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A nationalist hero

Posted on April 07, 2013 by

On the 12th May 1916, a man born 48 years previously in Edinburgh’s Cowgate was strapped to a chair in Kilmainham Jail, Dublin and – after receiving the last rites – was shot by a firing squad. He was too weak to stand.

jamesconnolly

In 2002 a BBC poll for its presentation of the “100 Greatest Britons” had him in 64th place. Yet he is hardly known in Scotland. Virtually the only time his name impinges on public consciousness is when those who wish to honour his name by public march in Edinburgh have to be given police protection from violent Unionist bigots.

At the age of 14 James Connolly (with his brother John) had enrolled in the British Army under the name of Reid. A seven-year posting to Ireland undoubtedly had a significant effect. On return to Edinburgh he became heavily involved in workers’ causes and the Scottish Socialist Federation, becoming its secretary in place of John, who’d been sacked by Edinburgh Corporation for agitating for an eight-hour day.

He abhorred the sectarian division fostered among Scotland’s working classes by unscrupulous employers to weaken worker solidarity. Connolly became an early member of Keir Hardie’s Independent Labour Party, and an acquaintance and inspiration to John McLean. (Connolly’s part in the Dublin Easter Rising and the subsequent independence of Ireland was a significant influence in McLean’s later formation of the independence-supporting Scottish Workers Republican Party.)

There was great communication and cooperation between Scottish and Irish socialist organisations in the 1890s, and when a position as secretary of the Dublin Socialist Club – paying a pound a week – came up, Connolly (now struggling in Edinburgh with three children) applied for and got the position. There he very quickly became a right hand man to Jim Larkin, the Liverpool-born founder of the Irish Labour party.

But it was in 1916 that Connolly stepped into history. On the 24th of April 1916 the two men at the head of a rebel Irish army declaring Irish independence were the son of an Englishman and an ex-British soldier born in Edinburgh. The commander-in-chief as the rebels seized the GPO in Dublin was Padraig Pearse and his second-in-command was James Connolly, leading the “Irish Citizens Army” – drawn from the Irish Trade Unions and Irish Labour Party.

The citizens of Dublin were puzzled, somewhat amused and largely dismissive of the rebels who had seized a number of buildings in central Dublin. A Proclamation of the Republic was read out and the rebels settled in for a siege.  They held out under intense bombardment till the 30th of April. On surrender many of them, including a badly wounded Connolly, were bundled off to jail to await their individual desserts. Those who had signed the Proclamation had little doubt what fate awaited them.

In the interim, Ireland had not risen as the rebels had hoped. Metropolitan Dubliners had shown little enthusiasm for insurrection, though Irish Home Rule and Dominion status was by a large distance the most popular political position of the day. The rubble in the city centre was cleared. Life went on. But just when the cause of independence seemed to have faltered, London stupidity intervened to revive it.

Because in May, the executions started.

The prevailing view in Ireland until then had probably been that these rebels, many of whom had marched in from impoverished rural Ireland, were “daft laddies”. The first batch of executions however sent a shockwave across the country. They might have been daft laddies but other daft laddies from Ireland were at that very moment in Europe fighting with Britain’s army for the freedom of small European nations. The comparison was drawn. The tide turned.

Too late, the politicians in London understood their blunder. They suggested the executions be stopped. The military were having none of it. Appeals – like that from poet WB Yeats – that the execution of prisoners of war was a crime were ignored. The executions continued, to mounting anger across Ireland. The execution of James Connolly was the last.

As shooting a badly-wounded man (Connolly was expected to die within a day anyway) on the floor and tied to a stretcher was probably too much even for the officers that ordered the slaying, he was strapped into a chair and sat upright for his dispatch. He died forgiving those about to shoot him.

It could be reasonably argued that if any single act (in a long and terrible history of British barbarism in the country) propelled Ireland to independence it was the cold-blooded killing of Edinburgh’s James Connolly. In September, when thousands of Scottish nationalists marched from the Meadows to Prices Street Gardens, the James Connolly Society marched with them. It was probably the first time it had marched in Edinburgh without having to face attempted harassment.

The significance of this is easily missed. There is, in central Scotland particularly, a community who know and revere James Connolly. It is a large community and a critical one when one thinks of referendums. It is a nationalist community that doesn’t vote nationalist.

The previous inability of the Society to have been able to publicly honour James Connolly in his native Scotland without fear of attack has for decades provided certain elements of Unionism with the opportunity to keep much of this community suspicious of Scottish independence. They exploit that opportunity on a regular basis.

If an independent Scotland is to be worth having at all, men like James Connolly deserve an honoured place in its affection, free from the intimidation of bigots. On a day when a Scottish “quality” newspaper is attempting to disgracefully smear Scottish nationalists by associating them with fascists and the Nazis, now seems as good a time as any to start righting that wrong.

