A disease of British nationalism


Scottish social media is yet again working itself up into a lather over sectarianism at a fitba match. The Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke was subjected to a torrent of sectarian abuse from a contingent of Rangers fans at a recent match. Yet again, a minority of Rangers fans have succeeded in confirming the image of their club, and of Scotland in general, as a pigswill filled bucket of antediluvian sectarian hatred. So thanks for that. There’s the ugly truth about British nationalism for you.

There are some who have been blaming Catholic schools for sectarianism. That’s a classic case of victim blaming. I went to Catholic schools, and do not look fondly upon the experience.  Being a gay teenager at a Catholic school in Coatbridge in the 1970s was not a bundle of laughs.  But Catholic schools are not the cause of sectarianism in Scotland. Catholic schools are a product of sectarianism, not the cause of it. Blaming Catholic schools for sectarianism is like saying that craving certain foods causes pregnancy.  A symptom is not an etiology.

Catholic schools were established back in the 19th century when Catholic parents feared that their children were being targeted for conversion by the Kirk elders and ministers who controlled religious education in the supposedly non-denominational schools. Catholic schools were an attempt by a beleaguered community to preserve a small measure of its autonomy in the face of a deeply hostile British nationalist Scotland which rejected Scots of Irish descent as unwanted and despised alien intruders. They provided a space where Catholic children, who were overwhelmingly of Irish descent, could be educated in a space that protected them from the discrimination that was rampant in wider society.

I am no fan of religious based education, however other countries have faith schools and yet don’t have the same issues with sectarianism. Clearly something else is going on in Scotland.

It’s important to recognise that modern Scottish sectarianism is but a shadow of its former self. In previous decades, everyone who was brought up a Catholic in Scotland knew that there was a whole slew of places where you could forget about applying for a job. We knew that some jobs or occupations were always going to be closed to us. We knew that we would face constant and persistent discrimination in the workplace, in housing, and in life opportunities.  You were never going to be a judge or a bank manager or a senior police officer.  It was considered perfectly acceptable in douce and middle class Scotland that the Rangers football team had a ban on Catholic players, because the bowling clubs, tennis clubs, and golf clubs that those middle class worthies went to had similar bans of their own.

Sectarianism in Scotland is no longer a “respectable prejudice”. It no longer has the power to define careers and shape, or more accurately deform, lives.  That’s a result of the general decline in the role of religion in Western society.  Scotland has never had a proper national conversation about sectarianism in Scotland. We have, as a nation, never dealt with it in a systematic or comprehensive way. We continue to talk about sectarianism as a problem that afflicts football, or the West coast – conveniently ignoring the Orange lodges that infest the Lothians or Fife.  We continue to restrict what efforts there are to bewailing the lingering symptoms of sectarianism in Scotland, and never look at the underlying cause.

Sectarianism is still granted a leeway and a tolerance that wouldn’t be granted to other forms of prejudice. If that loud and aggressive minority of Rangers fans habitually chanted racist abuse directed against black players, the club would be expelled from the league until it got its house in order. In these modern times, there is less of a tolerance for homophobia than there is for sectarian bigotry – and it wasn’t so long ago that homophobia was obligatory.  Yet we allow our streets to be blocked by sectarian marches.  We turn a blind eye to rampant sectarian abuse on social media. We tut about sectarian chanting at football matches. And we do nothing about it.

The real reason that nothing is ever done about the sectarianism that lingers in Scotland is because it is a product and creature of British nationalism. Tackling sectarianism in Scotland means recognising the truth that Britishness in Scotland is not the fluffy and inclusive non-nationalism it is asserted to be by the modern anti-independence parties. Tackling the roots of sectarianism means looking at the nasty truth of how a British identity succeeded in imposing itself on the population of Scotland.

Dealing with sectarianism means facing up to the ugly realities of Britishness and a British identity in Scotland, and that’s the very last thing that opponents of independence want to do at a time when Britishness is threatened in Scotland like never before. Britishness in Scotland is not and never has been a cosy neutral identity that was all embracing and all inclusive.  Examining sectarianism deprives British nationalists in Scotland of their fictitious claim to the moral high ground that only Scottish independence is defined by ethnic exclusion. It’s far more comfortable to pretend that Scottish sectarianism a problem about football, that it’s a West Coast thing, that it’s about Catholic schools, or that there’s a moral equivalence between the two sides of the sectarian divide.

