There are situations in life where the message and the messenger are hard to differentiate.
When I read the other day that Greta Thunberg will not attend the international climate summit in Glasgow later this year, I was very disappointed because I cannot think of anyone better for delivering the keynote speech than this fine woman who has done so much on the issue.
She has her reasons, and they are good ones.
But I think it a great shame that she won’t be there, because the message and the messenger go together in so many ways. She is the voice of tomorrow; we need that at a meeting chaired and attended by yesterday’s men.
Just as important as the messenger is the way in which the messenger chooses to reveal their commitment to getting things done.
One of the standout moments in Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece The Irishman is when the gangster Tony Pro (played by the ever magnificent Stephen Graham) comes to a meeting with Pacino’s Jimmy Hoffa not only late but dressed in shorts and flip-flops.
This, Hoffa says, is a message in itself. It’s contemptuous.
On the other hand, there was, as Tony Pro puts it, an “ethnic slur” uttered when they’d last met.
Which Hoffa then makes worse at the meeting.
It’s clear that neither of these two is worthy of the respect they think they are due.
I feel a little like that when I see Ibrox’s grandstanding over racism.
It’s like we’re all supposed to sit here and pretend not to know we’re being insulted. It’s like we’re supposed to turn up for the meeting and forget that the person on the other side of the table is sneering at us.
Ibrox is the bastion of anti-racism in Scotland now? Since when?
All of a sudden they want to give out lectures to social media companies, other clubs, the governing bodies and the government itself? On bigotry and the evils thereof? They want to pretend to be a socially responsible club?
Maybe they ought to drop the appeal for their five players who broke health protocols and are yet to be punished for it.
Maybe they ought not to have hired an Ulster Loyalist to do press PR for them.
Maybe they want to ask their fans to boycott social media for a week; I guarantee you that the level of poison in Scottish society will be much lessened as a result, if only until their supporters all go back on there and start to fling their bigoted filth again.
The idea that Ibrox is in any way a leader on either racism and bigotry or some kind of beacon of good in a world gone mad … that’s not just laughable, it’s offensive and everybody taking part in this debate knows this full well.
They know it, and to pretend otherwise is ludicrous. They came to the meeting late, in Union Jack shorts and a C-18 t-shirt, and they expect us to sit here whilst they give us a lecture on the evils on bigotry in the modern world.
Who the Hell are these Peepul trying to kid?
What happened to Glen Kamara was horrendous; of course it was.
There is too much of this in the game.
You look at The Guardian and there’s a new example of it every single day.
Most of it comes from social media but there’s a lot of it in the stands and on the pitch.
But none of the clubs involved – not one of them – has used this as a PR coup to try and burnish their own reputations.
The Ibrox club has managed to exploit the racist abuse of one of its own players to shine the spotlight on their softer selves, which we know is itself a fraudulent concept, based on the cynical way they’ve exploited the global health emergency.
Nothing is beneath this lot.
An organisation that would clamber onto the backs of the sick and the dead in an attempt to cast doubt on a rival’s title win is an organisation which doesn’t even recognise that there are red lines you’re not supposed to cross.
Am I surprised that they’ve appealed the Ibrox Five verdict?
Not one bit, but I’m shocked that the SFA has allowed them to take advantage of the gaping holes in their rules and regulations, and I’m appalled that they’ve been given exactly what they wanted.
I’m disgusted at the media which has failed to do its own job of reporting this as an outrageous act.
I’m not surprised that they’ve brazenly tried to paint themselves as a leader on racism either; the previous Ibrox club had a history for doing the same when it suited them.
When UEFA started to fine them for sectarian singing they promoted themselves, briefly, as an anti-sectarian club and proposed some fleeting initiatives.
Murray even tried to claim Celtic’s own Bhoys Against Bigotry campaign had sprung from an idea he gave Fergus.
But what’s the reality? Well the reality is that when Celtic started that campaign, Murray and his pals in the media scorned it as a waste of time. He told Fergus that it was daft to think that football clubs could take on this issue and fix it … and then years later tried to claim the credit for it, when the heat was on and they needed to move the spotlight off their own inaction.
Celtic fans don’t need to be encouraged to support anti-racism and neither does our club.
A hatred of bigotry and those who practice it is in our bloodstream.
We are the Greta Thunberg’s on this issue; we’ve not only taken a stand, we’ve led the line.
Seeing the Peepul up on the pedestal, promoting their own “credentials” on this … it’s like a bad joke to the rest of us, and especially as we know that it’s not real, that it’s not serious, that they aren’t even converts to the cause, which we would welcome and support.
But if they were serious, really serious, they would tackle the purveyors of bile and hatred inside their own house, inside their own stands, on their own club’s forums.
They never have and they never will, partly because they fear these lunatics too much and also because if they tried to tackle it they’d find it costing them money … and they absolutely will not do anything that threatens their bottom line or their own season ticket base, which the club itself has whipped up to frenzied levels, pumped full of hatred and now has no control over whatsoever.
I watched the “highlights” of the riots over in Ulster the other night, and it was not in the least bit surprising to see them happen with “55” murals in the background and many of the rioters dressed in the colours of Ibrox.
Their public posturing on racism is the fantasy.
The ugly scenes from Belfast are the reality. Whatever image they want to present the world, the one it is actually presented with over and over again is of a bigot wearing their colours, throwing a brick at a police line.
The scenes in George Square and elsewhere in Scotland, the destructiveness, the toxic nature of it, and those from the Six Counties are separated by mere degrees … these are the same Peepul and this is the same mentality.