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    1. 17 03 16 23:09

      Saints, Serpentology, and Scottish Independence | A Wilderness of Peace

    90 to “A nationalist hero”

    1. Bunter says:

      Andrew Marr show appears to have overlooked the Scottish press this morning. It usually has its favourite, Scotland on Sunday, highlighted, but seems to have been overlooked this time.
      So we have no Scottish views or anything of importance being discussed in our part of the Union this morning, according to this London centric parochial broadcaster.
      Why do we accept this.

    2. Robert louis says:

      I think I am correct in saying, that there is a plaque I spotted a few years ago in the cowgate, under a bridge, to James Connolly.  It is hard to easily spot, and I guess is missed by most Edinburgh folk and tourists alike.

    3. Embra says:

      I suspect the Connolly demo in Edinburgh is attended by busloads of bigots of the footie persuasion, to be honest. There’s a symmetry in these things when it comes to Scotland, sadly.

    4. ayemachrihanish says:

      Rev, In a week where Osborn’s elite expose their true face on Welfare Reform – just brush aside the rights of the poor and disabled – we have the old Unionists –  Johnston Press in Scotland bait and switch insult. Obviously Dave’s earlier WMD – North Korea threat imploded – so when in doubt try the old too wee, too poor, too Fascist! 
       
      Next up on mid day BBC we’ll have Davidson with, “I told you all those cybernats were Fascist anyway!  

       

    5. crisiscult says:

      Very interesting, and I knew very little about him, yet it seems a man of admirable principles, bravery, and dignity, and a man that should be remembered. Sadly you can even get a sense from wikipedia of the prickliness the topic exudes – was he Irish, was he Scottish, was he Catholic, was he atheist? Some people/ many people, particularly noticeable in the supporters of the Old Firm, to focus on their mini tribes and the injustices, perceived or real, that are perpetrated against them, though I’m reminded of some graffiti I saw in a toilet somewhere near Dublin (can’t remember the town now): What do Rangers and Celtic have in common? They’re all Brits.

    6. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I suspect the Connolly demo in Edinburgh is attended by busloads of bigots of the footie persuasion, to be honest. There’s a symmetry in these things when it comes to Scotland, sadly.”

      Perhaps. To be honest, I nearly pulled the piece after Celtic fans’ twattery in Glasgow yesterday. But to do so would have been to be guilty of the sort of kneejerk response so beloved of the other side. I’m not going to judge Connolly or the JCS by the standards of Old Firm fans.

    7. Dramfineday says:

      Well I’m sure that, come independence, well can have a modest renaming of our streets and since I’m from Edinburgh I suggest we start by getting rid of the Hanoverian monikers. James Connolly would be a worthy individual to include in a renaming.

    8. thebunnyman says:

      thank you. have been saying for years that the only reason James Connelly is not properly honoured in his native land is simple: sectarian.  and the trade unions in Scotland have shown they’re yellow livered
       

    9. Bill C says:

      I don’t do heroes, I like the Corries and Bob Dylan, but that’s about it.  In saying that I have two political heroes, John McLean and James Connolly, although I have to say if Big Eck pulls it off next year, he joins the Hall.  McLean and Connolly were truly men of the people, dedicated to bettering the lot of their fellows and dedicated to the liberation of the working class and their respective nations. (Connolly was born in Edinburgh of Irish parents and regarded Ireland as his adopted nation).  Their memories should be revered by all who believe in national self determination and social justice.

    10. CameronB says:

      Dramfineday says:
      7 April, 2013 at 10:56 am
      “Well I’m sure that, come independence, well can have a modest renaming of our streets and since I’m from Edinburgh I suggest we start by getting rid of the Hanoverian monikers”.
       
      And we should get rid of all the plukes on plinths.

    11. cath says:

      “To be honest, I nearly pulled the piece after Celtic fans’ twattery in Glasgow yesterday. But to do so would have been to be guilty of the sort of kneejerk response so beloved of the other side. I’m not going to judge Connolly or the JCS by the standards of Old Firm fans.”
       
      It’s a good piece and it’s great to see someone like Connolly raised above the sectarian nonsense. It’s long past time Scotland dragged its sectarian bigots kicking and screaming out of the 17th century and moved on.
       
      My fondest hope after independence is that Scotland can grow up, and we can have people like this celebrated for who they were and what they achieved. And folk waving union Jacks for jubilees if they want to. And with neither being taken as some sign of deeper politics or division. I suspect sectarianism has been used to divide and rule for generations, and I also doubt “the Glasgow effect” in health and low life expectancy is unrelated to that.

