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The law which cannot be clarified

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Today our parliament will go through the motions of debating how to criminalise football fans in innovative new ways, not related to prejudice, with the outcome preordained; the Bill will become law.  The lines have been drawn on this debate and the country is set for a long and messy campaign.

The various calls for clarification are unlikely to be satisfied as consistency on this subject will be impossible to find.  At Celtic, direct or indirect references to the IRA, already deemed unacceptable by the club, manager and most of the support, are likely to lead to prosecution.  I would like to see political references removed from football but not at the cost of random criminalisation.  It remains to be seen how successful attempts to prosecute fans for transgressing on this subject before the law has been passed will be.

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.

Football is going to get messy in the months ahead as positions are so entrenched in ‘the songs debate’ there is simply no possibility of agreement.  While it may only be a small minority who want to continue political chanting at Celtic, they remain Celtic fans and as entitled to establish their rights as anyone else, including Neil Lennon or Jock Stein.  All we can do, as a club and support, is look for common ground amid the turmoil that lies ahead.

Today is your last chance to buy Paul Larkin’s new book, Wim’s Tims-The best thing to hit Scottish football in 10 years, with a 25% discount. Enter code: COUNTDOWN to qualify.

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  1. row z \o/ (O) Mississippi Burnin Nearer Home on

    to the tune/chant of Paddy McCourt’s………

     

     

    Alex Salmond’s Protestant Country

     

    Ken McCaskill’s Orange Free State

     

    Christine Grahame’s Anti- Irish

     

    Alex Salmond’s Bigoted Country

     

    Alex Salmond’s Bigoted Country

     

    Alex Salmond’s Bigoted Country

     

    Many Cultures Just Not Irish

     

    Many Cultures Just Not Irish

     

    Many Cultures Just Not Irish

     

    SNP’s Stasi Polis

     

    SNP’s Stasi Polis

     

    SNP’s Stasi Polis

     

    Alex Salmond’s Bigoted Country

     

    Alex Salmond’s Bigoted Country

     

    Alex Salmond’s Bigoted Country

     

    Green Brigade’s Fenian Army

     

    Many Cultures Just Not Irish

     

    Alex Salmond’s Bigoted Country

     

    Many Cultures Just Not Irish

     

    Alex Salmond’s Bigoted Country

     

    Many Cultures Just Not Irish

     

    Alex Salmond’s Bigoted Country

  2. Those asking for UEFA word on Celtic songs deemed “illicit”, UEFA say they won’t give details until “reasoned decision” is sent to the club.

     

     

     

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

     

     

    I never though I’d use this word but that is hunbelievable.

     

     

    Idda thunk they’da sent said reasoned decision along with the fine.

     

     

    Overly simplistic I suppose.

  3. GourockEmeraldBhoy HAILS THE KANO FOUNDATION on

    Sheeesh Can now get outa bed for my blackcurrant beechams

     

     

    Maybe top 5 tomorrow.

  4. I would love a draw in Italy , but I can’t see it.

     

     

    Our big game this week is on Sunday afternoon.

     

     

    Blimey, Aberdeen can go to Perth and win.

     

     

    We need to go there and win by the approved ole 5-0.

  5. Paul67

     

     

    So the SNP has listened to public opinion regarding the Criminalisation Bill and went “F*** You! We are doing it anyway!”

     

     

    Police having parties everywhere tonight, thinking about getting their hands on our supporters for “threatening behaviour or behaviour which would be offensive to any reasonable person”.

     

     

    To put it into perspective, Eddie Smith would be deemed a reasonable person who took offence at Celtic Park.

     

     

    I rest my case….

     

     

    Hail! Hail!

  6. TootingTim supports TKF anaw says:

     

    14 December, 2011 at 14:16

     

     

    I didn’t, I got an email yesterday morning. I only replied about 15 minutes ago.

     

     

    I hope all is good with you?

  7. Seven Fishes Four Steaks on

    Paul, what’s the difference between FoS and BOTOB? Apart from the fact that one has Scottish fighting the English and the other Irish fighting the English.

     

     

    Making 1 illegal and not the other is basically the equivalent of RoI making FoS illegal and not BoTOB.

     

     

    Btw I’d rather not hear BoTOB at CP. (I feel like MM with these abbreviations)

     

     

    SffS

  8. soh cah toa mnemonic f5 for new article on

    So is it safe to assume young philvis gets less than 2 hours for his lunchbreak.

  9. Paul 67

     

     

    As usual a decent article however can you ‘clarify’ why flying the Irish Tricolour or singing the Soldiers song is deemed a positive affirmation of our Irish heritage where as referring to the IRA in song is not? Historically the 3 are inextricably linked and, in my opinion, one cannot simply distance one from the other.

  10. ASonOfDan says: at 14:16

     

     

    The chronology of this Bill suggests major police input.

     

     

    It kicked off with Les Gray’s night of fear and loathing in York to Stephen House’s call for a summit then through to Campbell Corrigan stepping up the plate.

