Scottish Media Failure Exposed

Veteran Scottish journalist Robbie Dinwoodie writes: “…in 42 years in print journalism I have never come across a worse failure of a newspaper to back a writer than that of The Herald and Graham Spiers” and asks: “Who’s next in line for the bully boys?”

It seems we didn’t have long to wait for an answer.

Next in line is Angela Haggerty, editor of Common Space and Sunday Herald columnist, unceremoniously ditched by the Herald editor Magnus Llewellin after pressure from the Rangers board. The reason? She was told that “representatives of the Rangers board” threatened legal action after she expressed solidarity with Graham Spiers on Twitter, who himself was under attack for writing a column about Rangers. See Graham’s statement about the affair here.

This is nothing less than disgraceful intimidation by Rangers FC aimed at silencing critical voices. It has no place in a Scottish democracy and should be condemned by all regardless of affiliation or club support. Haggerty writes: “The irony of this happening less than a week after my column about intimidation at the hands of Rangers fans is just beyond belief and I’m feeling quite upset about the whole thing tonight. I’ve been sacked simply for expressing support for a fellow journalist. They’ve just reinforced the mob mentality.”

Haggerty told us: “I’m deeply saddened and disappointed by this decision. This is a very dark day for freedom of the press in Scotland. This dangerously reinforces the behaviour of all of those who have targeted me since 2012 with racist and misogynistic abuse, as well as more sinister threats and harassment. At times I genuinely fear for my safety in this environment. The only positive that can come from this is for all of us to respond with an even louder message: we will not be intimidated, we will not be silenced and these campaigns of harassment have no place in Scotland. It has gone on for far too long.”

Robbie Dinwoodie explaining the Graham Spiers case writes: “Yesterday this apology was carried by the newspaper’s website: “In a recent column for heraldscotland, Graham Spiers said an un-named Rangers director had praised the song The Billy Boys. “He also questioned the willingness of Rangers directors to tackle offensive behaviour, and The Herald and Graham Spiers accept this was inaccurate.” But Spiers, himself a Rangers supporter who was once given police advice on threats from the club’s fanatics, did not and does not accept this. “My opinion – as expressed in my column – was based on a truthful account of my meeting with a Rangers director,” he insisted yesterday in a statement saying “the pressure brought upon the newspaper became severe.”

Let’s be clear, what’s at stake here is not the sensibility of one writer, or one football club, the principle of free speech is under threat by the total weakness and culpability of the Herald newspaper editor. He should be protecting and supporting his writing staff not capitulating to threats.

The club’s track record on bans and intimidation is well-known. The BBC’s Chris McLaughlin was last year banned for including in his match report of a Rangers – Hibs match mentions of three arrests for sectarian singing.

This ban has recently been just been re-instated with the BBC issuing the following statement: “BBC Scotland said: “We are disappointed that Rangers took the decision to ban our reporter Chris McLaughlin from Ibrox. We believe it is unjustifiable and we stand by the integrity and the quality of our journalism.  We will continue to report on Rangers both on and off the pitch and will feature match action where appropriate but, until this issue is resolved, we will not be sending journalists to Ibrox or attending Rangers’ press conferences.”

At least in this instance a media outlet had the good sense to support their journalist. In Haggerty and Spiers case they have just capitulated. It will be interesting to see what the SPFL, the NUJ, Scottish PEN and the wider Scottish football community’s response is to this. Bella Caledonia can only offer complete solidarity to both writers. Angela Haggerty’s Sunday Herald column will be appearing in these pages instead of in print on Sunday. We hope you will read it here.


Comments (171)

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  1. Iain Bartholomew says:

    These actions by the Herald beggar belief. Not only do they legitimise the disgraceful actions of a mob, but they strengthen those misconceived rationales and embolden the aggressors.


    1. David Caledonia says:

      What a disgraceful way to behave, if journalists cant write what they see, without being victimised by the people they work for , we may as well shut the whole lot of them down, and we can do something by not buying any paper that thinks integrity and honesty are negotiable

      1. Maggie Lawson says:

        Oh dear , a journalist apologised in print then trashed his apology publicly making a complete fool of his editor and his paper . Shame on him . Just for the record he had originally misreported a situation anyway which caused the apology to be made . So he wasn’t “truthful” at all it seems .

        1. BigAl says:

          Spiers did NOT apologise – his dishonest editor put those words in his mouth and the article containing those words was immediately disowned by Spiers.

        2. george mcgrory says:

          i think we can all guess what you will be doing on the 12th july

        3. Neil Gallagher says:

          Speirs reported the truth and was punished by his editor because of Sevco’s threat of withdrawing funding advertising, that’s the TRUTH.

        4. David MacGille-Mhuire says:

          Ms Lawson
          May I ask you your affiliation, please?

          Are you, by any chance, professionally affiliated (and paid?) by a PR associated institution, organization, or party linked to any group – formal or informal – connected to any body, formally or informally constituted, to this pathetic saga?

          That’ll be a No?

          Me,too (if you believe me in my absolute loathing of all things fitba’/soccer related and who would gaol any trespasser of the public peace in a football jersey or, at least, make them wear a ping-pong top in public by way of compensation for their guttersnipe behaviour encouraged by their guttersnipe clubs).

          Somehow and forgive me, but I smell the ordure of a particular newspaper group wafting from your comment as per the “Still Gemme” TV series, I fondly believe.

        5. Jo says:

          Not true. He simply protected his source.

        6. Paul says:

          You are incorrect and showing your true colours and obviouse bias. The problem lies with your club and culture within as GS alluded too in his article, but as the old saying goes ” don’t let the truth get in the way of your thinking”

        7. kailyard rules says:

          Maggie , is that an additional verse to “Hello Hello we are the Billy Boys ” ?

        8. Ian says:

          Wish you and rest of your sevco pals would just accept that you tupped over all the bile and bigotry from the oldco and we are onto you. This is 2016 not 1690.

        9. Mary says:

          Disgraceful! It doesn’t help when readers misinterpret the situation. Speirs did not report inaccurately. He did not apologise. His Editor had already capitulated to the mob mentality instead of supporting his staff. Speirs is within his rights to refute the apology.
          The press should be free & they should be reporting accurately instead of pandering to an audience who want to create stories. The press are controlled by money & the bias of those who hold the cheque book.

  2. Scott young says:

    If rangers were an animal you would take it to the vet and put it out of its misery. As a life long rangers fan the club have become

    1. big basher says:

      Maybe start reporting on the other mob than targeting one club? Hmmm just a thought ladies 😀

    2. Paul says:

      There are a lot of decent Rangers fans I know many as most people do. The problem is that the percentage of extremists is alarming, possibly bolstered by the Ulster mob that travel to support them, I have a close friend who gave up his season ticket many years ago simply for this reason alone, yes Celtic have their share also, however as a percentage it is considerably less than Rangers.

  3. Arthur Wilson says:

    I have been a Rangers supporters for over 60 years.

    The people running the club are a disgrace to the name. I will not be back to Ibrox as this is not the club i love.

    Shameful behaviour by the Herald. I will never buy that rag again.

    1. David McCann says:

      Me too. I could never go back to Ibrox.

      1. Davie says:

        Been to 100+ games myself. Just had an epiphany one afternoon when, rather than ignoring the bile around me as usual, I just realised how absurdly bigoted an atmosphere it was.

        I stopped going but still looked out for them on TV. Then found out they don’t pay their tax, then the stuff in the stands in the lead up to the referendum, then George Square.

        I now can’t wait for the next liquidation.

    2. Paul says:

      That’s a shame Arthur, it is time for the decent Rangers fans to take the club back from the bigots there is enough of you to put this in action.

  4. Colin Mackay says:

    Certainly won’t be buying the Sunday Herald anymore. It’s annoying because it really delivers and is head and shoulders above most papers. If this is what goes on at the top however, It would be wrong to continue to support it.

    1. David McCann says:

      My understanding is that the the Sunday Herald was not involved. It was the Herald, so as long as the Sunday Herald is allowed to continue to support independence, then please continue support it.

      1. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

        You’re correct David. Also support The National.

      2. Mary Duncan says:

        Get Real! The Herakd is truly compromised.

  5. Sweep says:

    Will that be the original article, Mike?

  6. Gavin says:

    Why does Magnus Llewellin have any say over who works on the Sunday Herald? I thought it was a different operation, with its own editor.

  7. Gavin says:

    Time for Llewellin to go. He has ruined this newspaper.

  8. Redgauntlet says:

    Spiers is a first class journalist and Glasgow Rangers are an aberration of nature, period…

    …as for Angela, a woman threatened and intimidated, my heart goes out to her. Let´s hope Scottish PEN takes this up like they do for repressed journalists the world over, and we can put The Herald in the their place. What a bunch…

    1. Drew Campbell says:

      I can inform you Scottish PEN will be taking this up. I’ve sent a personal e-mail of support to Angela, and one of our campaign team is planning to meet with her early next week. We’ve also written to the editor of the Herald; it will be interesting to see if our letter is published this weekend.

      Ironically, Scottish PEN has been working in partnership with the Herald to develop a campaign on reform of the law on defamation in Scotland. Suffice to say we will be meeting to discuss the implications of this dreadful decision.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Thanks, Drew, I expected nothing less from the guid folk ae Scottish PEN…champions of liberty and freedom of expression, the world oer…TODOS CON ANGELA….

