by Tony Attwood
If you want to encourage people to attack a specific group there is one simple way to do it. You make the group secret and select, while you make it clear that group has power.
At once people become resentful and angry. They feel excluded, and start blaming the secret group for all sorts of things, whether those accusations are reasonable or not. People resent the secret group’s removal from everyday discourse.
We see this with religious and ethnic groups who have their own clothing, their own ways, and their own exclusivity. Those outside blame them for all sorts of things: it is the start of racial and religious discrimination.
This is not to say that the behaviour of people who blame those who are not like them is right and should not be condemned. Of course not. But it is to point out that this is what happens and these people are not helping themselves.
Obviously people can’t change what they look like, and religious and ethnic groups don’t want to change their traditional styles of dress and behaviour. But when we look at a recently formed organisation that has no religious or cultural affiliation but which still deliberately seeks to make itself a secret society, then yes, the consequences of that behaviour can be put at their door.
After all, why be a secret society if you have nothing to hide? Surely if you want to produce harmony and a sense of fairness, you make the group accessible and open, as well as making it ethnically diverse.
This is all obvious, and yet the PGMO has taken the decision to be a secretive, self-selecting, self-preserving society that is not ethnically, racially or sexually diverse and which is answerable to no one. And that last point is important: answerable to no one.
Worse, one way or another they have persuaded the media never ever to challenge what they are and how they behave. Thus PGMO is a secret society whose members rarely if ever debate matters in public. It is not surprising if some people start to threaten them and their families.
This is not to condone such behaviour in the slightest – it is simply to observe the type of society we live in and the way some members of that society behave. PGMO know perfectly well what sort of society this is in England, they know how some people behave, and yet they deliberately make matters far far worse by adhering to the totally unnecessary code of utter secrecy and non-publicity.
In short, by living in their secret society which is answerable to no one, referees in the Premier League have made themselves figures to be disliked, the centre of all that is wrong. And so it is not surprising that in a society like ours, some people will start sending them death threats and threatening their families.
And of course it is not just the fault of PGMO – although they are the people who have adopted the secrecy policy. It is also the media that go along with this policy of secrecy. Had the media challenged the way PGMO runs itself, it would undoubtedly by now have cleaned up its act and gone public.
The media could have led a complete campaign on this, but media interest in anything is invariably short lived. So we have secrecy by the PGMO, and an unwillingness from the media to condemn PGMO for its ludicrous policy of tucking itself away,
So we have the situation in which no one in the media is challenging PGMO for their secrecy, which is obviously helping to increase threats against referees.
Of course PGMO is not to blame for the fact that we live in an increasingly aggressive and intolerant society. Our elected politicians have the job of solving that problem, and clearly they are failing. But by insisting against all the evidence that being secret and removed from public debate (unlike referees in the rest of Europe) is a good thing, they are most certainly making matters worse for themselves.
I am not a person who shouts abuse at or threatens a referee. I am not making the referee situation worse. They are doing it to themselves.
How can we tell that there is something fundamentally wrong with refereeing in the Premier League?
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- The media pile into Manchester City, but where have they been all this time?