Date: 12th March 2018 at 6:07pm
Written by:

The story about Scott Sinclair being attacked in the BA longue last night has thrown up an interesting question, one which no-one has so far answered to my or other people’s satisfaction; why weren’t those involved in it charged and jailed?

There are numerous accounts of the incident doing the rounds on social media; how accurate they are is something that needs to be got to the bottom of.

Was Sinclair physically attacked or just verbally?

Verbally say Police Scotland. Other reports say otherwise.

If he was verbally attacked what manner of abuse are we talking about? Sectarian? Racist? There were definitely witnesses; the perpetrators were escorted from the airport and refused seats on the plane. That means it was sufficiently serious to require action.

Police seem to be hiding behind the fact that Sinclair himself made no complaint. Since when has that been enough? I know from years of drinking in the Gallowgate and seeing numerous incidents including fights that no-one has to make a formal complaint before people can be lifted and charged. The law applies regardless.

Assault is assault. If there were witnesses at all it can be prosecuted. Racist or sectarian abuse are punishable by arrest if in a public setting. There’s breach of the peace. At the very least we’re talking about public order offences, if not other forms of criminality.

There are holes in Police Scotland’s official story. They claim two persons were removed from the lounge. BA staff, and their own PR team, said it was three. The police say no assault took place and that was happened was verbal; not according to some of the stories on social media, which said that there was, in fact, a physical altercation and that it involved not only Sinclair but members of staff. As I said, that needs looking into but it was clearly a serious incident.

Police Scotland have tried to play it down. They claimed that people were “asked to leave” the premises. BA said that police officers personally removed them, not just from the lounge but from the airport itself. Does that sound minor to you?

The men involved were clearly people with money; the BA loungers are places for those flying first class and who are regular customers. Early reports described them as “bigwigs”, people of means, perhaps even important people. Professional class.

I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t why they’re not in the jail. But is that where we are here? Where ordinary punters would be prosecuted – and rightly so – whereas those with means get preferential treatment and told to sin no more? Would charging these people have brought embarrassment to the club itself? You have to wonder.

What’s clear is that this country remains a bad place to be when Celtic win at Ibrox, and it doesn’t matter if you’re in a city centre bar or in more salubrious surroundings. There were allegedly six arrests at the game yesterday; my understand is that the Union Bears march was allowed to go ahead despite the sectarian and violent overtones.

Police Scotland could have filled every cell in the city had they cracked down on that, an open display of bigotry which another country would not have allowed.

There is something dark in Scotland when these sort of things can happen without appropriate measures being taken. The stink of it can choke you. It is still the biggest impediment to our going it alone as a nation; a lot of our people worry about what form that nation would take and whether we’d be welcome in it afterwards.

I have never agreed with that view, but I see things every day that make me wonder.

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