Ally McCoist Has Unwittingly Made The Case In Favour Of The Hate Crime Legislation.

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In any major public debate, the biggest risk to one side’s argument has always been that some over-emotional fool will blunder into it, ostensibly on your side, and instead of helping you win, will succeed only in proving the other side’s case for them.

This morning’s “intervention” from Ally McCoist, which essentially agrees with my own contention that the Hate Crime bill which has just passed into law belongs in the bin, is so crass, offensive and appalling that it has, in the space of a few hours, almost flipped my position on this entirely. It’s actually astonishing how clearly, and fully, he has set out not only the case in favour of such a law, but actually shone a clear light on why it might even be necessary.

For the record, and before I go any further, I haven’t changed my mind. This law is an appalling piece of legislative over-reach which contains too many dangerous clauses for me ever to feel that it can be justified. But that doesn’t mean that there are not elements of it with the potential to make this country a better place somewhere down the line.

This, of course, is not a new idea. What lies at the heart of all civil rights law is that first you make certain types of discrimination illegal, you force this generation to conform, and the next generation will grow up in a newly normalised reality where even the very idea of whatever you have outlawed seems absurd and backward.

It doesn’t always work. The resurgence of bigotry in the US and the Republican Party anointing a white nationalist as their candidate for President proves it. But I say that it’s better to try and to fail than to fail to try and you never know, if Biden wins re-election maybe America’s crisis passes and they get to restart the clock and make progress again.

In Scotland we’ve failed precisely because we’ve never tried, and so whilst I think that this is a draconian law which seeks to restrict free expression, I understand the principle aims of anti-discrimination legislation like this and only mourn that we still need stuff like this from time to time because there are some people who just won’t toe the line.

Here’s what’s especially disgusting about what McCoist said today; he doesn’t even realise that his remarks were wrong. A law now exists to punish behaviour that Scottish society itself should have deemed utterly unacceptable and beyond the pale long before this.

He’s incapable of recognising what he’s endorsed here because he’s never tried to think about it any differently, and the reason he’s never tried to think about it that way is that he and millions of other people in this country have normalised the kind of behaviour which has just been made criminal.

You know why I said, when I wrote about this last week, that I would respect this law and be wary but that I wouldn’t be afraid of it? I wrote that because I know for a fact that none of what I write or post, that none of the thoughts that go through my mind, put me on the wrong side of this new law. I am not a bigot of any shade or stripe.

Follow Follow published its own guidelines to its members just yesterday on this, and let me take a minute to applaud them for having done so, although it was out of necessity as much as anything else. But their “rule of thumb” is that you don’t post anything that you wouldn’t be willing to say to a uniformed cop. That’s a pretty good line to take. Those who obey that rule should be more or less fine and never need to concern themselves about it.

But read again the words that Ally McCoist said today on the radio;

“We’ve got a hate bill by the way; a hate bill has been passed in the country. And I guarantee you, next Sunday at Ibrox, I along with 48,000 will be committing a breach of that hate bill in the particular game we are all going to. It is madness.”

The condemnation has started, from the politicians at the moment, but his bosses need to take a good look at those comments and decide if they are appropriate.

Because it’s worth, for a moment, taking a look at the questions he’s been asked online.

Steven Bonnar, SNP MP for Coatbridge, slammed him; “Perhaps he can enlighten us on which protected group it is he intends to target at the upcoming Glasgow Derby? On a day when everyone connected to the game in Scotland should be working to ensure the focus is firmly on what happens on the park, his comments are completely offside.”

Former councillor Mhari Hunter asked, “I’d like someone to ask him specifically what crime he thinks he is likely to commit. Threatening and abusive behaviour? Vandalism? Assault? These are the main types of hate crimes.”

She must know that one of the crimes in this new law is the explicit crime of incitement; a plain text reading strongly suggests to me that he’s not only talking about breaking it on Sunday but that he already has … and although I’m not a lawyer it seems obvious that, at the very least, he should have some questions to answer for those remarks.

We don’t need a formal law in this country to know that the things he’s talking about need eradicating from the game and society. He’s supposed to be an intelligent guy; why doesn’t he know that already? Forget the law, forget the legal process, what ever happened to right and wrong? Where does he stand on that?

It seems pretty clear to me that stuff such as that is wrong, whether it’s legal or not, which is why I personally don’t feel I have anything to worry about.

