Oppression of the Innocent
I would like to begin with a quote from Glenn Greenwald’s book ‘With Liberty and Justice for Some’:
“The law itself wields tremendous power. The legal system’s reach is unparalleled: it can deprive a person of property, liberty, even life. It may compel people to transfer their material goods to others, block them from engaging in planned actions, destroy their reputations, consign them to cages, or even inject lethal chemicals into their veins. Unequal application of the law is thus not merely unjust in theory but devastating in practice. When the law is wielded only against the powerless, it ceases to be a safeguard against injustice and becomes the primary tool of oppression.”
Checks & Balances failed
The power of state organs to punish should be used sparingly and not in an arbitrary fashion. When such a misuse occurs, normally another state entity steps in as a check or balance. In the case of Rangers the checks & balances of our society failed to step in. Nothing was done by the SNP government in Holyrood, there to represent all Scots and Scottish interests. They just stood there and did nothing. In some cases, the state media i.e. BBC Scotland, football authorities, the SFA & SPL, & journalists both broadsheet & tabloid, even joined the lynching party.
Destruction of Economic Value
The HMRC, tasked with gathering and preserving economic value for the state just destroyed a valuable economic asset to the Scottish nation – Rangers FC. No doubt there will be arguments about estimates of value lost. David Leggat claims a rough figure of £100 million in the company alone including potential with ECL money lost for next 3 years. I’m not sure he includes costs of the players who left without a return to Rangers when their contracts cancelled, employees sacked, creditors chance of recompense destroyed and TV rights lost. I don’t know the number but for Scotland the number is large. As seen from the revival of Rangers, it is a microeconomy on it’s own and it’s revitalising the SFL. It’s a condemnation of the SNP that they stood back and did nothing to stop the wilful destruction of wealth in such a fashion under their watch.
By delaying justice the HMRC destroyed for Rangers any chance of getting a decent trustable acquirer from David Murray, of retaining players, getting a bank to fund working capital or that suppliers would supply services required to run a club of Rangers size as well as contaminating the ‘brand’. The SFA & SPL are using the same delaying tactics to keep the ‘dual’ contracts issue going. They knew about the EBTs because Rangers accounts were tabled long ago & had forewarning about Craig Whyte yet both parties did nothing.
Rangers could have come out of administration and not been liquidation thereby allowing the HMRC to receive more tax repayment and Creditors would have been repaid more than they have but the HMRC wanted it’s scalp therefore the execution had to take place even before the Big Tax Case was decided. This is an abuse of power.
HMRC looking for scapegoat
As I said at the time, the HMRC looked for a target which was weak enough not to put up much fight which it could bring down as an example to the EPL clubs as a deterrence. No way would the HMRC go up against an Arsenal, Man Utd or Man City, or Liverpool, funded, as they are, by the vast TV rights wealth of the EPL but Rangers were in a minor league, financially strapped & had an owner under corporate duress from his bank. They were the ideal candidate. Put the threat of fines & large back claims of tax & they would fold, put up their hands & the HMRC would have the trophy, the scalp to wave in front of the others. A future warning to others – don’t go down this road to tax minimisation. And even though Rangers are in the right, the HMRC have their scalp. This is like the kid on the pedestrian crossing legally but being killed. A state organisation should not be abusing it’s power without government stepping in.
HMRC & Multinationals Tax Avoidance scam
As we’ve just seen recently in the attendance of Google, Facebook & Starbucks, in front of a parliamentary committee of MPs, the gross manipulation of tax avoidance by multinationals operating in the UK allowed under agreements with tax havens such as Ireland, Netherlands & Luxembourg & involving transfer of UK earnings to Cayman Island beyond the reach of the HMRC are disgusting. Note this was MPs chasing & embarrassing international companies not the HMRC. The HMRC just go after domestic companies, like Rangers, that cannot shift profits to tax havens meanwhile the UK tax base is eroded by multinationals & fellow EU members. Some of the EU members like Ireland which are financially bankrupt and the UK props up with loans while they undermine our tax base. This is crazy.
HMRC social media attacks
In a legal case if the accused is an individual then there is a complete shutdown of commentary in order not to prejudice a trial. The case is ‘sub judice’ meaning ‘under justice’ and therefore under threat of contempt of court commenting on the case is prevented. With the HMRC & their social media leaks there was no chance of Rangers getting a fair hearing. Especially over a long period with the delay in the verdict & any appeal being issued.
Again a social media campaign has failed badly and our social organisations & public trust is eroded. The BBC, ITV and BIJ are all being chased by Lord McAlpine for damages stringing up a victim without due process. The HMRC in the Rangers case either wilfully leaked details to create a social media storm. Oh my God, governments don’t do that sort of thing do they!! Or their security is so lacking they cannot be trusted to hold personal & corporate tax records of the state.
Government entities like the HMRC & the Law courts are supposed to apply their regulations dispassionately but in conjunction with a carefully orchestrated leaked social media campaign with it’s vitriol, mud sticking lies & innuendo you pull in the emotional. Whatever way, deliberately or neglectfully, the HMRC allowed the social media bonfire to keep being replenished with continuous leaks and stand condemned. But for the leaks the whole social media campaign would have floundered. There was no chance of balance or equity.
David Murray’s Murray International Holdings, like Lord McAlpine are well within their rights to chasing the purveyors of lies which have damage his reputation. I am sure all the blogs & tweeters like the RTC have done all they can to try to erase all the evidence but to no avail. It has been stored for just these sorts of occurrences. Where there’s muck there’s brass and there’s lots of muck in this case. Andrew Reid, Lord McAlpine’s lawyer, would be the first person I would call if I was David Murray.
Fully Transparent Public Government Enquiry
The devolved Scottish government, the SNP, in Holyrood has shown how weak they were by not standing up for Scottish economic and social interests. Since the SNP have shown no interest & since the HMRC is a national organ of state nothing but a full parliamentary UK parliamentary enquiry will suffice. Either deliberately or neglectfully the HMRC allowed the leaking of confidential details to keep a social media campaign burning as an adjunct to their delaying ‘legal’ campaign. Abusing the power of the state, the HMRC, destroyed Rangers, a major Scottish institution without due process and shows how anyone innocent party can be targeted. The HMRC have destroyed more than Rangers. The HMRC have destroyed public trust in themselves. Only a full parliamentary and police enquiry with transparency of when leaks were made & who were the sources internally at the HMRC and who received the leaks outside can restore trust.
For the HMRC to waste resources on an appeal after causing such destruction will only heap more blame on & loss of confidence in the HMRC. They should focus on how they were manipulated into orchestrating this campaign and examine where their leaks were coming from & clear the stench of a fit up. If a Conservative led UK government, that declares itself business friendly, allows innocent private businesses to be hung drawn & quartered and economic value destroyed by it’s tax authorities then it should not be in charge of the economy. A government that cannot protect the innocent does not deserve to be in power either in Scotland or the UK. All Rangers supporters should email their MSPs and MPs and demand such an enquiry.