      2. Wulls says:

        Can I ask what Scottish PEN will be doing ?????
        It appears that Graham Spiers “report” was based on an unprovable conversation. Does that not make the content gossip ???? I am no great supporter of the Heralds Editorial policy or competence but if a newspaper cannot prove what it publishes in court he did the correct thing in retracting.
        His mistake of course was publishing it in the first place, a mistake in which Graham Spiers was complicit.
        I’m struggling to see the nature of your complaint unless you want to see journalists publishing any lot tosh they like with impunity.
        The herald used to be better than that.

    2. Mary Duncan says:

      I certainly will never buy another Herald. The only newspaper I would/ did buy.

  9. Moira Macaulay says:

    I cannot believe the Herald give in to bully boy tactics. What an example to young people. Well done to Graham Spiers and Angela Haggerty for standing up for free speech. People keep writing that we cannot do without a strong Rangers. I for one am happy to watch football in their absence. So much for the ‘cleansing’ required. It strikes me that No Lessons have been Learnt by this club

  10. George Clark says:

    What I find particularly sad is that it isn’t that many years ago that The Herald was my newspaper of choice as it could always be relied on for balance and independence of thought.

    Their fallen standards are very clearly indicated in their falling circulation.

  11. kevin says:

    Sure, allow rangers to stand firm for the Union, don’t rule against them at a time when we’re fighting against rancid Nationalism, send out the strongest possible message that rangers are not subject to laws and not accountable to anyone, let the people know the Union is strong as long as rangers defend it.

    I’ll have 2 x very powerful SNP votes in May, I’ll be continuing to help fragment this busted and corrupt Union. The team known as ‘Rangers’ will be accountable in an independent Scotland.

    1. SFTB says:

      They will be accountable in an independent Scotland?? Really?? Will we be suddenly blessed with a cure for diarrhoea too?

      It was the SFA not the FA who ignored their rules, administered a secret 5 way agreement, and promoted the Continuity Myth with gusto.

      It was a Scottish Judge, Lord Nimmo Smith, not an English one, who managed the SFA set-up enquiry and managed to accept evidence that would stretch the credulity of a 5 year old.

      It was two out of three Scottish tax experts who found in their favour before they lost the case when it was taken out of Scottish influence.

      And it would have been an extreme embarrassment for the Yes movement 20 months ahead of the referendum to lose one of its biggest sporting institutions. Alex Salmond has not hesitated to interfere with football if it advantages his cause. He will have given strong encouragement to those proposing the secretive 5 way agreement as he would not want Rangers dying on his watch after Scotland’s losing record in Argentina scuppered the Devolution referendum.

      Neil Lennon knows how Scottish justice operates and his jury will have contained a proportionate level of Yes voters. An individual Scotsman is, in no way, morally or ethically superior to an Englishman on average. It is in fact the English judiciary whose judgements have been truly disinterested and fair in this case. Scottish influence in the Media, judicial and political classes have helped to keep a shroud of secrecy and denial around the football suicide of mid-2012.

      1. Olly Bath says:

        Having reluctantly left Scotland in 1992 to pursue a career in teaching I have been in England for nearly 24 years. I miss the open friendliness of Scots but one relevant thing that I have seen as breath of fresh air in the sporting world is the media down here report what they see. Yes they support teams, yes they are ex players commenting but they can rise above partisan feelings. Scotland! Any controversial issue everyone falls into line with the script. I remember when the Albion Rovers goalkeeper either fell into the goal or was pushed into the goal with the ball. On BBC radio scotland around 8 people were asked their opinion. Surprise, surprise all of them hid behind the predictable script, it really is sad. NO one grabs the nettle. When Boruc was at the wind up blessing himself in 2009 at Ibrox no one but no one was brave enough to say why in the post modern society of today are people allowing themselves to wound up by such an action. i heard mature sounding adults bemoaning the actions but the question why does that anger you was never asked. Even this week with so many people interested in this story (look at the number of comments on this article radio clyde and radio scotland kept very quiet on it. I suppose like the Herald they will (and Hugh Keevins did) say that due to the legal side of the incident nothing can be said about it on the air waves. The solution. i think the media need a fresh broom of young journalists who will just comment on what happens, say it as it is and leave the dinosaurs behind. The vast majority of the public I believe want that. Older journos in my view are being held back by a fear of a noisy minority who are gradually diminishing in number.

  12. Andy Borland says:

    How pleased the fascist underclass of the Rangers support must be to have their views mirrored by the Rangers directors.

    As for the Sunday Herald, if they are incapable of supporting their journalists then they should have no expectation for the continued support of their readership.

  13. Patrick says:

    Obviously Llewellin has done his sums on the back of a fag packet. His bottom line is not about the independence of the press nor the search for truth. He has sacrificed two respected journalists to appease the shareholders and try to arrest the downward spiral of sales of a newspaper that is now a poor imitation of Andrex . Casting my eye over the Twitter responses to this outrageous and ill conceived action on his part I note that he has indeed appealed to the ‘get it up ye ya bam’ section of the community….He is now in direct competition with the rags. I await his page three beauty.

  14. David says:

    Poor piece Mike, weird piece. Club not dealt with other who criticise (see Richard Wilson’s piece) in this manner. Speirs has been seen by many Rangers fans to have lied and manipulated facts for years. Also are you not connected to AH through Common Space? Vested interest / nepotism? She also connected to a man described as “being tarred by a sectarian brush”. Other clubs have banned and impacted journalists in this way, DUNDEE United and Celtic the most resent examples. This is not a new tactic, and in not the threat to Scottish democracy just the club finally having enough of a a man see as a troll disguised as a journalist by many, who abuses that fine profession. Journalists have a responsibility to inform, report and share their views on what what they think and see based on evidence, not goad, provoke and make “stuff” up, as many Rangers fans feel. This type of piece in pure hyperbole, reinforces prejudice (see some of the posts above, “bigots” “facist underclass”) and does not inform debate, but just throws more shit around a darkened room.

    Some of the highlights quoted from else where

    One of my earliest memories was his blatant lie that Rangers fans sang (about German superstar Jurgen) “Klinsmann’s a Klansman” at Ibrox. Complete and utter bollocks. He further claimed that Rangers fans sang songs about the tragic death of former Celtic player Tommy Coyne’s wife. Complete fabrication. Another contention of his was that former Ranger Ian Ferguson had “all the charm of a child molester”. A pleasant analogy I’m sure you’d agree. I would wager that Spiers would not express his strikingly odd views during a face-to-face meeting with our former midfielder.

    In July 1996 whilst with Scotland On Sunday he penned a deplorable attack on the late great Jock Wallace the day after he passed away, the inference being that Wallace was a bully and a bigot and responsible for sectarianism in Scottish football. Spiers twisted insinuations flew completely in the face of former Celtic captain Andy Lynch who said this on hearing of Wallace’s passing “He would always take the time (prior to Old Firm encounters) in the nervy pre-match atmosphere, be it at Parkhead or Ibrox, to come and give me a warm handshake or hug and sincere best wishes……smart, kind and sensitive. He will be sadly missed.”

    Lisbon Lion Tommy Gemmell echoed Lynch’s sentiments “It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you were on, I don’t think you will find anyone in Scottish football who had a bad word to say about him. It was always a pleasure to be in his company and talk to him. His crack was different class.” Almost correct Tommy. You WILL find someone who has a bad word to say about him. Graham Spiers.

    Bad-mouthing deceased Rangers heroes has since become a theme for this creature. He has written disrespectful articles on late greats Bill Struth, Jim Baxter and Davie Cooper. Of course as with Wallace none of them were here to defend themselves. Spiers wrote the following on the eve last seasons’ League Cup Final against Motherwell, a game dedicated to Coop’s memory:

    “More remarkable, though, amid the media and marketing frenzy surrounding the game, is the way the memory of Cooper’s career has become lodged halfway between legend and myth………..One problem with the Davie Cooper legend is that, as with many public personalities who die young and become subject to mythology, it doesn’t wholly square with the facts of his career. For a so-called “genius”, you would certainly have expected Cooper, who died at 39, to have won more than his 22 international caps.”

    To write the above just hours prior to a game played in tribute to Davie where his family would be in attendance was nothing short of despicable.

    On Struth: “Bill Struth was either an idol or an idiot depending on your point of view”. There you are Mr. Murray, according to Speirs you may have unveiled a statue of an idiot at half-time during the Moenchengladbach game.
    Spiers had started his one-man campaign of anti-Rangers bile long before he joined the Herald. One of my earliest memories was his blatant lie that Rangers fans sang (about German superstar Jurgen) “Klinsmann’s a Klansman” at Ibrox. Complete and utter bollocks. He further claimed that Rangers fans sang songs about the tragic death of former Celtic player Tommy Coyne’s wife. Complete fabrication. Another contention of his was that former Ranger Ian Ferguson had “all the charm of a child molester”. A pleasant analogy I’m sure you’d agree. I would wager that Spiers would not express his strikingly odd views during a face-to-face meeting with our former midfielder.

    In July 1996 whilst with Scotland On Sunday he penned a deplorable attack on the late great Jock Wallace the day after he passed away, the inference being that Wallace was a bully and a bigot and responsible for sectarianism in Scottish football. Spiers twisted insinuations flew completely in the face of former Celtic captain Andy Lynch who said this on hearing of Wallace’s passing “He would always take the time (prior to Old Firm encounters) in the nervy pre-match atmosphere, be it at Parkhead or Ibrox, to come and give me a warm handshake or hug and sincere best wishes……smart, kind and sensitive. He will be sadly missed.”

