When a publicly funded organisation loses public support and confidence then it’s all over.
They can run all the campaigns they want, but if they want to be taken seriously where it matters then they need to retain a measure of goodwill with those they seek to reach and today one of Scotland’s leading charities is on the brink of losing it all.
At some point today Show Racism The Red Card Scotland – if they have a fraction of sense left – will apologise for their tweet yesterday, and which is still on their site, in which they suggested that Brendan Rodgers had said Shay Logan brought racist abuse on himself.
It is as serious an allegation as an anti-racist organisation could ever make.
It is absolutely appalling that they did not listen to Rodgers’ comments or source a transcript before releasing such an inflammatory and libellous statement.
In fact, it beggars belief.
An apology is not going to cut it though.
Rodgers himself might not be minded to take this matter to a lawyer and Celtic itself might not cut the cord with the organisation – although I am certain they will be speaking to SRTRC London about it – but the Scottish branch office is shot.
The backlash against their statement yesterday has been enormous, and even some in the mainstream media expressed disquiet over it.
Neil Cameron, who this site gives a lot of stick to, denied the central charge levelled at Brendan and even pointed out that there is audio of what our manager actually said. I thank Neil Cameron for that, and I mean it. He deserves great credit for coming to our manager’s aid.
And that would be serious enough for the charity, but they’ve also lost the support of the public.
I’ve already submitted my complaint about their conduct to the Office of The Scottish Charities Regulator, highlighting some of the things I’ll mention in this piece.
Before I start, I should tell you that this pains me to write this.
Does anyone think this is how I want to spend my day? A socialist, trade unionist, anti-fascist, anti-racist, slating an anti-racism charity? Does anyone think I derive the slightest satisfaction or pleasure from doing this article? I don’t.
But Show Racism The Red Card Scotland has lost it.
They are not Nil By Mouth, centred around the issue of sectarianism in general, they are centred around racism in football … and today not but a handful of supporters of any clubs trust them or respect them.
Aberdeen fans will be pleased they are standing up for Logan, but even their supporters will not abide an organisation that misquotes a manager to the extent they’ve done here. Fans in Edinburgh don’t like them because they are profoundly Glasgow-centric and there’s a feeling that issues involving their own clubs’ players would be ignored.
Indeed, on the same weekend Logan was allegedly abused – and about which, need I remind you that we heard nothing until last week – Hibs played Sevco, in a match where Neil Lennon was subjected to the full torrent of sectarianism for which their fans are famous.
Now, Show Racism The Red Card knows that anti-Irish abuse is a form of racism; they brought Phil in to educate them on it before, perversely, anti-Irish racists cowed them into calling him a bigot, so they know that what Lennon was subjected to that day falls under their purview.
But they ignored it.
They ignored it completely.
They didn’t stand up for Lennon at the time, nor when the SFA decided to charge him with breaches of their discipline code because he refused to sit down and shut up, but actually challenged the bigots.
In fact, in all the years Lennon played in Scotland and suffered the torrents of abuse that rained down on him I don’t recall them ever standing by his side and speaking up on his behalf.
And that’s what sticks in the craw here, because it was Logan himself who provoked the incident at Celtic Park – as the red card he got demonstrates – and then alleged racism months later, whereas Lennon was undoubtedly the victim at Ibrox and was sanctioned for responding to it.
The moral equivalence the SFA makes between the two is sickening enough … but for Show Racism The Red Card to refuse to open its mouth about the treatment meted out to Lennon whilst it labels false accusations against our manager over Logan … well that’s deplorable.
Needless to say, the fans of one particular Glasgow club are delighted that they have bent this organisation to their will, yet again, as they did over Phil. I’ll get to them in a minute, but first it’s worth reminding these folk who Celtic are.
Celtic was a club founded on anti-racist principles.
We were the first in Scotland to produce an anti-racism mission statement, Bhoys Against Bigotry.
No organisation has done more, in this country, to raise awareness of bigotry and sectarianism than Celtic has, and our fans are known the world over for their openness and inclusiveness and compassion and decency.
The Green Brigade do an annual food-bank for refugees, which draws support from right across the whole of the Celtic Family.
The “match the fine for Palestine” campaign is a clear demonstration of where the fans at Parkhead stand on discrimination and on the plight of those in the wider world who are in need of support and aid.
