Listen, I am aware that this, for some folk, will not be a nice time for this subject, but I’m also aware that there’s a tradition that we don’t speak ill of the dead.
Andy Goram is still with us.
So is it permissible to tell the truth, right now, and refute some of the garbage in the media lately without being accused of dancing on a grave? There’s no grave yet. Nor is this kicking someone when they are down.
I didn’t choose the timing of this article; Goram and the press did.
I don’t mind people lying to themselves and others around them.
I do mind re-writing history which is in the public domain, and especially on the sticky subject of sectarianism.
We already had to swallow a bucket-load of this garbage when Bell passed away recently, and I wrote about that at the time. I cannot stomach another helping of it, especially when the facts are widely known and publicly available.
Goram is in the papers today talking about how he has “no regrets” over his failed marriages; well, of course not.
Remember what Rust Cohle tells Marty Hart in True Detective?
“People incapable of guilt usually do have a good time.”
Goram certainly did that, at the expense of his partners and just about every other person he ever came into contact with.
The Record would prefer to pretend he was just “unlucky in love”, but in fact Goram treated his wives and assorted other women like shit, and that’s the unvarnished truth of it. He was out for himself, always, and all he’s doing now is serving his own interests and trying to leave behind a reputation that isn’t mired in squalor.
The Record is more than happy to have him tidy his reputation up, and for the most part they are welcome to do so if they wish, and pile insult on top of injury for those who know Goram left wreckage in his wake.
But where I draw the line, the chapter that interests me most, is the one where he defended his “friends” in the north of Ireland whilst denying that he is a bigot.
I found it a fascinating insight into his character, and it kind of made me think of Boris Johnson, another serial liar and womaniser incapable of guilt. Johnson does this as well, repeatedly, using the media and his assorted acolytes to rewrite history on a never ending loop.
My problem with all this, my problem with the Bell thing and now the Goram thing, is that a national newspaper is pretending not to know who this guy really is. It’s pretending not to recognise that we’re talking here about someone who has consorted with some of the vilest people on the planet, and who feels very comfortable in those circles.
We’re pretending not to know that when he says he only met Billy Wright once, on a plane, that it’s not even a particularly veiled nod and wink to the wise. Goram has long used the same pitiful excuse for the black armband; we’re not all as stupid as he seems to think we are, and those in the national press who know some of the stories which are in circulation without being in the public domain are well aware that this whitewashing treats us like mugs.
We know why Goram feels comfortable in the warm embrace of the support from the North of Ireland, and to be honest I’m not sure what purpose the fig leaf serves any longer. A man in his position has nothing to fear from wearing every one of this prejudices and rancid opinions out on his sleeve, except the prospect of fewer people at his funeral.
Our press does not take the issue of sectarianism seriously. It’s quite evident that they refuse to deal with it on the level that it deserves, and so of course they would rather help rehabilitate the reputation of a bigot – even if that means wilfully spreading a distorted version of events – than call him one and deal with it on that level.
This article wouldn’t be necessary if this guy wasn’t using this moment to rewrite his personal history and if the media wasn’t helping him do it.
If he was in the papers expressing contrition and regret for some of the things he’s done, the choices he’s made and opinions he’s held and the quasi-legitimacy he’s conferred on some truly despicable people by being their buddy, then that would be worthy of a full scale re-evaluation of the man and his character, but he isn’t doing any of that.
I find it distasteful to have to write a piece like this, but I remind myself that if Goram was fit and well and talking this same crap that I wouldn’t even hesitate to put my thoughts on it down, and especially if the media was playing its usual dumb role in it.
At the end of my article “Scottish Football And The Truth That Dare Not Speak Its Name” I wrote the following;
“Scottish football is like a tiny town where everyone knows everyone else intimately. And the wife beaters sit and drink with the preachers. And the fraudsters sit down with the bank managers. And the guy who murdered his former wife sits and sups beer with the school mistress. And the barman keeps on pouring for the not-yet-acknowledged alcoholics and tells them they earned a drink after a long hard day. And the wheel keeps on turning because although everybody knows nobody ever says it outright and although nothing is a secret everyone acts as though there are no secrets to tell. A town where the word community means that everyone lives in blissful ignorance, although nobody is ignorant of anything. A town where if you never acknowledge it, maybe it didn’t happen at all.”
Well, I refuse to live there, and I refuse to play that game.
If the Scottish media wants to play a role in rehabilitating every person who ever waded up to his knees in fenian blood that’s up to them, but the rest of us should be vocal in telling them where to shove it.