Of myths and legends…

BurnsMcCann

This is one of the photos currently doing the rounds, which purports to show two ‘Celtic legends’. Tommy Burns was certainly a club legend, but can Fergus McCann really be described in such terms?

20 years on and there’s a load of hogwash being written and uttered about the Scots-Canadian businessman who invested in Celtic and saw a return of £37 million on his initial outlay. He walked away from Celtic a considerably richer man than when he arrived. No shame in that, he put his money in and he wasn’t doing it for charitable reasons, despite the tripe that is being written on some blogs and websites.

McCann is probably the most right-wing, conservative, anti-republican person to ever have headed the Celtic Football Club. He hypocritically eschewed politics in the stands, but he joined and was chairman of his local Conservative Party branch while he lived in Glasgow. He lied to supporters groups during a period of sectarian and anti-Irish violence against our fans and he financed and supported those ‘anti-sectarian’ groups that are the most vociferous and critical of Celtic supporters and which, even today, seek to further criminalise our community.

If you want to find the link between what happened then and what is happening now with regard to the club’s anti-political stance, the Green Brigade and the criminalisation of Celtic supporters, look no further than Fergus McCann. He set in motion the corporate monster that is Celtic PLC today. I had no love for the old board, but I certainly do not regard McCann as a ‘hero’ or a ‘legend’. He was a businessman with an undoubted affection for the club, but who saw a healthy profit from his investment in Celtic.

In a world where profit for profit’s sake and the greed of bankers and the wealthy elite is celebrated, it is perhaps fitting that we are being duped into believing that this financier who now lives in a tax haven is some kind of club legend.

There is probably no better picture to illustrate the myth that has built around McCann, because Tommy Burns and Fergus McCann did not get on… not at all.  These were two very different ‘Celtic men’ with opposing views of the club’s history and future.

Ground Control To David Bowie…

BowieSalute

By JC (RNU Scotland)

Since David Bowie has decided to throw his two bob’s worth into the  Scottish independence debate I’d just like to remind people of the particular political doctrine to which he once subscribed. Here is a piece from the Observer commenting on the RAR (Rock Against Racism) concerts going on at a time when the far-right were particularly prominent and again David Bowie wasn’t slow to get his point across along with Mr Clapton.

I first became aware of this while reading the book Beating The Fascists and it has stayed with me ever since…

 

“It was 5 August 1976 and Eric Clapton was drunk, angry and on stage at the Birmingham Odeon. ‘Enoch was right,’ he told the audience, ‘I think we should send them all back.’Britain was, he complained, in danger of becoming ‘a black colony’ and a vote for controversial Tory politician Enoch Powell whom he described as a prophet was needed to‘keep Britain white’. Although the irony was possibly lost on Clapton, the Odeon in Birmingham is on New Street, minutes from the Midland Hotel where eight years earlier Powell had made his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. But if the coincidence was curious, the hypocrisy was breathtaking: Clapton’s career was based on appropriating black music, and he had recently had a hit with Bob Marley’s ‘I Shot the Sheriff’.

“In usual circumstances his comments would have been merely ill advised, but it was the social and political context which made Clapton’s intervention so chilling. The National Front had won 40 per cent of the votes in the spring elections in Blackburn. One month earlier an Asian teenager, Gurdip Singh Chaggar, had been murdered by a gang of white youths in Southall. ‘One down – a million to go’ was the response to the killing from John Kingsley Read of the National Front. Sid Vicious and Siouxsie Sioux were sporting swastikas as fashion statements.

bowiesalute2

“David Bowie, who three months earlier had been photographed apparently giving a Nazi salute in Victoria Station, told Cameron Crowe in the September 1976 edition of Playboy ‘… yes I believe very strongly in fascism. The only way we can speed up the sort of liberalism that’s hanging foul in the air… is a right-wing totally dictatorial tyranny…’

“In that same interview Bowie claimed that ‘Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars.’ This was Britain then in the sweltering summer of 1976, and in that context Clapton’s comments were potentially incendiary.”

