Tag Archives: Football

Some Thoughts on Paolo Di Canio

Paolo Di Canio’s recent appointment as manager of Sunderland Football Club is widely regarded as being a controversial one, largely because of certain provocative gestures he made whilst playing for Lazio, and an interview a few years back in which he is reported to have said that he was ‘a fascist, but not a racist’.

That Di Canio wholly subscribes to an extremist political movement that is defined by sustained episodes of violent racial discrimination is completely unfounded, and something he has denounced on several occasions; that his comments have been misunderstood and twisted to fit the sensationalist agendas of the press and its slavering audience is a much more likely assumption to make.

The appointment was sufficient for former Labour MP David Milliband to resign his position on the Sunderland Board, given Di Canio’s ‘past political statements’, and for many sports writers and commentators to have a field day in condemning both him and the club for his presumed affiliation with a movement that is said to promote hatred, killing, persecution and intolerance.

But without a full and complete statement of his position, it is difficult to understand exactly what Di Canio thinks and why he declared himself a fascist who wasn’t a racist, when in the minds of many people the two notions are vile and inextricably linked.

It may be that our understanding of fascism is just too limited, too politically distorted, and too riddled with cultural assumptions that we are simply unable to appreciate what may be the subtleties of Di Canio’s unique and personal view.

Perhaps Di Canio was simply referring to his sympathies with certain cultural, political and economic aspects of fascism, as an Italian movement from a period in history that valued collectivism over individualism; personal discipline, hard work and obedience, over laziness, revolt and anarchy; and strong, healthy individuals who lived and worked for the common cause of bettering the Italian nation.

Whilst it may have been an authoritarian and nationalistic movement, it does not necessarily follow that being sympathetic to some of the aforementioned values in their own right entails supporting violence, persecution and racial hatred. Maybe that’s where Di Canio sits.

The problem is we will never get an explanation of Di Canio’s true position now as a result of the media fuelled furore surrounding his move to Sunderland and our tendency to jump to unwarranted rag style conclusions.

Given how we have come to understand fascism in this country, and given the style of news we like to indulge in here, it is highly unlikely that he will speak again on the matter, especially not to the British press gang sniffing around for their next big story. He is here to manage a struggling football club and I am sure he will do that with distinction.

(As an aside, consider the position of an individual who declares that he is a supporter of the Labour Party in Britain. Nothing wrong with that, given the core socialist views that define this party; however, it was under a Labour Government that Britain entered into an illegal war with Iraq.

Does supporting Labour then automatically mean someone who agrees with invading other countries without mandate, and engaging in deplorable acts of murder in the name of fake national interests? Perhaps David Milliband could help answer that question, as he takes his principled leave from the Stadium of Light.)

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Confronting the Bigot Within

The underlying premise of most anti-racism initiatives appears to be that education in the virtue of tolerance is the key to eradicating it from our society. It is the most obvious place to start, but we need to go deeper.

There may be racist beliefs and attitudes within our subconscious mind that are responsible for more than the set of intentional actions and judgements that we would ordinarily hold up as prime examples of racist behaviour.

There seems to have been a recent rise in the number of high profile incidents of racism. It is interesting to note the ones involving professional footballers, who would otherwise insist – and I am sure they actually believe it – that holding racist attitudes and beliefs is wrong, and definitely not in their nature.

It is interesting in the sense that it throws some light on the possibility of individuals holding racist beliefs and attitudes without necessarily being aware of this being the case – to the extent that they would happily offer a strong rebuttal of what their behaviour would appear to suggest.

The same possibility holds in the case of other forms of bigotry. Keeping the discussion within the world of football, homophobia and sectarianism are other good examples of this.

Subconscious connections between many of our basic beliefs help form the bedrock of our judgements and perceptions. The problem is that many of the connections at this level are rarely formed intentionally. They emerge on their own accord through our upbringing into a particular way of life.

The way we perceive our environment and the judgements we make about the situations we find ourselves in may carry implicit commitments to beliefs we would not consciously recognise as our own. But that is the curious thing about some bigoted beliefs – first person authority is not always a given.

These are the toughest cases to tackle, because it requires some form of introspective acknowledgement that certain utterances and gestures may carry doxastic commitments that are irreconcilable with what you consider to be your everyday outlook on life. It is a hard thing to do.

