Without Fear or Favour

free_pressThere is a bucketful of irony surrounding my departure from the Sunday Herald which doesn’t escape me.

Firstly, I was sacked less than a week after penning a column about the abuse I’ve experienced as a journalist, much of which has come from fans of Rangers Football Club following my work editing a book about the financial collapse at Ibrox. In that column, I detailed how groups connected to Rangers had tried to get me sacked from jobs I’d had since, and how important it was for employers to back staff who come under attack online when using digital technology is essential to do their work.

Within days, and apparently under threat of a legal challenge from the club itself, I was fired.

Secondly, when I was informed of the news that I could no longer write for any Newsquest title, I was in a meeting with Scottish PEN discussing their campaign for reform of defamation law in Scotland. The law here has never been updated to keep up with the development of online tech, and all too often legal threats from big businesses are enough to close stories down.

Scottish PEN has been running its campaign for reform, for the sake of a free press, with the Herald newspaper.

As I said, a bucketful of irony.

I first became aware that I’d been sacked within just hours of tweeting solidarity with Graham Spiers, who was under a deluge of online hate by that point. I hadn’t commented on the stooshie between Rangers and the Herald because I assumed the Herald was being throttled by a legal challenge, and I concluded that defamation reform perhaps couldn’t come fast enough.

However, when I see a colleague of my trade being subjected to the same abuse I’ve experienced – and I know how much pressure that can bring on a person – I won’t hesitate in showing support and condemning those online taking part in it.

The decision to sack me must have been rapid. I was given no opportunity to state my case. When I finally spoke to Magnus Llewellin, it was simply to inform me of the reasons behind the decision, it wasn’t really a discussion.

He informed me that “representatives of Rangers Football Club” had brought my tweets to the attention of the Herald, and that, to cut a long story short, the paper was under so much legal pressure that he felt he had no option but to let me go. He also informed me that Neil MacKay, editor of the Sunday Herald, had fought strongly to stop it happening, but in the end he was overruled.

I understand the difficult position Llewellin was in. He is the editor-in-chief of a group of titles getting set to make yet another round of editorial cuts amid an increasingly difficult financial environment for newspapers. Throw in a legal challenge and even a hint that advertisers might pull some funding if they don’t like what they’re reading – although Llewellin denies this was an issue – and you’re in a very difficult position. I can sympathise with that. I don’t know Magnus Llewellin, but I’m sure this isn’t personal and that he made a decision that troubled him.

And that’s the key thing here, you have to ask who the winner out of this is. In this episode, it’s Rangers Football Club, but on a wider level it exposes the influence of corporate interests in our media. In the current financial landscape, that influence is ever more prominent. Take a look at the alleged influence of HSBC bank on the Telegraph’s editorial content, for example.

Scotland’s new media has avoided this problem by sourcing funding entirely from readers rather than advertisers. Of course, this can have its pitfalls: people pay for what they want to read, and if they don’t like it they can remove their funding in exactly the same way advertisers can. It’s also not the most stable of financial models upon which to build a substantial new media offering.

But the principle that we are held to account directly by our readers rather than commercial interests matters.

No matter how difficult Llewellin’s decision was, the knock on effect of this is significant. The notion that the Herald can provide coverage “without fear or favour” has been called into question, and rightly so. I can have personal sympathy with Llewellin, but the bigger picture here is far more important. The Herald threw two journalists under the bus whichever way you look at it, and that decision will have consequences both in terms of reader trust and what vested interests now think they may be able to get away with.

The Herald now looks like it scares easily, and that is not a good image for a broadsheet newspaper. Somewhere along the line the big business publishers have become fearful and the new, independent outlets have become ballsy.

I’m extremely proud to be the editor of CommonSpace, a grassroots platform which is open to all who want to use it. There are no rules for our contributors, there is no obsessive need for ‘brand protection’ – they’re entirely free to criticise CommonSpace content they don’t like, there are no repercussions (except me moaning a bit on Twitter, probably). We’re not above being held to account.

I’m saddened that what could have been a great relationship with the Herald has ended this way. As editor of a new media platform which has worked on several occasions with The National on big stories, I felt we were making progress on the Scottish media front. I hope we still can.

In terms of the Rangers situation, I’m not in the slightest bit surprised, and I hope this incident will be an eye-opener for those unaware of the influence of Glasgow football clubs and those connected to them on the media in Scotland. This is a serious problem, and it should be examined further.

For me, I’ll continue building CommonSpace and working towards a better Scotland. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support shown to me since this happened, and if this is what it took to bring attention to deeper problems within our media then that’s a silver lining I’m happy to live with.

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  1. James_MacIntyre says:

    Rangers were bluffing, and there is no way they would have been in a position to drag this through the courts. Your sacking was just vindictiveness.

    The media will never be fixed. The Herald’s politics team is a series of former Daily Record hacks and a series of screwballs as deranged as Stephen Daisley. Your sacking is a complete and utter disgrace considering the crap that Llewellin sticks in his columns about pro-independence campaigners, and the range of offensive tweeters that Herald columnists support. Torrance can retweet Spanner with ‘The Herald’ plastered all over his twitter account but you can’t support a colleague who has been sacked.

    Llewellin was not in a difficult position. He is a crap editor and this is yet another in a series of absolutely honking decisions he has made.

    1. Iain McRitchie says:

      Couldn’t agree more with James, the herald shot itself in the foot with reputational damage, lost a good journalist and caved into an institution who are a laughing stock – all unnecessary.

      Where in Rangers priorities would comments by Angela rank, not high, they would not have the energy nor funds to sue whilst they are in such dire straights.

      Rangers are like the labour party Scotland, dying. Rangers did not grasp the opportunity to rebuild itself minus the old baggage when they went bust, too late now, the rot has set in.

      Imagine a young father taking his five year old son to a Rangers game and having to answer the question’what are they singing daddy?”

      On a broader theme Scotland is poorly served by the media. It has an inbuilt bias that is now beginning to look completely ridiculous. One of the main reasons for this is that journalists do not have the guts to stand up to owners and print the truth, instead they are happy to pick up the monthly paycheque, write misinformation and mislead readers.

      This week we had a paper criticising an SNP mp who is a doctor for keeping her medical practice current. This is the state of Scottish journalism, an absolute disgrace! Suely there must come a point where Scottish journalists stand up and be counted and tell the truth,mall should know they will pay more professionally and personally for the cover up. Perhaps Angela’s dismissal can act as a catalyst for change?

      So to Angela, best of luck for the future and continue to speak up, from an ex and never to return Rangers fan!

    2. Gordie says:

      Rangers Football Club? A shower of liars, bigots and establishment arselickers.

      More likely to lose readers for sacking Spiers and Heggarty I would have thought.

      We aren’t well off for honest paper journalism in Scotland and I would be interested to know the reason two decent journalists were sacked. Anyone else out there like to know?

      1. Gordie says:

        Haggerty sorry,

  2. Astragael says:

    Your response is calm, considered and extremely generous; the same cannot be said for The Herald whose actions in respect of you and your colleague appear cowardly and despicable.

    1. Steven9761 says:

      In the 21st Century, I’ll probably get slaughtered for being so un-pc, but I’ll stick my neck out and say that ladies are supposed to act with femininity, decorum, and above all else, dignity.

      Angela – you are indeed a lady in the truest sense!! You can walk with your elegant head held high in public. Pity the same couldn’t be said of your former employers, Rangers Football Club, and its rabid fanbase who collectively walk about with their arse hanging out of their troosers, so to speak.

  3. Jo says:

    Angela

    You were not sacked for the column you wrote last week.

    You were sacked because you undermined The Herald Group, your employer, when you chose to get involved in the Graham Speirs matter. I do not believe for one minute that you didn’t know there would be consequences for you personally when you did that or the position you would be putting the paper in as a result.

    The Herald published a formal apology to Rangers which was related to Graham Speirs. You went on to basically trash it by your own actions. So please don’t spin this any other way. It is thoroughly dishonest of you. I cannot believe this column you’ve just written today.

