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It’s only a bloody song

“‘Arrests expected’ over anti-Catholic singing by group of Rangers fans,” the BBC reports.

Police say they expect to make arrests after footage emerged appearing to show Rangers supporters singing a sectarian song before Sunday’s Old Firm game.

A video on social media showed a group being escorted by police through Glasgow city centre while chanting an anti-Irish song referencing the famine.

In case you are wondering – and you would need the mind of a robot not to wonder – the lyrics of what I think is the song being referred to can be read here. The refrain consists of variations of “Well, the famine is over/ Why don’t you go home?”

I suppose I ought to whizz through the background. Glasgow has two famous football teams, Celtic and Rangers, collectively known as The Old Firm. Celtic was traditionally the Catholic team, Rangers the Protestant. The “troubles” in Northern Ireland sometimes have spilled over to the streets of Glasgow, though usually the conflict there is fought with fists, not guns.

The BBC goes on to quote Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins as saying that anti-Irish Catholic behaviour is “wholly unacceptable” and that “appropriate action” would be taken.

I am from an Irish family and was raised Catholic. Though my beliefs have diverged from Catholicism somewhat, I still find myself defending the Church of Rome often, because it is often slandered. I do not think I would like these particular Rangers fans if I were to meet them and I am quite sure they would not like me. Nonetheless I have a suggestion for Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins: accept it. It’s only a song. The more socially acceptable “Irish Rebel Songs” that Celtic supporters sing back are also only songs. If you treat the singing of a rude song as akin to casting a dangerous spell then people will want to try this powerful magic.

Loosely related: I recommend this conversation between Brian Micklethwait and Patrick Crozier about Northern Ireland. Though Brian describes the conversation as “low key”, both of them are willing to speculate far outside the boundaries of permitted polite opinion.

Edit: A comment to this post by Paul Marks has reminded me of another post I did about football chants back in 2014: “Up the Yids!”

58 comments to It’s only a bloody song

  • Paul

    You obviously don’t really know what your talking about. The famine song is racist and has been found to be racist by the highest court in Scotland. Would it be acceptable for large crowds of people to march through a major city tell black people to get back to Africa or Jews to go back to Israel?
    The Rangers fans are right wing, racist with a sense of entitlement. The media and civic society in Scotland have turned a blind eye to anti Irish racism and anti catholic hatred until recently ( the past year). The old Rangers refused to sign any catholic players until the late 1980’s
    You also don’t know that Rangers Football Club was liquidated in 2012 and with the death of the football club , ended the old firm. The new club was started as sevco Scotland but changed its name to The Rangers International Football Club.

  • Ed

    It is a song that is deeply offensive & has been deemed racist by a court of law in Scotland. Would you condone the singing of ‘the Holocaust is over why don’t you go home’ to Jewish people & their descendants who fled from that awful situation? I would hope not. Why should descendants of Irish people who fled the terrible famine that killed millions be subject to abuse & hatred of this nature?

  • Holy Smoke


    It’s anti-Irish racism. As ruled in court.

    The famine was not religious- both Catholic and Protestant died.

  • Billy

    As a protestant from northern ireland who’s a rangers fan can I just say your article was one hundred percent spot on , it’s only a song the same as the songs about irish rebellion and the rest that come from the celtic support , I go back to work with my catholic mates and depending on the result someones getting some grief about the score ….. follow follow 😉

  • Archie Simm

    OK, so some logic here.
    Tell me the difference….these yobs singing this song in being anti Irish, versus tens of thousands marching and singing anti English songs, as in “Flower of Scotland”.

    Hypocrisy at it’s best.

  • staghounds

    If you treat a song, a word, or a picture like it’s a dangerous spell then people will want to try this powerful magic.

    And you promote a loudmouthed jackass into a powerful, important wizard.

    What next, sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me?

    These are antisocial ideas, get on the bus.

  • John Lewis

    I believe Natalie is spot-on here.

    It seems that anti-Irish chants by one set of supporters are likely to get them locked up yet Irish Republican rebel songs (which I’m guessing are anti-English and presumably anti-Protestant although I haven’t bothered studying them) by the other set attract at worst mild rebuke and more often sanctimonious justification.

    If anyone can point out instances of similar punishment being handed out to Celtic supporters I will reassess my opinion regarding the inconsistency but not the ridiculous over-reach. They’re only bloody songs sung by hyped-up football supporters for heavens sake.