The psychology of bigotry is complex. Getting inside the mind of a bigot is difficult, particularly in your own case. Access is ordinarily denied at the first point of entry. It is our subconscious gatekeeper’s job to stubbornly refuse this type of interpretation on our behalf and suggest a more respectable alternative.

And returning to high profile incidents associated with football for a moment, the challenge becomes even harder. The good efforts to tackle racism are often completely nullified by the use of expensive lawyers who are adept at creating that all important element of doubt, even in cases where there should have been none whatsoever.

Here we reach an almost insurmountable barrier. There is a possibility that unacknowledged bigoted beliefs may well be found within each and every one of us, which makes the challenge of eradicating racism from society hard enough.

It is made even more difficult by the fact that many high profile individuals appear to think nothing of appealing to ridiculously expensive mechanisms to guarantee the type of impunity the rest of us are denied – and the upshot of this is that racism, for very different reasons, is always likely to be a feature of our society, despite our best efforts to tackle it.

This doesn’t mean we should give up trying. It simply means that every single individual in our society – including those who have sufficient funds to opt out of our hard earned moral space – has an obligation to think about finding and confronting the bigot within.

Even though the very idea of doing that would feel unnecessary to those who can afford to ignore it, and contrary to everything the rest of us would want to believe about ourselves in the first place.

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The Unsustainable Game

Football commentator Stuart Hall is often credited with having coined the phrase, ‘the beautiful game’.

He is said to have used it first in reference to the Northern Ireland footballer Peter Doherty, when he was playing for Manchester City.

When Manchester City won the Premier League on Sunday, they did so having spent around £1.5bn in four years and having recorded a loss of just under £200m in the past year, most of which was bankrolled by the personal wealth of the club’s Abu Dhabi based owners.

Sheikh Mansour is now four years into his ten year plan to transform Manchester City into a club that is capable of dominating European football for many years to come.

When UEFA’s new financial fair play rules come into effect, which certain football clubs are likely to challenge in court, clubs will be required to break even on their balance sheets, with a couple of years grace during which they will be able to record a maximum loss 45m Euros per financial year.

Clubs like Manchester City may be able to reduce their annual operating losses significantly through enjoying substantial increases in European prize money and television income, or they may find a way of introducing more of Sheikh Mansour’s money into the club as a form of income.

But what happens when these clubs fail to reach the final stages of the Champions League, or when their wealthy owners withdraw their financial support, which they will, at some stage? And in the meantime, what happens to the rest of the clubs?

Whilst some supporters are luxuriating in the temporary glory delivered by their club’s debt fuelled successes, others are lamenting their club’s rapid decline from former title challengers to relegation strugglers. They simply cannot afford to keep the pace any longer.

Ordinary football clubs, those without billionaire owners, but who are fortunate enough to have large supporter bases spread throughout the world, are in a slightly better position than the majority of others who struggle because of these limitations.

Getting their globalisation strategy correct is important. Ensuring that it compliments their youth development strategy is absolutely critical. But there is still no guarantee of success and there is still an unbridgeable chasm between their financial standing and that of the wealthy elite.

Billionaire owners, unevenly distributed television income, ridiculous transfer fees, astronomical salaries, enormous debts and uncompetitive leagues are crippling football. Only the elite will be able to compete. The rest will just be there to make up the necessary numbers.

Football clubs firmly embedded in their local communities, with long and enviable histories, were once the heart and soul of the game. The ones which just happen to be ripe for billionaire exploitation are transforming themselves into debt fuelled global juggernauts. Heartless machines that have lost touch with their histories in order to fire a stranger’s ambitions.

If the global financial crash of 2008 is anything to go by, this is just another massive bubble waiting to burst. But it won’t just be a financial crash.

It will be a sociocultural crash falling swiftly on the heels of a psychological crash, the type that results from realising that you have nowhere to fall when you have spent the preceding years subconsciously distancing yourself from your historical identity (and for no other reason than to satisfy someone else’s temporary drive for publicity and self-promotion).

It is a very subtle form of exploitation that UEFA’s financial fair play rules may be powerless to prevent.

The correction process will be brutal.

It will see many clubs disappear from their local communities.

It will see others hanging on, but with a depressing realisation of how good things used to be – before their glamorous transformation, the very thought of which they just could not resist.

The beautiful game is rapidly facing up to the fact that it is actually the unsustainable game.

