THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
It's not a bug, it's a feature
Snouts in the snout-shaped trough again

The critical importance of football chants

BBC Sport - FA threat to fans over anti-Semitic term in chants.

Apparently it's a criminal offence in this country for football fans to call themselves 'yids'. Personally, I think the way Jewish and Gentile Spurs fans have together handled anti-semitic abuse by using and 'owning' the word 'yid' in their chants is marvelous. It's a great example of how to handle provocation gracefully and with good humour. Laughing at those trying to provoke you is just as - if not more - effective than responding with violence. Sadly, the Football Association begs to differ. Violence is apparently the only proper response in its view and if Spurs fans are not prepared to offer it then - via the legal system - it will.

This, says the FA, is because a 'reasonable observer' would find the word 'yid' offensive. I disagree. Frankly, even when its intended to be offensive (e.g. when other fans shout it at Spurs games) it's a mere breach of good manners, unworthy of criminal sanction. I actively prefer ignorant people to be as open about their nastiness as possible - wearing Ku Klux Klan robes or swastikas, ideally - so that I know not to buy them a drink, employ them or give them my custom. It would be just the kind of useful indication already thoughtfully given by wearers of Che Guevara T-shirts.

When I worked for a Jewish law firm, I refused to reveal whether I was Jewish myself because I learned so much about the occasional client or professional contact who really felt he needed to know. The more desperately he questioned my colleagues on the subject, the more I knew I didn't value him. It was very educational.

We have about 120,000 professional criminals who need to be locked up and about 80,000 places in prison. Is it really all that reasonable to set a criminal free to make space for a Spurs fan with a sense of humour?


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james higham

Red Sea pedestrians?

Jeremy Jacobs

I'm behind you and Cameron on this this. I placed this on my personal Facebook site...about David Baddiel

a great quote on another forum "David, why don't you use your not inconsiderable influence to get The FA to act on the truly hateful anti-Semitic chants that Arsenal, West Ham and your 'beloved' Chelsea come up with every season? Wouldn't that be fairer? "


The current Chairman of the FA is Greg Dyke, his stock in trade is not rational thought it is protecting left wing shibboleths such as the idea that being defined by a group identity is appallingly bad.

A believer in identity politics cannot fathom a gentile Spurs or Ajax fan self identifying as Jewish. Or a heterosexual Brighton fan identifying themselves as gay. It rides a coach and horses through the idea that bigotry is the ultimate crime.

David Baddiel seems to have been behind this schmozzle, I wonder if he is just a bit hacked off that uncouth football fans are claiming to be Jewish.

Paris Claims

If I was a Jewish spurs fan and the non-jews joined in a chant of "Yid Army", I expect it would make me feel proud and accepted.

Richard Carey

Insane. Spurs fans have effectively neutralised the abusive content of the word, so now the FA wish to re-establish it as a term only anti-semites are permitted to use.

Up the Yids, I say.

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