  • Stu

    The background to this song is important.

    The actual lyrics, “the famine is over, why don’t you go home” is Rangers fans poking fun at Celtic fans’ faux-Irishness. They ain’t songs supporting the IRA’s murder of women and children, songs against the UK, glorifying the death of British soldiers and other songs against Protestants.
    Just this week there have been videos from pubs in Glasgow where bands and the crowd sing about the death of the Rangers kit man, Jimmy Bell, stating that he is “an Orange bastard and they hope he dies”. There is also a video of Celtic fans waving their team bus on the way to a defeat shouting about “Orange bastards”. Has there been any condemnation from all the politicians and journalists regarding this? No. You’ll find that most of the noise is made from Scottish Nationalist politicians and journalists who despise Rangers as they are seen as a British institution. The fact there is only one way condemnation makes it blatantly clear their is an ulterior motive.

    One very important thing to point out here also: have you seen the video? I am highly suspicious of the video actually being genuine. Just recently the same thing as above happened, with audio dubbed over Rangers players singing which results in a media hysteria with the usual politicians jumping on board – the video turned out to be fake. No apologies were forthcoming. The video that this latest hysteria is based on is a group of youths walking under a tunnel in the city. The audio clearly has a large number of people clapping. There is one person clapping in the video. Unless there are a large number of bystanders clapping in unison, then it is fairly obvious we have the exact same malicious fake video situation.

    On the above poster stating that Rangers fans are “Right wing”, this is another boring trope used to attack the club due to Scotting nationalist and sectarian reasons – Rangers have moved on as a club a long time ago and the support is a broad church. A large part of the Glasgow Asian community actively support the club. The club fans groups raises money for a large number of causes at home and abroad. The “Rangers fans are right wing” is nonsense.

  • Stu

    Ain’t = sing above – silly autocorrect!

  • Frank Sheeran

    It’s not only a song; it’s an advert for the white supremacist racism that is endemic in the Rangers support and Orange Order. It is a “favourite” spewed out by hundreds, sometimes thousands on a regular basis during the “marching season” when the Orange Order are allowed to parade through the streets of Glasgow and Ulster; their raison d’être being to hate and intimidate Catholics and the Irish where possible.

    Don’t be so sanctimonious as you sit quietly in Essex not suffering the racism and bigotry that the Irish and Catholics do on our streets. Confirm yourself to writing about something you have knowledge of.

  • Brian johnstone

    Hat about the celtic support for years singing anti British songs and songs in support of the murderous IRA and is usually followed by derogatory remarks about our Queen

  • Simon Jester

    @Paul @Ed @Holy Smoke
    If a Scottish court had ruled that Pi was exactly equal to three, would that make it so?

  • Al

    Does anybody out there remember Freedom of Expression , I might not like what you say ,but I will defend to the death your right to say it ,!,, Shower of Snowflakes.

  • Paul Marks

    The first three comments are depressing – but also informative.

    If the magic word “racism” is used then Freedom of Speech (as far as the establishment are concerned) does not exist. The Irish are not a “race” (there is no genetic difference between the Irish and the Scots – indeed the Scots were an Irish tribe) – but that does not stop the magic word “racist” being used.

    Songs have traditionally been abusive – that was the point of them. For example Spurs fans are called “Yids” (indeed sometimes call themselves that), because of the association of the football club with Jews – and, yes, anti Jewish songs were traditionally sung by opposition fans (and “come on you Yids” sung out by Spurs fans themselves).

    I would point to Mr Charles Koch and others in the United States (who think “racist” speech should be driven off the internet) that just about anything can be described as racist – including support for lower taxes.

    It is easy – “a higher percentage of whites than blacks pay income tax – so tax cuts are RACIST, and advocating tax cuts is HATE SPEECH which is against EQUITY”.

    Historically Freedom of Speech in these islands was specifically about the right to be abusive – not to blacks (there were hardly any – sorry BBC), but against Catholics and specifically Irish Catholics. This is part of what the Revolution 1688 and all that was about – indeed the BBC World Service used to start the day with anti Irish Catholic song “Llly Bolero” – which pretends to be Irish Catholic singing about murdering people (cutting off their heads and so on).

    Are anti Irish Catholic songs nice? No they are not. Have I have sung one? No I have not.

    Still I expect the police to be even handed.

    If anti Irish Catholic songs are to be banned – then “Rebel songs” must be banned to.

