GB News, Sevco, Its Fans And Their Growing Abandonment Of Reality.

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If you accept, as a growing number of people do, that we are living in a dangerous age, then you have to try and trace it back to the moment where millions first realised we were in real trouble, the point where the steady seep of poison into the public discourse stopped and the enemies of truth plugged in a pressure hose and started using that instead.

It came on 22 January 2017 when Kellyanne Conway, counsellor to the President, went on Meet The Press and defended Sean Spicer’s lies over the size of Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd as the presentation of “alternative facts.”

That was the world’s “through the looking glass moment”, because although we’ve had demagogues and barefaced liars in politics before, all the way back to the Greeks and the Romans, this was such a brazen statement to make in a mainstream media setting that it took your breath away. This was a Trump spokesperson openly advertising their intention to deal in lies and disinformation and daring the media, “You tell your story and we’ll tell ours.”

It was a dangerous moment not because the media allowed it to go unreported or un-condemned, but because by then many tens of millions of Americans were no longer paying a blind bit of notice to what the mainstream press reported.

They had turned their backs entirely on fact-led thinking.

They had descended instead into a half-lit world of toxic myths and dark conspiracy theories, some of them so out-there and lunatic that their details are literally stunning to thinking people who are exposed to them for the first time.

They were ready to hear whatever “alternative facts” Trump and those around him wanted to push. The consequences of that became most brutally apparent on 6 January this year with the storming of the Capitol.

Everyone who reads this blog saw it all coming; maybe not the man, but certainly the rise of someone like him. We foresaw the politics he espoused and the manner he went about it. We saw first-hand the poison of alternative facts, the embrace of unreality, the feeding of lies into the public discourse. Their legitimisation by some of the media.

It didn’t take special skills. We saw it happen in real-time, from 2012 onwards. We saw how the Ibrox fan base and their MSM cheerleaders reinvented history, how they chose what they would believe and what they wouldn’t and how they’ve tried, ever since, to reconcile what they know actually happened with what they tell themselves.

Ibrox’s fan-base has always been a little like this.

Immersed, for years, in right-wing ideology in the form of Loyalism and British imperialist sentiment, they’ve been ripe for every kind of gutter politics and it’s all been given expression in their stands. Right wing politics is not new to them … but this descent into the lunacy of conspiracy theories and victimhood is a more modern phenomenon.

Their penchant for denying reality goes back more than a decade.

They paid no heed to warnings about their finances when Murray was running up debts, and a lot of us were telling them that they were in deadly peril from around 2008. They rabidly turned on Lloyds when that bank had the temerity to ask for their money back.

That turned out not to have been one of their better ideas; Lloyds were determined to get shot of them and pressured Murray to put the club up for sale. And that beget Craig Whyte, who they hailed as a billionaire just because one desperate pliable hack said he was, and they ignored everyone who said otherwise. Which had consequences too, of course.

Everyone who tried to warn them about Whyte was dismissed.

When the BBC uncovered devastating details about his background, Ibrox’s supporters didn’t picket their ground to have him removed … they picketed the broadcaster for telling them the truth.

When Rangers went out of business and Sevco crawled up from the grave their stunned supporters basically had two choices; accept what had happened and learn the lessons of that time, or find some way to deny the truth of it. Charles Green didn’t make that choice for them; he presented them with a wholly fictitious narrative and they swallowed it.

I’ve been saying for years that the Victim and Survival lies are not minor matters; they are grotesque and dangerous. The media’s embrace of these fictions has given them a legitimacy which makes them even more harmful and this is not some piece of distant history with no resonance in the present day; those lies are everywhere around us, and so are their costs.

The idea that “Rangers” survived an attempt by Scottish football to put them out of business toxifies all the discourse involving our game and it allows the Ibrox club simultaneously to plead victimhood even as they act like the most despicable bullies.

Those lies are at the very centre of the stand-off between Ibrox and the SPFL over the sponsorship deal.

The belief that they owe the rest of the game nothing and that the rest of the teams in it can go to Hell for the events of 2012 is at the very core of their present behaviour. It drives their sense of grievance and their thirst for the vendetta.

One of their directors actually telegraphed this over the summer, with his dark threat of “scores to settle on and off the pitch.”