Bowie

Fascists Threaten Glasgow’s Irish Community

republicansagainstracism

By V.S.M – R.F.B

The Vol Sean Mcilvenna RFB in conjunction with the Irish community in Scotland release the following statement after the recent threats towards our band and other Irish groups regarding our band practice in St Roch’s Secondary School, Garngad, Glasgow. 

We would like to send our thanks and solidarity to all of the Irish Community who attended tonight as a result of the threats made by racist groups. 

—————————————————————————————-

Tonight the Glasgow Irish community were yet again denied the right to celebrate our identity.

Threats were made against St Roch’s Secondary School in Garngad via the facebook page of a racist and bigoted organisation.

In an era of tolerance and striving towards respect for all cultures and identities it is sad to reflect that in Glasgow intolerance is still thriving.

It is a mark of a mature and tolerant society when those we disagree with are still allowed to express their opinion.

Tonight following threats from the racists who today had the name REGIMENTAL BLUES, a few months ago, the same people were protesting outside the Glasgow mosque, but on that occasion they called themselves the SDL. On other occasions they wear the hat of the BNP. In these instances OUR politicians fall over themselves to condemn the racist bigots. Why are the same politicians silent when it is children from an Irish ethnic background who are the targets of hatred?

Over 150 members of the Irish community stood in silent protest outside the school, some of the people on the silent protest said they were there because they were disgusted that in 2014 Racism and Sectarianism are still part of the fabric of Scottish society.Others on the protest, parents of children at the school, said they were there because an online threat was made to burn down the school.

The flute band (this group were allegedly annoyed because a republican flute band lets the school hall from the council) continued with their practice in St Roch’s as usual, as they have done in this school for nearly 15 years.

The only people who were affected by the threats were the 200 children who gather each week for lessons in Irish traditional music as members of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, an organisation with links to the school for over 35 years. Parents were fearful to bring their children along and the class had to be cancelled.

In Ireland, a few years ago, we all saw the horrific pictures of the terrified school children in Holy Cross Primary in Ardoyne. These primary school children were bullied by racist bigots; is this their vision for Scotland in 2014 ?

The Irish diaspora demand EQUALITY.

We demand the same protection as all other ethnic communities !

The Glasgow Irish: If We Lose Our Heritage & Culture We Lose Our Identity!

Brother of Hunger Striker condemns criminalisation of Celtic fans

GBvStJohnstone

The Green Brigade made their presence felt at today’s match against St.Johnstone

This is the statement of Gerard Lynch (brother of INLA hunger striker Kevin Lynch) to a Fans Against Criminalisation (FAC) meeting a couple of years ago, which is worth repeating in the light of the release of the Roll of Honour in support of FAC and the reappearance of the Green Brigade at Celtic Park today:

I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to speak at today’s event. I sincerely apologise that due to circumstances beyond my control I could not attend. However, I would like to stress that the Lynch family fully support the campaign against the new legislation.

31 years ago my brother Kevin was preparing to go on hunger strike, a strike that would ultimately lead to his and 9 of his comrades deaths. They died as a direct result of the British government’s policy of trying to criminalise the republican struggle for Irish freedom. Maggie Thatcher failed to criminalise our struggle and Alex Salmond will ultimately fail to criminalise Celtic fans for singing songs remembering that struggle. I should point out that I am a Celtic supporter and have traveled to Celtic Park on many occasions. On a recent trip to Parkhead, I was informed about this new legislation which a lot of supporters feel is aimed at the Irish in Scotland. I was also recently told of fans being arrested under the new legislation for singing the Roll of Honour, a song which commemorates my brother and his comrades.

Songs like this do not glorify armed struggle, nor do they incite people to take part in armed struggle, nor do they glorify any death as a result of armed struggle. These songs simply remember brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for Irish freedom.

It is ironic that it is not an offence in Ireland or indeed any other country. Ireland has moved on now but never forgets her past. I would appeal to the Scottish government to allow the Irish in Scotland to remember the past without trying to criminalise them. In life they tried to criminalise the hunger strikers, they failed. In death they are trying to criminalise them and people singing songs to remember them, they will fail again!

Gerard Lynch.