    12. Aucheorn says:

      Love that “Plooks on plinths” so picturesque.

    13. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Celtic twaterry indeed. And Michael McMahon MSP is only the most obvious evidence of the unionists last card –  the sectarian divide
      I have been trying to point this out for years but only if you have a West Central Scotland political background can one understand just how assiduously have Labour and the Tories before them played the sectarian card in their own interest. They are now playing it against Scotland.
       
       

    14. Tearlach says:

      The only person I ever see discussing Connolly in the context of politics in Scotland today is Ian Bell in the Herald. Connolly was his great, great Uncle.

    15. muttley79 says:

      Yes Dave, I saw that Michael McMahon MSP was at the rally of Celtic supporters yesterday.  Divide and rule is all the man has to offer…

    16. Morag says:

      RevStu, I am extremely glad you didn’t pull this article.  (Or even wire it for demolition…. 😉 )  It’s absolutely excellent.

    17. CameronB says:

      Ho Ho 😉 Agreed again though.

    18. DMyers says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I must admit to having seen the James Connolly march a couple of times since I moved to Edinburgh, and I haven’t had the faintest idea who he was or why there was a march – until I saw this posting.  I’ve only given it a cursory skim for now, but I’ll give it a proper read later on and I’ll share the article later, because I think it’s very important.
      Seriously, thanks again for filling what I’ve just realised was a large and fundamental gap in my knowledge.

    19. JLT says:

      ‘…although I have to say if Big Eck pulls it off next year, he joins the Hall.’
       
      Joins the Hall …he’ll be higher than that. He will be up there with Bruce, Wallace, De Moray (Murray) and De Lamberton as the true Guardians of Scotland. If he does it, it will be an unbelievable victory, considering what he is up against (the media, Westminster, a third of Unionist Scotland and god knows what else that might still arise!).

    20. Braco says:

      JLT,
      ……..and Bishop Wishart.

    21. Morag says:

      JLT (and Braco), perfectly true.  Faults and all, we’re privileged to have him and I for one will chip in for the statue.  However, one of the big unionist talking-points is that nobody actually wants independence and this whole thing has just been dreamed up by Salmond to get him a statue.  You couldn’t make it up, except they did.

    22. Morag says:

      RevStu, you couldn’t do something about the aspect ratio of that photo, could you?  It looks like it ought to be 4×3 or something like that.

    23. JohnnyB says:

      “Celtic fans’ twattery in Glasgow yesterday.”
       
      Would that be the peaceful demonstration that was attended by working class football fans (of many hues) in protest at the heavy handed treatment meted out to them from the state. Something the great man himself would no doubt approved of.
      It’s a shame that even the author of this (otherwise excellent piece) can’t quite shake himself of the prejudice that is endemic in our beautiful but deeply troubled nation.

    24. muttley79 says:

      @Morag
       
      The No campaign’s tactics vary from scare stories to smears.  They cannot put up a rational case why Scotland should not have control over all its affairs.  This irrationalism is essentially British Nationalism and fear of change.  They have no vision for Scotland at all.  The SoS article is a classic projection of the Nationalism that dares not speak its name.  The one that denigrates “foreigners” and uppity Jocks.  Rather than being honest with the people of Scotland, the No campaign and  the MSM conceal even the very existence of British Nationalism, while denigrating advocates of Scottish self-government.  Rant over…   

    25. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Would that be the peaceful demonstration that was attended by working class football fans (of many hues) in protest at the heavy handed treatment meted out to them from the state. Something the great man himself would no doubt approved of.
      It’s a shame that even the author of this (otherwise excellent piece) can’t quite shake himself of the prejudice that is endemic in our beautiful but deeply troubled nation.”

      I wish people wouldn’t use the word “prejudice” wrongly. Judging something AFTER it’s happened isn’t “pre”-anything. And I’d have said exactly the same if it was dopey Rangers fans parading around waving anti-SNP placards because they’re not allowed to try to provoke riots with vile sectarian chanting any more, the poor bunnies.

      It’s funny how Celtic fans all think the legislation is solely aimed at persecuting them, while Rangers fans (who as far as I can tell have been the subjects of most of the publicised cases so far) all think it’s aimed solely at persecuting them. Frankly, anything that upsets both of the Old Firm’s fans must have something going for it.

      And, y’know, it takes quite a special sort of mindset to accuse me of (presumably anti-Catholic/anti-Irish) prejudice when I’ve just run this particular feature.

    26. Lyn says:

      Excellent article, very informative. I had no idea James Connolly was born in Edinburgh
      and as far as the marches went I always supposed these were sectarian in nature.
      Yes I wonder when the bigots on either side of the divide are going to realise that they are
      being used by these self-centred politicians for their own political ends.
      Thank you Dave McEwan Hill for filling in another gap in my knowledge.
       
