The dreams of stardom – today, Pacific Quay – tomorrow, the Beechgrove Garden!
Being waited on hand and foot by media executives, and pursued by them to front their latest projects.
Maybe even the next step – Hollywood, or at least River City!
All these hopes lie crushed in the dust.
I will not now be appearing on BBC Radio Scotland Sportsound this evening.
I thought, in view of all of the kind words I had received since mentioning it, that a wee post would be useful to explain what has happened, and also I will make a couple of predictions.
First, the “history”.
After mentioning my arrival on the media stage yesterday (when the stardust seemed so near …) I was made aware that some people seemed a little bit upset by the prospect of me appearing on the radio.
One commenter on a Rangers-supporters website (and of course I cannot say for certain that the person is a Rangers fan – he could be masquerading as such) knew where the blame for my appearance lay:-
“Opus dei at its most destructive. Hiding in plain sight.”
“The bhigots Broadcasting Corporation strike again. This needs the club to hit them had in the courts. It’s the only way to stop their crap”
Another gentleman seemed rather upset at the prospect:-
“McConville is confirming his appearance in his blog. I wont link it here. Makes me puke that the BBC are seeking to antagonise Rangers fans and the club in this way.”
“Has this been confirmed – If so its a disgrace. What purpose has this scumbag to Scottish football.
The BBC are now really taking their hatred of Rangers to a new level.
This is the point of no return”
The last comment tells me something. After all that the commenter has seen over the last year, or longer, to suggest that, in his eyes, the BBC “hates” Rangers, my appearance is the “point of no return”? Either my malign influence extends its tentacles far and wide, or the commenter needs to calm down. After all, why should the prospect of a radio show which Rangers fans do not listen to, as far as I am aware, disturb them on an evening when they are celebrating the anniversary of entering administration?
I was confused by a brief and to the point addition to the thread:-
“Is it some kind of schumbag extravaganza ?”
Sadly that commenter did not shed further light on his thoughts…
And we had another on similar lines to one before:-
“The Bigoted Broadcasting Corporation Scotland. FACT.”
On another site the original commenter made his position clear:-
“Obviously selected for his impartiality and probity, a disgraced solicitor and rabid Rangers hater offering up pearls of wisdom on how courageous, he and his fellow conspirators were in spreading lies and propaganda over the internet.
If BBC Scotland thinks this inflammatory nonsense will in any way bolster their failing parochial hate driven organisations listening figures, then they are even more deluded than I ever imagined.”
A concerned citizen chipped in with the following:-
“If true, and this reprobate does indeed show up on bbc (no doubt being paid for his time) a well written letter of complaint will be on its way to the director general. I have had enough of these clowns spouting their biased, libelous one sided nonsense at the license payers expense. I’m truly sick of it.
Brittney, Cosgrove et al, you will be reading these pages to satisfy your sense of self importance, so just to let ye know, you are a fuckin disgrace to the profession of journalism. True journalism is all about finding the facts and presenting them unedited and honestly, not twisting the facts to suit your own personal viewpoint. Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself honestly, do you like the man you have become?
Fukin 2nd rate the lot of ye, and I’m being generous at that.”
After a lengthy comment containing the text of a letter a commenter was sending to the Sun to protest at my appearance on the BBC, we then had the following:-
“It seemsto be the policy these days, the only policy to introduce anyone with a history of septic loving and Rangers hating on.
I don’t expect him to say much until he gets his feet firmly planted under the table. Other than bleating about septic, endlessly, the the rest of them.”
In case I missed the point, a later writer summed up his description of me as follows:-
“McConman is a rhabid papish, Rangers-hating Protestant-hating, British-hating fenian bastard.
Perfect for the BBC”
After a wee rant about Stuart Cosgrove, I was mentioned again:-
Now, it’s McConville. Cosgrove loved, worshipped the Rangers Tax Case blog, he was distraught at it’s sudden demise, thousands of cyber pages pulled within hours of the First Tier decision. Tonight, it will be happy nostalgia, Stuart and Paul can wallow in the warm waters of Rangers hating whilst once again offending Rangers supporters’ sensitivities.
We should find out the name of tonight’s show’s Producer, ultimately it is the Producer who decides on the guests. Let the Producer know you are offended.
And then we have:-
Isn’t it just an amazing coincidence that in this massive story about Rangers they never invite anybody who represents the club or the fans to such a forum?
Now that last comment is an interesting one. When the BBC produced who asked me on spoke to me, he mentioned that he was trying to get someone to represent the Rangers viewpoint, but that either the people were unavailable because of other commitments or were not taking his calls, or getting back to him.
I had been asked on to discuss the social media aspects of the story. I am seen by some as being in the knee-jerk anti-Rangers camp, or as my friend quoted above said “rhabid papish, Rangers-hating Protestant-hating, British-hating fenian bastard”.
I do not agree with him, but the social media angle clearly has at least two sides to the coin.
So it is entirely proper that the discussion be “balanced” if possible.
Secondly, the Plans Change
Unfortunately I have received a call an hour ago from a friendly BBC Radio Scotland Producer who has told me that, as a result of not being able to get someone on to “balance” the discussion, they are dropping it from tonight’s show.
