Melon Farmers Unrated

Anyone but England

Police investigate football shirt banter

19th June

Update: Discriminatory Scottish Police...

Stereotyping the English as easily offended by lighthearted football banter

Retailer HMV has withdrawn anti-English World Cup banners, following complaints to police that they could incite racial hatred.

Record chain HMV has removed items with the letters ABE which stands for Anyone But England from window displays in its Scottish stores.

It follows a number of objections from the public to the company, as well as a complaint to the police from the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP).

A police officer visited an HMV store in Kirkcaldy constituency earlier this week and company bosses quickly agreed to remove the banners from all their stores north of the Border.

Now HMV said it was no longer actively promoting the ABE goods, including T-shirts, through banners and displays, and that it would stop selling them once stocks had been sold. [they will hardly have chance to restock, England don't look like lasting long]

Stuart Parr, a member of the CEP's national council whinged: The Campaign for an English Parliament will challenge any company that incites racial hatred towards the English, he said. Racism is unacceptable no matter who it is directed against, including English people.

But Tam Ferry, from the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, said: This is just political correctness gone mad again: I have got one of the T-shirts, and I think it's great that HMV were putting up banners.

Football is all about rivalry and having a bit of banter. Have the police got nothing better to do than take away a bit of fun from people? There's bigger problems in this country that they should be dealing with rather than this.

Trevor Phillips, head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has described the ABE slogan as good-natured banter that was unlikely to cause offence .

Aberdeen North SNP MSP Brian Adam said: I would have thought that it's all light-hearted and not in any way serious. If people take offence, they should remember that we have to put up with a lot of images about Scotland, such as the ones about mean and miserable Scots. Also, people in Scotland might take exception to having goods promoted with images of the English team on and the English flag. The whole thing will be over soon and people should just get a sense of humour.

A spokeswoman for Fife Constabulary said: We received a complaint on Monday 14 June, regarding the Anyone But England banners. An officer attended the HMV store in Kirkcaldy and spoke to the manager there to make him aware of the complaint and to give advice. Ultimately, it was HMV's decision to remove the banners.


1st March

Update: Po-faced Thought Police...

Race relations watchdog unimpressed by police over-reaction to Anyone But England football shirts

The race relations watchdog has dismissed police concerns over Anyone But England World Cup T-shirts being sold in Scotland, describing the garments as harmless fun.

Trevor Phillips, the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said that the slogan was good natured banter that was unlikely to cause offence .

His comments come after Grampian Police asked Slanj, an Aberdeen-based kilt-maker, to consider removing a window display of T-shirts because of its potential to cause disturbance .

Phillips said the commission would react swiftly to any serious evidence of racism, but over-reacting to jokes risked making it appear like po-faced thought police .


25th February

Anyone But England...

Police have a word with Scottish T-Shirt company

A Scottish clothing company has been warned by police over t-shirts expressing the hope that Anyone but England wins this summer's World Cup. World Cup Anyone but England t-shirt.

Police have warned proprietors of the Slanj clothing store in Aberdeen that the garment could cause offence.

An impromptu visit from an officer raising concerns over the shirt's sentiments left staff at the shop flabbergasted .

The visit was not in response to a complaint, and no action has been taken against the company.

However, Grampian Police claim that they would be neglecting their duty if the matter was not addressed.

PC Kirk Hemmings said: The primary role of any police force is to preserve the peace and we would be failing in our duty if we did not make people aware of the potential for disturbance such a window display could cause. The Grampian area, in common with the rest of the country, has recorded incidents relating to nationality and we have a responsibility to do our best to ensure that incidents of this nature are kept to a minimum.

Ross Lyle of Slanj said: To be honest we're absolutely flabbergasted: We have been selling this T-shirt for the past three months and we've had a great response. Even the English people who come into the store think it's a laugh and just a bit of tongue-in-cheek football banter.

The t-shirt is described on Slanj's website as A light hearted dig at our English neighbours and their prospects in the forthcoming World Cup, not that we're bitter or anything, just because we didnae qualify!


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