Lynch mob mentality over Rangers tax case


A definition of a Lynch mob is that of a crowd/rabble intent on killing a person for some presumed offense without legal authority. We all know what they look like in the Westerns, the mob gather outside and drag their victim out onto the street and drag him to the nearest tree before handing out swift punishment as they hang him from it. Or the Pilgrim mobs burning witches at the stake.

Now I am not implying nor claiming for one minute that those calling for justice over the whole tax issue are looking for the people responsible to be hung from the nearest tree. In fact the majority are just looking for nothing more than answers. But sadly, as ever, the tiny majority are there to ruin it for everyone and this is why the mob mentality that is beginning to surface is dangerous and should be nipped in the bud now.

Let the Police, let HM Revenue & Customs and the Government investigate it. Does it really need fans, bloggers and journalists stepping on their toes as they look to get down to the bottom of it all?

Answers are wanted, but if the relevant authorities are not given the time or space to do so then, those answers that are being demanded will be delayed further and innocent people will get hurt in the process, as fans, bloggers and journalists begin to cast their nets high and wide – with some not caring who gets in the process, as long as they get the answers they want to hear.

One such journalist, if you can call him that now, is David Leggat – formerly of the Evening Times, Daily Express, Sunday People, Sunday Mail and Scotland on Sunday to name but a few. This journalist-cum-blogger publishes articles that would never see the light of day in any papers nowadays, given their agenda-driven ramblings as he attacks fellow journalists, officials at organisations up and down the country not to mention. For if they did employ him and let him a free hand to write what he wanted then they would run the risk of being sued for libel and much more. At at time when newspaper sales are falling fast, that’s all they need.

If you have never heard of Leggat, then you are truly a blessed individual. For those of us who have had the dishonour of reading his work or even being in the same room as him – albeit accidentally – then a delivery of brillo pads on a pallet is just not enough.

In his latest work he states that he has been the victim of ‘state censorship’ as two Police officers knocked on his door and threatened him with arrest over a blog piece entitled ‘HMRC THE BBC, BAFTA AND SINISTER SECRECY’.

In the piece, he names four HMRC employees and then another allegedly based in the organisation’s office in Shotts.

Now first up the four names listed, who he claims ‘were regular plunderers through records inside Ibrox’, could only have come from a source within Rangers Football Club nowhere else. HMRC would never divulge any information on what employees are leading an audit of any organisation. So who is Leggat’s mole within Rangers that is plying him with this information and which is then published on his blog? Could HMRC take action against Rangers for divulging personal information about HMRC employees?

Secondly, he published the name of a person he implies is the leak within HMRC to the likes of Irish-based journalist Phil MacGiolla Bhain and potentially the Rangers tax case blogger. For a seasoned journalist, whether working or not, Leggat is breaching every editorial code under the sun along with a number of laws also. His proof was a photograph he claims he saw on Facebook of the individual and Phil MacGiolla Bhain together, along with the person being one of Phil’s followers on the social media site. One of over 5,000 that is.

Now my following on Facebook is dwarfed in comparison to that of Phil’s, however on the Social network site Twitter, I have well over 6000 followers and I will be lucky to know 20 of them personally or in a professional capacity talked too over the years. That just goes to show the lunacy of Leggat’s evidence of naming the individual in the first place.

It is no great surprise that he received a visit from the Police, after reading the article. He may have claimed that he could have been charged with Breach of the Peace, if he did not remove said article from his blog – but Section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 is more fitting for his conduct.

This relates to threatening or abusive behaviour and a person is charged with this, if they behave in a threatening or abusive manner, that said behaviour would be likely to sauce a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm, and intends by the behaviour to cause fear or alarm or is reckless as to whether the behaviour would cause fear or alarm.

Now what defence could Leggat plead over publishing the name of someone who may or may not be an HMRC employee? Certainly he points out what person it is and where his readers can find his personal social network page which holds a photo of what he looks like. Can Leggat’s actions and conduct be argued as reasonable?

Now he also claims that due to his ‘advanced antiquity’ the blog was removed, as a night in the cells at Stewart Street is not for him even though an unnamed lawyer said that ‘any charge would be highly unlikely to materialise’ and that he would plead not guilty if a charge was forthcoming.

However, under the section of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 that I listed above, if a person is found guilty of breaking said section – they could be imprisoned for up to five years, fined or both or on summary conviction, imprisoned for up to 12 months, fined or both.

Certainly a far more daunting proposition than a night without Leggat gracing the Ritz with his presence.

I asked Leggat’s fellow journalists their thoughts on their colleague and the silence was deafening. In fact not one wished to comment. That says it all really, the level of what he says, does or implies no longer matters in the journalism fraternity. His continued use of the phrase ‘Odious Creep’ when referencing Graham Speirs and attacks on Phil MacGiolla Bhain and Channel Four’s Alex Thomson over their roles in reporting on Rangers, administration & liquidation of said club, along with the big tax case, gives journalists a bad name. At a time when Lord Leveson published his report over the conduct of the media and of the recent phone hacking affairs, Leggat drags the Scottish football reporting fraternity to a level that is frequented by those he peddles his articles too and who believe every single word that he posts.

Scottish football journalism has a rich history, it also has a poor history when it comes to reporting on important issues of late, but what Leggat brings now is a stain that no journalist can be proud of or wants to associate with in public. They may do is private, away from the gaze of the public, or do so out of professional courtesy, but Leggat is one of those breeds of men who, after being shunned by the fraternity that once held their arms open to embrace him, is now turning against. Not because of a crusade for justice, but for profit.

