together, the SPL and its members have provided, by contract, that a Club is an undertaking which is capable of being owned and operated. While it no doubt depends on individual circumstances what exactly is comprised in the undertaking of any particular Club, it would at the least comprise its name, the contracts with its players, its manager and other staff, and its ground, even though these may change from time to time. In common speech a Club is treated as a recognisable entity which is capable of being owned and operated, and which continues in existence despite its transfer to another owner and operator. In legal terms, it appears to us to be no different from any other undertaking which is capable of being carried on, bought and sold. This is not to say that a Club has legal personality, separate from and additional to the legal personality of its owner and operator. We are satisfied that it does not, and Mr McKenzie did not seek to argue otherwise.

http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/sfl-division-three/newco-rangers-must-answer-oldco-charges-insists-commission-chief-1-2542646?

But rather than being angry with their latest response, I’m now finding it amusing. Very amusing in fact. This publicly funded media organisation are now operating at the level of the delusional. They are now ignoring legal rulings on the matter as well as the expert opinions of bodies who really matter – UEFA, the ECA amongst others.

They have now become the Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf of the media world. For those who need reminding, he was the Iraqi Minister For Information who broadcast to the world that the Iraqi army was repulsing the western infidels in rivers of blood. Unfortunately at the same time, the world he was addressing were watching the complete rout of the Iraqi army via television. I would respectfully suggest we rename BBC Scotland – BBC Sahhaf.

Furthermore it’s clear from social media that those in the employment of BBC Scotland are clearly hurting. The petulant and churlish nature of some of their tweets today was a joy to behold. They were behaving like miscreant children with petted lips as a consequence of being disciplined.

The wider implications for the BBC are clear for all to see – with the exception of the delusional who operate from within their bunker at Pacific Quay. The damage they are causing the BBC nationally is considerable, but it is a rod of their own making. It would be a considerable irony if their response today to the BBC Trust Editorial Committee ruling proved to be the catalyst to the BBC Trust re-visiting and re-opening the complaint of institutional bias against Rangers FC which was also lodged against them.

But I’d like to thank BBC Sahhaf for what has been quite simply comedy genius, my sides are still aching at your behaviour today.

Which goes to show – Some mothers do ‘ave ’em.

A Tsunami Runs Through It

Its been a busy week for The Samaritans in Glasgow. Thankfully they have been doing what they do best – counselling, instead of being detracted from their normal duty by having to tell BBC Scotland their montage of Ally McCoist falling to his death was repugnant. But if it wasn’t bad enough the Advertising Standards Authority ruling that Rangers were indeed the most successful club in Scotland, more woe was to follow for a certain section of Scottish society.

For the Samaritans phones have been buzzing with the news the Republican Guard has taken a helluva beating. No not Saddam’s – the other one – BBC Scotland. For a couple of very persistent and determined Bears of the Vanguard variety have struck a critical blow in the armour of this Rangers bashing, publicly funded, broadcasting organisation. I’m sure most of you have read the comments of the BBC’ s own Editorial Standards Committee, (if like me more than once) which criticises BBC Scotland’s inaccurate use of language with regard to the description of our club.

It was of course a long drawn out affair of nearly 14 months and required numerous escalations of the complaint. The 2 authors of that complaint displayed both considerable and exemplary perseverance in their quest. The Editorial Standards Committee are in fact the final arbiters in complaints to the BBC Trust. But of course not only the ruling but the process must cast serious questions about the integrity and judgement of those involved at BBC Scotland with regard to how they view our club. That this complaint progressed through the various bureaucratic levels of management at Pacific Quay without any of those managers having either the sense or objectivity to uphold this complaint should be of concern to us all.

On a personal note I find not just the ruling, but the considerable failings it highlights at BBC Scotland as something of a vindication of an article I wrote nearly two years ago for Vanguard Bears – A River Runs Through It.

http://vanguardbears…runs-through-it

In view of what has transpired since that article was written, perhaps it would be appropriate to replace the river with a Tsunami.

