Across the world, one thing terrorises the dictator, the cheat, the liar, the corrupt and the violent like nothing else; the widespread use of video. Citizens with their own hand-held little cameras, capturing everything.
From the invention of the camcorder, this stuff has been making shockwaves all across the world. From the cops who beat Rodney King to the Luis Rubiales kiss … if it’s on camera you are essentially bang to rights.
Video footage has brought down cabinet ministers; look at Matt Hancock, who presided over a shambolic COVID response and wasn’t fired for that. It was CCTV footage of him having it off with one of his staff, violating lockdown regulations in the process which did for him.
It has annihilated careers. Mason Greenwood is trying to put his back together, and unfortunately may even succeed, after his girlfriend posted a video so shocking I could only read the transcript of it. One of the best examples of it was the notorious interview a broadcaster did with the jewellery store magnate Gerald Ratner, who torpedoed his business by telling the presenter that all he sold was cheap tat and that his customers were mugs.
It has sent people to prison.
Watch the outstanding documentary The Jinx, about Robert Durst, a man who was suspected of three murders, one of which he had gone on trial for. Watch the end of the episode where he talks to himself when he thinks the camera is switched off, as he rehearses his answers, both those he gave during his sensational acquittal for murder and during the investigation into the disappearance of his wife, where he repeats aloud, “I did not knowingly, willingly, purposefully lie,” in such a way that you know that’s what he did do. “I didn’t tell the whole truth. Nobody tells the whole truth,” he says, even after his lawyer spots the green light and tells him that the entire exchange is being recorded.
That six-part documentary series single-handedly let to his being charged, and convicted, of one of the two murders with which he was only a suspect. That’s the power of film.
That’s why Durst’s lawyers begged him not to do an interview on tape or even to take part in the documentary at all.
There are things that have been captured on film which are unbelievable to behold. Unbelievable.
Some are incredible moments of accomplishment; others are almost incomprehensibly horrible. One of the terrors of the current age is the growing ability to make “deep fake” video; if you are used to trusting what you see on film there’s no telling what some people are going to be made to believe with the use of that technology.
What we saw last night at Ibrox was not some deep fake, unless you’re referring to the personnel and not to the tech. It happened and we all saw it happen. There is not the slightest doubt about what unfolded in front of our eyes.
I have not heard a single person dispute it. Even the Usual Suspects in the media and, every former ref, is rushing to tell us what was evident to every person watching; that Sima committed a foul on a Livingston player before his goal.
It is the textbook “bang to rights” moment. And yet there are at least four people – the ref, the linesman and the two guys in the VAR booth – who disagreed with what everyone else seems to know.
If even one of them had dissented that’s probably not a goal.
So how exactly do four people, and crucially the only four people able to influence the event, take an entirely different view from those who watched it live or have seen it since?
They must be the amongst the only people in Scotland who see it differently, and because two of them had the benefit of the instant replay and the chance to watch it multiple times and from different angles, what are we supposed to conclude other than that they made a conscious choice to give that goal regardless of the regulations?
Is it a coincidence that this came just weeks after the Ibrox club complained about a goal which was chopped off in front of the home crowd against Celtic?
We all know that’s not a coincidence. We all know that’s why the goal last night was allowed to stand. To expect us to believe anything else treats us like absolute fools. We know what we saw with our own eyes. We recognise it for exactly what it was. And the very people whose job was simply to uphold the rules took a different view than everyone else.
That they got it badly, badly wrong is not in the least doubt. So, the only question that remains is how exactly did that happen?
Was it simply a wrong call? From all of them?
That would be a stretch even if two of them weren’t able to watch it again to get it right. So, if we accept that it wasn’t simply a momentary wrong judgement then what exactly was it?
When does our media grow some balls and start to challenge this?
It’s like the “statistical anomaly” with the Ibrox club not conceding a penalty in a league game for more than 50 games now. A whole season and a half has elapsed since the last one … and there was such an outcry of bitterness and anger from their club over that decision too.
I read Martindale’s response last night and found it astonishingly weak. His club chairman was no more forceful on Twitter, bemoaning that his club has to “suffer in silence.”
Well, he’s not the only one who feels that. Celtic does it too, and way too often.
But why are we suffering in silence? Why are we suffering at all for God’s sake?
When cabinet careers have been ended and people sent to trial for what’s been caught on camera, are we really supposed to live in an environment where people aren’t allowed to react to what is either staggering incompetence or gross cheating when it’s being broadcast right into our living rooms?
Because that decision either boils down to one or the other of those things, and yet I got an email alert this morning telling me that Collum will referee our game at the weekend.
He should be refereeing in the Lowland League on the basis of that decision last night, and the other officials involved in upholding it should be there with him.
If a player commits a foul the SFA sanctions him with a yellow.
If it’s bad enough he’s sanctioned with a red.
Free kicks and penalties are awarded in addition to those sanctions.
Some of those decisions cost people their jobs.
What does it cost a referee who gets one of them wrong?
In Scotland, nothing. That does two things; it allows standards to drop and it allows for cheating to occur. One or the other led to that call last night, and even if you don’t think we’re entitled to know which it is, we’re certainly entitled to think that the officials responsible will have to face some consequences for it.
The clubs go round and round on this all the time, and some of them even repeat this garbage about “that’s what you expect when you go to Glasgow. “
Even if that were true, to simply take it, like a guy visiting a vice den for his weekly whipping, makes you a mug and tells your fans that you want an easy life as opposed to fighting for equal treatment on the club’s behalf, and then you’re in the wrong game.
People talk about this stuff as thought the SFA were some metaphysical force which was essentially unchallengeable; the SFA is the clubs, made up from within the clubs themselves, nominated to run the game at the behest of the clubs and if the clubs want to change the way it works there then they only have to commit to that cause.
Otherwise, they deserve everything they get.
Suffering in silence is for wimps and for fools, it’s for people who are content to bend over. It’s for those who can’t muster the will to fight, and so they have to take whatever’s coming to them.
It does not matter what you believe; you can believe that our officials are potentially corrupt or you can view it as rank incompetence, but either way, anybody who doesn’t want to be part of the solution is part of the problem because that’s why we’re stuck on this roundabout. That’s why we’re stuck with this situation and why it never ever changes.
Last night it wasn’t Sima who was caught, on camera, bang-to-rights, it was Collum and his fellow SFA brethren.
That’s the real story here.
Everyone saw what happened and what happened isn’t just the foul it’s that they ignored the foul, it’s that they allowed it, even with the technology to hand which should have ruled out the goal.
Especially with that technology to hand.
And that’s the larger problem here.
Last night, the cameras revealed either an incomprehensible failure to understand the rules these guys are all meant to know by heart or they uncovered corruption, and both are of equal concern.
And nothing is going to be done about it?
That’s a scandal folks, an actual scandal.