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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Craig Grumoli

On Saturday 9th February, Paisley RFC will mark the passing of the year since our dear friend Craig Grumoli left us. It may sound like a cliché, but it really doesn’t seem that long. We have a framed picture of Craig grinning at us whenever we enter the clubhouse, looking smug, as only he could, in his nice new club shirt. It serves as a suitable reminder, prompting as it often does many tales of poor unfortunates who have been ‘Grumolied’.

It’s hard to take anything positive from the loss of such a presence from your life but, having known Craig as we did, I we’re all grateful for having known him. It isn't quite so difficult to celebrate his life because it was such fun when he was around and every story sustains the sense of fun. Occasionally I still visit his Facebook page and find that someone has left Craig a message. Strangely, that makes perfect sense to me. He still provides enjoyment for us, simply in the act of remembrance.

So, if it’s all right with you, Saturday night won’t be one of grieving for me. It’ll be a night of laughter, chronically bad renditions of ‘Macho Man’, maybe a tear or two, but above all it will be the celebration he deserves. Thanks Craig for the fun you’re going to provide and thanks again for being our friend.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Of course, it's our fault.

I've just read the report by the Metropolitan Police Service and NSPCC into the abuses carried out over almost 50 years by Jimmy Saville and I find one reference particularly objectionable. That's the reference to Saville having 'effectively groomed the nation'. The reason for my ire is that this would imply that somehow we were taken in by Saville, and this can only serve to share culpability. Over the period of his abuse, Saville was in fact reported on several occasions by victims who were often dissuaded from proceeding with their accusations by a police service or CPS unwilling to go ahead based on lack of evidence, or, more worryingly, advising victims that they might unleash a 'media circus'. One of his last victims was told that Saville's lawyers would tear her apart.

With this background, we, the public, were hardly 'groomed' by Saville. We weren't taken in because we didn't know. Nobody told us. Even the rumours failed to reach the media in large part. So no, don't lay blame at our door. Saville worked for the BBC, where allegations were rife about him and others accused of abusing their position and celebrity. What exactly did the BBC do? Yup, you guessed it. Saville's crimes were reported to different police services and to the CPS. What did they do? Right again.

I'm not looking for blood to be spilled, just the truth, unvarnished, to be told. That doesn't start by attempting to spread the culpability. Time for some humble pie.