Celtic fans' antisocial antics underline need for strict liablity - readers' letters

As Alison Campsie reports (Scotsman, 20 May), four police officers were injured, many more were assaulted, and 19 Celtic fans arrested, in and around Glasgow Cross, as fans celebrated their Premiership triumph. These were alcohol-fuelled incidents and many pyrotechnics were fired over a prolonged period.

There was damage to traffic lights and lamp posts, with litter and broken glass everywhere. Glasgow City Council staff, commendably, worked through the night to prepare the streets for Cancer Research’s Race For Life the following day. While Ms Campsie quotes the council and Police Scotland,she does not mention the Scottish Government nor the Football authorities. We know what comes next for it is so familiar.

The SFA and SPFL had high-profile talks,with Police Scotland about the inappropriate crowd behaviour at Dens Park on 1 November. The entire away stand was illuminated, and the game delayed for 19 minutes, as hundreds of dangerous flares were set off. They were under intense media pressure but waited for the furore to die down then, true to form, did nothing. The talks were the end in themselves.

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Yet the answer stares us in the face. Emulate every other nation in UEFA by bringing in “strict liability” – deduct points, impose fines, shut a stand or have matches played behind closed doors. Strict liability has transformed, for example, Dutch football.

A Celtic fan perches on a set of traffic lights as supporters gathered at Glasgow Cross on Saturday to celebrate winning the Premiership (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)A Celtic fan perches on a set of traffic lights as supporters gathered at Glasgow Cross on Saturday to celebrate winning the Premiership (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)
A Celtic fan perches on a set of traffic lights as supporters gathered at Glasgow Cross on Saturday to celebrate winning the Premiership (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

The Scottish Government runs scared of offending the Glasgow giants while the Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Articles (Scotland) Act 2022 to deter misuse has failed. No Scottish club has ever been sanctioned over the illegal use of dangerous pyrotechnics. As recently as March we were led to believe the SFA welcomed the sensible suggestions from Hibernian FC regarding flares, objects being thrown and sectarian singing. We have heard nothing since. We never do.

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing, Fife

Glasgow’s shame

There appears to be the usual revisionism by Scotland’s largely Glasgow based, Glasgow-orientated media outlets as to the events of Saturday 18 May. As an eyewitness whilst trying to return home from a local voluntary group, may I share my view of events?

By 3pm, the subways were already filled with those doing their level best to get in the faces of as many random strangers having the audacity not to be even wearing anything green, let alone display affinity to Celtic Football Club, confident that their boorishness came with no risk of swift consequences from the insurance of being part of a large, obnoxiously loud, drunk and drugged neanderthal mob.

On the streets above, the situation was ten times worse, swarming with evil teen goblin hordes and those unable to accept their youth has long past, all doing their level best to bait those simply trying to get their shopping in after a long week's work – a concept doubtless alien to these wastrels.

The police’s pathetic response – issuing officers with green caps to knee-bend to these knuckle-draggers (doubtless had it been the other half of Glasgow’s Shame running amok, it would have been orange ones) – encapsulated what this country has devolved to: reflex capitulation to feckless boorish immaturity.

All this in sharp contrast to the oft-repeated local mythology of Glasgow as the world’s “friendliest city”. Empty vessels don’t just make most noise, they empty areas of tourists, judging by the irritated, intimidated elderly family groups hovering stone-faced at every taxi rank trying to escape fast. Haste Ye Back? Not bloody likely!

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Vapes ban vital

I am writing on behalf of the health charity, ASH Scotland, in response to Pete Cheema’s article “A disposable vapes ban won’t have desired effect” (Scotsman, 20 May).

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ASH Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government’s proposed ban of disposable recreational e-cigarettes, which are the product of choice for the majority of youngsters who vape. The ban will be a major step forward towards halting the alarming huge upsurge of youth vaping.

With most disposable vaping products containing high levels of nicotine, which is extremely addictive, as well as toxic chemicals that have not been safety tested for inhalation and can damage lung health, the ban is both urgent and necessary to protect the health of our children.

Knowledge about e-cigarette products shared by retail staff does not equate to the range of medical expertise and proven stop smoking methods that are freely available from health specialists working for NHS Scotland’s Quit Your Way service. No e-cigarette is medicinally licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) or anywhere globally.

Industry has a track record of trying to evade regulation, therefore government should be vigilant to any attempts to undermine the goal of protecting Scotland’s public health and our environment.

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive, ASH Scotland, Edinburgh

Traffic nightmare

I was distressed to see the cover of The Scotsman on Saturday as I hoped that the headline “No ban without a plan” might be referring to the traffic plans for Edinburgh.

No such luck. These plans seem to be focused upon the needs of cyclists, rather than the population as whole and are making this beautiful city almost impossible to access for its ageing residents. I fail to see the hordes of cyclists in the cycle lanes but I do see expensive bollards and potholes. There seems little sense or holistic thinking beyond prejudice for the cycle lobby.

David Gerrard, Edinburgh

If the cap fits…

Stan Grodynski mockingly self-identifies as “apparently just another ‘extremist’” when objecting to the use of this term to describe Scottish separatists (Letters, 18 May). But is this label so far-fetched?

The main nationalist party was until recently in coalition with the Greens, whose ideology involves support for groups like Extinction Rebellion, putting a stop to economic growth and banning fossil fuels. Recent so-called “Freedom” rallies have featured almost as many Palestinian flags as saltires, not to mention chanting of pro-Hamas slogans. The Continuity SNP wish to severely disrupt Nato’s nuclear deterrent by banishing Trident from Scotland. And most of the independence movement’s leadership want to persuade us that biological gender doesn’t really exist. All this sounds pretty extremist to most people.

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We’ll say nothing of the Yes persuasion’s strange conviction that Modern Monetary Theory will solve those annoying money problems after liberation from the Barnett Formula, the Bank of England, and shared resources.

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh

Chernobyl’s toll

WB Campbell, arguing the case for nuclear power (Letters, 18 May), says that there were “perhaps up to 100 deaths… caused by exposure to radiation” at the nuclear power plant disaster at Chernobyl in 1986.

It has in fact been estimated that the disaster’s long-term health impacts saw 4,000 deaths in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, and 16,000 cases in total for those exposed on the entire continent of Europe. The figure could be as high as 60,000 when including the relatively minor effects around the globe. This is clearly a far cry from 100 deaths.

While one can argue that there have been limited number of nuclear incidents, to argue that these have had a negligible impact on human life is clearly utter nonsense.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

Nuclear waste

The rejoicing about