Illuminating gaffe by Justice Committee Convenor

Published on Wednesday 14th September, 2011 by Celtic Trust

In an incredible admission - or an unwitting acknowledgement of a previously unspoken intention - the Convenor of the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament, Christine Grahame MSP yesterday seemed to suggest that at least one of the intentions of the proposed Offensive Behaviour at Football Matches Bill,is to ensure that the police can arrest Celtic fans in equal numbers to arrests of Rangers fans.

In an exchange between her and Professor Tom Devine of the University of Edinburgh who was giving evidence yesterday (13/9/11) at the Parliament, Grahame tried to argue against statistics provided by Professor Devine to the effect that Catholics are twice as likely to be the victims of sectarian aggravated assault.  Professor Devine had also, earlier in the session,  argued that the proposed legislation is not necessary because the 2003 Act is sufficient.
Despite the fact that Professor Devine is clearly referring to Catholics and Protestants, Grahame interpreted this as Celtic fans and Rangers fans.  She seemed not to accept/understand his point that the so-called sectarian problem is not a football issue and, indeed, may be more an anti-Catholic issue than widespread sectarianism.  In her response she suggested that the statistics are flawed because the existing legislation is more likely to lead to convictions of 'Rangers fans' and that it is not 'even' because 'Celtic fans' won't be convicted of any offence because they are singing 'political songs'.  There was a clear implication, if not explicit view, expressed by Christine Grahame that this is a problem and that the Bill under discussion would be more 'even' in that respect.
The Celtic Trust has, today, written to Christine Grahame to ask her to clarify her remarks.  In particular we have asked her whether the aim of this Bill (or one of its aims) is to ensure that Celtic fans can be convicted in equal number to Rangers fans for offences specified precisely with that aim in mind, given that they are not being convicted of religious aggravated offences at present (because by and large they don't commit them).

Celtic fans have, since the outset, suspected that this is one of the intentions behind this bill.  On this occasion it may be that they are not paranoid, they really are out to get us!

The exchange can be heard at (select Justice from the Committee drop down list and go to 2hr and 59 seconds and listen for about 4-5 minutes). 


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1 comment
bhoydavid says:
2011-09-16 00:29:08

I couldn`t believe that she made those remarks & her face when she turned to the gentleman beside her was a picture. She just let the cat out the bag about why they want to bring in this legislation,which we`ve known is the main reason all along. They must be able to arrest us before they will start to arrest rangers supporters,which would fit in with their "one`s as bad as the other" mantra that we`ve heard for years.Every celtic fan should contact her to ask her for clarification on what she meant by her comments. She can be contacted here....

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