Their club more and more has come to resemble the Republican Party, long on the brink of madness and now lost in the grip of the destructive “stolen election” lie, a horrific falsehood with the power to rip the most powerful country on earth in two.

Yet even those who know it’s a transparent fiction won’t call it that.

Some of them embrace it as a means to an end, but the only place it leads is somewhere sane people shouldn’t want to go. 6 January 2021 was not some aberration; it was the natural destination of the journey that started with Kellyanne Conway on 27 January 2017.

Other, grimmer, destinations lie down the road ahead.

Here, the Survival and Victim Lies have already led to the riot in George Square.

Now the league stands on the edge of an £8 million black hole because Ibrox’s sense of misplaced grievance and embrace of paranoia and conspiracy has them looking for fights where none need to be.

Their club is engaging in open acts of sabotage against the whole of the game.

And the fans love that. They see it as “fighting back.”

Against what?

Against their own fantasy creation, against the lie first promoted by a blatant charlatan who openly boasted about his intentions for them when he talked about how his “big Yorkshire hands” were made for grabbing money.

Why wasn’t it obvious to them that the money he was talking about was theirs?

They embraced Green as “one of their own” because he gave them something to work with in their effort to process the death of their club.

Two convenient fantasises for the price of one.

It was always apparent that to sell the lie that Rangers had “survived” it was necessary to explain their place in the lower tier, and because Green offered them a story that “fit” they put the blinkers on about everything else that came out of his mouth, some of it so obviously bat-shit that we still marvel at it today.

This led to crisis, which led to crisis, which led to crisis and finally to King, who surfed in and out of the club on a tide of bullshit. Tell them that they are sitting on a volcano of financial problems and they act as if you are out of your mind. The “55” lie is so all-encompassing that they never stop to ask themselves how much it cost … or who’ll end up paying the bill.

They live in their own reality. They choose their alternative facts.

The club itself has become, like Trump’s Republican Party, hyper-aggressive and confrontational. It has assumed a similar hatred of the press, and the view that they are “the enemy.”

That, and the need for money, wherever they can get it, is what’s at the heart of their charging outlets £25,000 a pop for access. It is a blatant attempt at controlling the media through intimidation, and shamefully some of the outlets – like STV – have paid up.

But they’re also extending these charges to their own supporters … they don’t even trust the people in their own camp. This is one of the hallmarks of a true fascistic outlook; a paranoia that extends in every direction, even inward towards the centre.

This isn’t helped, of course, by the club’s incredible decision to go shopping for a head of PR and Media in the swamp of Loyalist politics. The appointment of a former DUP councillor was a catch-your-breath moment for everyone hearing about it for the first time. It is impossible to imagine any other organisation is Scotland making such a retrograde choice.

The club’s descent into manic moon-howling was summed up last year when they attacked the SPFL over “the Dundee vote”, a cynical attempt to use the pandemic for their own ends which ended in the embarrassment of the “dodgy dossier”, in spite of media efforts from some of their most sycophantic cheer-leaders to turn it into something substantial.

That was a full-on conspiracy theory, given legs by a media which was determined to find a story where none existed. Nobody in the press corps seems to have thought that it might do long-term damage. Well, 12 months on, another fight with the same body, over another piece of utter nonsense, has the game poised to lose a critical sponsorship package after the deal was already signed.

Cause and effect. Cause and effect.

Ibrox throws its weight around, the damage is done, everyone else pays the bill. The media laughs off or excuses one incredible action and that in turn feeds the mind-set that leads to the next one.

Police Scotland faced the same thing in George Square.

Their tolerance of one offence led to another and that led to another and that led to another until finally the escalator got all the way to the top and you had violent yobs turning on them and fighting pitched battles in the street. The club offered a few empty words, a token slap-down, and buried it under layers of slavish praise for its Peepul.

In the aftermath, it looked as if Civic Scotland had finally woken up to the Trumpian nightmare on its own doorstep. Condemnation rained down on them. The racism and violence and lawlessness of that day appeared to have driven Scotland towards a reckoning.

Yet the Peepul have ever had one undeniable skill; the ability to morph from one grotesque form into an even more hellish one.

As The Billy Boys gave way to The Famine Song, so the Victim Lie has been extended to cover everything about the external world which comes into conflict with their own skewed reality. Now George Square isn’t the fault of the psychopathic neds and self-entitled lunatics of the Ibrox stands; it’s the fault of the SNP.