     

     

    In the final analysis the origins of this Bill may well lie in the career aspirations of a few highly placed policemen.

     

     

    The Bill also has attractions for the SNP – it means they will never ever investigate sectarianism in Scottish society and they now have an iron-clad excuse for jailing Celtic fans whereas in the past only Rangers supporters were guilty of sectarian breach.

  11. The Token Tim - HAIL! HAIL! To Kano 1000 on

    Paul67,

     

     

    this Bill is going to lead to several explosions in the legal and political minefields of Scotland.

     

     

    I really do fear that many Celtic supporters especially will be on the initial receiving end of this hysterical Bill.

     

     

    One area I will be watching closely is how the Police act at all other grounds and react to other supports as opposed to how they do so at Celtic Park and the Celtic support.

     

     

    Will it, I wonder, be similar to the inconsistencies of referees and their interpretations of football’s laws or will it actually be enforced equally across all grounds/supports???

     

     

    HAIL! HAIL!

     

    Token

  12. ‘ they remain Celtic fans and as entitled to establish their rights as anyone else ‘

     

     

    They also have responsibilities to the good name of the Club, and the good name of the Support.

  13. Bonty

     

     

    Thanks for the reply.

     

     

    My question (viz. ‘In what ways do you think the absence of the Catholic Church would improve the lot of mankind … ?’) came from a genuine curiosity about your view that, overall, you felt the Catholic Church (in particular, but implicitly also other forms of organised religion) had/are having a negative influence on humanity.

     

     

    It’s wholly hypothetical, of course, but I do wonder what better, lasting, alternative societal structures humans could have formed instead of organised religion; structures which would have proved a more positive influence, by your implicit understanding of the term.

     

     

    It does strike me that left to our own devices we humans have a distinct tendency towards tyrrany. One might postulate that without well-founded organised religion humanity would simply lurch between various forms of anarchy and despotism.

     

     

    Of course, you might well argue that the (modern) Catholic Church is simply a form of tyranny.

     

     

    I was also intrigued by your assertion that you have never met a devoutly religious person whose arrogance wasn’t ‘off the scale scary’.

     

     

    What I would say to that is you’re clearly mixing in the wrong circles!

     

     

    I’m sure all theists and atheists (of good faith!) are simply struggling with trying to find answers to the same eternal questions of what, why and wherefor …

     

     

    Hail, hail.

  14. Big Swee walks on with Neil Lennon on

    Guys n Gals,

     

     

    Why ask Paul to elaborate?

     

     

    Oglach UFB. One is the National Anthem of Ireland and the other it’s National Flag. Neither of which is up for debate as being able to cause offense. Songs about the IRA, which are political are a different matter entirely when sung at a sporting venue.

     

     

    I think the hysteria about the flag being next is well mis-placed.

     

     

    My main concern and focus would be ensuring that now this legislation is in place, we will see the police being made to enforce these powers when certain teams come to visit and peddle their usual sectarian bile.

  15. TootingTim supports TKF anaw on

    fritzsong says:

     

    14 December, 2011 at 14:32

     

     

    Game, set and match to the Polis. As Paul67 says above the next logical step may well be a test case or two involving some young bhoys…

     

     

    The cynical machinations of an aspiring state laid bare. Ignore the larger, overarching problem. Attempt to contain the clamorous minority, bypass their rights of musical assembly and association with some nebulous wording in a hopefully unworkable piece of legislation.

     

     

    Charming.

  16. oglach UFB says:

     

    14 December, 2011 at 14:28

     

    Paul 67

     

     

    As usual a decent article however can you ‘clarify’ why flying the Irish Tricolour or singing the Soldiers song is deemed a positive affirmation of our Irish heritage where as referring to the IRA in song is not? Historically the 3 are inextricably linked and, in my opinion, one cannot simply distance one from the other.

     

     

    ……………….

     

     

    Probably because The Tricolour & The Soldiers Song are percieved as symbols of a neighbouring friendly nation, however since the Troubles began 40 odd years ago, the name IRA has symbolised a terrorist organisation which murdered and maimed innocent people (BTW I know the British Army has done the same, so don’t start) and no longer is regarded as the original IRA who fought for Independance. If only the Provos left where a wee bit original and came up with a new name, there wouldn’t be a problem with BOTOB!

  17. mearns 2 milton on

    I think most of us are in agreement that by taking out “ohh ahh” from the Symphony we have nothing to fear. Look at the songs that are no longer heard at CP, surely we can change this one bit to either Samaras or just not sing this particular tune.

     

     

    Izzy travelling tomorrow but will not play. Do we think he will be included on Sunday?

  18. oglach UFB says:

     

    14 December, 2011 at 14:28

     

     

    The semantics of those three letters has been debated many a time on here and I’ve swung from the view that if that chant is perceived to be about modern incarnations of the organisation then we should respect that and cease the chants around to the view that if people are ignorant of what’s being sung about then they can’t reasonably be offended.

