Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Leave It Out!

Celtic supporters in the Green Brigade section of the stadium

I agree with every word of Brendan Rodgers statement about the behaviour of the Green Brigade - Celtic Football Club should be allowed to become a platform for the group's selfish political ends.

The supporters involved are not the club's political vanguard or moral guardians and they should listen carefully to what the Celtic manager has to say.

I intend raising my concerns about the Green Brigade's behaviour directly with the Celtic Board.

   

Celtic is not a political arena, says manager Brendan Rodgers
Video: Celtic Park safety certificate at risk after serious worries over Green Brigade flares
BBC Football - Green Brigade display against Hearts


Manager Brendan Rodgers is calling for the Green Brigade to leave politics out of Celtic Park.

Uefa charged Celtic over an "illicit banner" displayed by the fans' group during their Champions League tie against Linfield,

And the Green Brigade section of the stadium will be closed for the next two games "amid serious safety concerns".

"Celtic is not a political arena for any supporters to display any sort of political element," said Rodgers.

"My opinion is totally aligned with the board and the people running the club. I was saddened by what I saw."

The Green Brigade area will be closed for Wednesday's Champions League qualifier against Rosenborg and against Hearts on the opening day of the Premiership season on 5 August.

However, Rodgers was keen to stress the value of the group's support.

"I want to defend the guys at some time," he added.

"I have been fortunate enough to be around some of the top football clubs in Britain and I can categorically say the atmosphere inside Celtic Park, not just by that section, by the 60,000 supporters is the best you will witness.

"The guys in the corner add an energy and youthfulness which is absolutely amazing.

"The club have worked tirelessly over the years, the first club in Britain to put in a standing section, and 99.9% of the time they, along with the rest of the fans, give us this incredible support.

"But the political element is not acceptable. There are forums, platforms for that outside of football. Take that somewhere else.

"It is not for inside Celtic Park. It is not what the values are, the ethos, and it is certainly not what I'm about as a manager."

Supporters are permitted to stand in the designated area of the stadium during domestic matches

The standing section occupied by the Green Brigade was opened at the start of last season and Rodgers stressed the importance of safety.

"Some supporters might say there is a political element to football and a basis to tell a story," he said.

"There might be other countries where this ultras factor goes beyond football.

"But the governance here in Britain is different and one of the big points for me is the safety element.

"If you are putting flares up in a ground, you are open then to things that can happen. You might say that they never happen but they can happen.

"My message is, stick to football, stick to supporting the team that you love."

Glasgow Turf War



A number of readers from Glasgow have kindly sent me a copy of the latest GMB letter to members working for Cordia.

Now this janitors' dispute looks to me like bit of a 'turf war', a recruitment war, between two unions which is not that unusual I have to say, as one side or another tries to impress a particular group with a militant stance in order to win more members.

Regular readers will know that I have written about the 'Justice 4 Jannies' campaign on the blog site previously and it seems crazy to me that the any union should single out just one group for special treatment.

Because the groups that have fared worst from the City Council's new pay arrangement (i.e. the WPBR) are the workers employed in predominantly female jobs: cleaners, carers, catering staff, clerical workers, classroom assistants and so on.  

So, if you ask me, the GMB is right to say that no one group should be given priority over another and in that sense the GMB is finally catching up with what I said on the blog site back in March 2016 - see the post below dated 18/03/16.

But what also needs to be said and understood by the City Council employees is that the trade unions who are now complaining about the WPBR (GMB, Unison and Unite) are the very same trade unions (i.e.GMB, Unison and Unite) who copied up to the City Council when the WPBR pay arrangements were introduced back in 2006/7.

In other words the local unions in Glasgow are trying to face both ways at the same time because while they are now complaining about the WPBR pay scheme, the truth is that they helped usher in these bizarre pay arrangements in the first place.

Here endeth the lesson.



