Tag Archives: racism

Why the battle over taking the knee is no longer simply about race.

A lot of people have asked me for my opinion on the issue of taking the knee and as anyone who follows me on social media will be aware, I’ve certainly been vocal on the subject for the the last few months. However, it’s all but impossible to debate on twitter for reasons I will expand on in a moment and besides, you only have a limited amount of characters and time. So for the record, here’s my opinion on the current situation.
If you agree, please feel free to copy and post the link to it on your own social media pages and/or leave a comment at the end. If you disagree, then that’s fine with me. We do after all live in a free country. Something a certain section of society seem to have forgotten.
So…

Whilst footballers taking the knee prior to kick off’s obviously started with good if misguided intentions, what has unfolded over the last few months has turned it into something very different.

To be clear, 99.9% of football fans have actively supported Kick It Out since its inception and the same applies to pretty much every anti-discrimination campaign that has used football as a vehicle. Generally, football fans are s supportive bunch be it related to race, disability or sexuality and it takes an awful lot to get us fired up. Indeed, in my book Rebellion I documented some of the more well known times when football fans actually stood up to be counted in the face of adversity or injustice.

We are seeing one such time unfolding right now. For whilst Sky, the BBC and many of the clubs are portraying it as a universally supported movement, this is most definitely not the case. There are actually a growing number of supporters, myself included, who are fiercely opposed to players continuing to take a knee. The reason however, is not because we are in any way opposed to the anti-racism or anti-discrimination message, far from it. It’s because we believe that it is a political gesture that has a symbolic association with an idealism which is totally unacceptable to us and as such, like the Black Power salute, is actually banned from being displayed inside football grounds under both FA and FIFA rules.  And if you continue to harbour the misguided belief that it is none of this is political, just click here where you will find confirmation on Kick It Out’s very own website.

However, the longer this has gone on, it has become increasingly apparent that this is no longer just about being anti-discrimination. It’s actually developed into something much bigger. For fuelled by social media and aided by the fact that stadia are empty of supporters, taking the knee has gone beyond the issue of racism and has become the latest battleground in a series of confrontations between the left and the right.

If you doubt that, you need look no further than the profiles of the keyboard warriors ranting on twitter or reporting people to their clubs trying to get them banned (and I’ve actually had that happen to me more than once over the last two weeks). They’re mostly young with zero life experience, usually students (with zero life experience) and always fuelled by the kind of 6th form left-wing politics that grown ups tend to leave behind when they’ve actually had to make their own way in the world. Some of them don’t even seem to follow football at all, they’re just jumping on the latest leftwaffe cause. In essence, they are the Corbynista in football shirts.

With this one however, there is one very significant difference from the battles we’ve seen previously.

You see despite all the social media screaming, the protests, the crazy polls and the Corbyn frenzy, the rabid left lost the EU referendum and were decimated at the last election because when push came to shove, the silent majority (middle England if you like) stood up just as they always do and slapped them down with a home truth or two.

With the knee, there is no referendum or election looming and therefore no opportunity for the right-wing and more sensible among us to apply the traditional reality check. As a consequence, with Brexit now done and Labour in disarray, this could well be the fanatical lefts last chance to win any kind of moral or faux political success for quite some time. Football is after all, traditionally working class and has a history of right wing political involvement so it’s always been a natural target for their angst. Something we saw with their maniacal opposition to the FLA/DFLA which was immediately tagged as a far-right group when it was anything but.

Hence, despite all the evidence to the contrary from fans opposed to taking the knee -including many black and Asian supporters, they will continue to throw the racist card at anyone who expresses opposition to taking the knee for as long as they possibly can. The aim being to drive division into the game and create the kind of racial hostility that they’ve continued to claim is rife on the ‘terraces’ when the truth is that it hasn’t actually existed to any degree since the 80’s. This division will inevitably lead to confrontation of some kind with the end result being that we’ll see those opposed to taking the knee being even further oppressed by the game if not banned altogether purely on the basis of their fictitious racism. Eventually, the left wing will be left free to claim that ‘they’ rid the game of racists and football, ever terrified of the racism accusation, will let them.

