There was a considerable response to my last blog “Gunning for Rangers”, with surprise support and agreement from some elements of the Celtic fraternity with whom I’m normally “jousting” with on Twitter. Of course they were in a minority compared to those who wished to point out that Arsenal paid the money due to HMRC. When I use the term minority – I refer of course to social media given that a number of high profile ex Celtic players and an ex-manager have already publicly stated they have no desire to see Rangers forced to forfeit honours.
This is of course was a fact already alluded to in the blog but it served to underline the problems the “title stripping inquisition” have created for themselves with the “sporting advantage” argument. If EBTs are used as a tax avoidance measure, does it really matter in terms of sporting advantage if retrospective payments are made to HMRC? If the sporting advantage has been gained it is utterly preposterous to suggest that retrospectively paying the back tax nullifies or negates the alleged sporting advantage which was gained at the material time, in Arsenal’s case 2001 (Perhaps Earlier) – 2005.
Of course some still don’t get it – despite us having a wealth of tax experts such as Jo Maugham and Richard Murphy providing alternative opinions on the subject. But the reality is they don’t want to get it they just want to see Rangers punished or in some cases eradicated.
One is reminded of the atmosphere which was the catalyst to one of the best narratives I read in those dark days of 2012 – Alex Mooney writing for the Rangers Standard.
Any hopes that lessons have been learned from that period are fading fast. The usual suspects within the media, and some new additions, are already leading a very anti-Rangers narrative. Those familiar with the Allport’s Scale of Prejudice will recognise the motivation behind this Tom English tweet following the Rangers statement today.
For those who are not familiar with Allport’s work let me lay it out in its simplest form – How dare the victim have the audacity to stand up for themselves. Shades of 2012.
Unsurprisingly, in a narrative which talks about sporting advantage, living beyond your means and signing players you could otherwise not afford, there has been a deathly silence with regard to those clubs who benefited from having their debt written off by the bank. Would they be signing the players they have in recent times if they were still saddled with their accumulated debt? Does this fit the narrative of sporting advantage, living beyond your means or signing players you couldn’t otherwise afford; or is there an essential part of the narrative missing – Rangers.
Will the many Scottish individuals from Scottish football who availed themselves of the tax avoidance schemes operated by Inside Track Productions, Ingenious Film Partners 2 LLP and Ingenious Games LLP find themselves subjected to the adjectives applied to Rangers these last few years?
I'm not sure whether it will prove to be a Greek tragedy or farce, perhaps both, but nonetheless these lines seem very apt :-
“Pandora flung herself at the box. She caught the lid and managed to fit it on.
But it was too late. All of the awful things were out of the box”