Who is side stepping Mr McGovern ?

Posted Today, 03:46 PM

Some of you may remember Jim McGovern from my previous articles. He and I exchanged a number of, less than courteous letters a few months ago. This was as a result of his support for George Galloway’s Early Day Motion 913, with McGovern being the only Scottish based MP to pledge his support to the motion.


During the aforementioned exchange I asked Mr McGovern to provide any evidence that Rangers had “side stepped” their tax liability, as such an allegation ran contrary to what we as shareholders had been informed in writing. Needless to say Mr McGovern failed to provide any evidence whatsoever which would would justify the allegations set out in EDM 913, or warrant support for them.

Perhaps we should not be surprised by Mr McGovern’s support of this motion which are a slur on our club, he has a tendency to make allegations without reasonable foundation.


Its interesting that Joe Fitzpatrick MSP uses the word “hypocritical” to describe Mr McGovern. Depriving the British public of tax revenue is not something Mr McGovern can himself claim a clean sheet on. You know what they say about people who live in glass houses.


But Jim has raised his head above the parapet once again, much to the chagrin of a number of his constituents, and suggested the Foreign Office investigate claims by Celtic supporters regarding events in Amsterdam.


This has left a number of his constituents in his parliamentary constituency of Dundee West somewhat bemused. And understandably so. Many of them remember a December weekend last year which saw some of the worst football disturbances in Scottish football in recent times and which were described by Dundee FC Operations Manager Jim Thomson as follows :-

“I have never seen anything like the behaviour of the Celtic fans in the 20 years I have been running games at Dens Park.

“The situation was almost unmanageable and I have never seen so many people drunk.

“Our fans were abused, our stewards were abused and no doubt the police were abused. The turnstile operators were visibly shaken.

“The away fans had no respect for their surroundings — they were doing the toilet where they stood.

“I had Celtic fans come up to me to tell me they were ‘embarrassed’ by their fans’ behaviour.”

The people of Dundee are still waiting for a statement from Mr McGovern condemning such behaviour.

But it’s refreshing to see Mr McGovern embark on a journey demanding, clarity, accountability and transparency. Perhaps in a similar vein he could provide such clarity with regard to his annual staffing expenses which amount to a staggering £ 115,581.17 for a back bench MP.

To put this into some kind of perspective his own party leader, Ed Miliband, and of course leader of the opposition has annual staffing costs of £ 93,747.42 .

Scotland’s Secret Shame

Its perhaps ironic that I offer this piece of writing on the weekend of another show of support for terrorist murderers from the green brigade section of the Celtic support. I’m reliably informed however that their Saturday banner was not a public outing of themselves as closet Corries fans but was rather a show of support for Irish terrorism.

I should not make light of such conduct of course, as it confirms the existence of a group of people who are still stuck in the past in a conflict which has itself left them far behind. Even Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness have come to realise that the stoic British people of Northern Ireland will not be defeated by the bullet or the bomb and have abandoned terrorism. (Please no sniggering at the back of the class)

I’m now going to astound you – Jack McConnell was absolutely right when he described sectarianism in Scotland as our “Secret Shame”. His comments following an Old Firm game were to prove the catalyst to an extraordinary McCarthyesque political campaign to uncover  and expose the bigots under the bed. And with men such as journalist Graham Spiers spearheading such such a crusade what could go wrong ?

Well pesky academics such as Dr Stuart Waiton and Prof Steve Bruce for starters. The latter having carried out the most in depth academic research into sectarianism in Scotland and written various discourses and books on the subject arriving at the following conclusion:


Dr Waiton’s study is more widespread and in his book “Snobs Law” he argues that football supporters in general are treated as some kind of underclass by the the authorities and politicians. He is particularly condemnatory of those who have led Scotland down a mythical path to a Brigadoon where sectarianism is rife.


We owe Dr Waiton another debt of gratitude however. For not only exposing the empty rhetoric of Graham Spiers, but perhaps more importantly, the insidious and sleekit nature of Spiers when his rapidly diminishing credibility or vastly inflated ego is challenged.

