Paul T Horgan: Rainbows at the footie – a truly pointless gesture

It is increasingly clear that membership of the artistic community in the USA, if not elsewhere, requires at least one statement condemning the incumbent at the White House. For evidence, see the negative comments surrounding popular chanteuse Taylor Swift. She seems not to have paid her dues, focusing on remaining one of the most popular musical acts in the world, while making no comment whatsoever about Donald Trump. Perhaps no other singer of her stature could prompt a reproving Guardian editorial as an 'envoy for Trump's values' when she has done literally nothing for that connection to be made.

Inaction and indifference seem to be no longer an option these days. According to the Left, our current state of existence matches Pastor Niemoller's seriously overused verse, First they came . . . This weekend sees the start of the 'Rainbow Laces' initiative. Premier League footballers will have rainbow-coloured bootlaces. Team captains will sport rainbow-coloured armbands. There will also be bespoke rainbow branding on ball plinths, pitch flags and handshake boards. The organisation behind all this is Stonewall, a pressure group for Gays, Lesbians and Other Sexual Minorities (GLOSM)*.

It's all rather like a product launch. On August 24, 1995, Microsoft bought up the entire print run of The Times, which was given away to mark the launch of the Windows 95 operating system. If Stonewall have not paid the Football Association, they are benefiting from millions of pounds of free promotion.

It's likely that Stonewall made the Football Association an offer they could not refuse. The horse's head in the bed might have been the threat of a negative publicity campaign of denunciation for institutional homophobia, whether it exists or not. Much could have been made of the absence of any openly gay Premiership footballers. However, there are also no openly Chinese Premiership players either since Dong Fangzhuo left Manchester United. Perhaps the FA are also guilty of Sinophobia.

In The Guardian, Ryan Atkin, the first and only openly gay match official, said that ‘allies within the sport are more crucial than ever’. The implication of the need for allies is that there are enemies as well. Since this campaign and its backing group are associated with the politics of identity, it is strange that the identity of these enemies is never made clear anywhere. Perhaps they include those who do not constantly and openly demonstrate a positive attitude towards GLOSM issues and causes.

The Football Association seems to think so. Its website states: ‘All ten Premier League fixtures on Saturday and Sunday will include Rainbow Laces perimeter board advertising, pre-match Rainbow Laces flags and a host of other activities to highlight the hard work undertaken by clubs and their supporter groups to welcome fans in their stadiums, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.’ Exactly what constitutes this 'hard work' is not clear. These are not public bodies but commercial organisations, and as such they succeed when they can maximise audiences for their matches. Steps to do so would involve selling tickets at affordable prices and having good and safe physical environments for the supporters. The implication is that the current situation includes open homophobia from football fans, owners, officials, and players which needs to be changed. To prove their good intentions, Manchester United fans might now have to chant 'Come On You Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Greens, Blues, Indigos, and Violets'.



The GLOSM lobby behave as if they are under siege from a hostile national mood that pervades the general population irrespective of any other demographic feature. They seem to think that we are but hours away from a rainbow-coloured Kristallnacht. While politicising their numerous causes, sometimes with Marxist rhetoric about abolishing the family, they stifle dissenting discussion and debate as homophobic. They also seem to be aggressively targeting the followers of our main religion whose founder preached turning the other cheek when attacked.

The most recent act of political violence affecting GLOSM space was actually transgender activists preventing feminists from assembling to debate transgenderism and then committing assaults against these women in the middle of London. It might be this culture of progressive intolerance that informed the FA. It would be cheaper and less troublesome to give in.

Like Taylor Swift over Donald Trump, the general public are actually indifferent over GLOSM issues, apart from disapproving of bigotry. The British Film Institute published a Top Ten of Lesbian and Gay television programmes in 2015. No one seemed to notice that none of the programmes mentioned came from mass-market commercial channels in the UK. Neither Sky 1 nor ITV had a show on this list. This is not because of a culture of homophobia. If there was money to be made in GLOSM programming the channels would show them. The public are making a free choice. They are not bigots for doing so.

