Friday, August 31, 2012

Celtic Director in rebel song confession

A FORMER Labour minister has admitted singing Irish rebel songs and says he even sang one in the Queen’s official residence in Northern Ireland.
Brian Wilson said that the Scottish Government’s attempt to rid football grounds of sectarian behaviour by more legislation was a “nonsense” and that existing laws were adequate.
Mr Wilson, MP for Cunninghame North from 1987 until 2005 and a Celtic director for six years, said he had belted out a rebel song in Hillsborough Castle.
Mr Wilson said that he and others had sung Kevin Barry, written in honour of an IRA gunman hanged after the First World War.
He admitted: “Let me be open with a voluntary confession for Scotland’s Song Police.
“I know all the words to Kevin Barry and I have been heard to sing them.
“Indeed, I think the last time was in the drawing room of Hillsborough Castle, when the portrait of Lord Brookeborough glaring down at us made the temptation irresistible.”
Lord Brookeborough was an Ulster Unionist politician, seen as particularly hardline in his attitude to Catholics.
Mr Wilson said he was not from a Catholic background, but was a supporter of republicanism over monarchism, he believed in a united Ireland and his support for Celtic was in his “DNA”.
He said: “The reason I know the words is that I am the product of youthful conditioning, just as all of us are. We are brought up with traditions, values and our parents’ beliefs.
“As a rational adult, I quickly worked out that there was nothing romantic about violence, and grew wary of songs that glorified it, even at a distance in time.
“The poor sods on the receiving end of flashing bayonets and Thomson guns were no more deserving of their fates than the later victims of Semtex and AK47s,” said Mr Wilson.
Even so, he said it was wrong to try to erase a sense of personal identity or the “expressions that go with it” by passing legislation.
“Bigoted, sectarian attitudes are buried deep in Scottish society,” he said.
“That is a problem worthy of the Scottish Government’s attention.”
Celtic made no comment.
David McLetchie, the Conservatives’ justice spokesman, said: “I am not in the least bit surprised that Brian Wilson knows the words to Kevin Barry. However, such songs have no place at football matches, because they have nothing to do with supporting a football team.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Police and prosecutors have made it clear they need extra tools to tackle such hate by filling clear gaps in the current law.”

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