       

    27. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “RevStu, you couldn’t do something about the aspect ratio of that photo, could you?  It looks like it ought to be 4×3 or something like that.”

      Slightly odd though it may look, that’s the way I found it. I cropped it to be landscape rather than portrait, which may be what’s causing it, but there’s actually nothing wrong with it. Maybe he just had a wide head.

    28. The Man in the Jar says:

      @muttley79
      at 1:27pm
      McMahon is my MSP he is also an advisor to the Irish Diaspora in Scotland. A big supporter of faith schools as well.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_McMahon_(Scottish_politician)

    29. Yesitis says:

      @JohnnyB
      “It’s a shame that even the author of this (otherwise excellent piece) can’t quite shake himself of the prejudice that is endemic in our beautiful but deeply troubled nation”
       
      You mean Glasgow, right?
      You should visit Dundee. It`s got a big heart, and the people are really friendly. It`s actually quite a forward thinking city. It moves on.

    30. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Johnny B
      Celtic twattery indeed – and I am a Celtic supporter.
      This is Labour playing its last card – stirring up the people who have had most to gain from the anti-sectarian laws into somehow believing they are the target.
      Personally I think I’ll arrange a 300 strong march of Orangemen through Bellshill Cross without council permission and see how much support Michael McMahon MSP gives that.
      Sadly some Celtic supporters are being taken in. Elements in Labour are now abusing Scotland’s Catholic community and its long term support for Labour by trying to drive them back into a ghetto mentality.
       
      This is for no other reason than to save themselves and their comfortable positions inside this British Union.
      They are playing the sectarian card and sending Celtic supporters into a Brit Union Jack alliance with the Orange Lodge.
      I despise these so called politicians. And as I did much of my political learning in the killing fields of Lanarkshire I could write a book 

    31. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill
      at12:38pm
      Precisely. An example is, why will this lot (se link) vote for Unionist, Westminster, Union Jack waving Labour till hell freezes over?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coatbridge_Irish

    32. Yesitis says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill
      “This is Labour playing its last card”
      Absolutely, and transparent as hell.

    33. muttley79 says:

      The Act that they are complaining about came into law because the Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, was assaulted at a football match.  At around the same time bullets were found outside the Celtic training ground.  Lennon also had viable, if crude, letter bombs sent to him in the post.  Other Catholics, such as Patricia Ferguson, were also targeted in this hate campaign.  Now Scottish Labour politicians, such as the bold Michael McMahon, are involved stirirng up sections of the Celtic support for their own narrow political ends.  They really are a disgrace. 

    34. JohnnyB says:

      I think I used the word correctly, and I don’t think I did accuse you of being anti-Irish or indeed anti-Catholic either. Might that be another example of, you know, prejudice? 😉

    35. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      The Man in The Jar
       
      Oddly enough the first full-time organiser of the SNP in 1968 was John McAteer from Coatbridge. He took a big drop in pay (as a head teacher at St Ambrose High ) to take the SNP post. Sadly he died very young from lung cancer. He was my first election agent when I stood for the Hamilton Town Council.   

    36. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I think I used the word correctly, and I don’t think I did accuse you of being anti-Irish or indeed anti-Catholic either. Might that be another example of, you know, prejudice?”

      Then what prejudice WERE you accusing me of, exactly?

    37. Braco says:

      Dave McEwan Hill,
      How did you get on?

    38. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Johnny B
      And I take similar umbrage as the Rev at the implication in your thoughtless initial post that somehow I am prejudiced.
      “can’t quite shake himself of the prejudice” .
      I confess to a deep prejudice. It is against unionist politicians who are eager to play sectarian games despite the vicious damage this causes. And another one. Those who look at peoples’ names and assume they know the prejudices that person is likely to suffer from.

    39. Braco says:

      Oh, and thanks for writing the article. Very interesting. Somehow, when I learnt about the Easter rising at high school the backgrounds of the two leading men were inadvertently missed out. Strange that. 

    40. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Braco.
      I nearly got  in, God help me.
      I was defeated by 6 votes on the first count in 1968 and (fortunately) on the recount that became 26. A good friend George Hardie did go in. I see his poems still in the Scots Independent newspaper

    41. JohnnyB says:

      “Then what prejudice WERE you accusing me of, exactly?”
      I don’t want to sidetrack this as it is an excellent article but you described a peaceful rally attended by, amongst others, fans of St Mirren, Dundee Utd and Hibernian in protest at very real and demonstrable heavy handedness from the state, as ‘Celtic fans twattery’.
      Now if that is not the very definition of prejudice then I do not know what is.

    42. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Now if that is not the very definition of prejudice then I do not know what is.”

