Steerpike

‘Racist buses’ SNP MSP in fresh Rangers storm

'Racist buses' SNP MSP in fresh Rangers storm
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Much ink has been spilled over the shenanigans of the James Dornan, SNP MSP and amateur Hate-Finder General. Just last week the gaffe-prone Glaswegian was forced to apologise for suggesting that an Edinburgh bus company had stopped services on St Patrick's Day because of 'anti-Irish racism,' an unsubstantiated claim for which Dornan had no evidence. 

Now fresh evidence has come to light of Dornan's efforts to whip up another sectarian drama. Last month a video of Rangers football players celebrating their league triumph went viral on Tik Tok, with the players allegedly chanting bigoted slurs in an add on to the song 'Sweet Caroline.' Dornan, who has had several previous run ins with the Glasgow club, seized on the video the day it went viral on 17 May but fatefully added of the lyrics that 'If they’re false or if I’ve misheard, along with so many others, then of course, I’ll delete and apologise but one of the videos seems very clear.'

Four days later on 21 May, Police Scotland came back following its 'extensive' enquiries to declare that 'no criminality has been established.' That wasn't good enough for Inspector Dornan who fired off a 300 word email on 25 May, according to a Freedom of Information request seen by Steerpike. Dornan wrote to Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie to claim that 'a number of constituents have contacted me seeking further clarity' about Police Scotland's statement, adding that 'neither I or my constituents are clear what the statement really means.'

The amateur sleuth noted how 'there is a lot of commentary regarding this and I wish to provide my constituents with as much detail as possible' – a laudable attitude. Dornan ended with a rhetorical flourish, asking 'If the sound on the video was found to have been faked, have Police Scotland uncovered evidence that the video has been doctored? If so, I would be grateful for clarity regarding this. If not, I’d appreciate an explanation why no criminality was established.'

Police Scotland's response, sent to Dornan on 3 June, was unequivocal and comprehensive. Officers had interviewing those who were there – something wholly disruptive to the club’s celebrations – and established that there was no 'anti-Catholic language' used at any point with a 'technical assessment' of the video finding it to be a fake. Welcome news, you might have thought. But Dornan's reaction was not to publish the response or indeed give the much-desired 'further clarity' sought by his constituents.

Indeed Police Scotland's response only came to light last Thursday on 24 June after a football fan wrote in to request the information. Dornan – who of course represents countless such Rangers fans in his constituency – is now facing demands to apologise, as he promised, for spreading the damaging clip. But now – shock, horror – he has changed his mind, telling STV News he thinks he has 'done nothing wrong.'

Steerpike will leave his readers to judge whether they agree with Dornan on that one.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk

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