    The next night in a pub when the “rebels songs” are played and the hat comes round for money for “the boys” – I expect the police to arrest everyone involved.

    After all, these Irish songs are SECTARIAN (“racist”) songs – and they celebrate VIOLENCE (and INCITE VIOLENCE).

    “But lots and lots of people sing Irish “rebel” songs” – well there are going to have to be lots and lots of arrests then. Or the Rangers fans are going to be have to be left alone to sing their abusive songs.

  • John Lewis

    Bury pub landlord catches Lee Rigby collection box thief https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-58359182

    On the subject of pub collections I was pleased to read the above story despite the fact that it ignores the multiple times that the perps head accidentally made contact with the pavement – allegedly.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way – most of the Irish landowners that Sir Charles Trevelyan (and others) so hated and crushed with taxes in the 1840s were PROTESTANTS.

    Trevelyan was (on his father’s side) a Protestant Celt himself (Trevelyan is a Cornish name) – but he had no fellow feeling with Irish Protestant landowners in Ireland (none).

    Most Irish families, even famous ones such as the O’Brians and the O’Neals, have both Catholic and Protestant branchs.

    As for “came from England” – well the Burkes and Nagles “came from England” (centuries ago).

    “McGuiness” is a Scottish name – perhaps Martin “I was the first man to open fire on Bloody Sunday” McGuiness should have been kicked out if Ireland as an “alien”.

    What about that gang of child sex abusers – the ADAMS family?

    “Adams” does not sound very Celtic.

    Not a surprise – as Gerry’s forefather was Colonel John Adams of Lincolnshire.

  • Stu

    You are completely correct. The police (and the continually offended) are getting faux-upset about a song which asks “why don’t you go home?” (As a response to a group singing and glorifying another country and praising its terrorists who attack this country) whilst praising the ever-jolly Tartan Army and Scottish National(ist) Anthem which sings about sending the English “homeward tae think again”.

  • Paul Marks

    Stu has answered Paul, Ed and Holy Smoke.

    Stop your chanting about “racism” “as ruled in court” (as if the judges, and other such, were not just a gang of Guardian readers dressed up in funny robes) – and answer the question.

    Paul, Ed and Holy Smoke – should Irish “Rebel” songs be banned or not?

    If you say “no” – then you can not ban abusive anti Irish songs.

    Unless you are hypocrites – like the courts.

  • Stu

    I better tell all the Asian guys we sit next to, the black guy in the row behind and the Oriental couple who were there last week that they made a massive mistake in thinking people were cheering along with them and that they were actually mistaking joy for what was really “white supremacy which is endemic amongst the Rangers support”. What a lot of rubbish.

  • Stu

    Let’s not forget that the IRA just 2 years ago sent a legitimate bomb to Glasgow which was defused. Whether real or not, is poking fun at people pretending to be Irish worse than actually singing support for a group that has actually put the lives of citizens of this country at risk recently? Will singing in support of ISIS be equally as accepted?

  • Paul Marks

    In Scotland – getting a dog to raise its paw in a parody of a Nazi salute was ruled as “racism” and “hate”.

    I would much rather have “Count Dankula” as a guest than the despicable people who make up “the courts” involved in this farce.

    “But putting someone in a special robe and having them sit on a special chair makes them special” – no it does not. If they were no-good before the robe and the chair, they remain no-good after the robe and chair.

  • APL

    “Police say they expect to make arrests after footage emerged appearing to show Rangers supporters singing a sectarian song before Sunday’s Old Firm game.”

    I can see a reasonable case to be made for the prosecution of the Scottish Police force for wasting Police time.

  • APL

    Holy Smoke: “It’s anti-Irish racism. As ruled in court.”

    Then the court is a clot. Irish, both North and South are the same race.

    Paul Marks: “The Irish are not a “race” (there is no genetic difference between the Irish and the Scots – indeed the Scots were an Irish tribe) – but that does not stop the magic word “racist” being used.”

    Ah, yes. Thank you Paul Marks.

  • JohnK

    “Police Scotland” is the unitary police force for Scotland created by Scottish National Socialism. The chief constable answers to the First Minister, and is her puppet.

    The fact is that Rangers are perceived to be pro-union and fly the union jack. That is enough to make them the enemies of Scottish National Socialism, and hence the targets of their political police.

