07 September 2013

Are Rangers persecuting the BBC?

by Godwin Law | Guest Contributor

There won’t be many articles on Gers sites defending Jim Spence after his latest attempt to tell the Sportsound listeners that Rangers ‘died’, but maybe there should be considering how much pressure he is under. With many fans contacting the Beeb through the complaints procedure and the Ibrox club making a statement, the BBC reporter responded with the following tweet:

“Someone just reminded me of the famous saying of Pastor Martin Niemoller. ‘First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out.’”

This is a reference to Pastor Martin Niemoller’s famous phrase that:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
For those who do not know, this powerful quotation by Pastor Niemoller was a warning against Nazi concentration camps and allowing groups of people to be victimised, while standing by and doing nothing. To do so, only encourages evil to prosper and will eventually come back against you. 

Now, some have suggested that Jim Spence was wrong to bring up such a comparison and by doing so he merely underlined his creepy hatred of Rangers fans (while ironically missing Niemollers point and demonising a whole group of people himself), but this cannot be true. 

Mr Spence is a professional BBC journalist. There is no way such a man would deliberately go out of his way to bait Rangers fans and then when he got the response he wanted, compare himself and the BBC to victims of the Holocaust.

To back this up, Graham Spiers, who also works for the BBC asked:

“Are the Stasi still after @BBCjimspence?”

This cannot be a coincidence. This is not personal hatred pretending to be professional journalism. It’s clear that Spence and Spiers are trying to tell their followers something important. 

It is the only logical explanation since it is too far-fetched to believe BBC employees are openly using Nazi and German secret police metaphors to demonise ordinary Rangers fans in a childish and prejudicial manner.

What sort of people would do that? Surely we wouldn’t believe that intelligent adults, never mind journalists, would compare a disagreement over football with humanity’s worst crimes? No, Jim Spence is a victim. I don’t know what he is a victim of yet, but he should be supported nonetheless. 

Rangers fans should be ashamed that they are using the BBC complaints procedure in the proper way. Okay, as licence-fee payers they might on paper be entitled to do so, but the numbers you are complaining in is far too aggressive.

I understand that technically Jim Spence and BBC Scotland need to follow their own guidelines, and the findings of the BBC Trust, but it’s clearly just censorship to not allow presenters to bring their own personal views into any conversation about Rangers. Why should something like ‘rules’ change tradition?

It’s time supporters of the Ibrox club stopped wanting to be treated like everyone else by BBC Scotland and then when it doesn’t happen have the arrogance to ask the BBC why? Such reactions are terrifying and this is why BBC Scotland won’t give in and will rightly support Jim Spence in saying anything he wants.

And maybe Rangers FC should ask the public broadcaster why tweets referencing such evils are being used against the club and fans. What are they hiding?