    I am deeply sorry for Graham Speirs. This affair is about him, not you. Yet once again we’re back to your on-going feud with Rangers and their supporters which is not in any way connected with Graham Speirs. Do you ever write about anything else?

    There is no irony at all in what happened to you. Speirs was thrown under a bus. You threw yourself under the bus. I’d have thought more of you had you resigned over the Speirs episode. That would have been the honourable thing to do. Instead you did something that you must have known would put the paper in another impossible position and now you’re playing the victim. I’m really sorry to be so blunt but my sympathies are entirely with Graham Speirs and I’m absolutely disgusted that you have exploited his current situation in order to grab headlines for yourself.

    1. James_MacIntyre says:

      ” I am deeply sorry for Graham Speirs. This affair is about him, not you. Yet once again we’re back to your on-going feud with Rangers and their supporters which is not in any way connected with Graham Speirs. Do you ever write about anything else? ”

      ——–

      Is that not the point though? This had nothing to do with defamation and everything to do with the fact a few bigots in Vanguard Bears did not like Haggarty. Why the Rangers board are listening to them is beyond me. All this reminds me of why the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act is in place, and why it should remain in place. The Rangers support are bloody mental and it now looks like their board are going to pursue any mental vandettas Rangers fans dream up. Why the Herald editor would take those types of threats seriously is beyond me.

      1. Jo says:

        Hi James

        I get your point but the thing is that Angela was not sacked because of the many problems she personally has had with Rangers supporters over the book or even her column last Sunday. We know about those problems. We know about the court case and the jailing of a person for his conduct towards her and all the rest.

        The situation she is in now arose from her tweet about Graham after her employer had issued a public apology to Rangers regarding Graham’s allegation against a director of the club.

        As soon as she did that she was toast and I think she really must have known that when she did it. She’d rendered that public apology by her employer null and void by publicly disassociating herself from it and was essentially challenging the Herald editorial team.

        Her own history with Rangers supporters is known to us all. It’s been the dominant feature in Angela’s career in journalism to date. Indeed, I’d go as far as to say it was what brought her into the spotlight. So she must have known what would happen to her when she sent that tweet and that it would only pile more pressure on at the Herald. I just don’t buy it that she was surprised by it. And within minutes she was on Twitter announcing she’d just been sacked for supporting Speirs and, bang, Angela Haggerty was back in the headlines again and “trending”.

        Graham Speirs saw the Herald apology, which he’d not been consulted about or a party to, he made his own statement about it and resigned. That was the honourable thing to do. As far as I can see Angela Haggerty decided to get involved in someone else’s troubles knowing full well what would happen next. There was no way she could have expected to be kept on after publicly challenging the Editorial position of the paper she worked for. That’s why I don’t see her as a victim here. As I said in my earlier post two journalists were not thrown under a bus by the Herald as Angela claims. Graham Speirs was. Angela Haggerty threw herself under it.

        1. Jim Bennett says:

          Yeah Jo, like a woman beaten up by her Rangers supporting husband after another financial intrigue at the club, no doubt Angela “asked for it”. Blame the victim, that always works.

          1. Jo says:

            Jim

            Please don’t attribute to me things I did not say.

            As far as I’m aware Police Scotland report that bad reactions to old firm results results in domestic issues on both sides. No Police statement ever has claimed it only happens to Rangers wives. And incidentally, I’m not a Rangers supporter.

          2. Jim Bennett says:

            … and Jo, please don’t attribute things to me that I didn’t say…
            I didn’t attribute anything to you other than your blame the victim sentiment.
            I didn’t say you were a Rangers supporter.
            I didn’t say that RFC fans were alone in perpetrating domestic abuse.

            What I did say, and am happy to repeat, was that you – in common with the wife batterers who populate the stands at Ibrox – share their habit of blaming the victims.

            I am not a fan of either Old Firm team.

            I am not a fan of apologists for attacks on journalists.

            I am not a fan of staff being dismissed for expressing solidarity with other staff forced out of their jobs.

            I have read Speirs declaring that he maintains his story 100%. Against that, Haggerty reportedly tweeted:

            “Solidarity with @GrahamSpiers, again being targeted by the mob for telling some harsh truths…

            “Welcome to Scotland: write about glaring bigotry at Ibrox and the extremist ‘fans’ will hound you, intimidate you, harass you. In 2016.”

            I can see no reason whatsoever that this tweet is a legitimate and fair cause for dismissal. RFC supporters do spew their bile on their opponents, glory in being up to their knees in fenian blood and mob attack journalists who bring this to light; so what’s the basis for dismissal oter than being cowed by bullies and their apologists?

        2. Selkie says:

          Jo – I’ve been a journalist for many years, and have worked for The Herald, among other media. I agree entirely with what you say about the untenability of Angela Haggerty’s position, following the wording of her tweet – and the extent to which it undermined her employer’s position, regardless of what anyone thinks of how The Herald dealt with the Graham Spiers incident. I don’t know Angela Haggerty. Perhaps she was naive in the wording of her tweet (that now seems to have disappeared.) Or perhaps she was, as you say, ‘headline-grabbing’.

          1. Jo says:

            Thank you Selkie for your response.

            I’m getting a bit of a pounding here for saying what I’ve said. Your contribution is welcome.

            I’m not happy with this article from Angela when she starts off implying that Rangers got her sacked. They didn’t. She got herself sacked as soon as she, essentially, challenged publicy the position of the Herald Scotland Editorial position, her employer.

          2. Thomas Cochrane says:

            There are some total apologist for sevco here and in my opinion their bias against the female reporter is obvious. What a shower!

        3. James_MacIntyre says:

          It is the point that Haggerty is somehow to blame for any of this because she is an anti-bigotry campaigner. If this was any other club except Rangers and possibly Celtic, Haggerty would have been invited to the club in queestion and shown round as some kind of demonstration that the club is serious about tackling bigotry. Instead Rangers signed a guy called Billy King (harr… harr) and wanted her sacked. Keep the Act, and make sure these idiots know their bigotry is unacceptable in modern Scotland.

          1. Jo says:

            James

            Haggerty wasn’t sacked because of Rangers. She was sacked because she basically put two fingers up at a decision made by the company she works for.

          2. BenjaminPew says:

            Seriously! Rangers are now signing players because of their name!

        4. Andy Borland says:

          “the many problems she (Angela) personally has had from Rangers supporters … ”

          Wow.

          What a spectacular use of understatement Jo.

          “Problems” doesn’t quite do it justice though does it?

          Better descriptions would be unrelenting abuse, sexism, persecution, threats, bile, misogyny, hatred, bigotry and criminal behaviour over a sustained period of time.

          What is it that prevents you from seeing the bigger picture?

          Perhaps if you addressed those issues Jo, all from one backward element of Scottish society, then your focus on the merits or otherwise of a sacking of a journalist wouldn’t appear so trite.

          1. Jo says:

            Andy

            I’ve addressed those issues. There is no need for me to drag them all out again.

            All I’ve said is that there is no way she wouldn’t have known what would happen when she publicly undermined the editorial position of the paper she worked for.

            She’s also being very misleading here today. She’s implied that the sacking followed a column she did, again, about Rangers fans last week in the Sunday Herald.

            “Within days…………I was fired.”

            She then goes on to contradict that later in today’s piece when she admits the problem arose immediately following the tweet going public.

            I’ll repeat, she wasn’t sacked for the column last Sunday. She was sacked for publicly challenging an editorial decision at the Herald.

            Angela talks about irony today. Do you know what the real irony is? And I’m not justifying one iota what Rangers fans did to her. What they did to her was appalling. But, you know what? If it wasn’t for these Rangers thugs, no one would even have heard of Angela Haggerty. It was only as a result of the feud that she came to the attention of the wider MSM. That’s what I call irony.

          2. Jim Bennett says:

            Jo, you say “I’ll repeat, she wasn’t sacked for the column last Sunday. She was sacked for publicly challenging an editorial decision at the Herald. ”

            Where’s your evidence? The tweet you allege that she was sacked for never mentioned the Herald, it’s editorial position or it’s decision to push Speirs out:

            “Solidarity with @GrahamSpiers, again being targeted by the mob for telling some harsh truths…

            “Welcome to Scotland: write about glaring bigotry at Ibrox and the extremist ‘fans’ will hound you, intimidate you, harass you. In 2016.”