    Strangely, there was a time when Scottish Catholics were pro-union, because they feared the Protestantism of the Scottish establishment, and felt more secure under government in Westminster. Clearly those days have gone.

    In the “once in a generation” independence referendum of 2014, Glasgow was, I believe, the only council area which voted for “independence” (otherwise known as rule from Brussels). Clearly, the First Minister and her political police do not want any cases of unionism breaking out there. Unionism is clearly akin to racism, the worst modern sin, and must be eliminated wherever it is found.

    Now let us all gather and sing the anti-English dirge which is “Flower of Scotland”.

  • Ferox

    Ah, the arguments in this thread …

    1) That song is racist and should not be allowed, ’cause racism is bad, mm’kay?
    2) No, the Irish are not a race so the song should be allowed (but otherwise it would be fine to ban it???)
    3) No, there were non-white people in the audience so the song can’t be racist (otherwise it would be racist and therefore ok to ban it???)
    4) You can’t ban that racist song unless you also ban this other racist song (and then its fine to ban them both???)

    How about we
    (a) concede that the song is the most racist song that has ever existed in the history of all things ever;
    (b) concede that every single member of the audience was literally a genetic copy of Adolf Hitler cross-bred with Margaret Sanger, each one as white and as double-plus ungood as Archie Bunker reading Ayn Rand at a gun show;
    (c) concede that any other songs of that ilk are of course completely different, ’cause historical oppression an’shiet;

    Then I would still argue that people should be allowed to sing racist, offensive songs if they want. Arguing that people should be allowed to sing a song is not the same as arguing that they should sing it, or that you would sing it, or that its good to sing it. And I would have thought that this was the place on the internet, of all possible places, where that argument would have been the primary one.

  • Flubber

    Jesus this topic certainly brings out a multitude of fainting arseholes doesn’t it…

  • JohnK


    You are arguing from a default position of freedom: freedom of thought and freedom of speech. This is emphatically not the default position of Scottish National Socialism and their political police force. As the great man said, imagine a boot crushing a face for all time. Now that’s Scottish National Socialism for you.

  • llamas

    To answer your question – yes. It’s the very essence of free speech that it must encompass all speech short of a real and present incitement to actual fists-and-stones violence. Your lily-livered, pearl-clutching hysteria about ‘hatred’ and ‘abuse’ notwithstanding. Else speech becomes nothing more than a test of temporal popularity.

    Happy to clarify that for you. Feel free to ask any other question to help expand your understanding of actual liberty.



  • Mike Solent

    Regarding Tottenham Hotspur, it appears that in this instance, at least, common sense has prevailed. (The article is, unfortunately, behind a paywall).

  • Don’t be so sanctimonious as you sit quietly in Essex not suffering the racism and bigotry that the Irish and Catholics do on our streets. (Frank Sheeran, August 31, 2021 at 7:46 am)

    Frank, don’t be so sanctimonious as you sit wherever you are, also not suffering the racism and bigotry that you PC-pretend exists. Stu speaks from knowledge, and I also know Glasgow well. Stu (August 31, 2021 at 6:31 am) correctly identifies the kind of bigotry one would more sensibly be concerned at meeting there. The land of Adam Smith is currently ruled by people so ridiculous that it is hard to know when they are contemptibly lying and when they are laughably ignorant.

  • staghounds

    I’m with Ferox and Llamas in their astonishment. Not giving the State power to imprison people for expressing an ugly opinion isn’t the same as endorsing the ugly opinion.

    I’ve about decided to stop talking myself into believing the claimed good intentions of people who want to make a list of what I’m forbidden to say, even if there’s nothing I want to say on the list yet.

  • bobby b

    Not Irish, not Catholic, not Scot, not English, not even on that side of the Atlantic, and know very little about the history, but many of the sanctimonious “ooo, it’s racist, ban it and kill the singers!” comments above make me want to learn the words to the song and sing them loudly in public.

    If your cause is so weak that you must ban speech against it, it should probably lose.

  • Frank Sheeran

    Niall Kilmartin
    August 31, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Frank, don’t be so sanctimonious as you sit wherever you are, also not suffering the racism and bigotry that you PC-pretend exists. Stu speaks from knowledge, and I also know Glasgow well. Stu (August 31, 2021 at 6:31 am) correctly identifies the kind of bigotry one would more sensibly be concerned at meeting there. The land of Adam Smith is currently ruled by people so ridiculous that it is hard to know when they are contemptibly lying and when they are laughably ignorant.