It is a choice, however, that Premiership supporters no longer have. They are being subjected to a political marketing campaign because they are perceived as having an attitude problem that needs to be corrected. The Premier League states that it has joined the TeamPride coalition, which is 'committed to encouraging fans, players, sports clubs and organisations to show their support for LGBT people'. Why there need to be such public displays of support instead of just quiet acceptance is not made clear. Perhaps quiet acceptance is actually homophobic. All the fans might want to do is to leave their worries behind for a few hours while they enjoy a top-class version of the Beautiful Game, all without the intrusion of politics of any kind. They are discovering, like Taylor Swift, that there is increasingly no place it cannot intrude.

*Pronounced 'glow-some', which sounds rather pleasant, and surely nicer than the clunky LGBT, pronounced el-gee-bee-tee.

Paul T Horgan

  • I’m surprised they didn’t go with”gloss-some” like gloss and blossom in one. I guess it’s an American influence that they chose “glow-some”.

  • JabbaPapa

    If I were the supporter of a British club, I would 100% boycott the whole weekend.

    • simon bellord

      I boycotted my clubs twitter account because it included a sickly rainbow background. I’ve not switched it back on. I was working at the Southampton v Everton game. I had a quick look but could see no rainbow laces on the players boots. If there were any they were well hidden. Nobody in the crowd seemed remotely interested. The purpose must simply be that the eliets can satisfy their spiteful instincts against ordinary people and families.

  • JB

    That guardian editorial on Taylor Swift was bizarre even by the guardian’s usual standards. No wonder they need to beg for money.

  • Colkitto03

    Maybe, just maybe, there are many gay footballers who are not ‘out’ because they believe basically its nobody else’s damned business?

    As for TV programmes, they relentlessly have to make gay people ‘obviously gay’
    No organisation or institution has done more to stereotype gay people than TV drama.

  • Nick Muir

    Interesting in several respects.

    Firstly I wonder does Romelu Lukaku know his image has been used here? Given that he recently voiced his disapproval of racist sexual stereotypes, I doubt he’d be highly delighted about being associated with this.

    Secondly I had to google the Chinese player referred to here – who made one appearance for Manchester United. The obvious choice would have been Sun Jihai who made over 200 appearances mostly for Manchester City. Makes one suspect Mr Horgan aint much of a football buff.

    I must admit I love football. My own club recently had a game where the match day sponsor was the LGBT supporters group. I actually sit just under their banner. I know a lot of football fans, including a few gay supporters. I try to suppress my prejudice when I socialise with them. I’m afraid I can be a bit bigoted when it comes to Manchester United fans.

    In all seriousness I have never met a supporter who has any issue with the inclusive initiatives within the game. In fact many welcome them as a way to distance themselves from the sterotype of fans racist homophobe beer swilling neanderthal louts.

  • Uusikaupunki

    “The love that dare not speak its name” has morphed into “The love that will not STFU”.

    • martianonlooker

      How true, you made me chuckle.

  • paul parmenter

    How about STTTWAT – sick to the teeth with all this. The article is right on the money. Disinterest in not a phobia, or a sign of hatred. Doing nothing is not abuse or violence. We only have so much time, resources and energy in our individual lives. We tend to devote them to things that matter most to us, to people who are closest to us, and ignore things that do not impact on us. If we are not personally consumed with a particular issue, we will not pay that much attention to it. We certainly don’t want it shoved down our throats by those people who are personally consumed by it. That can lead to irritation and annoyance, and if persisted with, eventually it can get to the very thing that its promoters say they are trying to stop: some kind of violent reaction.

    I have no great interest in buzzing insects. As long as they do me no harm, I can happily live with them. But if they persist in getting in my face, I take enough interest to swat them away. If they come back, I swat them harder. If they come back again, and this time with a few mates, I will start to take them seriously enough to get a rolled up newspaper and start some serious swishing – and maybe a squashing or too if my aim is accurate. But if they still persist, and I find myself with a constant swarm around me, and most especially if they start settling on my kids, then I will buy some pest killer, seek out their nest, and blitz the whole bloody lot of them. Not out of hatred, or because I am some kind of monster, but just to get some peace and quiet for me and my own. Because it is only when those pests are gone that I can revert to being calm Mr Nice Guy again, which is all that I still want to be. If given the chance.

