Here’s an idea for how to improve our club, and its relationship with the wider world; get Brian Wilson as far away from our board of directors as possible.
His latest Herald column is shocking. It puts him completely at odds with every Celtic supporter and the vast majority of people in this country. It is an anti-SNP screed which offers a faux justification for the psychopathic behaviour of the Ibrox support at the weekend.
No individual with those views should be an acting Celtic director, even in a non-executive role. He should offer his resignation and the board should accept it.
At a time when some at the club are honestly trying to build bridges with supporter groups, his article is a disgrace, pitting him wholeheartedly against the mainstream view amongst not only our fans but most of Scotland.
The central thrust of it is that the SNP should have let their fans inside Ibrox and that the Scottish Government should have changed its suppression policy, and risked everything its spent months doing, to give the Peepul their day. In part, it’s an argument against the lockdown extension in Glasgow, although that made no difference to the decision.
Even if that were all that Wilson were arguing, the piece would have been ridiculous because it supposes that the strategy we should be following is the one that the government in London is already talking about drastically changing as cases of the Indian Variant continue to climb rapidly.
He talks wistfully about how English grounds already have fans in them; my money is on that country being back in lockdown within weeks, an entire winter of work undone.
This Indian Variant is already here.
It’s already increasing transmission.
The article is another in a long, boring line of increasingly desperate attacks on Scottish Government policy, because he suffers from an ancient affliction common to many in the Labour Party up here; an irrational hatred for the SNP that has echoes in the hatred we saw for Catholics in George Square last weekend.
I’ve seen it often enough that it’s easily recognisable.
When Wilson argues for the lifting of restrictions in the interests of business, he sounds an awful lot like a Tory.
When he argues that football fans should have gotten special treatment whilst the rest of this country was still banned from having a beer in the pub it sounds insulting.
He has suggested that the only options the government had were to break the rules for them or accept that they would break the rules; what a stupid argument to make, and it’s one that would be wholly unacceptable to the vast majority of the public.
There were clearly things that should have been done here, but Wilson’s contention that the party was happening anyway and that the SNP made the wrong choice as to where it took place reveals him to be a coward who’d rather accept mob rule than take a tough stand. It seems pretty clear that had the police wanted to enforce the law in a way that prevented those scenes that they could have done so.
Lastly, the Scottish Government has a far better grasp on the mentality at play here than Wilson appears to, which is quite incredible considering the club he’s “served” for such a long time.
He argues, first, that the SNP would have faced those choices whoever won the league; what a disgraceful suggestion, totally at odds with the facts. We celebrated the Treble and Quadruple Trebles whilst in lockdown without violations of the law or demands for special treatment.
The Scottish Government blasted back at Ibrox’s “suggestion” with a well worded response.
They understood that giving the fans Ibrox would have encouraged even stupider scenes in the environs of the stadium and, in all likelihood, would have done nothing whatsoever to prevent a later gathering at George Square anyway.
Wilson’s argument is the argument of the simple-minded fool; it’s appeasement doomed to failure because its starting premise is to confirm to the Peepul that they are special and befitting of special status, and once you do that they believe they have license to do whatever they please.
Those scenes would have happened anyway, and once the Scottish Government had very publicly granted them an exemption the anger amongst our support would have been several multiples of what it was. Wilson may think that would have suited his purposes.
But tonight he is the one arguing on the side of Ibrox, and the mainstream press as a whole might have ignored it, but at least one Ibrox site has already praised his piece as “common sense” because it basically repeated his board’s preposterous argument of the other day.
Wilson’s constant attacks on the Scottish Government already risk poisoning our club’s working relationship with them, and that’s bad enough … but he’s arguing for Ibrox exceptionalism here whether he knows it or not, and his lending credence to the “two heads” nonsense makes him manifestly unfit to hold a senior position at Celtic Park.