But if you are seriously worried that your conduct, right now, puts you or others in your cohort, on the wrong side of this law then you, to be perfectly blunt, have it coming and you’re probably a piece of shit who had already left the path of decency and restraint a long time ago.

I cannot put it more plainly than that, and all McCoist has done here in identify himself as someone who feels a level of genuine fear about this is highlight how backward and even repellent some of his own opinions are, and the people in Scotland who do care about this issue should be asking him the questions those SNP members already have and a few more besides.

This has been going on so long now that it makes you want to vomit. The guy in the picture with him, another guy Scottish football feted for too damned long, would have been charged with breaking that law himself. When he was caught he was the National Coach, and he kept his job.

This is why some people think we need this law.

It’s why even more of us think that the SFA is rotten to the core and the media which is supposed to be the gatekeeper of decency and even-handedness is a disgrace.

And here’s the main thing; if he really believes that Scotland doesn’t need hate crime legislation then perhaps he should sit down and shut up and let the people who do have genuine objections to this on the basis of its illiberalism do the talking.

Because all he’s done today is advertise himself as being someone who holds the very sort of views which have brought us here, and an argument for removing people with those views from the mainstream is the sort of one that could easily swing me on this issue and get me right behind the new law.

I am tired of living in a country which normalises these attitudes. I am tired of a gutless hypocritical media which refuses to take it seriously. McCoist’s comments are right out of the gutter, and it’s high time that everyone who expresses such sentiments were treated that way.

If this wasn’t Catholics, and Irish Catholics in particular, they already would be and we wouldn’t have needed a new law to get there.

That’s why we call it Scotland’s Shame.

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  • Michael M says:

    What Dunderheid has unwittingly done is paint a target on his own back and that of his 48,000 fellow Irish/Catholic haters for Sunday.

    And if the SNP really want to show us what big balls they’ve got they’ll use Sunday as the very first example of how this law wil be enacted.

    Anyone see it happening?

    No, me neither.

    • Roonsa says:

      Dunderheid? I think you underestimate McCoist and do him a huge disservice. He never does or says things unwittingly.

      It’s the age old tactic of being wide. Raising a point that isn’t exatly clear but enough to make people understand.

      We all know what he means but our compliant media don’t think to ask him the question. Ok mate, exactly what part of the Hate Crime Bill will you and your mates be breaching?

      It’s not a question he would ever answer anyway as he’s way too clever to do that. A dunderheid he is not. Far from it.

      His comments serve multiple causes.

      1) It’s another attack on the SNP govt
      2) It makes him and his pals out to be victims
      3) It engenders a bunker mentality within the secocnian hordes. Something they rely on before amhig match, especially against Celtic.

      He is rallying the troops whilst lashing out at the nationalist cause, a cause he hates. Two birds with the one stone. Gertcha!

      I don’t like it. But I have to take my hat off to him. He gets away with it every single time.

      • Michael M says:

        Well, he didn’t get away with it this time, bud, as he’s no longer going to the match.

        So his big fat gub has cost him the chance to break the law at his favourite Hate Fest.

        And whether it’s under Sky’s orders or not, we’ll know he’ll be raging at missing out.

        So Dunderheid it is.

        And anyone in the media can still ask him which part of the law he wants to break, whether he’s there or not, but they won’t, so they’re Dunderheid es with him.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    The wee cheeky chappie persona slipped there, what a stupid remark to make. He has just encouraged thousands of people to break the law and admitting that he will be joining them. What a fool,

  • Michael M says:

    It would be interesting to see how it affected the crowd, and the game, if the coppers started lifting, say, every 10th punter in the front row singing the Billy Boys, No Surrender, The Famine Song etc etc.

    It’s the ideal opportunity for the Nats to flex their muscles and I seriously doubt the possibility of this hasn’t been discussed, using the derby as an example.

    But of course we all know such a crazy notion as arresting Huns for venting their hate will have been rejected out of hand.

  • John says:

    Got to say probably the best article you’ve written and clearly highlights Scotlands Shame ….its simply that they don’t see it get it or think their behavior is wrong.

    If McCoist continues in the media then we have another answer .

    He’s an idiot , just made himself a target for any future comments he makes.

  • JimBhoy says:

    I think Sally has done more than spurt out a few words of stupidity.

    He is an influencer to those who don’t need much influencing.