     

     

    However, this is where the bill is quite clever (for want of a better term). If you ask 100 people in the street what they thought “IRA” meant and stood for the overwhelming majority are going to mentiin terrorism. On that basis it’s easy to say that it is something any reasonable person might be offended by.

     

     

    I don’t agree with this bill but I think they have worded it very precisely to get around any ‘historical’ arguments.

  19. Big Swee walks on with Neil Lennon on

    For the record, the bill is the second worst thought out policy ever introduced as law in this country.

     

     

    We need to ensure our own house is in order and in a sporting context why do we feel the need to be political. There are plenty of other buffoons in the Government and Police force who adopt that behaviour.

  20. A bad bill will today become a bad law.

     

     

    There will be many lawyers who are looking forward to the cash they will make on appeals against convictions for “offensive” singing. After all, the views of this mythical “reasonable” person can be debated all day long. Does he/ she feel offended when Aberdonians are accused of crimes against sheep? When Glaswegians are called dole scroungers? When the parentage of a referee is questioned?

     

     

    I have a feeling that the Supreme Court and probably even the European Court of Human Rights will be involved at some stage.

  21. Paul

     

     

    You make a good point. It is the young fans who will suffer. The bill will have no impact on me directly or indirectly, and I don’t have much time for those who defend the behaviour the bill targets… so, I’ve let a lot of the detail wash over me. It seemed like another excuse for people to get uptight about their right to behave unacceptably.

     

    However, ultimately a lot of drunken teenage boys will run the risk (like they always do) of being the main ‘victims’ of the bill. As a drunken teenager I seem to recall singing Shed 7 a lot, and I didn’t like them then anymore than I do now… I regret it, and it’s shameful, but the other kids were doing it. I make light of it… however, whilst we do need a concerted effort to tackle attitudes on both sides, and CQN is a daily testiment to the shortfalls on ‘our’ side it shouldn’t be at the expense of immature boys.

     

     

     

    DBBIA

     

     

    I’m reluctant to get into a pointed discussion on this topic. I think the point you make is valid. On the other hand, I find it slightly irritating Scottish catholics equate their status in line with black people in the USA. There has been no point in history when the two were comparable. It’s clear as day that black people suffer specific and direct prejudice, and this prejudice leads to social malaise. However in the west of Scotland the social malaise affects us all, and economic hardship is certainly not the domain of Catholics. Surely you can see that impoverished people of any creed or religion would be offended that one group of poor people blame it on their invisible religion when they all suffer equally.

     

    Anyway, the point I was making was that poverty leads to crime. And poverty and crime are far, far, greater factors in the Glasgow area than they are in, say, Perth. Equally Glasgow, for no particularl reason other than geography and the nature of cities, has a higher proportion of catholics than any other region of the country.

     

    Glasgow has more crime, more poverty and more of just about everything, including Catholics. I’m just saying the statistics aren’t surprising when you consider the number of catholics who reside in the poorest parts of the country. And I would add that it’s offensive, in the extreme, to make the mistake of claiming poverty for Catholics and not everyone else… that’s is patent nonsense. It’s a city-wide economic and social farce, not a sectarian one.

     

     

    Far, far too much of what passes for debate on sectarianism forgets that we have a massive underclass and they are far more important, damaging, relevant, visible, guilt inducing, and most importantly drawn from any culture that has been here for a few decades.

  22. greenjedi at 14:43

     

     

    If only the Provos left where a wee bit original and came up with a new name, there wouldn’t be a problem with BOTOB!

     

     

    At the risk of opening a huge can of worms, the “provos” can claim direct lineage from the IRA of the 1910s and 1920s. Some members of the organisation didn’t want to get involved during the civil rights marches in the 1960s, some did. Those who did simply broke away but it is far too simplistic to suggest that they should have got a new name.

     

     

    I have always prefered not to sing about the IRA at a football match out of respect for those who gave their lives fighting a good fight. My own personal point of view, but now with UEFA having fined us for it, I really can’t see what benefit singing about the IRA will have at Celtic Park now. If nothing else has come from this ridiculous decision to fine us, at least now we know for certain that songs about the IRA can get us in trouble.

     

     

    Mort

  23. Big Swee walks on with Neil Lennon says:

     

    14 December, 2011 at 14:41

     

    Guys n Gals,

     

     

    Why ask Paul to elaborate?

     

     

    Oglach UFB. One is the National Anthem of Ireland and the other it’s National Flag. Neither of which is up for debate as being able to cause offense. Songs about the IRA, which are political are a different matter entirely when sung at a sporting venue.

     

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

     

     

    The Irish National anthem is Amhrán na bhFiann. Established after the formation of the free state. The Soldiers song (English) is / was the IRA version as sang in battle during 1916 and war of independence. The Tricolour was the Flag of the IRA – again this was adpoted by the Free state. As mentioned The Flag, the soliders song , IRA are inextricably linked. And there are still many in the UK not least Scotland who are deeply offended by all 3,

  24. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    Charity is the most fundamental political message, should we leave all politics at the door or just the ones the dictators dont like ??

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