    • Nick Muir

      As a matter of interest, do you go to many football matches?

      • paul parmenter

        No

        • Nick Muir

          Then why do you care?

          • Little Black Censored

            He obviously gets the same annoyance in other places, so why did you ask?

          • paul parmenter

            Because I have seen how ideas can spread from small beginnings to powerful movements, and can have dire results that very few saw coming.

            I have only a passing interest in football. But I can see that if it allows itself to be used as a vehicle for promoting the sexual preferences of a vociferous and politicised minority group that has nothing to do with the sport as such, that group will be emboldened to start putting pressures on other areas where they have no business but in which I may have a greater interest or even personal involvement.

            Following my above analogy, I am happy to let buzzing insects do their own thing if they leave me alone. But at what point should I start to “care” about what they are doing? When they start stinging my neighbour’s children? Or my children? Or when someone nails a notice to my front door saying that the insects are a protected species who must be allowed to do what they want? Or when I am told that unless I leave all my doors and windows open, make my house as attractive to them as possible and join the insect appreciation society, I could be committing a criminal offence?

            I don’t want to be driven down those avenues. But if I am, there is a risk that I might end up where I didn’t want or need to be: with an intense dislike of those insects, and now caring very much about them – but in a bad way. Not because of their nature, but because of how they have been pushed onto me. I might also then regret not having started pushing back a bit harder and earlier – for both our sakes.

          • Nick Muir

            Last Sunday I watched my team play. It was an away game, but a friend of mine has a box at the stadium, and he was kind enough to invite me to watch the game with him. After a couple of drinks we settled down, and I heard a fan in front of me remark on the rainbow armbands. Up until that point I had honestly forgotten my friend was gay. I didn’t discuss it with him, but I’m sure he appreciated the gesture the teams were making. And I was proud of my own team for taking part in it.

            I feel sorry for you. You need to move on.

          • paul parmenter

            Well, I suppose I ought to be grateful for your pity. But I have already moved on a long, long way from such sentiments.

          • Nick Muir

            yw

  • martianonlooker

    That seems to be catching on. Weren’t rugby players wearing them as well? I have to go to Tesco in a mo. I will have a look at the ploddery in buying their doughnuts. That seems to good a bandwagon for them to miss.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      Won’t our plod all be wearing rainbow nail varnish?

    • Simon Platt

      Tesco also have a track record of Stonewall campaigns. One of their directors (I think now ex), I think with responsibility for PR, was notorious. They used to sponsor Lust Parades. Perhaps they still do.

      I don’t shop there.

  • PierrePendre

    It’s interesting to juxtapose this public endorsement of homosexuality and other kinds of alternative sexuality with BBC’s crucifixion of Damian Green for allegedly indulging a well-known and legal male heterosexual taste whether the allegation is true or not.

    I have no objection to footballers wearing rainbow boot laces to make a point about sexual tolerance, provided it’s voluntary. It’s a harmless idea.

    But perhaps the home secretary could clarify for us whether the incidental information the police gather about us becomes public property and can be put freely trafficked to the media whether it has been tested in court or not, even by former officers who are now private citizens. If every policeman and former policeman has this power over us, the implications are worrying, especially if we have a public profile and are susceptible to political blackmail.

    The allegation is that legal pornography was found by chance on Mr Green’s computer by police investigating him about another matter in which he was never charged. Th claim has been put into the public domain to discredit Mr Green politically even though he would face no charge if it were true.

    I doubt whether an official of Stonewall or any other LBTQ organisation would be pursued in this way if police found pornography on his or her computer.

    If the policeman, Lewis, (or indeed any BBC male employee) denies that he has never looked at porn for his personal gratification, I can say that I categorically do not believe him. There is not a man in the country who has not done so. But that’s not the issue. The issue is whether the police are free to publicise every last thing they know about us whether we have committed a crime or not and Miss Rudd needs urgently to reassure us that this is not the case.

    • James60498 .

      I don’t agree that it’s harmless and actually that doesn’t matter which side people are on.