            What exactly is your agenda, Jo?

        5. Suzanne says:

          So will Neil Mackay be sacked for undermining his employer by tweeting his support for Angela? I somehow doubt it.

          1. Bernard Thompson says:

            No, but then he didn’t exactly express support.

            1 He said it wasn’t his decision.
            2 He said she was a dear friend.
            3 He tweeted a glass of wine without naming her/

        6. Indy Jones says:

          Well said Jo. A very mature summary on the shameful treatment of the principled writer Graham Spiers, and those who seek their own weird reflected glory from his work.
          Now, let’s look at how to tell Rangers that their bullying bigotry is not acceptable

    2. Dcanmore says:

      After the Spiers debacle, two non-abusive tweets got a journalist sacked on the spot, then a gagging order was issued among the Herald Group telling fellow journalists not to discuss.

      Think about that for a moment.

      1. Selkie says:

        I think you need to take a breath, and look at this situation objectively. The reason the freelancer (Haggerty) had her column dispensed with, is very simple.

    3. CT says:

      Graham Spiers wrote his own statement after the Herald apologised, he undermined them too yet he hasn’t been sacked has he?!

    4. James Coleman says:

      You sound very much like Jo Greenhorn. Are you?

    5. Bernard Thompson says:

      Jo,

      A few points. Firstly, Angela was writing for the Sunday Herald, presumably as a freelance, not The Herald, which had the issue over Graham Spiers.

      Her editor was Neil Mackay, not Magnus Llewellin, who is group editor. The Sunday Herald has a distinct editorial outlook, most notably in its declared support for Scottish independence.

      It is therefore nonsense to say that she should not be allowed to make comment on the treatment of another journalist at a sister title. It may not have been in her best immediate interests to imply criticism of people who can contribute to her income.

      However, writers are paid to express their honest opinions. As I’m sure you know, the expression “without fear or favour” denotes the professional duty of a journalist to promote the dissemination of news, truthfully, neither bowing to intimidation nor displaying unfair bias. It is a tenet that is rarely upheld, hence the ever-diminishing respect for journalists and mainstream journalism as a whole.

      To express solidarity with a fellow journalist is not “throwing yourself under the bus” but rather is the accepted duty of journalists in defence of media freedom, when their colleagues are attacked. What is remarkable is how few other journalists have done the same.

      Apart from attributing an apology to Graham Spiers without his consent – misrepresenting him, undermining his reputation for integrity and humiliating him before people who have made it their business to achieve that end, Magnus Llewellin has demonstrated that the Sunday Herald does not have editorial autonomy.

      We can infer from that that the title being “allowed” to pursue a pro-independence line was purely commercial. We now also have evidence that Neil Mackay does not have editorial independence and that the title’s output is therefore subject to interference, both directly and by proxy.

      Magnus Llewellin’s claim that Angela Haggerty’s Tweet had any bearing on any supposed legal pressure the title was facing is also open to question. If she was an employee, the company might be liable to some action based around any defamation or misconduct.

      However, it is scarcely conceivable how a news title could legally be held to account for a comment from an independent supplier made through a separate medium. In that regard, Common Space would be a more likely target.

      That raises valid questions about the true reasons. Were they commercial, which Magnus Llewellin denies, or a petulant and vindictive response to criticism? I believe that what remaining credibility the Herald has would be best served by a full, believable explanation.

      Finally, let’s not overlook Barclay McBain, who emailed his staff warning them not to comment on social media, “however well-meaning”, were the words I believe he used.

      When newspapers take to misrepresenting and silencing their own journalists, their mission has clearly failed.

      1. Selkie says:

        I do not have time to respond to all of your comment – however, Haggerty’s tweet can very easily be open to legal interpretation.

        1. Bernard Thompson says:

          But unless she was an employee of The Herald, they could not be held liable for her actions using other media.

        2. Thomas Cochrane says:

          Selkie!!! why do you hide behind a stupid wee name? (I,m aware of it.s meaning) come out into the light Reveal yourself……

    6. Bernard Thompson says:

      Jo

      “You were not sacked for the column you wrote last week.”

      She hasn’t made that claim. you seem to have inferred it and have repeated your inference as an implication made by her.

      She said it was ironic – it was.

  4. Alex Beveridge says:

    Very well said Angela, and can I wish you, and your fine journalism, all the best for the future.

  5. The Clumpany says:

    A great read. And kudos to BC for not being too gutless to carry your writing. Unlike some! This is an absolutely disgraceful episode, and the Herald should hang its head in shame.

    Here are my further thoughts on this matter.

    https://theclumpany.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/free-pitchfork-and-flaming-torch-for-every-remaining-reader/

  6. Richard Harris says:

    From Wales I find all this appalling. Our own “National” newspaper (The Western Mail) went to hell in a clickbait handcart long ago but for some (naïve) reason I thought Scotland was perhaps a shade different.

    I believe you did the only honest thing and its an indictment of the “grovel to power” sewer that your fellow “journalists” sit on their hands, whistle softly and look away. Very best wishes for your future.

    1. Iain McRitchie says:

      Newspapers in Scotland defend what will eventually Destroy them – the union!

      They are like turkeys voting for Chrostmass!

  7. Raymund McGrath says:

    Nail on the head here Angela and despite you’re fairness towards the Herald, they really have been shown as a spineless bunch. This really smacks of the bad old days where the new club in Govan are taking up where the old one left off, they may not have a lot of financial clout but they still have that horribly misguided sense of entitlement. Neither you nor Graham should have much to worry about work wise I wouldn’t think as you are both good at what you do. That in itself won’t be lost on your (awfully quiet) colleagues left working with that spineless broadsheet.

  8. Frank says:

    Let me sweep all the cobwebs/steam/clouds away. You were sacked because you are an uppity Catholic. Not directly, one would surely hope, but indirectly.

    Rangers fans and Rangers FC do not like you and do not want you working in the mainstream media. So they complained. And they threatened (bluffed) costly legal action (which they could never have afforded to have paid for – given their well-known precarious finances) against your employer. Your employer has sacked you because a large group of bigots had it in for you. By pandering to that baying mob Magnus Llewellin effectively sacked you on grounds of your religion.

    Imagine that your skin is black. Imagine that a right-wing group of people with deep pockets pay a lot of money for their individual companies to advertise on your employers websites and in their newspapers. Now imagine that they leaned on Llewellin to sack you on the grounds of your race/skin colour? People would be having a fit, and rightly so.

    Graeme Speirs questioned the “mettle” of the Rangers directors to crack down on sectarian singing among the Rangers support. His logic was that a club director spoke in glowing terms about “The Billy Boys”. Rangers complained and threatened, Llewellin buckled and offered an apology on behalf of Speirs when, with Speirs disagreeing, he had no right to make such an apology. Your sympathetic tweet to Speirs prompted Rangers (or people connected to Rangers) to complain about your tweet and have you sacked. No doubt they were encouraged they could get away with this since Llewellin had buckled so easily previously.

    So let us call a spade a spade. Speirs called out Rangers and you sympathised with the predicament he found himself in. ‘But for’ Speirs writing his truthful article, you’d still be writing for The Herald.

    These people wanted you sacked because you are a Catholic – and Llewellin surrendered to them in an act of shameful cowardice.

    Regards,
    Frank

  9. J Galt says:

    The sooner these “Newspapers” go under the better – their circulation figures are so pathetic they must be being kept going artificially – but where’s the money coming from for that?

    1. Indy Jones says:

      Actually no: the Scotsman and Herald make money. If they were held in a trust like the Irish Times or Guardian, the profits would go to investing in journalism. Instead, it goes to shareholders and executives who pay themselves close to a million a year

      1. J Galt says:

        Well that just goes to proove the old adage “where there’s muck there’s brass”!

  10. Angie says:

    You gave your support to a colleague and the rest as they say is history.

    Right minded people find this whole episode despicable. It stinks.The only good thing, if you could call it that, is Rangers and their fans are making non football people like me, take note of their bullying and intimidation of journalists and in fact anyone who does not agree with their narrative. This Herald episode shows this narrative is coming from the top.

