Monday, 1 April 2013

Snobs' Law: Criminalising Football Fans in an Age of Intolerance

A generation ago football players 'telling tales' on one another for name calling, or fans being fined and arrested for singing offensive songs would have been unimaginable. Today the new laws and regulations in football are portrayed as modern and tolerant. However, should offensive words be made illegal? Is this part of a progressive fight against bigotry? Or are these developments authoritarian and infantilising – creating a situation where grown men are treated, and encouraged to act like children who tell tales on one another?

Snobs' Law is an examination of the way football fans are regulated. Developed initially around an attempt to understand the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication (Scotland) Bill, it begins by looking at the way fans were policed in the 1980s by the old conservative establishment who caged fans like animals and were ultimately responsible for the deaths at Hillsborough. This is done to contrast past forms of control with those being introduced by the 'cosmopolitan elite', a less overly elitist, politically correct bunch, who are more preoccupied with controlling our minds than our bodies. Words, as John Terry, Luis Suarez and Stephen Birrell have found out, are treated today as though they are weapons, and the 'offensive' use of them can result in the loss of liberty.