The problem is though, that just like they always do, they’ve succumbed to their undying thirst for power and instead of using basic common sense, they’re blowing it. Again. And the reason is because people opposed to the knee are starting to get organised and fight back. The clamour for the anti-knee argument to be properly heard and discussed is growing. Fast.

Currently, the pro-knee activists and those riding the anti-racist gravy train still have the option to keep control, take a step back and say ‘OK, we’ve made our point we need to stop it now’. This would immediately shut the problem down and allow them to save a degree of face whilst still being able to claim a moral victory of sorts. Instead, never people to learn lessons from the past, they’re continuing to follow their traditional path and have started to dig in with even more ludicrous attacks and a blanket refusal to even understand, let alone accept, that you can be anti-racism and anti-knee.

But by doing so, they are backing themselves into a corner and it’s one from which there is no escape route. This can’t continue forever and eventually the game (ironically the very manifestation of capitalism) is going to have to back down. It might be due to the FA or FIFA actually growing a pair and enforcing its own rules, it might be due to demands from Sky or sponsors but it’s more likely going to be because the football industry will realise that by allowing it to continue, it’s possibly backed the wrong horse. And as the anti-knee lobby start to get really organised and fight back not from behind a keyboard, but by taking more direct action, the game is looking at a PR nightmare that it cannot afford to be on the losing side of.

That’s almost certainly one of the key reasons why clubs have been desperately pumping out statements claiming that players are not supporting actually showing support for Black Lives Matter but that’s not fooling anyone except the gullible. Indeed, if that were the case, why not follow Millwall’s highly successful example and simply stand together as a gesture? Everyone would support that. Everyone.

Similarly, it would explain why Sky have just thrown their hat in with Kick It Out in an effort to try and dilute the growing BLM backlash but again, it’s not fooling anyone. In fact the negative publicity surrounding fans being banned or ‘re-educated’ merely for expressing an opinion is actually making things worse. And that’s without the media backlash against players acting like complete twats during a pandemic because they think they’re untouchable.

The big fear of course, is what’s going to happen when fans are let back in en masse because that could turn very bad very quickly. Indeed the climbdown after the Millwall game was really telling. The game and Sky daren’t make another mistake like that because there are enough fans cancelling subscriptions as it is and I’m already hearing talk of organised boycotts of major sponsors not to mention more protests of the kind we’ve been seeing at Swansea.

Quite what’s going to happen over the next few weeks is anyone’s guess but the sad fact is that I will merely be an interested observer. For after five decades of following Watford Football Club, I have informed them that as a veteran, I will not accept their feeble attempt to rebrand a gesture that has a clear and direct association to an organisation that only a few months ago, was attacking my comrades and monuments to the fallen. As a consequence, whilst I will continue to support the anti-discrimination cause in all my work, Watford will receive neither my support nor my money for the foreseeable future.

They may or may not miss me, I neither know nor care, but staying away is the only course of action I, as an individual, can take. And ultimately, that’s what it boils down to. Those of us opposed to the knee each have the power to force a stop to this but we cannot rely on anyone to fight our corner because there is no one. Instead, we must each play our part be it by writing to our clubs, the FA, FIFA, Sky, etc and informing them that not only are we against the knee and why, but telling them what we are going to do in protest. Be it booing, turning our back, boycotting games, protesting outside stadia, handing back our season tickets, cancelling subscriptions or anything else. Arguing on twitter achieves nothing, collectively hitting them in the pocket is the single most positive thing we can do.

Join me.

@dougiebrimson

Dougie Brimson has written three award-winning feature films (Green Street, Top Dog and We Still Kill The Old Way) and is the author of 16 books including the best-selling Billy Evans gangland trilogy. His latest thriller, In The Know, was published by Caffeine Knights in May 2020.

His next novel will be his first military thriller and will be published in Spring 2021.

All his previous books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

The Football Lads Alliance – Not right or left, just right.

FLAYou may or may not have noticed given the lack of coverage in the mainstream media, but on Saturday 7th October, well in excess of 30,000 people from all corners of these Islands marched peacefully and relatively silently, through the centre of London.

The Football Lads Alliance was on the move, and I am proud to say that I was one of them.

Inevitably, the movement has come under all sorts of attacks from all kinds of places but I’m not going to respond to them here because I don’t have to. Not because it isn’t my place, which it isn’t, but because I’ve always believed that once you step onto the back foot, you’ve already lost the battle. Especially when it comes to people who have been suckered into the ‘left is right and right is always wrong’ mantra.