Stuart Waiton, the interesting/faintly bonkers prof, is admired by many Old Firm fans. Here’s his Green Brigade piece

Graham Spiers Twitter 22.02.2013

Given the propensity many of us have for disagreeing with Spiers – we too must be “faintly bonkers”. Oh the audacity.

But exiting from the world of academia its perhaps worthy examining what the real world says about Scotland’s Secret Shame.


Race Crimes 4,012

Religiously aggravated 687.

Does that make racism Scotland’s Very Very Very Secret Shame ? Are we to see a new dedicated Policing Unit to deal with this apparent epidemic of racism ? Is our funding of anti-racism initiatives nearly six times that of our anti-sectarian ones ?

Furthermore of the 40% males in Glasgow convicted of such religiously aggravated crimes who would be willing to bet a large percentage of those crimes occurred in or around the vicinity of Ibrox or Parkhead ? Dont look for a big windfall – the betting is odds on.

But perhaps the second most interesting comment in that report is this : “Police officers were the most common target of religiously aggravated abuse” Did I miss something – are our bobbies now plodding the beat sporting large crucifixes or “Proud to be a Prod” badges? Or were these by and large victimless crimes with the religiously aggravated behaviour targeted at no-one in particular ? For those amongst us who like a flutter – Im afraid thats another odds on.

I said second most interesting because the article itself reveals the McCarthyesque route we have gone down with regard to sectarianism. In an article which demonstrates crimes against our ethnic minorities is nearly 6 times worse than our religiously aggravated ones, where are the interviews with our ethnic minority representatives or their associated charities ? Why is no-one suggesting a mandatory rehabilitation programme for those convicted of race crimes ? It is after all by far the most common type of hate crime in this country.

Sectarianism is Scotland’s Secret Shame – but not for the reasons Jack McConnell alluded to. It is our secret shame because we have condemned ourself as a country publicly for a problem which does not exist, we have allowed ourselves to be brow beaten by insidious idiots like Graham Spiers and diverted money and resources to this mythical problem to the exclusion of a far greater problem within our society.

Perhaps the final word should be left to Prof. Steve Bruce.

“Scotland’s disgrace is not religious bigotry. It is the unthinking way in which sectarianism is assumed, without evidence”

The Joke’s on you Peter

Daisuke Nakajima quickly packed his bags whilst his editor’s secretary arranged his flights – a 6000 mile journey to cover a story of global proportions. For a country with a history and heritage as rich as Japan’s it was seldom a story emerged from the West with a tale of honour, which could catch the imagination of a country reared in the tales and traditions of the Samurai. But this one most certainly had.

Nakajima was returning to Scotland , not to the the city of culture, nor the home of the Scottish Parliament but to of all places Elgin, to report on Scottish football. But this story was not about players, teams, pitches but about fans – a certain type of fan. The type of fans who deserve to be called “extraordinary”, “loyal”, “devoted”. Fans whose actions prove to be the catalyst to reporters journeying across continents.

The stories of the Rangers support has now crossed continents seizing the imagination of all who hear. In a country where football has become toxic – they are the antidote. Let us talk not about impersonators – for these truly are the greatest fans in the world. Bar none.

Treated with disdain and with malevolence Rangers found themselves consigned to the lowest echelons of Scottish football. But that did nothing to deter the loyal. Still they came in their thousands, following and preserving a footballing institution. It was not for glory – for there was little to be had but out of devotion to a football club. If they had to play in the streets then the pavements would have been brimming.

This army of blue legions defied the hatred and machinations of a country, a footballing authority and a less than sympathetic, or impartial media. While others falsified attendance figures, offered two for one ticket deals and extended season ticket sales, the Rangers support broke attendance record after attendance record. On many a week the loyal army following Rangers would outnumber all the SPL attendances. Whose laughing now ?

Nakajima never got to see Rangers at Elgin. The match was cancelled due to the demand from the loyal Rangers fans for tickets. But for Nakajima this in itself proved to be a bigger story than the one he had hoped for.

