19 July 2013

Toxic Thommo's back; back again

Andy McGowan has found one of our friends popping up again - it's Alex Thomson from Channel 4. Guess what? He wants Rangers punished. McGowan dissects yet another C4 blog on Rangers.

by Andy McGowan | Contributor

It’s the summer, the sun is shining and Rangers are four out of four in pre-season having signed seven new players. As well as four wins, the defence has been solid with four clean sheets and with 32,000 season tickets sold and counting Rangers fans are proving yet again they don’t do walking away. 

Sadly it seems neither does Alex Thomson who has again decided to take the time out of his busy schedule to talk about Rangers. Today is the day Rangers and HMRC return to court for the next round of the tax case farce. Alex Thomson: a man who claimed on this very website to be "pro Rangers" and "very much on the side of Rangers fans" decided this was the perfect time to return to the story to give us all a helping hand with another of his blogs on us.

This time Alex returns to be the champion of the British public and explains that HMRC are right to appeal the verdict because “the whole culture and moral mood of the country makes it more and more conducive for them to do so” and that as the weeks pass and the government make cuts the need to punish Rangers “creeps up the political agenda”.

There we have it folks, Rangers must be pursued and in the name of the British public who have an appetite for it. He goes on to explain that implementing a tax avoidance scheme would result in HMRC being all over Ibrox like ivy and they will do so because the public will no longer stand for austerity.

It is one of the most bizarre and pointless pieces of writing on the club which has been published to date and that’s saying something. The fact is that Rangers have A. done nothing wrong and B. Outside of the circle of discredited bloggers he converses with there is no appetite to punish Rangers. What Rangers done is operate a legal (albeit morally ambiguous) tax avoidance scheme. Tax avoidance is encouraged by HMRC, something I’m sure not only Alex Thomson’s employers do to great effect but something he most likely does personally when it comes to tax return time. If HMRC were all over companies like ivy for tax avoidance gardeners would be the highest paid professionals in the country. Alex Thomson knows this.

The reason HMRC are pursuing (and failing to punish) Rangers and hundreds of other companies is because simply put HMRC changed the rules after the fact. They moved the goal posts after the match was completed and tried to disallow any goals that were scored. We all know this, Alex Thomson knows this.

The British public don’t know this, simply because they don’t care. I’m sure most of them are aware of Rangers Football Club, but our tax avoidance schemes from 2001? I doubt it. What the British public are interested in is continued austerity measures, the bedroom tax, and the economic recovery. What they are outraged about is the perceived punishment of the poor to protect the rich, the cosy deals that let companies such as Vodafone off with 4 BILLION pounds worth of unpaid tax, the public bailing out banks and footing the bill for massive bankers bonuses and much more. 

In the grand scheme of things Rangers alleged tax bill, the number HMRC want is nothing. It is a pittance and outside of the goldfish bowl of Scottish football no one could care less about it. Alex Thomson knows this.

There is certainly an appetite to punish people and companies who put a strain on the resources of the British public with their exploitation of tax loopholes but Rangers are way down that list. An insignificant company who’s supposed tax liability is a mere drop in the ocean when compared with the likes of Amazon, Google and Starbucks who run massive UK operations and pay virtually nothing in tax. Rangers are a part of our daily lives but to the other 62 million people of this country we don’t even register as a blip on their radar. Alex Thomson knows this.

What may outrage the British public in this case however is that HMRC having changed their own rules and having lost the case are continuing to pursue it at great expense to the tax payer and in the highly unlikely event they did manage to overturn the verdict there would be no pot of gold at the end of this particular rainbow. They are pursuing a company in liquidation for a sum of money they will never see. It is outrageous that they have been allowed to pursue something which now feels more like a personal vendetta than a genuine attempt to punish wrongdoing and the tax payer is again footing the bill for the incompetence of HMRC, perhaps had they not made one of the most scandalous deals in British history with Vodafone they could have funded the case themselves. Alex Thomson knows this.

So why is he back? It’s certainly not to help Rangers fans as he previously claimed. And his fragile attempt to champion the cause of the sickened British public won’t stick with anyone with a shred of common sense about them. The rather sad reality is that Alex Thomson is back to help himself and no one else. He is a pompous arrogant man whose pride was hurt when discredited freelance journalists played him for a useful idiot. 

They used him to serve their thinly veiled agenda and he took to the task like a fish to water. But things didn’t go as Alex was assured they would and after months of mock outrage and around 70 blogs on Rangers – more than on any other single story by a long way - Alex was made to look a fool when Rangers only wrong doing turned out to be a paperwork problem and a small fine. 

Now he’s back hoping to see Rangers punished to save his reputation in Scotland which he done severe damage to by allowing himself to be played for a fool and you know what? I think he’s about to do it all over again. But Alex knows this.