   

Dear GMB Member

GMB Scotland in Cordia – Unison Janitorial Dispute & Fair Pay for All

Many of you will be aware that there has been a long-standing dispute with janitorial staff in our sister trade union Unison and Glasgow City Council (GCC).

GMB is aware that discussions between both parties to end this dispute have been on-going for some time and that GCC leader Susan Aitken has publicly committed to resolving this dispute during the recent council election campaign.

As you know, GMB also has members in janitorial services and I have been in contact with the leadership’s chief negotiator Councillor Feargal Dalton to alert GCC to the fact that decent terms and conditions are the right of all Cordia workers.

We would like to reassure members that any deal to settle the dispute between GCC and Unison janitors, exclusively a male workforce, will not be done on the back of GMB members, predominantly women in care, cleaning and catering, employed elsewhere in Cordia.

GMB has delivered the first decent pay rise for all Cordia workers for over a decade – but it’s only the first step in our campaign for pay parity. The reality is that after a decade of austerity on finances, Cordia needs more funding from GCC to bridge the gap in non-core pay rates.

The new council has been elected on a manifesto promise to end pay inequality across Glasgow. They are also considering a review to bring all ALEOs back ‘in house’. GMB believes that action on both fronts is vital to the delivery of fair pay across the ‘Glasgow family’.

GCC can make good on their promises by bringing Cordia back under their control and ensure all Cordia staff receive the same terms and conditions as their council colleagues. GMB is pressing GCC to do just that.



Strikingly Different (18/03/17)


I don't know enough about this janitors strike in Glasgow to say whether the workers involved have a strong case or not, but I'll bet there are lots of women trade union members scratching their heads and asking themselves:

"Where have all the strikes and protests been during the long 10-year fight for equal pay in Scotland's councils?"

Because although I've taken an active interest in this subject since 2005 I cannot recall a major campaign and/or industrial action on behalf of women workers in Scottish local government whose jobs are still, by and large, stuck at the bottom of the pay ladder.

I must take another look at this Working Context and Demands Payment which is part of Glasgow City Council's local job evaluation scheme (JES), of course.


More than 100 Glasgow school janitors begin strike in pay dispute

BBC Glasgow & West Scotland

Image copyright - Dave Moxham Image caption - Janitors on strike held a demonstration outside the City Chambers

More than 100 school janitors in Glasgow have begun a three-day strike in a dispute over pay.

The Unison union said its members wanted additional payments for undertaking tasks which were dirty, unpleasant, involved regularly working outside or heavy lifting.

The staff involved in the action are employed by Cordia - an arms-length body of Glasgow City Council.

All schools were open on Monday but some breakfast clubs were cancelled.

The dispute centres on a claim by janitors for a Working Context and Demands Payment, which can range from £500 to £1,000 annually.

'No option'

The union has accused Cordia of "using spurious arguments to justify not making this payment" to its members.

Unison Glasgow branch officer Sam Macartney said: "Unison is very clear that school janitors meet the criteria to be awarded this payment.

"Our members have been left with no option other than to take this action as both Cordia and the council are wrong and just not listening to our members.

"The council needs to get round the table with Unison and agree a negotiated settlement of our members' legitimate claim."

Image copyright - Dave Moxham

Janitors on strike turned up at the City Chambers on Monday "with buckets, mops and brooms" to stage a demonstration. Another will be held on Tuesday.

Picket lines were organised on Monday morning with a repeat planned for Wednesday.

The union said teachers, support workers, cleaners and catering staff had been advised by their unions not to undertake the duties of janitors in their absence.

A council spokesman said: "Some of the city's janitors took part in industrial action in a number of our primary, Additional Support for Learning schools and nurseries today, with similar action planned for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

"This action unfortunately meant that Breakfast Clubs in affected schools had to be cancelled."

Taking Responsibility

Video: Celtic Park safety certificate at risk after serious worries over Green Brigade flares

The Herald reports on the dangers posed to Celtic fans and the club itself by so-called 'Green Brigade' supporters setting off flares during the match against Hearts at Parkhead in May 2017.