      If someone can choose to wear “Rainbow Laces” then someone else should be able to wear a “Vote Labour” patch before an election or a MAGA helmet.

      Someone else might want to wear socks with Jeremy Corbyn’s face on them or perhaps darts could have a board with the design of Teresa May’s head in the bull.

      These sports are taking sides.

      As far as fans are concerned then we can choose to walk away. You talk about genuine choice. I have no doubt that some clubs will give genuine choice to their players. But will they also give choice to those wanting to display some other symbol? And were the referees and other officials given a choice?

      If not then where’s the choice?

      • David R

        In this context what about the fines FIFA charged for Poppy wearing last year?

        • JabbaPapa

          FIFA ended up having to drop them.

        • James60498 .

          In terms of sporting interest my comments are really more to do with the fact that it happened in rugby last week than football Of which my knowledge comes from what I can’t avoid. I only vaguely heard about this Poppy issue.

          However if it is what i guess it to be it was presumably the teams themselves making the decision to wear poppies and being in breech of some FIFA rule. Was it a new rule? Had it not been implemented previously? Should someone from one of the affected Nations have had a quiet word first?

          But whatever the answers to those questions, this would appear to be coming from exactly the opposite angle than having the ruling laid down by the governing body and all teams required to follow it.

          Obviously some of the Football teams would have been behind the decision to do the laces thing as were some of the rugby teams, though in the case of rugby, the teams who were vociferous in their support were London based teams (not necessarily all London teams). No surprise there then. And with the backing of the sponsor Aviva (a member of “Team Pride”) it’s clear to see how it got passed and then forced down on the other clubs. Aviva recently renewed its sponsorship for one, (the current) year and therefore there is no named sponsor for next. Who is going to go against “Team Pride” when all that money is up for grabs.

    • a misplaced modifier

      Excellent comment — thank you.

    • Nick Muir

      I used to own an IT security company. Pornography on work pcs was an issue that came up quite often with our customers. One large and very well known customer, was experimenting with software which crawled the network looking for images with skin tones. I asked why they were bothering. They looked bemused. I suggested that they have a search about in the good old fashioned way, and the first culprit they found, sack them on the spot for gross misconduct. Worked a treat. Mr Green’s alleged offence is one which usually merits instant dismissal. But you cry what about the gays? In one instance I worked for a Labour council where the culprit, who was gay, claimed it was gay textual information sites, and that he was being discriminated against. I retrieved his browsing history (don’t think you can delete it!). He was dismissed on the spot and his dismissal upheld on appeal.

      Most worryingly of all was one instance where we found child pornography on a pc in an organisation supposedly devoted to children’s welfare. That made me shudder. More so because we could not determine to any level of certainty who was responsible. To be fair to Mr Green this may be the situation with him.

      • martianonlooker

        “don’t think you can delete it”.
        I was an engineer, not an I.T. bod but, like a filing cabinet, I like to think of my computer as junk free. To this end I use Ccleaner to get rid of junk files and to write over free-space. In addition my anti-virus gives me the option of shredding junk files. I have also been known to use regedit to knobble some programs (sometimes, to my family’s annoyance, knobbling the computer in the process).
        So, I still have a computer stuffed with assorted junk?

        • Nick Muir

          Probably not, but your browsing history will be retained by your ISP. If you are at work it will be on a server somewhere in a log file.

      • PierrePendre

        It’s up to employers, public or private, to decide their attitude to the presence of porn on work computers. It shouldn’t be open to the police, when they investigate someone regarding an unrelated matter, to announce that by the way, we found porn on his computer. If someone robs a bank, what legal sex he watches on his computer is irrelevant to his crime. Introducing it can only be a means to influence third party views as to his guilt which is unethical by any measure.

        • Nick Muir

          I passed no comment on the police involvement – I was responding to the comments that it is somehow ok to watch porn at work. Watching porn at work for most people means the sack. Also I’m sick of hearing the innocent till proven guilty thing. In employment law there is no presumption of innocence or requirement to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

          • Indeed so. Where I have always worked, one could be let go without notice at any time for any (or no) reason. Makes for fairly good motivation, I wouldn’t work any other way, either as an employee or employer.

