The always excellent BRTH has written another of his lyrical posts. mick was good enough to link to it in the comments, but I think BRTH usually deserves a post of his own.
Readers might have seen it as a comment on the Scottish Football Monitor or CQN, but I think his thoughts deserve the widest of cicrulations.
It was the poet John Donne who came away with the phrase ” No Man is an Island”. Interestingly the lines were not originally intended to be a poem, but were written by Donne in his ” Meditations” and were intended as prose rather than poetry.
Fittingly, they are taken from ” Devotions on an Emergent occasion”
Donne was an interesting character. He was borne a Roman Catholic but later became an Anglican Priest and a Doctor of Divinity, became the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral and was a Royal Chaplain. He was also a qualified Barrister having studied at Thavies Inns Legal School and later he was the Reader of Divinity at Lincoln’s Inn. He was the Member of Parliament for Brackley from 1602 onwards for a number of years. He had been a soldier, fighting with Walter Raleigh and the Earl of Essex at Cadiz, and before settling down to this well recorded life of divinity and respectability he managed to blow his considerable inheritance on wine women and travel.
However it was his marriage to Anne More in 1601 which earned him a stay in Prison ( along with the man who performed the marriage and the chief witness ) as the marriage went ahead without the Bride’s father’s permission– and he just happened to be the Lieutenant of the Tower of London! Using his Legal skills, Donne eventually proved the validity of his marriage and secured his release whereupon he wrote to his wife: ” John Donne: Anne Done, Un-Done” as although he was released the marriage cost him his career!
As a result, Donne had to scrape a rather meagre living as a lawyer– his parliamentary duties being unpaid– and it was not until he reconciled with his father in law in 1609 that he received his wife’s dowry and so improved his financial situation. He , his wife and family of 10 children, had a reasonably miserable existence, and it was the patronage of his writing and his clerical appointments that gave the Donne family a degree of comfort.
Of course there are many people who train as lawyers– be it as Barristers or Advocates as they are known in Scotland– or alternatively as solicitors. Advocates tend to be thought of as far grander than solicitors in many respects. There have been many Barristers or Advocates who have wandered into politics and reached the very top of the political tree, however there has only ever been one solicitor to become Prime Minister– and that was David Lloyd George.
Solicitors are much more men ( or women ) of business than their Advocate counterparts. They are the business merchants of the legal profession. Perhaps the solicitor is that branch of the profession which would be regarded as having Sharp Elbows when it comes to commercial matters. John Donne does not strike as the kind of meditative man who would be suited to the role of a “man of business”!
So, it is against this background that one stops to consider the recent report by Messrs Harper McLeod Solicitors on behalf of the SPL into the question of dual contracts. Harper Macleod are very well versed in both sports law and indeed in civil and commercial litigation. To be blunt, they will know a contract- or indeed two — when they see them– and they will be sharp about it.
I therefore wonder what they thought of the comments from Sir David Murray the other day? His assertion that there was no deception; that the EBT’s were all above board and legal; that the loan agreements contained specific repayment dates, interest provisions and so on. I wonder if that accords with their initial findings?
As we know, all the evidence will be considered by an independent commission, and a quick check of the SPL rules shows that any such Commission has very wide powers of enquiry with the ability to ask for all sorts of records and documents, and to cite just about anyone they chose!
I wonder, if in enquiring into this situation, the Independent Commission will consider requesting the presence of any of the players’ agents so that they can get their evidence as to what was and what was not agreed. We have already heard Billy Dodds and indeed Alec McLeish spout forth that all contractual matters were dealt with by their “Agents”.
Well, Agents have to be Licensed with the SFA– and yes, yet again it is our old SFA friends who have the licensing function to oversee proper conduct on the part of agents. What will the SFA have to say if properly Licensed and regulated agents embroiled their clients in what turns out to be an illegal tax avoidance scheme?
There are many agents, but one whose point of view will be of great interest to anyone who follows this saga will be Blair Morgan. Like Lloyd George, Blair Morgan is a qualified solicitor who has acted for many of the players in this saga. He has represented Alec McLeish, Graham Souness, Walter Smith, Neill McCann, Craig Moore, Gavin Rae and many more. He has been in partnership in the past with Trevor Stephen and has employed former players like Craig Moore and Derek Whyte as consultants.
Mr Morgan was previously a Director of Dunfermline FC and has himself sat on SFA committees. He is very well versed on sports matters and has gained a very high reputation in the market place– acting for clubs such as Celtic, and many players beyond Scotland.
Yesterday– RTC stated in a tweet that Blair Morgan had in fact written on behalf of Alec McLeish asking whether or not interest was due on an overdue EBT payment– thus highlighting the fact that these payments were in fact contractual contrary to the musings of Sir David Murray. I also suspect that if Mr Morgan was asked by his clients to draw up letters of indemnity in favour of his clients in respect of the EBT tax position and the financial obligations on the part of Rangers PLC, then he will have done so in the most proper legal fashion and will all his professionalism and experience! As I recall, at least one of the letters of indemnity starts with the words— ” On behalf of the Board of Directors of Rangers PLC…..”.
Below are a number of articles and interviews with Blair Morgan which show that he conducts all of his business on behalf of his clients with his solicitor’s hat on at all times and that he has in the past had cause to have discussions with Sir David Murray on matters of business. He has represented many clients and appears at times to have crossed swords with other agents who are not qualified in the law.
Perhaps the enquiry should simply put Sir David Murray’s most recent statements to Blair Morgan and ask him for his comments about his clients being liable to repay loans on a given date, and the reasoning behind any letters of indemnity that he was asked to draw up in connection with EBT payments. I also wonder what he was told would be– or should be– registered with the football authorities by Rangers PLC.
Obviously, Mr Morgan would not necessarily be the only legally qualified agent from whom any of those mentioned in the EBT scandal may have taken advice, however he is one of those who is in a unique position to shed a considerable amount of light on exactly what was agreed between whom and why……… always presuming that he acted on behalf of the clients named in connections with their contracts with Rangers PLC.
From the information available, Sir David Murray may well have a very different interpretation of the paperwork concerned from legal chaps like Blair Morgan who will have professionally advised on such paperwork in the best interests of his clients. I would seriously doubt that such an experienced solicitor in this field would advise his clients to enter into any type of long term spurious loan agreement with a third party as part of any agreement between his client and Rangers PLC.
If there are a number of other legally qualified or Licensed agents who all say the same thing, then Sir David may well find himself isolated– even from the likes of Walter Smith and Alec McLeish.
Then again– Sir David can take refuge in the words of John Donne– who stressed that no man is an island– although Donne was making the point that the actions and behaviour of each individual will have consequences for us all further down the line… and perhaps his final words will not be the most welcome right enough!
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Posted by Brogan, Rogan, Trevino and Hogan