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FREE SPEECH?

Unedited version of column for Scottish Sun on Sunday 15th December 2013

DEATH LIST OR WISH LIST WHAT ABOUT FREE SPEECH?

Attention shifted from the morons claiming to be Celtic fans ripping up seats and throwing  flares at Fir Park to another group of ‘fans’, only this time it was Ranger’s ‘Ultras’ known as the ‘Vanguard Bears’.

 

They had retweeted a photo montage of 45 people asking their followers ‘Any personal favourites as to who’ll be next to get the big X?

The sick bigots had crossed out the face of my friend the late Paul McBride QC along with lawyer Paul Mcconville who died suddenly a couple of weeks ago.

The Bears claim the original montage created by them contains pictures of those ‘considered to be enemies of Rangers FC’ including the BBC and the ESPN which were subsequently doctored without their permission- totally bonkers.

Many were offended and apparently the Police have been called in to investigate. Even my handsome mug was on the montage, although I’m not sure what crime I have committed in their eyes that they should fantasise about me meeting an untimely death.

Most decent Ranger fans considered the montage twisted and in bad taste and the Bears have previous for this type of behaviour.

Of course the poor ‘Vanguard Bears’ believe any criticism of them is all part of an orchestrated Catholic conspiracy to shut them down.

But it really is stretching it to call the montage a ‘hitlist’ or ‘Death list’ more like a sick ‘wish list’ but it doesn’t make it’s illegal nor should it be.   

Have we really become so sensitive? Just think of how many of us boasted that we would burst open a bottle of champagne the day Thatcher died, if the Police had arrested anyone for saying so then quite rightly there would be an outcry.

It seems that the actions of a handful of socially inadequate keyboard warriors is leading to the authorities to constantly react and rush in headfirst to arrest and prosecute at the drop of a hat.

But by criminalising these Muppets it allows them to play up their victimhood and act the martyr.

Just two weeks ago in the aftermath of the Clutha crash, social media was full of sick abuse, some claimed it was black humour, unsurprisingly the majority wanted them jailed.

This was my view, but with hindsight I wonder whether we should really be criminalising such behaviour, after all in terms of self-policing the best part was watching the morons humiliated and shamed into shutting down their twitter accounts.

I’m sure you will be thinking surely not Me, Mr Anti-Racist, Human Rights lawyer, huge chip on my shoulder talking about prejudice in such a way but free speech is a precious commodity and must be protected.

It should never be against the law to take the piss, to ridicule or hate, unless the act complained about incites hatred or even worse violence or murder. Today there are far too many grey areas which have increased the chance of any one of us being criminalised.

As for the’ Old Firm’  it seems to me the vast bulk of fans have had enough of the bullets, threats, letter/smoke bombs, 90 minute bigots always determined to rehearse the Irish troubles on our streets and terraces. It’s time they began living in the 21st Century but as long as they view football as an opportunity to insult, incite and provoke nothing much will change.

SELFIES

I have to say that the watching the Mandela funeral was a sad event spent with my finger on the forward button most of the time- a who’s who line-up of the film stars, super models, politicians, pop stars, war criminals, wannabe war criminals and ex British Prime Ministers desperate to hi-jack a funeral.

 

The President of the United States and David Cameron managed to get caught out on a ‘selfie’ with the Danish PM’s phone during the memorial service.

Cameron claimed that maybe he should have remembered that the cameras are always on you.

Maybe it would be more honest for this charlatan to say what he actually believes, especially with a front bench riddled with once forgotten supporters of the hang Mandela Brigade.

In the end it was all an act, just a great opportunity to milk the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

But the point I wanted to smash the TV was Obama’s hypocritical eulogy –

There are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality,”

Absolutely Obama your country is number one at it, and never mind talking about Mandela’s incarceration whilst you maintain that hellhole at Guantanamo.

A Baby or a Puppy?

A young ‘Paisley’ lawyer let it slip this week that he and his wife had decided to have a baby because it was easier than looking after the stray dog they’d taken in the week before!

I wish them all the best although I look forward to their spawn being told one day why mummy and daddy procreated.

The lawyer will however remain nameless otherwise he won’t be left with anything to make babies.

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