        • Quite. To me the real point of the whole thing is that the perusal of porn on an office computer is actually theft, if it is done on the clock. I never cared what my employees did on their own time, as long as they showed up ready to work, (well, to a point. I never had a whole lot of sympathy for criminality). But, if they were following their interests when I was paying for their time, well, their career tended to end rather abruptly.

  • Jolly Roger

    What colour of light isn’t in a rainbow? How is a rainbow made?

    • JabbaPapa

      “And here you will stay, Gandalf the Grey, and rest from journeys. For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman the Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!”
      “I looked then and saw that his robes, which had seemed white, were not so, but were woven of all colours, and if he moved they shimmered and changed hue so that the eye was bewildered.”
      “I like white better,” I said.
      “White!” he sneered. “It serves as a beginning. White cloth may be dyed. The white page may be overwritten; and the white light can be broken.”
      “In which case it is no longer white,” said I. “and he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”

  • James60498 .

    This was done in rugby last weekend.

    I didn’t turn up. I have refused the offer of a Christmas Present from the club shop and will be spending no more money in and around the ground.

    The problem is that I believe that in rugby the sponsors Aviva were behind it as much as the Rugby Authorities and so my money won’t match that.

    Stopping going altogether is not really an option at the moment for other reasons but it’s certainly a possibility in the future.

    But anyone in a position to boycott Aviva should consider it. They are also a member of Stonewall’s fan club. I have already failed to renew a policy and closed down one account and got more to do.

    Please consider joining me.

    • Ed McA

      Well done – I’m proud of you.

    • Tricia

      Well done! Thanks for letting us know. Will avoid them. We need more of this. We are the majority and we are NOT to be dictated to. I detest Stonewall and am furious that they are in the Education Department inGovernment and the C of E.

  • Jolly Roger

    We’re all phobics now. Except those who see phobia everywhere…

  • Jolly Roger

    The problem with revolutions is that there is always someone more revolutionary than you.

    So the chant of ‘Come On You Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Greens, Blues, Indigos, and Violets’ wouldn’t be enough to demonstrate goodwill (i.e submission). Someone more zealous would add puce, carmine, ultramarine, magenta…

  • Lagopus scotica

    Surely it should be GLOOM, Gays, Lesbians and Other Outlandish Minorities? They must be a sad bunch if they feel they have to bully everyone into accepting them.

    • martianonlooker

      Gloom. I like it, 100 upticks.

  • As I have no interest in other than local football, I have zero interest in the matter.
    But I would mention that a couple of gay acquaintances are fed up with all these campaigners. They say the “activism” is making their lives far more difficult, they just want to be left alone and treated like everyone else; no special privileges, they want to live a normal life outside their own home.
    Such an attitude would be endorsed by my daughters who similarly wish all the feminists would shut up. They are happy with their “rights”, they are married, are quite happy to run the home, work part time and as far as they are concerned, they have adequate “rights”.

    • Colkitto03

      I agree, Stonewall only speak for a segment of the Gay ‘community’
      A big chunk of the Gay population do not buy into all of Stonewalls activities.

      • James60498 .

        I am sure you are correct. But it would be good to see them making a public stand.

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      There is a great deal in what you say. Stonewall has done much invaluable, indeed essential work, and its legitimate objectives have now largely been achieved. Unfortunately, it is now rapidly becoming an organization in search of a cause, and consequently risks becoming as much of a nuisance as anti-gay fanatics were in the days when they had things their way, thus illustrating the proverb “extremes meet”. That, of course, confers no benefit on ordinary gay people, most of whom, as you rightly say, just want to be left alone to get on with their lives and relationships and to be treated the same as everyone else – which was what Stonewall was originally about. All that it does is to make those anti-gay crackpots who are still around feel vindicated.

      I have never been a member of Stonewall, but I have supported it in the past with occasional modest donations. I would not do so now.

      • I agree, I have never heard any organisation or government department being would up when their job is done, they always find something else to do.

        I have this mind’s image of there still being a department somewhere in the Home Office charged with the responsibility of ensuring that little boys aren’t forced to climb up chimneys to sweep them, on the basis that ‘whilst there are chimneys, we still need to see that the law is obeyed’!

