I simply can not fcuking believe it. My life seems full to overflowing with flabergastation (now there IS an Americanism if you ever saw one) of late. A month or so ago we had the conclusion of the commission held under the “impartial” auspices of the “honourable”, for one must not judge lest he become the judged, Lord Nimmo Smith and friends (of Rangers could we say or might we be told to fcuk off). The subsequent silence from previously vociferous quarters announcing imminent Armageddon was not just deafening but deafeningly defining. Then, of course we had the recent “rioting” by – how many was it, three? – at Dundee.
More recently we had The Gallowgate Boston Tea Party. Examining the “uprising” on the “quiet” streets of Glasgow in the context of the American protests of December 16th 1773 provides, in my bizarre imagination anyway, some weak tea correlation between that event and the new crowd-control phenomenon of “kettling” (sounds like bringing what was perfectly cold and stable to boiling point to me, possibly a very apt description of what took place in Glasgow) which was used, or should one say overused, very effectively to antagonise demonstrably peaceful demonstrators and to deprive ordinary decent citizens of their civil liberties and the right to protest against blatant injustice – sorry, blatant stupidity. It would go some way to making restitution if the authorities recognised, as history has done in the case of Boston, that the peaceful actions of 16th March 2013 in Glasgow’s city centre were unquestionably for a righteous cause. However, it has to be acknowledged that we will never know all the facts that led to the reaction of the police. There are several scenarios two of which may provide some answers. It is known that the response teams were readily available because of their presence at the nearby right wing demonstration and not because of some conspiratorial preparation. Had this not been the case then perhaps the police numbers immediately available might not have been so numerous. The second point to be made in favour of the police is that they are often merely carrying out orders which may be dictated by the specific intentions of someone in higher authority. There are certainly accusations on both sides as to the cause of the kettling and while the evidence to hand would seem to confirm police over reaction this must be balanced by the actual illegality of the actual event and the unknown agenda that instigated the police response. It is unlikely that we will ever get to the bottom of police orders just as the evidence of the supporters may not necessarily disclose all that was perpetrated by individuals. Not withstanding any of this, there are certainly issues surrounding the whole legislation and I have good cause to believe that the ordinary bobby feels as strongly opposed to the imposition of it as they are frustrated by the confusion it causes as any football supporters. What is a problem for Celtic supporters in particular is that many of our own do not recognise the insidiousness of this law and look to target the behaviour of The Green Brigade rather than oppose the unnecessary and ridiculous legislation. This same support seems not to recognise or understand the need to oppose legislation that specifically targets and suppresses the legitimate behaviour of all football fans but more especially if that targeting is selective within its own club support. It would appear that the lack of physical presence for the demonstration in George Square on 6th April indicates a similar attitude from the Celtic board in spite of their apparent verbal protestations against the legislation. In conclusion, if an event is illegal it does not in itself give the police cart blanch to act with aggression and violence if that is what happened. The police are not meant to be an army of Frankensteins, hell bent on creating monsters from the unsuspecting and the unprepared. Law, as I was reared to understand it, is meant to be a safeguard and the police there to enforce and uphold it for the protection of all citizens. It is not a cudgel with which to club or browbeat a chief constable’s personal and political agenda into the heads of those who disagree with it. It would seem there are those in high places who think it is and there are those too lily-livered to oppose their abuse of power – witness the whole negotiation scenario surrounding preparations and post event organisation for George’s Square and afterwards on Saturday, 6th April.
And now to last week when we are informed that Neil Lennon, manager of Celtic Football Club, has offended the delicacy of football players, fans and T.V. audiences and brought disrepute to the unblemished game by using what are euphemistically called “swear words” or “cursing”. A trip to a good dictionary will clarify that the lack of vocabulary expressed by Mr. Lennon can in no way be interpreted as “swearing” or “cursing” in the true definition of these words. Can I just say that if these words are so offensive to delicate ears then most modern television programmes and movies should only be watched wearing ear muffs. They have become almost household in their commonness on screens. Actors have become so fluent in old fashioned expletives that they are now regarded as colourfully expressive literary dialogue, up there with Willie Shakespeare plays and the best names in English literature. Yet it seems these same words used by Mr. Lennon were deemed not to be expletively emphatic but rather to be unacceptably offensive to the fragile ears of the footballing community in St. Mirren Park and elsewhere. I watched the archive footage of the match on Celtic TV the Monday afterwards and I have to say that Mr. Lennon’s only fault, as far as I heard, would appear to be how limited his expressive dialogue with Jim Goodwin seemed to be. I have heard longer and more embellished tirades of colourful language used in primary school banter. And are we to believe that St. Mirren Park is the only arena to have experienced such language and Mr. Lennon the only “offender“. In my own supporting days I can guarantee to have heard and (blushing) used as brightly shaded and more deeply coloured expressions of the English language in numerous stadiums throughout Scotland, the U.K., Europe and even the world. Any decent lip reader will confirm its use in every square inch of a football stadium and by every section of people therein as seen each time a game is shown on T.V. I would go as far as to maintain that anyone with eyes to see or ears to hear will have learned more foreign language expletives than any other foreign language vocabulary simply through watching football on T.V. I am quite certain that if we were technically competent, similar local verbal specialities would be quite common on the playing fields of the most distant galaxies. Certainly I have heard both large and small, broad and tall in an extensive array of colours use “technical” terms not found in a dictionary to emphasise their emotions. I have heard them frequently on and off the pitch, among staff, players and watchers at Celtic Park over many years. I will refrain from commenting on the newest club in Scottish football as I have not listened to nor witnessed any of their incomparable games. It could well be that their charismatic and highly influential C.E.O. has managed to stamp out such verbal atrocities along with the bigotry, sectarianism and violence, miraculously (as with so many “negative” components of that club) never picked up by mics or caught by T.V. cameras. We do know it was never used by any managers of that club in the past, at least none that were reported – surprise, surprise.
Nor am I convinced that such language is limited to football as history records a considerable amount of fcuking taking place in the sport of kings, queens and concubines. And many a “bastard” has made his mark in the annals as a consequence.
In truth, it is more likely the delicate flowers of Hampden have decided they must find Mr. Lennon guilty of some misdemeanour. It irks them beyond tolerance that he has gone for so long without offending them. They simply will not accept that he behaves appropriately when not incensed by certain confrontational individuals. Their minds and hearts simply will not accept such reformation in Mr. Lennon. The image is not fit for purpose, their purpose. So, without any justification for pulling him up for football infringements, they have turned, for the first time ever in football history, to blasphemy and sent him to Pilate Lunny for trial. He will no doubt scrub his hands with carbolic soap as he recommends that Mr. Lennon be crucified even though he finds the man has done no wrong. No doubt it will be a good excuse to once more release Barabbas Green in spite of his outrageously rebellious and profane tirades, his defamations of authorities, his outrageously selfish “negotiations” and his manipulative and underhand shenanigans. Is it not strange, no probably not, how delicate ears can be variously affected not by what is said but by what they wish to hear? And so it is that the priority in the current state of Scottish football is unquestionably the re-establishment of queen’s English. Of course, for all right thinking folk, there is nothing in the game so much in need of reform at this present time. Yet, somehow one gets the feeling in one’s cynical bones that once Mr. Lennon has been dealt with, the gurus will without doubt reassess the problem of correct vocabulary and conclude it is a very minor issue in a sport not renowned for its oratorical expertise. The one sure-fire certainty is we will never hear of another case again.
Come on. What else do you expect for fcuk’s sake?