Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012

James Kelly Scottish Labour MSP will today probably win his battle to have the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 repealed in Holyrood. Yes, this is the same James Kelly MSP who when he stands up in Holyrood to speak and you hear him you think you have just switched on the CBBC channel instead of the Parliament channel.

Basically the Act covers the following:

1 Offensive behaviour at regulated football matches.
(1)A person commits an offence if, in relation to a regulated football match—.
(a)the person engages in behaviour of a kind described in subsection (2), and.
(b)the behaviour—.
(i)is likely to incite public disorder, or.
(ii)would be likely to incite public disorder.

(2)The behaviour is—
(a)expressing hatred of, or stirring up hatred against, a group of persons based on their membership (or presumed membership) of—.
(i)a religious group,(ii)a social or cultural group with a perceived religious affiliation,(iii)a group defined by reference to a thing mentioned in subsection (4),(b)expressing hatred of, or stirring up hatred against, an individual based on the individual’s membership (or presumed membership) of a group mentioned in any of sub-paragraphs (i) to (iii) of paragraph (a),
(c)behaviour that is motivated (wholly or partly) by hatred of a group mentioned in any of those sub-paragraphs,
(d)behaviour that is threatening, or
(e)other behaviour that a reasonable person would be likely to consider offensive.
(3)For the purposes of subsection (2)(a) and (b), it is irrelevant whether the hatred is also based (to any extent) on any other factor.
(4)The things referred to in subsection (2)(a)(iii) are—
(a)colour,(b)race,(c)nationality (including citizenship),(d)ethnic or national origins,(e)sexual orientation,(f)transgender identity,(g)disability.
(5)For the purposes of subsection (1)(b)(ii), behaviour would be likely to incite public disorder if public disorder would be likely to occur but for the fact that—(a)measures are in place to prevent public disorder, or(b)persons likely to be incited to public disorder are not present or are not present in sufficient numbers(6)A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable—
(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or to a fine, or to both, or
(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.

In a poll last year by Wings Over Scotland it was found that 60% of people agreed with the Act and only 25% against. We are told that most football fans don’t agree with the Act but the poll found that 56% did and the highest number of those who didn’t support it were supporters from Celtic and Rangers, surprise surprise.

Now I accept that many law officers and sheriffs think the act is unworkable and difficult to judge on, some feel that it unfairly targets football fans and can give a young person a criminal record for being stupid, well given that it sometimes feels like murderers are sentenced to 2 weeks in Benidorm that is probably not the case.

However, I feel that this James Kelly motion, which will win the day in Holyrood, sends out all of the wrong messages. I am a football fan and while I don’t attend that many games now I never attended games involving Celtic or Rangers due to the sizeable minority of their fans who were very happy to sing their songs of sectarian hate, other clubs also have a smaller problem with this but it is mainly the old firm. The act is far from perfect, if it’s unworkable it needs to be changed, but the message repealing it sends to mostly football fans of certain clubs is wrong, I agree with Pete Wishart SNP MP who says You can just imagine the songs and chants if the offensive behaviour at football games is repealed. We need to tackle sectarianism where it raises its head.

I also don’t like the idea of state funded faith schools, we should not still have Catholic Schools in Scotland, it just adds to the problem rather than solving it. We have a problem in Scotland, still, with sectarianism and it has to end. Education has a role but it’s just not enough. If previous legislation like breach of the peace worked then it would never have been brought in in the first place. I have no idea what James Kelly’s problem is other than that he must come from the Murdo Fraser school of unionist thought, some abuse is ok and some ignorance is ok, they will deny this of course but it is the message it sends. Murdo Fraser thinks the act is “unnecessary, unworkable and illiberal” wouldn’t it be great if the Tories and Labour thought that cuts to social security, food banks, poverty, homelessness, and nuclear weapons were “unnecessary, unworkable and illiberal”.

Unionist politicians really are a bunch of opportunist planks, if the act is repealed we take a step back 40 years, I hope Kelly is proud, idiot.