I would however, like to talk about one aspect of this which rarely seems to be given any real attention and that is this: Using nothing more than social media, how did John Meighan, a relatively average Tottenham supporter manage to galvanise the world of football fandom to such an extent that supporters from every club in the UK and beyond were prepared to set aside rivalries and even outright hatred and walk together in almost perfect harmony?

The answer is actually astonishingly simple. He merely took the first step and offered a voice to the politically disenfranchised. As soon as he’d done that, success was inevitable.

For the truth is that what makes the Football Lads Alliance work is that it isn’t about right or left, it’s about right or wrong. That’s what appeals to the legions of people across this country who have just had enough. Not just of being ignored or even demonised by the established political parties, but of being taken for a ride. Indeed, it’s best summed up by this quote:

‘The alarm has been going off for a while but the ordinary working man kept pressing the snooze button until finally, he decided that he had to get up and go do his job.’

What underpins that, and the thing which in many ways describes the USP of the FLA, is the fact that it isn’t being helmed by a Corbyn or Farage type figure with a self-serving agenda but is instead, headed up by one of us. A working class man who shares our experience, our discontent and our belief that as a strong and growing collective, we are finally starting to develop not just a voice, but something else that has been suppressed for far too long; pride.

Indeed, the one word I heard over and over again on Saturday was proud. Proud of being there, proud of being a part of something and proud of being British.

What happens next is down to the main man but whatever, whenever and wherever it is, the message to the British government will be the same. Whatever the source, whatever the warped idealism or motivation, whoever the target and whatever the cost, the time has come for the authorities to stop pandering to the snowflakes and take the fight to the enemy in our midst. Stop them, whatever it takes.

I’ll be there, with tens of thousands of others. Front and centre, proud as punch.

@dougiebrimson

Just in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

The Football Lads Alliance. 7th Oct 2017 – Central London.

football lads alliance, FLA, terrorism, antifa, racismAs some of you may be aware, a movement called The Football Lads Alliance has sprung up from within the supporting world.

Formed in the wake of the London Bridge atrocity on June 7th to protest at the lack of direct action being taken to counter extremism in the UK, it grew rapidly to the point where, on June 24th, almost 10,000 people took part in a march in the centre of London.

So successful was this march, and so rapidly has the group grown, that as a result of pressure from the members a second march will take place in London on October 7th. Current estimates are that well over 40, 000 people will attend, not just football fans from every club in England and beyond, but men and women from all faiths and political backgrounds who have one common desire: to see an end to all forms of extremism.

Full details of FLA including its mission statement and details of the march (which is taking place with the full consent of the Metropolitan Police) can be found below but if you require any further information, please drop me a line and I’ll point you in the right direction.

football, politics, terrorism, march, protest, watford, arsenal, spurs, west ham, millwall, Man Utd, Man City, Newcastle, Celtic, Rangers

@dougiebrimson

romance, life, love, beer, sexAs some of you may be aware, amongst other things I’m working on I have been beavering away on the sequel to Billy’s Log and am currently publishing extracts online in ‘Billy’s Blog’.

Please click here to visit and if you enjoy it, feel free to spread the word!

And just in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information on pretty much everything I do and have done can be found at dougiebrimson.com

Gender, gender neutral, beer, lads, women, men, relationships, sex, love, romance, author, screenwriting, ebooks, self publishing, indie film, football, FLA

 

Football and the folly of the homophobia debate. Again.

Young love. It's a wonderful thing.
Bromance… it’s a wonderful thing.

I first posted the following blog in the spring of 2012, the year that footballer Andre Gray posted a series of homophobic tweets which saw him spread across the sports pages of the British press.

You would hope that things would have changed in recent years but last night, as I watched the Gareth Thomas documentary on homophobia it became horrifically clear that nothing much has changed at all. And to me, the reason is because the finger of blame is far too easily being pointed in entirely the wrong direction.

To be fair to Gareth Thomas, at least he had a go at taking the game to task and the appalling car crash interviews given by Gordon Taylor and Simone Pound of the PFA coupled with the refusal of the FA to respond to him underlined everything I say below. But where were the interviews with current Premier League players or coaching staff? Why no contribution from the likes of Lineker or Shearer?

