Any Decision On Ibrox Will Be Ruled By Politics, Not Public Safety

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Another week passes, and still answers allude us on the issue of Ibrox and whether or not it’s going to be safe for our supporters – any supporters, in fact – to attend that ground knowing they aren’t gambling with their safety.

The issue won’t go away, no matter how little attention the media gives to it or how much the club or some of the relevant authorities wish that it would.

This one is too big, too important, to get left alone.

This one is going to run and run.

Phil has written to Glasgow City Council several times in the last week, in a game of Ping-Pong between himself and their press office.

The glib replies have been exactly what I’d have expected from the local authority, and they’ve made sure the one thing they have put on record above all else is this assertion that they aren’t the ones who’ll be responsible if things over there aren’t kosher.

This is both legally incorrect and morally scandalous.

Putting responsibility onto the license holder is more than just passing the buck; it ignores their own role in this. In the event of an accident and people looking for someone to sue they’ll have a lot of luck trying to hide behind that response when this issue has been in the public domain as long as it has.

If they’ve been asking the questions they are meant to and Sevco are dissembling then they have the power to insist on answers or snatch that license away.

These people are in politics, so this won’t be news to them but I figure it needs saying anyway; if a licensing agency feels it’s being stymied in its efforts to get information, the organisation they are asking has probably got something to hide. That surely doesn’t need spelling out.

So in that case, it begs an important question; why isn’t this situation being dealt with on the basis of that very reasonable supposition? And that question has the easiest answer of all.

It’s because of our electoral system. It is complex and multi-tracked, and that is very deliberate. It is designed to achieve periods of nearly total gridlock.

We had a General Election last year. There might be one in the coming twelve months. As you get within twelve months of an election it becomes increasingly hard to focus politicians minds on big issues in any meaningful way. They are either working to hold onto their seats or are already resigned to losing them, and so are setting up their next career moves.

The same is true for local government, and we’re well into the next election cycle there. Glasgow City Council will probably have been transformed by this time next year, and so its councillors will not want to make any decision of substance which might impact on that.

Imagine the consequences for the party which votes to shut our second biggest football stadium?

This decision won’t be taken on the basis of public safety; it will be taken on the basis of politics.

And politicians like to play the odds. The odds that nothing goes wrong on their watch. The odds (and it’s horrible but true) that if they look like being removed from office that they can dump any leftover mess into the laps of the next administration and so make hay from any negative outcome.

What this comes down to is simple, and atrocious.

No matter how bad things might be over there, no councillor will willingly vote to close that place until faced with a problem so readily apparent that its existence and potential for harm can no longer be denied. Because then they can say they have no choice. Then they can truly absolve themselves of responsibility.

I’m not saying it will take a disaster. But if a section of roofing comes down on a weekday evening when the ground is empty but for the security staff in a way that leaves no doubt or process of evasion, well that would be their ideal solution.

Because no-one likes to play the odds. Because sooner or later your number comes up. Always. It is a matter of time, and mathematical certainty.

Don’t expect courage from these people; only the prospect of a defeat makes a politician sweat and the closure of Ibrox would elevate that dark possibility to a certainty for many of those in the council chambers right now. They would rather roll the dice.

And for many of them, the calculation will be made more palatable by the fact that the only people talking about this are the guys on the forums.

Because if there really was a problem, surely the media would be all over it, right?

Oh yeah. Our courageous friends in the press. The ones who said Rangers was “too big to fail”, said liquidation meant death and then denied it ever happened.

What could possibly go wrong, relying on them to be ahead of the story on this one, eah?

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