Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The Right To Hurl Mindless Abuse

Here is a sign of how far political correctness and the abandonment of free speech has taken us.

As a southerner, it took me while to get the hang of rugby league when I moved to Yorkshire. At first I thought it was some kind of formation mugging. I did get to like it though, and I particularly grew to enjoy the banter of the supporters; coarse and ribald it might have been from time-to-time, but it was generally good-natured and less tribal than what you'd hear on the football terraces. It was, it seemed, a bastion of uninhibited and unpoliced joshing.

Not any more. Castleford have been fined £40,000 because a small group of their supporters threw "homophobic chants" at an openly gay opponent. £40,000's quite a lot of money in rugby; the game is not awash with millions as football is. Thus this will hurt Castleford. But it's not the fine itself that fills me with the most anger or fear. It's the fact that the club is somehow supposed to prevent it. According to Castleford:

"The DVD confirms that this was three faint, short bursts of chanting each of five seconds duration, over a period of four minutes. Two of the chants were drowned out by PA announcements and the third stopped very shortly after commencing as there was no support for it."

OK, so this means that club is supposed to have so many stewards stationed round its ground that it can identify, pretty much immediately, any short chant, song or shout that may offend our lords and masters. Finding where a chant comes from is not easy in a crowd. Preventing a repeat might be even harder, requiring stewarding of sufficent numbers to deal with the supposed perbetrators.

What we've therefore come to is an expectation that private companies such as rugby clubs are expected to do the State's dirty work for it by rooting out behaviour that it (the State) objects to but that few others give a monkey's about. The expense involved, not to mention the restrictions placed on the rights of the fans to vent their frustrations, speaks volumes for the extent to which the State now rules over ever aspect of our lives. You can't go to a rugby game and call someone a poof ?

It really is time the people hit back.


Shades said...

The bit about sending an inspector to every match struck me as rather sinister. A job for the righteous indeed.

Frank Davis said...

It's the same principle as the smoking ban. You slap £50 fines on individual smokers, but £2500 fines on the pubs. Pub landlords are expected to act as unpaid policemen. This is the real reason why there's little or no smoking in pubs. Individual smokers might shrug off a fine, but they don't want their pubs driven out of business at the same time.

It's a form of collective punishment. It's like saying that for every partisan we find and execute, we'll line up 50 local people and shoot them as well. The partisans might be happy to lay down their own lives, but they'll baulk at taking 50 innocent people with them.