Its been a particularly bad month for those keen to persecute the Scottish football supporter, a persecution which has seen our very own Union Bears subjected to treatment, which on occasion would not have looked out of place in Stalin’s Russia.
Of course as always in these matters the most potent of criticism came not from the victims themselves but from a neutral observer in the shape of veteran broadcaster Archie MacPherson. His comment that the current political administration appear intent to “stamp on” Scottish football supporters will have ruffled a few feathers.
But not as many as Dundee Sheriff Richard Davidson will have caused when he threw out a case involving a Celtic supporter and in the process used oft used legal term to describe the Scottish governments anti-sectarian laws – “mince”.
But you know the saying about bad things come in threes – well right on cue today’s Glasgow Herald provided merit to that age old adage. It will come as no surprise to any of us that an MSP has let the cat out of the bag with regard to the motivation of many behind this legislation, or plate of “mince” to use Sheriff Davidson’s expert legal opinion. But nine million quid for a few photo opportunities ? That’s a helluva lot of happy snappies. Especially for a country which has some of the worst child poverty and alcohol abuse in the whole of Europe.
What particularly jumped out at me from that article, was not what we alreadyk new regarding photo opportunities, but firstly that the Scottish Catholic Church appears to have spent it’s three or four weeks in sackcloth and ashes, and as unrepentant as ever, is keen to highlight that hate crime statistics are rising. Well of course they are because the other revelation in that piece reveals that the Scottish Government pumped £2 million to help create the new FOCUS Unit. And you can rest assured in these days of performance management and value for money the same administration will be looking for a return on their outlay. That return comes in the form of arrests under the legislation referred to as “mince”
But its good to see the Scottish Catholic Church has found it’s tongue again, it was remarkably silent over the revelations surrounding Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the man the gay community labelled “Bigot of the Year” for his concerted and vociferous attacks on their community and lifestyle choices. Perhaps in view of the revelations regarding him, “Hypocrite of the Year” would have been a more apt title. If Carlsberg did hypocrisy….
But perhaps the irony of it all is that those various charities, and by that I mean the ones which are in existence, not the one awarded cash even although they don’t yet exist, have failed to do what overzealous Policing, bean counting and justifying your existence have – unite the the Old Firm support as a untied shout of harassment, intimidation and bullying echo from the stands at both Ibrox and Parkhead.
And all the while the the most definitive academic research into sectarianism in Scotland undertaken by Prof. Steve Bruce goes unheeded, which demonstrates unequivocally that Scotland does not have a problem with sectarianism.
Still that wouldn’t be a good photo opportunity would it ?