Walking around our local shopping centre(mall) on Sunday, I spied a large man wearing a blue Tshirt. Its not unusual to see folks wearing football “tops”. Many shopping centres and restaurants impose a dress code and I have often seen signs at pubs, which say “No Football Gear”.
Football Shirts are I guess,”smart casual” but I suppose bar owners are entitled to impose a dress code if they believe that a large number of people wearing partisan clothing can be confrontational and in the Norn Iron setting, where football shirts are often a sign of national and political allegiance, then the partisanship can be toxic and perhaps violent.
Certainly at our local shopping centre, I have seen all the popular football tops.
But the Man With The Blue Shirt last Sunday seemed a bit different.
I noticed that in smallish writing at the front it said “Aye To Freedom”.
And at the back “End London Rule”. There was a small Scotland Flag.
So this was actually NOT a football shirt at all. It was a campaign shirt in support of Scottish Independence. In less than six months, Scotland has a Referendum on Independence.
Does this mean that we will see more of these shirts during the summer months?
Or indeed Scottish “unionist” shirts?
For these are extremely overt POLITICAL Tshirts.
It goes without saying that I am in favour of Scottish Independence. It is logical…I am a Nationalist after all. And of course anything that weakens the so-called United Kingdom is something I can support.
The Man With The Blue Shirt was a large man. I would not have wanted to be the Security guy who said “sorry sir, I cannot allow you to come into the shopping mall wearing an overt political slogan”.
What exactly is the protocol?
We do have a kinda fascination with war by proxy.
Irish nationalists see Palestinians as kindred spirits. Unionists identify with the Israelis.
So a certain logic maybe that Tne Man In The Blue Shirt is an “Irish” nationalists also.
If the Tshirt had been Green and an Irish Flag on it, then he might well have been denied entry?
Is there already a protocol in place in Scotland….in Tesco in Aberdeen, Sainsburys in Glasgow and Marks and Spencers in Inverness?
Is a political Tshirt only “political” if it is relevant?
Thus that Che Guevara shirt can be accepted as a fashion statement rather than a political statement?
We have been here before.
There were local headlines circa 2002, when American tourists were denied entry to places because of those “Remember 9-11”, “Kill Bin Laden”, “These Colours Dont Run” Tshirts.
I get wound up at the control freaks trying to impose their sensibilities without any mandate. Like teachers making long hair and shirt tails more important than learning. These intolerant folk need to be made to realize that they are the problem. The pub thing with football tops and trainers is a crude class discriminator. Does that bleed into your lgalerist type? The BBC seemed keen to push Jim Allister’s jaded view of GAA tops in J’town uni. That nearly makes me flip as I see the effort coaches and helpers put into my kids teams, demonised by that a’hole.
Oh theres undoubtedly a “class” thing going on in some bars.
I also saw a very nasty security person ban a young lad wearing a Celtic top -and the security person was showing too much enthusiasm.
I am actually writing a piece on the University of Ulster GAA thing. I had seen it as a companion piece to the Shopping Centre one.
But theres actually a lot of “education” type threads that can be weaved into it.
The community activism in GAA is astounding to me. My local club St Endas restores my faith in society on its own. I’m sure if the haters came and witnessed the coaches and helpers getting up every Sunday for 9am to teach kids a skill, then their hearts would soften. Similar thing for rugby in Carrick, lots of great folk selflessly giving their time. The cry is that the GAA is republican, when the truth is it is just an Irish sport, organised in the same way by country as rugby. The haters need to be stood up to lest they poison another generation.