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When our false idols fall: bigotry on the football pitch

Living a life of privilege can sometimes distort an individual’s understanding of the complexities of human relationships and the value systems that the majority of human beings live by and uphold.

Being a successful modern day football player brings incredible wealth, favours and luxuries into the lives of people who would otherwise have lived ordinary lives like the rest of us.

Not that there is anything wrong with receiving the ‘market rate’ for your talents.

Every one of us would like to think that we are appropriately remunerated for the work we do.

But when certain individuals have been thrust into an entirely artificial setting that quickly turns them into the object of everyone’s adulation, hopes and dreams, their dramatic change in fortune rips them out of the banality of everyday existence into a fantasy world, in which their perception of reality is in danger of shifting in equal measure.

In certain individuals, although thankfully not in all of them, this creates a sense of magnificence, greatness and importance that is utterly at odds with the reality that consumes the lives of the very people that put them there in the first place.

In these cases the moral responsibility to take proper cognisance of the needs and rights of other human beings seems to become less urgent, and their perception of what is right and wrong is in danger of diminishing as their distance from the hard complexities of everyday life increases.

The upshot is that we create fantasy worlds for these individuals to live in and effectively grant a moral freedom that many of them fail to understand or respect.

Sometimes their antics are purely wrapped up in the spirit of the show business that football has become. Other times they are rooted in the convergence of the reality of the lives they appear to have left behind, and the fantasy their lives have become.

When these worlds converge, without proper due diligence and careful personality management, some of the uglier aspects of being human burst through into what we always believed to be the impenetrably god-like bubble inhabited by our footballing idols.

Our shock and disgust at these eruptions are magnified to the same extent that we had elevated these individuals to this divine status in the first place.

When we witness certain football players engaging in racially motivated behaviour and other forms of religious and social bigotry – and this is just on the field of play – we get a glimpse of their lives as they really are.

We get a blunt reminder that their god-like status is mythical and a realisation that their personalities have always been tainted by the bigoted attitudes, beliefs and preferences we thought we had air-brushed out.

Sadly, bigotry will always exist in football because of some of the personality types that find their way into it and because of the bubbles we create for them to inhabit once they are in it.

We may react with disgust and outrage at displays of bigotry on the pitch, and do everything we can to punish the offenders, but we may as well be living in the very same fantasy worlds we are busy creating if we truly believe that it will be eradicated any time soon.

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Protecting your own: Dalglish & Suarez

Whether it is right to do so, it is human nature to defend your own.

Sometimes giving in to human nature means stepping outside the space of reason.

When we consider ourselves to be threatened by another, we dig in and defend our position come what may. We resolutely and blindly support our faith, our family and our friends. Sometimes it is the right thing to do; other times it is not. But that doesn’t matter.

The tendency to protect your own leads many people into difficult situations. It sometimes takes individuals into a space in which they find themselves unable to privately justify or rationalise their own behaviour.

Yet they feel they must carry on regardless, defending people and positions they would otherwise walk away from. This is a natural human bias. It is just the way human beings are.

Kenny Dalglish’s blind support of Luis Suarez is an excellent example of this.

Whilst the majority of people peering in to his world have been recoiling in disgust at the manner in which he has been prepared to support the racist behaviour of one of his players, myself included, Dalglish reacts indignantly and continues to defend his player’s behaviour and attitude.

But the question we need to ask ourselves is whether this ‘recoil’ is itself a natural human reaction, or whether it is triggered by a media bandwagon, a sense of group outrage or a sense of self-righteous positioning.

We all know that racism is utterly disgusting and racist behaviour should never be condoned nor defended.

But what would we do if we were in Kenny Dalglish’s position?

Would we publicly criticise our player, or would we be inclined to defend him? Would we abandon our own, or would we find a way of putting our arm around him to protect him?

It is too easy to assume that we would be tough minded enough to abandon our own, even when we knew it would be the right thing to do.

It is too easy to sit back and criticise Kenny Dalglish for doing what many other people would be inclined to do publicly, despite what they believed privately. It is human nature to try to find the good in the people you trust and believe in, and it is human nature to defend and protect them when things go wrong.

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Football Bigotry, Rationality & Irrationality

To be bigoted is to be intolerant of other people’s beliefs, preferences and opinions.

Arguably, there is a difference between being a bigot and engaging in bigoted behaviour.

An individual we may wish to describe as bigoted would be someone who thinks in a bigoted fashion or engages in bigoted behaviour as the norm. It is part of their psychology to think and behave this way in most situations.

