A new low of bad taste was reached at Ibrox on Saturday.
British soldiers became cheer leaders for a fascist sing along.
The squaddies danced and clapped along with the home crowd at Ibrox as they sang Loyalist ballad
‘A Father’s Advice’.
The singing was punctuated with a chant revelling in the death of Bobby Sands MP.
The song and chant, within the confines of a football match in Scotland, may well fall foul of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act.
Roy Greenslade of the Guardian was quick off the mark with a clear analysis and a particularly damning headline.
On Sunday evening, George Galloway MP tweeted to me that:
[email protected] @Pmacgiollabhain there will be trouble for the armed forces after this shameful fascistic frenzy of hate”.
He then tweeted that he intends to raise the matter at the British Parliament when it reconvenes after one of its many holidays.
The shameful scenes at Ibrox are all the more baffling after the appalling bouncy castle vibe to the Remembrance Day ‘festivities’ at Ibrox last November.
Despite that embarrassing debacle, the British military decided to give their blessing to Sevco’s very own Armed Forces Day at Ibrox.
Whether they realised it or not, the Queen’s boys were being used as PR extras by a club that is fighting a media campaign against some of their own fans.
Not surprisingly, the mainstream media in Scotland turned a Nelsonian eye to the Ibrox match day atmosphere.
Plus ça change…
For the avoidance of doubt, British Crown Forces have suffered causalities in their recent military operations due to a lack of appropriate equipment.
This isn’t the first time I have visited that shameful reality which is a stain on the British state.
The British military has been under-funded for the operations its servicemen and women have taken part in for the last decade.
There simply aren’t enough of them and there isn’t enough vital equipment to go around.
This was particularly true in the first decade of this millennium when the EBTs were operating at Ibrox.
Moreover, it is Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that is still after millions in unpaid taxes from DeadCo.
The Taliban were obviously much happier to engage the poorly equipped Brits as opposed to the tooled up Americans.
The reason that there was an equipment shortage in many of the British Army’s recent operations was due to another crucial shortage-money.
It could be argued that the Rangers EBTs made it easier for the locals in Helmand to attend to their own kind of EBT – Eliminating British Troops.
Poppy Fest and the official armed forces day has been little more than a marketing exercise in recent years to conceal the grim reality of Britain at war in the 21st century.
Sadly it would appear that the new entity at Ibrox has decided to pander to the lowest element of the home support and the vibe yesterday was certainly jingoistic and sectarian.
The British military, like all militaries, subjects its members to a special set of laws.
There is a charge in the British army for ‘conduct prejudicial to discipline and good order’.
It is a catch-all offence similar to breach of the peace in the civilian code.
The offence under Section 19 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 is categorised as an offence of ‘neglect of duty and misconduct’.
Such an offence is considered much more serious if it happens when the soldier is in uniform and on duty.
I’d hazard a guess that soldiers on duty in the presence of senior officers punching the air as sectarian songs are belted out probably fractures a military law or two.
Imagine if British soldiers in England had attended a similar jamboree at a football club whose supporters had a history of anti-black racism and which had once had a signing ban on players of colour. Then imagine that the white soldiers in uniform, in the presence of their senior officers, applauded the racist ditties of the fans.
Something similar happened at Ibrox on Saturday except it was Catholicism and Irishness that was the target of the hate junkies.
The British soldier swears an oath of the allegiance to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors.
Like Rangers in the good old days, the British monarchy currently has a signing ban on Catholics.
However, there are members of HM Forces from the Catholic tradition.
They might not be able to marry one of the royal heirs to the throne if that heir wants to remain heir, but they should at least have some respect from the country that they are serving.
Meanwhile, in a recent court case 37-year-old Gary Moore was convicted of engaging in “sectarian and offensive conduct” by singing the Roll of Honour during Dundee United’s Scottish Premier League match with Celtic in November 2012.
Moore received a Football Banning Order for three years and was fined £600 by Sheriff Alastair Brown at Dundee Sherriff court.
Gleefully chanting at Ibrox that Bobby Sands is dead is apparently officially approved of while remembering him in song if you wear the colour green is a criminal offence.
This is Scotland 2013.