The IRSP in Scotland would like to register its disgust at the recent ‘not proven’ verdict given to the prosecution of John Wilson for assault aggravated by religious prejudice. This came despite the incident on the 11th of May taking place under the full glare of CCTV at a packed Tynecastle stadium. This verdict is indicative of the prevailing conditions of bigotry and anti-Irish racism in Scotland. Heart’s head of Security Peter Croy gave evidence he had heard Wilson shout “Lennon, you Fenian bastard” whilst trying to assault the Celtic manager. This corrupt verdict is the culmination of a vicious 11-year campaign of hatred directed at Neil Lennon. The hate campaign has involved the media, the lumpenproletariat and the so-called justice system. The IRSP in Scotland has given the following analysis of this relentless campaign of racist bile.
Neil Lennon is hated because he is a Catholic from a Nationalist background in the six counties. The Scottish media has tried to give various condescending excuses for this hatred. Lennon’s passionate personality is often a favourite excuse for the morally bankrupt tabloids. Take away the sugar coating and the media position is ‘a good Irishman keeps his head down and his mouth shut’. Neil Lennon is a passionate individual about his football team and is not afraid to show it. Why should he not show his passion? Why should he bow to the prejudice of the Scottish media? In season 2010-2011 the media persistently asked if Neil Lennon would stay as Celtic manager amidst the bombs and bullets being sent to him and his family. One couldn’t help but feel that the media wanted Lennon to leave the stage because his presence as Celtic manager was bringing Scotland’s shameful bigotry to the surface.
The English media had also started to cover the hate campaign and therefore the saga had much more International exposure than before. The media in England could not understand why this was tolerated by the Scottish Football Association or the Scottish government. This lack of understanding by the English media highlights the unique ant-Irish racism which plagues Scotland today. In no other country in the world would this situation be tolerated.
The recent verdict proved that anti-Irish racism is an epidemic in Scotland. This was not the first time Lennon has been attacked but it was the first time such an attack was caught live on CCTV. In addition to this the head of security at Tynecastle witness to Wilson’s verbal and physical outburst. This is why the ‘not proven’ verdict is so unbelievably shocking. Scotland’s justice system resembles Alabama in the 1960s. It sends a message to Scottish society that anti-Irish racism is acceptable and that you can physically attack Neil Lennon and receive a sympathetic ear from the justice system.
The IRSP urges the Irish Diaspora in Scotland to fight racism by any means necessary. No matter where it should come from, the mindless animals in the street or the well mannered thugs of our so called justice system. We call on the Irish community to get behind the Celtic Manager. The attack on him is an attack on all of us. We are all Neil Lennon!