Whereas an individual to whom we may wish to attribute a bigoted action on a particular occasion, would not necessarily be described as a bigot generally.

It may be an isolated occurrence, a single unit of behaviour which would require a specific type of explanation relative to that occasion, rather than a manifestation of a wider behavioural pattern.

To engage in bigoted behaviour in the latter sense may be the most appropriate way of describing much of the behaviour witnessed at football games, during which opposing supporters engage in behaviour they would otherwise condemn or be embarrassed about.

Rather than categorise an individual as bigoted because he has been found to have engaged in illicit chanting, for example, it may be more appropriate to recognise that he is not generally a bigot, but has simply engaged in bigoted behaviour on this occasion.

In this sense, that individual’s bigoted behaviour may be described as irrational. It is neither logically consistent with his general background beliefs and attitudes, nor is it typical of how he would behave in other circumstances.

The causes of such types of behaviour vary. It is likely that an individual who has engaged in illicit chanting at a football match, but who would never contemplate intolerant disrespect of other people’s beliefs, culture or heritage outside of this occasion, would have experienced emotional triggers that elicited this type of response at that moment in time.

In order to understand bigoted behaviour of this type, we need to understand more about the emotional triggers and the seeming lack of control over the outward expression of these emotions.

There are times when the emotional triggers are heightened through intense excitement, disappointment or fear; other times they are heightened through intoxication; and at times it is simply about group-belonging.

It is not uncommon to get caught up in the moment. Whatever triggered the bigoted behaviour at the time, many individuals subsequently express regret about their behaviour once the source of their irrational response has abated or has been removed entirely.

In cases like this, bigotry at football is irrational. Oddly enough, there are many other individuals for whom such behaviour is the norm, and for whom bigoted behaviour would be perfectly rational in the sense that it would be logically consistent with their background beliefs, attitudes and wider behavioural patterns.

To engage in bigoted behaviour of any sort is wrong and may have devastating and unintended consequences; to be a bigoted individual in general is so much worse, and the consequences of their behaviour are typically intentional and justifiable in their own mind.

To remove bigotry from football games, it may be that you need to adopt a different type of approach, depending on the type of individual you are dealing with.

Dealing with individuals who have engaged in an irrational display of bigotry in the heat of the moment would require helping them rationalise the event and the context of their response at a later point, in the hope that they can learn how to break the causal links and associations that tend to trigger the behaviour.

Dealing with individuals whose lives are steeped in bigotry is a different case entirely.

It is not obvious how to undo the connections and associations, because in their mind they are watertight. They are completely logical, they have been reinforced time after time through the way they experience the world, and they sit consistently with the way they live their lives on a daily basis.

In fact, it may be the case that we just have to admit that such individuals are unlikely to change or be changed. Sadly, they may be lost causes in the fight against bigotry.

Only encouraging a complete shift in their framework of beliefs, emotions and attitudes could bring about the changes required. Only something akin to a total re-evaluation of the way they see the world is likely to have the desired effect.

The problem is such individuals would be unlikely to see this as necessary in the first place, because they do not see anything irrational or wrong in what they are doing.

In this sense, it could only be hoped that their influence is limited and that they do not infect others with their distorted and bigoted worldview.

It could only be hoped that there is sufficient knowledge and awareness in those around them, especially those of an impressionable age, that they do not inherit their bigotry.

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Quick to glorify, even quicker to vilify

When you think about some of the astronomical transfer fees paid in the past few years for football players who turned out to be distinctly average, it makes you wonder why we have a tendency to set our expectation levels so high on the basis of a few small achievements.

The obvious example that springs to mind would be Andy Carroll. Of course, there are many more examples than this, and it would be unfair to single him out, other than to illustrate the point that in general, we have become far too quick to congratulate, and too quick to criticise, when we realise that we have made a mistake in our judgement.

The problem is not unique to football. As a society, we can be too quick to glorify what appear to be a few good achievements, and too quick to vilify when the expectations we create around these achievements fail to materialise.

(Witness the farce with Mr Fred Goodwin, who was honoured with a knighthood for work that was highly regarded at the time, but which was later annulled when the results of his work turned out to be quite disastrous.)

Now, returning to football, perhaps in some cases we have become so used to mediocrity and banality that we purposely look for signs that certain individuals could have the potential to be better than those we already have in our teams. Quite often they don’t.

