TODAY, Hearts fans across the city are mourning the death of Pilmar Smith.
The club’s former vice chairman was a great source of help and inspiration for me over the years, and he will be sorely missed at Tynecastle.
Pilmar was a Labour Party stalwart and a gentleman, but his love of politics was only surpassed by his love of Hearts.
What a contrast with convicted criminal Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who has no love for this proud football club. He has no emotion other than sheer hate.
It’s sickening to see him post a mocked-up photo wearing the strip worn by my childhood heroes John Robertson, Craig Levein and Gary Mackay. Yaxley-Lennon couldn’t lace their boots.
The rise of the far right in British politics and across the globe should alarm us all and we must do everything we can to stand up to their racism and hatred.
Organisations like the English Defence League that Yaxley-Lennon founded have used social media to spread their poison in a way that wasn’t previously possible.
Yaxley-Lennon also tours football grounds across the UK, bringing his thugs with him in an attempt to inject venom among supporters, and intimidate anyone of a different colour or faith to his own. He was convicted in 2011 following a fight between supporters of Luton Town and Newport County.
I know a miniscule minority of Hearts fans have encouraged Yaxley-Lennon to visit Tynecastle, but the overwhelming majority of supporters are disgusted by any association with him. There was widespread revulsion when he posted a photo online of men wearing masks standing in front of a flag commemorating McCrae’s Battalion.
As historian Jack Alexander wrote in yesterday’s Evening News, how dare you sully the reputation of this battalion of men who fought for decency and freedom?
Don’t you dare associate your bigotry, prejudice and hatred with them or the good name of Heart of Midlothian Football Club.
Yaxley-Lennon, your hatred isn’t welcome at Tynecastle or anywhere else for that matter.
MP for Edinburgh South and former Foundation of Hearts chairman