    He is saying to the 48000 give it laldy they can’t lift us all, strength in numbers. He is saying at the bigotdome on Sunday sing, shout, scream out anything you want because he would without fear of the law.

    Treat the Celtic players and staff the way you want without fear of punishment. He knows this is a huge game and he is keen to influence that result through the crowd putting the Celtic players off and influencing refereeing decisions, God know it does not take much for the latter.

    Wee sleekit knows what he is doing here, using his public position to do it also and I agree his employers should see a raft of complaints about his conduct and take action.

    • Michael M says:

      That’s incitement, a component of this law justifying grounds for arrest.

      But we all know All McCoist could stand in the middle of the pitch at half time with a microphone leading The Billy Boys and all the coppers wouldn’t do a thing, except maybe join in the ‘fun’.

    • Hunbasher says:

      It’s the only way they can win, and swally knows it. I watched both games from last weekend and sevco looked totally stale. They were lauding Lundstram as the new “Souness” on saturday and to be honest, if you stick that guy up against Reo Hatate on sunday, then you’ll find out just how good or bad he is. 6 weeks ago l thought Celtic didn’t stand a chance this coming sunday, because we were so poor. Now l am feeling so, so confident. Beaton will do all in his power to disrupt the play, thereby interfering with Celtic,s free flowing football from midfield to attack. He knows his beloved sevco just couldn’t handle Celtic. Don’t get me wrong, I think with all the shenanigans and bile spewing from the vile knuckle draggers on the terraces, and the one sided reffing from Beaton and Walsh, that this is going to be a real test for us. We’ll really be up against it. I would take a draw now and give them a real football showing up in the Parkhead game. I also think the huns will be kicking, elbowing, shirt tugging…. all the “tactics” they are renowned for. If the huns don
      don’t get a penalty, l,ll be astonished.

  • Bob (original) says:

    “Who are these people…?!” who will be committing a hate crime?

    Oh, about 50K people inside ibrox stadium on Sunday.


    Sleekit McCoist has let his mask slip – for a second time.

    He’s opened his mouth, disengaged his brain, and confirmed to all and sundy

    just how ignorant he really is.

    To summarise McCoist’s bewildering mindset:

    Scots law has to ‘respect’ sevco supporters’ behaviours – and not try to change them?


  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    They seem to put their attendances as being just short of 51,000 so I for one (given that he stated that he himself and 48,000 others are gonna be breaking this new law), am decidedly curious as to who the missing almost 3,000 ‘law abiding’ Sevco fans are then…

    C’mon then Swally – As you are so fond of saying…

    “Who are these peepil” !!!

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    McCoist like the rest of us, knows full well what his support are like. (Not all ah might add) How else are people supposed tae interpret his statement. Ah don’t think he’s put much thought intae what he’s said. He should maybe have been more specific in what type of vocal behaviour he considers as acceptable, or non-acceptable.

  • john clarke says:

    This type of Legislation should only be used in extreme cases. Roonsa mentioned 1984.
    Stasiland Yard is unnessary. We already carry telescreens in our pocket and double-speak is rife.
    Scotland socially is progressive, as an accepting and caring Country. I cite the welcoming
    of the Ukrainian refugees. Many people don’t know that words can be hurtful.
    “We do need some education” so “We don’t need no thought control”.
    On anather subject. There are aspects of the Gig Economy I don’t like.
    Central Banks wanting to eliminate hard currency altogether. Banks replacing staff with AI and robotics.
    Cheques not legal tender. America has rejected all this. Thanks.

  • SSMPM says:

    It’s my understanding that through the years he has been “friends” with many Celtic players off the field. Tommy Burns and NL to name a few examples.
    Clearly and genuinely he was devastated at Tommy’s passing as was Watty.
    He’s either saying that he thinks hatred is an acceptable face to show to those you love or that he thinks they are just banter words and it’s then society’s fault for making an issue of it.
    My thoughts were draw to the racist abuse Scott Sinclair was on the end of repeatedly at the midden and wondered why it is that not only Celtic players would be friends with a man of such comments as McCoists but why players of colour can lay for and declare their love for that club.
    The appointment of Beaton is a fine example of how much the SFA can show their sustain for our club too and how the enemy within, the Celtic board have remained quite. HH

  • SSMPM says:

    Soz errors – ‘why players of colour can play for’ and ‘how much the SFA can show their distain for our club’

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