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23 Responses to Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012

  1. sinclairmacleod2014 says:

    Hi Bruce,
    I feel very much as you do. I am a fan of one half of the Glasgow duo but no longer a supporter because I can’t stand to be in the same stadium as the knuckle draggers. I think that any funding the Scottish Government give football should be withheld until the clubs accept responsibility for their supporters behaviour (as they have to do in Europe) and the SPFL/SFA devise appropriate punishments for sectarian or racist behaviour. Included in that should be loss of points in league and expulsion from cup competitions. The act would be unnecessary if the clowns in charge of the Scottish game would do their job.

    • simclairmacleod2014
      I totally agree the SFA should have forced both clubs to play behind closed doors until it stops but the SFA are a joke, they always have been. I don’t get the likes of Kelly at all, total clown. This is not about a law that should be made better not repealed, this is just point scoring. As soon as it’s lifted we will not only look like a bunch of clowns but the nutters will sing their songs of filth even more. I also think that the fact we still have state funded division via Catholic Schools does not help, we have come far as a country but there are those, mostly unionist, who will drag us back to the Stone Age.

      Thanks for commenting.


  2. Maureen Potter says:

    I am normally a very tolerant person but I am aware that there is a section of our country who are violent, intolerant and full of hatred. I think the repeal of this act gives them power to go out and wreak havoc! If that happens then I hope the blame is laid fairly and squarely at the movers who wish to repeal this act and doesn’t become part of the SNP Bad Mantra!

    • Maureen
      I remember the day after the referendum the unionists in George Square doing their Nazi signs, singing their songs and attacking Yes suppprters and who was arrested, two girls with a Yes flag. Summed up a sick park of Scotland for me. I won’t even watch a Celtic Rangers game on tv, all that hail hail shit. In this day and age it’s a disgrace and a stain on Scotland. People like Kelly male me sick.

      Thanks for commenting.


  3. billy says:

    all state schools should be non religious only taught as one of the subjects,only reason for religious schools is the parents too busy,not bothered about taking kids to church/chapel etc so religious leaders need state funded schools they should be encouraging kids to go to sunday school etc by making it more interesting limited subject so prove challenging by stopping state funded religious schools it will make religious leaders get of their lazy fat arses and do it thmselves.

    • andimac says:

      Religions should be banned – most of their adherents are as stupid and bigoted as the football “fans”. If you like fairy stories, buy a set of the Brothers Grimm’s or Andersen’s books.

      • Andimac
        I don’t have a problem with religion but I do with those who have used it as a weapon over the years. I do have a faith, possibly a more laid back view than others but I also understand why people don’t like faith and can do without but it is used to promote sectarianism and that is heart breaking, Kelly is just another symptom of hate. But now that he has called on parliament to respect the will of Parliament I assume he will be supporting the Call for indy2.

        Thanks for commenting.


    • Billy
      I don’t get the Catholic schools thing at all. Thankfully never really a problem in Dundee when I was a kid but not right. For me it reinforces sectarianism for the thick and stupid and as you say whom rarely go to church and don’t understand the message anyway.

      Thanks for commenting.


  4. Lanark says:

    Regardless of your position on the constitution, how do you think you could make Scotland a better place for it’s citizens? This half wit thinks the main thing facing us today is the right to sing The Sash at the fitba.

    The Tory parties are a bloody disgrace. Shame on the Greens for supporting this.

    • East Neuker says:

      Can anyone explain to me exactly why the Greens did support this repeal? I’ve tried reading up on this but I remain confused.
      James Kelly…… How does this moron keep getting elected?

    • Lanark
      I do think that the SNP have made Scotland a better place. Taxation has started to move in the right direction, I like the baby box idea, the ridge is great but there is much to do and we need to keep voting SNP. I would like to see more transparency and more regular people on public bodies. Council cuts have got to stop but how sadly I don’t know. More pressure on Westminster and disruption of need be. No idea what the Greens are playing at, they always had my regional vote but they lost that when they voted NS for first Minister.

      Thanks for commenting.


  5. Lanark

    Against NS sorry. Using phone so typos.

  6. greig12 says:

    Kelly’s behaviour is yet another example of a broken political system where people who can barely do joined up writing are being selected to stand as MSPs. Many get through on the list and don’t even need to win elections. Ever!

