Every Celtic supporter, and many people who aren’t but can’t escape those only too willing and eager to inform, is fully acquainted with the story of how the club was founded. Even if there’s been some romantic gloss applied over the intervening years, the basic facts remain; that the club was formally constituted by Brother Walfrid in St. Mary’s church hall in East Rose Street “with the purpose of alleviating poverty in the East End of Glasgow by raising money for the charity, the Poor Children’s Dinner Table”. A more worthy reason for establishing a football club cannot be imagined, so how did it come to pass that 128 years later we have a director of the club happily engaged in the act of stealing food from the dinner tables of poor children?
I am of course referring to Ian Livingston, now known as Baron Livingston of Parkhead since 2013, for services to kicking little matchstick girls into snow drifts presumably, who serves as Tory Shitpot of State for Trade and Investment. Livingston, who was appointed to the Celtic board in 2007, once famously quipped that if Oliver had asked him for a second bowl of gruel he would have sold the uppity urchin for medical experiments, then burned the cash in front of a destitute family of ragged Syrian refugees. Ok no he didn’t but if he had then it would have pretty much fitted in with the Tory values he clearly holds so dear.
An example of those values came on Monday 26 October when Livingston, swathed in his new puppy skin suit, voted in favour of cutting tax credits for the poorest families in the country, with the intention of grabbing a piddling £1,300 out of their pockets. Unhappily for chancellor George Osborne, the government lost the vote, or more accurately had their intention of prying open children’s mouths and clawing their lunch back out delayed until politicians can agree on how little of that food should be left in. Now Osborne engages in this kind of repulsive behaviour mainly due to the fact that he’s allegedly a deranged coke addict who spends most of his days spinning around in circles on the carpet of No.11 Downing Street, but Livingston on the other hand is just a complete evil, hypocritical bastard.
As the E-tims has already stated: “Whilst sitting on the board of a club he professes to support, one set up to put food on the tables of the poor, Conservative Ian Paul Livingston decided that he thinks it’s better that things should turn full circle and go back to the way they were. I’m surprised he doesn’t own a firm of chimney sweeps, and is looking to employ some kids to do the insides.” Only if they’re nailed to the brush handles presumably, brushes being relatively expensive in comparison, and with all these hungry poor fighting for scraps in the streets, well why not make use of a plentiful resource? Poor Brother Walfrid, if there is an afterlife he’s no doubt being brought up in front St Peter for use of intemperate language.
But why are we really surprised? It’s not as if Livingston is the only Tory on the Celtic board, and in fact they all probably lurk in that particular pit; the Lord of the Foodbanks due to his recent act of vicious spite is only the latest one to sit in the spotlight of shame. For example there’s Thomas Allison who in 2013 joined the Strathclyde Commission, a Tory group set up by Scottish leader Ruth Davidson to find the best way of sabotaging Scottish home rule. The terms of reference being to ensure that Holyrood could not avoid the kind of cuts being waged on the poor and vulnerable down south, and to transfer the blame for those cuts from the Tories to the Scottish government.
The plan to (nearly) fully devolve just income tax and some welfare benefits, was of course designed to put any Scottish government on the spot when Westminster consequently slashed the block grant. With only income tax as a way of raising revenue to offset the worst of the cuts, a Scottish government would be forced to massively raise income tax, or to implement savage cuts. Ruth and her fellow Tories clearly feel that there are too many Scottish toddlers avoiding rickets and pensioners avoiding the annual winter cull.
Then of course we come to the club’s major shareholder and stereotype cartoon villain look-alike, Dermot Desmond. When not engaged in political sleaze scandals in Ireland or betting £1m on a coin toss, Desmond has been known to occasionally throw a handful of thousand pound notes in the begging bowl of the Tory Party. In 2007 for example Venson Automotive Solutions Ltd, owned by Desmond, handed over a cheque for £50,000 to the Tories which they then threw onto a pile marked “bribes, to be processed”. Desmond being Irish could not donate directly, so the use of a British registered company made is all peachy and legal.