    Lisbon Lion Tommy Gemmell echoed Lynch’s sentiments “It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you were on, I don’t think you will find anyone in Scottish football who had a bad word to say about him. It was always a pleasure to be in his company and talk to him. His crack was different class.” Almost correct Tommy. You WILL find someone who has a bad word to say about him. Graham Spiers.

    Bad-mouthing deceased Rangers heroes has since become a theme for this creature. He has written disrespectful articles on late greats Bill Struth, Jim Baxter and Davie Cooper. Of course as with Wallace none of them were here to defend themselves. Spiers wrote the following on the eve last seasons’ League Cup Final against Motherwell, a game dedicated to Coop’s memory:

    “More remarkable, though, amid the media and marketing frenzy surrounding the game, is the way the memory of Cooper’s career has become lodged halfway between legend and myth………..One problem with the Davie Cooper legend is that, as with many public personalities who die young and become subject to mythology, it doesn’t wholly square with the facts of his career. For a so-called “genius”, you would certainly have expected Cooper, who died at 39, to have won more than his 22 international caps.”

    To write the above just hours prior to a game played in tribute to Davie where his family would be in attendance was nothing short of despicable.

    On Struth: “Bill Struth was either an idol or an idiot depending on your point of view”. There you are Mr. Murray, according to Speirs you may have unveiled a statue of an idiot at half-time during the Moenchengladbach game.

    1. Andy Borland says:

      Congratulations David in entirely missing the point of the article.

      A Sunday Herald journalist has been sacked from her job on account of the actions of directors of the football club you clearly support.

      Threatening legal action, to which the Herald has shamelessly succumbed, on account of Angela Haggerty merely tweeting her support for Graham Spiers, should be conduct any right-thinking person would oppose.

      Especially if they have any concern or wish to see the freedom of free speech in Scottish life maintained.

      The same freedom you’ve utilised to provide your rambling diatribe against Graham Spiers.

      It’s not rocket science is it?

      1. David says:

        missing the point, think you may be. He has been sacked for, in their view, not telling the truth. As for AH, she stepped out of line with a company position ….. I’m just sharing background and history to provide context around his history with my club. This is not about free speech but the care those in journalistic positions should exercise when using it.

        1. Andy Borland says:

          Try keeping up David.

          Graham Spiers has not been sacked. Angela Haggerty, though, has.

        2. yesindyref2 says:

          David, the article is about Angela Haggerty being sacked, ostensibly just for tweeting support for Graham Spiers.

          1. Andy Borland says:

            No doubt David is ecstatically putting up the bunting as we speak.

            Graham Spiers has resigned from the Herald.

      2. Willie says:

        You`re missing the point. graham speirs had no proof of what a Rangers director was alleged to have said, therefore the herald couldn`t support what turned out to be lies. If the herald had not apologised they would have then left themselves open to a hefty payout. speirs is being disingenous in trying to remove his name from said apology. Freedom of speech is not the issue here. Haggerty, while employed as a blogger, brought her downfall upon herself by not recognising said apology leaving the employer no option but to fire her


        1. Andy Borland says:

          You seem a bit confused Willie.

          Graham Spiers didn’t have any proof of what a Rangers director said, apart from the proof provided by his ears.
          He reported what he said.

          As a multi award winning journalist, I’m more than happy to accept his reporting on this.

          As you weren’t there to hear what was said, your description of Spiers as a liar is groundless.

          At no time has the Herald stated that they didn’t believe their journalist.

          This whole tawdry episode is very much about freedom of speech.

          Your football club refuses to accept this from journalists like Spiers and won’t accept criticism of the element of your support which continues with sectarian behaviour; henceforth they either ban them or threaten their employers with legal action.

          Incidentally, the Herald’s apology was against his wishes, hence why he has now resigned.

        2. Jo says:

          Not true Willie.

          The conversation between Spiers and the director was a private one. No witnesses. The Herald’s issue was that it could not successfully go to court and defend the column on that basis. The problem was clearly a legal one and it does not mean that Spiers told “lies”.

          1. Jim Alexander says:

            The facts are straightforward

            Graham Spiers should not have written the article without have some proof of the allegation – that’s poor journalism – The Herald Editor on that basis should never have allowed it to be published – on the basis of No proof the Herald had to withdraw the article & apologise

            On this basis the Herald has a right for there decision not to be publicly undermined by employees – ie Angela Haggerty – if she disagreed with the decision she resigns and states why – she cannot publicly be at odds with the Herald Management and still expect to be paid

            This says more about poor journalistic standards than anything else – if you said that the Head of a Major Supermarket thought a Product range was crap and published without proof of the statement then you would have to retract & apologise – the reaction says more about the people involved than the facts of the case – Rangers are a Brand – they have a duty to protect that Brand image – you print something without supporting evidence you have to retract & apologise

          2. jimmywhite says:

            Do you honestly believe that image is worth protecting? Don’t you think the directors would be better served by taking on and paying heed to the criticism and then taking action, therefore enhancing that image?.. just a thought.

          3. Why would Graham Spiers make this up? What motivation would he possibly have for this?

    2. tickle says:

      Great to see you playing the man not the ball there.

      You should go and work for the BBC mate.

    3. Joe kerr says:

      Ever since the days when rangers, incredibly in the modern era, refused to sign Catholics, pseudo intellectuals have tried to justify this vile organisation rangers football club as their ilk in northern Ireland still hold firm against gay marriage. The sooner this wonderful country rids itself of these smallminded throw backs to the past, along with their counterparts in Fairhead, the sooner we will mature as a country and society.

    4. gerry says:

      if he was to upset ian ferguson ? your’e saying speirs would be beaten up
      that sums you and rangers up

  15. jimmywhite says:

    Very hard to understand, is the editor afraid? Has he become embroiled in something he can’t get out of, who knows why an editor of a major outlet would act so recklessly, most likely he is simply terrified, very sad indeed but its not as if it hasn’t been obvious that the SMSM has not exactly been independant for some time now.

  16. Andrew Wilson says:

    it certainly looks just as Kevin describes. I am truly sorry that Graham Spiers and Alison Taggerty have been treated in this way; please do not give up the fight, you are speaking up for many many of us, and many fitba fans, who want a level playing field so their own teams are given a fair chance. It’s called “cothrom an Feinne”
    in Gaelic (Finn the Gaidheal’s chance), guess thats me on the hate list then!

  17. Quarmby says:

    This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. The Herald has long been frothing-at-the-mouth rabidly Unionist, and any pretence that the Sunday Herald’s late-in-the-day ‘conversion’ to independence-supporting during the latter stages of the Referendum has long been abandoned as the SNP-BAD agenda of the daily is increasingly reflected in the Sunday Edition.

    One only has to look at today’s edition of The Herald, with its shameless backing of vile misogynistic Unionist troll Brian Spanner’s twitter chum J K Rowling’s faux howls of outrage when it was pointed out by Natalie McGarry that Rowling’s online friendship with such an excrescence beggared belief. So no-one should be surprised by the news that The Herald’s actions, according to Haggerty, “dangerously reinforces the behaviour of all of those who have targeted me since 2012 with racist and misogynistic abuse, as well as more sinister threats and harassment. ”

    The Herald is as toxic a presence in Scotland as Spanner and Rowling, and recent staff layoffs would suggest that it is paying the price commercially. Help speed that process up – stop buying The Herald, The Sunday Herald, and Newsquest’s other purely commercial and pretend-Indy supporting wheeze, The National. Scotland has an enormous democratic deficit in terms of its news media, both print and broadcast, which cannot be meaningfully addressed as long as Scotland is part of the Union and the bulk of the news media operating here are having their strings pulled from corporate and State entities based in England. And whilst one may have sympathy for Ms Haggerty’s predicament, it must also be said that far too many Scots ‘journalists’ are only too happy to collude with what’s rotten at the heart of the profession in Scotland today.

    1. Alan says:

      I hope we’re going to be treated to an article on Spanner here: who is and who his pals are. The MSM are being very quiet on the matter. Post links to the the Wings and ScotGoesPop blog coverage of the Rowling-McGarry story and the links are deleted. You don’t even get a little “This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards.” It never existed.

      1. Are you talking about on our Facebook group?

  18. David says:

    … And once more thing Mike you bring Bella, its ambitions, into the realm of our personal hatred of Rangers …. Publish this on your own blog, not one you edit on behalf of a community ….. This is not your personal platform to vent your own bias …. You have been brought to task about this in the past

    1. muttley79 says:

      Editor of a blog should not write an article and publish it on said blog argument? Utter bullshit. Must try much harder.

    2. kailyard rules says:

      Jawohl, Ubergrupencensor.

  19. Cú Chullain says:

    A country gets the press it deserves. Scottish newspapers, once among the world’s best, have shown themselves to be unfit for purpose. The people of Scotland have already turned their backs on them and voted with their wallets judging by the decline in circulation, a decline which shows no sign of being arrested.

    Pandering to the Rangers demographic in recent years has patently not worked. Stupidity allied to cowardice is a recipe for, dare I say, Armageddon?

  20. Jack says:

    Who can forget the Rangers branded Neanderthals (well, it’s the shirts they proudly wore) intimidating little girls in George Square the night of Indyref? The news photographs of nazi salutes behind a cordon of “sympathetic – we’re one of you” Scottish Police Officers? The Heralds myopic reticence to actually report who was responsible and what was really going on! These placemen are the descendants of those sent to colonise NI by their English, Westminster Masters! The same knuckle dragging, we are the people, rule Britania Brigade that turned out in force (as is their democratic right) to deny Scotland the chance to rid itself of all baggage from their past and look towards a new future for one and all!