    The funny thing is, the more they fight against the truth, the more the truth comes out, ironic isn’t it. They are hastening their own downfall.

    Karmas a bitch, isn’t she!

    Good luck to you Angela for the future. Though I don’t think you’ll need it. The cream always rises to the top..

  11. Andrew Smith says:

    A wonderfully balanced and insightful piece Angela.
    Incredibly restrained and insightful.
    Graham Spiers and your experiences are directly linked to the same nonsense that surrounded Jim Spence a few months back and we have to also be aware that one of the current BBC reporters is also currently banned from a park in Ms Sturgeon’s patch because he was reporting how he saw things rather than just regurgitating press releases.
    I call it nonsense but in reality it is much darker than that.
    We have an institution in the constituency of our first minister which is surrounded by darkness that has no countenance in a modern day forward looking Scotland.
    The darkness has grown significantly since the botched attempts at rescue around 2012.
    It is a fast growing elephant in a very wee room.
    And make no mistake it is primarily a political issue.
    One day someone will write about why our politicians, our media and the administrators of our game have united in an attempt to douse the flames and avoid the inevitable.
    A kind of “Nothing to see here, move along” won’t work this time.
    This is bigger, far bigger than just Magnus the hapless editor of what used to be a top quality source of Scottish enlightenment and insight being bullied into doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.
    And the longer nothing is done the worse the problem will become.
    So thank you Angela.
    And thank you Graham, Jim Spence, the currently banned BBCs senior reporter and others.
    You’re column in the Sunday Herald was never going to save that title or the printed media in Scotland from its inevitable decline.
    But what has happened to you may just help lead to more insight from people who can do something about it.
    Maybe even some of our politicians.
    I’m not holding my breath in the short term but I do believe you will still be influencing opinions honestly intelligently and openly when your erstwhile employer/title has been consigned to history.

    1. ian says:

      Its a great pity “the press”does’nt report in an even manner. They are quite clearly following a Unionist agenda so i’m sure if our first minister was up to anything she would have been exposed by know.You are quite clearly of this persuasion and are well represented by the media.

      1. Andrew Smith says:

        Wrong Ian.
        Way wrong and a maybe just a tad presumptive or patronising, you can choose which.
        I’m personally just disappointed, disturbed and sad at the deafening silence from those who could make a difference.
        That’s why I wrote it.
        The silence from both Holyrood and Westminister really is deafening.
        Yes its always going to be easier to close ranks and hope stuff goes away but I reckon the solution will one day need cross party political involvement.
        Top down would be my insight and coincidentally the MSP for Govan has the clout to make a difference and start the ball rolling, if she so chooses.
        I really hope she does.
        That would be our best shot of a real plan to consigning this stuff to the dark times it came from and where it belongs.
        This whole imported mess is one of the things I least like about our country.
        There is no room for the bile it brings at matches, in our streets or anywhere.
        In my Scotland there is never an excuse for bigotry or for ignoring it when it is so obvious.

  12. Andy Borland says:

    Most right thinking folk, I believe, will greatly sympathise with the remarkable situation you found yourself in this week Angela; I certainly do.

    The light has been shone on the corporate influence on our media this week like never before.

    What it reveals is illuminating, but deeply worrying.

    In the same week, not unrelated, we have a person with unimaginable wealth operating like a flat track bully, using said wealth to quell debate, criticism or dissent of her questionable social media behaviour.

    And what does this episode reveal about the long term prospects of The National?

    The only pro Scottish independence newspaper in the UK could find itself politically neutered.

    Dark days indeed.

    1. Levein says:

      “In the same week, not unrelated, we have a person with unimaginable wealth operating like a flat track bully, using said wealth to quell debate, criticism or dissent of her questionable social media behaviour.”

      I can’t be the only one that finds this whole JK Rowling thing a bit silly. She seems to be getting accused of saying something friendly to someone who completely separately said something nasty to someone else. I mean… have you ever used Twitter? I’d be surprised if anyone who regularly speaks to people on there hasn’t done that, far less someone with squillions of followers like her. The idea you’re supposed to trawl through someone’s entire history before saying something to them is pretty absurd.

      I genuinely find these kinds of incidents a complete distraction – two people with known political allegiances get into a random spat about nothing and everyone gets in the trenches and starts arguing about why the person on “their side” was right. Seriously, it’s complete nonsense.

      1. James Coleman says:

        You clearly are not aware of the whole story or even of any of it so what is the point of jumping in and making stupid comments which bear no relation to what is happening.

        1. Levein says:

          James: If you want to make a point then go ahead. Just writing throwaway lines about a comment being stupid isn’t much of an argument.

          I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess you’re mistakenly thinking you have some unique access to information on this because you’ve read an article on Wings Over Scotland that most people read about two days ago. But correct me if I’m wrong…

          1. James Coleman says:

            Dear me what a pathetic reply.

          2. Levein says:

            James: Generally the way adults debate things on the internet is somebody writes an opinion, then the person that disagrees explains why they have a different viewpoint. Just writing “this comment is stupid” or trotting out playground level zingers isn’t a debate, it’s a waste of time.

            So try again – you seem to want to disagree with me, have a go at explaining why.

          3. Iain McRitchie says:

            Levein, do you find people who refer to females as c—- acceptable?

            Do you find people who refer females in truely the most disgusting of terms in a casual manner acceptable?

            If you did, you would not have made the comments above, or are you a silly wee boy?

          4. ian says:

            All the evidence is there for all to see and its very difficult to see Jk not ending up with egg all over her face should she try and sue.

  13. Bugger Le Panda says:

    I thought initially that the actions by the Herald Group against You and G Speirs was a manifestation of a very special disease peculiar to the West of Scotland and N Ireland; an unfortunate historical thing.

    Then as events unfurled I thought it was mates protecting mates; drinking buddies helping out drinking buddie? See, how come the breaking story about the financial shenanigans at OldCo Rangers never saw the light in the MSM?

    Then I thought this is much, much bigger than a W of S stooshie.

    What it is, is the manifestation of a much greater democratic deficit in Scotland (and the UK) caused by the removal of beneficial ownership to beyond our shores. This is done by a quid pro quo deal, based on selective political support or not of political Parties, depending on whether they toe the line of the money men.

    Wrt the Gannet Group, which is the US parent company of the Herald etc, it is interesting that they are the purveyor of USA Today, which carries their World view to most of the Americans who live out of sight of the Ocean. They own a swathe of reinforcing regional radio and TV stations. Gannet is headquartered in Langley, Va, next door to the CIA but, just a coincidence there.

    People are doing their utmost to make sure that there must be some sort of continuation of the Rangers Football Club carrying on its core values of religious bigotry and division. I wonder why?

    I do not buy the argument that this is a financial decision. I doubt that the copies of the Herald sold to the attendees at Ibrox would not be even marginally financially significant.

    Rangers must not fall because with it would wither the Unionist knuckle hand in Scotland.

    Just remember who invaded George Square the day after the Referendum and who they violently supported. These are the same people who now parade around the streets, as is their cultural entitlement, the recent re-gift of the Labour party?

    Boils down to divide and rule, the fundamental Imperial management precept.

    Who has the money, time political leverage to carry this out? Who could do this and be absent to public scrutiny whist doing so?

    Maybe I am just paranoid.

    1. Jim Bennett says:

      You might be paranoid … but that doesn’t mean that you’re not observing reality!

      1. Bugger Le Panda says:

        Thanks.

        Ev en a broken clock is precisely right twice a day and many of Screaming Lord Sutch’s agenda for the Official Screaming Monster Loony Party have become mainstream.

        Follow the Irish Passage to independence, take it as a blueprint and then update the edges.

        I would advance that the George Square Riot was a warning to us of what awaits if we pressed one.

        Paranoid, moi?