    I do live in Glasgow and have been subjected to both anti-Catholic bigotry and anti-Irish racism throughout my life. I will endure both again when 34 Orange Order marches are allowed to take place on September the 18th in Glasgow.

    For those who don’t believe it exists, or that it isn’t offensive to the Catholic or Irish communities, come to Glasgow on September the 18th to find out for yourselves.

  • Let’s leave out my youth, and start at the age of 21. For sixty years now, I have been called racist simply because I am white. This does not necessarily make me racist, but it makes me touchy about accusations of racism. How does Al Sharpton know me well enough to decide that? Or going back to the Black Panthers, would I not have been in danger of a racially-caused beating if I were to knock on their door? I used to live in South Minneapolis, but these days I do NOT think it wise to go there. Until whites are exterminated, we always will be racist, and fair game.

    But blacks are incapable of racism. Systemic White Supremacy, don’t you know.

    Racism has always been a one-way term. Why should we expect both sides to be punished equally? In the many years I have spoken English, the word for African-Americans has kept changing. But if I use one of the earlier words accidentally, I did it on purpose to humiliate or denigrate (can I still use that word?) somebody. Oh, and let us not speak of the Patriarchy, please, nor the lamentable fact I am not Green, nor Orange for that matter.

    If somebody is determined to find fault, they will. There is no escape.

    I say it’s spinach, and I say the Hell with it.

  • John Lewis

    Have you thought about going away to stay with friends on the 18th if the marching is unbearable? It’s their city too you know.

  • bobby b

    What exactly is anti-Irish racism? I come from Norwegian and Swedish and German peoples, and as far as I know I share “race” with the Irish. Are we now speaking of banning nationalism? It’s hard to keep up.

  • Stu

    Unfortunately being Protestant is an affront to them. Again, this is their revulsion of anything British, loyalist and effectively not Catholic.
    It is a bit of an issue to be honest, as the Protestant faith is inherently anti-Catholic. Religion has sort of morphed into a pseudo-tribal division line due to faith-based educational apartheid but that is a different discussion for a different day.
    It is the control that the Catholic Church have over everyday life, education and influence that Protestants were originally protesting against. But in today’s freedom of speech and ability to practice religion, it is somehow deemed an unacceptable faith to have by quite an aggressive government and to many people of influence in Scotland.

  • Stu

    It’s a buzz word made up by politicians in Scotland as a stick to beat up a certain section of society with for political purposes.
    There isn’t such a thing since Irish isn’t a race.

  • Rowdy

    As Billy Connolly said ‘so they went home, thought again, then they came back and they *really* kicked our arses!’.

  • Fraser Orr

    Then I would still argue that people should be allowed to sing racist, offensive songs if they want.

    I’d have to go one step further. To say “people should be allowed…” is to concede that the powers that be have any power over this. Our rights as free people are not that which the government allows, rather we can do whatever we want within certain restrictions. The question is not: “Should it be allowed”, but “from where do you have the power to ban it?”

    I used to live on Kilmaurs Street in Drumoyne about a mile from Ibrox, so an familiar with game day. I always hated the sectarian chanting. But I squirmed equally at the chant of “IRA” and “Sein Fein” in the middle of “Fields of Athenry” too. I grew up during “the troubles” and saw so many horrendous things, it was beyond me how anyone could support either. But the idea of banning speech? It is so alien to me, it just doesn’t compute in my brain. It comes back to that dissonance between the Scotland I remember and what it seems to have become.

    @bobby b
    If your cause is so weak that you must ban speech against it, it should probably lose.


    It is telling, is it not, that the Scottish establishment resents Rangers fans for flying the Union Jack, but is perfectly OK with the Celtic fans flying the Irish Tricolour.

  • Paul Marks

    For people who say that Freedom of Speech is not a principle that is upheld in Scotland (especially not by “Police Scotland” – the puppets of the SNP), Freedom of Speech is not upheld in ENGLAND either. Look up my own case.

    What Scotland does today, England does tomorrow – and America (bobby b and others) does the next day – regardless of the 1st Amendment.

    And if anyone doubts that – check out the judges that Mr Biden is appointing (with little resistance from the Republicans in the Senate), these American judges think the 1st Amendment, and the whole Bill of Rights, is just there for them to wipe their backsides upon it.

    It is enough to make one start singing “Lilly Bolero” and hoping for another 1688 – or Ulster Covenant of 1912.

