Friday, March 16, 2018

No, the OBFA repeal was not a surprise, and nor was it a victory for the little guy

For some reason Angela Haggerty seemed to be going out of her way to wind up supporters of the SNP yesterday with a number of goading tweets.  Most obviously, there was her jubilation at the repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.  Now, she's absolutely entitled to her view that the Act was harmful, although I suspect the majority of people feel that the decision to repeal it, especially just days after ugly scenes in Glasgow associated with an Old Firm game, sends out a truly appalling signal that football-related sectarianism isn't really such a big deal.  But what was so provocative was Angela's eagerness to stress that a big part of the reason for her excitement was specifically that the repeal constituted a defeat for the SNP government.

"Today is an absolutely stunning victory for @FACKilltheBill, it's huge. I can't really stress it enough. Nobody expected a group of football fans to take on the government and win. And not only that, but this is the Scottish Government's first massive defeat since devolution. Wow."

That's a bogus narrative in at least three ways.  Firstly, this is not a story of a bunch of ordinary football fans defying massive odds and defeating the government.  This is a story of four ideologically disparate opposition parties zeroing in on pretty much the only issue on which they all agree with each other and disagree with the SNP, and using it to score a morale-boosting victory.  Secondly, in no sense was the repeal a surprise.  All of the opposition parties voted against the OBFA when it was first passed, so it was obvious to anyone who could count that repeal was firmly on the cards as soon as those parties won a narrow majority between them at the 2016 election.  And thirdly, is this really the first "massive defeat" for any Scottish Government since devolution?  It's certainly not the first defeat, so how are we defining "massive"?  Is it more significant than the defeat the SNP government suffered on the Edinburgh trams soon after taking office, for example?

It's also worth noting that cases where the government backs down minutes or seconds before a vote it knows it's going to lose are functionally identical to defeats, so I would argue that by far the biggest reverse for any government since the start of devolution was when the Labour-led administration was forced to accept free personal care for the elderly in 2001.  (Tom McCabe dramatically announced the change in policy to buy off Liberal Democrat MSPs who were just about to vote with the SNP and the Tories on the issue.)

Later in the day, Angela made another extraordinary comment while watching the BBC's Question Time -

"Brian Cox has just demonstrated the inconsistency between nationalists wanting indy but also being pro-EU, and the SNP hasn't clarified this well enough. What does it mean to be in a union? What does it mean to be independent? Where are the lines? Do voters know?"

That's essentially a Farage-esque observation.  To the extent that UKIP have ever bothered to campaign in Scotland, their favourite line has always been that "you can't be serious about independence if you want to be ruled from Brussels".  (The obvious retort being that it therefore follows that you can't be serious about independence if you want to be ruled from London, as "UKIP Scotland" apparently do.)

Of course, anyone who has followed Scottish politics over the years knows that Angela is just plain wrong about this - the SNP have spent vast amounts of time explaining the difference between the straitjacketed union of the UK, and the much looser, participative union of the EU.  They've done that both in terms of specifics, and also by using rhetorical points that tap into people's intuitive understanding of how sovereignty works - eg. "would anyone seriously say that France isn't an independent country?"

But there's another important point here as well.  The pro-indy radical left have always been incredibly touchy about the SNP claiming ownership of the independence cause.  So why on earth is Angela singling out the SNP and "nationalists" in general as being culpable for the supposed lack of "clarification"?  If she sees herself as being part of the pro-independence movement, and I gather she does, shouldn't she regard this as being her own failing as much as anyone else's?

48 comments:

  1. Reinforcing her credentials as editor of the 'pro-indy' Sunday herald

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  2. *news editor* no promotion yet!

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  3. She's a Labour Unionist hiding under the Indy umbrella. But there is a tinge of Alex Bell, Jim Sillars to it.

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    1. Aye ivrrae wan, ah rid-tie tory erse. Tae thae jougs, wae thum awe.

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  4. Cannot understand her glee at this.
    A defeat for all decent fitba fans.
    Hope reputation of Holyrood itself disnae suffer.
    Hey, maybe that was the motivation for some - but the Greens?
    This wisnae just a setback for the SNP but for Scotland's reputation in the wider world.
    When the fitba related stuff hits the fan will these clowns take the blame.
    I hae ma doots!

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    1. No, they never take the blame, witness the mass amnesia of PFI and trams.

      This though is something that many, many football fans and man in the street will not forgive so easily.

