Industrial action and impartiality

The words “referees” and “strike” brought back some memories.

Back in 2010 the industrial action by the officials was very much connected to the strange case of Mr Hugh Dallas.

The chap from Bonkle was then the head of referee development at the SFA.

It was probably the first time that Planet Fitba had a pesky journalist who wouldn’t play to the succulent lamb rules.

Mr Dallas paid for his email “humour” with his job.

I think it is fair to say that his brethren with the whistles were not happy at his sacking.

This morning I spoke with a source who was backstage at Ibrox on the 29th of last month.

In the immediate aftermath of the game, he said that Mr Beaton was very buoyant and being “high fived” by his officiating colleagues.

Of course, this might be because they considered that their guy with the whistle had performed with Olympian impartiality throughout Sevco’s unexpected victory.

Moreover, I’m sure Mr Beaton conveyed that message in the dignified hostelry where he was photographed apparently joyfully carousing later that day.

I do hope that Police Scotland will have no trouble in identifying the person or persons who allegedly have threatened Mr Beaton.

In the digital age, the world-class law enforcement outfit which protects the citizenry of Fair Caledonia shouldn’t have any trouble in doing so.

Therefore, I look forward to the perpetrator (s) being brought to justice without any delay.

If Mr Beaton had a bad day at the office on the 29th then that is just that.

Human error is, well human and is largely unavoidable.

However, it is random and there is no discernible pattern.

What journalists should do, in serving the public interest, is to look for anything that is aberrant to that general rule.

If the inexplicably honest mistakes seem to have a context then they are not errors.

Currently, there seems to be a binary choice when assessing Scotland’s football officials:

Weapons-grade incompetence or something much darker.

The first can be solved with selection and training.

However, the second problem, if it is indeed extant, requires a massive cultural change and that is where journalism must serve the Public Interest.

What the Dallas email story showed that it needed a journalistic outsider to break a story of genuine importance in Scottish football.

This was not lost on serious media commentators in London.

Two years later, when the Rangers story exploded in 2012, the chaps in the Stenography Corps were under the sports desks quietly sobbing.

Here, James Forrest doesn’t miss on the issues of the putative industrial action by Scottish officials.

As I recently reminded you, dear reader, in the summer of 2012 the people in charge of the SFA were willing to burn their own rule book in order to facilitate the Ibrox brand.

Moreover, they did that even when they KNEW that there had been a decade of cheating emanating from the Blue Room.

That is how important Rangers, any Rangers,  was to the chaps on the 6th floor at Hampden.

When you keep that in mind then referees are a mere detail in the bigger picture.

Discover Phil’s dramatic play Rebellion