    Yeah, ain’t being one of them people just great?

    1. Daniel says:

      Yeah because all Rangers fans are the same. The reprehensible actions of the immoral minority do not represent all the fan base. Or are you the bigot?

      1. James_MacIntyre says:

        You’re right, I know a lot of Rangers fans. The sensible don’t run the support groups and do not have the ear of the Rangers board. It is a huge problem, but when you look at Vanguard Bears and you see the Rangers board threatening legal action, it just looks terrible.

    2. Peter says:

      Mmm jack perhaps you would like to comment on the events of the Wednesday night before the Indy ref when saltire waving Neanderthals were blocking off roads and urinating all over the war memorial in George Square I have the pictures to show if you like. Yet I have a feeling some of these people urinating on the war memorial would probably be found in a stadium in the east end of Glasgow on the sat after the referendum singing songs glorifying the organisation responsible for the murders of innocent men women and children and British servicemen these things are always overlooked unless you have a blue top on eh jack

      1. Jack says:

        Equally embarrassing, and those few should be prosecuted for what they did! But I notice that you never contradicted any of my points made regarding the “we are the people” brigade. Im also interested in the opinion of any of the cops in the photographs who didnt think that watching thugs perform Nazi salutes wasn’t conduct likely to provoke a Breach of the Peace and act accordingly. I watched the YouTube films of venomous faux outrage and downright bile, the No Surrender chants, outright thuggery excused by terming it “just sectarian”. No more please, we’re in the 21st century not the 19th or even the 17th.

  21. alec says:

    Perhaps the heralds treatment shows how weak the paper is, as opposed to who or what is correct. Ie, stand by spiers = loss of revenue and possible court action. Either way, losing respect for the paper will lead to reduction of readership.

  22. INDEPENDENT says:

    Personally, I don’t really like most of Graham Spiers ramblings as a sports Journo but it is absolutely appalling that he and Angela Haggerty should be treated in this manner.

    Unfortunately he and Angela, are being treated by the same self serving Yoonionist !!! Press Barons, in the manner, that we in the pro Indy movement have been over the last few years.

    Being constantly ridiculed and derided and told you are unable to run your own lives without the bigger broader shoulders of the union, by a cowed press, is not very nice.

    Possibly some more of our hacks will now show some back-bone when they realise they are not immune from the tentacles of the establishment that they have shielded until now

  23. Dr Jim says:

    Nothing about Rangers or Celtic is ever reported without bias , both of these clubs have sections of some of the most unpleasant fans there are, the continual taunting by either group on the other by the moronic trouble makers will always fuel the ire because that’s how they want it to be it serves each of their purposes
    I have no sympathy with the supporters of either club who allow this to continue around them, this is the good men doing nothing approach, as for so called “Journalists” even less sympathy, never heard one tell the truth about anything but enjoy a good lie and smear then hide behind freedom of speech (but only for the press)

    Bandage your wounded egos and grow up, if you’re going to stir S..t expect to get splashed with it

    1. David MacGille-Mhuire says:

      Well said, Guid Doctor.

      Enough with the lot of them.

  24. yesindyref2 says:

    Well, I don’t follow club football, but if Robbie Dinwoodie says it’s the worst failure to back a writer he’s ever seen, his word is good enough for me. And sacking Haggerty for a tweet of support, good grief.

    Time the Herald was bought out by someone who’d like to get it back to being the newspaper it used to be, rather than the oily rag it’s become. No offence to oily rags.

    1. muttley79 says:

      I think the need for a newspaper that supports independence, and is owned by individuals/company based in Scotland, is illustrated more than ever today. Despite the sterling efforts of Richard Walker, Neil Mackay and others it is clear that Newsquest is not the answer. That is no slight on the former, but they are working under almost impossible conditions.

      1. yesindyref2 says:

        Yes, it also explains a lot about the Sunday Herald’s recent behaviour. Possibly even for the Herald, which used to be fairly balanced.

        Moderation on the threads has become a joke, and it’s not just indy supporters affected, they seem to just randomly delete postings – postings which follow their own posting rules.

      2. Jo says:

        I’d disagree with you on that. I’d just like to find a newspaper that reports the news and doesn’t do Party-politics of any kind. When you have papers/news sites or other internet sites that report only one side you just don’t get neutrality.

        1. kailyard rules says:

          Some naivety in what you say. There is a political revolution, a reversal of conditions, a fundamental change happening in Scotland. Sides are drawn.

  25. john young says:

    David were you one of the many thousands “not singing up to our knees in fenian blood” in the Rangers v Hibs game,now under a long drawn out “investigation”.You only have to cast your mind back to the night of the ref result,to see grown men openly display stark hatred/intolerance yet you would appear to condone this,what hope for us?

  26. yesindyref2 says:

    Well, in tribute to Angela Haggerty, though I’m not sure about the blue jeans bit:

    Money talks
    But it don’t sing and dance
    And it don’t walk
    And long as I can have you
    Here with me, I’d much rather be
    Forever in blue jeans

  27. Thank the Lord we voted No says:

    Congrats to the Herald for Quadruping (at least) Angela Haggery’s profile. I hope she can prosper from this episode and well done BC for publishing this Sunday’s column.

    The treatment of Angela has been hideous and a sad reflection on parts of our society. These people believe themselves to be jusified in this personal abuse however – even some of the posts above r fleet this view in part – and the Herald’s decision will simply reinforce this.

    A wee cabal of white, middle class, middle aged men with Rangers ties and (probably sectret handshakes)still think they can run the media to their benefit. The Herald have let them feel this is still their right to do so. It stinks.

    I won’t go near the herald online again, i don’t buy the daily paper, or the Sunday pamphlet so can’t boycott those so the online boycott will be my small protest.

  28. Jim Dunlop says:

    It’s a sad day when a four year old club, in the second tier of Scottish football, can call the shots on who or who doesn’t get sacked from a newspaper for telling the truth. If I was Graham Spiers, I would simply blog the email exchange with the director and see what happens. Shameful behaviour by an editor.

    1. Debra Fergus says:

      You see your falling into the same trap,good job your not a journalist. The SPFL,SFA,UEFA,ECA,ASA,Lords Nimmo Smith and Glennie even Wiki and the Wee Red Book (!) say Rangers are 144 years old not 4. And I’m sure you would agree their opinion is what counts not yours. Truthful facts are all Rangers fans want,not lies or downright slander.

      1. Jim Dunlop says:

        Let’s wait and see what comes out of all the court cases against your rancid club. Bear in mind that LNS wasn’t given the full facts and all the others you have quoted have said nothing…………….

  29. Veronica Gordon Smith says:

    The Aegean stables of football, journalism and religion need a good mucking out. Haste the day when somebody actually tackles it.

  30. john young says:

    What really defeats me is the naked hatred shown to your fellow men because of creed/color,surely surely it,s not religion,no Presbyterian service have I ever attended has urged hatred that I know of,and as a practising Catholic never ever have I heard likewise,where does it come from as most of these creatures will most certainly never grace the insides of any church,you come into this life unblemished,how then does it descend into such bile.

  31. Paul says:

    Further evidence, if it were needed, of the collusion between corporate interests and the MSM. This of course leads to the destruction of democracy. There are now very few real journalists, particularly investigative journalists now working in the MSM. If you are not prepared to be a propagandist favouring the corporate/political elites and the ethos of neoliberalism and racist supremacy, you have no place in the MSM.

  32. Blair paterson says:

    I still can’t believe how the rangers fans and o.o. And the masons cannot see how the establishment have been using them for years convincing them they are something special and they are daft enough to believe it I am a 77year old Protestant but I have never allowed my selfe to be used waken up ,

  33. w.b.robertson says:

    To get allegiance you must give allegiance. But too many of modern editors don`t care. I was lucky -back in the 1950s when I started in daily newspapers the big boss of the group was Hugh Cudlipp. His motto was “publish and be damned”. Today`s editors have deteriorated into a race of pygmies in a little world where the accountants rule. Sad for all journos.

  34. Andy says:

    Trouble is spiers has been caught lying any number of times.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        The rattling of the rosary beads is absolutely hilarious….Billy Connolly used to joke about that…a Catholic as I recall…shame on The Herald again for apologizing to that other great danger to freedom of speech, who are the PC brigade….just another way of shutting people down and taking out petty frustrations on people who write for a living….

  35. Jean says:

    What future for journalism in Scotland? This country needs intelligent, articulate, committed writers. Writers who challenge what we think or how we see things; writers with a critical eye and the words to present their view of the world. It’s not about everybody liking or disliking what they say. We should be worried about the number of people who have lost their jobs in the print media and recognise that it is we who are the poorer for that. But the actions of The Herald must give us pause for thought; is it just the editor making the wrong decision? Can we have a second opinion on the legal advice for example? The law surely is an ass if it says there is a case to answer because Angela Haggerty tweeted support for a fellow journalist? I’m sad for the earlier respondents who are gutted about their football club management and want to walk away; and sad for the Herald readers who will resist buying it because of this. We need a good journalist, or several, to give us their views. Shelpit, angry, frightened, ugly Scotland nae mair.