        1. Alistair says:

          In this case, I think you are in fact being a bit paranoid. Rangers fans didn’t exactly need much provocation to go on the rampage in Manchester and that was hardly part of a grand scheme to achieve a political goal. It was drunk neds getting drunk and doing what drunk neds do. This kind of tit for tat Old Firm stuff has always been pretty bizarre – the idea it’s all part of some conspiracy seems to be a core feature of both sides (the media are in on it, the government, the referees, everyone). Fortunately/unfortunately, the world isn’t that controlled.

          1. Bugger Le Panda says:

            Never said they were micro managed Alistair.

            They are smallish part of the big picture, useful tools when necessary.

  14. David says:

    I think the way you have been treated is despicable. To a non football fan you have shone a dark light on issues that should be nothing to do with the game but obviously are. Thank you for also pointing out that it is not just an issue with Rangers. I’m not saying a game of football is never interesting to watch but it has never grabbed me as a lifestyle choice. Maybe that is part of the reason why I’ve been kind of aware that there is a bad smell around but never, until now, properly understood the enormity of it. I have been supporting the new online media since its inception and have a direct debit to common space. Sometimes I wondered if my regular donation was really worthwhile and had occasionally considered stopping it. I have now decided that I need to keep my small contribution going even if I sometimes read stuff I don’t agree with. Please add this to your list of small achievements gained from this incident and this article and good luck for the future. We need your journalism.

    1. Matt Seattle says:

      What David said

  15. john young says:

    Bugger le Panda,hundreds of years ago when it appeared that a united front of both Protestant/Catholics would hold sway in the united Ireland fight,the government brought in Sir George Knox who said don,t worry I will play the Orange card,hey presto divide conquer ere it ever was.Jo I think you have an on going issue with Angela,did G Spiers lie in what he said?if he did then he deserves what comes his way,if he didn,t lie,then the heart of the problem is still beating.

    1. Bugger Le Panda says:

      Yes, and precisely so.

      I could have reduced about half of my ramble to just that, “the orange card”

    2. Jo says:

      Hi John

      I’ve simply set out the events as they unfolded and suggested that there is no way Angela would not have known the consequences of her tweet. It was a direct challenge to an editorial decision by the paper she worked for.

      I don’t think any employee who did that would survive the experience. Any company that offers a public apology to another party and is then undermined by an existing employee who publicly challenges this would be toast, especially when there was a legal matter involved. When that same employee also has a background history of serious troubles with the party the apology is offered to I’d say it makes it even more likely that they would know what would happen next.

      Angela had another option John. She could just have resigned in support of Speirs. Instead she posted the tweet knowing what would follow. I do have a problem with her, you’re right. I think she’s not very honest.

      1. tim says:

        Hi Jo,
        The more you are trying to blame Angela the more desperate you are coming across take a step back and re read what your writing.

        1. Jo says:

          I’m fine with what I’ve written Tim. Not remotely desperate here I assure you.

          1. tim says:

            Ok everyone has there opinion and most people are supporting Angela on this but you seem to have an axe to grind beyond this column.

      2. Frank says:

        So why hasn’t the editor (Neil MacKay) also been dismissed? He has tweeted his own solidarity with Angela Haggerty and also stated that he had nothing to do with her dismissal, and that the decision was made against his wishes – solely by editor-in-chief Magnus Llewellin.

        You argue that her dismissal was her own fault as if the timeline of events started with her tweet. It did not. It started when Magnus Llewellin pandered to the mob. The mob wanted an apology for an opinion piece that was honestly reported by Graeme Speirs. They got their wish. Llewellin made matters worse by apologising on behalf of Speirs (that surely gives Mr Speirs a good shout at a claim for constructive dismissal).

        So this whole sorry and shameful episode is the responsibility of Magnus Llewellin – not Mr Speirs (who did nothing at all wrong), and not Ms Haggerty either. Ms Haggerty should never have had to be in a position where she felt the need to show solidarity with Mr Speirs. It’s what lawyers call ‘But For’. But for Mr Llewellin’s cowardice or commercial acumen, we wouldn’t be writing about this.

  16. Mike Horne says:

    The vindictiveness shown by the herald has strange handshakes all over it.play with the devil and you’ll get burnt.

  17. Douglas Scott says:

    An excellent article..
    You now have a new financial supporter
    Very best wishes for the future

  18. Jim Bennett says:

    You’ve been treated disgracefully Angela. I wish you well.

  19. tartanfever says:

    This episode will stop me buying the Sunday Herald. I’m aware that Angela and others have maintained their support for the editor Neil MacKay and have publicly stated we should continue to support it, which is fair enough.

    However, I always had an issue with The National – a paper launched purely on a financial basis to fill a market gap. Where was it in June 2013 or July 2014 when it was really needed ? Nowhere. Launching a pro independence paper after the referendum was an abysmal act in my opinion, too little too late.

    Some of the journalism presented in the sister paper, The Herald has been nothing short of laughable

    1. tartanfever says:

      cont’d.

      at times, and buying Newsquest papers has always been an affair decided between the week’s crap within the Herald and if the Sunday herald deserves my support.

      Make no bones, this is a group affair, Newsquest own all these titles. Unionist supporter Llewellin is in charge of the group and has final say across the entire staff, including the Sunday Herald. So I’ll apologise to Neil Mackay and Angela, but there is no way I’m ever buying a Newsquest title again, pro independence stance or not.

      1. Seppington says:

        I understand your cynicism at the possibly money-grabbing reason for The National’s creation but would argue that having one paper that carries pro-independence stuff is better than none. However, I am also reluctant to buy it now given that I don’t believe I can fully trust the content within it. I have also been dismayed by their continual pandering to the Ibrox horde and their “same club” myth perpetuation. The majority of these knuckle-scrapers would never vote to break up the union so why bother trying to appease them?

        This whole situation has thoroughly soured me on The National & Sunday Herald, I doubt they will see any of my money again.

      2. Archie Hamilton says:

        Thats the issue for me. In one stroke a decision at a higher level undermines any possible good work by either The Sunday Herald or The National.

        I didn’t expect anything worthy from The Herald.

    2. Eric says:

      I think the destruction of the National and the Sunday Herald is what these ‘backroom parties’ would love. It may be difficult, but I still consider keeping these titles on the shelves, and getting stories visible to those who don’t use the internet, of importance in the short term

    3. Frank says:

      I feel as you do. ‘The National’ was borne out of a cynical commercial decision to tap into a market – the nationalist/YES demographic.

      As long as Magnus Llewellin remains at The Herald and Angela Haggerty remains out of her position I will not buy or read any Herald-Times publications or visit their clickbait websites.

      1. Levein says:

        “I feel as you do. ‘The National’ was borne out of a cynical commercial decision to tap into a market – the nationalist/YES demographic.”

        I don’t think there’s much question that is what the National was set up to do, but that doesn’t make it any different from any other newspaper in fairness.

      2. David McCann says:

        More power to your elbow Angela.
        I’m afraid Jo’s logic is akin to angels dancing on the head of a pin.
        And to those who would stop supporting the National and the Sunday Herald; has it struck you this is precisely what Gannett and their shareholders want us to do, thus negating the good work of journalists like Richard Walker and Neil Mackay, who fought for a pro indy newspaper in the first place?
        Why do you want to make it easy for Gannett to pull the plug on a paper if circulation shows signs of decline?

  20. CathW says:

    When The Scotsman finally became unbearable (20 years ago?) under the vile editorial rule of Andrew Neil, I was relieved to turn to the Herald and have stuck with it since. It had a good tradition of wide ranging and decent-length letters; some (not all!) good columnists and some good quality foreign affairs journalism, for example. I also took up the Sunday Herald when that came along and we’ve read the National from day one – for its generally more radical perspective, not nationalism per se though very much supporters of independence. It’s been noticeable that the papers, Herald especially, were struggling to maintain standards – poor proofing/sub-editing; material taken from Radio Times interviews; much replicated content between Sunday and Monday Herald; etc, etc, but I still found them generally better than the alternatives. Alas, they have just lost a long-term reader – I stopped buying the Herald as soon as I heard about Graham Speirs’ situation, and will now have no further truck with the Sunday Herald. I won’t be the only one, which supports the view that the editor in chief – though admittedly in a difficult and pressurised situation, which Angela has been generous enough to recognise – has not made decisions in the best interests of the reputation or survival of his papers. Shame all round.

