Peruse the papers for even five minutes – skipping, as you have to, all this funeral stuff – and you cannot but be alarmed at what it is that you see. This is a country coming apart at the seams.
Low-paid workers everywhere are going on strike as inflation spirals and energy bills rise out of all proportion to wages.
At the same time, the government has ruled out a windfall tax on the firms which are making billions out of the crisis, and today the FT said that Liz Truss and her cabinet are about to lift the cap on banker bonuses, to let the rich get richer still whilst millions of people all across the country face pain, hardship and a cold winter.
Every government in Europe is making its working and middle classes the priority right now. This one is engaged in a frenzy of shirt-rending instead.
I don’t need to highlight the myriad ways that so much of the population appears to have lost its grip on reality; you can see them everywhere.
But I am comforted to know that in a lot of ways none of this is real.
For decades I’ve heard all sorts of guff about British stoicism and the old “stiff upper lip.” But what I’ve found is that the British, as a whole, are amongst the most hysterical over-reactors on the planet.
And they are more easily led than Americans, who are so pliable that millions of them still believe that Donald Trump’s re-election was stolen from him by a conspiracy so vast that even Sevconuts terrified of the Unseen Hand laugh at it.
When I look at the crowds lining the streets to “pay their respect” I see three categories of people.
The first are the true Royalists, a weird species of sad individuals whose lives are so empty that they have moored them to a family of eccentric weirdos playing dress up and living in a castle. I feel the same sympathy for them as I feel for hysterical teenage girls sobbing their hearts out when a boy-band breaks up. “Real life is too all-intruding. It will pass.”
The second category of people are those who are lining up because they sense that it’s a moment of historical significance. I watched the initial news reports for the same reason; a fascination with knowing that you’re actually observing something that will be remembered throughout the ages. I felt no need to stand and wait for the hearse; I have better things to do. But I understand the impulse, because then not only are you observing history but you feel as if you are playing a part in it. Plenty of people were on those streets doing exactly that.
The third category are the weirdest of the three.
They aren’t royalists but think they are. They are Unionists with the capital U. They have no honest-to-God attachment to the monarch, but they revere the Monarchy. In it lies a status which they have appropriated as their own.
I find myself amazed at the number of people who believe that an independent Scotland would be some bastion of Unionism where me and mine would be persecuted. But once you break the union and dispense with the crown and the flag these people have no power. They have no status. They have no authority whatsoever. Everything they are and have and believe in is represented by those symbols. Make the symbols irrelevant, and so are they.
These people are the true fanatics, and they are completely irrational. They are the living proof that British stoicism is a fairytale and that “British values” are a myth. They are, for the most part, gutter dogs of the right and even the extreme right.
I don’t want to stereotype, but when I saw that footage of the guy in Edinburgh being yanked backwards through the crowd I could have drawn you a composite of the kind of goon who would be standing over him when you saw it from another angle, and I’d have been right on the money; a lout with a bloated belly, thinking he was doing his part for “Queen and country”.
But actually, he was only satisfying something inside himself.
These people are everywhere, screaming and raging at those of us who won’t play ball, who won’t join in with “the national mood”, which, by the way, they’ve completely misrepresented. Their anger is vaguely amusing. I see them everywhere on social media, hammering away at anyone who refuses to conform. They don’t know how stupid they look.
These are the kinds of people who need to gain some perspective and learn to control themselves. These are the kind of people who react this way to anything that offends their tender sensibilities, and who are so self-regarding that they don’t care about the rights or views of others. The “defenders” of this total stranger’s memory are the same people who punched and fought and clawed at each other in the isles of Aldi over Kevin The Carrot.
And today, the full range of their rage is turned against Celtic and our fans. For what? Because we refuse to act like sheep. Because we aren’t part of the sad-sack category one, and because we have our own history to make and won’t be part of category two.
But mostly they rage because we aren’t like them, we aren’t part of category three, because we aren’t part of their raging mob and won’t be intimidated by it. We refuse to act like brainwashed zombies, braying pointless meaningless platitudes.
We think for ourselves. We can see outside of the box.
Their anger over banners last night is so counterfeit. Even the way they’ve tried to frame it reeks of their usual lies and disinformation.
We are accused of having spewed “hatred of the Queen.”
But in point of fact, the banners did no such thing. The Green Brigade did not have something with “fuck the Queen” on it. It said “fuck the Crown.” Which is a reference to the institution and not the woman who has just died.
