I really don’t care if journalists stick a microphone in Dermot Desmond’s face and ask him questions about tax, Dermot is big and bad enough to look after himself, the letter he issued to BBC’s Mark Daly confirms as much. What troubles me is the inordinate double standards employed by the Scottish media.
Graeme Souness and Walter Smith were recipients of an aggressive tax avoidance scheme, funded by Rangers before their liquidation, while employed as managers of clubs in England. Why are they not subjected to the microphone treatment when they walk into football stadiums, as they do every week?
Unlike anything Dermot has been asked about (no one disputes the legality of Dermot’s arrangement), the Rangers scheme was found in court to be in contravention of tax law.
Why Souness and Smith were in receipt of money from Rangers, while they were employed elsewhere, is a question studiously avoided by their many friends in the media. It is not just these two. More than 50 Rangers players received payments through the same mechanism, all struck down in court. Not a week goes by without some of these former players or managers making media appearances, several sit down with the very people who deemed want to talk about Dermot Desmond this week. None are called to account for their struck-down tax arrangements in the way Dermot was for his (legal) arrangements.
I feel we are in the territory of SNP’s Christine Grahame here. Celtic do nothing wrong so change the frame of reference to allow you to tangentially include Celtic. Then screaming “Celtic” and “tax” all over the front page for an issue that involves one of our shareholders, but has nothing to do with the club. It is sloppy, but unlike Ms Grahame’s intervention, no innocents will be locked up this time.
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