Celtic fans don’t need lectures from coffee house liberals on dealing with matters like this.
We live this issue.
We’ve been on the sharp end – some of us literally – of bigotry and sectarianism our whole lives.
This isn’t a pay-cheque issue for us, it’s real life … and sometimes death.
We should be Show Racism The Red Card’s most valued allies.
Instead, in the course of just a few months, they have alienated us almost completely, in order to appease people who detest them and their organisation and everything it stands for.
From where do they think came all those people loudly condemning them over the decision to invite Phil in for a chat?
They crawled out of the very sewer of sectarianism and hate Phil warned the organisation about.
They were the very people Phil has written about and who fill his inbox with bile every single day of the week.
And Show Racism The Red Card knew this full well, because Phil told them his story and that of Angela Haggerty, who edited Downfall and was subjected to full spectrum hatred for it and has been ever since.
They knew that what she endured was so severe that she had reported it to police and someone had stood trial and been jailed for it.
They knew about the campaign the Peepul waged against The Sun over its serialisation of Downfall. They knew about the intimidation and threats to book-sellers and other outlets.
Phil, in short, handed them the bigots playbook and as good as predicted what would come to pass.
When it did, Show Racism The Red Card rolled out the red carpet for it instead.
Not only did they condemn him, but they invited Sevco fan reps in for tea and biscuits.
They have no excuse for what they did there.
And they have no excuse here, because who were most prominent amongst the “fans” who lobbied them over Rodgers comments and demanded action in the first place? Why it was the very Peepul who subjected Scott Sinclair to the abuse that was captured on camera, that was reported to the police and which did result in a criminal conviction, but no SFA investigation and which the anti-racism charity barely uttered a word on.
The truth is, Show Racism The Red Card has done the work of Scotland’s most virulent racists and that they remain in denial about that is astounding.
I have told one of their staff members this repeatedly, over and over again.
She’s not hearing it.
Perhaps she just doesn’t want to.
Secure in an ivory tower where bigots can be “tamed” instead of rooted out and publicly shamed, the view from up there is of a world where we can all come together around the campfire, sing songs of hope and joy, and cure all its ills through love and understanding.
The failure to comprehend that some hate so much they don’t understand the meaning of the word is profoundly, fatally, myopic.
The idea that I should sit around the coffee table and make small-talk and then embrace those who every week sing about wading up to their knees in my blood, and who mean every single word of it, count me out. With them, no, I’m not ready to make nice and never will be.
Shamefully, for an organisation that is supposed to be on the cutting edge of this issue, Show Racism The Red Card are woefully ignorant of the PR side of it and the politics involved. Their organisation does not understand the Peepul it is dealing with, and panders to them.
This only entrenches the bigotry that spawned them in the first place, and as a consequence I would argue that Show Racism The Red Card Scotland has actually helped to evolve the very problem it exists to erase.
Today the forums of Sevconia are buzzing with posts with the lie that Brendan Rodgers defended racism; why not? An anti-racism charity said so. Their pages are filled with threads about how Celtic is an evil club run by evil people for evil purposes and that has turned the hate dial up even further.
So congratulations for that.
All this has come after a weekend in which the detritus of Organism and Loyalism marched down public streets and where it was Celtic fans who took a prominent role in bringing to world attention the story of how a local priest was assaulted outside his church. It comes after a week in which Sevco released a sash-pattern strip and another in orange and where they released an inflammatory statement implying that our largest shareholder, an Irishman, is trying to take over Scottish football governance by stealth. If he was Jewish the inference would be clear-cut and wouldn’t need me to point it out. The stench of racism that permeates that club, from green boot bans endorsed at the top to the slogan painted on the dressing room walls, to the bile that pours out of its stands every single week, would make you gag.
About these matters, Show Racism The Red Card is stonily silent.
It takes people of moronic stupidity to ignore all that and at the same time turbo-charge the very thing they are trying to combat in this way, and as such I am washing my hands of them. I want no more to do with them.
They are not our friends.
They are not our allies.
Whatever their agenda is, they have failed to confront the problem they exist to tackle and have, instead, given it succour and encouragement to grow.
By accident or design, I neither know nor care.
Their credibility is shot amongst the very people they needed most.
They are finished.
Like Sevco, the party’s over and we’re just waiting for the curtain to fall.