Thursday, August 23, 2012

Snobs' Law: Criminalising Football Fans in an Age of Intolerance

Many of my readers here (of whatever background) will recognise Dr Stuart Walton's conclusion in this article which is based upon his new book Snobs' Law: Criminalising Football Fans in an Age of Intolerance.This is his conclusion on the sectarian issue in Scotland today:

"...the rise of anti-sectarianism did not emerge because of a rise in sectarian behaviour, or of sectarian violence; yet anti-sectarianism became a significant political, media, policing and legal matter in Scotland. As we have seen, the rise of interest in sectarianism has absolutely nothing to do with the behaviour of people on the terraces or on the streets. It has, on the contrary, everything to do with the activities and rhetoric of the Scottish elites and their establishment of a virtual industry of anti-sectarianism..."

This really clicked with me today, based upon an experience yesterday where, at an event based upon local history, the media outlet that was present attempted to 'spin' the project into a quasi-sectarian issue. It was bizarre and bewildering.

Northern Ireland has its historic problems, but it also has a poisonous anti-sectarian industry (which paradoxically, by constantly raising the issue, has become pro-sectarian) which seeks to insert a narrative of social division into spheres of life where none exists. It is very sad to read that Scotland now has a sectarian industry too.

Hopefully (both in Scotland and here in NI) most people will continue to get along with each other despite this divilment.