Instead, he fell into the now traditional trap of attacking the supporters using social media to try and underline his case. Consequently, by suggesting that the reason why no players have come out as gay was due to potential abuse from the terraces, all he really did was further demonise the very people who will ultimately win the war against homophobia in football. The supporters.

As I said, the blog below was written five years ago and it angers me that I’m being forced to repost it. Because the fact that we’re still without an openly gay footballer in England isn’t simply tragic, it’s shameful.
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As you may or may not know, Downing Street will today play host to a summit which will discuss, amongst other things, the issues of racism and homophobia.

Leaving aside the simple truth that I actually think our PM has more important things to be doing at the moment, the reason this summit is taking place is apparently to take a fresh look at both ‘problems’ in the face of recent events and, in the case of homophobia, in the wake of the BBC documentary which looked at the lack of any openly gay players in the professional game.

Now my views on racism at football are in black and white for all to see, be that on this very blog or in my book Kicking Off. Homophobia however, is something I have never really discussed before and there is a reason for that.

You see speaking as a football fan, it is my assertion that there isn’t actually a problem to address at the moment and nor will there be until such time as we have a player with the bottle to actually come out and admit to his sexuality. At that point things will change immediately because then the anti-homophobia campaign will have an actual focal point or to be blunt, a potential victim. As a result, then, and only then, will we know if we actually have a major problem at all. Because at the moment, it is all supposition.

That is I know, a very simplistic way of looking at things but let’s face it, once inside the confines of a ground, football fans become fairly simplistic beings. All too often the concept of right and wrong is neutralised by raw emotion and whilst any form of abusive chanting is unacceptable, the real key to stopping it isn’t legislation, it’s by changing the mindset of the minority who do it.

The precedent of course, is racist chanting. For as black players made more inroads into the game, supporters eventually began to realise how futile and pathetic abusing them was and that soon became so ingrained in their psyche that to even utter a racist term stopped occurring to all but the most rabid of morons. Indeed, far from knocking football for being racist we should be applauding it for driving the anti-racism message deep into the heart of British society.

I believe that exactly the same thing will happen with homophobia and I would argue that it would happen in a fairly short space of time if not immediately. After all, one only has to look at the TV to see how much has changed with regard to British societies acceptance of homosexuality in recent years.

Yet as the noises being made ahead of this summit clearly seem to prove, both the game and the authorities would like the great British public to believe that the second an openly gay player steps onto a field, the terraces will resound with cries of ‘they don’t like it up ‘em’ or ‘I’m free’ and the sight of fans mincing up and down behind the goals. Indeed the reason I sat down and wrote this very blog is because I have been so offended by some of the things I have been hearing this morning. Football fans may not be perfect, but the suggestion that more than a tiny minority are genuinely homophobic is beyond offensive,

The question of course, is why such things are being inferred and the answer, like most things to do with the great game, is fairly obvious. It’s a basic diversion tactic. Because if you point the finger of blame toward the fans, you don’t actually have to apportion any blame to yourselves.

Like it or not, if you are a pro-footballer be it at Old Trafford or Roots Hall, the nature of the beast is such that getting abuse from the terrace is going to be part and parcel of your career. Brutal though this might be, it is a nailed on fact and if you don’t like it or don’t think you will be able to take it, then don’t do it. It really is as simple as that.

The key to dealing with that abuse is to understand why it happens and what it actually means. Because for the most part, vitriol will only be coming at you from opposing fans if you’re pissing them off by doing a good job. And as long as you’re doing a good job, as recent history has proven only too well, your own supporters will not only forgive you anything but they will continue to heap adulation on you. Since they are the ones who ultimately pay your wages, they’re the only ones you really have to worry about.

However, if that grief comes not from the terraces but from your peers, especially your own team mates, it is something else entirely because it goes beyond banter from the crowd, it becomes personal.

Anyone who has ever been in a changing room knows that many of them are like a scene from Animal Farm (the George Orwell book, not the porn movie!) and any individual who shows even the remotest sign of being in any way different becomes fair game. Remember the stick Graham Le Saux used to get simply because he has a brain in his head? Much of that focussed on his supposed sexuality and let’s face it, if you were gay and saw that as a potential warning of things to come, why on earth would you want to put yourself in the firing line?

