We have recently witnessed the unedifying spectacle of a famous and fabulous wealthy footballer of some ill-repute being taken to court for allegedly hurling vile racist abuse at another footballer of slightly lesser fame and ill-repute, who is blessed with a relatively thinner bank account: a pretty sad reflection of modern day Britain but also a small storm in a small cup of tea. Should the case have ever come to court? I really don’t think so. Of course, racial abuse is unacceptable and the idiots that indulge in it are beneath contempt but I doubt this was a good use of court time. It did, however, at least ensure the debate about racism in British society is kept high on the agenda, for which we should all be grateful. In the fall-out from all of this, following the collapse of the case against the alleged abuser, we now find that someone has called another footballer who was a witness at the trial, a ‘choc ice’.
There are a lot of things I would want to call this, again fabulously wealthy and publicly lauded, player: ‘choc ice’ isn’t one that would immediately spring to mind but that’s hardly the point. ‘Choc ice’, we have to assume, is a term meant to denote ‘black on the outside and white on the inside’ and is akin to the already commonly used epithet, ‘coconut’. Again, this isn’t a very nice thing to say about someone but should it be enough for the police to start snooping around? Surely not? Hang on, though, because the Derbyshire Constabulary think differently. A foolish man used Twitter to compare said player to a chocolate covered vanilla treat and the police are called in. Over the years I have lost count of the number of times that I have phoned the police to tell them that gangs of youths are vandalizing our local park, verbally abusing members of the public, dealing in drugs, partaking of underage drinking and just generally making damned nuisances of themselves: what has been the response of our local boys in blue? Not very much. If they do turn up it’s usually hours after the events have come and gone. How many times do we hear of old people being beaten up in their own homes, women attacked on the streets and burglars and thieves just generally doing as they wish? Far too often these days. Now, without wanting to sound like Richard Littlejohn, it has to be said that someone is getting all their priorities wrong here. You just cannot start prosecuting people for saying things you don’t like, even if their views hurt someone’ s feelings. The only way to defeat racism is to hold it up to the light and reveal it for the rank madness that it is. Make these people look like sad losers, fools, nutters or whatever but using the courts to ensure we all think the ‘right way’ has dangers all of its own. Besides, do you really think that calling a rich footballer a ‘choc ice’ on an internet forum is a real crime? Time for a reality check.