  36. Debra Fergus says:

    Far as I can see Rangers Football Club are not responsible for the sacking or resignations of anyone here. A journalist made a statement and refused to name names thereby leaving it hanging over all 6 Rangers directors. Put up or shut up. I assume he was asked by his employers to clarify this and either refused to or could not. The paper then had no choice other than to apologise to the club/directors in an attempt to draw a line under it. Unfortunately another employee then stirred it up again and was dismissed,as I would be if I went against my employers. The journalist who had started the whole thing then admitted he had effectively burned his own bridges with the paper who employed him and resigned. I’m sorry,but why is this Rangers fault? If someone made a comment I found distasteful about someone in my office but refused to say who I would take exception to that because that cloud then hangs above me. Both Mr Spiers and Miss Haggerty brought all this entirely on their own heads. And Rangers have acted no differently to many other clubs who have objected to articles written about them. Including Celtic of course.

    1. Jim Alexander says:

      Exactly – but the facts don’t suit peoples agendas – much easier to use it to attack Rangers for doing what any Non Football Commercial organisation would have done

      The whole thing is a result of sloppy Journalistic Standards of reporting

  37. Kenny Smith says:

    I am a season ticket holder at Ibrox and its hard not to be lumped in with the numpties and bams but you need to know that just because you support the club as a football fan that instantly makes you a right wing knuckle dragger. I voted yes and I’d vote yes again in a heartbeat like many thousands of other Rangers fans. I am not defending the actions of the board for putting pressure on the paper because I find it abhorrent but any company would seek to keep bad press to a minimum, it doesn’t make it right though. As much as I have no time for Spier’s as a person or a journalist the paper should have backed the two of them. One of my big hopes in gaining independence was that we could speed up the process of eradicating sectarianism out of Scotland. Its not just confined to the west. There will always be the few who tarnish the many, whatever club you support. The issues raised by this episode confirm my belief we need out of this rotten union pronto. Then we can educate and teach Scottish history as it happend not as we are programmed to believe, that will include things as a nation we are not proud of but by addressing them properly we have a chance to not forget but move on together.

  38. Mojo says:

    Time to put collective energy into planning for a world post-Herald Group and Johnston Press ( collapse of one or t’other is looking at lot closer after this latest debacle…)
    We need to build a new ‘fit for purpose’ Scottish media and perhaps salvage the National from the wreckage.

  39. Sean P says:

    Well done Angela

    She’s shown the horrible bigots up for what they are, Angela’s day will come, the 100th year anniversary of our forefathers Easter rising will prove to be pivotal in Scotland’s history.

    The bigoted religion of Protestants will soon be no more.

    Brits out of Ireland
    Brits out of Scotland

    1. George says:

      I’m in a conundrum are you Irish, or I somewhat hesitate to say it British. The reason I ask is that I trust we, the UK state/RC educational system is not in any way responsible for formulating your racist and sectarian views. Irrespective you are a bhigot

    2. kailyard rules says:

      Sean P, stay home and wrap your heid in vinegar and brown paper.

  40. john young says:

    As a Celtic supporter hear hear Kenny Smith,this country footballing wise needs a strong Rangers team but one without the baggage of the NI influence who hold far too much sway over your club,having grown up in a mixed company from childhood many of my friends were Rangers supporters and are to this day,we never ever had any issues with one and other and to this day remain the best of friends,as you say we need to introduce the history of Scotland/Scots contribution to the world,it might then introduce pride/confidence to our benighted country,instead of bowing down to an empire founded on the rape/pillaging/destruction of other nations not to mention our own.

    1. Thomas O'Cooley says:

      Sadly a great number of Scotsmen and Irishmen were to the forefront of Britain’s shameful history. A great many Scots made fortunes from the slave trade but as Kenny Smith rightly says the good as well as the bad must be highlighted. This applies equally to British Imperial expansion the residue of which can be found in most if not all Scottish towns and cities. I make the point of saying British as many nations have had their Imperial ambitions, Spain’s rape/pillage/destruction in the America’s, Belgium, France, Italy, Prussia, Germany, Ottoman……… Hobson deems capitalism to be the driver for Imperialism in the quest for ever greater markets, hence any successful nation looking to expand beyond it’s own borders.
      With regards to eradicating sectarianism in Scotland, something I am sure all sane people would desire, in an ever more secular society perhaps the time has come for the cessation of faith schools. Separate schooling at a formative age creates an unnecessary division that can maintain into adulthood.

      1. jimmywhite says:

        Strange, I never had a problem and no one ever had a problem with my going to an RC school, as far as I can tell this seems to be the same for the youngsters of today down here in England, why anyone would want to blame schools in the first place I just don’t know, just can’t figure it out, its the parents of the intolerant that need re-educated, surely it can’t be easy going all your life hating ONE religion, no other funnily enough, well just because.

        1. Kenny Smith says:

          Personally I have to agree with ending faith schools at least ending funding from the state. I think the sectarian issue is slowly turning round, maybe its only me that thinks its not as bad as it was but dividing people from an early age is not helping. Sure I have many friend all mixed who went to different schools and there was no problems amongst our group so there is an argument that it doesn’t make any difference, not that any of us on either side were ever really religious. My daughter is in the situation that she is coming to the end of nursery where her group of friends will be split with her best friends going to a RC primary. It is difficult to try and explain why, especially when the main reason for the parents choice is just so they can attend a certain highly regarded RC secondary in the southside of Glasgow. I am not against faith schools as such, I just feel they should be privately funded if that is their parents choice. Yes teach all religions but we shouldn’t divide on faith if we want an inclusive society. I might be wrong here but as far as I know RC schools allow other faiths to attend and have dropped the requirement to be RC to teach in them so it seems logical to me to revamp the whole set up. I know this is a thorny issue and others will have an opinion and this is only mine

          1. Jo says:

            Bigotry is not taught in faith schools. It is taught in the home and passed down through the generations.

          2. jimmywhite says:

            Not having a dig nor am I looking for an argument, but are you saying there should be no religiously associated schools of any kind or just no RC associated schools, should scotland lead the way and ban all forms of religion just because a few do not like catholics, or should we try banning irish catholics to begin with, you know just see how we get on… wee bit tongue in cheek there, but really, why would anyone see religion as a problem, myself, I couldn’t careless what school my neighbour attended and the only time I see the inside of a church is at funerals and weddings.
            Maybe this is what is wrong with the world today, if it is not religion it is the colour of skin, failing that, nationality, some don’t have their troubles to seek, sadly for some they will find a problem whether there a problem or not.
            What type of person would harbour thoughts of “I wonder what religion he/she is, did she/he go to a catholic school?” why would any sane person bother themselves over another’s religion to the extent of wanting their schools banned, what next, where does it end, Elizibeth 1st drew the line at the extermination of the catholic faith and that was in the 16th century! Lunatics and fanatics are the problem, not catholic schools, it is they who should be the focus here, it is they who need to be educated, I don’t know maybe it was the schools they attended.

      2. MVH says:

        I don’t think sectarianism is going to be eradicated among adults. The only hope is to educate children at schools (both Catholic and non-denominational) about the evil and harm of sectarian hatred. Couple that with legisilation similar to the race relations act, and after a few generations it will fade away. I think this would be a less controversial approach than abolishing faith schools. The Catholic community will resist this out of fear of anti Irish racism in mainstream schools, lessening the life chances of their children.

        As for the freemasons, how is that even legal as they exclude women ? The whole lot of them should be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice with their vows etc. They belong in medieval times, not the modern world.

  41. Jo says:

    Trust Haggerty to make it all about her!

  42. George says:

    Whilst we all agree – or is this an assumption too far – that freedom of expression is fundamental within a democracy, it is equally important to have a right of reply. Rangers questioned accuracy of the GS column which he could not substantiate. Newspapers have over the years expressed views as facts without fear of contradiction, this is only an isolated example where they have been brought to task. No sympathy with AH, she is hardly impartial and will empathise with any anti-Rangers statement or view

    1. Kenny Smith says:

      I think you have made a valid point. Perhaps we are quick to dive in without the response from all parties involved. The Indy ref really shone a light on the press and how they operate. For me if the paper had any issue they should not have let it go to print. I don’t like any of them much or the arse paper they write for but they should have stood by them if they believe in what they put out for consumption

  43. john young says:

    Jo the issue is not about Haggerty,for me it is about honesty/integrity/respect,are we going to continue to deny that there is a problem and a huge one at that.

    1. Jo says:

      Hi John

      I’m genuinely sorry for Graham Speirs. It is an awful mess and it is dreadful that the apology was published without the Herald even telling him they were going to do that. I totally understand why he had no choice but to make his own statement once they did that. And I agree with you what the issues are in the matter.

      Angela Haggerty, though, was in quite a different position. She remained an employee and went on to undermine the paper with her tweet and she must have known what would happen next. I simply don’t believe she didn’t know. That was her choice. It really isn’t the same as what happened to Speirs.

      I’ll not hide the fact that I don’t like her writing much. She was fairly new at the Herald and, for me, the fact that she got a position there at all was more evidence of falling standards at the paper. I’d not heard of her before that and all you find about her, if you search, is the Rangers stuff which she was continuing to write about as recently as last Sunday. It seems to have been that affair which brought her headlines rather than her journalistic ability. Add to that an article she wrote a couple of weeks back attacking SNP voters for not being willing to hand over their second vote in May to RISE. It wasn’t even original. Mike Small had written about it and so had another contributor on Common Space. Angela’s article was a re-hash of both. That’s bad journalism and, in my view, not fit for the Sunday Herald.

