Offensive Behaviour

Disppeling some myths about the new anti-bigotry bill. Extract from a great piece by Humza Yousa (read the full article over at The Glaswegian):

Everybody remembers the first football match they were taken to. Be it in the 1950s or just last week, there is no greater excitement than when you are taken to watch your team play for the first time.For me, it was the 1995 Scottish Cup fourth-round tie between Celtic and Raith Rovers.

My uncle, a lifelong Celtic fan, had decided that at the age of 10, I was finally ready.

I’ll never forget the experience; the sounds, the tastes, the fans, the atmosphere, the singing, and of course the match itself (Celtic won 2-0).

None of us want to see that atmosphere and passion leave football. It is what makes the beautiful game the world’s most popular sport.

There has been a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation regarding the Scottish government’s proposed legislation on tackling offensive behaviour at football.

It is safe to say 95 per cent or more of football fans have absolutely nothing to worry about.

The overwhelming majority of those who watch their team do so to watch football. They sing to urge their team towards victory not to incite public disorder.

Unfortunately, there is a minority who believe they have a right to take part in behaviour that threatens the very reputation of our national game.

It is clear that legislation should never be made in haste and therefore it was important that the Scottish government reconsidered their original plans and extended the timetable for consultation.

As a result, we have a robust piece of legislation.

A freedom of expression clause is included to ensure that vital rights are protected.

A review clause has also been inserted so that after two football seasons. we can pull the legislation back in if we feel the need to do so.

Comments (11)

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  1. alexander ferguson says:

    Those who objecto to this legislation need to take a hard look at themselves, what they fail to see is the greater good for the country and not dwell on their selfish concept of freedom of expression. I f they require a list of what is right or wron , how do they manage to get to work, look after their families, make a simple meal or even find their way to the fooball grounds (without a map).

  2. David McCann says:

    Absolutely right. If you dont know what is offensive and likely to cause disorder, then you should not be allowed out past your front door. My wife gave me what I thought was a good analogy with drinking and driving. If you are not sure if you are over the limit, then you just dont drive. Simple when you think about it.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Totally disagree im this one David. This is the worst piece of legislation to go through Holyrood since 1999. All it does is puts more arbitrary powers of arrest into the hands of the police. Freedom of speech means freedom to say things some will find offensive. If people cant live with that they are rejecting living in a free society. (Will expand on this later)

      Bests, Kevin W

      1. Tocasaid says:

        Fascism doesn’t start with concentration camps, that’s where it ends. Why offend?

        Anti-Fascist Action used to clamp down, hard, upon the ‘free speech’ of fascists and it worked. If it takes, a somewhat, progressive SNP govt to root out this cancer via the state, then so be it.

      2. Gordon Darroch says:

        I’ll defend freedom of speech to my dying breath, but let’s not equate freedom of expression with licence to insult who the heck you please with impunity. Freedom of speech is important because it protects freedom of thought. If somebody can explain how much thought is involved in hurling sub-racist bile across a stadium for 90 minutes before heading home for a vigorous evening of wife-beating, I’ll happily support them.

  3. Scottish republic says:

    At least they have calmed the thugs down and focused attention on sectarian hate crime – sending bombs was looking very dicey there for a while.

    Labour – ordinarily an authoritarian bunch who like controlling every aspect of people’s lives have proved gutless through and through.

    There is a two year review period included.

    We’ll see. At least we’ll see as opposed to sitting ineptly immobile.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Exactly, none of the naysayers have suggested anything in its place – other than vague rumblings about ‘enacting existing powers’ – but why were those powers useless or unenforced?

  4. Tocasaid says:

    Agree with article. Nothing has been done until now. As the piece says, almost all football fans have nothing to worry about. Am not a fan of the cops, or police state tactics, but seeing the cops wade into a group of about 50 fans who sang racist and sectarian songs throughout a Hearts’ EUFA Cup game a few years ago at Murrayfield put a smile on my face.

    Quite simply, its the lesser of two evils.#

    Unless those who sing these songs – be it for ‘religion’ or for ‘roots’ – are prepared to sing these songs in all aspects of their lives, and not just in the safety of thousands, then I say go for it.

  5. Observer says:

    Iain Macwhirter has captured exactly what I think in his article in the Herald.

    ”This legislation is otiose, contradictory, authoritarian, subjective, illiberal, anti-democratic and contrary to internationally accepted definitions of basic human rights. It is threatening and offensive to freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of thought and to personal liberty. It hands discretionary powers to the police that are wholly inappropraite in any civilised society, effectively giving individual officers the power to deprive people of their liberty if they don’t like the way they are behaving.”

    This is a shocking state of affairs & if the Labour Party had attempted to bring this in then the cybernats would have gone ballistic.

    Lallands Peat Worrier has been a fantastic voice on this. He generally supports the SNP, I think he is actually a member. I generally support the SNP but I simply cannot with this. It is absolutely appalling.

    1. Tocasaid says:

      Is their freedom of speech being attacked? No. Freedom comes with responsibility. If these guys were singing pro-Taleban, pro-Nazi or pro Al-Queda nonsense it would be equally irrelevant and offensive.

      Again, if these ‘expressions’ of ‘freedom’ are so important why don’t they express them in other situations? Or does the safety of a large crowd give these bigots and cowards the ‘freedom’ they crave?

  6. Alex Montrose says:

    Aye well, when the Rev Stu said ” your nitpicking on this” to LPW, he agreed and said ” nitpicking is what I do, I’m a lawyer” and maybe for lawyers and the like, good arguemental stuff.

    However for your average man in the street, IMHO this is a good move by the government, and will have the support of the vast majority of folks.

    The 2 year trial period is long enough to gauge the efficacy of the Bill, any fine tuning can then be done.

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