I’m a big fan of Stuart Waiton and his brave one-man crusade against the Scottish Government’s censorship of football fans. He’s just brought out a new book, Snobs’ Law: Criminalising Football Fans in an Age of Intolerance.The point he makes so well is that no-one these days is really a victim of sectarianism – but it pays to take offence and get the government to give you preferential treatment. So a bunch of grievance mongers has persuaded bien pensant Scottish lawmakers to ban football fans from shouting at each other in a move that would make Vladimir Putin blush.
When you think about it, this syndrome has become very common. People are forever taking offence and using this to silence their opponents or to gain political leverage in one way or another. Just look at the row about that silly film and the cartoons about Mohammed. There have been insulting depictions of Islam in the West for centuries, but only now are people making a fuss about it. All sorts of lobbyists do the same thing – disabled spokespeople complaining about Frankie Boyle, gay marriage reactionaries complaining about Nick Clegg calling them bigots, Irish people complaining about some mayoral candidate in Bristol using the word ‘Irish’ to mean ‘crazy’. These are just examples from the last few days.
In the name of tolerance we’re becoming intolerant of free speech.
There’s a short extract from Stuart’s book on the Free Society website.