Today, the resurrection of an old story; the so-called “Celtic tax dodge”, about some scheme a number of our former players and our current CEO were involved in.
I enjoy this one, because in it the Sevco fans think they’ve found some sort of moral equivalence.
Let me dissuade them of that, and inform them as to why they haven’t.
For one thing, from a footballing point of view I’m not particularly interested in whether or not certain individuals dodged tax or not. It’s got nothing to do with the game. The Big Tax Case was relevant to us for two reasons; first, that Rangers used a tax scam to pay players they would otherwise not have been able to afford and secondly that in order to do so away from the prying eyes of HMRC they didn’t disclose those arrangements to the SFA.
Two football related reasons why this was important to football fans.
Any attempt to link the personal tax decisions of individuals linked to Celtic with such a similar scandal is specious and false. Celtic, as a club, has the sum total of nothing to do with this stuff. These were choices people made with their own money and entirely at their own risk.
There’s a suggestion that HMRC now intends to go after that money; once again, that has the sum total of nil to do with Celtic.
Our club didn’t run these tax scams, they were the province of a media company.
Celtic’s enemies accuse our fans of hypocrisy over this; let me dissuade them of that final plank on their latest platform of hate. I’m a socialist, wholly in favour of a fair and just tax system where everyone pays their share. Some have accused me of posturing when condemning the behaviour of Rangers.
Others say I was motivated by hate.
Actually, I have serious social and ideological objections to tax avoidance, and that’s why I considered the Big Tax Case something which transcended football even though I was focused on the football aspects of it.
If Neil Lennon, Peter Lawwell and others were personally involved in trying to evade the same tax responsibilities the rest of us face then I hope HMRC goes after them all. Pure and simple. Make them pay back every single penny. I won’t be defending any of them.
But let’s be clear; on top of there being no suggestion of Celtic’s involvement there’s no suggestion that these actions were criminal either, which means any pitiful effort to suggest some equivalence between our CEO and Sevco’s felonious chairman isn’t going to fly either.
These guys used a loophole in the system. He lied and concealed. He committed fraud. He fought the South African government to the point where they had him cornered like a rat and then he cut a deal that spared him a prison term and far more serious charges.
Sevconites can cling to this one like barnacles if they want to; I’m happy for them to have their eyes somewhere else whilst their club rots from the inside. It is pathetic that The Daily Record has raked over this piece of ancient history again, especially when they are labelling it as part of an “investigation.”
I laugh reading that over there, especially when one considers the amount of outright cobblers they’ve written in praise of various dodgy geezers over Ibrox way these past few years, never once digging into their backgrounds or spurious claims.
Today must have been a slow news day.
It’s not as if anything else is going on, right?
I mean it’s not like the club they keep telling us is essential for the well-being of the national sport is teetering on the brink of administration or anything, right?
Except that it is.
And that’s why we’ve had to read this crap this morning.
Deflect. Deny. Deflect. Deny.
And still the clock is ticking down and down and down.