In a way, that was a show of respect for her. That banner was very specifically worded, targeted with laser-like focus on the monarchy itself.
These people have been demanding we show respect, and if not for her then to those who do care about her passing.
I thought acknowledging that was what they wanted, and so the banner which expressed sympathy to Michael Fagan – who had the utmost respect for her and said so many times – ought not to have raised such a stink from them.
And I’ll tell you what else, we can see how completely and utterly these people are being used by the political class and those behind them. That they are too dumb to recognise that we’re in the midst of a gigantic national brainwashing is amazing to me.
So far in this article, I’ve treated this subject with some levity.
Let me dispense with that right now and get serious for a minute.
In a previous article I talked about the way political leaders pretend to speak for the rest of the country at a time like this. Starmer’s example from earlier in the week – “she didn’t just rule over us, she lived amongst us” – is one of the worst examples of it because it came from a so-called progressive and was without dispute utter bollocks.
What this does, of course, is lumps the conformists in with everyone who genuinely couldn’t care less … and this excludes, completely, anyone who disagrees. Do not underestimate how important, and dangerous, a tool of government the ability to do this is.
This is one of the weapons of the dictatorship, of the fascist regime, and a lot of people fail to recognise it as such because we so seldom see it deployed here. But there is one time when you do see it in all its unholy horror, and where the dangerous qualities of it are on full display; you see it best during times when the country sends its kids off to war.
We recognise it because on top of the way public opinion is bent and dissent quashed, as it was during the march to the invasion of Iraq, in times of military engagement, Britain consumes itself with the madness of poppy fascism every year as well and every year, without fail, the handful of non-conformists have to read and hear all the same bullshit.
Because we aren’t mugs. Because we won’t play ball. Because whilst the rest of this country voluntarily puts itself into the straightjacket there are some of us who just won’t do it, who just won’t, even for one day, pretend that this stuff is normal.
I look, today, at the coverage our club is getting and the odium and hatred being poured on our support and not only is much of it hysterical and dishonest but when you look at those flinging the shit at us, it only reinforces my view that we are right.
Look at those digging us out and praising Ibrox this morning.
Simon Jordan, a goon who thrives on the sound of his own voice.
Nigel Farage, the prick’s prick.
Piers Morgan, who I listened to being grilled by James O’Brien a while back over his allegation that “wokeishness” was corrupting the nation but whose only example of it was how he lost his own shit over Google removing the egg from their salad emoji because a handful of vegans complained. Those who did so are undoubtedly sad bastards but hearing him getting into a strop over that definitely made it seem like something worth doing.
The Ibrox fans love it because they have the endorsement of this trailer park trash, them and, of course, the Fleet Street rags of the right. By God, if you are being judged by the company you keep … this is bad even for them.
Let’s read the roll of dishonour.
The Daily Mail.
The last three newspapers in the country who were still supporting Boris Johnson when his fingers were prised off the Downing Street doorknob. He, by the way, was the guy who partied and lived it up when the Queen had to sit through her husband’s funeral on her lonesome. That, as much as anything, was the picture that did him in.
The latter in particular is hilarious today, with its football headlines already receiving widespread scorn from our supporters. But their attempts to shame us in the eyes of the world are pitiful and weak and staggeringly hypocritical.
Getting called out for bad taste, lack of respect and hateful views by these outlets is gobsmacking when you read the torrents of bile which they allow their readers to publish under articles. Try reading some of those if you have a strong enough stomach.
Daily Mail comments celebrating the deaths of migrants in the Channel are commonplace. When Black Lives Matter demonstrators were targeted by white extremists in 2018 the paper allowed racists to celebrate the event. They don’t even mind the targeting of members of the family they are supposed to revere; any article on Meghan Markle quickly sees the comments section descend into a gutter of bile and racism and they don’t give a shit.
And that’s in part because some of their feature writers have called migrants “rats” and compared them to cockroaches. It’s because The Mail employed people like Richard Littlejohn and Katie Hopkins, about one step below Follow Follow contributors in their penchant for bile. The Mail, of course, famously supported Hitler and Mussolini.
Of course, all of these papers and these individuals were part of the campaign to leave the European Union, and have consistently lied to their readers and the rest of us.
When I see these people lined up on one side, I automatically walk across the street to join the other, and I would do that instinctively even if our club were not involved, even if we were not the targets of their phony outrage and hysterical ranting.
It comforts me this afternoon to find that we are the targets of their spewing hatred.
Because as long as we are, I know that we are doing something right.