Are those who walked away from Ibrox mice or men?
So, HMRC are seeking leave to appeal. The move should surprise no-one in what’s rightly seen as an important potential precedent – not least for prominent English football clubs who appear to think they’re The Queen when it comes to tax.
In short – it’s not about Rangers. They just happen to have been the first, so they’re the vehicle.
So what should happen?
Let’s imagine that our land is a place where prominent men are mindful of the current public mood. Where leaders are cognisant of the austere times, of the struggle we are all in together. That they recognise (as we heard only this morning) that our current economic hardships are akin to living through a lengthy world war. And that powerful men feel the civic imperative and lucid moral impulse that each must pay his way according to his means.
In short, let’s imagine they get it – The Men Who Walked Away from Ibrox.
If so, it is profoundly to be hoped these men can yet find it in themselves to seize the moment, see the current zeitgeist and do a Starbucks.
As the global coffee-supremos bow to the mood of the times and decide that paying their way should be considered, so should the directors who loved Ibrox so much they drove it into the ground and walked away with free “loans”.
Well – there’s never been a better time than now to pay ’em back lads.
To face the undisputed fact that these “loans” triggered the chain-reaction which led in part to the downfall of Rangers Football Club. To face that simple responsibility.
The house-extensions are paid for tax-free, interest-free. So too the second homes in France. It’s all in the Tax Tribunal report, since many candidly admitted what they did with their very own Jersey EBT ATM.
Campbell Ogilvie – currently seeking re-election as President of the Scottish FA, could surely bolster his campaign by showing leadership and an example and paying back his loan.
Leading by example… Thinking of the game… Rescuing the reputation of the once-great Rangers…Yes I know it’s not been the way. If they’re at a loss then just call up Turnbull over in Kirkaldy or any number of SFL Chairmen and they can probably show you how to do the thinking about the game thing.
At least the Integrity Tendency of the Scottish Football Leagues who so memorably saw off the Premier League’s shabby attempts to special-case Rangers, will have some pointers on leading by example over this.
With appropriate support and counselling it can probably be explained to the former Rangers FC directors – The Men Who Walked Away – that you can go to a thing called a bank or building society where they will give you the money to repay your EBT “loan” (yes!) in the unlikely event of you not having the folding to hand.
Yes – you really do pay it back and over a set time.
Yes – there’s something called interest on top to pay back too.
Yes – it might add up to something called a mortgage (ask Turnbull et al on Planet Earth).
No – Jersey, nice generous Crimson and the felicitous Mr Red don’t come into it.
It’s what the little people do. Remember? The little people who pay income tax. The little people who pay national insurance contributions. The little people who buy season tickets at Ibrox. The little people who buy club merchandise. The little people who go to Peterhead, Annan and see The Brechin Hedge. The little people who even now fill Ibrox. The little people who volunteer for the great charity work the club still does.
The little people who whipped-round to pay off some of the Glasgow charities and businesses you left out-of-pocket as you trousered your “loans” and fled.
And yes, the same little people in droves still trying to defend you against any criticism for wrecking the football club they loved and still love.
It is called loyalty. Does it not deserve something in return?
So the challenge for The Men Who Walked Away is obvious.
They can cringe like mice, hoping their tawdry tax-avoidance scheme which helped destroy old Rangers will be confirmed as legal by the appeal court and that this will all go away along with their part in it.
Or they can be men. Recognising the country they are in, they can make a stand. It is not too late. Pay back the “loans” and pay them back now.
Pay them back openly. Pay them publicly. Seize the chance. Seize the mood. Seize the opportunity to right and do good.
Good for themselves.
Good for Rangers fighting to leave all this behind.
Good for football and Scotland.
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