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    2. The whole Rangers/Celtic conflict is a big part of her identity.

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  5. A few things, the law was still in place last week, so I'm not sure how things that happened when the law was in place and did nothing to prevent is an argument for keeping it.

    Also, you say the defeat of this law sends a signal that sectarianism isn't a big deal, however sectarianism is covered under the 2003 criminal justice act and not the OBFA.

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    1. So I see you're completely discounting the obvious possibility that the culprits at the weekend were emboldened by the imminent repeal of the Act. Why, may I ask?

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    2. The police were explicitly told that the OBFA couldn't be applied to the Union Bears march. You and all of your fellow celtic bigots know this but have to keep spouting your lies.

      Sectarianism was covered by the OFA. It was worded so that scum like you couldn't get away with claiming that supporting the child-murdering terrorists of the IRA was political.

      Why don't you move to Ireland and see what they think of people like you. It may be a short and painful experience for you but I'm sure somebody will arrange flowers for your funeral.

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    3. I'll leave that last comment up, because I can hardly think of a better illustration of how profoundly ugly football-linked sectarianism is, and why it needs to be tackled as a matter of urgency.

      By the way, not that I want to make you look silly as well as abusive, but I have set foot in Celtic Park precisely once in my whole life - and that was for the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I take very little interest in domestic football, and I don't identify as a Celtic supporter. Sorry to disappoint you.

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    4. Och! James, you know fine well that if you do not espouse the Butcher's Apron and don't hate Christians then you must be a Kafflic Celtic supporter, (I nearly said Other, Christians there).

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    5. There is only one true faith nae two. The Coatbrig few Kevin Barry survivors of the famine and the Glorious Govan Sons of William known locally as the wee arra people.

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    6. State of this.

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  6. I have "followed" Angela for some time, but in the last 2-3 months her Tweets in particular have become more strident and, frankly, anti-SNP to the extent she sides with pro-westminster unionist opinion far too frequently. I have no idea what has happened, but "useful idiot" is not a term I would never have thought to think about her previously. NOW? Not so sure

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    1. Makes you wonder how long the job prospect at the sunday herald was on the go. Does it match her change in political posture?

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  7. There must be some Jock nat sis out there who do not want to be run by the EU, surely!
    And why are the nat sis moaning about powers when they do not want them?
    The sectarian issue did not need special legislation as bad behaviour could have been dealt with using various legislation.
    Cox and that Irish MEP were pathetic specimens. Cox was incoherant and she was a gob shite. Both anti brexit and Nat sis. Aye just keep voting until we get the answer we want.
    Hard brexit and a hard border will sort that EU sponger out.

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    1. Does everyone, like I do, skate over morons comments without even reading them :)

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    2. He seems to talk all the time about a German organisation from 80 years ago.

      Well known that when anyone brings up reference to that lot, they have lost the argument

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    3. That's pretty much the state of it.

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    4. State of This.

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    5. Yes, a ninety-centigrade wash, should see the job done.

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    6. John Knox former Papist.March 16, 2018 at 7:30 PM

      Anti English sectarianism is sponsored by some vile Scottish/Irish nat sis.
      It is noted on this site that some nat sis attack Scottish and Ulster Loyalist organisations merely for their personal beliefs. I have no doubt that those Nat sis are vile latter day papists.


      Four of the five Ulster democratic parties would have their Assembly up and running tomorrow but fascist Sinn Fein IRA are blocking this. They want an all Ireland gay lick speaking Catholic State. And many of their supporters who are no doubt Scottish nat si voters support a well known Glasgow football club.

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    7. State of this.

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    8. Terrible state of affairs in this 21st cen when we have bum bhoy pervy priests and Sinn Fein IRA wanting to impose on the people.

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    9. State of this.

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  8. Having spent over 40-years writing about Scottish sport, I feel I am qualified to comment. Of course, OBFA was bad law, badly-drafted, inadquately-scrutinised, hurriedly-implemented, BUT, it was necessary law. Experienced senior police officers said, existing law would suffice, if properly implemented.

    As was shown this week, the football authorities have swept offensive behaviour under the carpet for decades, and while offensive behaviour at football is not a two-club monopoly, the followers of the teams we "provincials" like to dub "The Bigot Brothers" do come close to holding that monopoly.