      The Speirs business is about him, not Angela Haggerty. Angela catapulted herself into the affair through her own actions. My sympathies are with Graham Speirs. I’ve ended my subscription to the paper because of what happened to him, not because of Angela Haggerty.

      Sorry for the lengthy response.

      1. jimmywhite says:

        The hatred towards angela haggerty really is breathtaking, she was threatened with violence and sexual assault by rangers fans and still is today because she had the audacity to write a foreword for a book, a book that was factual, no lies or exaggeration, just a factual breakdown of what happened to rangers “football” club, even the author and the sun newspaper came under attack and were threatened, they even tried to tar the author as sectarian whilst the so called fans of that so called “football” club has been attacking that mans religion and his heritage for over a century! How you can find so much pleasure in attacking a wee lassie is way beyond me, but its not just the wee lassie though is it, its her religion, the football club she favours and most of all the country her ancestors hail from.
        Hang your head in shame, take a long hard look at your “football” club and ask yourself, what is it do think you’re trying to achieve, is this causing misery and the false superiority really worth it, jesus a wee lassie can’t show solidarity without being attacked, fanatics like you are not wanted or needed in a modern scotland.

  44. Doubting Thomas says:

    Ah…….the luxury of Freedom of Speech.

    Unfortunately it does not exist……..on here.

    Does this mean this site is worse than the Herald……

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      Freedom of speech is exactly what we are seeing here.

  45. G. Campbell says:

    The Herald supports the Scottish Pen Campaign against current defamation laws.

    Scottish Pen is part of PEN International.

    Angela Haggerty can bee seen on the first picture on the Scottish Pen landing page. [ ]

    JK Rowling is a member of PEN International.

    PEN America is part of PEN International.

    PEN America has announced it is giving its 2016 PEN/Allen award to the author J.K. Rowling.

    JK Rowling yesterday threatened to sue Natalie McGarry for defamation.

    The Herald has just sacked two of its most respected journalists, Angela Haggerty and Graham Spiers, possibly over fears of a defamation case.

    This is Scotland in 2016, ladies and gentlemen.

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      What is yer point? Why would your drag Scottish PEN into this? Those hard working, badly paid individuals are the heroes of Scotland and our best ambassadors…

    2. Jo says:

      “Two of its most respected journalists.”

      Spiers yes, but Haggarty? Are you serious?

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Jo, the issue here is not the quality of the journalism, the issue is that a woman who has been threatened and intimidated for writing a book – where are we Saudi Arabia? Iran? – has been sacked for a tweet… it is shocking, if she is a journalist, the general idea is that she have an opinion, even if sometimes her paymasters don´t like it…

        1. Jo says:

          Thanks Redgauntlet

          See my reply above re Angela Haggerty.

  46. willie says:

    It’s simple. Just don’t buy the Herald. That’ll concentrate minds as their daily sales head below 20,000.

  47. Jonh McKay says:

    There are too many in the journalistic community and beyond who doubt Angela Haggerty’s motives here. Yes, she had a pop at Rangers but so did many others. Yes, she is a woman and a rabid Celtic fan but so what?
    This wallowing in victim status just won’t work. Women are, by and large, fairly treated nowadays so to claim that she is somehow discriminated against just doesn’t seem credible. She’s be telling us she’s a Palestinian next.
    And she also has a reputation of being a poor journalist.

  48. Jo says:

    I’m very sorry for Graham Spiers.

    I would not mention Angela Haggerty in the same breath either for her journalism or for her commitment to ending bigotry in Scottish football.

    I wonder how that Rangers director is feeling knowing that Graham Spiers guarded his privacy and would not name him.

  49. David Laird says:

    The irony here, which is lost on most contributors, is the exposure of a hatred of all things Rangers and a total lack of objectivity. The most vile statements are made on this site about all connected with Rangers, which goes unchallenged. You are trying to stereotype and demonise a large section of Scottish society, isn’t this the one thing we as Scots are supposed to stand against, generalisation?

    The fault for all this lies with Spiers, he lacks journalistic courage and integrity. A proper journalist should not print a verbal quote that is not “on the record”, as it opens the journalist up to questioning on whether the statement was actually said, the context in which it was said (was it ironic or sarcastic or said in jest) and did the journalist recall the quote correctly. This is 101 journalism.

    Instead of Spiers acknowledging his breach of journalistic standards and ethics he compounds his mistake by contradicting and therefore making a mockery of his editor’s apology.

    If Spiers is being honest, let him name the director and let’s have the full story, from both sides. For Spiers to aggravate matters further and then for some on here to praise him for not naming the director is absurd.

    Spiers is entirely to blame but more alarming is the vitriol on the site against all Rangers supporters.

    Angela is someone who simply hates all things Rangers, she has an agenda, indeed a vendetta against the club, how can she be regarded as objective? The Herald chose to apologise, Angela then challenged the editorial apology – if she had integrity she would have resigned instead of having to be sacked, which was the only choice she left her paper with having publicly spoken against her employer.

    Is blind hatred of Rangers so great that the clear and obvious is now denied?

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      Well, which right minded person is not going to have antipathy for a football club with an anti Irish and anti Catholic racial policy which is notorious the length and breadth of Europe, as is well documented by people like Bill Murray….the team whose fans destroyed Barcelona when they won a Cup Winners Cup and then a decade or two later destroyed Manchester when they lost one..

      ..the only reason Rangers started signing Catholics is because they were going to be brought up before the European Court of Human Rights. So if you want to support a quasi fascist football club, that´s up to you, but don´t expect the good people of Scotland to understand you, much less like you…you´re a bunch of complete bams in my opinion….

      1. Jim Alexander says:

        I keep hearing the statement about the Fascist tendency within Rangers or its support – and tbh with you I’m confused – would you like to put forward some hard facts as evidence

        Saying it doesn’t make it true

    2. jimmywhite says:

      This is total nonsense, the bigger picture shows it in a different light altogether, what we know is is that rangers are in a really bad place at the moment, financially wise, and are pandering to the masses here, they cannot afford to alienate these masses, by condemning sectarianism in the support, by weeding out the bigots and actively stopping the singing of the billy boys they will be cutting their own throats, this clearly tells us what we already know and the ibrox board know, it is not a minority but a majority otherwise this would have been tackled long ago, a rangers cannot exist, as a major player, without this type of support, to wage war against bigotry and sectarianism at ibrox would be suicide… that’s just the way it is and always has been, park knows this and finds himself between a rock and a hard place, I’m sure with hindsight he would probably have thought twice about his “investment”.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        You´re right Jimmy, Rangers and sectarianism are inextricably linked, their hard core fan base are religious bigots – the away support….so the obvious answer is for Rangers to fold….

        ..please, please, please, Rangers, disappear, you are an aberration of nature, you propagate religious hatred and intolerance and violence, and nobody will miss you when you´re gone…

        1. jimmywhite says:

          It is the only club that I know of that has fans who sing about religion, particularly catholics, how anyone in this day and age can idolise such a vicious, evil being such as billy fullerton is beyond me, if there is a heaven and hell then there is no doubt he will be burning in the fires of hell, rangers whole existence depends on people of billy fullertons ilk now if the people of scotland, particularly those who are elected by the people, cannot see this, then they are not looking, refusing to acknowledge it or are of the same mindset themselves, it is right there for all to see, it is broadcast into our living rooms on a regular basis, though for some reason some people cannot hear it!.. aye likely.

          1. Jo says:

            Jimmy and Redgauntlet

            Re your above posts, here’s the thing for me. I really enjoy football but I don’t support either half of the old firm. I decided years ago I’d support an English team instead because, in my view, both Celtic and Rangers have other baggage which is nothing to do with football and I didn’t want to be part of that. I don’t think it is fair to say it is only on one side.

            I’m Catholic. People say it’s about “religion” with the old firm but it isn’t, it’s just tribalism and nothing more and both sides indulge in it with gusto. I’ve been to both Celtic Park and Ibrox when my English team played there in friendlies or testimonials and even at those games I heard the rubbish both sides can chant.

            I accept that Celtic were founded by an Irishman and it is right to acknowledge that but the obsession with Irish politics that some of their fans have is something I’ve never been comfortable with. Celtic are a Scottish club, registered here in Scotland. I accept that a lot of the really bad stuff is gone from Celtic Park now but there is still this Irish identity thing they cling to and I find that really irritating. It can come across as anti-Scottish.

            The Catholic thing irritates me as well. For me religion is a very personal thing and that so many Catholics see their support of Celtic as an extension of their faith is absurd. Especially when, in old firm games, they spend ninety minutes hurling sheer hate at opposing fans. That’s not religion. I once heard the phrase, “Celtic is my religion, Parkhead is my church.” And that pretty much sums up many of them. God doesn’t feature at all. The worst Celtic bigots wouldn’t recognise God if he walked up and shook hands with them!

            The new law that came in to attempt to deal with what is often termed “Scotland’s shame” is, admittedly, not ideal but I honestly felt it was brave of the SNP to at least try and address the problem we have in Scottish football. It riles me beyond belief that so many of these bigots, on both sides of the old firm, actually believe they have the absolute right to inflict their bigotry on the rest of us and should have the freedom to do so. The vast majority of old firm fans don’t do it but too many still do. I condemn all of them equally.

          2. jimmywhite says:

            Yes jo your irritation is plain to see.

    3. Andy Borland says:

      Talking of all things 101 ….

      A classic display of 101 Projection, beautifully illustrated above 🙂

      Dearie me.

