‘This is not just a problem in the west’

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Sending an abusive sectarian message via Twitter to Hibs captain Ian Murray, may well have been the work of a sick, deranged loner.

But we shouldn’t ignore it.

The internet plays a key part in the incubation of sectarian hatred, the kind of hatred that spilled over into the sending of mail bombs through the post to prominent Celtic supporters including Neil Lennon and the late Paul McBride QC.

And this case suggests that those who believe sectarianism is solely a west of Scotland problem are incorrect.

Last year, Irish Catholic Richie Towell, who was on loan at Hibs from Celtic, said he had met more hostility at Tynecastle than at Ibrox.

For this reason the police need to act swiftly to take action against those who peddle such hatred online, often believing that the anonymity afforded by the internet makes it acceptable.

Of course, the vast majority of Hibs and Hearts fans are decent people.

But the small number who continue to believe that discriminating against people because of their religion, their background or the colour of their skin is acceptable must be rooted out.

The new Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication Scotland Bill introduced by the Scottish Government makes it clear that using the internet to peddle hatred is a criminal offence.

While some argued the legislation was not necessary, it has offered additional powers to tackle this problem.

It also made it clear that as a society we abhor this ongoing issue that blights our national sport.

The reputation not only of football, but of Scottish society, is on trial. Strong action must be taken.

Why not let us decide?

JuST think – we could pay for another 16 pandas at Edinburgh zoo for a year. Or how about handing out a crisp £20 note to every man, woman, and child in the city, with change left over to buy the Capital a round of drinks?

Perhaps it should simply be split between Hearts and Hibs with the proviso that it must be used for big-money signings.

OK, perhaps not the sort of thing that the councillors who are proposing the people’s budget idea have in mind, but would it be so bad to put the general public in charge of the city’s finances?

One thing is for sure after all. The answer to how most people would spend £10 million of taxpayers money . . . anything but trams.