I was unfortunate enough to have to chair a “debate” on my twitter timeline this weekend as two polarised views clashed on my timeline in response to one of my tweets. On one side we had someone who wished to lay the blame for the injuries sustained by our Ibrox employees squarely with the SOS, whilst the other expressed a desire to see a “more aggressive approach” to the nature of fans protests. Throughout the course of what was an unpleasant exchange between the two of them, it emerged that the proponent of the “more aggressive approach” was not a member of the UOF or SOS whilst the other was apportioning blame based solely on unconfirmed reports he had heard.
It was a discussion which has been very much mirrored on Rangers fans message boards over the weekend. Some clearly saw Friday night’s events as an opportunity to tarnish the fans groups whilst others appear unwilling to accept that the behaviour of Rangers led to the injuries of the two elderly Rangers employees. Considering the incident which led to the injuries occurred both after and away from the location of the organised protest it seems unreasonable to link the unsavoury incident to the main protest where thousands of bears demonstrated in an emotional, exuberant yet exemplary peaceful manner.
Those who maintain they saw no violence or assaults at the latter incident, may well be correct, but you cannot ignore the fact that as a consequence of whatever happened at Argyle House two elderly Rangers employees, George and Liz sustained injures. And that is not, and never will be, acceptable.
I’m sure all of us in the Rangers support would wish them both a speedy recovery.
I’ve been harping on for months now, almost like some PC Brigade acolyte, about some of the unhelpful derogatory and inflammatory language being used. If we claim as a support that such language dehumanises our support when it is directed against us, does the same argument not work the other way? Or would anyone care to argue that terms such as “rats” is neither derogatory nor dehumanising?
What is clear from Friday is that those wishing to exercise their right to peaceful protest now goes way beyond the ranks of members of the UOF and SOS. This places an added responsibility on protest organisers to ensure that all participants are clear about both the nature and aims of such protest. The briefing message needs to be clear, consistent and unequivocal that all such demonstrations against the board are to be peaceful in nature.
I am also firmly of the opinion that a “more aggressive approach” will be self-defeating. Our board are worthy of utter contempt for their actions, but that does not in any way, shape or form justify violence or threats of violence towards them. Supporters protesting in a peaceful and responsible manner against avarice, broken assurances and opportunistic businessmen playing Russian roulette with our club will capture the imagination – behaving in a manner befitting thugs won't. Furthermore it will turn away many bears who will just not entertain such behaviour.
Protesting and demonstrating is one of the few immediate options available to us as a fan base, it is imperative we use it responsibly and do nothing which usurps either its effectiveness or ability to unite our fan base behind a common cause.
The proposal which sees Ibrox being used as security against loan is very much a crossing of the Rubicon for the Ibrox support, and has galvanised and unified us as a fan base. Let’s not cross our own Rubicon in the way we protest against it.