  21. Adam says:

    Never been your biggest fan, Angela, but I’ll support you 100% on this. An utter disgraces which proves the points you have made for years.

    All the best, and good luck with your future career choices.

  22. Hamish says:

    Herald is no longer credible.

  23. Stephen Sinclair says:

    Good for you Angela. As of two days ago I cancelled my subscription service to the Herald. I hope many others will follow.

    BTW, your self restraint in this article is admirable.

  24. Doubting Thomas says:

    Oh dear.
    Angela the victim and her constant battle with the evil forces of Rangers and Unionism is really becoming a bit boring. Especially when she has condoned and supported terrorist armed struggle in the past, her so called innocence in her own demise must be taken with a very large pinch of salt.
    Her anger has rebounded on her somewhat spectacularly and in throwing stones with the intention of smashing someone else’s glass house she has in fact smashed her own.
    The question which needs to be asked is why she as employed in the first place given her own bigoted views.

    1. gordoz says:

      Daily Mail reader ??

      1. Doubting Thomas says:

        Naw the Sunday Sport Gordoz.

        Mibees Angela could get a column on this.

        I am sure her literary talents would be welcomed.

        She can do sublime or ridiculous just like you!

        1. Jim Bennett says:

          Hey, Doubting Thomas, what’s wrong with supporting terrorists? I’ve always been a strong supporter of Gandhi and Mandela. Like Her Majesty the Queen, I’d also be absolutely delighted to shake hands with Martin McGuinness.

          Some people however, enjoy supporting the kind of terrorists who kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians from the comfort of Cabinet and direct torture to be visited innocents from their oak lined offices. I suspect that you may be an apologist of those.

          1. Doubting Thomas says:

            “You suspect”…….”an apologist”……dearie me…..
            You’re quite opinionated aren’t you…..and like many of your kind ilk prone to baseless accusations.
            Let me try to lighten things up….do you think Ronnie should go if today’s result stays the same?

  25. Douglas Park says:

    This is a well-written article from Ms.Haggerty and I certainly wish her well in future endeavours.

    However lets be honest here, the Angela Haggerty of 2 years ago would never have been writing for the Herald in the first place, such was the tribalistic nature of her twitter feed.

    She edited a book on Rangers financial collapse with no editing experience and very little in the way of Journalistic experience. Would be interesting to hear from her how this came about to mediate the impression of Rangers Fans that it was only because she shared the same “cultural background” and alleged partisan bias as the writer of that book.

    Certainly she first came to the attention on Rangers Fans for that. However their main ire was drawn not by the book but by the tribal hostility of her social media interactions which frequently involved the deliberate trolling of Rangers associated hashtags.

    Its clear upon becoming editor of CommonSpace that Ms.Haggerty has considerably reined in the tribalistic side of her personality. Sage advice I suspect from a trusted friend or colleague given the crowdfunded nature of that news service.

    Rangers Fans (in the main) are broadly representative of the current political demographic in Scotland and would be unlikely to donate to an organisation who’s editor persisted in referencing a fanbase as “The Klan” and other heinious, dehumanising group labels.

    In summary, she had almost moved on. Almost but not quite. I don’t believe she deliberately threw herself under the bus, I believe she couldn’t help herself as the tribal aspect of her nature became once more dominant.

    1. Bernard Thompson says:

      “Would be interesting to hear from her how this came about to mediate the impression of Rangers Fans that it was only because she shared the same “cultural background” and alleged partisan bias as the writer of that book.”

      It is comments such as these that would lead Job himself to despair. What business is it of yours or any football fans to bring Angela Haggerty’s “cultural background” – that’s Irish Catholic – into the decision by another writer to hire her as a book editor?

      As for “partisan bias”, it’s the job of an editor to reflect the intended meaning of the writer. Perhaps we should have an approved committee of people approved to edit books about Rangers as a protection against “partisan bias”.

  26. gordoz says:

    Stopped buying the Herald about mid 2014 ; Sunday Herald at start of the year, next stop cancelling license fee.

    Cant keep suffering UK state media guff. Herald now no better the Scotchman.

    Keep at it Angela !!!

  27. Redgauntlet says:

    The sacking of Angela Haggerty for “expressing solidarity” with Spiers is an utter disgrace and an outrage… it only proves what many have long suspected about so many Scottish journalists, in this case Magnus Llewellin: that they don´t know how to read, let alone write….

  28. Neil Ross says:

    I understand the point that you were on thin ice, criticising the Heralds decision on Graham Spiers – that’s a common enough situation in employment law – and he was right to act as he did. However, standing alongside him had to be done. Where there’s no solidarity and no principles, decency crumbles. Magnus Llewellin would do well to remember that.

  29. ian Stewart says:

    Ben Bradley editor Washington Post,

    WE STAND BY THE STORY,

    Llewellin should dig out his ”All the President’s Men DVD

  30. Gail says:

    The herald could have stood firm, backed two fine journalists, and published a great story on the withdrawal of advertising as evidence of corporate bullying etc. Having secured the moral high ground I am sure the financial impact would be mitigated by increased sales. As it is, readers will continue to leave and the title has simply hastened its own demise.

  31. Bob Mack says:

    All the excuses in the world do not change reality. Everyone knows why the two of you were sacked. For far too long sectarianism has cast a dark shadow on certain sections of Scottish society, and needed exposed. The vitriol expressed towards you an Mr Speirs is the evidence thereof. I have seen it on fan forums like “The Bears Den” and “Do the Bouncy. Everyone can look for themselves at the hate fest going on there.

    My father supported Rangers,but in a civilised way.My great great
    grandfather played for them. They would both be ashamed at what
    passes these days as support.

    1. The O'Tollan Lass says:

      “Everyone knows why the two of you were sacked?”

      I don’t. If you have read the letter of dismissal can you tell me what it said?

      You claim to have “evidence” as to why they were sacked. Are you serious? Do you really regard utterances on a highly partisan website as evidence of anything other than the mindset of those who make them?

      Can you imagine Ms Haggerty being called in and told
      “Right. It’s the tin tack for you hen.”
      “Why?”
      “Well, we read some pretty damning indictments of you on thebearsden and we can’t have somebody like that working for us. Them and follow follow make up the bulk of our readership, didn’t you know?”

      1. Bob Mack says:

        You will have seen that Mr Park has contributed to this debate. Why if it is nothing to do with Rangers ? He is clearly trying ,but failing to distance the club from this decision,yet people like you state the club is not a factor.

        As for your assertion that it is a minority of fans in the likes of the fan forums,that is just puerile.

        You have never stood at Ibrox during the hate fest of an Old Firm game? Tell you what,try walking into the Louden Tavern for a pint wearing a Celtic top. Don’ t kid yourself on Lass.Other people yes,but not yourself

        1. The O'Tollan Lass says:

          When I replied to you I did so on the basis of your post.

          You on the other hand blast out whataboutery with a blunderbuss. That is because you are unable to answer my post any other way. Accusing me of dishonesty and puerility is part of that inability.

  32. Airdrieonian says:

    Some of you will have noticed that there was a concerted campaign, by a particular Twitter “account”, saying that Spiers had knowingly lied in his “Billy Boys” column, and he subsequently admitted this. This being the reason why The Herald had no choice but to issue an apology. Many pro-Rangers Tweets have referenced this “fact”. Interestingly, this “account” has now been withdrawn from public access, which may not be related to the allegation that it is run by a PR company with links to the Club itself. Murky!

  33. Davy Craig says:

    So if Angela haggerty is sacked because of her tweets, how in gods name are Chris jack and Keith Jackson still in employment

  34. Morag says:

    It is a basic premise of journalism (or used to be) that you have to be able to back up what you say with proof if required. It appears Mr Spiers did not have a legal leg to stand on, and therefore the Herald didn’t either. Ms Haggerty’s services were dispensed with, presumably, not for expressing solidarity with Spiers but for the latter part of her tweet, which could be seen as an attack on her employer. None of this is about freedom of speech as so many people claim, at least not within the parameters of defamation law.