Of course not all players are like that and I’m sure that there are certain changing rooms which are delightful places to be post-training. But there are plenty which aren’t, especially if you’re not one of the towel-snapping, prank playing, tart shagging brigade and it is that ‘closed shop’ lad mentality which David Cameron and the various cronies and cling-ons should be discussing not the old chestnut of fears of abuse from the terraces.

But that will only happen when the game actually admits it has a problem in-house and we all know how reluctant it is to do that. Especially when you have a mute and already demonised scapegoat ready to hand.

@dougiebrimson

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordThanks to all those people who continue to keep both The Crew and Top Dog at the top of the various download charts. It really is humbling. Could I please ask that if you have read either book you leave a review of some kind as they are a great help both to me and to potential readers. And don’t forget, my latest comedy ebook Wings of a Sparrow is also available both in print and to download.

homophobia,gay,football,player,writing,blog,blogger 

 

Why Russia absolutely MUST host the 2018 World Cup.

I wrote the following blog a year ago but in light of events in France and the growing clamour to strip Russia of 2018, I thought it worth posting again. Because in my opinion, nothing russia, 2018, world cup, england, football, soccer, racism, fifia, uefa, blatter, homophobia, has changed.

Not surprisingly, in the wake of the furore surrounding FIFA, calls have been made to strip both Russia and Qatar of their respective world cups.

Whilst I totally agree with the logic in respect of Qatar, the idea of relocating 2018 even to England, fills me with horror. Yes, Blatter may be as bent as a nine bob note and yes, allegations that the bid was corrupt may well have a basis in fact, but to me the decision to stage the tournament in the motherland was always absolutely the correct one for one very simple reason.

One of the great strengths of the global game has always been the fight against discrimination in all its forms and by taking the World Cup to Russia, it underlines that message by providing an opportunity to not only bring about, but actually witness real change. That’s why we have to continue along that path because to do otherwise would be a massive mistake.

Now I know that will cause some angst in certain circles however, unlike the majority who will pontificate about this, I have actually been to Russia. Three times in fact.

Just as importantly, I’ve spent considerable amounts of time in the company of Russian football fans including those who are, shall we say, questionable. As a consequence, I have more than a passing knowledge of what makes these guys tick and that knowledge is based not on the ill-informed drivel that the British tabloids are prone to pumping out, but on actual experience. And one of the things I learned quite quickly is that Russian football culture is very different from what we are used to here.

That’s not to excuse the problems which infect the game there, many of which can legitimately be described as both racism and homophobia. But it is fair to say that racism in Russia is a very different animal from the beast we have here in the west and to treat the two in the same manner is a grave error.

More importantly, if the game in the motherland is ever to see an end to discrimination, the very last method of bringing it about would be via the use of any kind of blanket punishment because in my experience, nothing will cement public attitude faster than the western nations adopting a ‘holier-than-thou’ stance. Russia is many things, but fiercely patriotic stands head and shoulders above everything else.

Therefore, it is imperative that the tournament go ahead as planned because it provides the perfect platform for organisations such as FARE and Kick Racism to work with the Russian authorities and start actively promoting an anti-racism and anti-homophobia agenda.

Just as importantly, it will provide scope for that agenda to be taken to those who stand firmly at the very heart of the problem because the support of Russian footballs extremist support will be absolutely vital. That might sound like wishful thinking but in my experience, it is perfectly achievable as long as it is done in the correct manner. However, if that is to happen, work must begin sooner rather than later because it’s going to take time to build both mutual respect and trust.

Thankfully, we currently have the opportunity to do all of this which is why to give it up would be a tragedy. Not just for Russian football or for the entire Russian nation, but for everyone else. Lest we forget, football drove the anti-racism message into English society from the dark days of the 1970’s and there is nothing to suggest that exactly the same thing won’t happen in Russia on the back of 2018.

Is it really worth the risk of losing that chance?

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I’m delighted to tell you that my non-fiction book Rebellion is finally available as an ebook.

football, soccer, protest, hooligans, european elections, UKIP, top dog, green street, author, screenwriting, writingFirst published in 2006, it explores the background to some of the more infamous fan protests told by those who were right at the heart of things.

