Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Honourable Men

Honourable Men

In the Shakespeare play ‘Julius Cesar’ Brutus and his friends have murdered Cesar in the Senate and worry about how the mob will respond to their deed. They allow Cesar’s friend Marc Antony to address the mob in Rome on the explicit understanding that he doesn’t blame Brutus and his cronies. Marc Antony skilfully points out the wounds on Cesar’s body before praising Brutus and his co-conspirators as ‘honourable men’ but doing so with such dripping sarcasm that the mob becomes enraged. The final blow is the reading of Cesar’s will to the crowd who hear of his love for them and what he bequeaths the city. As the mob begin to riot, Marc Antony, happy that revenge might soon be his, mutters to himself…"Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot. Take thou what course thou wilt." As a work of rhetoric, Marc Antony’s speech is a great example of saying one thing and meaning the opposite. The ‘honourable men’ are clearly exposed to the mob as self-serving assassins.

Strange that the words of Shakespeare came to me today, perhaps it was due to the decision of those honourable men at the SFA to pass Dave King as a fit and proper person. Yes he was on the board of the old club which suffered an insolvency event and died leaving millions owed to creditors large and small but the SFA are honourable men. They may argue the legalities of such decisions but the moral issue is clear: If we are saying that a man convicted of crimes of dishonesty is a fit and proper person to run a Scottish football club, then who exactly is unfit? Mr King came to the attention of the South African Tax Authorities when he bought a painting for R1.7m at a time his declared income was R60,000. Yes he was convicted of 41 counts of breaching the South African tax code and ordered to spend 2 years in prison for each offence or pay over £40m in fines. Yes, the Judge called him a ‘glib and shameless liar’ but such things were viewed as no barrier to him running the new Rangers by the SFA and they are, of course, all honourable men. They will find legalese words to give a fig leaf of respectability to their decision which is, in the eyes of many outside the Rangers bubble, just another example of  the SFA bending over backwards to help the reborn establishment club back onto its feet after the shameful demise of the oldco.

Their chums in the media will trot out the ‘good for Scottish Football’ guff till the gullible swallow it like a nice piece of succulent lamb. But they too are all honourable men, aren’t they?  They will also trot out the inarticulate and those of jumbled mind on radio phone in shows and let the cynics of the media attack them as obsessed or paranoid. Alas they are too late because we all know how it works now. We all see the manipulation, the calling in of favours and yes the agendas. We’ve seen it in politics and we see it again as sections of the media attempt to resurrect the corpse of old Rangers and stick it back on the throne.

The SFA themselves stated on their website…

‘’Mr King provided substantial information in relation to the matters set out at Article 10.2 (h) and 10.2 (j) namely: He has been convicted within the last 10 years of (i) an offence liable to imprisonment of two years or over, (ii) corruption or (iii) fraud and;  He has been “a director of a club in membership of any National Association within the 5-year period preceding such club having undergone an insolvency event”.

Despite this they still feel he is a fit and proper person to run a football club. Of course we trust them, they are all honourable men, aren’t they?





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