    1. The O'Tollan Lass says:

      Ms Haggerty thinks that as a professional victim the law does not apply to her.

      If she has a case for wrongful dismissal she can pursue it through the tribunal and not the court of public opinion. The public opinion she appeals to is those who share and confirm her own prejudices and victimology – a forum where evidence which does not support their “oppression” is inadmissable. That is why her friend Phil McGiolla immediatley deltes any posts that question his mutterings.
      No organisation will employ those who set out willfully or recklessly to harm sales – who do so on a whim and call it principle.

      1. Bugger Le Panda says:

        Angela Haggarty is not an employee of the Herald and so has no wilful dismissal option. If she has a contact, and depending how that is worded, she may have other options.

        1. The O'Tollan Lass says:

          When she says she “was sacked”, “was fired” that implies an employee relationship.

          If she is not an employee she shouldn’t mislead us by using that expression.

          Thank you for pointing this out to me and others.

  35. Seamus campbell says:

    Not quite sure what you mean by the influence the Glasgow “clubs” have.
    I thought there was only one club involved in this story.
    Surely not more “whataboutery”

  36. Jo says:

    @ Jim Bennett

    “Jo, you say “I’ll repeat, she wasn’t sacked for the column last Sunday. She was sacked for publicly challenging an editorial decision at the Herald. ”
    Where’s your evidence? The tweet you allege that she was sacked for never mentioned the Herald, it’s editorial position or it’s decision to push Speirs out:
    “Solidarity with @GrahamSpiers, again being targeted by the mob for telling some harsh truths…
    “Welcome to Scotland: write about glaring bigotry at Ibrox and the extremist ‘fans’ will hound you, intimidate you, harass you. In 2016.”
    What exactly is your agenda, Jo?”

    First off, I don’t have an agenda and you should be quite clear about that. I’m for honest journalism. I have no agenda and it’s a shame you accuse me of that just because I don’t happen to agree with you.

    The “evidence” you ask for is in this very article. Angela starts off by implying Rangers got her sacked a few days after she wrote her article about their fans last week and then says later that she only heard from her gaffer AFTER the Tweet in support of Graham. That Tweet undermined the editorial team of the newspaper she worked for. That was why she was sacked. She challenged a decision made by her employer. She didn’t have to mention the apology the Herald Group had issued. She was still employed by the Herald Group and had basically dissed the apology. That’s why she was sacked.

    1. Airdrieonian says:

      Jo,
      Are you commenting in a personal capacity, or on behalf of a PR company?

    2. Bernard Thompson says:

      “Angela starts off by implying Rangers got her sacked a few days after she wrote her article about their fans last week and then says later that she only heard from her gaffer AFTER the Tweet in support of Graham.”

      She implied no such thing amd repeating it doesn’t make it so.

      “That Tweet undermined the editorial team of the newspaper she worked for. That was why she was sacked. She challenged a decision made by her employer. She didn’t have to mention the apology the Herald Group had issued. She was still employed by the Herald Group and had basically dissed the apology. That’s why she was sacked.”

      She was sacked for implying criticism of a management decision – one that has been roundly condemned by people in various parts of the media in Scotland and beyond. Mature management can withstand criticism and resolve issues through discussion.

      It does not take a sledgehammer to crack a nut or seek to stifle free comment.

  37. Loon says:

    This episode is another demonstration of the hold Rangers FC (or whatever you wish to call them) and the Unionist Establishment has on modern-day Scotland.
    Further evidence of this is found in the following:
    1. No MSM outlet appears to have asked the Rangers FC Board to demonstrate how they “have the mettle” to tackle ongoing anti-Catholic chants like the Billy Boys. This was Speirs claim and is the issue at hand – is there any media outlet brave enough to meet this challenge in Scotland?
    2. BBC journalist Chris McLaughlin is still banned from Ibrox, supposedly for submitting “biased reports”, including mentions of Rangers fans anti-Catholic chants. BBC has withdrawn journalists from Ibrox as a result.
    3. Rangers FC reaction to their fans recent anti-Catholic chants seems to be to use legal threats and bans to bully journalists into not reporting on them. What kind of civilised society will sit back and accept this type of corporate bullying from a company with a long history of religious discrimination? Why is there not a major political inquest into this issue? A summit was called when there were a few fisty-cuffs at an Old Frim game a few years ago but no political action is taken when journalists are intimidated from reporting on illegal chants.
    4. I firmly believe one of the reasons behind this is with a Unionist-saturated MSM in Scotland the Billy Boys still provide a band of ‘useful idiots’ to the Unionist establishment when ever the need may arise. A blind eye (or thumb up, as in this case) is still turned to their cretinous chants and more sinister scare tactics by the MSM and the Scottish/UK Establishment.
    On a cheerier note, some day soon, the hardcore cretins will be run out of Scotland. Their time is over, and they know it.

    1. Bugger Le Panda says:

      Yes

    2. Regarder says:

      This a bit contradictory to be honest. On the one hand you’re suggesting the media are effectively working in tandem with Rangers fans due to some pro-Unionist agenda, yet on the other we’re noting that the BBC (if there’s a pro-Unionist agenda I’d have thought they’d be at the heart of it) has had its relationship with Rangers completely break down because they didn’t like the way things were reported.

      I actually think the problem here is we’ve become obsessed with agendas. Everyone is assumed to have an agenda in the media – a journalist either has a pro-Rangers agenda, or he’s anti-Rangers; he’s also either pro-Unionist or pro-independence, even if he’s just a football reporter. Everything that then happens in relation to this journalist is automatically interpreted as part of this agenda. If someone gets sacked for criticising Rangers then it’s a pro-Rangers/Unionist move. If a journalist doesn’t get sacked for criticising Rangers the other side see it as proof of an anti-Rangers/pro-independence agenda. Celtic get a red card (today) and there’s the anti-Celtic agenda coming out again.

      I support a smaller team and I honestly see both sides of the Old Firm as being just as deluded as each other with this sort of thing.

      1. Loon says:

        It’s not contradictory – Chris McLaughlin, like Angela Haggerty and Graham Speirs, was seen as an unacceptable “enemy of Rangers” for daring to raise the fact that it has, at best, had a very light-touch approach to stopping the Billy Boys being sung by its supporters. The evidence that Speirs is right and the Board “lacks the mettle” to stop these songs is they are still being sung regularly. Simple.
        This is despite the fact the old Rangers were fined 3 times by UEFA for sectarian songs. It is common knowledge that the song is illegal amongst all Rangers supporters.
        The BBC has failed to report this singing, and the one journalist who did raise it, Chris McLaughlin, was then banned from Ibrox.
        The BBC did back their journalist on this occasion, to some extent, and has refused to send alternative journalists to Ibrox.
        However, the BBC is as much a part of this conspiracy of silence on sectarian chants as any other MSM outlet, and certainly is at the core of the Unionist Establishment in Scotland.

        1. Regarder says:

          The distinction here is between an active conspiracy and Rangers citing supposed “bias” as a way to manipulate media coverage. Rangers have actually been beating this “the BBC is biased against us” drum for years now. There was the Mad Men complaint, the leak about McCoist being sacked, the reporting over McCoist’s views on sectarianism, the Craig Whyte documentary, and no doubt several other cases I’ve forgotten.

          Almost all of those issues were examples of Rangers trying to use supposed media bias to 1) create unity among their supporters, which is one of the oldest motivational tricks in the book, and 2) pressure the media into giving them more favourable coverage than they deserve. Celtic do exactly the same thing on a regular basis. In both cases it gets each club favourable treatment – nobody wants to be seen to wrong one of the Old Firm because they know they’ll immediately get accused of having an agenda. So we tiptoe around them trying not to offend and they both get away with murder, whether it’s sectarian chanting or whatever else.

          That’s the problem, not that the BBC/Scottish football really does have an agenda for or against one of these two clubs (both of which get far more favourable treatment than smaller sides). Presenting it as part of a conspiracy is just feeding into the same destructive narrative that causes the problem in the first place.

  38. Big Jock says:

    Tick Tock Custers last stand. The wagons are being circled and the unionist dictators are shitting themselves. We are winning this! Jk has scored an own goal by opening a window into her murky world and dubious personality. Rangers were running Scotland 30 years ago but not now. The rest of Scotland despise them .

