Murdo Fraser MSP and Rangers Administrators – Part 2

I wrote yesterday about Murdo Fraser MSP and his letter to Duff and Phelps, Rangers administrators, advising them to rule out liquidation. You can read his letter via the link in this piece, and you will also find my “open letter” to him there too.

I submitted the letter to him via his constituency website but have not had an acknowledgement or reply yet. To be fair, it is Easter weekend, so I would not have expected one so quickly.

However I was very surprised to see the number of people who were interested in this matter too, and I know that the article was tweeted to Mr Fraser’s Twitter account, by me amongst others, as well as to his Party Leader in Scotland, Ruth Davidson.

Alex Thomson of Channel 4 has also, according to his Twitter feeds, emailed Mr Fraser for an explanation.

I have found a piece online, dated 4th April, where Mr Fraser explains why he wrote to Duff and Phelps. You can find it here.

It does not answer any of the questions I asked Mr Fraser in my letter yesterday, and indeed it actually raises more!

Well done to Derek Howie, whose blog it is, for getting Mr Fraser to give him the comments.

By way of explanation about why a list MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife should be involved with a Glasgow company, Mr Fraser is quoted as saying:-

“There are many people in the area that I represent that have an affinity for Rangers Football Club and they have been in contact with me expressing their concern about the current situation…

“…this is a substantial Scottish company that is a large employer and has made a major contribution to the Scottish economy.

“I think the threat of liquidation is something that should concern us in exactly the same way as it would concern us if it were any other company of that size.”

I wrote before here about the differing reaction from politicians to the potential demise of two similar companies, in terms of employees, both coincidentally situated near each other.

Mr Fraser justifies his involvement in the issue as he was approached by people in the area with “an affinity” for Rangers.

Rule 8.1.4 of the MSP’s Code of Conduct states “An MSP must not deal with a matter relating to a constituency case or constituency issue outwith the member’s constituency or region (as the case may be) unless by prior agreement.”

Does the fact that some constituents of Mr Fraser have an interest in a matter outside the region justify his involvement? On that basis it would make a mockery of the rule requiring MSP’s to deal with matters with a bearing on their constituency, and not to cross boundaries.

I must also say that the reference to Rangers having made a “major contribution to the Scottish economy” is a remarkable statement.

The whole reason why Rangers is in trouble is that, over many years, it has not paid the taxes due. In addition, much of the money it did spend went to fund foreign players, and much of their income, especially if paid “off shore” would have been money out of the Scottish economy!

Rangers owe the Exchequer many millions, no matter what the result of the Tax Tribunal. Is Mr Fraser prepared to excuse the British Treasury being bilked, as long as the Scottish tax take does not have to suffer the full losses?

Further on in the article Mr Fraser makes an interesting statement.

He ‘revealed that First Minister Alex Salmond has assured him the Scottish Government would be “looking to support Rangers in exactly the same way as they would be looking to support any other Scottish company facing financial difficulties”’.

When did the First Minister give Mr Fraser this “assurance”?

Whilst, within EU and domestic rules, it is generally a good thing for Government to help troubled companies, surely that responsibility disappears where the problem is one of non-payment of tax? Asking for Government help to deal with failure to pay tax seems a ridiculous thing to do!

The Scottish Government has supported many companies where there are financial issues; some have received public money.

Can Mr Fraser tell us in what way Mr Salmond told him he is “looking to support Rangers”?

 

Conclusion

Mr Fraser is perfectly entitled, as a Rangers debenture holder, to write to Duff and Phelps. However, once he decides to do so (a) on official notepaper (b) having been approached by a number of constituents (c) having met the First Minister to discuss the issue and (d) having decided to release his letter to the public via the Rangers Supporters Trust, then he cannot complain if he is questioned publicly about his motives and how his approach to this matter fits into his political philosophy.

I look forward to a response from Mr Fraser to these and the matters mentioned yesterday. I am doubtful that I will receive it – after all, I am not one of his constituents!

He might reply to Alex Thomson however. We shall see.

 

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16 Comments

Filed under Administration, Politics, Rangers

16 responses to “Murdo Fraser MSP and Rangers Administrators – Part 2

  1. TheBlackKnight TBK

    🙂

  2. oisin71

    The cuckoo comes in April,
    It sings it’s song in May.
    In the middle of June,
    It changes it’s tune,
    And then it flies away.