One of the Rangers bloggers, Chris Graham, was, I was told, originally unable to take part because he was going to be in London.
He tweeted that he had been asked to appear and had declined as he was unavailable, and then was asked again, according to him, to replace me on the panel, but refused because of the makeup of the discussion.
I can well understand why a veteran, comparatively, of TV studios like Mr Graham would be asked on instead of a novice like me – with one 5 minute segment on Good Morning Scotland a few years back, when clearly no other lawyer picked up his phone.
Now, I don’t know who else was to be on the programme other than the presenter, Stuart Cosgrove. I see one site suggesting that the discussion in that part of the show was to consist of Mr Cosgrove, myself and Andy Muirhead of Scotzine.
Now, if Mr Graham is correct, and I have no reason to doubt what he says, he was asked to come on to replace me, but refused due to the makeup of the panel?
In any event I suspect that the people who could have commented on the social media aspects of the Rangers story will be glued to their televisions for the exclusive Rangers TV production documenting the fall and rise of the greatest football team in the history of the galaxy”.
As the helpful BBC Producer also made clear, there is no place in the BBC for allowing contributors to dictate with whom they are willing to debate. It is not for the guests to tell the broadcaster how to make up their panels or present their programmes.
That seems to imply that that was what the BBC thought Mr Graham was doing (and if the inference I have drawn is incorrect then I apologise).
Thirdly, what are my predictions?
Number 1 – I predict that, as soon as this blog post goes up, there will be crowing and celebrations on the basis that the “rhabid papish, Rangers-hating Protestant-hating, British-hating fenian bastard” is being deprived of the “oxygen of publicity”.
This will be seen as a vindication of the power of the fans and indeed an embodiment of Jim Traynor’s recent call to arms.
I do not believe for a second that the BBC decided to withdraw my invitation and drop the segment of the show because of pressure from Rangers fans.
Number 2 – some people will believe however that that has happened, and I suspect a few commenters on here might make that very point.
Fourthly, does this mean anything?
I must say that the prospect of the chauffeur driven limousine with the drinks cabinet filled with champagne coming to collect me for the show and then bring me back home* was a pleasing one, and I am said not to have that chance, but you never know what will happen in the future.
More importantly that that (what, more important than the limo) there are some serious points to be made.
How does the BBC deal with a situation where the representatives of one view refuse to engage with those perceived as being their opponents? What happens next time the BBC try to have this same discussion? Who will be “acceptable” to the Rangers spokespeople?
I do not believe that this is part of any concerted plan. I think that the suggestions that Celtic are behind a carefully crafted strategy of using Twitterers and bloggers to get the official view from Parkhead across unofficially is nonsense. Yes, I am sure that there might be one or two who have close connections, but does that make me, for example, part of the “plan”? No it doesn’t.
Equally I do not think that instructions went out from Ibrox on the “orange phone” telling everyone to refuse to engage with the BBC on this. If it did, then that is actually a real story, and I do not believe it happened that way.
What is interesting is a comparison of the reaction to my proposed appearance with that to the proposed serialisation by the Sun of Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s book, Downfall. Phil’s interview in the Sun provoked a huge and angry response from Rangers fans with, as an apparent result, the serialisation being pulled.
(I am writing what is a lengthy piece regarding that episode and the misrepresentation by some of the Press Complaints Commission verdict, which will appear, at some stage [if I ever finish it, that is].)
There is no comparison in scale between what Phil endured and what I have received, and I am not suggesting that there is.
However, the wiser spokesmen for Rangers (and I mean in an unofficial sense) made it clear after the fact that it was not their aim to prevent free speech, or to deprive Mr Mac Giolla Bhain of his right to make his views known, but that their aim was simply to make sure that readers knew of his views, or at least what his opponents characterised his views as.
On the same basis I suspect that wise heads of the blue persuasion will appear saying that of course it was never anyone’s intention to prevent me speaking, or to have me dropped from the programme – instead they just wanted people to know that I was a “rhabid papish, Rangers-hating Protestant-hating, British-hating fenian bastard”.
(By the way – another prediction – someone on one of the sites I have referred to earlier will say that me repeating that phrase shows that it has “got to” me and that the “truth hurts”.)
The friendly BBC man said that he hoped they could organise the discussion, or one on similar issues, in the future, and I agreed. He assured me that the BBC would not back down to threats or campaigns, and I believe him.
It would be ironic if, at 6.20pm tonight, I turn on Radio Scotland to hear a discussion about the social media impact on the Rangers story! (But I am sure that I won’t.)
So the orders for the speedboat and for the open topped Maserati have been cancelled – the jars of caviar and the bottles of Krug have gone back to the shop, and tomorrow, rather than being PAUL MCCONVILLE – RADIO PERSONALITY, I will still be only Paul McConville – “rhabid papish, Rangers-hating Protestant-hating, British-hating fenian bastard”.
Posted by Paul McConville
- The reference to the chauffeur driven limousine etc was said in jest, before someone tries to embroil me in a BBC extravagance story. The plan was for me to take the train to the Exhibition Centre and walk across the bridge – glamorous, eh!