      Well, if it’s true that fans of St Mirren, Dundee Utd and Hibs were there – something I didn’t see reported in the media, who all characterised it as a Celtic event – then it’s a mistake based on press misinformation, not prejudice. Do St Mirren fans have a history of sectarian singing likely to see them fall foul of this law?

    43. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Johnny B
      You’ve got me going now.
      Napper Tandy, McCracken, Orr, Grattan, Emmet, Wolfe Tone, Parnell, Pearse, Griffiths, Hide, Plunkett, Childers, Hillery, Yeats,Robinson, GoreBooth, Adams, Sands.
      All these names – many of Scottish or English descent – were prominent in the Irish struggle to independence right up to today’s politics (and I could fill a page). The vast majority of those were Protestants. Many were Ulster Protestants. Church of Ireland Protestant ministers were the mainstay of the Irish home rule movement in Ulster for many decades
      Then along came Randolph Churchill and his Orange Card, designed to subvert the Irish home Rule movement. And look what we have had suffer in Ireland up to today as a result of that.
      Politicians playing sectarian politics are the scum of the earth.
      Here’s another few names to conjure with. They will be very influential 
      Canavan, Brennan, Grogan, McAllion, Brannigan, Kane, Sheridan. I wonder what their prejudices may be.
       

    44. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill
      I have lived in Lanarkshire most of my days and so can understand where you are coming from. It was Frankie Boyle who decried Coatbridge as “Bladerunner without the special effects”.
      I think that Labour in West Central have played the Irish Catholics for a very long time. You will remember Monklandsgate very well I expect. I think that Labour has encouraged the Irish Catholic victim culture and then proposed them selves as the sole protector of these communities to gain support. Perhaps with Labour and their performance regarding the bedroom tax and welfare reform might just help this community come to its senses. I can imagine that there are quite a few on benefits in this area as well as Bellshill, Motherwell Etc. This is a very traditional Labour area and could be a rich ground for a Yes vote if only we could get the voters to se how they have been manipulated for generations.
      We can but hope!

    45. JohnnyB says:

      You called Celtic fans twats because of press misinformation and not because of prejudice? 😉
       
      Just out of interest can you name me a sectarian song that Celtic fans sing? Boys of the Old Brigade perhaps, wasn’t James Connolly a boy of the Old brigade?

    46. Braco says:

      Dave McEwan Hill,
       
      Oh! Damn. I bet that was an interesting count (nervousesmily). Although Hamilton has always been that bit closer to civilised on the westcentralscotland spectrum. (wink)
       
      I can’t agree more with you re. your analysis of the Unionist parties (first Unionist/Tory and now SLab’s) divide and conquer sectarian tactics in Lanarkshire and Glasgow.

      I think it’s getting to look a bit ridiculous now though, what with them courting both Rangers and Celtic,  the Orange Order and the Catholic vote.
       
      I think they really are taking people for fools and no one likes to be seen as a fool. The more they surround themselves with the idiots that buy that crap victim culture, the more normal folk want away from being identified with it.
       
      The politicians are in a death spiral with it because they find themselves surrounded by the kind of idiot that repeats back to them the same guff that they themselves have been selling to the same idiots for generations.
       
      All the time the crowed surrounding them gets smaller and smaller until suddenly (and all too late) they see that the crowed is only one or two deep and not the City stopping rally they imagined it to be.
       
      It’s the same process that saw the death of the Orange Walk (and in the same areas too). Things are changing and that change will be cemented and celebrated by the coming YES vote.
       
      Thanks again for the article, Its a spur for me to find out more about the guys like Connolly and McLean. Great names that you feel you know about culturally, but when you really think about it, you shamefully know so very little.

    47. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “You called Celtic fans twats because of press misinformation and not because of prejudice?”

      I didn’t call Celtic fans twats, I said a specific group of them engaged in twattery at a specific event.

    48. Braco says:

      Johnny B,
      Grow up man. It doesn’t really matter what the words are when your on a train or in a pub and a bunch of drunk yobs start chanting aggressive songs etc.

      Football fans in full flow are much like dogs, in that what is being said or sung has it’s effect in the way that it’s said or sung and not in the words or lyrics of the song. 
       
      ‘I am forever blowing bubbles’ was the intimidating prelude to one of my worst violent experiences in London and I wasn’t taken by surprise because of the lovely lyric!
       
      Both of the Ugly Sisters need to stand up and take responsability for their part in the pitifull state of affairs that is modern westcentralscotland’s predicament.

      Is that not what we are all on this site and campaigning for, a fairer, safer and better society for our Country?
       