Irish Brigade statement on the ‘Roll of Honour’ song…

greeenbrigadeH-Strike

A statement from the Irish Brigade on the song Roll of Honour

 First posted Monday Feb 10th 2014 by FAC

It was an honour and privilege to be asked by Celtic Fans against Criminalisation’ to permit them to promote the song ‘The Roll of Honour’  to aid the funding of their campaign against the law that effects everyone with Irish roots or a love of Irish culture. Ballads have been an integral part of our culture and heritage from time in memorial and the role of the Bards and Street Singers holds a unique and honoured place in our history.

I wrote the song ‘The Roll of Honour’ in 1982 at a time of great social and political upheaval in the North of Ireland. It was to commemorate the sacrifice of ten young men who died in the Hunger Strike of 1981. They, too, were protesting against Criminalisation. The song was a reflection of the thoughts, feelings and beliefs, held by many in Ireland and throughout the world who felt that these deaths could have been avoided if the Brittish Government at that time had not taken such a harsh and unbending attitude towards the prison crisis. The line “England, you’re a Monster” is figurative language and is a reference to this belief. The word ‘Monster’ is defined as someone ‘unnaturally cruel’ – The Government at that time. It is not or was not, at any time, to be construed as referring to the English Nation or the people of England, it is not a Racist remark.

Neither is the song a sectarian song. It is an historic, social commentary about one stage in a long freedom struggle that is still continuing but that now uses democratic paths and institutions that did not exist in the early 80’s. The ten men commemorated in the ‘The Roll of Honour’ hope to bring about a land that would cherish… ‘…all the children of the Nation equally’ (Irish Proclamation, 1916). In the words of Wolfe Tone,  a protestant leader of The United Irishmen, they wish to establish a society which would ‘ substitute the name Irish Man in place of Protestant, Catholic or Dissenter’. The dream of Bobby Sands and his comrades was for a Nation where sectarianism and violence would be a thing of the past:

‘Our revenge will be the laughter of our children’ (Bobby Sands)

On behalf of The Irish Brigade.

Have you downloaded ‘Roll of Honour’ yet?

As we publish this blog (containing the original FAC Statement about the campaign to defend Celtic fans against being criminalised by the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and our own PLC Board) the Roll of Honour single by the Irish Brigade has reached the No.16 spot in the iTunes chart. We would urge our readers to support the campaign by following the link on this article and spending 79p on the download from ITunes. Let’s get it into the top ten now…

Link to the ROH Download

chart_16_roh

Roll of Honour Download Campaign launched

Fans Against Criminalisation are delighted to announce plans to release the single ‘’Roll of Honour’’ in association with The Irish Brigade for the duration of the week beginning on 9th of February. This single will be available for download on iTunes. We would like to thank the band for kindly allowing us to use their song to help aid our campaign against the criminalisation of football supporters and the suppression of political expression.

Download the Roll of Honour any time in the week 9 -15 February inclusive and let’s get it into the UK Top 40 Singles Charts and embarrass the hypocrites who seek to criminalise us.

This particular song is a ballad about civil resistance and a struggle for basic human rights and it has been a favourite of the Celtic support for over a decade. Shamefully, the SNP’s Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act has resulted in the song becoming a target for Police Scotland and numerous arrests have been made as a result. From its outset FAC has sought to oppose this discriminatory piece of legislation and to defend the rights of football supporter’s which have been continually eroded since the Act’s introduction.

We call on the Celtic family from all corners of the globe to support this campaign by downloading the single to help raise funds to aid the legal costs of those whose lives are being torn apart by this disgracefully illiberal law and to help further publicise the hypocrisy inherent within the government’s position.

Fans Against Criminalisation

http://fansagainstcriminalisation.blogspot.co.uk/

British History X

Spare a thought for poor little ‘Tommy Robinson’ (aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) who was recently beaten up in prison. The former leader of the EDL has enlisted the support of his ‘anti-extremist’ mentor Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation to plead his case for preferential treatment. They appear to be playing out a very British version of American History X, with Tommy in the Edward Norton role and Maajid playing the good teacher who saves him.

tommy (1)

 

Here’s a link to the helpful letter that Maajid Nawaz wrote on behalf of his ‘friend’ to the Ministry of Justice.

Quilliam-letter-to-MoJ

* Thanks to Citizen66 of Urban 75 for the graphic