Change of Hearts required

There is much to admire about Ms Ann Budge.

When Heart of Midlothian Football Club was on death row she provided a reprieve and the Jambos avoided the finality of a Lithuanian imposed liquidation.

She was a wealthy fan who stepped up and the Tynecastle outfit has been transformed since the madness of the Romanov days.

The new regime will live within its means and she will, in time, get her millions back.

I will take her statement at face value and I hope that, under her leadership, Hearts will operate a zero tolerance approach to discriminatory behaviour.

In her statement the ‘S’ word is used.

‘Sectarianism’ has, within the public discourse is Scotland, lost any precise meaning.

It encompasses anti-Irish racism, political expressions of Irishness connected to the national question here as well has hatred towards people of different faiths.

In failing to address the reality of anti-Irish racism official Scotland has tied itself in semantic knots that excise the ethnic from the analysis.

By attempting to shoe horn a false equivalence in the societal realities of anti-Irish racism they deal in the obfuscation of the sectarian framework.

Subsequently the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 has criminalised that which the British head of state paid homage to in Dublin in 2011.

Of course that is not the fault of Ann Budge as she is only using the accepted term.

However it is important to state it has lost all precise descriptive meaning and is now a terminological problem in itself.

That this issue has been created by journalists and lawyers, two occupations allegedly concerned with the precision of words, makes it all the more irksome.

It is undoubtedly a fact that some of those who follow Celtic on away days consider it part of their match day experience to break seats in stadiums.

They are a tiny and unrepresentative minority, but to deny that they exist will ensure that they will escape scrutiny from the wider Celtic family.

At Firhill and Fir Park they have provided ample evidence to anyone with the facility of reason that they like breaking seats.

Anyone who deflects on this issue is defending this criminal damage.

Senior people at Parkhead certainly know that they have a problem with this small number of fans.

As for creating a “family-oriented club” at Tynecastle I am sure that does not involve attacks on Celtic players and staff.

In terms of full disclosure one of my best mates on this planet is a Jambo and it is largely down to him that I write words for a living.

We met over thirty years ago and as he scribbled my words down in teeline I instantly knew this was a good guy.

Moreover I thought what he did for a living was genuinely worthwhile.

I was delighted that he and his good lady were wedding guests of mine and that too was a long time ago.

As a present he constructed a collage from a museum exhibition on the life and times of James Connolly.

I took it from the picture board and put into a mahogany frame-it’s that good.

The exhibition was called “sing a rebel song”.

I doubt that you could put a fag paper between his world view and mine.

When I recently called to his home in Edinburgh for a catch up he came out to his door as I stepped out of the taxi.

We had last saw each other in the count centre at Ingliston in September when the union flag folk prevailed, but 45% said they would rather like to leave the United Kingdom.

That number gave both us some hope.

On a rainy afternoon in Auld Reekie he pointed to something on the skyline that we were both agreed upon.

As he pointed to Fettes college, the alma mater of war criminal Blair , I dubbed  it  “a privilege factory”.

He did not demur.

When it comes to sport were friendly enemies.

He cheers for the guys in maroon, me for the hoops, him for Scotland and me for Ireland.

His preferred option for Scotland is for it to be a democratic socialist republic.

No arguments with that.

This is at variance with the Leith Orange socialisation that he received as a child.

In 1981 he wrote movingly and authentically about what he saw and felt at the funeral of Bobby Sands MP.

We have discussed over the years the atrophying loyalist element at Tynecastle and it pains him that these chaps still slither out into the daylight when Celtic come calling.

He said that is the only fixture where the union flag is draped at the end of the main stand next to where the away fans are and it seriously pisses him off as it plays to the stereotype of the Rangers of Edinburgh.

He told me of one vignette from the last fixture that gave me hope.

In his usual après match hostel the visiting green and white crowd were in large numbers, but it is a Jambo pub.

The two tribes initially kept their distance until an observant Tim spotted that my mate’s buddy Dave had small silver ‘Yes 45’ pin on his lapel.

The ice was broken and it ended with a bunch of lads discussing the match.

My mate assures me that the wider body of the Jambo constituency does not want to be associated with the club that died at Govan in 2012 or with the accident prone tribute act.

However the sub culture at Tynecastle that nurtured John Wilson remains extant.

After his attack on Neil Lennon some chaps in Gorgie thought it was a good idea to wear face masks in the image of the man who had lunged at Lennon that night in 2011.

They did this the next time the Lurgan man brought his team to play Hearts.

For the avoidance of doubt these Jambos were not disowning John Wilson.

The same racist invective was there for another Irishman employed by Celtic last weekend and in the immediacy of the twitter age Anthony Stokes was quick to respond.

Some apologists might state that the reason for this abuse was simply because Stokes had played for city rivals Hibernian.

However, I’m not buying and neither is the Dubliner.

Subsequently, Ms Budge has some work to do.

I wish her well and so should you.

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