       

    49. AnneDon says:

      fy Embra etc: the JCS are East of Scotand, predominantly Protestant and not Celtic supporters.    Connolly himself opposed the partition of Ireland on the grounds it would unleash a “carnival of reaction” in Northern Ireland and in the South. The fact I have to post this suggests it had an impact in Scotland as well, outwith the West of Scotland.

    50. David MacGille-Mhuire says:

      An excellent article; and to the roll-call of Connolly and Maclean and the many others, regardless of ethnicity, who opposed the barbarism of the British state and fought for national liberation and universal human dignity, I would add Matthew “Matt” Lygate. There are, of course, many unsung others; and this is a narrative with its pantheon the British state and its bantustan servitors do not wish uttered.

    51. muttley79 says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill
       
      Oddly enough the first full-time organiser of the SNP in 1968 was John McAteer from Coatbridge. He took a big drop in pay (as a head teacher at St Ambrose High ) to take the SNP post. Sadly he died very young from lung cancer. He was my first election agent when I stood for the Hamilton Town Council.
       
      He was a close friend of my father’s.  They meet while in National Service in the Parachute Regiment in Egypt.  This had a significant effect on their politics (certainly did for my father, I suspect it did for John McAteer as well).  They saw the British state’s exploitation of other countries’ natural resources.  In Egypt’s case the Suez Canal.  My father knew others who did National Service who came back to Scotland and supported the SNP.  My father was an election agent for the SNP in the 1970s.  He was also an activist in Edinburgh for a period as well.     

    52. JohnnyB says:

      “I didn’t call Celtic fans twats, I said a specific group of them engaged in twattery at a specific event.”
       
      And now that we know there were representatives from St Mirren, Hibernian and Dundee Utd supporters groups in attendance as well, were they still engaging in twattery, or were they engaging in their democratic right to peaceful protest against the unjust actions of an authoritarian regime?

      It’s okay to admit to prejudice you know, as long as you then address it. James Connolly would approve.

    53. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “And now that we know there were representatives from St Mirren, Hibernian and Dundee Utd supporters groups in attendance as well”

      Do we know that?

    54. Braco says:

      That’s right JohnnyB, everybody’s prejudiced against you. Aw, there, there now, does that feel better? I hope so.
      Night night. x

    55. Embra says:

      “fy Embra etc: the JCS are East of Scotand, predominantly Protestant and not Celtic supporters.”
       
      Well, that’s interesting. Personally I can recall years ago walking down Causewayside as Connolly Rally attendees were being bused out. I happened to have a blue t shirt on at the time and some shall we say Not That Intellectual Looking characters on a passing coach hammered on the windows while hurling abuse at me, presumably for being a Rangers fan. I smiled and shrugged it off of course. Why worry about a bunch of bigots in a bus? 

    56. Embra says:

      Mind you this was mostly guys from the back of the bus. Maybe the bus was predominantly protestant, like.

    57. Desimond says:

      Can we put an end to the snobbery against Football fans please. “Twattery”…poor show, and i dont mean the demo.

    58. Grendel says:

      My experience of those who attend the James Connolly march is that they are in the main pro Irish republicanism, and all that entails, including the vocal and financial support of those brave men in balaclavas who hide bombs in bins and kill children in towns like Warrington. For that reason I’ll pass on supporting or promoting anything of this ilk.
      No word on Pie and Bovril about fans from other clubs attending this. The BBC were presenting it as being organised by a coalition of Scottish football fans when it was anything but. Certainly NOT IN MY NAME.
      If some St Mirren fans were there though I wouldn’t be surprised. I recall a fair majority of them complaining about away fans displaying a union flag and chanting “Dirty Orange Bastards” at them.

    59. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I don’t doubt it, Embra.
      I am under no illusions about the depths of nasty intolerance that infest both sides of this divide which has rendered the innocent Connolly totemic to some. Connolly would have been appalled. 
      What appalls me just a much is the potential of unscrupulous politicians to stir up this nasty brew in support of the union. The bigotry on either side is real. The drivers of it are very different, being bred on one side from a conceit of a perceived position of superiority and on the other side from a defensive reaction to this and to what was very real intolerance and discrimination shown widely to them until fairly recent years in parts of Scotland
      This has mutated into mutual tribal intolerance which no longer has any strong basis in fact but is very easily stirred up.
      People being people it is unlikely that we can make them like each other but we can sort the political consequences of if we put our mind to it.
      We have to or the unionists and particularly elements in the Labour Party will reap a fine harvest against us 

    60. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “No word on Pie and Bovril about fans from other clubs attending this. The BBC were presenting it as being organised by a coalition of Scottish football fans when it was anything but.”

      In the Sun this morning it’s exclusively and explicitly reported as Celtic fans.

    61. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Can we put an end to the snobbery against Football fans please.”