    But Catholics can join hands with Protestants (and Jews and atheists) in hoping for another 1660 – and the sweeping away of all legislation of the previous years under the Commonwealth regime, declaring it had never been real law.

    Irish, Scots (Battle of Dunbar) and English (the Commonwealth regime banned Christmas) can all agree with such a sweeping away.

    Let us declare recent times a mistake (not real law) and go back to the traditions of liberty.

  • Paul Marks

    We can not roll anything back – “history has no reverse gear!”

    With “conservative” academics like that, who needs socialists?

    And that was in England.

  • I feel as if I have stepped into a parallel universe where the pages of Samizdata have been taken over by the guardianista.

    However much you might dislike these songs, they are not racist. And what happened to “I disagree with what you say, but defend to the death, your right to say it.”?

  • While I wholly agree with Fraser Orr and Ferox that free speech is sufficient to condemn utterly the natz’ attempt to ban a football song, stressing only that point can obscure the hypocrisy and absurdity of this attempt in its own terms.

    – The nationalists (the clue is in the name) are the chief purveyors of ethnic bigotry in Scotland today. It is impertinent for the current Scottish executive to accuse others of ethnic prejudice.

    – The blatant hypocrisy of complaining about Rangers (‘Scottish’, ‘Protestant’) chants while ignoring Celtic (‘Irish’ ‘Catholic’) chants was perpetrated by some early commenters and rightly pointed out by later ones (Stu instances some nastier examples here and a hilariously precise equivalent here – credit also to Archie). If any of those early commenters had been sincere, they, like Fraser Orr, would have expressed an equal distaste for sectarian chants – or at least mentioned them.

    – In the unlikely event that Frank Sheeran’s life (which he claims – August 31, 2021 at 2:58 pm – has suffered anti-Catholic/Irish racism in Glasgow ‘throughout’) includes the era of the 1930s razor gangs (Glasgow was said to be the most violent city in Europe in the early 30s) – then his best bet to have experienced the evil of the ‘rangers’ gang would still be to have been in the rival ‘celtic’ gang, because those two vicious gangs nevertheless outperformed a modern BLM riot in their ability to confine their violence to the rivals who showed up to the rumble (the protection rackets tended to operate intra-group). Chief Constable Sillitoe “scuffed the razors doon the stank” [down the drain], not by banning football chants but by organising the police to show up at the rumbles wielding their truncheons to ensure both sides lost – and felt it (this link includes a police-museum-mild summary).

    So Frank’s claim is probably not actually correct but instead politically correct: from time to time throughout his life, he has heard chants that annoy him (and others that do not annoy him), and calls it racism that the annoying ones (only) were not treated as crimes. (In fairness, I note that, though the 30s are long gone, a Glasgow Saturday night can reveal that the city includes a splendidly diverse set of somewhat violent people, often drunk or drugged. Since Frank went full SJW in his first comment by claiming the song is white supremacist – both today’s native Irish and the Irish-descended Scots look pretty white to me [checks own skin colour 🙂 ] – I incline to think he’s a total fraud, but I report the point and its possibilities for completeness.)

    P.S. Longrider (September 1, 2021 at 9:59 am), we have indeed been visited by some free speech haters but trust you feel we are doing our best to maintain the average quality of comment.

  • Flubber

    Voltaire was a white supremacist doncha know?

  • I both like Brian Micklethwait and Patrick Crozier

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    I welcome comments disagreeing with my post.

    Ed asks, “Would you condone the singing of ‘the Holocaust is over why don’t you go home’ to Jewish people & their descendants who fled from that awful situation?”

    Would I condone it in the sense of agreeing with the sentiments? No, absolutely not. Would I allow it on the principle that free speech is a human right, that is a right that one has simply by being human, not a privilege that one earns by virtue? Yes, absolutely.

    An example from American history: in 1977 a Jewish lawyer working for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), David Goldberger, defended the right of the National Socialist Party of America to parade in Nazi uniforms and swastika armbands down the streets of Skokie, Illinois. Nearly half the population of Skokie was Jewish and it was home to hundreds of Holocaust survivors. The modern ACLU is a pale shadow of its former self but Goldberger’s account of why he defended speech he detested has lost nothing of its power:

    “Central to the ACLU’s mission is the understanding that if the government can prevent lawful speech because it is offensive and hateful, then it can prevent any speech that it dislikes. In other words, the power to censor Nazis includes the power to censor protesters of all stripes and to prevent the press from publishing embarrassing facts and criticism that government officials label as “fake news.” Ironically, Skokie’s efforts to enjoin the Nazi demonstration replicated the efforts of Southern segregationist communities to enjoin civil rights marches led by Martin Luther King during the 1960s.”