  39. Bemused Observer. says:

    If a wrong has been carried out against these seekers of truth, take it to court, take it to an employment tribuneral or accept that they left their employer in a very difficult position that could have jeopardised the jobs of many others at the paper. Both have been accused of having an anti rangers agenda on numerous occasions which it seems is encouraged in a Salem Witch Trial modern Scotland in which being a pro union rangers supporter allows you to be dehumanised in to some creature who is part of a hoard or klan. I voted yes as I was listening to moderates such as Andrew Wilson but the way rangers and their supporters have been demonised based on deep routed prejudices tells me we are not yet ready to self determine. Back to the first point – take it to court and see how credible the witnesses/petitioners are. Thought not.

    1. Bernard Thompson says:

      I think perhaps you mean “Confused” Observer. Only people with a contract of employment have recourse to Employment Tribunals, not freelancers.

      Likewise, freelancers have very few other protections that would allow them to go to court for having their columns cut.

      Not every wrong is a matter for the courts.

  40. Heidstaethefire says:

    Have also cancelled my subscription to the Herald, and would advise everybody else to do the same, and also tell them why. Not the Sunday Herald or the National, though. To cancel those would be presented as a fracture in the independence side – let’s not give them the chance.

  41. Melville Jones says:

    I moved to live and work in Glasgow more than thirty years ago, and was asked to join one of my new colleagues at a Rangers home match. I was born in West Bromwich, in an Albion family, and as we approached Ibrox, I saw that it was a virtual copy of Villa Park! When inside, I then listened to what was some of the most foul minded singing I have ever heard.
    I have never been back to Ibrox, as it seems to me to be the home of some of the worst sectarianism in Scotland. It does not surprise me that these same folk cannot accept any sort of criticism, without displaying total over reaction.

  42. Wul says:

    I’m genuinely confused.

    If Haggerty makes a comment on her Twitter account, surely she does it as “herself” and not as “The Herald”. Some commentators above (and presumably The Herald too), seem to be saying that, if a journalist is occasionally employed to write a column in their newspaper, then that journalist can not ever say anything publicly which undermines that newspaper?

    Is that a typical journalist contract? If so, how come some journos have Twitter profiles which say e.g. “Joe Bloggs; Head of blah, blah at Big News Corporation inc. All views my own” and then go on to say what they like about senior politicians, celebs & so on, with impunity?

  43. David McCann says:

    More power to your elbow Angela.
    I’m afraid Jo’s logic is akin to dancing on the head of a pin.
    And to those who would stop supporting the National and the Sunday Herald; has it struck you this is precisely what Gannett and their shareholders want us to do, thus negating the good work of journalists like Richard Walker and Neil Mackay, who fought for a pro indy newspaper in the first place?
    Why do you want to make it easy for Gannett to pull the plug on a paper if circulation shows signs of decline?

  44. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Slightly off topic but I have to laugh when I hear it repeated that the National was started to make money. People saying this have absolutely no idea about the financing of newspapers and the National is run on a shoestring by a dedicated and overworked staff just to clean its face.The Sunday Herald and the National were both put into print because honest journalists were appalled by the complete lack of balance in the “Scottish” media on the constitutional question and bravely set about trying to do something about it.
    They are newspapers and sensibly they carry a better balanced range of views and opinions. I find it pretty funny that folk that complain about our Brit media carrying only one side of the story seen to want to support newspapers that do exactly the same the other way round.
    The Brit media in Scotland has suffered huge long lasting blows over the last few days. Long may their dissolution continue.

    1. Bernard Thompson says:

      “Slightly off topic but I have to laugh when I hear it repeated that the National was started to make money. People saying this have absolutely no idea about the financing of newspapers and the National is run on a shoestring by a dedicated and overworked staff just to clean its face.”

      Dave, the laudable aims of the editorial staff who wanted to take a different approach are quite different to the commercial decisions made by Tim Blott.

      Just because a news title struggles to break even, that is not evidence that profitability was never the deciding factor in giving it the go-ahead.

      The Sunday Herald had bucked the downward circulation trend during and immediately after the independence referendum campaign. It would be naive in the extreme to believe that Blott wasn’t motivated by harnessing some of that with the launch of the National.

      And, after all, this whole issue is about executive decisions having an adverse impact on journalistic standards.

      1. The O'Tollan Lass says:

        “Just because a news title struggles to break even, that is not evidence that profitability was never the deciding factor in giving it the go-ahead.”
        What evidence do you need?
        They started the venture in a dying market where the possibility of a profit was zilch. So why do you think the venture was given go ahead?

        Could you avoid double negatives in your reply?

    2. DB1 says:

      I agree. I was in 2 minds to buy the Sunday Herald at first, but I can appreciate the difference and will continue to support that and the National. I occasionally bought the Herald, but no more.

      The ideal outcome would be for the Herald and the National to merge, under a new editor, and take a pro-Scotland line.
      It think this is the only thing that will arrest falling sales.
      Combine them both into a good quality compact format that is easier to read on the train.
      The National Herald maybe !

      Scotland needs a good quality pro-Scottish title, and the National fills a gap. There is some good content, but its obvious it’s produced on a shoestring budget, and relies on a lot of goodwill.

      A combined paper I think would have the potential to sell far more, and be a genuine national paper for Scotland. The Scotsman without the cringe.

      1. Regarder says:

        Have to agree with Bernard in that it is a bit naive to think the National wasn’t set up to make a profit. The shoestring budget is actually a symptom of that: it was set up on an initial trial run with a small staff under the assumption that if it became profitable it could expand. They said that explicitly, so the idea it was established by some altruistic journalists eager to rebalance the Scottish media isn’t very accurate.

        Does that mean nobody should read it? Of course not. Criticising a newspaper for wanting to make a profit is a pretty odd perspective. It’s not a charity and journalists aren’t volunteers, it’s a business, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable if it fills a gap in coverage.

  45. yesindyref2 says:

    After the last few incredible days of seeing big money bullying in action I’ve completely run out of opinion typing fingers, worn down to the knuckles, so good luck Angela!

  46. willie says:

    Despite what they say, Rangers is a sectarian club and the Scottish establishment supports sectarianism. Donald Findlay QC singing the Sash at a function being one example. Rangers is also a club that operates at the edges of legality. Player investment trusts being another example. Or what of the parade of characters who have run Rangers over the years – Oldco and Newco. Under current criminal proceedings some could possibly go to jail. The club, if you can call it a club, is a business with a murky past, and recent events reinforce that little if anything has changed. Football supporters, or at least true football supporters deserve so much better. There is no room for this behaviour, and folks should boycot them. Ditto any press who assists them. Time the pig sty was cleaned.

  47. Clive Scott says:

    The mistake both Angela and Graham have made is having worked for the unionist rag that is The Herald. If you want to show support for them then persuade a Herald reader of the error of their ways and encourage them to stop buying it. If 100,000 Yes supporters persuade 20,000 Herald supporters to stop buying it the paper is finished for ever.

  48. The O'Tollan Lass says:

    I see my first post was removed. Why?

  49. A Finnegan says:

    Had the Sunday Times editor buckled so easily when threatened by lance Armstrong’s legal team, because Armstrong didn’t like what David Walsh had written in his ‘cheat or champ’ article, the whole truth about Armstrong and US Postal’s drug program and systematic cheating would never have seen the light of day.

    It was refreshing to see the editor at the time stand by his man, even though they lost the legal case, they were proven right in the long run.

    The truth must be told, whatever the cost, otherwise the ball is burst

  50. Sunglasses Ron says:

    The referendum is still hurting some on top of poor angie self destructing.

    It’s all the big bad Unionist’s fault. Some bitter people on here from a once proud but now bitter Scotland, which has been divided beyond repair.

    Let’s talk about Oil for a change.

    But then again maybe not.

  51. Sunglasses Ron says:

    I wonder how long before I am removed from this debate from the dictators who don’t like it when replies don’t go there way.

    All because I upset poor jimmywhite on the other debate.

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