Haters, Baiters & Ratiocinators

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Definition of ratiocinate in English:

verb

Form judgements by a process of logic; reason.

English is full of words like ratiocination, great lego-blocks where two or three chunks combine to form a user friendly, tasty Yorkie bar of a word. It's no surprise that ratiocinate is, according to the dictionary, a mid-17th century word, for it's logical construction fitted a time when an insistence on empirically based reason and judgement would usher in the Age of Reason, away from the dark years of superstition.

Alas, as with all things human it proved a disappointment: the Age of Reason led not to a planet peopled by creatures of pure intellect, but to ever more refined methods of killing and dominating, culminating in the great, clunking full stop of the atom bomb, the point at which even the most optimistic of souls stopped believing science had all the answers, or at least that it might have the answers, but some of them were too awful to listen to.

Only the ever positive Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, continued to believe in ratiocination and found a place in his stories for life forms which had evolved beyond even the physical sphere and become, instead, swirling clouds of gas, from whence emanated an English or patrician American accent like Gore Vidal's, chastising Kirk and the rest as being slaves to their primitive urges. Humans quite liking their urges now and again, it was only Spock who even considered the idea, and the crew's imprisonment would end only when the Queen of the Intellect People, as an idle amusement, assumed human form and was immediately subject to one of Kirk's primitive urges in particular (I'll leave you to guess which one). Her uncanny resemblance to a hot chick from the valley circa 1965 probably helped the brave captain in his knobular activities, but in case, thus distracted by Kirk's attentions the alien death-grip would weaken and the Enterprise would race away at warp speed, perhaps pondering the TV truism that if you're in a tight spot with a lady, even one of pure intellect, whipping out the old trouser truncheon will soon bring them round.

Creatures of pure intellect (or even reason and logic) are somewhat conspicuous by their absence on the football front, but it's to the high brow we must look if this never ending saga of Rangers and the tax man is ever to be sorted out. I may be more swirling cloud of gas than creature of pure intellect, but the situation doesn't actually seem that complex to me. Murray, in charge of Rangers, employed some highly questionable but - crucially - legal at the time tax wheeze which reflected no credit on him, the players or our club, but going beyond that is rewriting history and attempting to enforce a retrospective narrative which simply doesn't stand up to logic.

The syllogism that Rangers didn't pay tax on some players' contracts, therefore shouldn't have had player x, y or z, and therefore shouldn't be allowed to keep cup x, y or z is the painfully contrived thesis which needs examined, if only because it generally precedes a plaintive whine about stripping titles or cups and seems set to be the dominant motif of those who would be dispossessed.

It's not that tough a concept, but remember we're dealing with the intellectual equivalent of Kirk's member here, rather than the swirling cloud of intelligence.

When David Murray signed player x, he agreed to pay him £x over x number of years. This is a contract. The point at issue in all this is how Murray arranged for £x to get to player £x, not whether he could have done so or not - the latter is a given, whether the steel tycoon paid it normally (if only), borrowed even more from the banks, or stood on Edmiston Drive selling The Morning Star to raise the shekels - it's a moot point because one way or another, player x was getting £x.

The issue is HMRC feel they, too, should have got a cut, a position I think most sane observers would find fair enough but not, alas for HMRC, the position of the law at that time. But HMRC's claim is, despite its rather elephantine presence, neither here nor there in terms of title-stripping, because the logical fact we must never lose sight of is that the players were getting that money no matter what, ergo they would have been playing for Rangers no matter what. There is no empirical evidence anywhere which suggests Murray was using EBT's to save money; he was using it to lure players northwards. Had the EBT route not been open, everything in the man's history suggests he would have found another method - everything we can say with a reasonable degree of certainty says that every player who signed and agreed an EBT would have been there without the EBT anyway, the only difference being Rangers would have been several millions more in debt than they already were.

It's a completely false flag, and possibly the reason informed onlookers such as ex-players and ex-managers, who may or may not have their own tax arrangements at the back of their mind, will have no truck with it. Fans, less concerned by ratiocination, are putting 2+2 together and coming up with 3, rather as Murray did with tax arrangements himself.

Just as well there's no tax on intellect. I have no time to listen to the phone ins but have no doubt they're red hot with angst, anger and outrage, not useful qualities when one is attempting to come to a ratiocinated decision. Not being a great fan of the incestuous world of the law, where going to the right school or knowing the right people still seems to be a far greater qualification for a top job than being good at it, I have my concerns that what seems to me to be straightforward enough thinking on the subject of Rangers and titles will be used, with people involved preferring to play to the gallery and self-interest. If they do, they do, and there's not much we can do about it. But whatever the up-shot is, even some worst case scenario, it's surely telling that after a long running shambles in which our club behaved in what I believe to be an indefensible manner, it's we who, incredibly, end up on the moral high ground.

If that's not reason enough for some people to try to think again, logically and with reason, there's no hope.

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