Tonight, The Green Brigade are making headlines again for all the right reasons.
They have unveiled murals inside Celtic Park extending a welcome to immigrants.
I know there are a lot of our fans who have a real problem with these guys, and in terms of pyro and other stuff like that I vehemently disagree with their stance, but the idea that these folks are anything other than a positive force at Celtic is for the birds.
I love these guys on nights like this, after days like today.
There are people who think I should keep politics off of this site.
I don’t know whether they realise that there are alternatives to reading this blog if they don’t like its content. I’m also not sure how it escaped their notice that politics has been a constant on it from the first.
I got a hard time last week in the spam folder from one group for writing “left wing shite” and from another for quoting Churchill. I learned long ago that you can’t please all the people all of the time and I’m not going to try to.
At a time when the UK government is engaged in one of the most appalling, reactionary, despicable policy endeavours which I have ever seen – the effort to repatriate illegal immigrants to Rwanda – I could not be happier to see The Green Brigade standing up for those fleeing war and persecution abroad.
But they are doing a lot more than that, of course.
Opening the door to immigrants who simply want to come here for a better life is just as valid, and just as important. There’s no such stereotype as the “lazy immigrant”; the reason is that there aren’t enough lazy immigrants to invoke one.
These vast majority of those people don’t come here to live off the state, which is what so many people seem all too ready to believe … they come here and do the jobs that a lot of folk who voted for Brexit wouldn’t even entertain doing., and before that national calamity they did a lot of vitally important jobs too.
If you voted for Brexit and you missed your holidays this year because flights got cancelled, well I’d suggest you accept that you may just have been part of the problem.
If no-one told you how many immigrant workers did those menial jobs around the airline industry that they can’t now get people to fill, then perhaps you were looking at the wrong sources of information and should have cast the net wider.
If you wonder why your local NHS is on its knees it might be because it depended for years on immigrant health care workers who were told they were no longer welcome in the UK because instead of a civilised system based on our needs we have are living in a right wing fantasy which doubles as a national act of self-harm.
And the effects of this are everywhere, right across the country, in every industry.
You want to know what the cost of living crisis is, at least, in part about? Tens of thousands of un-filled jobs in dozens of sectors which when operating at capacity kept the supply chain humming along and prices low.
I went to a really nice restaurant for dinner a few weeks ago and found a drastically scaled back menu and drastically shortened opening hours … the reason was that they can’t get experienced people to work in the kitchen because the food-service industry was primarily made up of Eastern Europeans who aren’t allowed to work here anymore.
And the effects of not having those people means closing the kitchen earlier and opening on fewer days at a time when rents are still high and the basics to run that business are getting more expensive with every week that passes.
That place is months from closing its doors, as a direct consequence of a rabid anti-immigration policy which makes no sense at all.
Which is to say nothing of the disgrace of the Rwanda plan or the more recent Boris Johnson wheeze, which is to fit these people with electronic tags as though they were criminals.
The politics of the cesspit are the driving force of this London government.
Our club was founded by immigrants.
Our forebears know what it’s like to have the door slammed in their faces.
It’s not that long ago that you couldn’t get a job in this city depending on where you went to school and what your background was.
We know what it’s all about alright; our enemies still express those vile sentiments in their chants and their songs.
I read one story on a national title website just yesterday about an Irish bar I’ve been known to frequent being under pressure due to a concerted campaign of complaints against it which appears motivated by the worst kind of bigotry.
Know what the first comment on that piece said? “If you want to run an Irish bar you should run it in Ireland, not in Scotland.”
We’re still putting up with that shit in the modern day.
Those Green Brigade folks get it.
They understand why so many of us care passionately about this stuff.
Cause once upon a time, that was us.
In the eyes of a lot of Peepul in this country, that’s still us.
Doubtless there are some amongst our ranks who are all for the Rwanda plan.
All I can say to that is that one of us in the wrong movie, and it ain’t me.
The Green Brigade boys and girls don’t just talk a good game; they are at the forefront of socially progressive campaigns on foodbanks, homelessness and yes welcoming refugees.
These guys and gals get it. They epitomise our club at its finest.
I’m damned proud of them tonight, and of Celtic itself.