Now I was at that game, as it happens, along with a close friend of mine who just undergone a cataract operation and for whom the smoke from the flares was extremely unpleasant and irritating, quite apart from obscuring our view of the field of play.

I read somewhere that the morons in the Green Green have stated that they take 'full responsibility' for their actions although I don't have a clue what these mealy mouthed words mean.

Has someone been sacked or resigned from the Green Brigade's board (if such a thing exists) as a result of their juvenile actions and lack of concerns or other supporters?

I think not which is why this group, or any other, cannot be allowed to behave as if a small group of fans are bigger than the club and a law unto themselves.

So, as I said in a recent post, if these supporters cannot behave this part of the stadium should be returned to an all seated area where it would be much easier to spot, isolate and deal with those seemingly intent on using Celtic Football Club for their own selfish political ends.  


   

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15433521.Video__Celtic_Park_safety_certificate_at_risk_after_serious_worries_over_Green_Brigade_flares/


Celtic Park safety certificate at risk after serious worries over Green Brigade flares

By Martin Williams - The Herald


Video: Celtic Park safety certificate at risk after serious worries over Green Brigade flares 

A CONTROVERSIAL pyrotechnics display at Celtic Park last season provoked "serious concerns" from emergency services which posed a "risk to the renewal of a safety certificate necessary for the operation of the stadium".

Details of the concerns emerged in a letter to fans as Celtic decided to close the Green Brigade section of the stadium for the next two matches after "unsafe behaviour" at the last two competitive matches at Parkhead. Those were the last home game of the season against Hearts on May 27 and the Champions League qualifier win against Linfield last week.

There was particular concern about flares being smuggled into May’s clash with Hearts as they celebrated 50 years since the team lifted the European Cup.



Well Done Celtic! (23/07/170




Here's a Facebook post from an old friend of mine on the latest antics of the so-called Green Brigade whose juvenile and sometimes ugly behaviour behaviour results in Celtic being regularly fined by the football authorities.

The Green Brigade can be witty and colourful. But they also can be self indulgent and offensive. They were bang out of order on Wednesday night and not for the first time. I'm not interested in whataboutery. Celtic have more songs than anyone else which are inspiring and/or humourous. Too many people suffered in 'the troubles' for self appointed politicos to make wise cracks about. The good name of the club comes before them. If it's come to this, so be it. There's plenty of people will take their seats and their season tickets. Rant over! 

Hail! Hail!


J

The problem is that this self-appointed group seem to think that they are bigger than Celtic FC - if you ask me, they are to football what the SWP (Socialist Workers Party) is to politics.

The BBC reports that the 'safe-standing' area where the Green Brigade gathers is to close for the next two games and if this doesn't knock some sense into these 'clowns', the obvious  next step would be to return this part of the ground to an all seated area, like the rest of the stadium.  

  


Celtic to close Green Brigade section amid 'safety concerns'

BBC Football


Green Brigade display against Hearts

Celtic say the Green Brigade section of the club's Glasgow stadium will be closed for the next two games "amid serious safety concerns".

The club is writing to the 900 season-ticket holders affected to explain the decision and "next steps".

Uefa charged Celtic over an "illicit banner" displayed during their Champions League tie against Linfield.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said decisive action was needed in response to the fans' behaviour.

The Glasgow club have also been cited for a "kit infringement" and "blocked stairways" during Wednesday's 4-0 victory at Celtic Park.

In the aftermath, they condemned the conduct of "a small minority of the crowd".

In the past six years, the Scottish champions have been punished on 10 separate occasions relating to misconduct from supporters during European ties.

'Tarnishing club's reputation'

In a statement on Celtic's website, the club said the fans' behaviour during matches against Linfield in midweek and Hearts last season were a cause for concern.

The section will be closed for next Wednesday's Champions League qualifier against Rosenborg and against Hearts on the opening day of the Premiership season on 5 August.