This red white and blue comfort blanket draws a convenient veil over the nasty truth about British nationalism and a British identity in Scotland. Historically, British nationalism in Scotland was exclusive, racist, and took its strength from the demonisation and rejection of Catholic Scots, who were overwhelmingly of Irish or Highland Gaelic origin, those who historically had rejected the imposition of a British identity. If you were of Irish descent, a nation that fought to reject the British identity that was imposed upon it by force, then naturally you couldn’t be Scottish either.  That union fleg so beloved by certain supermarket chains was a symbol of sectarian exclusion and hatred, long before it became co-opted as an anti-independence symbol.

British nationalism in Scotland sought to neutralise Scotland by controlling and defining Scottishness.  It preached that if you were not British then you couldn’t be Scottish. Catholicism became defined by British nationalism as an inherited condition, a quasi ethnicity. It didn’t matter if you were personally an atheist or an agnostic, if you were born into a Catholic family you could never be British, and that meant you couldn’t be Scottish either. That’s doubly true if you were born into a Scottish family of Irish origin. As the largest group by far of Catholics in Scotland, sectarianism most commonly manifests as anti-Irish racism.  It’s never been about religious beliefs at all. A person’s family religion was just the convenient cultural difference used to lever apart Scotland’s communities and keep us all under British rule.

It is not a coincidence that now independence is the fulcrum of Scottish politics that the bigots of British nationalism have responded by enlarging their arena of hatred and fear to include manifestations of Scottish culture. The Gaelic and Scots languages are now almost as much a target of British nationalism in Scotland as Scots of Irish descent once were. The new targets of British nationalism are Scottish independence supporters.

The targets of British nationalism in Scotland are those who are perceived to threaten and undermine British rule. A century ago that meant Irish Catholics, and we are still living with the consequences. Now it also means supporters of Scottish independence. Irish people were demonised for their family religion, independence supporters are demonised for a supposed anti-Englishness. Yet the nationalism in Scotland which is most defined by racism and exclusion is British nationalism, the nationalism which is quickest to claim victimhood status, the nationalism which is the first to project its own sins onto its opponents.

Sectarianism in Scotland is about Britishness and the divide and rule tactics of the British state, and it always has been. Sectarianism in Scotland is and always was a disease of British nationalism. The cure is independence.

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56 comments on “A disease of British nationalism

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug A disease of British nationalism Scottish social media is yet again working itself up into a lather over sectarianism […]

  2. Anne McGaughey says:

    I’m the opposite from you I was brought up in a very bitter orange family in Glasgow in the 60’s my earliest memories are crying as a toddler as I refused to go with an uncle and cousins to orange lodge meeting bribery of sweets didn’t work on me, my Catholic mum said I wasn’t a greedy child, I didn’t want to go with a smelly uncle I wanted my mummy but I didn’t know at that young age she wasn’t allowed. I suffered emotional abuse until the age of 12 when I finally found my voice after years of being dragged to watch every orange parade going I hated them. I told my uncle on a Sunday when I came home from church he was in waiting today was special I was told it was a church parade. I’ve just come from church minister never mentioned it he sniggered no he wouldn’t. Get ready I looked at my mum I said where is this parade are you coming she said no, ok then I’m not going I remember 46 years later the colour of his face the anger he shouted I was going I was the only one not in the orange order and today it would change. I screamed back you can’t tell me what to do you’re not my dad and your orange order is stupid and your queen is an old bag, I ran as fast as I could to the minister as I was friends with his daughter and I cried for what seemed like ever. I wasn’t aware he had gone to see my mum and dad who explained what had happened. My dad apologised to me and said it would never happen again. To this day I have nothing to do with my dads family and I despise the orange order I also hate both football teams in Glasgow as they robbed my brother and myself of a normal childhood, as a mixed family we never had birthday parties as children as both families could never be in the same room without a war starting religion who needs it sectarianism doesn’t exist if you take away religion

  3. Iain 2 says:

    Scotland can be so much better, time to leave the britnat devide and rule sectarianism behind us and more on to better things.

  4. John says:

    I worked with someone who had gone to great ends to remove himself from his family and area so that they did not uave to deal with their shit. He basically chose ostracisation over compliance. Brave guy. He gave up his sectarian family. He told me it eats your soul to be so full of hate.

