“Sources close to Whyte” in economical with truth shocker!
03/12/2011 1,149 Comments
Yesterday’s blog post revealed for the first time in any media outlet (mainstream or otherwise) that Rangers had prepared an appeal of the “wee tax case” and seems to have ruffled a few feathers in the process.
In this morning’s Daily Telegraph, Roddy Forsyth reports: “A source close to Craig Whyte, the Rangers owner, told The Daily Telegraph that an appeal had been lodged several months ago against the liability – incurred under the previous regime of Sir David Murray and not to be confused with the much larger potential debt to HMRC… … The source added emphatically that the existing appeal was not intended to be a defence against Uefa sanctions.”
First, Forsyth is confused or has been misled. This appeal absolutely and categorically was not filed “several months ago“. Assuming that Forsyth is not confused, his source is either a shameless liar whose opinions on any of these matters should be treated on a par with asking Joseph Goebbels how the defence of Berlin is going- or his source does not know what is going on.
Next, why did it require “a source close to Craig Whyte“? Why not an on-the-record statement from the club or one of its executives? Why have Rangers not made any reference to an appeal of the “wee tax case” assessment prior to my post yesterday?
The phrase “a source close to Craig Whyte” is reminiscent of all of those fabulous promises made in the run-up to the takeover. Googling this phrase is instructive. “A source close to Craig Whyte” has been responsible for the following gems being quoted in our mainstream media without critical analysis or qualification:
- “For a start, the deal Craig Whyte is putting forward is worth £52.5m, more than double the amount apparently to be raised by this unnamed Rangers director. Further, the Craig Whyte investment in the club would begin on day one of a deal being completed.”
- “…the businessman had decided to make available “significantly more” than the average sum of £5m-a-season to Ally McCoist when he succeeds current manager Walter Smith at the start of next term.”
- “Ally knows he will have significant funds to spend on players”
With the track record of such “sources close to Whyte” one has to wonder why any member of the press would take them seriously? Roddy Forsyth is one of the better journalists among a very poor bunch. However, to repeat the words of someone who will undoubtedly be one of Whyte’s handsomely rewarded PR goons without getting objective proof is symptomatic of the malaise affecting Scottish football journalism. The lazily and cheaply acquired quote is favoured over truth. To repeat the words of someone who misleads others for a living without obtaining objective confirmation is just comically stupid or willfully negligent. I must assume that the subject of Rangers’ accumulating unpaid PAYE & national insurance money just did not come up in conversation?
I do not claim to know with any certainty the motivation behind the appeal. So I cannot swear that it is related to the mounting pressure for Rangers to make an official and unequivocal statement on the status of this liability to HMRC as of 31 March 2011. However, the timing of the appeal does look convenient. I must acknowledge that it is also very possible that it is simply driven by financial necessity i.e. it is an attempt to reverse the arrestment of the £2.3m which is currently frozen prior to it disappearing forever within the next couple of weeks. However, I can confidently state that the launching of this appeal is very recent indeed.
Of course, this can all be cleared up easily. Mr. Whyte can tell us when the appeal was submitted. He can produce the appeal documents and show the dates to members of the press. Even members of his own trusted cadre of tame hacks would suffice. The central facts of the case are not in dispute and have been a matter of public record since Rangers’ interim accounts were released on 1st April. There will not be many real confidentiality concerns. We know the amount and to what it is related. All we need to know is the date of the appeal. This could debunk both my post from yesterday and the theory (expounded by others) that the SFA improperly granted Rangers a UEFA license for the 2011/2012 season.
Go ahead Mr. Whyte. Prove me wrong. And Mr Forsyth, you could apply a bit more critical thinking in your work. If you are interested in the question of Rangers’ UEFA license, you can ask your contacts at Ibrox and at Hampden to show you the evidence. It would be a good bit of journalism and could lay this issue to rest once and for all.