"The safe standing area of the stadium had been working very well until the final game of last season against Hearts, when large numbers of flares were smuggled into and set off under banners within the Green Brigade section," Celtic said.

"It was an incredibly irresponsible and co-ordinated action which could have had tragic consequences.

"Safety of all supporters at Celtic Park is of paramount importance to the club.

"The safe operation of the safe standing area at Celtic Park requires effective communication and engagement with the supporters in that area.

"Unfortunately, due to the events at the Hearts and Linfield matches, the club is not satisfied that the Green Brigade section can be operated safely at this time."


Celtic fans displayed banners during the win over Linfield in Glasgow

Celtic say they will attempt to talk to the Green Brigade about a way forward before admitting them to the section in future.

Lawwell said the behaviour of the fans in the section during the Linfield and Hearts matches amounted to a "serious safety risk".

The club's chief executive added: "There is no room for debate. The safety authorities and the football authorities make the rules. They also enforce the rules.

"If the rules are broken, Celtic will be punished again and again. There is no hiding place from these realities.

"Anyone who has Celtic's interests at heart must surely recognise them and behave accordingly.

'Celtic wake-up call'

"Every club which visits here says the atmosphere is incredible and that is something that we have worked very hard to support and encourage.

"We cannot understand why supporters who are capable of contributing so much that is positive to the club can be so reckless in doing it damage.

"In addition to the serious safety concerns, we face further Uefa disciplinary action.

"This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but the behaviour of fans in this section is posing a direct risk to the safe operation of the stadium and is also seriously tarnishing the club's hard-won reputation."

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers expressed disappointment to be talking about "stadium safety and paramilitary banners rather than our progress into the next round of Europe".

Rodgers added that the use of pyrotechnics, unacceptable banners and ignoring stewards enforcing basic stadium safety measures "are simply not on".

"The fans have a responsibility to behave in the stadium and I would urge everyone involved to see the damage this is causing to the club," he said.

"Hopefully this is a wake-up call. The players thrive on the cauldron that the fans create at Celtic Park, but there are clearly boundaries that you can't step over."

The Greetin' Brigade (19/08/16)

Image result for celtic v Hapoel + images

Glasgow's 'Greetin Brigade' were up to their old tricks the other night when Celtic met the Israeli club Hapoel Be'er Shiva in a qualifying tie for the Champions League.

As they do from time to time, this small but vocal band of supporters tried to hijack a football game for their own political ends by encouraging Celtic fans to wave Palestinian flags contrary to UEFA rules.

Now the Greeting Brigade can do this quite legitimately outside the stadium where they are 'free citizens' and the UEFA rules don't apply, but they know that the vast majority of Celtic fans aren't interested in mixing football and politics this way.

The end result is likely to be another hefty fine for the club because of the boorish behaviour of a small section of its supporters.


http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14688786.Celtic_face_fine_after_fans_unfurl_Palestinian_flag_at_Israeli_match/

Celtic face fine after fans unfurl Palestinian flag at Israeli match


Celtic face fine after fans unfurl Palestinian flag at Israeli match

By Brian Donnelly - The Herald

CELTIC were facing disciplinary action after fans went ahead with threats of unfurling Palestinian flags against an Israeli team in the Champions League.

Despite warnings to avoid political gestures and the certainty that the club will be fined, some Celtic supporters raised Palestinian flags at the Scottish champions’ match against the champions of Israel, Hapoel Beer Sheva.

A Facebook page called "Fly the flag for Palestine, for Celtic, for Justice" was set up to co-ordinate the protests with fans being offered Palestinian flags to fly at the match.


Greetin' Brigade



The tiny group of Celtic supporters known as the 'Greetin' Brigade' have brought shame on their club once again as the BBC reports the deliberate disruption of a Remembrance silence before yesterday's match at Aberdeen.

Now this has nothing to do with free speech of course because the idiots behind this kind of disrespectful and insulting behaviour are free to organise their protests anytime, anywhere - instead of trying to use football as a platform to air their views.