  5. aitchbee says:

    I’m currently reading ‘Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain’ by Fintan O’Toole. He has some interesting things to say about the Brexiteers’/Leavers’ and indeed England’s sense of victimhood as a driver for Brexit. His observations apply equally well to the No side of the Scottish independence debate.

  6. Scotland’s shame?
    The West Of Scotland’s shame?
    I think not.
    Celtic ‘s and Rangers’ Money Tree? You betcha.

    ‘Christian’ religions are just one more Divide and Conquer tactic of the Ruling Classes.

    I am heartened with the stats from the last Census indicating that over half of Scots citizens express no association with any religious group.

    This week’s stooshie over knuckledraggers at Ibrox and Rugby Park hurling ‘sectarian’ abuse at football players and officials is a fading symptom of a dying century, a throwback to the Good Old Days when we all ‘knew our place’, and the Ruling Classes sat atop the dung heap ‘lording it’ over the Great Unwashed.

    When Brian Wilson and Dave King sit in the comfy seats watching their Money Spinner act out their tribal war chants on a square of grass every other week end, it is music to their ears.

    And it is the only USP that keeps our tawdry Dead Tree Scrolls afloat these days.

    James Kelly’s, Professor Two Jobs ‘It’s The Law’ WATP Adam List MSP Tomkins’, and Murdo Seven Times Political Failure The Queen’s Eleven Fraser’s main claim to fame is being instrumental in bringing down the OBFA, giving their core sectarian criminal underclass support free rein to behave as they like inside a football stadium.

    Scotland deserves better than this Dark Sinister Establishment Cash Cow.

    Welcome back, Paul.
    I find that I have wasted enough of our precious time banging my gums about Proddies and Kafflicks.

    Next we shall be discussing the miracle of Jonah inside the whale and surviving to tell the tail, verily.

    In a matter of hours we are to be put under House Arrest by a foreign Government, if we don’t act now.
    We shal be barred from Europe by English Edict.

    Feck Sellick and Ranjurs.

    The Pope and the Moderator are doing just fine in their palaces and manses, thank you very much.
    Their ‘flocks’ on UCS, not so much.
    Eye on the prize, guys.
    I urge us all not to get sucked into this pig swill of hatred and evil.
    That’s what they want.
    Anything to divert attention from the Ultra Right English coup d’etat.

    • wm says:

      The English nationalists have been using devide and conquer system since they learned it from the Romans centuary,s ago. Religion at the time was an ideal choice to devide both Ireland and Scotland job done.

    • and yet I can be a member of the Kirk and a supporter of Scottish independence with no bitterness or antipathy towards Roman Catholics. Bitterness, division and hatred are caused by people twisting religion to their own ends rather than religion itself. Most rangers and celtic fans and members of the orange order wouldn’t be able to tell you the last time they saw the inside of a kirk or chapel.

  7. Alba Laddie says:

    Good article Paul – it’s not a “minority” of fans that sing this guff, though. That’s a myth perpetuated by their mates in the media. Don’t fall for that line, please .

  8. Ian Waugh says:

    Its true that separate schools weren’t the cause of sectarianism but, growing up in Cambuslang in the ’50s , the fact that some kids went to ‘catholic’ school did reinforce the idea that they were ‘different’, especially as some kids in our ‘protestant’ school came from families for whom this was a big issue …so even those of us who didn’t get he anti-catholic message at home, got it in the playground or on the way to/from school …I don’t know what the best answer might be – but imagine what might happen if it was decided that all muslim kids in Glasgow now went to ‘the muslim’ school?

    • Ian, my bestest pal, Jimmy went to school a week before me. I never understood it as a five year old wean, now sixty years later, I still dont.

    • Therapymum says:

      I didn’t live in the West of Scotland as a child or teenager. I was in the North East in the 50s & 60s. We had Catholic schools, one an all girls private school. Many of us went to different schools especially after the 11+. If you passed the 11+ you could go to any of the grammar schools in the area, if you didn’t, you could go to any of the secondary moderns. We all just accepted that that’s the way it was. I had friends who went to a variety of different schools across the town. We all met up at the dancing, the folk club, the jazz club or the youth club or any of the numerous sports clubs across the town. I don’t recall anyone being “othered” because of the school they attended, though it may have happened, but I was never aware of any religious differences between us.

    • Craig P says:

      Perhaps we need separate ‘orange’ schools. People can send their kids there, and everybody else can discriminate against them when hiring.

  9. fynesider2 says:

    Great article Paul…..


