Regular readers will note that I did not publish an article yesterday. However as I cleared my WordPress post-bag and my PayPal direct mail messages from readers, I was very much engaged on our site. One of the latter group suggested a model that I find attractive. He suggested 5 articles per week, with a 3:2 split on free-to-air and password protected articles.
This ticks a number of boxes for me. The lion’s share of my work will still be available to the disadvantaged. I will also be able to provide a more comprehensive service for those with recurring monthly donations of £10 or more.
I will look favourably on long-established £5 per month contributors but some will inevitably slip through the cracks. The £10 per month threshold comes with a guarantee.
As for ad hoc payments I can easily access all payments made by any individual reader and make a favourable judgement call. The password will be generic and apply to all protected pieces.
Those unhappy with the new approach, who paid £5.55, £1 or 1p will be eligible for a full refund. However should they request same they will lose the right to comment. They will lose their voice.
These changes are effective immediately as is my decision that only comments from those who contribute to our site will be moderated, approved and published.
Other than watching a thrilling game of rugby and winning my two pint bet that Kilmarnock would prevail at Ibrox and that Boyd (EBT x 2) would score, I read an interesting on-line contemporary history of Rangers as was, and the new club as is that I affectionately refer to as Rangers Lite, viz:
Follow We Will: The Fall and Rise of Rangers
In many ways it’s a counterpoint to Downfall. However it’s as flawed as the LNS findings which is no surprise as both are predicated on the FTT hearing. Despite these flaws which are compounded by espousing the Continuation myth, there are some fascinating takeaways, including a contribution by dyed-in-the-wool blue nose Richard Wilson who now plies his trade at BBC Freemason.
To the point and question viz:
The Rangers Tax Case (RTC) site is arguably the primary example of how an anonymous blog can direct the narrative of a story. How would you describe its contribution and that of similar websites?
At first RTC was a source of detailed and significant information. However the site quickly became a forum for anti-Rangers discussions, and the author of the blog was quite clear about their own allegiance. As a journalist you had to ask yourself if you could take the site seriously given the clear bias of the author, and indeed the commentators on the blog, while the anonymity meant that you could not verify anything with them. As it turned out the information was correct – and clearly leaked from somewhere – but the analysis viz ‘Rangers are cheats’ was wrong.
Rangers most certainly were cheats Mr. Wilson. Heidi Poon grasped this nettle early on and the final word on their cheating, as much as it must stick in your craw, was delivered by The Supreme Court. The Fat Lady was a La Scala Soprano.
The RTC blogger was awarded The Orwell Prize, which flies in the face of the editor of this tome’s assertion that he was discredited.
In a related aside I believe that I have identified RTC’s deep-throat. But I won’t be publishing his name for several reasons. First and foremost he would be a target for the Orange Order which is a sect for bigots, former paramilitaries and a mono-browed criminal underclass. He is also a source for our site, who prefers to fly under the radar. My fingers of one hand £20 per month contributors were promised insights on tidbits that I choose not to publish but on this occasion I will demur. The next question and Wilson’s response are instructive:
Q: Do you think the ownership story would have unfolded differently without the internet effect? For example would matters have happened so quickly or would we still be talking about Craig Whyte as the owner of Rangers?
A: There was an important and significant contribution from social media.
Unbeknown to many who are quick to bestow praise on their patron saint of blogging the individual who actually unmasked Craig Whyte as a charlatan was Andy Muirhead of Scotzine. Credit where credit is due.
Wilson argues that Craig Whyte did not have the wherewithal to make a fist of running Rangers. He fails to mention that Ally McCoist had an iron-clad succession contract with punitive penalty clauses that ensured that he would play his part in the fall of The House of Whyte.
“Follow We Will: The Fall and Rise of Rangers” consists of a number of essays by purportedly Real Rangers Men who adhere to the view that the supporters saved the club and that it continues to exist as an ethereal entity now operated by a new company (NewCo). These are not Bears that openly shit in the woods or the thoroughfares of Manchester. The contributors to this flawed tome form a self-styled illuminati which liberally expounds an alternative view that has no grounding in historical fact or the Companies Acts which govern all PLC’s. One of their number is the official biographer of Rangers and a professor at Queens University Belfast. Walter Smith provides a foreword. Lee Wallace comes out of hiding as a supergrass to add his tuppence worth. The Forty-Eight Hour Director – Je Suis Graham- also steps up with a number of joined up sentences which just do not add up. Perhaps one should revert to DCI Jim Robertson’s head for figures, not that I’m implying anything untoward apropos his pert assistant and her pneumatic lungs. Was Robertson too busy breaking down doors and pilfering privileged information to write his essay? He did Dave King proud in so many other ways.
As for the rise of Rangers Lite, would the optimistic view of five years ago still hold true today? Merry hell is breaking loose at the board who are on a collision course with the City Watchdog. A company crying out for investment has executives that no NOMAD would work with and no exchange will touch with a barge pole. The Chairman of their board has to pony up £11m or ultimately face a custodial sentence after one or more hard-hitting fines.
In 2006 when King was facing 322 charges and a tax liability north of £140m, he claimed he was penniless despite picking up £81,000 per month in interest payments from his offshore capital reserves.
Does King/NOAL have £11m in a British Virgin Islands Trust Fund? A back of the fag packet calculation suggests that he saved £64m of the £100m he earned from The Specialist Outsourcing scam, squandering the rest on toys and Rangers.
When SARS finally caught up with him they raised £30m from the sale of his assets, leaving King to pony up £14m or face 82 years in prison.
From the resulting £50m one must deduct his legal fees which I am reliably informed are circa £10m, but this is offset by the sale of MicroMega’s trading division.
£50m is not impecunious in anyone’s book, irrespective of his paper wealth apropos MicroMega.
But there is a sting in this tale. As part of the deal to keep King out of prison he was compelled to repatriate his considerable liquidity to South African banks, despite the fact that he is a pariah with the six major clearing banks.
NOAL has stealthily slipped a £6.7m loan under the radar, but a full-blown offer of £11m would take the total, with costs, to just north of £18m. Eighteen million that was not repatriated to South African banks. Furthermore as this must be a very public and publicised offer, it won’t escape the scrutiny of South Africa’s Crown Prosecuting Authority.
King is caught between the rock of hard time in South Africa and the hard place that is HMP Barlinie.
Don’t be surprised if King does walking away.