Duffy's defence lawyer described him as having serious mental health problems as well as an addiction to Tramadol. He was also described as a fantasist. This last label makes a lot of sense. Would somebody that really knew what they were doing go around telling everybody that he was going to kill Adair and McCrory? And, yet, this is exactly what Duffy did. He was willing to discuss his plans with anybody and everybody and bragged about having contacts in Ireland and the underworld that could supply him with weapons. Now, would somebody with such high-powered contacts go strolling into the Brazen Head and accost Anthony Stokes to see if he could relay a message about wanting arms? All he managed to achieve was to get chucked out of the pub.
But wait, Duffy kept going on about getting an AK-47 and then such a weapon was found in a flat in Paisley. N.B. A flat; not one belonging to any of the accused. Well, that's that then; that must have been the gun he kept going on about. Except that's not that. Anybody and everybody knows that the Kalashnikov is the weapon of choice for so-called terrorists throughout the world. The ANC, ZANU, ZAPU, the Red Army Faction, the PLO, the IRA etc. all used Kalashnikovs. So anyone that's trying to see themselves as a Republican hero is hardly going to bang on about getting hold of a Lee-Enfield or any other type of gun; it's an AK-47 or nothing.
Duffy has been convicted on extremely flimsy evidence; mainly recordings made by MI5, who you would think had better things to do with their time. All these three men ever did was talk; no weapons were purchased or otherwise obtained and nobody got hurt. Rather than a jail sentence, Duffy should have been sent to a psychiatric hospital for help. As for the other two, the judge said that she couldn't understand why they got involved. Involved in what? All they did was talk and go along with Duffy's fantasies, which is what most folk do when they've got somebody mental for a friend; humour him until he gets over his delusions or gets committed.
Contrast the treatment of these men to the ones that sent bombs through the post to Neil Lennon and others. These would-be bombers didn't just sit around talking; they did their best to make devices that they hoped would maim and injure, and perhaps even kill. It doesn't matter at all that their bombs wouldn't work; they intended to hurt people and tried their best to do so. And yet, none of them got anywhere near the sentences meted out to Duffy and his friends. In fact, it was all treated as one big joke, with the bombers portrayed as buffoons that didn't have an idea what they were doing. Actually, they did know what they were doing; they were trying to kill people.
It's difficult to discern exactly what the motivation is behind the sentences handed out to Duffy and his cronies but the judiciary has left itself wide open to allegations of sectarian bigotry. Orange-minded extremists targeting Catholics and Irishmen, just because they are Catholics and Irishmen, are let off with a relative slap on the wrist. A fantasist with delusions of being a Republican hero, targeting a well-known criminal and thug, meanwhile, gets a hefty prison sentence, along with his 'accomplices' simply for talking about doing something. Something definitely stinks here!
Speaking of bad smells, the Daily Record is at its hypocritical best (or should that be worst) again. Once again the referees in this country have shown that they're among the most incompetent in the world. Managers are complaining and pointing the fingers, which the Record claims is tantamount to bullying. I've gone on about this before, but in 2008 a few decisions went Celtic's way and the Record, under the dictatorship of Jabba, had plenty to say about the matter; all but accusing referees of cheating. They even hired a psychiatrist to assess if the referee was up to the job before the first Old Firm derby. No talk about refs being bullied back then!
Back to the present, and it doesn't matter what you think of Hearts, it certainly looks as if Willie Collum has it in for them. That's five players sent off in the last five games and there's definitely a pattern emerging. To the Daily Record all I have to say is a paraphrase from the defence lawyer's closing statement to the jury in the film 'A Time to Kill' - Close your eyes. Now, imagine that it's Sevco!
Of course, there's part of the reason the Record's sticking up for our referees right there. Once again, the man in the middle is there to ensure Sevco come out on top. The 5-1 scoreline might suggest a rout, but Sevco had two penalties while QOS had a man sent off. After the referee coming to the rescue last week against Hibs it looks like the SFA and its officials are determined that Sevco is going to cruise into the Premiership, by hook or by crook.
In 1984, during the Miners' Strike, I remember seeing a blacked-out figure speaking on TV-AM with his voice disguised. The man called himself 'Silver Birch' and he was at the head of a group of miners trying to persuade everyone to go back to work. Since the Government had managed to get judges to prevent the NUM laying hands on its strike fund, its own money, most of the miners were starving and had to think about the present situation of their families instead of the future. And so the Union of Democratic Mineworkers was born, persuading most miners back to work with a handful of promises from the Government that, despite what Scargill was saying, their jobs were safe.
Fast forward a year or two and it emerged that Silver Birch and the UDM had been financed and organised by businessmen attempting to split the union. It also emerged that Scargill had been right all along and the UDM had been conned; by the end of the 1980s there wasn't a deep-shaft mine left in Britain.
Why am I bringing this up? Well, I was reminded of it when I saw all the stuff about this 'new party', RISE. This is apparently an amalgamation of different, left-wing supporters of Scottish independence, whose main policies seem to be all about drawing support away from the SNP and fostering hatred of Tommy Sheridan. What is the point of this organisation? If we get independence then people will be able to vote whomsoever they want into the new Scottish Parliament. That's what everyone's aim should be; uniting in the fight against Westminster. Instead, this mob are banging on about 'holding the SNP to account at Holyrood'.
Who is financing this operation is what I'd like to know. And why is the Daily Record making such a big deal about RISE? I think the answer is obvious; it's a divide and rule tactic from Westminster's bottomless bag of dirty tricks. I think you'll agree that something smells about this 'new party'. In fact, there seems to be a lot of nasty smells going about this week; all emanating from the same, bigoted, Unionist sewer!
Finally, I see Chateau Charlie is to be questioned by the police about his 'takeover' of Rangers. Exactly what they're going to do if they decide that his purchase of the assets in a secret deal was illegal, which it was, I have no idea. Auld Leggat's dream of everything reverting back to David Murray while Bobby Ewing steps out of the shower is just that; a dream. If everything from Craig Whyte onwards is declared null and void, then where does that leave the current Ibrox club? It's a big bloody mess and it'll never be sorted out. All we can say for certain is that Rangers is deid!
The story in the Record is going to land Keith Jackson in big trouble with his Level 5 masters. He says, 'After Rangers were liquidated, Green and his team bought the club’s assets in a deal with Duff & Phelps.' Oh, dear. That won't go down well. Repeat after me, Keith, Charles-Green-bought-the-club! Now go and write it out one hundred times!
Still, Jackson makes sure he doesn't let the side down near the end of the article when he mentions Green's horse, Ibrox, which ran in the 3.20 at Chepstow yesterday. (In blue and white colours, believe it or not!) Keith tells us that the nag came in fifth, which sounds credible enough until you discover that there were only six horses in the race! I guess you're not allowed to say 'second-last' when the brute's called 'Ibrox', eh?
"It's a fair cop, guv. I'll come quietly!"