So, I'm all in favour of Celtic fans giving those morons up because by identifying who they are which will allow the club to name and exclude them from future Celtic FC events, and the for police to act whenever they can.  

Celtic fans arrested during Remembrance silence before Aberdeen game

Police said the vast majority of fans observed the silence

Two Celtic fans were arrested during the Remembrance Sunday silence before the game against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

There has been anger on social media in the wake of disruption during the minute's silence.

Police Scotland said two men, aged 32 and 55, were charged with assault following a disturbance in the away fans section during the silence.

Another two men, aged 24 and 29, were arrested elsewhere in the stadium for unrelated offences.

'Behaved impeccably' 

All four are expected to appear in court at a later date.

Supt Innes Walker said: "The overwhelming majority of the sell-out crowd from all sections of the ground respected the minute silence and behaved impeccably throughout the entire game.

"Police Scotland will continue to work with Aberdeen Football Club to improve the match day experience for all spectators but fans must be aware that any form of unacceptable behaviour will be dealt with firmly."

Celtic - who were down to 10 men - won the game 2-1 thanks to a late goal, after Aberdeen had taken the lead
.

Greetin' Brigade (18 December 2014)


Here's an article on the Green Brigade which appeared in Scotland on Sunday at the weekend - a spectacularly ill-informed and mealy-mouthed piece of work, if you ask me.

Because the 'activism' on display by this group of Celtic fans, is essentially no different to the the marches and parades which are still an ugly feature of life in Northern Ireland and the west of Scotland - from time to time.

The marchers claim they have right to march when and where they want in a 'free' society, yet any reasonable person can see that their insistence on being able to march through areas where they are not welcome - is not about activism but about their desire to provoke and upset their neighbours.

In other words their real aim is to magnify and glorify religious tensions - and not with the purpose of making a sensible political point or bringing people together in an atmosphere of reconciliation.

Now I can understand the argument that Bobby Sands and the other 'hunger strikers' are regarded as a political inspiration to some, but a football game is not the place for political statements - especially where the message will inevitably be seen as divisive and provocative.

Football is a sport after all and should not allow itself to be hijacked for political ends - if some fans want to run political campaigns, let them knock themselves out elsewhere.

I have my own views on Scottish independence or Dignity in Dying, for example, but I would never dream of trying to use a football match as a vehicle for promoting my views.

The comparison being drawn with Nelson Mandela is plainly ridiculous because the former South African President was a great healing and unifying figure, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, so why would anyone want to turn a minute's silence for Nelson Mandela into some arcane political point? 

So, the chap who calls the Green Brigade the Greetin' Brigade makes a fair point - time to move on.       

Comment: Trouble in Paradise for Green Brigade
A banner displaying William Wallace and Bobby Sands shown by the Green Brigade at Celtic Park last month. Picture: SNS

by DANI GARAVELLI

Celtic have banned their ultra fans the Green Brigade, but is it really political activism that’s being punished, asks Dani Garavelli

WITH their passion, their ­colourful and provocative banners, and their anti-authoritarian attitude, the Green Brigade breathed new spirit into the all-seater Celtic Park, aka Paradise to faithful fans.

That’s something few supporters would dispute. The ultras’ youthful defiance combined with their ability to produce stunning visual expressions of cultural identity revitalised matches which had had the life sucked out of them by health and safety rules, corporate interests and heightened sensibilities around sectarianism.

Take the notorious Four Horseman of the Apocalypse display, featuring Neil Lennon, Hector the taxman, Death and Craig Whyte advancing towards beleaguered Rangers, which was unfurled on the last Old Firm derby of the 2012 season. Whatever your loyalties, it would be difficult not to marvel at the creative energy which went into the realisation of that goading image, accompanied by an array of tombstones across Section 111, the part of the stadium the Green Brigade made its own.

