It’s been a thoroughly good-natured day on social media following this curious apology from The Herald regarding Graham Spiers’ piece of 30 December 2015.
The Clumpany wasn’t alone in getting the impression that Mr Spiers wasn’t entirely happy about the Herald apologising on his behalf.
It struck me as a bit unusual to see a newspaper apologising on behalf of itself AND one of its journalists. A journalist who presumably stood by the observations that promoted the article in the first place.
I wondered what prompted the Herald’s Editor to adopt that particular approach today. But Mr Spiers has now clarified the position with his own statement, which can be found here.
The phrase “the pressure brought upon the newspaper became severe” really stands out, but I will leave others to ponder it for now.
However, I will comment on the orgy of glee that seems to have erupted in parts of Online Sevconia over the apology. Which was pretty reminiscent of the delight which followed Spiers’ professional ban from Ibrox, and the two bans handed out to the BBC’s Chris McLaughlin.
Clearly there are some folk who are utterly convinced – rightly or wrongly – that lies have been told about their latest club. Great big fat lies that have left The Staunch Few with no option but to intensify their desperate rearguard action in the Great Siege of Sevconia.
Regular readers will know that The Clumpany doesn’t believe in banning journalists. Indeed I think it is utterly counterproductive. I believe it is perfectly legitimate to criticise, lampoon and mock journalists (oh, you’d noticed…). After all, they are in that sort of business themselves, and put their opinions on a platform for public consumption.
However, I simply cannot understand folk rejoicing in bans, or punching the air with delight and hostility if they feel a journalist has come a-cropper or been silenced. I tend to think that a responsible free press is a cornerstone of our society, and people enjoy curtailing it at their peril.
As I have remarked before, there is a part of Sevconia which seems unwilling to tolerate any sort of criticism of either of their clubs. Even if that means that they don’t get to hear the truth. It’s a strange perspective that seems to value utopian fantasy above stark reality. Day after day. With bizarre (and occasionally hilarious) consequences.
The best of the verbal-diarrhoea-as-public-comment (until this blog!) came from one of the many Sevco fan groups. I won’t give them the oxygen of publicity by linking to their statement (let’s face it, they already get so much publicity that they probably reside in an oxygen tent inside a newspapers’ offices…).
In a startling collection-of-words-masquerading-as-coherent-observation (something I am expert in! 😉), the following phrase was somehow typed:
“Mr Spiers has made a career out of fanning the flames of sectarianism”.
Quick! Call the sectarianism fire brigade!
Spiers Towers is a sectarian fire hazard!
I wonder what Mr Spiers uses to fan these flames? Invoices from the time he bought all those Russian followers on Twitter?
The reaction of many of The Clumpany’s followers today was to correctly mock the group’s incredible assertion. Spiers stands out from most of the Scottish mainstream media because he has a long and consistent track record of calling out sectarian and other offensive singing when he has encountered it. Even if that upsets the powers-that-be at Ibrox.
That’s about as far away from “fanning the flames of sectarianism” as it is possible for him to get.
Spiers also refuses to have his “intelligence insulted” by the Same Club Myth. As you all know, this certainly doesn’t endear him to many Sevco fans.
Hopefully Graham Spiers will continue to go about about his business in Scottish football – calling things as he sees them, and backed by the papers he writes for.
By all means, if he does wrong Mr Spiers should be called to account. Just like anyone else in any line of work. But People should spare us the sensationalist and hostile triumphalism about a decent journalist getting his ‘just desserts’. It is undignified, unedifying and frankly says more about them than it does about Graham Spiers.
When you are as concerned about your image as some in Sevconia seem to be, it might be an idea to be ever-so-slightly more self-aware.
Chin-up Graham. Here are some wise words from Reg.