However I took the time to research some of the previous complaints which the Editorial Standards Committee had adjudicated on with regard to our club and discovered the following complaints had been presented before them :-

Tampering with an interview with the Rangers manager

Regular snide comments from news and sports reporters on BBC Scotland

Biased and inaccurate comments from BBC Radio Scotland presenters

Repeated factual inaccuracies

A failure to consider or in any way investigate other institutions

A lack of regard, consideration or empathy for the traumatic content of the Rangers saga to employees, shareholders and fans throughout the past year or more

Now call me old fashioned but shouldn’t alarm bells be ringing within the BBC at the frequency of complaints they are receiving in respect of our club, particularly where in this most recent instance some of those complaints are being upheld ? It seems clear that despite the horrific failings of this organisation in view of the Savile revelations, that they have learned very little with regard to early warning systems.

Furthermore their recent false and erroneous reporting in respect of the Help For Heroes Charity, demonstrates that the issue of “inappropriate editing” is not confined solely to our manager.

http://www.thesun.co…for-Heroes.html

It would be fair to say that this is an organisation which fails to learn from it’s mistakes and calls into question the editorial control at all levels.

Of course BBC Scotland will be bound by the terms of the Editorial Standards Committee ruling in respect of their description our club. But in the absence of a follow up enquiry by the BBC themselves this will not really address the source of the problem – the clear absence of neutrality and objectivity at BBC Scotland with regard to our club. In fact I noticed a certain Mark Daly making an appearance on twitter last night attempting to stir things up in respect of some of the Charlotte Fakes content. I of course had to respond to him via social network.

In view of the clear and consistent failings within the BBC to tackle the problems within Pacific Quay it leaves little scope for a Rangers support wishing to defend our club from the numerous and spurious attacks.

Perhaps it’s time for us to join forces with an existing tsunami which is gathering momentum – the huge tidal wave of public opinion calling for the abolition of the TV licence.

 

Son of Man what have you done ?

Your evil deeds and deceitfulness lie exposed before a watching world. Behind closed doors you have plotted and schemed, the darkness of your actions matching the darkness of your soul. In your hatred you have denied justice, shamed integrity and embraced the ways of the wicked. Have you no shame ?

(Even on their beds they plot evil; they commit themselves to a sinful course and do not reject what is wrong. Psalm 36:4)

You have lied son of Man, you have conspired, even your own call you “corrupt”. Where oh son of Man are your bountiful Saturdays, where is your overflowing cup ? For all I see are closed stands, falling attendances and impending financial ruin.

(A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape. Proverbs 19:5)

You embraced the poisonous hatred and as a consequence you stand ruined. You are reaping that which you have sown. You laughter and rejoicing are no more. Instead you are a laughing stock before all nations, devoid of honour and integrity. And you wonder why sponsors shun you.

(May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace. Psalm 35:26)

But cover your eyes son of Man and look to the west. Carefully shade your eyes, lest you be blinded by her radiance. For yes, son of Man, the light of the west is still there. She is not extinguished despite your evil plots and schemes. Her flame has not died. You have not, could not and will not extinguish her.

(The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day Proverbs 4:18)

Her people shame you with their devotion, their honour, their steadfastness. Men of all nations travel from afar to seek the people who triumphed with love over hatred. The courts and the judges of our land vindicate them before a watching world. Their glory is your shame, their justice is your condemnation.

(For the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. Psalm 37:17)

Know this son of Man. Your wicked schemes will be undone, your lies and corruption exposed. Your ruin is already upon you and your shame complete. The light of the west will burn then, now and for evermore.

(The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5)

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Apologies in advance but this article will work in reverse of the title. The reasons for doing so will become eminently clear in due course.

Firstly the ugly.

My appearance on Rangers chat radio last Friday prompted a discussion about the campaign of hatred being waged upon not only our club, but organisations related thereto; as well as the club themselves the Rangers Charity Foundation and the Founders Trail have been victims of late. It seems ironic to be discussing the Advertising Standards Authority, the Rangers Charity Foundation and the Gibson Street Gala in the same breath, but there is a common denominator – all have been subject in one way or another to the poisonous and vindictive campaign against Rangers or anything remotely Rangers related.