Given the way the supporters’ group boosted the atmosphere, it is little wonder the club has often encouraged its activities, trading on its full stadium display to celebrate Celtic’s 125th anniversary before its victory against Barcelona. “I would say there’s a commercial advantage to the club from having a group of fans who, from their own time and energy, talent and money, provide that kind of support,” says Jeannette Findlay of the Celtic Trust.


Yet like Frankenstein’s monster, the left-wing group seems to be veering out of control. As its members’ anger towards the Offensive Behaviour and Threatening Communications at Football Act – a piece of legislation many see as an attempt to criminalise fans – has mounted, they have sung Irish Republican songs with greater gusto and their displays have become more overtly political, incurring the wrath of Uefa. When a banner showing William Wallace and Bobby Sands, which riffed on the old freedom fighter/terrorist paradox, was unfurled at the Champions League match against AC Milan last month, manager Neil Lennon accused them of “going rogue”. Celtic were fined £42,000 for the protest, the fourth time the club has been punished as a result of fan indiscretions in two years.

But it was the behaviour of supporters within Section 111 at the recent match against Motherwell at Fir Park, when flares were set off and seats destroyed, that proved a tipping point. Last week, the club ended the Green Brigade’s dominance by handing out “precautionary suspensions” to 128 of its members, while forcing 250 season ticket-holders housed in Section 111 to move to other parts of the ground or have their season ticket money refunded.

For those who believe the Green Brigade was long ago swallowed up by its own ego, the move was overdue. Closing his parody Twitter account, The Greetin’ Brigade, one supporter wrote: “I’m [now] positive that a line will be drawn in the sand and the proper fans who have the sole objective of supporting the team within the confines of the law, will now have a safe environment to achieve that.”

But for others it is a massive over-­reaction, and a surrender to a prevailing political agenda which wants to outlaw all displays of Irish nationalism. Though no-one condones the ripping up of seats, Celtic fans are quick to point out that such vandalism takes place at other matches (Motherwell fans recently destroyed seats at New Douglas Park) without attracting the same degree of opprobrium.

In any case, those who support the Green Brigade believe last week’s vandalism is a red herring; what its members are really being punished for, they say, is their activism, and they claim that is rank hypocrisy. “We are told politics should be kept out of football, but then the SFA holds a minute’s silence for Mandela,” says one Celtic fan, who is not a member of the Green Brigade. “I have the greatest respect for Mandela, but how can that possibly be seen as anything other than a political statement?”

One could also question the apparent double standards in Uefa’s tolerance of pro-Catalan flags in the Nou Camp and ask whether or not we would disapprove of an Eritrean refugee who wanted to cele­brate his heritage through songs about past battles.

The Green Brigade believes its members have been the victim of heavy-handed policing (although others have pointed out the policing at Fir Park was virtually nonexistent). And it feels particularly aggrieved at the way in which Celtic fans have been arrested for singing Roll of Honour, which commemorates the IRA Hunger Strikers. “This song has nothing to do with supporting any armed organisation but is about remembering the sacrifice of ten ordinary young men who gave their lives in their campaign against criminalisation,” a spokesman tells Scotland on Sunday.

“Nelson Mandela cited Bobby Sands as an inspiration and led his own hunger strike at Robben Island shortly afterwards. It’s ironic that this week football clubs across Europe have celebrated Mandela yet our fans are in the dock for displaying banners depicting Sands.”

The way the Green Brigade highlights such contradictions may not meet with everyone’s approval, but they do raise questions which cannot be easily dismissed. For example, is the new Act a legitimate weapon with which to tackle residual sectarianism or a means by which to clamp down on expressions of Irish identity? And should we really expect sport to exist in a vacuum or accept that – from Barcelona to Cairo to Glasgow – football, nationalism and politics are inextricably intertwined?