    The SFA's lack of action is the big disgrace. As for Ms Haggerty - the absolute Horlicks she made of sub-editing "Downfall", the best Scottish football story ever, should disqualify her from ever getting even a middle-management job at any self-respecting newspaper (assuming the Herald is still self-respecting). Taking Downfall as an example - she is a hopeless sub.

    Ms Haggerty is also seen as a member of: "The Celtic Family", alongside such as "Phil Four Names" and Kevin McKenna. The Celtic Family was all for OBFA, as they thought it would ban most of the Rangers' Song Book (sorry, Sevco Song Book as they say). They never thought their own choicest ditties might come into play, and, when that happened - support turned to opposition. Classic Scottish football whitabootery.

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  9. On the subject of independence it really is very simple. Every EU state has a veto but as the United Kingdom is a bipartite union of kingdoms the Scottish Kingdom in that partnership has no veto and as there is no Parliament of England Westminster is the de facto parliament of England.

    What is more, as the Treaty and both respective Acts of Union plainly state it is a union of two kingdoms it must be constitutionally wrong to now be running a bipartite union of kingdoms with the Kingdom of Scotland being treated as a dominion of the de facto parliament of the country of England.

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    1. There is no bipartite union. It's not some loose federation of two countries. It was a full on merger, extinguishing both predecessor nations and creating a new nation with a single parliament and government. The term 'union' is misleading. It implies continuing agency for Scotland and England when neither has existed for three centuries.

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    2. I always laugh when some plonker argues that Scotland and England were extinguished at the point of union.

      That is of course bollocks. "Great Britain" is merely the styling of a royal realm - the two crowns exist as plain as the nose on your face. The idea that the English parliament voted their own country out of existence to form a union is simply laughable, and it's difficult to believe that anyone who proffers this argument actually believes a word of it.

      It's really quite easy to find video footage of the queen's 'hidden-in-plain-sight' Scottish coronation in 1953, shown by British Pathé with commentary implying this is just some random old ceremony held for unknown reasons.

      Lol, the UK's always been a swizz, built upon the flimsiest of foundations, ie an awkward treaty unsupported by the masses. It is this flimsiness which is the driver behind all British 'one ntion' flag-waving propaganda, and deceptions about the true composition of this British state.

      You, Anonymous @1:51am are a liar, and what's worse, you truly know you are. You're not speaking from ignorant belief, you're actually deliberately spreading lies.

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  10. I wonder who the last person to be prosecuted under OBFA will be? Maybe the opposition parties will put their hands in their pockets to build a statue to the martyred victim of this unjust law outside their favourite football ground.

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    1. Yoan eejits, thit flung thae gless-eez ontae thoan fitbah park, agin Dean Shiels.

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  11. The Celik put a statue of brother winifred in their car park. That must have been a mistake when you consider the abuse in monasteries and the Boston Diocese etc etc etc.

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  12. Angela Haggerty = a useful unionist idiot.

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  13. Knickerless will have to be sucking a new cock, Martin Selmayr. Swallow or spit it out Knickerless. Anything is better than the British Union.

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    1. Oh dear God - what a disturbing thought!

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    2. It wis only a joke. She never stops talking. Scotland, Scotland, moan, moan, English bastards, moan, Scotland.

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    3. State of this.

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    4. And what has that got to do with the price of eggs?

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    5. What a truly nasty misogynist you are.

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    6. I do love watching my boyfriend washing the dishes with his marigold gloves on.

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    7. Thanks for sharing...

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  14. The repeal of OBFA was a victory for those of us who believe in the right to be offensive. Sing songs as much as you like - no song ever killed anyone no matter how crude or vile.

    Should physical assaults take place then we have laws to deal with such events that have been in place since the dark ages, just about. Enforce them and back them up with tough sentences. Job done.

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    1. You seriously think that songs praising the murder of Catholics doesn't lead to violence? I beg to differ.

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    2. I agree with you and songs praising the murder of British soldiers, Protestants or indeed anyone else should be refrained from. I doubt your neutrality in this area Mr Tomlin.

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  15. "If she sees herself as being part of the pro-independence movement, and I gather she does..."

    That she SAYS she does doesn't mean that she actually does. No one who supports the Yes movement is so eager to harm it.

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  16. James, I read your attachment re - Craig Murray and listened to the radio interview. It was interesting to note that Israel was being classified as a rogue state. Also on another thread a comment was made by someone using the name Scottish Republican and claiming that Israel has used chemical weapons against its enemies. If they did it has gone unreported.

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