“I am reminded of Louis the Whatever’s uhh Finance Minister, “The” Something. He built a chateau, Nicole and I saw it when we went to Paris. It even outshone Ver-sales, where the King lived. In the end, Louis clapped him in irons.” – Little Carmine Lupertazzi.
Sopranos lovers will recognise the lines, and the context. Little Carmine is talking about his rival to become boss of his crime family; specifically, he’s talking about John Sacramoni, who was underboss to Carmine Snr but spent years living it large and swanning around as if he was the actual boss. Little Carmine is a guy most of the other powerful figures look down on; he’s not exactly a super brain. But in this his analysis is correct, if a little hazy on the details.
The guy he’s referring to is Nicolas Fouquet, who was indeed the finance minister for Louis XIV. He was ambitious, but historians agree he was also loyal. But his ambition was so great and his desire to be viewed as a contender was so overwhelming that he inflamed the king’s paranoia and jealousy. In the wonderful little book, The 48 Laws Of Power, the very first one is “Never outshine the master.” History is littered with the corpses of those who do.
Sevco fan forums are places to check out if you want to see delusion in all its many forms. One of the most prevalent delusions of the current time is the one about Graeme Murty being given direction, in secret, by the ancient relic Walter Smith. Like a bad sci-fi monster, they always wheel this guy out to scare people. It’s working well, as you can see although it’s mostly Sevco fans who are scared of the idea that they might get Smith style football without results.
I never rated Smith. Without money to spend he’d have won nothing. This was not a tactical genius; he was the last of the long ball merchants, a dire coach with outdated ideas but who unfortunately also had the luck of the Devil.
I have long argued that when Sevco fans look back on how their club came to be that Walter Smith is one of the guys they ought to hold accountable, as one of those most to blame. He knew he had to keep spending whatever the club could afford – even what it couldn’t afford – because otherwise he’d have been done. He knew what he was leaving behind for his pal Ally – a disaster area. He could wait to get out the door.
If it’s true though that Murty has turned to him and that Smith is lending him a helping hand, well that’s probably not going to end so well for the Sevco stand in boss. I’m curious as to how he sees that particular story ending. If he fails the blame falls on him. Why does he reckon Smith wants to keep a back seat? He doesn’t want to be near that.
Yet if Murty somehow manages some minor success, who does he think will get the credit? Him? He’s got to be joking. Smith’s people (or Smith himself, I’d put nothing past that brazen sod) will find a way to get it into the media that he was the author and architect of it all. Murty will get to bask in it for about five minutes before the light shines elsewhere. As minor success probably won’t be enough for him to get the job he won’t even see the fruits of his labour … Smith will take the credit for what went right and he’ll get the blame for what went wrong.
Smith is the world’s worst guy to have as a backseat driver. Nothing will be allowed to shine a harsh light on his own failings, but he will never allow someone else to bask in the sun when he thinks the credit should fall on him. That man has never taken responsibility for anything in his entire life or career. This would be no exception.
If Graeme Murty really is doing this he’s a madman.
Better to stand on your own two feet and fail than to succeed with someone else pulling the strings.
Everyone says Smith and the other Ibrox luminaries are “fully behind” Graeme Murty; well of course they are.
As Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes Prime Minister once put it, “It is necessary to get behind someone in order to stab them in the back.”