I hope many of you have now seen the video published by STV last night. Being personally involved I have to say that while it was good in dispelling some of the myths about the Green Brigade it failed to really focus on the most important part, and that was the visit to Holyrood. However I know there is plenty of footage ‘in the can’ and I hope there is a follow up which focuses on the main reasons that has led us there on several occasions since 2012. The Offensive Behaviour At Football And Threatening Communications Act.
I hope that when you finish reading this that you will visit: The YouTube page where the video was posted, read the comments and you will see where I’m coming from here.
There are several reasons why The Offensive Behaviour At Football part of the act was always doomed to failure, especially when it was meant to tackle sectarianism:
- It was ill conceived and badly drafted.
- It only applies to football supporters in and around football games.
- It curtails civil liberties
- It allows the Police to be ‘offended’ and on that basis you could be arrested for anything.
- Laws were already in place to tackle sectarianism and bigotry
That’s just some of the problems.
I don’t know how many times it needs said but bigotry and sectarianism are problems that run through Scottish society. These mindsets are not exclusive to any social demographic, so having an act which only applies to ‘football supporters’ and no one else will not change one thing. And here’s a wee example.
Every year in Scotland there are marches by groups like the Orange Order or (just to even things up, like the act does) Irish Republican organisations. These groups are known to attract people who can get a ‘heated’ and shout things like FTQ or FTP. Now as these two people are head of their respective churches that can be classed as sectarian. If there is not a football match on nearby these people cannot be charged under the OB Act, however they can be charged under legislation that existed prior to the OB Act. So why was this act needed, you may ask yourself ?
We all know that it could take a generation or more to rid Scotland of this scourge, you need to start with kids at an early age both at school and within the home. This will take a lot of money to fund resources to enable us as a society to do this. That leads me to another reason why this Act IS OF NO USE. The millions wasted in setting up FoCUS and subsequent court and legal aid costs is money that could be better spent on tackling the root causes of hatred and intolerance in our country!
If you go on to read the comments left on the youtube page you will see that not necessarily sectarian but they are offensive, nasty and show intolerance. The OB Act will never change these people attitudes.
PS. Celtic fans posting ‘Lizzy Knew’ should take a good look at themselves, paedophilia is not something to laugh about or to use for point scoring. We are better than that.