Amongst the clubs featured are Charlton, Wimbledon, Manchester United, Manchester City, Norwich and Bournemouth amongst many others.

I can also announce that my last novel, Wings of a Sparrow, may well be heading for TV as a four part comedy drama. Watch this space!

 

All of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

russia, 2018, world cup, england, football, soccer, racism, fifia, uefa, blatter, homophobia, brimson, hooligans, hooliganism, violence

This Band of Brothers…

argentina, falklands war, thatcher, royal airforce, nimrod, vulcan, harrierToday is the 6th of June. A date which in the history of the world, will forever hold a special significance. For it is of course, the anniversary of the D-Day landings, and I hope you don’t need me to tell you what that means.

For me, such days are memorable for all kinds of reasons. Remembering the fallen is obviously the most important but not far behind is the joy I get from seeing those glorious old men and women who, bedecked in their berets, blazers and medals, are placed firmly centre stage and looked upon with the awe, reverence and respect they so richly deserve.

Heroes is too small a word.

Now as some of you may know, I served in the military. For over 18 years in fact. And although I played a minor role in the Falklands War, went through Gulf War One and have marched past the Cenotaph with the Falklands Vets more times than I care to remember, I have never really considered myself to be a ‘proper’ veteran. At least not in the sense that I have always regarded those who are quite rightly filling our newspapers and TV screens this morning.

However, (and I won’t go into it all now but if you want to know more, click here) this last week, for the very first time in the 18 years since I last wore a uniform, I have actually started to feel like one of them. A member of that special Band of Brothers we hear talked about so often.  And ironically, I have Mister Stanley Collymore to thank for that.

veteranFor as a result of the disrespect he has shown, and continues to show, to the 255 men whose boots he isn’t fit to even glance upon, he has awakened an army which has come together to gain not just respect, but justice but for our fallen comrades.

And believe me when I tell you that we will not rest until they get it. A simple truth Talksport, media organisations, elected officials and Talksport advertisers will already be acutely aware of.

Yes, I said ‘our’ and I said ‘we’. Because the truth is that I am finally not only happy, but proud to count myself amongst their number.

Tally ho chaps!

falklands, veteran, war, soldier, sailor, airman, RAF, Navy, racism, social media, twitter, Facebook, football, soccer,

This Band of Brothers…

argentina, falklands war, thatcher, royal airforce, nimrod, vulcan, harrierToday is the 6th of June. A date which in the history of the world, will forever hold a special significance. For it is of course, the anniversary of the D-Day landings, and I hope you don’t need me to tell you what that means.

For me, such days are memorable for all kinds of reasons. Remembering the fallen is obviously the most important but not far behind is the joy I get from seeing those glorious old men and women who, bedecked in their berets, blazers and medals, are placed firmly centre stage and looked upon with the awe, reverence and respect they so richly deserve.

Heroes is too small a word.

Now as some of you may know, I served in the military. For over 18 years in fact. And although I played a minor role in the Falklands War, went through Gulf War One and have marched past the Cenotaph with the Falklands Vets more times than I care to remember, I have never really considered myself to be a ‘proper’ veteran. At least not in the sense that I have always regarded those who are quite rightly filling our newspapers and TV screens this morning.

However, (and I won’t go into it all now but if you want to know more, click here) this last week, for the very first time in the 18 years since I last wore a uniform, I have actually started to feel like one of them. A member of that special Band of Brothers we hear talked about so often.  And ironically, I have Mister Stanley Collymore to thank for that.

veteranFor as a result of the disrespect he has shown, and continues to show, to the 255 men whose boots he isn’t fit to even glance upon, he has awakened an army which has come together to gain not just respect, but justice but for our fallen comrades.

And believe me when I tell you that we will not rest until they get it. A simple truth Talksport, media organisations, elected officials and Talksport advertisers will already be acutely aware of.

Yes, I said ‘our’ and I said ‘we’. Because the truth is that I am finally not only happy, but proud to count myself amongst their number.