  3. liveinhope

    Well done paul keep at it

  4. FIFA

    Oh dear
    He must have an interesting surgery,do we know when the next one sits,and are outsiders allowed to listen .

  5. Palacio67

    We need to get UEFA onto this ASAP about government interference before they manage to influence anything in the meantime. I know Alex thomson tweeted something to come out on Wednesday.
    Well done Paul, keep the pressure on.

  6. Daniel Toye

    Crikey he can’t even decide now which hat he had on when he wrote his letter.

    “I am writing this in a personal capacity” he says in his letter.

    “In politics…” and “people I represent” he says in Derek’s piece.

    What a mess.

  7. buckfastswallier

    The man was tweeting earlier about people mistaking him for an SNP politician. Let’s turn up the heat.

  8. The day comes to all,who deny their deeds 🙂

  9. Steve

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmscotaf/70/70ii.pdf

    MSP and rfcIA Shareholder Ian Davidson gives Lloyds bank Exe a hard time re rfc back in 2009. (part 114 or search rangers)

    more rfc trash @bigstuartpsysco

    Thanks,

  10. Bhoywonder

    My very young plumbing and heating company of 2 years became insolvent 12 years ago because my main contractors would not pay their invoices on time, if at all. These were large organisations who could afford to pay. Non payment meant I went bust, and they got a “free” service until the next mug came along. Small companies such as mine rely on prompt payment to enable cash flow and survival. So, it boils my blood to see this happening in such a high profile, visible and blatant way to small creditors. There needs to be penalties for this sort of behaviour; penalties which escape liquidation. Personal wealth needs to be brought into play somewhere. Why on earth should these wealthy directors not be held personally accountable for the accrual of debts which they clearly instilled in their business as normal working practice,., especially if as seems likely, what they were doing may be illegal. It’s an absolute disgrace. And for this behaviour to be condoned by an acting MSP makes matters even worse. Thank God we have bloggers such as your good self and RTC who can make a difference. Here’s hoping.

  11. Paul,
    Given the holiday period, I suggest you give him seven days to reply.
    Then complain. Loudly.

    Iain

    • iain

      Why should he cpmplain? What grounds does he have to expect an answer?

      Because a limited constituency of internet readers (visitors to the RTC and mad Phil blogs) make him think he’s quite important?

      Now one thing which is repeated here again I need to respond to. This notion that Rangers going down equates to a small to mid size company employing the same amunt of people going down.

      Quite frankly such a narrow comparison is bonkers.
      Unless that small company you love to compare Rangers to can attract up to 50,000 people to come and visit them every other week?
      Perhaps our Paul doesn’t think the movement of such a huge number of people has any iompact on the Scottish economy? Maybe they all simply materialise in their seats at Ibrox? Perhaps they don’t need to hire buses, pay for trains, buy petrol, eat or drink while travelling there?

      • Bhoywonder

        I don’t believe anyone at any time has said anything negative about ordinary Rangers supporters, in fact they have often been applauded on both this and RTC for their philanthropy. It’s very clear that a club the size of Rangers FC and their support contribute to the economy year in and year out, as do all other clubs’ supporters. What is NOT acceptable is an MSP indirectly condoning the actions of directors at RFC. Judging by both RTC and “mad” Phil’s total grasp of events as they have infolded, I wouldn’t think RTC or Mr McConville would need to feel important by “limited constituency” of internet readers”…on the contrary, we the aforementioned feel important being included in such a complex debate and are eternally grateful to both for their educated input and honest and accurate revelations….in the pipe, and smoke that!!

      • Iain,

        Thanks for your input. There is nothing wrong with a politician looking to “save” his local team, or company. Rangers is not local to Mr Fraser. In addition, there is a difference in becoming involved in saving a company where the problem might be a drop in orders, as opposed to one where the problem is massive failure to pay tax.

        The reason for raising the issue with Mr Fraser, as I have done, is that he has used the issue, apparently, for political advantage, and is therefore answerable for that. If he had, for example, written a private letter, not on official notepaper, which I happened to catch sight of in D&P’s office, then I would not be writing about the issue. That is not the case however.

        As far as Rangers goes, I fully expect that a newco Rangers will appear, probably for next season, and even if it loses a number of fans, it will still have a large number, no matter what division it is in.

        In any event, it is the actions of the directors of Rangers, past and present, which have put them where they are now – there is no one else to be blamed.

        As far as thinking that I am important, I know I am not! I am very surprised, pleasantly so, I confess, that so many people do read what I write, but as I have often said, I write for me.

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