There isn’t a single person who knows me who does not know what my views are on the handful of people who have been found guilty of abuse in the Celtic Boys Club case. There isn’t a single person who knows me who isn’t aware that I think certain people should be languishing in prison alongside them. Enablers, you might call them.
I wrote an article on this site last year, or the year before, on Celtic’s moral responsibility, and the need for us to come to a settlement that respected the confirmed victims and gave them due regard.
But I’ve also said that since this entire matter is in the hands of the legal profession, it is better not to comment too much whilst that process is ongoing. It is a great shame – in fact, I’d go as far as to call it an unpardonable disgrace – that others are not quite as willing to let the law be the ultimate arbitrator here.
A couple of weeks ago, the solicitors in this case started a podcast on it.
I heard that and my jaw dropped.
I thought the idea was ghoulish; it is exploitative, inflammatory, a manipulation of the legal process and prejudicial in a way that in another context would have the entire case thrown out of court.
It is designed to assure that Celtic does not get a fair hearing.
And bear in mind that only one side of this legal dispute is fighting its corner in this way; Celtic doesn’t utter a word on this.
Our silence is not, as some have chosen to frame it, out of embarrassment or shame or whatever … but this is an extremely serious matter here and one that is in the hands of the courts … it would be wrong in every way for us to publicly comment on every allegation made and on every development.
Patrick McGuire appeared on his grotesque podcast this weekend to tell the listening audience that taking on the case was and is “the right thing to do.”
Well, all those who care about justice should also be grateful that as a personal injury lawyer it just so happened to be the potentially lucrative thing to do as well, because, of course, without a multi-million-pound organisation to go after, then justice notwithstanding, they might well not have been inclined to care let alone try.
They are a “no-win no-fee” firm and so once committed to the battle they have to do everything they can to make sure that this is a profitable endeavour. It is tempting to suggest that for them this is only really about money, nothing more or less than that.
In America these guys would be called ambulance chasers; if they are uncomfortable with that label, or with people supposing that their motives may not be the purest, maybe they shouldn’t resort to ambulance chaser tactics in the way they have from the start.
A good legal case, a good sound case rooted in the law, shouldn’t need to be fought in the media. You shouldn’t need a podcast to promote what it is you’re doing. The facts ought to be strong enough to speak for themselves.
But from the off, this thing has been waged in the press as much as in the courtroom, with the objective apparently to shame Celtic into coming to the table and throwing money down on it.
And along the way they’ve drawn supporters and admirers, and they might not care what those supporters want or what their motivations are but the taint of those people is all over this. If their podcast is trending it’s because the vilest people in Scotland out-with the perpetrators of the abuse are all over it, and they are revelling in it.
These people are not in the least bit interested in justice; they are the bigots and the haters freely feeding on the detritus of the Ibrox fan forum floors. They don’t care what Celtic did or didn’t do, or knew or didn’t know, they hate our club and they cling to the perverse fantasy that this affair will destroy it as utterly as the use of EBT’s destroyed theirs.
All this podcast does is gives them something new to gorge on.
It feeds their hatred. It provides a rationalisation for the deep loathing which already courses through their veins. It justifies their every base impulse about us. Look how so many of them draw automatic parallels between the scandals in the Catholic Church and the one at the Boys Club; this is a sectarian mind-set being spoon-fed whether the lawyers care or not.
This does not advance the legal case one bit.
It lets rubberneckers and ghouls revel in their own debased bigotry.
It confirms the bulk of its “audience” to be the sort of people who would peer into the twisted metal of a car-wreck hoping to see a victim.
If Thompson’s think this is a legitimate tactic, or one that can benefit their case, I would suggest they’ve lost the plot.
But really, all involved in “prosecuting” Celtic via this type of content should spare us the pious chatter and the talk of caring only about “justice.” There are other things at stake for them.
Those who are pushing it to the top of the podcast charts are very open about what motivates them to try. I would suggest that almost none of them have the victims as their primary consideration.
Honestly, the whole tone of this debate reeks.
This is a serious issue, with real people at its heart, and turning it into this grotesque public spectacle is disgusting.