Apologies to all who, like me, tired of the circular ‘songs debate’ on CQN many years ago. Back in 2011, when Celtic had a similar action from Uefa to defend as they now face, I predicted a slow train wreck:
“The Debating societies will be exercised on the freedom of some to sing racially-hostile God Save the Queen, or the militaristic, Flower of Scotland, and wait for the reaction to what is euphemistically known as ‘the marching season’. In this vein I would encourage the Celtic delegation who meet Uefa next month read aloud a transcript of La Marseillaise, which becomes a logical target if Uefa prosecute our club.
“I predict Uefa and the SPL will reprimand Celtic with a cease and desist-type warning which will include specific instructions to remove and ban ‘offenders’. Efforts will be made to prosecute ‘offenders’, which I expect will fail, but not before a few individuals are brought before the court.
“Neil Lennon, Jock Stein and since Fergus McCann, the club, have asked fans not to sing political songs. Many agreed but some will not waver, so it would be an act of vanity for lesser mortals to suggest restraint. The slow train-wreck will happen.”
A few weeks later I wrote:
“Singing Flower of Scotland will (correctly) never be criminalised but you can expect charges to be brought for expressing similar sentiment. Legally, this sounds like a reach by the SNP government, but it’s likely to be a few young football fans who carry the responsibility of establishing how the judiciary view this matter.
“While Celtic will never condone IRA chanting (or, apparently, try to mitigate it as inconsequential, as others did before them with illegal and prejudicial chanting) they have a responsibility to ensure positive parts of our Irish tradition, including the national anthem, the flag and other symbols of the club’s rich and diverse culture are defended.”
Uefa and the SPL have reprimanded Celtic.
Efforts have been made to prosecute ‘offenders’, which mostly fail.
Despite pleas from Neil Lennon, or earlier from Jock Stein, some insist on signing political songs. As Jock and Neil were ignored it remains an act of vanity for lesser mortals to try to convince others to desist.
Charges have been brought for expressing sentiment similar to that in Flower of Scotland.
Celtic have not, should not and cannot try to mitigate IRA chanting or banners as inconsequential. It is not inconsequential, Jock Stein knew it a long time before the SNP government. Fill your boots on debating why it has consequences below, it’s a huge intellectual topic, you’ll enjoy it, then you’ll get bored of it and move on.
If you want the opportunity to have a Debating Society on this, there is space on the comments section, knock yourself out. I’ve been through the songs debate often enough to know some of our community feel it is incumbent upon them to sing IRA songs at football games. Pointing out the words of Jock Stein, or the inevitable conclusion to this singing, or how things have developed in Ireland, will not change this perspective.
That’s the thing about slow train wrecks, nothing can stop them. It’s more productive to plan on how to deal with the aftermath.
Congratulations to the Bucketeers who raised over £26k for the costs of mounting an appropriate legal defence to the Dam Square five. This is a stunning amount of money raised, which demonstrates the strength of feeling among the support.
[calameo code=000390171e05b9b63a832 lang=en page=38 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]
CQN Annual, get it while it’s hot: