Now, we all know the problems of strict liability. First, there's the issue that it doesn't work, as UEFA's meaningless fines have proved for many clubs over the years. Secondly, introducing it in Scotland would turn the league from a football competition into a contest between who can most accurately pick out any sectarian language in another team's chants to get their rivals into trouble. It's already a bit like this whenever we're on TV with fans of, ahem, certain clubs. Can you imagine how much more ridiculous and fervent that would be if people thought they could get the other team fined or docked points for singing songs?
Well, Nil By Mouth now want your opinion on it. Or rather, they don't. As Michael Dobbs said in his 'House of Cards' novels, opinion polls are a device for influencing public opinion, not measuring it. That's never been truer than in this case. Here are just a few highlights:
- A question on whether you've witnessed "other offensive language (including verbal abuse of any person by reference to their race, sex, sexual orientation or disability)". Aye, because "Alan Stubbs, yer a wanker" is equivalent to racial abuse.
- The highly leading "I would prefer to see an independent body making decisions...rather than the current system of self-regulation." I wonder who the independent body might be?
- This absolute belter: "While other measures are required to change attitudes in wider society, the introduction of strict liability is a positive first step in reducing offensive and sectarian behaviour at football." No, if you think anything needs to be done about homophobia at schools, or racism in workplaces, you must believe in strict liability for fitbaw. The two are entirely mutually exclusive.
So, in other words, it's the usual "please give us more money and power" while constructing a survey to lead fans into supporting it or suggesting that the problem is worse than it is.
You can find the survey here, if you'd like to take it and/or inform them what a daft idea it is.