Rangers – The Legend goes from strength to strength (even in Japan)

The Seppuku of an internet blogger

I suppose this is blogger’s equivalent of the Samurai tradition of Seppuku – their unique suicide rite. At journalism college one of my course tutor’s used to invariably preach about the successful narrator knowing, and writing to the very heart and soul of their audience. This article will do quite the opposite and some may find the content uncomfortable, however I feel it asks a question which needs to be asked.

The boardroom battle for control of our club has seen a thorough examination of the character and integrity (or alleged lack thereof) of the various candidates vying for control. It would be fair to say the Rangers support is well versed in the personal character strengths and weaknesses of the Murrays, the Easdales etc. The apparent weaknesses of the “other sides” candidates have been given maximum exposure during the ensuing debate, with the morality factor at times appearing as important as the size of the wallet they, or their backers, bring to our club. All is fair in love and war.

Waiting in the wings is a man many Rangers fans would view as our club’s “Messiah” – Dave King. Almost as important as his money appears to be his ability to unite the fragmented factions within our support for he appears to have the unanimous backing of all. Perhaps the eventual winner in our boardroom battle will determined by which side, if any, Dave King decides to ally with.

Such unanimous support for King has spared him the moral examination so many others have been subjected to in our boardroom struggle. With the exception of course of the Scottish Press. Let me make one thing clear – the Scottish Press have long surrendered the right to exercise moral judgement with regard to our club. They surrendered such a right long ago with their silence over 5 way agreements, their silence over unlawful transfer embargo’s imposed on our club and their desire to join with the haters in labelling us “cheats”and thus trampling over our right to a presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.

This discussion is by invitation only, and those out with the Rangers support are not invited, cordially or otherwise. But it is nonetheless, a discussion which has to be had.

Judge Southwoods assessment of Dave King in his tax battle with the South African authorities was damning. I’m sure most of you have read it, but to spare you the false morality of the Scottish press it can be found here :


Are we satisfied as a support that the coat bearing glib and shameless will be discarded should Dave King return to Ibrox in any capacity ?

Will an alleged disrespect for the truth be at odds with a support demanding transparency and clarity with regard to the governance of our club ?

Or are the characteristics described by Judge Southwood exactly what are needed at our club in a battle where our enemies are not playing by the rules ?

These are difficult questions but we will need to wrestle with them at some point. Failure to do so is just not an option.

The unacceptable face of Scotland

Scotland’s claim to be fighting the cancer of sectarianism and hatred took a severe dent at the weekend. Perhaps sadly, the decision not to hold a one minute silence prior to the Ross County vs Celtic match, came as no surprise to many of us.

Its embarrassing, unedifying and sickening to hear a one minute silence being disrupted and dishonoured. But there is something worse, far worse in fact – not holding such a ceremony at all. Because in failing to do so we have acquiesced to the morons, the bigots – we have handed them victory on a plate.

Let the moronic and shameful actions of bigots within the Celtic support shame all the devils in hell – rather that than our country is forced to fail to remember the fallen whose sacrifice ensured our freedom from evil and tyranny.

This morning I wrote to Ross County asking for an explanation into such an omission on Saturday and in particular who made the decision to dispense with the one minute silence – was it from someone in the club or from outside the club? The Ross County support have previously made their club aware of the importance of Remembrance Day and its significance within their support.


Furthermore this is an issue which must ascend Old Firm rivalry and the often tit for tat churlish and pedantic tribalism. It is time for the Scottish press and media to stop avoiding the issue and to speak out – ignoring it will not make it go away.

It is untenable and unacceptable that men who laid down their lives in order to defeat that which is unacceptable cannot themselves be remembered and honoured due to the actions and behaviour of some in our society which is in itself – wholly unacceptable.

No Surrender

It is that most poignant time of the year – Remembrance Day. A time to remember, a time to reflect.

But for the people of Ulster, today is particularly poignant, it is hurtful and will bring much reflection and sadness. 26 years ago to the day, a bomb exploded without warning at a Remembrance Day memorial in Enniskillen leaving 11 dead and 63 injured.