      I am a football fan (much to a few readers’ chagrin), so it’s hard to see how I’d be snobby about them.

    62. Jiggsbro says:

      or were they engaging in their democratic right to peaceful protest against the unjust actions of an authoritarian regime?
       
      What unjust actions? And in what way were they authoritarian?

    63. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Grendel
      None of which has anything to do with James Connolly.
      It’s his exclusion which makes him attractive to the neanderthals most of whom will know very little about him.

    64. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Jiggsboro
       
      They were  “kettled” gently and led off a main road in Glasgow on which they were blocking and attempting have an illegal march in order to provoke the police.
      What a bunch of wimps.
      They haven’t worked it out that they are being used yet.  

    65. Grendel says:

      Exactly so Dave. They see an “IRA man” and celebrate him for that, putting him in the same group as those who perpetrated the Enniskillen massacre.

    66. Guy Fawkes says:

      Great piece about James Connolly. I’m a Londoner that has lived in Scotland since 1989 and for me the SNP have won the Independence argument and I vote accordingly. However I do have some sympathy with the Celtic support. They have travelled all over Europe and been a credit to Scotland, just like the Tartan Army but at the moment the police are treating them in a heavy handed manner and it is embarrassing Scotland. Just as no sane person  would have said England and Scotland fans are just two sides of the same coin “British hooligans their as bad as each other” it not fair to tar Celtic and rangers supports with the same brush, judge them on their individual records. The SNP administration is doing a great job but can stand  a little criticism on this subject. Great sight read it a lot don’t be so touchy Rev 🙂

    67. Desimond says:

      Football Fans of many clubs were there and involved ( try Googling Heavy Hands Empty Stands – http://fansagainstcriminalisation.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/q-with-motherwells-heavy-hands-empty.html.) to protest against a stupid rushed vague Bill, A Bill that is possibly being used by Police for their own means and all we hear here is “Stupid fans’ and usual Sectarian Idiots and Old firm Fools nonsense. If youre not happy these fans blame the SNP then try and assist and educate rather than dismiss and reject. The Rev and I have tried enlightening and suffered abuse but if that happens, its more a reason to continue that to stop and resort to twattery dismissals.

    68. Grendel says:

      Guy Fawkes, have a look on youtube for celtic fans behaviour. They aren’t a credit to Scotland, they rarely fly a Scottish flag for goodness sake!
      Desimond, that’s from 2011. No evidence Motherwell fans attended.

    69. Braco says:

      Desimond,
      Not all Motherwell fans (and I would assume the same for most other Scots clubs) are some benighted non sectarian ‘Partick Thistle’ ists you know?

      Laws like this rarely suite those they are targeted at. Lets see how it all settles down first. Maybe the rights that are being ‘denied’ should never have been rights in the first place.

      Football Crowds have always been a useful and easily raised political rabble. See the Yugoslav experience for an extreme but not unusual example.

      I am on the outside looking in, but football seems to have been at the centre of most of my own life’s violent experiences.

      I do love football though. (mixedupwinky)

    70. Guy Fawkes says:

      Sorry Grendel, did’nt realise you had to fly your countries flag to be a credit to it. I’ve followed Arsenal around Europe and never felt the need to bring the St George’s cross. And I stand by what I said Celtic’s fans have been welcomed across Europe unlike their big rivals followers.  Anyway we are in danger of letting football dominate this site, but I’m pretty sure James Connolly would have been a Celtic fan. Maybe I’m a bit biased as my first week in Scotland was the week that “Mo Johnston” joined Rangers, as someone fresh from London I could not believe the reaction to a players religion.

    71. JohnnyB says:

      Very well said Desimond, and in a battle for hearts and minds, a measured voice that we often don’t hear from the SNP. They could use more like you.

    72. Bill C says:

      @Guy Fawkes – I have been Celtic supporter since 1967, the year WE won the  European Cup, however I am extremely concerned at how some Celtic supporters are being manipulated into becoming an anti-SNP foil. The present discontent among a minority of Celtic fans is being fanned by elements within the unionist establishment.  Please reflect and refrain from commenting on social issues in Scotland, until you have more understanding of the how ‘politics’ in the West of Scotland works.
      P.S. I am supporter of the politics of  James Connolly and John McLean i.e. a republican, socialist and supporter of Scottish,Welsh and Irish independence.