  10. Adam Williamson says:

    Listen, firstly, I’m a big fan of the blog in general. But you present sectarianism in this article as a one-way street where Catholics are always the victims. It’s become a popular tactic in the media. Your hatred of Rangers is also coming through clearly, as is your total disregard of an event this week that was far more serious than the use of a questionable word in a chant which a sore loser decided to take to heart to deflect from his team getting pumped. The behaviour of Celtic fans at Rugby Park was truly atrocious, on a different level from anything seen on Wednesday. But it’s only when it’s Rangers fans that sectarianism gets talked about in the media. Rangers fans have become a group that it’s okay to slander and express hatred towards in public. Well, just remember that many Rangers fans like me are huge independence supporters. You know full well that sectarianism is an issue that has seen huge progress in recent decades and it will be eradicated, but sullying the name of our country’s greatest football team while making no mention of the other, which after all supported and concealed a paedophile ring among other sordid acts, is totally unacceptable.

    • weegingerdug says:

      Read the article. I wrote about a minority of Rangers fans.

    • Millsy says:

      I think any neutral reading your response to Paul’s article will see the problem we have in this country with sectarianism .
      Your desperate need to introduce ”whitabouterry ” tells its own tale .

    • John says:

      I think you must believe your own hype – “Supported & concealed a paedophile ring, amongst other sordid acts” Don’t come across and be so innocent and utterly ignorant – you’re as bad as the sectarian cretins within your own “supporters” – You’re mob had their own paedophiles – well documented too – so don’t talk utter Pish! Crawl back under a rock!

    • Saor Alba says:

      Oh dear Adam! Your efforts add nothing to the conversation and betray an underlying and unreasoned hatred and bias.

      I say this as a person of no faith and no affiliation to any church whatsoever, as well as no adulation of any football team. However, I do see through the nonsense in your post. You seem not to have read Paul’s article carefully enough and have got yourself worked up a bit.

      Rely on reason, it is much better.

  11. William Grant McDermott says:

    Much to agree with there Paul, but I don’t think you can complete the picture without looking at the position of the monarchy in all of this. Since the Henry VIII squared off against the Pope the English have claimed exceptionalism in their fantasy world. Everything and anything has been thrown into the mix to claim superiority whether it was the biggest empire the world has known to the special relationship with America to maintain that superior position in the diplomatic world.

    Oh to be like one of the Scandanavian countries – accepting of the need to work together, to recognise that the collective is greater than the sum of its parts. Just to play our part in the world community. I recognise that the UK did play a substantial part in bringing the UN into being and forming the ECHR etc, but that good history was a blip in what otherwise has been a string of vainglorious enterprises, the effects of which are still with us today.

  12. bringiton says:

    Absolutely correct Paul.
    Divide and rule is one of the major tools in the British establishment’s “Management of Hostile Natives” handbook.
    Tried and tested over many centuries in a number of places around the globe.
    All the Unionists have left now in Scotland are threats and intimidation.
    According to them,only the British state can save us from sectarian civil war,we will erect a wall (Neo Hadrian) at the border,we will threaten trade with you…….
    Scots will not take kindly to being threatened by England’s Tories and their supporters north of the border.

  13. Heilan Coo says:

    OMG – a million times this

    “The real reason that nothing is ever done about the sectarianism that lingers in Scotland is because it is a product and creature of British nationalism. Tackling sectarianism in Scotland means recognising the truth that Britishness in Scotland is not the fluffy and inclusive non-nationalism it is asserted to be by the modern anti-independence parties. Tackling the roots of sectarianism means looking at the nasty truth of how a British identity succeeded in imposing itself on the population of Scotland.”

  14. Therapymum says:

    Brilliant Paul! I was born and brought up in Aberdeen and had never heard of the Orange Order or seen a march, until I came to live in Glasgow in 1970 aged 21. The first march I saw in 1971 was enormous, and as someone who had been on CND marches in London, I was astonished. I was even more astonished when I tried to cross Sauchiehall St between the groups and was hauled back by a policeman, who was fairly graphic about what would happen if one of the marshalls caught me. I thought he was being over dramatic until I overtook the march and saw a car try to slip through a cross road before the bible and a marshall’s baton went through the back window. The police ignored it, and the driver floored his car. Taught me a lesson I have never forgotten, and one I have never understood.