The cowardly, savage and barbaric nature of this attack saw those responsible – Irish Republican Terrorists – roundly condemned by all sides of the community. It was an act of inhumanity designed to terrorise the PUL community in Northern Ireland, to prevent them honouring the memory of their fallen; it was the very essence of terror in that it was designed to disrupt and discourage people from their normal activity through fear and intimidation.

That it failed spectacularly to do so is down to the courage, bravery and determination of the ordinary people of Ulster. The postmen who continued to deliver letters, the policemen who continued to uphold the law, the judges who continued to dispense it, the firemen who fought the fires, every single Ulster man woman and child who quietly and with stoic determination continued with their normal lives and normal activities. Who refused to deviate from the norm, who refused to give in to the bullet or the bomb, who refused to surrender the norm.

But it is not just a story, it is a lesson.

In a week which saw our club’s name dragged through the courts and the press for misinterpreted salutes it serves as a reminder of our responsibility to not only our club but also the PUL community in Ulster. Instead of showy, chest beating, but otherwise empty and moronic gestures (which our enemies will make use of to the full) if you really want to help and show your support for the PUL community in Ulster why not take a leaf out of the Vanguard Bears book, and quietly and without fanfare actually undertake some kind of activity which will benefit their community ? I’m sure the £560 raised by Vanguard Bears for the Twaddell and Woodvale Residents Association was of far greater benefit than the negative imagery and commentaries associated with “Red Hand Salutes”

If any of you are in any doubt – ask yourself why a newspaper recently published a 3 year old picture of such behaviour. It damages our club and the very people for whom you are trying to show your support.

Today in Enniskillen a father will reflect on the daughter he will never walk down the aisle.

A son on the missing father at school parent’s evening.

A whole community will join together in sorrow.

But they will not be beaten. They will remember and they will honour.

And others will watch and remember them as the very essence and embodiment of No Surrender.

Yesterday my brother, today my enemy

Its perhaps strange that a musical track from a Brooklyn based band (who are probably unknown to quite a few of you)  provides the title to this article, but, with a little re-arranging it provides the perfect insight to what we, the Rangers support, will face in the coming months ahead –Yesterday my enemy, today my brother.

For make no mistake, the upheaval at boardroom level within our club will eventually come to an end and someone or some group will emerge victorious.  I am under no illusion that the cessation of hostilities will bring us together as one harmonious group of supporters, however much I desire it, but the stark reality is that when the boardroom battleship guns all fall silent we will be, without exclusion, the same group of supporters whose club was treated, shamefully, unjustly and unfairly by our footballing authorities, our government agencies and our media.

The enemies of our club have not gone away, nor have they stopped plotting or scheming to inflict maximum damage on our club at every opportunity.

Last night I witnessed 2 Bears for whom I have the utmost respect, having a difference of opinion on Twitter regarding the current situation at our club. It was done without personal insults, unedifying comments or character assassination – it was confined to the main debating points and the pros and cons of either side. Perhaps there is something to be said for restricting debate to 140 characters per salvo.

Unfortunately not all discussions and debates have gone this way but we as a support cannot afford the luxury or petulance of an acrimonious aftermath – we will have a club and support to defend.

The boardroom battle and its ripple effect on our support has not been pretty, in fact it has been downright ugly and tedious. But it has also been encouraging in that it has exposed the raw passion we all feel for our club, the determination to see things through and also an up swell in militancy within our support.  For a support whose actions and loyalty saved this club from extinction, yet are still totally disempowered and disenfranchised from the decision making processes regarding her future, militant action should never be discounted.

Some of you reading this will no doubt say that boycotts and protests are not “The Rangers Way”. All I would ask you is what other options do a disempowered support have – dignified silence?

But acknowledging we face a common enemy is not enough – we have to start working together. If we can’t agree unity then lets at least endeavour to have a unity of purpose. Our strength comes from the power we can generate operating as a united body – it’s why they fear us so much.

Networking, communication and co-operation need to be given a far higher priority.

In just over 2 weeks time the deadline passes for the online e-petition re HMRC and confidential leaks.  The figure stands at 41,230 – not even half the required signatures.

Need I say more?