It is not uncommon to create expectations around a player’s abilities that are never going to be realised in reality. As a result, we are led to believe that such players should be valued significantly higher than the others around them.

For a short time, this psychological trick gives us hope and helps to justify in our minds the amount of money that is about to be spent.

Perhaps this, combined with media influence and market pressures, explains why we often fall into the trap of overstating what certain football players have achieved, when they appear to have shown some signs of being better than the norm.

There are also examples of players who are actually better than the norm, and who consistently prove this in one context. Yet when you take them out of that context their level of achievement drops significantly. Think about Fernando Torres as a prime example of this.

Many reasons can be given to explain such a loss in form, but the upshot tends to be that our disappointment is greater when our lofty expectations, and the fee we are lured into paying for their services, have been exposed as being embarrassingly high.

Our need to restore the emotional and psychological equilibrium when we are stung in this way often results in the need to publicly criticise and condemn, as well as make a hasty leap off the bandwagon.

In the same way that we sometimes build expectations around players that go well beyond their actual ability and potential, we tend to indulge in a level of public vilification that mirrors the chasm between our unrealistic expectations and a realistically adjusted statement of their original achievements.

And this is harsh. It is too harsh, in fact, on the players, when they have no real control over their stated market value. They may enjoy enormous salaries as a result, but the emotional and psychological pressure they endure with this level of expectation and criticism could be crippling.

Too many clubs fail to carry out proper due diligence when courting players, and investors, sponsors and supporters are always there to feed into this fantasy world and financial merry go round year after year.

This latest transfer window may have closed with little fuss. But when it reopens in the summer, the level of expectation will rise further still, and then fall in equal measure in due course.

The problem is that expectation levels have become so utterly out of synch with reality that they are no longer realistic, and this has become increasingly worse.

Now, when you have a small amount of investors pumping ridiculous amounts of money into a small part of a market that cannot really sustain itself, you create expectations that are rarely achieved. At first, there will be millions of people jumping on the bandwagon and enjoying it whilst it lasts.

But ultimately, this type of market will implode. And just as we witnessed with the collapse of the banking industry that over stretched itself, there will be millions of people queuing up to find someone to blame and vilify.

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Goal Line Technology: The Least of our Concerns

There is no question that the introduction of new technology can bring with it tremendous benefits.

Small changes sometimes bring about significant advances in the way we think about things and in the way we interpret situations.

Indeed sometimes we talk about the introduction of new technology as being a ‘game changer’.

The introduction of goal line technology in football would appear to be not too far off. If you are talking about a game changer, this would definitely be one.

Various systems are being trialled currently by FIFA, with a view to having goal line technology and video replay in place at the Brazil World Cup in 2014.

There are many well-rehearsed arguments for and against using this technology, from purists who argue that it would destroy the natural fluidity of a football game, to players, pundits and punters who have a vested interest in knowing whether the ball has actually crossed the line or not.

There will always be a fact of the matter whether the entire ball crossed the line. More often than not, the correct decision can be made by the referee and his assistants; but there are always going to be cases where it is just too difficult to judge, and in these cases, it is anybody’s guess.

Hence the call for goal line technology. Football is a business. At critical points in the season, or in critical competitions, there is too much at stake for clubs who have had goals disallowed or non-goals given against them.

But when you start to defer to technology as the final arbiter, you risk creating the absurd situation that neither the referees nor their assistants, neither the players nor their managers, neither the supporters nor the television audience, know whether what they are watching is actually panning out as they think they perceive it, until they check with the machines.

The machines would be recording actual reality, whereas the rest of us mere mortals would just go along with what we think is the case. Football and metaphysics don’t mix.

But the more obvious, less metaphysical, problem is that when you defer to technology as the final court of appeal, including using video evidence to make off-side and penalty decisions, you run the risk that even the better referees begin to lose confidence in their own decision making skills.

More than this, you make it easy for players and managers to play on this creeping doubt and question every critical decision made in the hope that the machine may have called it in their favour. This would definitely change the game, but not for the better.

Perhaps if we could create technology that would catch out every case of simulation and feigning (we probably can’t) then we would be on to a winner and goal line technology would be viewed as the least of our concerns.

Too many referees are tricked into thinking a foul has been committed when it hasn’t, and in my opinion this spoils more games, and causes more teams to be knocked out of major competitions, than a wrong call on whether the entire ball crossed the line.

