This ill advised law which many of us fought against comes into force on March first. Paul McKenna of Bishop Crosas CSC attended a Q&A session last night and has provided TCN with the key points from the meeting.
Mentions of the IRA in any song will not be allowed. Other teams mentioned are Hearts & Rangers with the famine song and Aberdeen with the Ibrox disaster. None of these are allowed under the bill.Question came up about ‘aggressive blessing’. They said you can bless yourself at games like the players do as they come on and off the park but they wont allow charging toward the segregation fence facing opposing fans and blessing yourself in front of them as this will be seen to ‘wind them up’, to use a looser term than offending them.
Also asked if using the word ‘hun’ would be sectarian, the answer was NO! As a stand alone word it will not stand up in court as hatred/offensive etc. But if you add on other offensive terms then it MAY fall into breaking the new law. For example: “you orange bastard dirty hun”, that’s an example I’m using there as an indicator of what I thought they meant.
‘Boys of the old brigade’ will be punishable under the new law as deemed by Lord Advocate to be in support of a terrorist organisation.
National anthems are EXEMPT from this new law at football grounds.
Law extends to travel periods. This will extend to a 12 hour window before and after a game. For example, act in a way that this law deems offensive 4 hours after a game in the pub then punishable under the penalties imposed as if you were at the ground.
Big clamp down on internet hate, especially on Facebook and Twitter. Places like ‘Huddleboard and ‘Follow Follow’ etc can’t be viewed by police until a member of that board reports a post. Same punishment of up to 5 years applies for internet related hatred/bigotry etc.
Offences committed by non-Scottish residents will be pursued for prosecution although admitted this will be tougher but will look at each case as and when it happens.
‘Having a party when Rangers die’ has been used by Celtic and Killie fans recently and if continues WILL NOT fall into breaking the new legislation as they see this in the context of banter.
The police presence at games will not increase or get heavy handed they say.
The meeting lasted a while and the questions don’t have to stop there. Lots more was discussed but the above is what I believe to be the main points that affect my attendance at a game. Aberdeen and Hearts fans were in attendance but didn’t really say much.”