My last blog on Fear And Loathing In The Land Of Despite has certainly animated a few – or should that be agitated? – in a very short space of time.
As usual, I have underestimated the capacity of those who clearly had an inadequate education to spectacularly fail to grasp the thrust of my message.
My blog was about the petty hate and tribalism that consumes so many in Scotland these days. The Herald Two were used as an example of how polarised people get over issues. Their situation has ramped this up even further, with one side fervently in solidarity with them and the other celebrating they have been brought to task for Rangers-hating. Both sides are now further entrenched in their hatred of each other.
This tribal, at war with the hated enemy mindset is exactly what suits certain social engineers for people to buy into. While we are all locked into our mental conflicts with “scum” enemies, our country is being engineered to suit their purpose. Powerful people have long understood that you can control and mobilise large groups of people by feeding them a demonised enemy to hate. When you polarise a people and control both ends, you control the game. It is a simple trick. All you have to do is convince people their side is right and the other side are evil.
Freedom comes when you recognise evil objectively i.e. you can even identify it where it exists in your own side. Also, you must see hate as an enemy in itself. This is crucial. You must refuse to hate your enemy with the blind, frothing at the mouth hate that drags you into the game. The game is what you must escape. The game is where you are conditioned to hate.
An example is the subject of radicalised Islamic terrorism. This is an evil which is clearly identified. However, it is when we extend this identification to cover all Muslims and Islam itself that we enter the realm of conditioned group thinking. Every Muslim is an evil terrorist just waiting to slit your throat when the opportunity comes. Really? You actually believe that? If you do, welcome to deprogramming.
I have been inundated with messages concerning the Herald Two since the last blog. Sadly, many of those messages confirmed what I was saying. And many of them were riddled with untruths about the situation. But the truth isn’t important when known “Rangers-haters” can get their comeuppance.
As someone who has campaigned vociferously against endemic and bigoted Rangers-hating in the media and elsewhere, I get the concept that Angela Haggerty and Graham Spiers might be reaping what they have sown in some regards. But there is a far bigger issue at stake here. That issue is freedom. Freedom of the press but also freedom for bloggers and other commentators to write and say things that are not popular.
Let me frame what I am saying in one simple sentence: Do we really want a Scotland where you cannot say anything critical or question anything concerning Rangers for fear of losing your livelihood, liberty or health?
Or any other team for that matter?
Will what happened to Haggerty and Spiers deter journalists from writing or investigating anything negative about Rangers? Is that the kind of media we want in Scotland? I mean, look how well Rangers fans were served by the press who were cowed by David Murray and the sycophantic journalism that peddled Craig Whyte as the oligarch from Motherwell…
We should not tolerate sycophancy, bias or undue favouritism in our press toward any one club or interest. Equally, attempting to hirple the media and control output by means of intimidation is heinous and must be vigorously opposed by all free thinkers. Unfortunately, this culture of intimidation is very much part of life in Scotland, as I and other bloggers and journalists can testify.
It remains to be seen to what extent the backlash against the Herald stable by those incensed by Spiers and Haggerty’s departure will shape up. Will it remain at acceptable levels of consumer power or descend into trolling, intimidation and abuse of Herald employees. What’s the betting?
And so the circle of hate goes on.
The case could be made that the Herald Group were not intimidated at all by the thought of upsetting Rangers but that they were simply following legal advice which was they would get slaughtered in court. However, where was that advice prior to publication? Even if senior management at the Herald acted properly, the perception is that they were cowardly and craven. It is this perception Magnus Llewellin and his management team must deal with to restore the reputation of our oldest national newspaper.
Those crowing over the departure of Spiers and Haggerty should bear in mind that neither left their employ for being “anti-Rangers” but for reasons of internal politics. It is one thing to acclaim their demise but it is quite another to state untruths about the reasons why they left as many are doing. Sadly, the matter does not necessarily signify a new era of non-partisan reporting when it comes to Rangers.
As for the root cause of all this stushie, it is easily solved once and for all. Graham Spiers made a claim that a certain Rangers director told him he thought The Billy Boys was a great song when he was enquiring about its recent rendition during a match. I know what director Spiers was referring to.
The whole matter can be cleared up very swiftly and simply by a statement from the Rangers Board concerning their view on the singing of this song at games.
They might not feel the need to comment but it would nip matters in the bud and show courage and leadership if they do. A robust condemnation of the song signed by every director would be the nail in the coffin for Graham Spiers’ reliability.
An open goal beckons…
But this is not about Rangers, or journalists who may or may not hate them. It is about a far bigger picture. Do we want to live in a Scotland riddled with petty spite and trivialities? Or do we want to rise above such tribal attitudes and forge a different culture and society? One that is not about who we hate and are against but about who we are and who we can befriend.
I despise bias based on blind prejudice. I see a great deal of it towards the club I support and indeed other causes I espouse. But the danger in responding to such prejudice is to become hate-filled and narrow-minded yourself. It ends with a Mexican stand-off where bigots rail bigots on the other side for their bigotry.
Why not just NOT be a bigot? Why cloud your thinking and your heart with hate? Why be defined by what you oppose? Why not be defined by what you stand for?
Martin Luther King has been in the spotlight much of late. I am a great admirer of his work and ministry. He taught the lesson that we must learn in Scotland today – if you respond in kind to hate and abuse, you only sink to your opponent’s level and make victory a forlorn hope. He famously said: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
This message might not be popular with many. But it is the message we need to hear.
A Scotland free from blind hatred and narrow-minded prejudice sounds good to me.