Only Neil Doncaster, a man who our clubs have decided is untouchable, a man caught up in a web of corruption unlike Scottish football has ever seen, only he could have sat in front of the TV cameras of a national broadcaster and lied.
Only in Scotland would that man have been allowed to get away with it.
For this is now a footballing banana republic, where anything goes.
Where fiction has replaced fact on the “official” record.
I own a documentary which is amongst the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen; it’s called The Killing Of America; it was first released in the 80’s. It’s about violence in the United States, but it’s still remarkably relevant. Amongst the many curiosities on it is a startling interview with the serial killer Ed Kemper. It is fascinating to watch, for any number of reasons, but foremost amongst them is the reasonable, straightforward way he discusses murder and the things he’s done. There’s a similar moment on the equally brilliant Cocaine Cowboys, where another mass killer quite openly recounts some of his most shocking crimes.
I was reminded of those interviews watching Doncaster the other day; although there was no confession, his was a quite shameless display.
He gave blatantly misleading answers and lied through his teeth without betraying the slightest flicker of remorse or regret.
If you hadn’t known the truth of what was coming out of his mouth you would have found him wholly convincing, because he looked to all the world like a man sure of his footing.
And it makes me wonder; have these people now reached the point where they’ve told so many lies, for so long, that they’ve managed to convince themselves? Or is Doncaster simply a man who will quite brazenly mock the interviewer and the audience, believing himself to be wholly beyond consequences?
Neither of those options is good, right?
But I tend to go with the latter. Because these people do know the truth.
Doncaster ought never to have got away with what he did here. In any other country, the media would be acquainted enough with the facts that the interviewer would have called him out on the lies almost as soon as they were out of his mouth.
Take the one on the Discounted Options Scheme, which is quite simply the most scandalous thing I’ve ever heard come out of his mouth. He claimed that it was “covered” by the Lord Nimmo Smith inquiry, which every person who’s followed these events knows is palpably false.
Doncaster was so brazen in that segment that it takes your breath away.
Watching it, I really did feel like I was watching Ed Kemper again, very straightforwardly talking about how he decided to turn himself in after murdering his mother and her best friend, closing the cycle on his violent rage.
Doncaster knew exactly what he was doing.
He knew what he was saying was pure fiction, because he used a verbal distraction when answering the question, stating that he wouldn’t give a full explanation of something he knew he couldn’t by labelling it “boring and quite dry”.
That kind of tactic should never work on a real journalist, but here it did.
His lie is contradicted by every fact we have to hand.
It is an astonishing comment, made all the more so by the glib way that it was delivered.
When I’ve watched Doncaster in the past, I’ve been aware of the way his face twitches and his eyes move and how you can sometimes hear the nervousness in his voice. That was a man who knew he was on shaky ground and was worried about being busted.
In the STV interview there is none of that.
There is only the confidence of someone who knows he can say what he likes with impunity, and that not one media editorial has questioned his version of events, far less called him a liar – which I do not hesitate to do – is all the affirmation of that he needs.
The media here is probably the most gutless in Western Europe.
Real journalism exists in only a handful of places, and a handful of outlets.
Mark Daly would have flayed this guy alive, and STV’s own Peter Smith would have butchered him and left the pieces on the table.
But even the question Doncaster was asked to elicit that answer is shocking; it invites Doncaster to explain why the Wee Tax Case was included in Lord Nimmo Smith’s sham report … it is the sort of question a defence lawyer would ask his client on the stand, instead of the more prosecutorial one a real journalist would have posed.
It is a pathetic question, frankly, quite explicitly framed to give him an out.
That interview, like the SPFL statement, was a put-up job. It was a piece of PR, rather than an attempt to get to the answers, and when you view it you have to wonder just what in God’s name our media is up to and what they are so scared to find if they start digging?
If these were the only people on the job here, we wouldn’t stand a chance.