The Green Brigade wasn’t formed until 2006, but the ultra movement, which is synonymous with banners, choreographic displays, fireworks and drums, has thrived in other European countries since the late 60s. Though often associated with right-wing ideologies, there are many left-wing ultras such as those attached to Livorno and the Hamburg-based St Pauli, with whom Green Brigade members have struck up a friendship. In north Africa, ultras were instrumental in the Arab Spring, particularly the uprising against President Mubarak in Egypt.

“Our group was not modelled on any others but instead sought to marry ultra culture with the unique identity of the Celtic support,” the Green Brigade spokesman says. “This was not a particularly big leap as our support have always been a bit different to the norm in Scotland and Britain; we’ve always been known for our passion and noise, and have always been proud to show our colours. Given Celtic’s roots, our fans have always been proud of our Irish identity and supported the Irish nationalist cause, and our group naturally followed in this tradition.”

Describing itself as anti-fascist, the group has been involved in political campaigning and charitable work. It organises the biggest bloc on the STUC’s anti-racism march, runs its own annual anti-discrimination football tournament, seeks to engage asylum-seekers and regularly organises food bank collections. After the Scottish Government introduced the new legislation, however, the Green Brigade began to engage in increasingly provocative behaviour. The Act, which became law in 2012, makes it illegal to sing certain songs inside and outside the stadium, on public transport, in streets and pubs, although its many critics point out it was already possible to tackle unacceptable football-related behaviour through existing legislation.

“There has always been a law of breach of the peace and prior to the introduction of the new legislation, people at football grounds were convicted under that law for behaving in a manner that was objectively seen to be offensive,” says Brian ­McConnachie QC. “The situation now is that the police know which area will house the people who are likely to sing those songs, so they film them on their hand-held cameras. They specifically target individuals, then they take the time to look at the footage and work out whether they are singing the song in question. They prosecute them and, at the trial, the only evidence that requires to be led is the evidence of two police officers to say, that’s the guy, here’s the video footage, we heard the singing.

“Nobody in the ground was offended or made a complaint, but nonetheless he’s guilty of that offence and, potentially at least, liable to a custodial sentence. It is crime creation in many ways.”

According to the Green Brigade, victimisation by the police is not confined to taking pictures. “We’ve had fans arrested at airports when returning from family holidays on bogus charges that are dropped as soon as they reach court and supporters dragged from their beds in co-ordinated dawn raids as if they were big-time drug dealers,” the spokesman says.

The Green Brigade has campaigned against the Act with the Celtic umbrella group Fans Against Criminalisation, but it has also produced banners like the one in November 2010, protesting over the placing of a Remembrance Day poppy on a Celtic shirt, and the more recent Bobby Sands one.

To Findlay, such actions are welcome evidence of engagement. “What really gets me in an age when we have young people who are so politically disengaged, is that you take a group of people who are so politically active, so willing to get out and voice an opinion and to work productively with other organisations, and you suggest they’re a problem,” she says. “Well, they’re a problem to the people who don’t want to hear what they’ve got to say, but in terms of society, I would be more worried about the young people who sit around watching Big Brother, those who have no political involvement.”

To others, however, including the man who ran the Greetin’ Brigade, the group has become a “self-indulgent circus act”. Either way, their activities, which have included letting off flares, could be seen as counter-productive, leading not to an early review of the law, but to bad publicity. “I don’t think the Green Brigade are doing themselves any favours” says ­McConnachie. “One wonders how many of the people in their section have a clue what these songs are about. Of course, some do, but I’m sure there are many who are going along with the crowd and it’s just a means of noising up the police.”

And that’s before you address last week’s trouble at Fir Park. Though the Green Brigade denies its members were personally responsible, it admits “that as a group that believes in fan control” it should have policed the section better.

Nevertheless it believes the decision to impose a collective punishment on its members is disproportionate. “We cannot see why the alleged misdemeanours of a small minority of people who may not even stand in our section at 111 should impact on everyone who does,” the spokesman says. “If someone deliberately breaks a seat at a football stadium then they should expect that action will be taken against them, and that they may be banned for a period from football games. However if football clubs here wanted to have better relationships with their fans they would do well to look at some of the models from some clubs in Germany and elsewhere, where fans and club directors work consensually on contentious issues and disciplinary matters.”

