Back in 2009, the United States CDC discovered that a brand new virus, which had started in Mexico, had spread to California and Texas. It was a variant strain of swine flu, and it had leaped into people and was already spreading. Obama took it very seriously.
But Obama wasn’t the only person in the decision making process, and even a Presidential order could not force states to do the things they had to do in order to contain the virus.
In the end, it proved to be a mild disease; just over 12,000 Americans died of it. The right had a field day, accusing the federal government of a gross over-reaction. Lessons were learned, or so people thought, but all the wrong ones.
But what people tend to forget is the staggering number who’d been infected; between forty and eighty million. One virus expert, when asked if the country, and the world, had “dodged the bullet” said no, but that nature had been firing a BB gun.
Obama officials were not amongst those comforted by the modest number of casualties. “An idea has gained currency in the White House,” he said, “that we will be extraordinarily lucky … It will not have been because of the quality of the response. All the prerequisites of failure were in place.”
In other words, had the bug been more virulent and dangerous the death toll would have been immense, because at various levels of government they had made a real mess of things.
Another virologist was later to use a frighteningly good analogy for how some people leaped on the low death toll in the 2009 outbreak. He used the example of someone who looks down at their phone whilst driving, veers off the road onto the hard shoulder, realises what they’ve done, corrects their driving and carries on as before.
He argued that perhaps it would be better if that person had actually had an accident otherwise “the lessons aren’t as strong or defined.”
He wondered that if you did that and avoided the accident, what would you really take from the experience? What would you actually learn? If, as he says, you’d hit a mailbox or a tree or a barrier and damaged your car that might teach you a lesson strong enough to dissuade you from doing it again. Hit a person, on the other hand, and you might never get behind the wheel of a car again far less take out your phone and use it whilst driving.
But, and this is the critical point, “In all cases though, the lesson is the same.”
You understand? The lesson is the same. Don’t do that shit.
The only thing different is the severity of the lesson, and that arises from the severity of the consequences. Somehow, a lot of the time, people just don’t make that leap of logic.
The SPFL hasn’t made that leap, and nor have some in our media or even at Celtic Park, and no matter how many times this website and others warn them about it they are completely incapable of seeing what it is that we so clearly can.
Let me remind you what the consequences of 2009 were.
The COVID pandemic, which hit in 2019 has, to date, killed more than 1 million Americans, 186,000 Britons and 6.43 million worldwide.
That was the bullet that missed ten years before.
But because swine flu wasn’t consequential, most state and local governments in the US refused to take COVID seriously, and refused to enact the plans that some had tried to enact for swine flu.
An over-reaction? They eventually stopped that death toll being even higher.
Just last month, the SPFL announced that they and cinch had reached an agreement which would let Ibrox escape its responsibilities for that sponsorship deal. The governing body had made sure that other clubs wouldn’t lose money from it. They gave cinch something in return, and then tried to paint this as a victory. A victory without significant costs.
And that’s part of the problem, this public perception that Ibrox’s war with them didn’t really hurt anybody, that everything was okay in the end because the governing body was able to limit the damage and that the clubs didn’t feel the sting at all.
Maybe it would be better if they had. Maybe this one needed to wind up hurting a little, because maybe then people would have grasped how serious what Ibrox did here actually was. People would have understood the enormous harm their war with the SPFL – a war that’s not over by any stretch of the imagination – might yet do.
For some, the point of crisis might actually have come.
The point where they can no longer live in denial of how bad this is or how bad it might be. The SPFL TV deal is coming up for a vote, and Ibrox is letting it be known that it might not vote to accept it.
That, in itself, would not precipitate the crisis … they would need to win the support of one other club. But Ibrox has had such support for its madcap schemes at least once before and there are those in other director’s boxes with acute Ibrox sympathies.
One star-struck fool operates the controls at Hibs; he thinks they’ve shown great leadership and done more to promote the game here and its best interests than any other side. Imagine where he might follow if Ibrox leads? There are twelve clubs in this league, and they only need one other vote. They might well get it, and then what?
Don’t get me wrong, I want to see this deal rejected. But if it’s rejected simply because Ibrox wants to make trouble for the SPFL leadership – in short, obstruction for its own sake – then how will the rest of the clubs feel about it, especially if they’ve genuinely been swayed by Doncaster and can see things from his point of view?
What will the outcome for Doncaster be? He has stuck his neck out for this, and if he fails to get it through then what? Ibrox will certainly call for his head. Maybe other clubs will come to the conclusion that as long as he is at war with that club and that club is determined to be rid of him that it was better for the game to sacrifice one man to bring the hostilities to an end.
The alternative would be standing up to Ibrox.
But on the basis of what, in this case?
All they would have done is vote down a proposal the media thinks is lunacy and which most of the fans believe to be utterly illogical and potentially even corrupt.
Ibrox could bring Doncaster to the brink and present it as a principled stance and have a lot of people on their side.
But this is the stupidity of the governing body giving in to them on the cinch deal; it emboldens Ibrox to oppose everything that comes up. It gives them the confidence to think that because the SPFL backed down here that they are weak and can be bullied.
What if this deal is the right one for the game?
What if there’s some piece of information not in the public domain or simply misunderstood by the majority of fans, but which the clubs are aware of, and that Ibrox’s belligerence annihilates anyway?
Furthermore, even if the deal is as rancid as many of us think it is, what does it do the negotiating position of the SPFL board for future sponsorship deals if a high profile piece of business such as this is blown of course by a highly personalised agenda pursued by the second biggest club in the game? How credible will future negotiations even be?
The very fact that Ibrox is leaking to the press that it might vote against this is damaging in and of itself.
And they are doing that primarily to cause trouble, because if they were hoping to build genuine opposition to it as a bad piece of business they would announce their intentions publicly and try to rally support behind their view … as this site and others have urged Celtic to do many times, on many different fronts before now.
But Ibrox isn’t prepared to take that step, which is how you know that any opposition they do present to the deal at a later date is nothing to do with believing it to be a bad move from a commercial perspective, but that they see some value in using it to cause the SPFL executive even more problems. This, we all know, is their true intent.
I actually believe that this one needs to hurt.
There has to be a negative effect, not just negative publicity and PR. This has to be a moment of genuine consequences, because only when there are genuine consequences will anyone care enough to act.
We have dodged the bullet so far.
But Ibrox keeps loading the gun and firing more. Does one need to hit this game before we get it? The more they are appeased the more they ramp up the pressure. Does it need to hurt before that sinks in.
The lesson is the same. Don’t do that shit. Sooner or later this policy of giving them what they want and refusing to punish them for their aggression will have dire consequences.
It is a matter of fact, and a matter of time.