      1. Andy Borland says:

        That’ll be David Laird’s contribution obviously 🙂

  50. john young says:

    “Ye don,t take it aff the doorstep” it,s in your dna and will almost certainly be passed on,same faith schools do not enter into the issue you will hear no bigotry taught in any I know of,bigotry/sectarianism is horrible horrible impacting not only on the victims but also the perpetrators,how you can live and enjoy life carrying this kind of baggage is beyond me.The picture of the 2 mature unionists threatening some youngsters in George Sqr will live long in my memory, the stark image of blind hatred on their faces defeats me.

  51. Graeme Purves says:

    How is The Herald to report on Rangers Football Club henceforth, except as a form of hagiography?

    1. Andy Borland says:

      Business as usual ….
      Mission accomplished.

    2. Carntyne says:

      The Herald could emulate other Scottish titles which never dare to print anything which could be seen as derogatory about the Ibrox club.

      That tack is much safer…

  52. john heaney says:

    its the same old story , for over one hundred years rangers and the establishment running the place, bigots everyone, these newspapers scared to offend [the rangers] newspaper people being sacked for telling the truth, where next? i wont be buying that newspaper.

  53. Redgauntlet says:

    This is the best book I have read on the perpetual Scottish nightmare known as “the Old Firm”….


  54. Harris-Walber says:

    This will be a highly unpopular comment, but there is an interesting disjoint here between what a hardcore of Rangers supporters seem to think the media is (essentially a giant conspiracy designed to undermine their club) and what a hardcore of SNP supporters, led by Stuart Campbell, seem to think it is (a giant conspiracy designed to undermine their party). The same kind of mob mentality we’ve seen here was also evident in the ludicrous “march on the BBC” demanding Nick Robinson’s sacking, though conducted by entirely different people.

    We need to stop thinking of this issue via identity politics: i.e. the idea that the media really is biased, it’s just biased in the way “we” think it is. What’s actually the case is that interest groups regularly use the concept of media bias to mobilise support. It creates a siege mentality to think everyone you disagree with (the entirey of society no less) is conspiring against you or that the other side are being brainwashed by a corrupt media. While there are clearly biased journalists, this kind of mentality doesn’t help us have a free press.

    What we need is a press that doesn’t give in to this kind of pressure. Even the most objective journalist in the world will constantly find themselves stepping on the toes of interest groups if they report things accurately. The simple proof of this is that no political party, football team, or concept is perfect, yet the blinkered “us vs them” mentality that seems to dominate these issues means whenever anyone criticises your party/team in any manner the immediate reaction is to trot out the accusations of bias and tally it up as yet another example of a widespread agenda.

    It’s easy (and correct) in my view to criticise the Herald here when you disagree with the group calling for journalists to be sacked in the first place. But we also need to be just as loud in criticising those groups creating a mob mentality around issues we agree with. Defending the journalists you hate is part of arguing for a free press.

    1. James_MacIntyre says:

      Except the argument is not valid at all. There is pretty blatant media bias in newspapers and nothing gets done. The Daily Mail had a tactical voting guide to vote for anyone except the SNP in 2015 FFS. The Herald backed Murphy right up until his election when it was very obvious he had been a terrible leader. The Scotsman is a joke newspaper, with screwball columnists like Euan McColm, who some mistake for a foul-mouthed troll. Our media pundits are basically a mix of opinionated, oddball Thatcherites.

      In the Rangers scandal, a powerful institution complains and two journalists lose their jobs over one sentence.

      This has nothing to do with ‘identity politics’. The Herald was one of the last decent papers in Scotland but has being going down hill for some time. It used to be my paper of choice. These days, there really isn’t anything that brings me to the website any more. I do like the Sunday Herald editor, and still occasionally pick it up.

      1. James_MacIntyre says:

        This is the paper that named Ryan Giggs despite a court order. Now they are scared of threats from a company board running an insolvent shell company.

  55. john young says:

    For those on here or otherwise who have in some way condoned what has gone on,is G Spiers lying? and if he is what does he have to gain from lying? him being a self confessed Rangers fan.The argument seems to now be about Spiers/Haggerty and their worth as people/reporters,the heart of the matter sliding off screen.

  56. Coul Porter says:

    At the risk of introducing a little pedantry into the terraces (forgive me, the last game I saw was at Hampden in 1984), perhaps your headline should read:

    ‘Scottish Media Failure Compounded’ ?

    Scottish media failure was exposed during the referendum campaign. Some interesting statistical evidence for this can be found in Iain Macwhirter’s ‘Disunited Kingdom’

    As a footnote for trainspotters; the 1984 score was Scotland 0 Wales 1. Nowadays, I go hillwalking.

  57. Finlay McLennan says:

    Robbie you are 100% correct, very courageous!

    Brace yourself for the backlash from the bully boys, bully billionaire authors and british state media.

    Scotland needs a free press, not the craven buffoons we have currently!

  58. BJK says:

    Took a wee screenshot before my posts get removed….freedom of speech anawrat.

  59. William Davidson says:

    Did the Rangers Board, or the director in question put pressure on the Herald to sack Spiers? Did a Rangers director threaten to withdraw advertising if Spiers wasn’t sacked? I’m still in the dark about these questions. It’s hardly a surprise that Rangers should threaten to take legal action against Spiers/The Herald, as he had published allegations that couldn’t be corroborated, either by witnesses or by a recording. So it was pretty sloppy journalism on his part. I have no doubt that had similar allegations been made, in similar manner, against a director of Celtic, or any other club, the reaction would have been the same. It’s then up to the editor/management of the paper to either back or sack their employee and bear the brunt of criticism from those who disagree with that decision.
    Past reading of Graham’s work has led me to question his accuracy/veracity at times. I’ve just read his contribution to a 2007 publication called “It’s Rangers for me?” in which various people give their perspectives on the club. His piece, entitled “From Turnstile to Press Box,” is littered with inaccuracies and contains a risible account of his supposed first attendance at an “Old Firm” game at Ibrox in 1975 when, as a 12 year old clad in Rangers scarf and accompanied by his father (??), he apparently watched the game from the middle of the Celtic end, jumping to his feet to celebrate the three Rangers goals. He seemed to have forgotten that the Broomloan end of the ground was an open terrace at the time, not a seated area. Criticism of any institution is always most acute coming from within, but, I’m afraid, in Graham’s case I believe his claim to be a lapsed Rangers fan is a phoney pose.
    I look forward to reading Angela’s contribution tomorrow. I suspect she might allege that her sacking is proof that the Herald and wider Scottish society is riddled with anti-Irish racism. But I could be wrong!

    1. Is he deep undercover in your view? Someone who has pretended to be a Rangers fan for years? Who would do this and why?

      1. Jim Alexander says:

        You are missing the point completely – the issue isn’t do we believe Mr Spiers – the issue is that the statement should have never have been published as a “fact” without supporting proof – that’s sloppy Journalism – Ms Haggarty cant go against her Employers decisions in public and still expect to be in a job – as pointed out if similar statements had been made regards a Celtic Director the reaction would have been no different by that Club

        There isn’t a conspiracy going on – there is a Newspaper having to deal with a story they couldn’t back up – do Rangers have no rights because they are Rangers ? – is it ok to print anything without any proof no matter what.

        And before you jump to conclusion I’m neither a Rangers Fan nor a Rangers sympathiser- but I do expect basic standards in Journalism – you know like not referring to the support of a Club as the Klan or Fascist underclass without any supporting facts – not that any Contributors to Bella would ever stoop so low.

        1. jimmywhite says:

          Rangers reputation precedes it, especially its fans, there is no argument, why would anyone, never mind en mass, hound and harass a girl going about her job with the sole intention of never letting up until she is sacked, at least I hope there is no other intentions towards this hardworking, taxpaying girl.

          1. Jim Alexander says:

            If we discussing Angela Haggerty she was sacked for in the views of her employer The Herald undermining there apology & retraction – you cant go against your Employer publicly & expect to still be in a job – it doesn’t matter who you work for – in this case she isn’t a victim – she let her views on Rangers get in the way of what a reasonable Employer should expect from there staff and that’s loyalty in public

          2. jimmywhite says:

            …yeah and you believe that, not the excuse they were looking for after her column last week, or was it, she is constantly hounded by a cowardly hateful people, no one and I mean no one is allowed to report anything negative about rangers, hard to do otherwise under circumstances you would think, but no, they will print lies about over investing, lies that king has put £7 million in, lies about signing player, lies about lies, threats and intimidation, it cannot be allowed to go on.

      2. William Davidson says:

        I have no idea, you’d need to ask him, but a lot of the stuff he has published in the past has clearly been made up. Perhaps it is the deep-seated phychological need of a middle class boy to pretend some intimate connection with the sport he has chosen to write about. I have no problem with him criticising Rangers or their supporters, but I’ve never got the impression that this is born out of frustrated love, rather it seems born out of a contempt for the raucous ways of the lower orders, at least those on the Rangers side of the great divide.

  60. BJK says:

    I shall post some of his remarks that he has made regarding Rangers and their fans,read with an open mind and decide in all honesty if they are the words of a fan.I will expect this and my following post to be deleted like all my other posts barr one.If not,good.

    1. BJK when you write “The fact they were prepared to employ as Deputy Editor a bigoted Provo loving cockroach like McKenna tells us all we need to know.” You bar yourself from these pages – like the hundreds of fellow fans incapable of taking part in public conversation who then bleat about ‘being barred’.