Though the brigade laments the loss of its section, it has no intention of giving up its fight against the new law. “Wherever you go, you’ll find that Irish communities (like every other diaspora group) express themselves through music and song, singing about past and present events in their motherland,” the spokesman says. “That’s what [our] fans have always done, whether that was Celtic’s founding fathers singing about the Manchester Martyrs and the Fenians, or my granda’s generation singing for Kevin Barry or James Connolly, or my own remembering Bobby Sands and the Hunger Strikers.

“Now singing about events during conflicts might not be to your personal taste, but the idea that it should be outlawed is utterly ridiculous.”

Nor does the Green Brigade plan to give up its charitable work. A food bank collection outside Celtic Park before the Hearts game will go ahead next Saturday as planned. “We’ve had some great days and fantastic nights in 111 over the past three and a half years of having an official section, so it’s a real disappointment to lose it,” the spokesman says. “It’s definitely not the end of the Green Brigade though. We are far more than just a small section in one corner of Celtic Park, we’re a spirit that will endure and a group of brilliant bhoys and ghirls that will continue to do our thing.”

Religious Censorship

Image result for censored

The BBC reports that a publicly funded US radio station (KPFA) has no-platformed the eminent scientist and author Richard Dawkins after falsely accusing him of 'abusive speech'.

Richard Dawkins is, of course, a fierce critic of religious fundamentalists, especially the kind of sectarian, intolerant believers who would if they could impose their religious views and rules on others - often through violence and/or discrimination.  

Anyway the man can speak for himself so read what Richard Dawkins has to say in the following article from the BBC.

   


http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40710165

Richard Dawkins' Berkeley event cancelled for 'Islamophobia'
BBC US & Canada

Image copyright - GETTY IMAGES Image caption - Dawkins has previously written: "Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today"

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has denied Islamophobia after a US radio station cancelled his forthcoming speech.

The best-selling author had been due to address an event hosted by KPFA Radio in Berkeley, California, in August.

Organisers accused him of "abusive speech against Islam" when scrapping his appearance, but he argues his criticism was not directed at Islam.

He called on the station to review his past remarks and apologise.

In a letter to ticket-holders, the publicly funded radio station wrote: "We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn't know he had offended and hurt - in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people."

The station, which is not affiliated with the University of California, said in a letter - which Mr Dawkins published online - that it does not support "hurtful" or "abusive speech".

It also apologised "for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier".

Local media report that Bay Area residents had brought attention to statements made by the author of the anti-religion book The God Delusion, including a 2013 tweet saying "Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today".

In an open letter to organisers, Professor Dawkins wrote that he "never used abusive speech against Islam".

He said harsh statements he has made in the past have been directed at "IslamISM" - apparently referring to those who use the religion for political objectives - and not adherents of the faith.

"I have criticised the appalling misogyny and homophobia of Islam, I have criticised the murdering of apostates for no crime other than their disbelief," Professor Dawkins writes.

He also pointed out that he has been a "frequent critic of Christianity but have never been de-platformed for that".

He describes listening to KPFA "almost every day" during the two years he lived in Berkeley, adding that "I especially admired your habit of always quoting sources".

"You conspicuously did not quote a source when accusing me of 'abusive speech'.

"Why didn't you check your facts - or at least have the common courtesy to alert me - before summarily cancelling my event?"

Professor Dawkins' book about the study of evolution, The Selfish Gene, was named last week by the Royal Society as the most inspiring science book of all time.

Known as the home of the Free Speech moment in the 1960s, Berkeley has recently left that reputation in doubt as far-left protesters have sought to silence speakers and academics with whom they disagree.

Conservative authors Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos have each clashed with the University of California after events where they were due to speak were cancelled by the college administration out of fear for public safety.