    You call it sectarianism. I call it religious intolerance, bigotry and discrimination. It’s disgraceful that is still allowed to thrive today almost 50 years later. We have to do better. However, where “Britishness” is seen as being anti-catholic, waving the union flag, worshipping the Empire and all it stands for, and marching to celebrate anti-catholic battles all under the auspices of free speech, the religious discrimination and intolerance is entrenched and will take a proper national conversation and probably a couple of generations to drag us out of the shame & anger I and many others feel when the Orange marching season begins. As a country, all of us have perpetuated it by allowing it to happen. I have no idea how to stop it, but we must. It shames all of us and is a national disgrace.

    • wm says:

      It is embarrassing that Scotland allows this behaviour, it is nearly as bad as handing the key,s of your business to your neighbour to look after it for you.

  15. Ewan Macintyre says:

    Your informative article bears out the reasons why a civilised and decent Coatbridge man, known affectionately here as “Bob the book”, moved his family to Inverness.
    Yet, when you write: “The Gaelic and Scots languages are now almost as much a target of British nationalism in Scotland as Scots of Irish descent once were”, you demonstrate typical anti-Gaelic prejudice yourself. The awkward truth (for some) is: the original Scots of Argyll and Antrim spoke Gaelic. Therefore, it is true to say that the real Scottish language is Scots-Gaelic. And, also quite obviously, Irish-Gaelic is the real Irish language. The so-called “Scots” tongue is part of Northumbrian English. If in doubt, consult Early Scots in Wikipedia.

    • weegingerdug says:

      Anti-Gaelic prejudice? Seriously?

      I have consistently written about, supported, and worked to promote the Gaelic language.

      I really don’t need lectures on Scottish languages from someone who references Wikipedia.

      • Illy says:

        You’d be amased at the number of people who read wikipedia, then assume that they know everything on a subject.

        I get it all the time with “biology experts” talking about chromosomes.

  16. Roy Moore says:

    A conversation (for want of a better word) I remember having with some clown I worked with when I was an apprentice:

    Whit team dae ye follow son?

    The Morton, a follow the Morton.

    Aye, but whit team dae ye follow son?


    Ye heard me son, whit team? ur ye a Rangers man or a Celtic man?

    Piss off..

  17. Macart says:

    Well said on all counts.

    The real bastirts that perpetuate this bullshit don’t actually care what the difference of the day is, just so long as there is one to exploit.

    Religion, political affiliation, race, social strata? Anything and everything is fair game. Any old tool to divide and sub divide a society against itself and achieve the objective du jour (which boils down to greed or position).

  18. robert harrison says:

    That’s the problem with the likes of the orange order more bastard supremists I hate supremists every breed of them and religious ones are no differant.

  19. wm says:

    It is embarrassing that Scotland allows this behaviour, it is nearly as bad as handing the key,s of your business to your neighbour to look after it for you.

  20. JockG says:

    Another great article Paul. One only has to look at the comment sections of certain news websites to see the ongoing attempt to Ulster-ize Scottish politics.

  21. Thanks Paul for a very good article, and one that needed to be written. Scotland can and will be a more tolerant country when we leave the Union and all it stands for behind us. Independence is the cure for much that ails us.

  22. Andy Anderson says:

    I cannot stand sectarianism. I was brought up in Berwickshire where no such problems exist. I first became aware of it when I was 20 in the Royal Navy when a couple of people from NI had a go at each other due to there ‘religious’ camps. I have worked in Lanarkshire and became again aware of it. It baffles me that people with brains can act this way.

    Personally I deal with it by ignoring anyone who is bigoted in this way. Over the years my wife and I have made friendships only to discover one or more of our new friends were ‘religious’ bigots. In each case we broke the friendship and told them why. We must all ostracise these people.

    Certainly the majority of people I personally have met that are bigots were so called protestants and also, apart from one person, supported the Union. I was brought up a protestant but now consider myself to have no religion.

  23. Jan Cowan says:

    Thanks, Paul. Coming from the Highlands I knew nothing of sectarianism until I left home. Your article explains a great deal. However the “cure” – ie independence – is all that matters now.

  24. Al Dossary says:

    I actually had a conversation about this very thing today……in a bar in Bahrain, with a Dons supporting aberdonian and an ex-RAF Britnat Ulsterman. All started off by “Have you seen the Steve Clark interview”.

    At the age of 5, I was unable to understand why I had to go to a different school than my best friend.

