The importance of telling the truth about what happened to Rangers

A feature of reporting on the Rangers story over the past five years has been that the people who should have been most interested in knowing what was going on wanted the reporters silenced.

On 10 July, BBC 2 programme Scotland 2014 ran a piece on the reaction to the Upper Tier Tribunal (UTT) decision on the Big Tax Case (BTC).

I knew from late in the afternoon that the editor of Downfall, Ms Angela Haggerty, had been asked to take part.

Originally they wanted her to contribute to the pre-recorded package, but her duties in London as part of a busy editorial team on a business magazine meant it was not possible.

Instead, the BBC arranged to have her in their Westminster studio to take part in the discussion.

I understand that it was an entirely happenstance set of circumstances that led Ms Haggerty to being invited on the programme the same day.

Initially they didn’t even know that she was an editor of a bestselling book on the subject.

So it was fortuitous move by the Beeb to approach Ms Haggerty via social media.

Angela is across the detail of this story better than most people and that was evident in her contribution.

It is fair to say that many of The People did not take it well when Ms Haggerty appeared on their screens.

However, what followed on social media was shameful, even by klan standards.

It is worth remembering that earlier this year a man was sent to prison for six months for sending Ms Haggerty a threatening communication after she penned a piece for the Scots Law Thoughts blog following the Sun’s decision to pull the serialisation of Downfall amid a barrage of threats and intimidation.

Mr David Limond on his ‘Rangers chat’ podcast styled Ms Haggerty as ‘Taig of the day’.

In the world view of The People their real issue is not just the message, but the cultural background of the messenger

In 2012, encouraged by their success with the Sun, the klan went into overdrive to get Downfall removed from the shops.

Thankfully, they failed.

It remains on sale – much to the delight of my publisher and the bookshop chains.

The rather Pavlovian response from the Rangers Supporters Trust in complaining to the BBC about the inclusion of Ms Haggerty in the programme indicated to me that the teachable moment for this section of the Ibrox home crowd has passed.

Their stated view is that she should not have been invited onto Scotland 2014 to discuss the topic because of her association with me. In 2008 the klan were incredulous that a ‘Taig’ could be allowed any space within the media to call them out on their racism. Over the Famine Song they reacted with lynch mob predictability. Most of the mainstream in Scotland fell obediently into line with them and offered the banter defence, but using this platform and utilising my access to the Irish mainstream the Famine Song was made an issue that ended up in successful prosecutions in Scotland.

By the time I started to work on the story of the impending financial collapse of Rangers the klan had already a pre-programmed response to anything emanating from me and they have since applied that strategy to others like Alex Thomson and Mark Daly.

The RST statement characterised Ms Haggerty as a “Celtic supporting blogger”.

For the avoidance of doubt, she is a professionally qualified journalist employed on a full-time basis at a successful publication and recently her employers relocated her to London.

On TV Ms Haggerty calmly demolished the ‘Rangers are innocent of any wrong doing’ narrative by outlining the salient points of the Discounted Options Scheme, the five cases conceded within the First Tier tribunal and the unpaid PAYE and national Insurance in 2011.

Some of the klan might think it was impolite of Ms Haggerty to point out that Rangers owed £21m to HMRC went they were liquidated in 2012, but she was being professional.

In the studio was one Mr Craig Houston of the fan group ‘Sons of Struth’.

Actually, I thought he did rather well.

Unlike Ms Haggerty, he isn’t a media professional so it would be unfair to make a comparison between them.

Sarah Smith, recently transferred from Channel 4 News, handled the piece excellently, although she was badly briefed for the intro.

Rangers, of course, were not stripped of trophies and they weren’t relegated anywhere.

Rangers died in 2012.

The klan failed to bully Downfall out of the bookshops in 2012 and I am sure that they will fail in their attempts to bully the Beeb on this matter.

After the furore over the book in 2012 the publisher did not receive a single complaint about the content.

With a foreword by Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News – who side-stepped the succulent lamb culture with his coverage of the Rangers crisis – it is quite simply the truth.

It was a downfall and it was self-destruction.

What is in the book is the same valuable commodity that Ms Haggerty was purveying on the BBC last week.

The truth.

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