Not Long To Go
24/03/2012 2,177 Comments
On Tuesday this coming week, this blog will celebrate its first birthday. Thanks to the assistance of so many informed and intelligent posters, this blog has played an outsized role in awakening a sleeping public to the crisis that would soon envelope Rangers Football Club. The arrival of the cavalry in the form of BBC Scotland and, latterly- the English media, means that this blog has achieved its central goal.
It was with particular satisfaction that I read the thoughts of Alex Thomson of Channel 4 on the Scottish media. In many ways, the actual implosion of Rangers has become a sideshow in this story. The enemy here is not Rangers FC or its fans, but the corruption of our national media. A free press is essential for the healthy functioning of any society and, to paint with a broad brush, Scotland does not have a healthy, functioning free press that can be trusted to challenge vested interests or investigate corruption.
Not all are tainted by this embarrassment. Mark Daly and BBC Scotland should be singled out for praise. While so many others copied & pasted our work on this blog (with only the editorial tone being changed), the BBC Scotland team conducted a real investigation of their own. I would like to think that the work done on this blog helped convince them that this story was worth some time, but they picked up where we left off and got to the bottom of issues where we amateurs only found strong suspicion. (Graham Spiers’ refreshingly honest admissions to Alex Thomson are also worthy of note, but he has not been as willing to discuss this subject as openly with his colleagues on Radio Clyde).
What is really startling is how few others did any work. The Daily Record is still being fed through the umbilical chord by former Rangers directors in the form of The Blue Knights consortium. They are bound to be a font of truth. Even now, the Daily “off-the-radar wealth, billionaire” Record acts as an agent for those wishing to blame Craig Whyte for all of Rangers’ troubles. These are the same people who presided over a decade plus of maladministration. The Scottish editions of The Sun and The Daily Mail have produced some good stories, but have failed to follow them up or shown much interest getting to the heart of it all.
It struck me as surreal that last Monday afternoon alone I spent more time talking with various English journalists than I have with all Scottish media outlets combined in the last year. Without the story of the corruption of the Scottish media, this would have been a parochial sports story of no more interest in London or Manchester than today’s Kilmarnock vs. Motherwell game.
The year long history of this blog should tell any objective reader that we have information on this story and know how to interpret it. Yet only one Scottish journalist has contacted me to discuss this case. Over a dozen journalists from outside Scotland were able to get in touch. That tells its own tale. The Scottish media- tabloid and broadsheet & sport and business- do not want to cover the biggest story in the history of Scottish football or the biggest Scottish business story since the Darien Disaster.
The recent attention garnered by Rangers’ long-predicted descent into crisis presents this blog with an existential crisis. When no one would publish the story, blogs were the best way to get the story out. As our first birthday beckons, there remains just two tasks before we wrap up this project:
– Stitch the whole story together in the form of a book
– Create a lasting online memorial to the failure of the Scottish sports media
The die is cast in the rest of this story. The First Tier Tribunal outcome will determine the size of Rangers’ debt to HMRC. HMRC will decide whether a pennies on the pound is better than nothing or whether they see dangers in Rangers being seen to have “gotten away with it”. The people who will decide these matters will know the facts and will likely have already decided how they will proceed. We have little to do here.
With contempt for the Scottish media beginning to spread far and wide, our work is nearly done.