  • The Jannie

    I’ve seen orange walks – they’re a hoot – like Independence Day on the Planet of the Apes. The dreary, backward-looking “Floor ae Scoatland” must be Roy Williamson’s revenge for a wrong Scotland did him. It does, though, fit right in with the scotnazionalists’ mediaevalist self-promotion.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I remember a few years ago that there was the disgusting phenomenon of “fans” from rival teams shouting about “Munich” and making noises about aircraft whenever Manchester United was playing. For those who don’t know, many members of the Manchester United team, plus some others, were killed and badly injured at Munich airport when an aircraft crashed on takeoff in Feb, 1958. A few o survived, including manager Matt Busby, along with players Dennis Viollet and Bobby Charlton and Jackie Blanchflower. Duncan Edwards, considered by peers to be the greatest English player of his generation, died after several days in hospital. He was 21.

    Freedom of speech means, unfortunately, having to breathe the same air as people who think this sort of thing is amusing. From a libertarian, property rights perspective, my general take is that it is not for the State to intrude. Instead, the owners of football grounds are entitled to eject anyone attending such premises to ban the offenders, much as a steward at a private club is entitled to remove people for slovenly dress, etc.

  • Ferox

    Instead, the owners of football grounds are entitled to eject anyone attending such premises to ban the offenders, much as a steward at a private club is entitled to remove people for slovenly dress, etc.

    Yes indeed. And isn’t it interesting to consider that if the state did not take it upon itself to decide (in loco parentis) which things it would allows its “children” to say, then said owners might feel more pressure and more inclination to do exactly that; i.e. kick the nasty yobs out of their establishments.

  • bobby b

    They can just build their own stadiums.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Johnathan Pearce
    Freedom of speech means, unfortunately, having to breathe the same air as people who think this sort of thing is amusing.

    FWIW, I don’t think that it is unfortunate that horrible people say what they think out loud. When they do so, they do you the favor of telling them what sort of people they are. They leave you in no doubt. And additionally, in some cases the stupidity of their positions can be made manifest by picking apart their stupidity.

    Why on earth would we want to ban the worst people from telling us how bad they really are?

    FWIW, I was so very excited to see that Reddit was standing up to all the people demanding that they shut down antivax groups. I say that not because I am antivax, but because I am pro free speech. However, I read today that they have succumbed to the pressure. I am very disappointed. Aaron Swartz, a man who ultimately died to make vitally important information free, must be spinning in his grave today.

  • John Lewis

    Re shutting down antivax groups.

    Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris has promised that she will not take any coronavirus vaccine recommended by Donald Trump while debating Vice President Mike Pence

    The question of a vaccine came up at the first vice presidential debate on Wednesday in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Kamala Harris said, ‘If Donald Trump tells us we should take it, then I’m not taking it.’

    It’s not what is said that counts, it’s who’s saying it. Which brings us neatly back to the Rangers fans.

  • staghounds

    Frank Sheeran, I come from an Anglo Protestant background.

    1. Sorry you have had to deal with jackass idiots.

    2, I have too. Probably everyone on earth has had to deal with them. Giving the State the power to decide what people may not say, and to put them in jail for saying it, is more harmful and dangerous than all the things that all the bigots say.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Natalie.

    David Goldberger was correct.

  • CaptDMO

    In New England……
    Yankee Doodle- a song promptly co-opted from the British, to ridicule the metro sexual/ gay Macaroni Club, and remind redcoats prancing about in the countryside in rank and file, with whom their lonely wives were filling in the idle hours.
    We learn it in “grade” school in the US.It’s part of our 4th of July celebrations.

  • It scared me so I hooked it off
    Nor stopped as I remember
    Till I got safely home again
    Locked up in mother’s chamber,
    Yankee Doodle keep it up,
    Yankee Doodle dandy,
    Mind the music and the step
    And with the girls be handy.

    There was a time when I’d have been impressed if CaptDMO (September 4, 2021 at 6:38 pm) was taught that particular verse in grade school. But sadly, it merely comes across as a fair-enough comment on Biden and General Milley today.