Yesterday, I heard one of the funniest things I’ve heard in quite some time, except that it was not one of those things that is supposed to be amusing. It was a senior official in the Met excusing the decision not to investigate the alleged Downing Street Christmas Party of last year by saying they do not engage in “retrospective investigations.”
Eah, what? What other kind is there?
Does the Met have a Thought Crime department? A Pre-Cog unit immersed in bath water somewhere? A team of officers just sitting around drinking tea, waiting for red ball? Do they investigate crimes before they take place?
The comments are so ridiculous that they drew immediate fire on social media and in the press down south. So much so that a “clarification” was quickly issued, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense either.
So determined does the Met appear to be to avoid looking into this, attempts are now being made to bounce them; MP’s and others have written to the Police Complaints Commission asking if the cops stationed outside Downing Street facilitated the law-breaking.
And so a story that was already bad to start with grows and grows and now risks momentous collateral damage. You know what? That’s all to the good. This should be investigated fully.
It’s a scandalous series of events, and it needs to be taken more seriously than it is.
Still, you have to give the Met credit for what, on the surface, is something of a novel argument.
Except that it really isn’t. Because we’ve heard it before.
Celtic fans will be all too familiar with this phony-baloney guff because it is precisely the same argument the SFA used in the Lord Nimmo Smith case when Sandy Bryson was put in front of the judge and asked to explain why the governing body wasn’t asking for title stripping. His excuse – which will forever shame the organisation – was that retrospective punishment was impossible.
The contracts were thought to have been valid and information received after the fact doesn’t make any difference. Because the SFA did not know a fraud was taking place at the time, they had no remit to investigate it even when they found out that it had.
Which is a laughable assertion, and made even worse because, of course, Campbell Ogilvie, who was the SFA President at the time, actually had known about the EBT’s and presumably that there was some concealment of the documents, but had “recused himself” and the SFA decided that meant he couldn’t even be questioned about it.
It’s like saying “we think this guy was involved in the crime and because of that we don’t think it would be proper to question him about it.” It is not illogical as much as it’s corrupt.
And this, of course, is what we put up with as Celtic fans.
This is what our club allowed to go essentially unanswered.
It’s one of the things the Five Way Agreement conceals, as it came with its own side letter that guaranteed to Charles Green that no title stripping would take place.
All that was left for the SFA to do was manufacture a “justification.”
And that’s the one they came up. “We didn’t know it was happening, so as far as we’re concerned it didn’t happen. Or at least, we admit that it did but nothing can be done about it”
The Scottish media swallowed that. Lord Nimmo Smith swallowed that. Celtic, the club, swallowed that. Which is one of the reasons so many lies and deceptions lie at the heart of Scottish football today. In any other country, that would have ended up in front of CAS who would have laughed that excuse out the door. But we didn’t take it there.
What we allowed instead was the creation of The Cheats Charter.
Do as you like, just don’t get caught at the time. If you can escape detection for a while there’s literally nothing anyone can do about it; it’s as if there were a statute of limitations on match fixing.
It’s been eight years now since that notorious verdict was handed down, in February 2013.
Our club’s weak – virtually non-existent might be a better way to put it – response to that verdict is as big a stain on us now as it was then.
It is one of the many things that those who sit at the top of Celtic should have to answer for one day.