Thursday, October 22, 2009

There's always hope but no room for hate

Hope Not Hate, the Scottish Football Blog.How do you define a bad night? Your team, playing in Europe for the 286th time, getting beaten 4-1 at home by a team making their fifth European appearance. That's a bad night.

It's not, as some people have said today, a shameful night. Football does this sometimes. No matter how much it hurts at the time, it's in the nature of the game. Highs follow lows follow highs. That's what keeps us addicted.

Booing the team, throwing scarves onto the pitch are an understandable reaction. Fans feel short changed and vent their frustration. Always happened, always will.

How do you define a shameful night? Probably when some of your fans racially abuse one of your players at the end of the game. That would qualify as shameful and that's exactly what Rangers and Maurice Edu endured last night.

According to Maurice Edu's personal Twitter feed this morning:
Not sure what hurt more: result last nite or being racially abused by couple of r own fans as I'm getting in my to rehab
When the Daily Record sport's subs were coming up with their "Unforgivable" headlines late last night they can't have predicted how close to the truth they were getting.

There is no suggestion that this was anything other than a couple of total idiots but it shows how these aged prejudices live on.

Prejudice is of course not far from a lot of discussions about Rangers and the club is often accused of being a willing player in a conspiracy of silence when it comes to confronting issues of bigotry. Zero response wasn't an option today though and Rangers have been described as “raging” about the incident.

Let's hope they can find the culprits and make an example of them. And let's hope the sensible elements, the decent majority, of the Rangers support can find some way of showing their support for Edu at Ibrox on Saturday.

I've written before about sectarianism and narrow definitions of nationality remaining a blight in our society. Last night proves that once again.

Tomorrow night Nick Griffin will appear on Question Time in his role as leader of the racist, hateful British National Party. Some have said giving him a platform will legitimise his views and give racist, hateful people like those Rangers fans the idea that their racism is somehow justified.

I can see that argument. But I feel this an opportunity to take a stand, for those politicians who are not driven by hate to expose this horrible little man for the espouser of a ragbag collection of incoherent evil drivel that he is.

Make him the figure of ridicule he deserves to be. Rip him up and spit him out. If those racist Rangers fans are watching they'll not have a Damascene conversion. But others watching might be persuaded to shun extremism and others might realise that we can take these people on, expose them for the hate mongers that they are. This is a chance to make Nick Griffin's crowing moment his downfall.

If that can happen then the perpetrators of last night's verbal attack (a criminal attack) will be further isolated. Let us hope.

Celebrate modern Britain and expose the BNP at Hope Not Hate

And another thing

In journalistic terms it was the equivalent of an open goal. The 1500 servicemen in the stands at Ibrox after being gifted free tickets was a story too good to miss. That they wanted to ask for their money back is an obvious if only lightly amusing joke.

To claim that they would have swapped what they saw at Ibrox to be back in Iraq or Afghanistan is taking things too far. As is comparing the exodus of the fans to the evacuation of Dunkirk. At best lazy and cliched, horribly offensive and disrespectful at worst. This was a bad performance in a game of football. War is something completely different.

Visit the Royal British Legion for info on the Poppy Appeal 2009

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