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          Quite so. Some people seem incapable of knowing when it’s time to declare victory and go home.

  • Labour_is_bunk

    With the recent passing of Rodney Bewes, this reminds me of a comment he made in an episode of the Likely Lads – “have you ever seen a homosexual striker”?

    PS the National Trust are now doing Gay Pride – another British institution caving in….

    • The National Trust will lose out.
      I suspect a lot of members are elderly like ourselves who have continued paying their subscriptions even though they now rarely visit a NT property. We continued paying because we considered it to be a good cause which we were prepared to support. But should we continue our membership with not only their Gay Pride support but with all the other changes they are making. I think not. It would be interesting to know the demographic of their members, neither of my daughters belong and I suspect this is typical of younger generations.

      • Ed McA

        Wife and myself deserted some while back when we ”saw the light”.

        • Our sub is due next May. They’ll need to do something between now and then to convince me that I should renew.

      • Labour_is_bunk

        When I’m admiring the innards of an NT property, I don’t give a hoot about the sexuality of who’s standing next to me. It’s a pity the NT can’t let it go as well.
        You may also recall there was also a bit of a brouhaha a few years back when the magazine featured articles on slavery – the editor was actually quite apologetic and seemed worried about accusations of PC. She left soon afterwards, which I find understandable.

        • The aim of the National Trust is to preserve our houses which have historic or other interest. Nothing wrong, if one was owned by a slave trader, to write about the subject.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      The NT, like every other major ‘charidee’, has long been a bastion of the left, virtue-signalling it’s hatred of the ordinary English of the Countryside Alliance, banning them from properties donated with the express wish they be available fortraditional country sports.
      In return for taxpayer grants these ‘charidees’ have to accept the state making board appointments, thus ensuring highly-paid sinecures for the otherwise unemployable friends and relatives of the political class.

  • TheRightToArmBears

    What sticks in the gullet is the absence of any choice.
    Any hint of rejection deems one a candidate for the tumbrill.

  • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    What is the equivalent to “taking a knee” to protest this? Wearing boots that fasten with Velcro? And what would happen to players that did so, and who would defend them?

  • Ed McA

    If the fans and players had any backbone then they’d boycott the matches or refuse to wear the paraphernalia but that’s unlikely to happen!

    • James60498 .

      To be fair, it does appear that many players did not wear the things and I for one did not attend.

  • Nick Muir

    Typical CW. On a day when there are two huge football stories, what do we get here? The usual it’s the gays what done it. The article should be re-titled ‘I don’t know much about football,but I know what I don’t like’.

    Personally if you want something to get steamed up about I’d go for today’s police advice to fans travelling to the next World Cup. It amounts to ‘avoid displays of patriotism or face a shoeing from the Russian police’.

    • Simon Platt

      Typical NM.

  • Groan

    As with Rugby there are regular lamentations about the supposed lack of openly gay players. Of course the first thing to note is “openly gay” which seems to mean that someone who is homosexual has a whole “culture” and should broadcast their preferences. Of course the second point is that according to census data homosexuality is quite rare being about 2% of the population. Of course the proportion of men who have sex with men might be added to this, but still its not common. Now in my field of health and social care it isn’t unusual and in entertainment and media the situation appears the same. So it seems perfectly possible that amongst professional Football and Rugby Players it is rare as it seems homosexual men tend to veer towards certain industries. It seems perfectly possible that there aren’t hordes of gay players. And if there are any I suspect they aren’t open as they then become some “icon” carrying the weight of a sainthood, as happened to the Union player who “came out”.

  • Also rugby. Channel 5 hosts the weekend round-up, presented by Mark Durden Smith and ex-player David Flatman. Both had rainbow laces and Durden Smith said it was all a jolly good thing, inclusivity, celebration etc, and then asked Flatman if he agreed with him. Flatman said yes. Flatman will continue to present the programme…. but if he had said no, he would have been sacked ASAP. He knows this. Stonewall knows this. We know this. The bully and the enemy is in clear sight, but no one will say anything.