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Time to close this Ugly Monstrosity of a Book

Our values and beliefs are integral to our sense of who we are.

We have always been taught that it is good and right to rationally defend what we believe in and so it is a natural human response to take umbrage when other people attack the very foundations of our values and beliefs.

This is partly why there has been so much focus recently on the problems with sectarian and bigoted behaviour in some sections of Scottish society, where we have witnessed the expression and defence of values and beliefs taken to a different and much uglier level.

The problem here is that too many people, those guilty of such offensive behaviour, have shifted away from rational argument and debate – if they ever operated there in the first place – to unashamed discrimination, vile exchanges of hatred and unforgiveable episodes of violence.

Now, I think it is a fair assumption to say that the vast majority of these individuals have no genuine affiliation with the feelings and views they express and defend. Some do, but many don’t.

In fact, it is probably fair to say that many of them do not really understand, or know very much about, any of the religious, political or historical events they have temporarily called their own, and which they appear to passionately support and defend in such a bigoted manner.

I think there are times when some people let themselves become part of the socially engineered, media-driven mood, and become drawn into patterns of behaviour that they may not have engaged in otherwise, away from the moment.

In my view, this makes the problem worse than it might have been, had we not allowed it to be stirred up in such a sensational way. True, discrimination exists everywhere. Racially and religiously motivated acts of hatred and violence have always been part of our society, and probably always will.

But too often, too many more people than necessary become sucked into the fervour of the story. Too often we witness people immersing themselves in a history that isn’t theirs, adopting beliefs and values from a past time that have got nothing to do with their lives in the present, glorifying the hatred and violence that surrounds them.

It is almost as if the original integrity of some people’s values and beliefs has been spiked by the cleverly structured, sensationalist stories thrown around by the media, and by the collective hysteria whipped up by their group’s fervent defence of its adopted identity.

Yet if these people were to stop and think for a minute, if they were to remove themselves from the unfolding story, they may realise that it is not actually their story to tell, it is not actually their story to defend, and that it is time to close this ugly monstrosity of a book.

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Two songs don’t make a right

Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, recently said that that unless sectarianism is eradicated, there will be no game of football left in Scotland. He said this within the context of a parliamentary discussion about the proposed new legislation to criminalise sectarian behaviour in and around football grounds, believing that our current laws are not sufficient to deal with this type of offensive behaviour.

The type of behaviour Salmond was referring to includes singing songs that would be deemed offensive to people of other ethnic, racial or religious persuasions.

But one of the biggest problems with making this legislation work is the mind-set of the people concerned. It may punish their behaviour, if the politicians manage to get it right, but it will never eradicate it. The reason why is that it is aimed at people who are quick to recognise this type of behaviour as wrong in other people, but slow to recognise it in themselves. And when they are brought to account, the common response is “what about them?”

Many examples of offensive singing and chanting at football matches are thrown up on an almost weekly basis. Both sides of the divide have done it at different times, in the attempt to incriminate the other and prove that the problem of racial or sectarian hatred is always someone else’s: “we might have been singing about this, but it is just about history and heritage, whereas they were singing about that, and that is so much worse…”

What this suggests is that our sense of justification is driven by raw emotion, personal preference and group belonging, and is underpinned by the view that our own response is somehow entitled to be equal to the other person’s offence. It is a belief expressed in the often heard, “if someone hits you, hit them back,” and so it is a belief that we can absolve ourselves of responsibility for our actions, if our actions have been provoked by similar actions in others which we find offensive and reprehensible.

Carrying this approach through to its sorry conclusion, we arrive at a point where we can no longer recognise what is wrong about our own offensive behaviour and yet we still feel that we are perfectly entitled to pass judgement on the same behaviour in others. Each side is as guilty as the other. We have just lost the perspective to realise that.

So when this sense of justification is allowed to take root, it becomes difficult to find a clear way of distinguishing between right and wrong and the clear sightedness we need to live a decent and upstanding life is quickly lost. The upshot is that introducing new legislation will never succeed in bringing about a lasting change in behaviour. And this is what we really need.

The roots of this type of behaviour run too deep for legislation to have any significant impact. It is one thing to criminalise behavioural expressions of hatred. It is another thing to educate this hatred out of people already infused with it, and an entirely different matter to create the conditions in society that would never have known this type of hatred in the first place.

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