  61. The Clumpany says:

    This is an absolutely disgraceful episode. But well done to BC for breaking the story. The Herald should hang its head in shame.

    If anyone would like to read them, here are my extended thoughts about how the Herald has let us all down.

    “Free Pitchfork and Flaming Torch for Every Remaining Reader”

  62. Wulls says:

    OK, I have read through 2 days worth of comments and cringed at the “evidence” and “facts” being portrayed as holy writ.
    There are only a few “facts” available.
    Angela Hegarty was removed from her column and Graham Spiers resigned after an apology was printed he did not support.
    That’s about it.
    Let’s dig deeper.
    There is no proof that the unnamed rangers director made the comments to Spiers. That makes his article a gossip column, not accurate proveable reporting. The Herald by printing that sort of content have set off on the road to the level of the Sunday sport. Their editors mistake was not printing the apology. It was printing the article in the first place. He is on the back foot because of a poor content decision. As the newspaper is circling the drain already it seems to be a repeating failure, one that surely cannot be repeated ad nausium.
    As for Angela Hegarty, I do not always agree with her viewpoint or her reporting style but she is as entitled to hold her own views as we are. Coming out in public supporting Spiers, who we already know sacrificed good journalism for headline grabbing, put her at odds with a source of her income. She knew this so her support was premeditated.
    There are three casualties so far.
    Hegarty, Spiers and journalistic integrity.
    Four if you count freedom of speech.
    So where to go from here ??????
    Spiers ???? Don’t know….. A trained and competent journalist who prints unprovable gossip is damn nearly unemployable.
    Hegarty???? Don’t know….. She comes out of this tawdry affair with more cred than most.
    The Herald???? I think I do know…….
    If it exists in its present form in two years I will beabsolutely astounded.

  63. john young says:

    Wulls why would Spiers tell a lie about the club he supports.?

    1. Jim Alexander says:

      No one said he lied – but journalistic standards demand proof or you retract & apologise and that’s exactly what happened

    2. Wulls says:

      No-one ever said he lied.
      What I said was he has no proof ergo anything he prints based on similar “evidence” is basically gossip. That is not journalisim.

  64. Alan says:

    This started off as a good sensible article discussion, but has descended into the usual “us versus them” bigoted remarks !
    Why can’t we just have an open minded debate without all the
    Religious baggage.

    1. Wulls says:

      Oh dear.
      I try to refrain from responding to questions like this.
      It is a fact that a large portion of the old firm support do so because they are indoctrinated by the previous generation of bigots.
      To hide your head in tha sand and pretend there is not a religious angle to the old firm is nieave.
      Asking why discussion on the old firm “stray” to religion is equally nieave.
      Is there an ulterior motive to the question ?????
      Especially one any journalist would know the answer to

  65. Duncan Gourlay says:

    It’s a bit laughable the media furore hats happened post these departures.

    Spiers wrote a story where he potentially defamed a PLC director and one which couldn’t be stood up.

    The newspaper rightly apologised.

    Spiers ‘semtexed’ (an appropriate comment for someone who regularly eulogises over CFC and selectively suffers from cloth ears when their IRAoke is in full voice) his own career by contradicting the Herald apology, which was written by their legal team.

    Haggerty, a blogger who edited a book where Rangers fans were described as the ‘Klan’ and ‘Nazis’ and resulted in the author being described as being ‘tarred with a sickening sectarian brush’ by the largest selling national newspaper, decided to support Spiers and his potentially defamatory stort rather than her employer.

    The employer, Newsquest, then had a choice. Keep employing an individual who’s edited a book by someone who’s a sectarian bigot and attempt to appease the readership of their two fiercely nationalist Scottish publications, or jettison Haggerty to maintain the journalistic integrity of the Herald and Times stable of papers.

    Magnus Llewellyn made the correct decision, and should be congratulated for it.

    1. Wulls says:

      Magnus Lewellen caused this “issue” by allowing Spiers work to descend into a gossip column.
      He made poor editorial choices BEFORE the article was published.
      No amount of backtracking or apologising will change that

  66. Katie Carr says:

    The Herald, in its present state, can’t afford to discard writers – the real ones, who actually write!

  67. Sunglasses Ron says:

    Laughable, my comments removed as well. Some obviously don’t like the truth.

    Bottom line is the Herald has done nothing wrong but act on advice from their lawyers.

    The onus is on Spier’s to back up his allegations. The onus is on Haggerty is to back up why she defended “Allegations” with no substance at this point in time.

    That’s how simple this is. Yet some on here don’t like it because this hasn’t gone in the one direction they wanted it to go. Then they complain about freedom of speech, you couldn’t make it up.

    Well you could on here. Cue oor Angie complaining and more comments getting removed. All in the name of freedom of speech of course.

    1. jimmywhite says:

      Lol, how ironic eh, how do you like em apples ron?.. see that wee smidgin of badly done by you’re feeling, well multiply it by a thousand and it won’t come anywhere near what you’re condoning, why not ask the herald… “who okayed and was responsible for the go ahead and the publishing of Piers article, what action has he or she faced for this dastardly crime of passing the said article and is it now a crime to state your position in support of a colleague”…

      By your reckoning it is okay, or should be, to be sacked because of your support of a colleague, your political leanings, your religion even the football team you support?!.. is that right ron, freedom of speech you say, get a grip man, I take it every man and woman who backs action in support of a colleague should be sacked and even better should we do away with unions as well, free speech ron you have a cheek don’t you?

  68. Sunglasses Ron says:

    Back it up Jim, back it up, these are what at this moment in time is false accusations.

    You don’t like them apples Jim. Do you

    Your apples are probably granny smiths, green and sour.

    Once again the onus is not on the Herald as at it stands. Angela want’s to back up at this point a liar who cannot back up his claims.

    Freedom of speech is one thing, downright lies is another.

    I am sure between screwing your face up after a bite of your sour green apple even you can see that.

    Are we to become a nation of liars ?, I hope not after the oil lying debacle we have had enough without Mr Spiers telling more and a colleague happy to back up a liar at this point.

    Over to you Mr Spiers, you have lost all credibility as has Angela by giving you her support.

    End the mess by telling all or forever be known as the man who was continually caught lying on live tv and in print.

    1. jimmywhite says:

      … aye alright ron he’s a liar and always has been, thankfully donald parks came along and exposed him, but that’s not all though, is it ron, nope!.. for the wily parks even managed to lure that she devil angela haggerty into his baited trap too, that she devil who coaxed many an innocent to threaten her with rape and what have you, strangely enough these would be rapists and slap abooters all had one thing in common, funny that, you no think ron.

      Anyhoo big ron I look forward to your belated condemnation of those liars who told everyone and anyone who would listen to the wealth off the radar announcements, who told how rangers were relegated and not admitted into the bottom tier, that it had survived liquidation and had somehow, unnoticed by anyone else on the planet, emerged from administration, it had indeed achieved a CVA!.. well it must have mustn’t it?.. either that or every other journalist is telling us blatant, barefaced lies, what about them liars then ron?.. what’s that ron, they’re not liars, eh, they were telling the truth and nothing but the truth, or is it that they just happen to be sitting on the wrong side of the fence, yes ron, the wrong side of the fence, sold their profession and reputations down the swanny and for what, I’d love to know, I surely would… have another apple ron, go on, go on go on.

  69. Wulls says:

    “that she devil who coaxed many an innocent to threaten her with rape and what have you”
    If you thing keyboard warriors threatening a woman whatever her leanings with rape will make our country great you are part of the problem.
    For the record I do not agree with Angela Hegartys approach or attitude very often but I will defend her right to hold an opinion and publish it wherever she likes.

    1. jimmywhite says:

      For a moment I couldn’t believe what I was reading there, at first I thought “this bloke wulls must be drunk”, either that or he only read one selective part of my post, or he’s a son of strewth or a vanguard bear or something, we all know how they like a play, twist, on words.

      No wull, what ever your ploy or ailment you are wrong, why would I be backing angela and spiers in every one of my other posts, condemning exactly what you’re trying accuse me of?

      I find what you have done here is very sinister, something the man you seem to dislike greatly, graham spiers, would never contemplate, to think there are people out there that will do this is just as sickening as those sevco rangers fans who made those threats to angela, our media has been undermined by these ibrox “jihads”, godless, religious fanatics who will stop at nothing to get what they want, especially the twisting and presenting of another’s post, go and play your childish games elsewhere billy, willy, wully or whatever but don’t insult me with your “faux pas” deliberate mistakes and innuendo which I found to be contemptible but now having read over so many times, the rage and pretence is not as well hidden as you must think and therefore it would be laughable if it were not for the disgust you cause by what you are attempting here, shame on you.

      1. Wulls says:

        No sir….not drunk. Nor am I being sinister in any way.
        I have picked out a sentence from your last port that I find absolutely abhorrent. This is not about backing Spiers and Hegarty….. This is about you stating that Hegarty “coaxed many an innocent” etc.
        that is simply the most appalling thing I have read here. I have already stated there is absolutely no justification possible for making a threat of rape and if you think there is you are part of the problem.
        I have no idea where you decided I “dislike greatly” graham spires. My only critique of him in this thread was to highlight some exceptionally poor journalism which any editor worth the title would have refused to print. It was gossip. Angela Hegarty decided to support what was basically a gossip column so she is as guilty as both spires and the editor.
        I see we are unlikely to agree so let me ask you this.
        Do you support people who make rape threats ???????

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