No less than a member of the Scottish Parliament gave voice to this madness earlier this week, penning a despicable article full of half-truths and outright falsehoods, stuff even the writer was fully aware had no basis in fact at all.

Posing the “question” as to whether the Scottish Government had a “Rangers problem” it was the sort of psych-ward bar rattling you would ordinarily have expected to find on one of the more deranged “forums” or “fan sites”, those ones where the most read pieces are the ones on child abuse and where all manner of deranged ideas are discussed and nurtured.

The reaction, on those forums, to the publication of that dirge was almost universal celebration. At last someone was presenting “the truth.” Or alternative facts, anyway.

Today, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain has said that he heard it was actually written by one of Sevco’s in-house PR pitbulls.

Either way, it reached the desired audience even if everyone else was aghast.

And this led, last night, to the apex moment of derangement; an interview with a prominent Ibrox goon on the right-wing television station GB News, known for its embrace of bigots like Farage and notorious, already, for its cheap production values, evolving series of disasters and its even cheaper level of “debate.”

This is a channel for the moon-howlers, the British Trumpers, the climate change deniers, the illiberal right, a TV “news” station designed to ape Fox, that bastion of “truth”, which its founders said was set up to protect “free speech” and which has already gotten rid of a presenter because he dared to exercise it when it wasn’t to the “audience’s” taste.

Those who thought that it might present a clear and present danger to the nation have largely been dissuaded of that fear; the only people in imminent danger are those in the audience who watch it whilst operating heavy machinery.

The Heart in Hand Podcast, from which the presenters plucked their interviewee – the “Famine Song” defender David Edgar – is an “official media partner” of the club itself, which means more than that they paid the £25,000. He an “insider” and last night he went onto a sham of a news channel to be interviewed on why the government is conspiring against his football team.

Even their audience must have wondered what in the Hell this segment was about, squeezed as it was between one on church congregations and another on why money is over-shadowing the love of cricket. And of course, it was a shit-show.

Edgar’s camera froze halfway through his rambling nonsense about flying Union Jacks and being “the quintessentially British club.” Viewers – those who hadn’t yet gouged out their eyes – were treated to the sight of a bug-eyed loon, frozen onscreen, whilst his voice continued to drone on with the worst kind of nonsense. The presenter had questions he never got to ask, apologised for that and then was, himself, cut off in mid-sentence by the adverts.

The spectacle was ghastly, and humiliating for those Ibrox supporters who aren’t wired to the moon, many of whom called out the podcast as being tainted by association with a news station which fired a presenter for taking the knee just days after their club captain had to beg fans to be understanding about why he and the players would be doing the same.

At most other clubs, the idea that a black footballer would have to make such an appeal is unthinkable. At Ibrox, fan pressure had already been brought to bear to have it abandoned … because a segment of their support has branded it “Marxist” and even racist, under the “all lives matter” guise, a flag flown by bigots in the States like David Duke of the Klu Klux Klan.

It’s all part of the same expanding blob, all part of the same incredible mess, which is Ibrox’s growing association with the fantasy dwelling, truth-denying, lie spreading, political right. For a club which is trying to sell itself as outward looking, the truth is that it is wrapping itself ever tighter into a toxic cocoon which doesn’t even acknowledge the real world.

There was a time when a club at Ibrox wouldn’t have entertained any of this lunacy. Bigotry, yes, and the latent anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sentiment which washed through the stands, but not this kind of mind-bending psychosis.

But then, there used to be a Republican Party which was patriotic, fiscally conservative, profoundly realistic in its thinking, the guardian of rules and regulations and checks and balances, grounded and centred and America was better off for that.

The descent into madness will not be easily reversed.

At Ibrox it never will be.

You get the feeling that we’re only at the start of this … where it leads I do not know, but if they keep on telling their followers that the world hates them, that the Scottish Government and the SPFL are the enemy, that the media lies to them and can’t be trusted … well, then the protests will follow and the riots after that.

If the rest of Scotland isn’t yet fully awake to that, look to the last week.

George Square was only a warning as to where this might be headed next.

What a dark road that club is on, and the rest of this game either starts putting up guardrails or we all brace for impact.

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