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Pól Ó Lorcáin
Paul Larkin

Chroniclers are privileged to enter where they list, to come and go through keyholes, to ride upon the wind, to overcome in their soarings up and down, all obstacles of distance, time and place.
Charles Dickens - Barnaby Rudge, Chapter The Ninth

Why every Irish person should know about English footballer Kevin Beattie


I vaguely remember former Ipswich Town FC footballer Kevin Beattie as being quite a good footballer. A brave and skilful defender in fact. However, since doing research for this blog article I now understand that his peers described him as one of the greatest soccer players of his generation. By all accounts, the only thing that stopped him going on to be ranked amongst the world’s greats was his serial attraction to injuries. But one thing that everybody says about Beattie is that he was an honest professional on the field of play who never hid from the fray. Off the pitch, meanwhile, he regularly appeared at charity functions and children’s hospitals and was hailed wherever he went. Cic Saor readers have to bear in mind that this was before the bloated wage packets, WAGs, Porsches and price-of-a-house hair transplants that footballers in the Premier leagues receive nowadays, very often for a much inferior product.

Kevin Beattie - an honest to goodness player

In other words, Kevin Beattie’s very promising career was cut short by injury and he did not retire a wealthy man. More bad news was to follow when his wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, effectively meaning that he became her primary carer and was himself housebound. This being the lot of working class primary carers.

Now why dear readers, am I raising this story, sad and all as it is? Well according to the English Tabloid Press Kevin Beattie was not honesty personified but the devil incarnate. In May of this year these bastions of freedom and democracy “outed” him as a scammer, a cheat and a fraud. Why? Because in a period of great stress in his life he forgot to declare the princely sum of nine thousand pounds sterling to his social security office from whom he received £8,979 income support. He was found guilty and had to wear an ankle tag. Beattie you see had been earning extra pocket money as a football commentator. The sport has never left his heart. But the heart, it seems, has gone out of society

There were headlines like this one in the online version of the Daily Star where a large picture of this “benefits cheat” was surrounded by pornographic images of Hot Celeb Babes.

Or how about this headline from the Daily Mail – the newspaper that once lauded England’s fascist Blackshirts- “Ex-England footballer, 58, dubbed 'the new Bobby Moore' is £9,000 benefits cheat living under curfew:

Pilloried in the stocks of a shameless media

This is a hypocritical media’s modern day version of the village square stocks – where victims were publically harangued spat at, shamed and had detritus thrown at them. The difference being that the modern day hangdog victim is not just ridiculed in the village square but right across the globe.

Here is my point. Look at how this man of no property was slaughtered in the media and then consider the stories the media does not cover. As Guardian journalist Nick Davies has pointed out in his excellent book – “Flat Earth News”, we rarely see or hear any stories about the activities of the World Bank, the IMF or the world’s NGOs. Or the fact that 80% of the world’s population is living below the poverty line; and 1% of the planet’s population are enjoying the same annual income as the poorest 57% put together. (see Davies book for figures).

The earth is flat - let us raise it.

All of the above is sickening enough, but the killer for me is that Davies puts a figure on the vast expansion of secretive offshore tax havens which he says as far as Britain is concerned – “by 2003, was allowing British corporations to avoid handing over some £20,000 million a year which, in theory, they owed their government”.

So its like this. If you are poor and steal a pittance you will be hung drawn and quartered. But if you went to a public school and own a bank or sit on the board of a major company and you salt away millions every year you are one of the elite and a captain of industry. No doubt you show your face in church on Sundays and give to charities. You are a paragon of virtue.


Here in Ireland, where we are being asked to take hit after savage hit for a corrupt system and the pecuniary excesses of our society's fat wallets, we are constantly told that it is all for the betterment of our ability to trade more competitively. Trade? What do they mean by trade? Instead of engaging in yellow pack journalism about piddling benefits cheats, will the media finally report on the real trading that’s going on in the world? Because a massive element of commercial trading has nothing to do with ensuring everybody on the planet is adequately fed and clothed (all perfectly possible), but rather this trade is engaged in a multinational enterprise in funneling its profits to offshore accounts.

In his book, Nick Davies gives us a staggering statistic for what I call “Real Trade”, where he says bankers in the early 2000s “estimated that a third of the gross domestic product of the entire planet was being channeled through offshore accounts, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimated that 60% of world trade consisted of transfers made within multinationals, passing their profits to anonymous subsidiaries in tax-free jurisdictions.”

Kevin Beattie apologised profusely for concealing his earnings of £9.000 in a moment of weakness.

For me personally, Kevin Beattie is still a hero.

@Paul Larkin
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Title: Why every Irish person should know about English footballer Kevin Beattie
Date posted: 04 Oct '12 - 14:49
Filed under: General
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