I’m sure there are people all over England wondering why their manager is apologising for anti-IRA chants by England fans last night. Someone likely pointed out to Roy Hodgson that his fans were breaking the law in Scotland by doing so, hundreds, if not thousands, could be criminalised this morning.
Their names and addresses are known to the football authorities, the match was televised and the chanting received widespread media coverage. Police Scotland were all over the ground and had the England fans surrounded.
All this took place in front of the First Minister, whose government decided laws against bigotry and sectarianism left them unable to “equalise” fans of all colours, most of whom never chant bigoted or sectarian words.
Alex Salmond left the stage caring nothing that the police have no interest in applying his law on this occasion. It wasn’t designed to criminalise the English, it was to criminalise Celtic fans. If the Offensive Behaviour Act can be flouted in front of the nation, the police and the First Minister, without censure or action, it is an absurd nonsense. The SNP government has refused to debate a review into the Act, never mind repeal it. They are defending the indefensible.