This time last week Paul McBride QC would have known that someone meant him significant harm. That is not a nice place to be. He is in my thoughts. His statement about not being bullied or silenced by this act of terrorism has been courageous and inspirational.
I had first been informed by a good source last week end (16th April) that Paul McBride QC had received a live bomb in the post. I tweeted the information with an “Unconfirmed” warning attached to it. I then started to dig.
By the Tuesday of this week (20thApril) I had, as they say in the trade, “stood up” the story with three independent sources.
The story was bigger than first I had suspected. In fact Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Scottish MSP Trish Godman had also received live bombs in the post. The “hoax” device that had been sent to Lennon had in fact been a viable IED.
The second of the three sources told me that a couple of Scottish papers were “sitting on” the story.
It was, I was told, because of police advice. However, this wasn’t a kidnap. I didn’t see the sense in this news blackout. If anything I thought publicity would make people more vigilant and allow the police to make a public request for witnesses. I consulted with a couple of trusted journalist friends, one of them an ex-editor. In the end it was my decision.
I decided to go with the story. I uploaded a short news piece on the basics on Wednesday 20th April at 8.45pm local time by 11.00pm the Main stream media in Scotland and then across the UK and internationally were running the story.
The story went global. By end of play on Wednesday I was congratulated by senior members of the National Union of Journalists for “breaking the censorship.”
As a journalist my starting point is always to see what my trade does. We are the creators of history’s first rough draft. Here the Herald’s headline on the Lennon story is a tad misleading.
This unfortunate subbing didn’t escape Roy Greenslade’s attention in his Guardian media column.
Roy has a sturdy moral compass on the ethics of the media. He is unequivocal that I took the correct journalistic decision to break the story.
As I have worked on the story since Tuesday I have become aware that the police resources deployed on this case are much greater than it was a week ago.
In the many years I have been covering these issues I have wondered at what point Scottish society reaches its “teachable moment”.
At what stage does the political class and civic leadership realise that there is a problem of a white underclass attached to Rangers FC?
When will the leadership of Scotland decide that this anti-Catholic anti-Irish bile is a societal pathogen that has to be tackled, faced down and, as a belief system, eradicated?
The UK can no longer afford the baubles of Empire and modern Scotland cannot afford the Trailer Trash of its long gone global imperium to dominate the nation’s discourse.
After the riots of Manchester in 2008 Graham Spiers wrote that a “White Underclass” had attached itself to the club.
Graham Spiers, himself from a Rangers background and the son of a Baptist minister, has been a constant, morally driven thorn in the side of those who wish to return to the old days in Scotland when the Irish knew their place.
In October 6 2008 he said:
“There is only one cure for the white underclass which has attached itself to Rangers. If I may quote Tony Blair (otherwise no great hero of mine): education, education, education.”
Again in November 9 2009
“But the “diehards” — those who love all the medieval chants and the faux-Protestant dressing around the club — certainly feel under some kind of cultural threat in Scotland. The white underclass of Rangers — I will put it no more offensively than that — feels put-upon and there is a direct link between their siege mentality and some of these repeated disturbances over the years. It is a galling image for the club to try to rectify.”
The three targets of these bombs symbolise a collective threat to the worldview of the Rangers Underclass that Graham writes about.
Lennon is an “uppity Fenian” from central casting. A dominant warrior on the field of play for Celtic. He is now also shaping up to be a decent manager. A Catholic from Lurgan in the worldview of the Famine song choir he is the punch cartoon figure of the Irish ape with the bomb.
Of course it is he who it threatened with bombs.
Paul McBride QC symbolises that the days of professional job discrimination against people on the basis of religion are, thankfully a thing of the past. McBride‘s eloquent tradecraft has bested the Scottish Football Association when defending Lennon and Celtic around a touchline ban. Using their own rulebook he made them look foolish and inept.
Trish Godman’s “crime” was to wear a Celtic top into the Scottish parliament.
Once more she is a symbol that all is not well in the world from the vantage point of the Rangers underclass.
The three of them, by their existence, tells the Rangers underclass whether in Scotland or in the Six Counties that their day has gone.
Now in 2011 we see the result of that underclass remaining unchallenged by the soccer authorities and the Scottish political class.
Their resolve has grown, with each passing fixture as the “Billy Boys “and the “Famine song” is heard with impunity they feel more and more empowered and authorised. Only UEFA seems willing to act and discipline them into civilised norms.
Have we reached the point in Scotland where these deviant beliefs of a post imperial substratum are called out and tackled?
Since I broke the nail bomb story this week the world’s media has been shining a light on Scotland’s shame. Scottish journalists in the mainstream media in Scotland have complained of their “embarrassment” as they have fielded calls about the Lennon story from around the world. Indeed they should be embarrassed. Once more it takes a journalist outside the country to break a story of huge relevance to Scotland.In February I asked a leading Scottish sports journalist: “had you been in possession of the Dallas email would you have broken the story?” He didn’t answer. Although I broke the silence on the Nail Bomb story the media black out on me continues. As with the Dallas story despite breaking the story my Irish name hasn’t been in any Scottish newspaper
The outside world can see Scotland’s problem clearly for what it is.
I fear that those in charge in Scotland still do not.
I fear we may not yet have reached Scotland’s moment to learn, but I hope I am wrong.