Tommy Robinson’s attempt to use today’s game at Tynecastle to stir up racial and religious hatred is disgusting and dangerous, and it must and will be opposed by football supporters from clubs across Scotland and the UK.
Others have tried before to use football to propagate hate. The overwhelming majority of fans saw those racists off, and fans today will do the same.
History has shown that the only viable resistance to racism and fascism is working-class solidarity, on the terraces and on the streets.
This solidarity will make clear to Robinson that he is not welcome in our football grounds or anywhere else in Scotland for that matter.
The fact that Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, used a mocked-up image of him wearing a Hearts strip to try and rally support ahead of the match sums it up. Nothing about him is genuine.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take seriously the threat he poses. His social media videos are widely viewed and, sadly, some in the mainstream media continue to offer him a platform to spread his hate and division.
We cannot and will not allow Hearts or any other club to be used as a vehicle to peddle vicious and hateful anti-Muslim bigotry and sectarianism.
Fans who are working with religious and community groups to oppose Robinson’s move into football, and to promote unity, have my unswerving support and that of the Scottish Labour Party.
As the Foundation of Hearts and the Big Hearts Community Trust have shown, football is a sport that can unite people and act as a positive force in our communities.
That is the true spirit of football, that is what we stand for and that is what we will defend.