    Looking across the ranks of the Labour, Tory and Lib Dems it is very difficult to find any one including the leaders who isn’t a self interested 2nd rater. Credibility is in short supply on these benches and it isn’t helped by point scoring, counter productive arseholery like this.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are correct, it must be the weakest Holyrood we have ever seen with only the SNP with some talent. Even though I loathed the likes of Wallace, McConnell, Dwer(not the father of the nation pish) at least they were a little smart, the yoon bunch now are bereft of any talent what so ever so resort to sound bites and nonsense wasting everyone’s time and effort. I really worry about that day the SNP eventually lose and they will at some point in the future. I don’t think the Greens are that great either to be honest.

      Thanks for commenting.


  7. Bill McDermott says:

    Sectarianism is defined as being within the ambit of religion but sensible people know that it should be re-defined as a problem with tribalism and in a Scottish context is totally to do with the action and reaction to Irish Catholics. It is time we all grew up.
    I agree that James Kelly, BLiS’s excuse for a finance spokesman is a complete toila who couldn’t argue his way out of a paper bag.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree, I have seen certain teams fans questioned about the songs they are singing and they in the main have no clue what they are singing about and haven’t even bothered to find out. They profess to having a faith but know nothing about that faith, it is just ignorant tribalism as you say and a stain on Scotland that it continues to this day. The SFA can and should certainly do more yet do little and if they won’t then I do think the Government should. Repealing this Act takes us back 40 years and makes Scotland look like a backward country from the dark ages and all down to that useless clown Kelly.

      Thanks for commenting.


  8. Kangaroo says:

    Sectarian bigotry.This must be the “Union Dividend” that Gordon Brown was on about in Sept 2014.
    Kelly a bigger Numptie and total embarrassment to Scotland you couldn’t find. Then again there is Murdo of Queens 11 fame.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah it is sad dividend from our Unionist citizens, and a stain on us all. The likes of Kelly and Fraser, Davidson and Rennie should be no where near our parliament in any shape or form.

      Thanks for commenting.


  9. Ricky says:

    I’ve thought about this for 24hrs , you see for the first ten years of my life , there was a King Billy on his bloody horse pendent on our wall , my dad took me to the ‘Walk’ , and basically anything not orange, Rangers and protestant , wasn’t worth shit . He was ex army also , that was my first ten years , thankfully the other 38 have been better .

    To end sectarianism in Scotland we need to end British Nationalism and become an Independent Republic , this isn’t an overnight fix , but independence will eventually whittle down this blight we have in Scotland and eventually end it , just like not wearing a seat belt in a car , or smoking in pubs , it will end . Football is just the outlet for this crap , not the cause , having said that , I stopped going to the games a long time ago and certainly wouldn’t take my kids .

    As for education , that I could write a lot on . I have always felt , we have it so wrong in this country at such a basic level , and no party seems to have any ideas to turn things around . Its easy as well , you don’t split kids up because of the parents religious beliefs , you bring them together and break down the barriers , and build understanding , what is so hard about that .Stop teaching religion or teach every recognized religion . Then have a laugh at someone explaining and teaching ‘ The Force ‘ .

    • Anonymous says:

      British nationalism is a stain, like empire is a stain on the history of the world, and all based around prejudice and hate. I have never understood sectarianism. That would have to include the various walks that take place, some history you have to turn your back on as it is nothing to be proud of. It has held Ireland back for too long and will hold Scotland back even longer. I totally agree about the schools, I know there are more shared schools now and that is a start but it is not enough. Like you I cannot wait for a Scottish Republic.

      Thanks for commenting.


  10. billy says:

    maybe it is time for all decent supporters of all clubs to put their foot down and refuse to go to any games with sectarian supporters when the clubs start losing fans and their money it will not take the clubs long to scream at the sfa/scottish government to do something about it again

    • Anonymous says:

      The fans did that in the Rangers situation when they said if you don’t relegate them we are not buying season tickets and every club sold very little until that happened. The fans don’t use their strength enough and if they said to their clubs, we don’t buy season tickets until you have a process where any clubs fans singing sectarian songs then play their next game behind closed doors we don’t buy the tickets. I think change would happen very fast and I hope they do the same with Hampdump, tell the SFA we don’t go to games until you stop using the stadium as its not fit for purpose.

      Thanks for commenting.


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