Desmond’s commitment to the values of Brother Walfrid are not exactly in question, especially after the Winterbourne View scandal in 2011. The scandal led to an expose of the predatory nature of equity companies buying up care homes and residential hospitals, cutting expenditure to the bone and then raking in huge profits to the sound of clinking champagne glasses and the miserable screams of residents. Winterborne was owned by Castlebeck Care which was bought up by Swiss based Lydian Capital Partnership in 2006. Lydian Capital Partnership was in turn backed by an investment consortium including JP McManus, John Magnier and Dermot Desmond who were also investors in a Jersey investment vehicle called Grove Limited, controller of the Barchester Healthcare empire.
Then there’s Ian Bankier who as Chairman of Glenkeir Whiskies Limited led the bold fight by the suits against Independence in last year’s referendum and signed the letter by 130 of the country’s top Tories, sorry I meant “business leaders” that stated that we were really physically close England, and thus voting for independence would ruin this main market by moving us to somewhere near Kamchatka. The letter stated that “the rest of the UK is Scotland’s biggest market by far”, but no doubt Bankier skipped over that bit since Scotland’s biggest market for whisky is in fact France – 180m bottles compared to the UK market or around 80m bottles.
Another stout defender of the Union is the notorious Brian Wilson, a man who seems to be part of the furniture at Celtic Park and about as much use. Wilson when not extolling the virtues of nuclear power and lobbying for the aviation sector against climate change measures, as chair of lobby group Flying Matters, is a regular talking head on TV as he froths at the mouth while swivelling his eyes in a deranged manner during independence debates. Wilson once produced a small kitten live on air during the BBC’s completely objective debate, “Independence – dangerous or just really mental”, then stabbed it to death while screaming “this will happen to every kitten in Scotland if Alex Salmond gets his way!” Wait that might have been a nightmare, I’ll have to check on that.
The consequences of midnight cheese on toast aside, the fact is that Celtic FC is a club run by Tories, and Tories are complete immoral vermin who believe in little else but their own self-interests – that’s why they’re Tories. So why the hue and cry over the Evil Baron’s vote to deprive poor children of food and clothing? What did you really expect? After all we’re talking about a club that just pays lip service to its heritage, well because it pretty much has to. A club that won’t pay its staff the Living Wage because this might impact on the money that can be wasted bringing in non-entities to the playing staff, who then get quietly shuffled out the door at a considerable loss in a manner so routine that it’s barely worth noticing any more. It is in other words just another exploitative, capitalist company run by dead-eyed Tories who signed away their souls and arrive at CP in limos stained with the blood of street urchins who were too slow to dive over walls when they saw the cars coming. What did you really, really expect?
I’d have more respect for the mob waving pitchforks and burning torches if many of them wouldn’t withdraw back to their villages if the club announced it would boot out Livingston but due to some bizarre pact with Satan, it would mean losing the league this season. The angry mob would disperse more quickly than the clientele in a strip bar when Teresa May takes the stage. We all saw how the much vaunted morality of the support evaporated into the ether when the odious John Reid was disgracefully appointed chairman, “What’s that? 1m dead in Iraq? Yeah it’s a shame but, Reid’s contacts will help with the club with work permits”.
So let’s not kid ourselves here, the club founded by Walfrid and all the principles that went with it is no more and hasn’t been for a long time. The club is now run by those who can wade through the immorality of capitalist excess and don’t mind getting soaked, and for most of the time this is perfectly fine with the support. In bars up and down the land you can listen to the wondrous tales of how this magnificent bunch of besuited geniuses have the accounts looking good enough to eat off, followed by a near breathless voice continuing that those in the comfy seats can do this due to their “fine business acumen”. Not for us the financial meltdown, oh no, our suits are better than their suits by far. We’ll take numbing mediocrity and count our blessings, thank you very much.
What happened to other once cherished aspects of the club? The Celtic Way was forgotten about when the unnecessary need to grind out results season after season brought home the silverware. The burning ambition that was said to be part of the bones of the club withered away after being impaled on the spikes of “the model designed to protect the club from the inherent unpredictability of football”. For everything and anything can be and will be sacrificed in the name of expediency, and as long as he club keeps winning then directors can go on heating their homes by burning the corpses of little matchstick girls to the sound of petitions being flung up and ignored. We long ago sold our collective soul piece by piece as demonic laughter wafted out from the boardroom, and we did so willingly, it’s probably far too late for regrets now.
One last thing, I’m not sure if Peter Lawwell is a Tory but even if he admitted it I’d need at least 7 independent sources of confirmation until I believed him.