Earlier in the week, a friend of mine sent me an article from The Herald about a study that was released at the turn of the year.
I read the article, and then the study. The results of that study astounded me.
According to The Herald, Sevco fans are convinced there is a “new sectarian divide” in Scotland, and that it was caused by us.
And how do they come to this conclusion?
They’ve looked at the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act … and they think we created it to get at them.
Just when you think you’ve heard everything ….
Yesterday, I reported on their plans to force Mike Ashley out of the club by buying shares in Sports Direct – £100,000 worth of them, every month – and then dumping them for free. Today I have to report on something even more ridiculous with these people … and it never ceases to amaze me how incredibly off-the-radar dumb some of them are.
Dr Stuart Waiton, the writer of the report, is a sociologist at Abertay University. He is one of Scotland’s leading free speech advocates, a guy I absolutely respect. His opposition to the Offensive Behaviour Act is profound and total. He has done as much as anyone to remove it from the statute books, even writing a book on the subject.
Last year, he wrote a research paper in which he studied “comments by Sevco fans on social media” and spoke with a number of them directly.
What he found, and I’m quoting from the text here, was that:
“By far the greatest level of animosity and anger generated by Sevco fans towards their Celtic rivals was related to the criminalisation of Sevco fans’ songs and the support that some Celtic fans, individuals and institutions had given to this criminalising process …”
This incredible, wholly divorced from reality, report goes on:
“The lack of trust towards Celtic fans animated these Sevco supporters who felt they had been stabbed in the back by their rivals.”
That he got such insane responses is hardly surprising, when you consider where he did most of his reading. These are the people who loved Whyte, feted Green, welcomed Ashley with open arms and now put their faith in a guy a South African court found guilty of fraud.
But the notion that it’s Celtic fans who are responsible for the appalling and un-necessary Offensive Behaviour Act is one of the most ludicrous ever put forth.
It flies in the face of every piece of available evidence, much of which Dr Waiton has highlighted in his many articles, books and lectures on the subject.
In fact, he even did an interview with The Sevco Standard in 2014, where the interviewer tried very hard to force words into his mouth regarding Celtic supporters; Dr Waiton kept his cool and poo-pooed any notion that Celtic fans had pushed for this law, or overwhelmingly supported it.
He has extensively documented how large numbers of Celtic supporters groups have condemned the Act, as well as pointing out that it was introduced in the face of direct opposition from the club itself.
More importantly, Dr Waiton only last month absolutely destroyed the argument that this law was created to target Sevco fans.
In an article for Spiked, dated 13 January, he got to the heart of the matter in a way few other academics have tried.
“The interesting thing about the Offensive Behaviour Act is its name,” he wrote. “The problem with the legislation before the OBA was that it potentially allowed IRA chants, because they can be said to be political. But as this act targets offensiveness, Celtic fans could be arrested alongside their Sevco equivalents.”
Dr Waiton has spoken up, many times, for the “right to be offensive.”
But he has also said criminality can’t be excused.
This is what a lot of Sevco supporters simply don’t want to face; the chants of some of their own fans went way past being offensive (which there was no law against) and were blatantly sectarian and racist … things the law does not, and has never, allowed.
The Offensive Behaviour Act changed all that, “equalising” things as its framers were trying to do.
The more you go into the mind-set of the Sevco supporters the more you have to conclude that it’s unlike any other on this island.
They believe only in the version of reality that suits them at any given time.
They have no wish to be confronted with or exposed to inconvenient facts.
This is why their last club died and the new one is already under threat.