But there is a far more serious element to this. The charities which benefit from the efforts of the Rangers Charity Foundation and The Founders Trail are likely to suffer more than anyone else as a consequence of this campaign of hatred. It takes a particular kind of hatred and bigotry to motivate an individual to besmirch people involved in raising money for charity, charities which provide for the less fortunate, the sick and the vulnerable in our society merely because they are doing it under an umbrella which has links to, or is directly associated to, Rangers Football Club.

The Bad

Many of you will be aware of the issues surrounding the Founders Trail and the Gibson Street Gala, for those who are not, the events are summarised here.

http://blog.thegallantpioneers.co.uk/wp/?p=659

http://gibsonstgala.co.uk/2509/statement-from-the-gala/

Following this issue being raised on Rangers chat radio I contacted the parties involved and also reviewed the material published by both parties, as above. It’s perhaps worthy of note, that despite not making reference to it anywhere in their statement, the Gibson Street Gala statement is actually made in response to the Founders Trail narrative which appeared on Rangers internet forums.

I have spoken to Eric Kay, the secretary of the Gibson Street Gala, who very kindly took the time to speak with me, despite being on holiday at the time. We had a fairly long and informative chat and were quite frank with one another. (I had previously spoken with Iain McColl from the Founders Trail.) It’s quite clear that the Gibson Street Gala were caught in the crossfire of a particular brand of hatred which gave rise to this article. Mr Kay stressed the complaints in respect of the Founders Trail Stall were not just taken at face value by the Gibson Street Gala but were subject to an assessment process. It was following this process that decision was made not to allow the Founders Trail to participate at this years event. Its perhaps this part which is the most concerning.

Iain McColl in his narrative told Mr Kay that he felt by their actions they were “bending to bigots”. I disagree – I think it was actually much worse than that – I think by their actions the Gibson Street Gala have,unwittingly, empowered the bigots, and allow me to elaborate why.

The worst of the complaints centred around a suggestion that the Founders Trail was aligned to a bigoted organisation. It has never been made clear exactly what this refers to. But as alluded to in the Gibson Street Gala’s own statement “Last year, The Founders Trail stall was well run and no one involved with the Gala had any issue with it.”

The statement also goes onto say “After last year’s event there was some negative feedback about the presence of The Founders Trail and the associated football colours on display, so the decision was made not to have any team representation on the day this year.”

The Founders Trail do not have football colours on display, they have merchandise pertaining to the Founders Trail Tour, that tour has particular significance for the area in view of that fact that one of the individuals it focusses on was actually a Gibson Street Resident at one time. Persons with no particular interest or affiliation to Rangers have participated in that tour, their motivation for doings so, being a historic interest in Glasgow.

One can sympathise with a small scale gala being caught in the crossfire of Old Firm hatred and the consequential hassle it involves for them, but there is no escaping from the fact, that from the perspective of those who peddle hatred as their currency – they have won.  Their complaints, however spurious, however unjustified, however untruthful have had a cause and effect.

There is a considerable irony in all of this. The Gibson Street Gala arrived at their decision because they felt the hassle of being the battleground for football rivalry was more than it was worth. Their decision however to refuse the Founders Trail a stall only served to heighten the intensity of that battle as many angry Rangers fans responded to that decision. (I would add that the tone and language of some of those responses did neither our club nor the Founders Trail any favours).

However perhaps the greatest disappointment in all of this is that those involved at the Gibson Street Gala who value a sense of community so much, appear to have been unwilling or unprepared to defend or champion the values upon which solid communities are built – justice, fairness and a determination to see truth prevail.

The Good

Despite the setbacks suffered at Gibson Street, the Founders Trail Stall was warmly welcomed by the West End Festival where to say it was very well received, would be an understatement.. The Rangers support, as always, responded in a way which humbled the stall holders. Considerable monies were raised and as a consequence some worthwhile charities will benefit greatly.

