The first inkling we had that the events just witnessed were not going to be reviewed in an even mannered fashion came courtesy of Cosgrove as we listened to BBC Scotland’s Off the Ball on the bus home. We looked at each other in astonishment as we heard him try every trick in the book to deflect, minimalize, downplay and even airbrush what had just transpired before our eyes. He used whataboutery and faux outrage towards his fellow presenters and issued repeated warnings to both listeners and fellow presenters about expressing “moral over reaction”. The subsequent Rangers board statement quite rightly highlighted him to the usual anger of the press corps. I wonder how many of them have actually listened to Cosgrove’s performance. It was not just sub-standard journalism it was a clear and deliberate attempt to downplay the whole incident. Anyone with any doubt should listen to how he deals with Chick Young’s update on events. What is particularly interesting is that the army of journalists still ripping into the Rangers board statement have been unilaterally silent on the conduct of Cosgrove which gave rise to the content and character of that statement.
It astonishes me that Graham Spiers is still considered one of our county’s opinion leaders. After a catalogue of lies about our club and support does anyone honestly think Rangers, their support or wider Scottish society will get a balanced view from such a man ? It’s only a matter of weeks since Rangers, a board member and the Billy Boys song were the catalyst to his exit from the Herald and in particular his egotistical blog on the subject a few days later. Graham Spiers has a very high opinion of his own self-importance which displays a childish form of petulance when that ego is wounded.
All of us can remember the day Chris Graham humiliated Speirs on national television causing the latter to respond with a comment which was to be confirmed, from numerous twitter screenshots, to be a blatant lie. Perhaps what many of us won’t remember was his column subject matter the following day – for those who don’t it was an article on the “immorality of EBT’s”. I can still picture him to this day, Chris Graham’s face in his head battering away at his keyboard in the wee sma hours in some kind of vengeance therapy. Hell hath no fury like Graham Spiers scorned. It takes a special kind of shamelessness to openly boast about giving evidence to the Scottish Government’s justice committee regarding OBFA and then when it becomes clear what has been produced has been a dog’s breakfast to then deny any responsibility for it. He could even use this example to good effect and examine his own role in the loathing of the Rangers support he wrote about this week – but the smart money says he won’t.
I’ve watched a succession of Rangers bloggers such as Frankie from Gersnet and John DC Gow from the Rangers Standard systematically dismantle and dissect Speirs’ argument. Perhaps this tweet more than any other sums the poverty of his argument as well as his hypocrisy.
Perhaps however the most sinister aspect was the clumsy attempt to shift the blame for Police failings onto the Rangers support courtesy of the Jane Hamilton article which appeared in the Daily Record. Unofficial stories, from unidentified sources drip fed into the public consciousness via the media in order to shift blame onto football supporters – where have we seen that before ?
Let me start first with the sideshow to this story which was Ms Hamilton’s “perjorative” twitter history. As many have pointed out attacking the messenger is counter-productive, no doubt about that, unfortunately a blatant lie being reported without verifiable sources by a reporter with a questionable twitter history led to a perfect storm. But abuse of reporters, or anyone for that matter will always prove to be as aforesaid ie counter-productive. The sight of Scottish Police Federation Rep Calum Steele frantically tweeting to all and sundry Ms Hamilton’s departure from twitter was a sight to behold and still available on his twitter timeline.
OF course by this point Mr Steele had a vested interest. His declaration on his twitter profile that he was only “tweeting in a personal capacity” was completely usurped by the following tweet :
It was no surprise that an official statement from Police Scotland later that day sought to distance itself from both the Daily Record article and the comments of Mr Steele on twitter. Let’s hope that Police Scotland explain to Mr Steele the difference between tweeting in a personal capacity and providing confirmation of anonymous Police story pertaining to operational Police matters and the reasonable perception of the latter given the office he holds.
Which perhaps allows us to return to Ms Hamilton’s article without the red herrings which accompany it. It’s not Ms Hamilton’s fault that she was approached by Police officers who wished to present an explanation as to the lack of Police resources at full time. But one would have thought given not only the time scales involved but the actual comments the officers made regarding the late manner of their arrival that further investigation was warranted to confirm the allegations made. It still beggars belief that at no time did she confirm the veracity of the officer’s allegations in an official capacity with Police Scotland. After all this was not just a side dish to the main course – it sought to change the whole nature of events last Saturday afternoon and divert the finger of blame which was already pointing at Police Scotland onto the Rangers support.
The full circumstances surrounding this story require to be examined impartially and whilst I am aware a number of Rangers supporters have raised complaints with the Daily Record editor, I think all concerned would be better served by an objective investigation by IPSO into the circumstances.
As the journalistic community in Scotland continue to huff and puff over the contents and nature of the Rangers board statement it is perhaps worthy of concluding with an objective voice, that of Roger Mtchell, former SPL chief.