Tally ho chaps!

falklands, veteran, war, soldier, sailor, airman, RAF, Navy, racism, social media, twitter, Facebook, football, soccer,

Stephen Lawrence – the question no one dare ask.

racism, racist, sex, brimson. stephen lawrence, england, police, football, soccer, hooligans, writing, author, screenwriting, theresa may

I awoke this morning to the news that Doreen Lawrence, mother of the murdered teenaged Stephen Lawrence, is to meet the Home Secretary today to receive assurance that the two (yes, two) inquiries currently underway will not be affected by fresh allegations that police officers secretly taped the chief prosecution witness at the time of the initial inquiry.

Now, let’s cut to the chase here. Yes, a teenager was murdered and like all murders, it was a terrible thing. But we are talking about something that happened 20 years ago and whilst there is no doubting that this particular murder became important for all kinds of reasons and proved to be the catalyst for much needed and long overdue change in the way the police operated, can it really be right that our Home Secretary drops everything to meet the victim’s mother simply because of accusations made on a TV programme?

Does she not have more important things to deal with? Like the fact that we have a war in all but name going on within our own borders at the moment? Or that the country is teetering on the edge of a civil explosion?

No one can, nor should, ever belittle the loss a mother feels at the death of her son but has the time for bending over backwards to appease the Lawrence family not now passed?

More importantly, given the amount of money and time (both police and government) which has and is still being consumed by this particular case, not to mention the changes to policing which have already been brought about as a result of previous enquiries, should the family not be confident enough to know that whatever needs to be done is being done?

Or has this case, as many people increasingly suspect, now become more about retribution than it is about justice?

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For details of all my books and the latest news on current projects including the big screen adaptation of my novel Top Dog, please visit www.dougiebrimson.com 

English for English. It’s common sense!

england, english, language, dialogue, sport, football, soccer, racism, racist, NHS, hospital, police, brimson, hooligans, ebooks, kindle, amazon, itunesI was going to write a long rant this morning about a subject which over this last year, has become an increasing source of not just irritation, but actual anger.

However, the more I talk about this particular issue with other people the more I realise that this is one of those rants which is becoming increasingly universal. Indeed, once you get to the end of this blog my guess is that you will at worst have a degree of empathy with the point, at best simply say ‘about effing time someone said that!’

So with that in mind, here we go.

If you walk into any government building or have any kind of contact with a major commercial organisation, you will be informed at some point that any or all information is available in a variety of languages. Indeed, in the case of somewhere like a hospital, council office or police station, there will be posters and leaflets imparting that knowledge pretty much everywhere.

This is of course, how it should be -after all, we live in a multi-cultural society- however, it is a fact that any nation is defined by various things one of which is its language. Therein lies my problem.

You see I am and will always regard myself as English. Not British, not European, English, And last time I looked, I live in England and the language of my homeland is English which just happens to be the most widely spoken and understood language on the planet.

So with that in mind, if I contact an organisation of any description which is based in England and find myself dealing with an individual who can barely speak my language let alone impart the often complex knowledge I require, why am I made to feel like either an idiot or a racist if I ask to speak to someone I can actually understand? Or for that matter, who understands me? Isn’t that a perfectly fair and reasonable request?

Of course it bloody well is!

Yet too many organisations seem quite happy to place people in customer facing positions who, whilst they might be perfectly competent in most respects, are clearly unable to carry out their function correctly simply because of their inability to communicate. That isn’t good enough, not in this day and age. However, the only way things will ever change is if we, as both taxpayers and consumers, start to demand it and on a regular basis.

So do it!

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceThis will be my last blog before Christmas and so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy holiday and a brilliant New Year.

I’m not normally one for the festive season but I’m really looking forward to this one not least because it will herald in 2013 which for all kinds of reasons, is already shaping up to be a quite amazing year.

So to all those I have met, worked or had dealings with in 2012, especially those who are involved in new or ongoing projects, please take some time to relax, have fun and recharge your batteries because I don’t know about you, I’m planning on next year being the really big one and if you can’t keep up, you may well miss out!

And don’t forget, if you are lucky enough to receive an eReader as a gift on the 25th, you can download all of my books for around about £10.00 and that includes my latest, Wings of a Sparrow which is currently receiving great reviews and is already the subject of movie talk!

Enjoy!

