There seems to be a bit of a groundswell of emotion about St. Laurence O’Toole’s entry to the Scottish Championships going awry, and most of it seems to be in favour of the letting the band play. I posted a poll on the site to see what the temperament might be, and, sure enough, about 75 per cent think that SLOT should be allowed to compete.
I’m the first to support the enforcement of rules when it comes to competition. It drives me crazy when competitors seemed to try to circumvent them by turning up late and being allowed to play at the end in a solo event when I was there at the crack of crow’s pee, respectful of an early draw. But you generally know who to believe and who to suspect by their track record. There are people who have made a career (or at least a reputation) of “hiding behind bushes” trying to slip in later.
When more serious issues like SLOT’s come up, I think that good judgment should prevail. Has the band ever done this before? Is there any reason to suspect fiddling the system? Do the negative aspects of not allowing them to compete outweigh the positive? Are there in fact any positive aspects of keeping them out of the Scottish?
Ultimately, in a case like this, I think the competing Grade 1 bands should be asked if they have any problem with making an exception. I would be shocked and amazed if a band insisted that the decision should stand. After all, who wants a prize when there’s a figurative asterisk by it in the minds of those who care? There’s plenty of time before the event to contact the 12 pipe-majors. If the majority thinks the decision should stand, then fair enough. But if my hunch is correct, and the bands want an exception made for SLOT, then the association should do the right thing and make an exception based on the evidence, the band’s history, and common sense.