This series of events of course presents another problem for the Rangers support – how to respond. Should we, as we have done previously, network within the Rangers community and organise a boycott which extends to sponsors, making it clear to the latter the reasons for such a boycott ? My answer would be an emphatic no. Whilst that may work for commercial enterprises such as newspapers, we are talking here about a small scale local gala which provides activities for children. By boycotting such a worthwhile venture we only stoop to the level of those whose hatred and spurious complaints have given rise to this situation. Lets not empower them further.

Perhaps the answer actually lies out with the Rangers support and with others. In fact I would respectfully suggest the Advertising Standards Authority have set the benchmark. On receipt of those 78 spurious complaints regarding Rangers they examined them thoroughly and rigorously and then rejected them completely as being without merit.

Others would do well to emulate their process.

A warped compass

Truth is certainly a branch of morality and a very important one to society.
(Thomas Jefferson)

I have never believed there was one code of morality for a public and another for a private man.

(Thomas Jefferson)

I thought it important to separate these two Jefferson quotes as one could be forgiven for thinking they were part of the same speech. They weren’t of course, though its easy to see why someone would make such an assumption. The relationship between truth and morality is often taken as a “given”, so much so, that some refer to “Moral truths”

Yet in our modern day Scotland, the relationship between morality and truth has become strained to say the least, in fact I would go as far as to suggest there is a form of warped morality out there which seems to view truth as something to be shunned.

Scotland’s first Minister Alex Salmond’s comments about disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien were a perfect example.  “A good man for his church and country”.

This comment is somewhat at odds with comments elsewhere.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/18/cardinal-obrien-still-danger-say-accusers

I wonder which part of his predatory behaviour was good for his church ? Furthermore his constant attacks on the homosexual community, not only their lifestyle I may add, but their right to equality within society, whilst behind closed doors he indulged in the very behaviour he publicly condemned, suggests a level of hypocrisy almost unsurpassed. Is this the type of “special society” Alex Salmond alludes to for Scotland – a society where the truth is ignored ?

Some will have noted I used  the term “almost surpassed” with regard to hypocrisy. I used this term because there is are elements within the Celtic support who are hell bent on mud raking at our club. The attacks on the Rangers Charity Foundation in recent weeks have been particularly insidious, poisonous and unjustified. It seems there are some “bhoys” who, despite the song, just don’t know their history. If they did they would realise there are men at Celtic Football Club who are held in particularly high esteem, both at their club and in wider Scottish society. Men failed comprehensively in their duty to protect children during the time of the Celtic Boys Club child abuse scandal. The fact they did so to “protect the good name of Celtic Football Club” is absolutely shameful.

This should not be a matter for joking, for banners, or throwaway remarks – it is utterly disgusting and totally indefensible. It would be refreshing if the press attitude with regard to the recent Savile revelations was mirrored up here – that the focus of the enquiry was not only on the perpetrators themselves, but also those who failed to protect those children for whatever reason.

Glass houses and stones seem to be lost on some, perhaps their quest to uncover truth and justice should start much closer to home. If they did that moral high horse of theirs may lose its footing.

Understanding that the moral compass of our nation is in total free-fall goes a long way to understanding the constant attacks on our club. If truth is indeed a branch of the morality tree then it appears our nation’s tree has had its truth branch well and truly pruned or cut back, perhaps even removed.

At the very heart of our legal system is a desire to obtain the truth, the truth underpins everything. Its not perfect by any means, but it’s the best determination and examination of truth which we have. Rangers have been subjected to that process on three occasions, and on each occasion we have been vindicated, but the determination, examination and establishing of truth, has resulted in little or no change in the wider perception of our club. Truth has become an also ran ,a victim, in this rapidly developing warped sense of morality.

Gandhi said…

Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality.

He might have revised that comment had he lived to visit Scotland in 2013.

Rangers 2 years on

For those wondering there is no event of significance related to the opening title. I just felt it was a period of time which allowed for a review of events and responses concerning our football club i.e. what has happened and how have we as a club and support responded and adapted to such events. Furthermore, have actually learned from such events? Its perhaps worth mentioning that in this writer’s eyes knowledge is useless if you cannot make the necessary changes to respond to that knowledge and the challenges it may present.