    At the age of 10, my father would not allow me to go to Ibrox to see “the Rangers”. Although a freemason, he would not stand for any form of bigotry.

    So I went to Fir Park with the same best friend (who’s father actually played a few 1st team games) to watch Motherwell. The same friend swung to Celtic Park soon after starting high school – peer pressure I guess….

    My point is that perhaps as little as 10-20% of families even care about religion. The problem is that the 10-20% of kids, brainwashed by the parents then through peer pressure spread their hatred to kids otherwise unaware of it.

    The current batch of Tory MPS, MSP’S and councillors is in part due to the Orange order switching from Labour to Tory. ‘A vote for the SNP is a Catholic vote’ was the dictat from their grand poo-bah just a decade or so ago.

  25. TGC says:

    Britishness is just Englishness disguised for Scots and the welsh and northern Irish etc to make them feel comfortable that they belong to something other than their own country whereas in actual fact they are being tricked into giving their allegiance to England.
    No point disliking Britishness because Britishness is just a trick it doesn’t really exist .
    Yes you should dislike Englishness because it is Englishness that invented the lie we call Britishness .
    Everyone in Scotland is too scared to say it .

  26. Wee Reekie Ranter says:

    I was brought up in an extended family in Dumfriesshire that was quietly but markedly Protestant. My Dad’s family came from the mining community in upper Nithsdale/New Cumnock area. The first brush I had with all of this was at my grandparent’s Ruby wedding anniversary. I was about 8. We were all getting up to sing songs and one of the only ones I knew was Danny Boy. I had NO idea that it was a catholic song. I knew it and I wanted to sing it for my granny and papa. Apparently, without knowing, I caused a massive upset that night and initially the chap on the keyboard refused to play it. My granny told him to go ahead and let me sing. I can’t remember much about it but apparently there was a stunned silence. I’m in my 40s and there’s still a long standing and slightly tedious joke in the family that I can do what I like, as long as I don’t sing. At a family get together last year I pointed out that it was bad that one song could be so tainted and it was a load of nonsense because my performance as a wee lassie in the 80s got dragged up yet again. I got some excuses about “that’s how it was then” and “we’re close to Glasgow.” I said that doesn’t make it right which didn’t go down too well. I was a Rangers fan as as teenager and stopped once I found out about the sectarianism in it which I just couldn’t endorse or handle – I never got it and besides I’m a firm Scottish indepence supporter.

  27. hoplite39 says:

    I’m an expert on extremism. I’ve have been a bigot, racist, Tory fanboy, anti-English bigot, anti-Irish bigot, supporter of the Union, despiser of communists/socialists (they were of course all the same) and fascist apologist in my younger years. Frankly, I could have blown myself up for any number of lunatic causes. In fact, I wouldn’t be able to be an MP without scandal, well unless I was a Tory or in UKIP. And we haven’t even touched on the sex stuff.

    Needless to say that things have changed, and NO philosophical cause would sacrifice myself or other people for pointless abstract cause. My Goddess forbids it.

  28. John Daly says:

    Growing up in the 60’s, I remember learning at 5 that my Proddy pals up the stair couldnae get into heaven because they didn’t go to confession. I was gutted and had to break the news to them. They said, that’s ok. The Queen cannae be a Catholic. There was no shouting or fighting about it… until I got to the shipyards.

  29. Referendum1707 says:

    I was brought up in the south side of Glasgow, the affluent south side that is, never wanted for anything of material importance and had an education which I don’t feel I benefited much from but which was nevertheless the kind of “education” that many would have thought of as being quite privileged.

    Neither of my parents were religious, well my mother was mildly but that was nothing to do with protestants or catholics, more about bible study etc. .

    My point is that I didn’t even become aware of all this crap till I was well into my teens, probably that was the first time I’d seen one of those marches and even then I knew instinctively that it was a monstrous disgrace, without having the slightest axe to grind on one side or the other. I’d known that I was supposed to be a protestant – whatever that was supposed to mean – but no one ever tried to impress on me that it was in any way important.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is that sectarianism exists almost, not entirely but almost, exclusively among the less well off. Of course it’s used as a tool by the WM regime but I think it was there in the first place and they merely help to stoke it and nurture it for purposes of divide and rule etc.

    If “ordinary” people are dumb and stupid enough to buy into it, who’s to blame for that? How about themselves?

