Let’s talk for a moment about lies.
Lies come from so many different places these days that it is sometimes hard to keep up.
Lies are told for a variety of reasons.
They are told to cover things up. They are told to misdirect or mislead.
Adolf Hitler, writing about lying in Mein Kampf, boasted of how “great liars” don’t bother with little lies but prefer to tell outright whoppers. He said “in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility.” He knew that lies challenge our morality and that people more often accept brazen lies because it strains them to believe that someone would behave so outrageously.
His propaganda chief, Goebbels, writing about the English, said “that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. (They) keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”
These two could easily have found jobs at the SPFL and in our media. We know all about what Hitler called “the big lie.” Scottish football has been living with it for the past six years, and all the dire consequences of it.
We have, here in Scottish football, a full-on case study in how the big lie works. What we call the Survival Lie is so blatant, so built on flagrant contradictions, so brazen, so openly dishonest, that it challenges your own perceptions and arguing against it can be exhausting because accepting it requires such a disconnect from reality that you cannot, by the use of facts, convince anyone who claims to accept it.
To those people who ask me why I continue highlighting our version of the big lie, I say it is simple; if we allow that we poison, utterly, all discourse in football here. And that’s exactly what has happened since the Survival Lie was first shoved in our faces.
The media and the governing bodies, even some of the clubs, have decided that since we live in a world which people can lie to themselves and to each other in such a barefaced fashion, on such a massive issue, that there’s little point in being honest about the small stuff. Lies are now interwoven through nearly every major discussion we have in the game.
Lying has become normalised for these people. It’s business as usual now. And we have to keep on slamming them over the head whenever we catch them lying because otherwise we’re never going to get anything approaching honesty from our media and governing bodies again. Because lying becomes a habit, and it already is for too many of them.
People are lying to us over the decision made yesterday. The media is lying about the issue we raised and the reason we’re angry. Ann Budge and Craig Levein are lying about the alternative options. Steven Gerrard is just lying about everything.
And people are letting them get away with this stuff. A lot of rival fans are pretty gleeful, as if the arguments some of them have been making for the last week didn’t equally apply to us. They, too, are purposefully ignoring the issue.
Right from the outset, the SPFL has told lies about this. They said all the parties were satisfied with the initial outcome; that was untrue as Aberdeen, Hearts and finally Police Scotland finally showed. Why did they lie? There was no need to. They did it anyway. They lied when they said that the SFA had magnanimously decided to let them out of a contractual obligation to host both the games at Hampden; we now know they charged the SPFL money for to escape it.
The SPFL may have told more lies that we don’t even know about here, and in case it’s not clear I want to point out that the man who stood in front of the media and told those lies was Neil Doncaster. Some might want us to give this guy a free ride, but that is not going to happen, as I covered in an article earlier on.
That man is a cancer on our game.
But that’s a digression; let’s get back to the point. For sure Ann Budge and Craig Levein told lies in their media interviews in the last two days; both will claim that they did so unwittingly, but that would be another manifest untruth.
Budge and Levein have gone with variations of the same nonsense story; that Celtic was “drawn” to play on the Saturday at Hampden and their club has done us some kind of favour by “agreeing” to have their game moved to the Sunday.
It is bollocks. It was bollocks when it came out of Levein’s mouth and it was certainly bollocks when it came out of hers last night. She says she didn’t know that draws didn’t work that way … so at a minimum, she and her manager presented a false assertion as fact without knowing the rules. Are we meant to take that seriously? It’s even more spurious when you consider that Budge actually repeated the nonsense even after admitting that it was an invalid point. It is television, more than anything else, that decides the order of the games, but even if it wasn’t why wouldn’t we have gotten precedent for the Sunday tie as cup holders?
And I’m not even asking for that; we all know full well that in the circumstances where the SPFL had needed to play one game on the Saturday and one on the Sunday that they would have done exactly the thing Celtic asked for; they’d have decided it by ballot.
On top of that, Hearts, for some reason, would rather the conversation focussed on garbage like whether or not they were effectively getting a “home tie.” Brendan might have mentioned that he wanted us to train on the pitch, but Celtic’s objection and their statement last night was based on the simple fairness of doing a ballot to decide which game got moved … the issue here was whether or not the decision was being taken in a fair manner.
Hearts – and some in the media – do not want the focus to be on that issue which is why Tom English, another idiot who can’t find his village, and Graham Spiers were pushing the line that we’re moaning about being “inconvenienced.”
We’re moaning about the way this decision was made, with Lawwell sitting in the hall like a criminal awaiting a bail hearing and quite why these people and others don’t want to focus on that is a question we need an answer to.
And then there was Gerrard, and it was no surprise that he lied when the media asked him about the issue. One of the things he said was so blatantly fictitious that I was aghast that no-one pulled him up for it; he suggested that his club was the first drawn out and therefore guaranteed the match at Hampden … a piece of sheer fantasy nobody even bothered to contradict. Equally, his assertion that his club have held their piece and said nothing throughout this and were “happy to play anywhere” is also unashamedly false.
They may not have done this in public, but in private they were lobbying like mad.
Yet for all this, it is Celtic who are being painted, in the media, as the ingrates as if Aberdeen and Hearts were allowed to complain about the injustice of it all and we’re not. Once again we’re being held to some supposed higher standard … by people with no standards at all.
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