In the midst of our crisis our support demonstrated a unity rarely seen in recent times. We focussed on a single goal – the survival of our club with all other distractions cast aside. But with the danger averted have we fallen back into our old fragmented ways ? I sometimes wonder if our “No Surrender” mentality is sometimes more of a hindrance than a help. I admire the no compromise default position of our Vanguard Bears towards the enemies of our club, but perhaps in the wider Rangers community, and towards our own whose opinion perhaps differs, perhaps seeking some kind of compromise would do our club no harm. A case in point would be our 2 fan ownership models – The RST and Rangers Unite – both trying to sell the alien concept of fan ownership to a Rangers support who for generations have been conditioned by a sugar daddy model of ownership. Can’t they at least find common enough ground to amalgamate into one body and increase the likelihood of success rather than fail to find compromise and be forever destined to wander in a wilderness as far away as ever from achieving their dream? The relationship, or often lack thereof, between our various Rangers online forums would be worthy of a book in itself.

(It is matter of considerable regret that this blog will not be posted on the Follow Follow forum. However I discovered recently the extent some will go to suppress opinion which does not fit in with their own and I cannot, sole in conscience, contribute to a website which stifles debate and discussion amongst Rangers supporters because it expresses a view some disagree with. Apologies to the many fine Bears on that forum)

Furthermore the latest bout of boardroom musical chairs at our club with factions within the Rangers support choosing sides, and as the recriminations continue. Rangers forums are awash with the latest tales from our varying factions or  “The blogger wars”. Now I don’t know who is right or wrong in all of this but there is one thing I do know with absolute certainty – every minute they spend hurling accusations against each other is a minute the enemies of our club are granted a reprieve and allowed to slip away quietly under the radar.

The Scottish Press appears still, to be very unfavourable towards our club. You could be forgiven for thinking they had missed the three legal rulings which found in favour of our club. The fact that the evidence has been stolen in the tax case they have drooled and salivated over for some time, has barely raised a whisper. The individuals at our football authorities who have lied, usurped the most basic fundamental of our society, demonstrated considerable negligence and who were accused of being “corrupt” – remain in position, We have failed to make an impact on how our club is perceived in the press. The consequences of the fragmented nature of our support was confirmed to me when visiting one Rangers online forum to discover that in complete isolation they had organised a boycott of a certain newspaper. How much more impact would that boycott have had if it had been shared and honoured by the wider Rangers community ?

We seem also to have made little impact in the political arena, with the Rangers support still being deprived of answers due to Government authorities hiding behind poor and inadequate excuses and politicians failing to hold them accountable.
But we have to take some of that blame ourselves. We have failed to develop our ability to lobby politicians to organise effectively and in unison against the forces of the press and media. Its fine letting off steam on a Rangers forum but you are very much preaching to the converted. Martin Luther King didn’t change America and the wider world by convincing those who agreed with him – he did it by convincing those who didn’t agree with him.

But its not all doom and gloom. The Rangers Standard project celebrated its first anniversary recently – I hope its the first of many. In it’s time it has drawn criticism, and I would be the first to admit I have not agreed with every article which has been published on their site. But I really get what these guys are doing. When I was in the Marines I served in various theatres of war. In Norway I donned Arctic camouflage, in Northern Ireland I wore urban camouflage – in short I tailored my appearance for the battle environment. That’s exactly what these guys have done. They need to be seen to be beyond reproach and not be sidetracked by issues, nor leave themselves open to the malicious kind of lies we have seen the enemies of this club are more than capable of. They are out there challenging unfair and negative media representation levelled against our club and one only has to see via social media how they engage and at times leave certain individuals within the press, struggling to justify what they have written.

But this is not just a review – its a challenge. Because there are people out there in Rangers organisations, admin on forums, posters on forums, bloggers etc. who could help improve the situation by keeping the no surrender mentality for our enemies whilst adopting a more conciliatory attitude towards those, for whom like themselves – Rangers is their passion.