I didn’t see Ian Bankier’s performance today, but I watched his predecessor John Reid a few times. John wasn’t liked by a significant body of the support, largely for professional reasons (his role in government), but when he got on his feet to address Celtic supporters, he had an intuitive feel for what to say. No one ever needed to script him.
Ian Livingston has received a lot of criticism since voting with the government in the recent Tax Credits bill. I’d heard the nature of some of what was written online included reference to his background – appalling, without question. Nor would it surprise you or me, we’ve been online long enough to see just about everything, including those who troll others on account of their background or identity. Often with Celtic-related targets.
We are a plural club, with people from Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, and for all I know, other backgrounds, on our board, all these and more in our dressing room, and among our support. I’m proud of this. We are often caricatured as an exclusively Irish-diaspora club but few in the UK can claim such an ethnic panorama.
A club of immigrants founded 127 years ago has continued to attract new immigrants ever since. It’s worthwhile reminding ourselves of this, it should continue to be a part of our forward strategy. What correlates with this is that anyone with a prejudice will find a target at Celtic – such is the diversity of our club. Celtic fans, players and officials have been targets like this for a very long time.
Was Ian Livingston right to vote with the government on Tax Credits? No. I haven’t considered the policy’s economic merits (first pass suggested it had none) but I believe his voice should have been raised against the policy. The expectations of being a representative of Celtic, not just a board member, are weighty.
Ian Bankier could have read all inappropriate online comment referring to Ian Livingston’s background immediately before today’s AGM, but that forum was not the place to mark anyone’s card. The intuitive feel John Reid had on these occasions was missing today. Go complain about such comment to the appropriate authorities, or to whatever online facilities hosted the comments, tell Ian Livingston ‘You’ll never walk alone’ in a private moment, but address shareholders and Celtic fans on matters appropriate to them.