  30. Martin Greene says:

    I don’t usually pay much attention to these kind of posts… but sorry what I’ll educated nonesense


    Sectarianism at its core it’s about bigotry and poor education on an unrealistic scale.
    People who love each other and respect each other lose their shit over what religion that same person was born into.

    Not even what religion they practice because realistically neither side of the argument actually have as many religiously devout members as they have those who hate in the name of it.

    We have empty churches and chapels week in week out across the nation, yet people who hate on behalf of a religion they don’t even practice. ?

    We have kids taught to hate for reasons they don’t even understand, that’s not a nationalistic problem that’s a problem of the home environment and family influences pure and simply

    To hate someone simply because of your perception of not them but their religion is irrational and ill educated.

    To do so because of a colour they wear, a team they choose to support or a hope they have in a union is simply ignorance of the highest level.

    And those with power and control within our country in both business and politics, know and understand this and on every level they play on it for their own profit. Whether this be to polarise a nation against each other on sectarian ground (your either one or the other, what absolute tosh). Or whether it be to stoke the fires of hatred and ignorance to make a huge profit for sport.

    No independence is not about sectarianism and it’s dangerous that we even have a nation as informed and educated as we do thinking that it is. Being independent will not solve the problem of sectarianism, being more tolerant, understanding and accepting will. People cannot help the ignorance they where born into, but they can understand when others find it offensive or unacceptable behaviour, and until we challenge the behaviour of our businesses and politicians profiting over that divide we will neither come together as one nor ride ourselves of the disease

    Sorry rant over

  31. Totally fair comment, Paul. Curious as to whether you have any thoughts on the Orange (Dis)Order extremists who are threatening to go full paramilitary if Scotland did become independent.

    • Ian McGilvary says:

      If an orange (Dis) order of extremists attempted to raise arms and terrorise Scots? I believe they would be easily named and shamed and most likely be mobbed by fearless decent minded humans of all race/denominations living in a Free Scotland(note i didn’t say Scots). Think of John Smeaton at Glasgow Airport? Thats how true citizens act on “shit” on their turf! Gangsters and bullies ALWAYS get brought down in the end!

  32. Rangers fans have become so anti-independence, that they have taken to wearing English football shirts and waving St George flags. Wearing a Scots jersey or waving a Saltire is now anti-British so they have renounced such symbols of Scottishness and embraced ‘England’ as their mother country. It is truly bizarre and the English jersey wearing Rangers fan used to really perplex me, but when I read Paul’s take on sectarianism, the puzzle was solved.

    My family is allegedly ‘proddy’ side but none of us, apart from my maternal granny, was in the least religious. Apart from weddings, christenings & funerals we never step into a church.

    I never supported Rangers but my big sister was (still is) Rangers daft. My whole family was always SNP and we always looked down on the Orange Order. My Weemaw called them the ‘bigoted scum of the earth’ and in her more charitable days, ‘ignorant, uneducated wretches.’ This too from a family which had held farming land in N Ireland up until the 1950s but (like many Protestants in the south), were in favour of Irish Independence and latterly re-unification.

    On our last family outing to N Ireland, we do try to instil into our 85 yr old Weemaw a certain caution not to wear her SNP allegiances on her sleeve.

    However on dropping her off at the tourist trap, Giants Causeway, whilst we parked the car, we came back to find her in full argument with an outside visitor centre attendant, on the rights and wrongs of Scots Independence. God knows how. We’d only left her for 10 mins!

    A bull-necked N Irish man in his 60s, was glaring at our Weemaw, and telling her in no uncertain terms, ‘Scottish independence! Huh! Ye’ll never get that! Ye’ll never get that!.’ He was glaring & very red faced. He calmed down a little when Weemaw’s back-up troops arrived: myself, my sister, my sister’s 2 daughters and my sister’s bridesmaid!

    We surrounded Weemaw immediately and the beer-bellied bully (Weemaw’s a tiny size 8) deflated like a burst balloon. He lamely finished, ‘Well, I’m a Rangers fan and they’ll never let you get independence’. My sister completely discombobulated the buffoon by promptly replying, ‘We are all Rangers fans’. I’ll never forget the look of sheer horror on his face, as we all marched away.

    I wasn’t going to argue with my sister in front of such aggression, it was only when we were completely out of his hearing that I said, ‘Christ sake! Who are you calling a Rangers fan!’ and we then all burst out laughing at the sheer idiocy of it all.

  33. Tog says:

    Reblogged this on sideshowtog.

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