Nets, coins, hooligans… you couldn’t make it up. But you don’t have to.

hooligans, ferdinand, football, soccer, violence, lads, fans, supporters, manchester united, manchester cityOver the years, I have heard a lot of people talk absolute bollocks about the issue of hooliganism and in particular, the reasons why certain individuals behave as they do.

The pathetic hand-wringing and ‘it never went away’ type drivel which inevitably follows an incident of trouble inside a ground -be it racism or violence related- all too often leaves me shaking my head in amazement. It genuinely baffles me how supposedly intelligent people can be both blinkered and stupid at the same time.

This week however, has surpassed the lot.

Events in Manchester were terrible, that is true. The fact that a premiership footballer was almost blinded by a coin thrown from amongst rival supporters is something everyone involved with the game should be ashamed of just as we should be ashamed of the coins and missiles which were being thrown all the way through that game in much the way as they are at games up and down the country on a far too regular basis. Not just at players, but at rival fans, stewards and the police although this seems to have been largely forgotten (or ignored) by the back page mafia.

Yet what has amazed me has been the nature of the response to this particular incident. Not least the idea that to prevent such a thing happening again, we should hang nets from the front of every terrace roof in the land. Nets… for fucks sake.

Yes, a physical barrier of some description between fans and pitch would certainly minimise the risk of players being hit but let’s be practical shall we? Let’s think about this sensibly and talk about why it is quite possibly the most stupid idea to combat crowd problems since Ken Bates and his electric fence.

First, it wouldn’t work. You’d still get things thrown at the pitch only this time those that didn’t make it through the gaps in the mesh would bounce back onto the crowd. The legal consequences in the ‘duty of care’ sense would be immense.

Second, it would have no impact on missiles being thrown at rival fans.

Third, have you ever stood and watched a sporting event from behind mesh when the rain is pelting down? I have, and it’s like watching through fog. And what happens if it starts to sleet? Or you are required to evacuate the stand in a hurry? Or it falls onto the crowd?

The argument of course, is that such things would be considered during ‘development’ of any such system. Yeah right. Goal line technology, safe standing… how long have these things been being ‘considered’ and just how close are we having to either appearing in an English football ground?

Fourth, and possibly most importantly, if you put up a physical barrier you also put up a visible one. In this case, it would be akin to a flashing neon sign which might as well say ’Hooliganism: 40 years on and we’re back where we started.’ You can almost sense the victims of Heysel and Hillsborough spinning in their graves at the very suggestion.

Fifth and finally, the idea completely misses the point. For instead of finding a way of stopping missiles hitting players, why not consider the revolutionary concept of addressing the mentality of those who think throwing them is a good idea?

That of course, is the obvious thing to do. But of course football has been trying to do that since the 70’s and…. oh no, that’s right, it hasn’t. Because footballs answer to deal with the problem of hooliganism was to get the police to shove it out of the grounds, tell everyone things are better than it was in the 80’s (how many times have you heard that this week?) and hope the boys in blue would solve it. Which they didn’t because Old Bill’s job is not actually to change attitudes it is to enforce the law of the land. Something they continue to do and with some vigour whilst at the same time using football as quite possibly the best real-time crowd-control training facility any police force anywhere in the world has ever had.

That’s another debate entirely (read Barmy Army and Kicking Off if you want to know more about my views on the policing of football) but the fact remains that despite its claim to the contrary, the game as an entity has actually done little or nothing to combat hooliganism since the problem first began to show its fangs.

The coin which bounced off Rio Ferdinand’s forehead proved that conclusively and that is without a doubt the most shameful aspect of this whole sorry saga. (And before anyone mails me asking ‘so what would you do?’ I’ll be blogging about that very thing in a day or so.)

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceThanks to everyone who has downloaded Wings of a Sparrow this week. Sales are even better than I could have hoped for and the reviews thus far have been amazing. I certainly never thought my writing would be compared to the legendary Tom Sharpe!

If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you will get around to it soon and if you have please leave a review somewhere and help me to spread the word.

In these days of digital books, word of mouth is the best advertising any book can have which is why authors such as myself are so keen to get those who read our work involved in the publishing process.

After all, current thinking is that a self-published author needs to spend 20% of their time writing and 80% of their time self-promoting! With at least two books to write, I’d rather have that the other way round but only you guys can help me with that.

So come on… get on with it!