Of course Leggat may hate and detest the likes of Speirs, MacGiolla Bhain and Thomson for reasons only Leggat can testify too, but in turn his hate filled posts see him welcomed with a warm embrace into a new fold – the Rangers family. There is no denying that Rangers fans do not have a kind word to say about the trio of journalists named above and Leggat knows it. He is using it to his advantage in more ways than one.

His blog now receives more hits than it ever did, thanks to his personal attacks on the three journalists, on Peter Lawwell, Neil Doncaster and Stewart Regan. He also attacked Charles Green, when he first came on the scene and backed the Rangers-minded John Brown. That stance soon changed, when the Rangers family did a u-turn over Green and began to support him. Leggat supports him also now.

Having read a number of articles of Leggat’s over the course of a year or so – they all have the same undercurrent running through them. They resonate a feeling of a bitterness and hatred from a man, whose career is now at an end and who still thinks his opinion matters. He changes his opinions and his ideals to suit his readership, unlike other journalists I know who use facts and figures to base their opinions on and while they may have personal opinions on the issues at hand, they certainly don’t resort to the insults that Leggat has to get the readers flocking to read their words.

Leggat goes on about Freedom of speech in his blog post ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH NOW UNDER SERIOUS ATTACK’ posted on Friday 30th November. But should a journalist like Leggat, be given the facility to publish articles naming individuals who at this moment in time are innocent until proven guilty of said charges, that Leggat has thrown at them, scratch that convicted them.

Rangers fans, bloggers and journalists are already coming to the conclusion that the leak was from within HMRC – again at this moment in time, where is the proof to back up these claims? It is just conjecture but it could be true. It could also be true that the leak came from within Rangers FC, Murray International Holdings or the Lawyers dealing with the case at hand. But the convenient ‘truth’ is that the leak came from HMRC – that is the line being peddled by many.

As for publishing the names of HMRC employees or so-called employees of HMRC, that is just asking for trouble. Look at the recent incidents with Neil Lennon, the late Paul McBride QC and former MSP Trish Godman. There were also threats made towards Raith Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton, after he dared to speak out on the steps of Hampden, over the efforts of the Scottish FA and the SPL to parachute newco Rangers into the First Division of the Scottish Football League. It all became too real for Raith director, Eric Drysdale, who was subjected to death threats and Fife police foiling an alleged plot to torch Stark’s Park.

Freedom of Speech is a luxury that everyone in Britain takes for granted, however there are lines that should never be crossed. Philip Schofield crossed that line when he showed Prime Minister David Cameron, a list of suspected paedophiles on morning television, not to mention hate-filled people on social network sites throwing racist and sectarian abuse at individuals both north and south of the border.

During his professional career as a journalist, Leggat had to keep abide by certain guidelines and codes of conduct which journalists to this day follow – although the recent phone hacking revelations prove that some were not. Now that Leggat is no longer a working member of the journalism fraternity it seems he thinks he can get away with what he wants and then cry foul and how his freedom of speech is under attack from a politically motivated attack.

It is an easy defence for the indefensible, BNP leader Nick Griffin uses the same tag line on a daily basis when his band of racists and bigots target ethnic minorities. Abu Hamza and his cohorts used it while flag burning and dancing at the news of more British soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While I expect many to question why I have given David Leggat the time of day, I have to point out that this man must be challenged, he is a dangerous character and one whose bile posted as fact must be censured for fear of innocent individuals being hurt physically. If the Police did not come chapping on his door following that blog post, what would he be publishing tomorrow or the day after in relation to the person he named? His address, his family members details?

Now Leggat is not the only blogger to expose or claim to expose individuals linked with the RTC, with the RTC blog or other sites publishing commentary on Rangers Football Club. The Vanguard Bears are a group, who have made it their goal in life to cause trouble, to abuse and to threaten those – who they claim are threats to the traditions that they uphold dearly: Rangers Football Club and Protestantism.

Readers of Scotzine will know of my disdain and hatred of all things Vanguard Bears following threats made to myself, my wife and at that time the life of my unborn child by certain followers of the group.

Both Leggat and the Vanguard Bears are perfect bed fellows and deserve one another when the Police come chapping once more to cart them off.

As I said in a previous article on this site, I do hope that we get to the bottom of who was the leak over the whole Rangers tax issue, who the Rangers tax case blogger was and we get all the information that the public was not privy too. Then and only then can we actually hold individuals or groups accountable – in a civil manner and not in a manner that the KKK would be proud of – and hopefully get back to the job at hand, the football on the pitch.

The Rangers fans, the bloggers and the mainstream journalists as a whole have a duty to everyone in this issue to let the facts speak for themselves and not try to twist and turn comments or proof to suit their agendas or vendettas, as they search for justice or for accountability.

Scottish football and especially the Glasgow divide of Rangers and Celtic, has always been a hot bed for trouble, everyone knows this and it seems that one or two are trying to profit from it. Funnily enough I see that Leggat has published a new book on former Rangers manager James Scotland Symon.

Maybe just maybe Leggat should give it to us straight and announce to his readership that he is using Rangers’ financial plight as a smokescreen to flog his book. Although as I said earlier, innocent until proven guilty.

But one thing is clear – the lynch mob mentality that is building up steam from this whole debacle must be nipped in the bud before it is too late and before someone gets hurt.


About Author


Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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