    73. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      The way this piece had veered wildly of course indicates very clearly the point of my original piece. There is a community in central Scotland being manipulated (and has been manipulated in many cases)into an anti Scottish position and this has been possible because of historical bias against it which we should hold our hands up to and try to sort.
      This is diminishing but is far from gone and is being used against us.
      I am encouraged however by the number of constructive and generous responses 

    74. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      BTW
      Never got any response from Johnny B about the prejudices he imagines I haven’t shaken off

    75. Guy Fawkes says:

      So Bill I am to refrain from commenting on social issues until I can pass some “citizen test”?  I vote SNP because they are the best, party to run Scotland, my home for 24 years ! That does’nt mean some of there policies are above criticism this demonising  of football fans is one of them. do I have to point out to someone of your background that nothing would change if we accepted governments and police decisions on what is and is’nt an illegal gathering. I would’nt want to live in a Scotland run by you if an “immigrant of 23years better shut his mouth, although you feel free to support Welsh and Irish independence without having lived in either country for any great length. Unionists manipulating Celtic supporters ? so they have no minds of their own ? Have more faith in the intelligence of your own supporters. If back home in London we told everyone who was;nt from there to “refrain from commenting” we would  be awfully busy!

    76. Guy Fawkes says:

      @ Bill C  just wondering did Mr Connolly get police permission before entering the GPO in Dublin ? or did Ian Hamilton get permission for his removal of the stone of destiny ?

    77. JohnnyB says:

      @ Dave McEwan Hill
       
      My apologies, Dave, I had the good Rev down as the author, my point was aimed at him. Hence the quote. Sorry for the mix up.
       
      The point stands 😉

    78. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      O/T
      Here’s a great thing to while away and hour or two
      http://www.electricscotland.com/culture/features/quotations/quotations_1.htm

    79. McFacsist says:

      Oh great, so our reverend thinks that football fans are twats for protesting against the state.  
      Jesus Twat Christ on a state cross rammed up His twat By a bunch of twats.
       
      I have the feeling that they were not allowed to demonstrate their twattery because they were insufficiently twatting middle class twats.

    80. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Oh great, so our reverend thinks that football fans are twats for protesting against the state.
      Jesus Twat Christ on a state cross rammed up His twat By a bunch of twats.

      I have the feeling that they were not allowed to demonstrate their twattery because they were insufficiently twatting middle class twats.”

      Nice. You’re going to be a real asset to the debate, I can tell.

    81. Keef says:

      Is there anything stopping us from calling him a’national’ hero? 

    82. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I suspect the Reverend thinks they are Twats (as do I ) because they don’t realise they are having their plonkers pulled by the Labour Party.
       
      The only thing stopping us from calling Connolly a national hero is cowardice

    83. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill
      I have been out and about today and am just catching up. I just wanted to say that I agree with your comments on this article. You are spot on. I think that you and I have witnessed certain circumstances at close quarters and come to the same conclusions.
      No Doubt (sigh!) there will be further opportunities to elaborate on this subject.

    84. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      The Man in the Jar
       There indeed has to be more opportunity to elaborate and deal with this subject.
      In my opinion in the final analysis we are likely to  win or lose our referendum in Glasgow and West Central Scotland and this whole issue is critical here. The fact that for the first time a majority of Catholics in Scotland voted SNP in 2011 has wakened a wicked impulse in some of the Labour party in those areas and they don’t care what societal damage they do to our communal future as long as they can maintain their power bases. 

    85. Jim Slaven says:

      I’ve only just noticed this article. It’s an interesting piece and has clearly provoked quite a debate which is a good thing. However I feel I should correct a few inaccuracies. Firstly you say the independence march was ‘probably the first time it (the JCS) had marched in Edinburgh without having to face attempted harassment’. This is simply not true. Nor is it true we have been ‘unable to publicly honour Connolly in his native Scotland without fear of attack’. The JCS has organised the annual James Connolly Commemoration for 27 years. Up unitl 2006 this took the form of a march (which incidentally was largely trouble free after 1996) since then it has included various events including wreath laying ceremony and conferences.  Also the JCS march on many events in Scotland from May Day to the recent anti bedroom tax marches and receive no harassment at all. It is true historically the Orange Order, the BNP and the police tried to smash the JCS but that was a long time ago. 

      It is also inaccurate to describe people who wish to commemorate Connolly as a  ‘Nationalist community’. Some may be nationalist but the JCS is not, we are a socialist republican organisation. Neither do we fall into the category of people who do not vote nationalist (by which I presume you mean parties that support the break up of the UK state). The JCS have since our formation in 1986 supported the break up of the UK state but at no time could we accurately be describes as nationalist. 

      The JCS support a Yes vote in the 2014 referendum and have been consistent on the issue. Finally Connolly’s execution was not the last of the 1916 executions, Roger Casement was executed on 3rd August 1916 in Pentonville Prison. I did enjoy the article and it is a good contribution to a necessary debate in Scotland.

    86. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Thanks.Jim.
      I could nitpick with you. Roger Casement was indeed executed for instance but was not one of the group I was writing about and the central Scotland community I talk about is indeed nationalist but it has been Irish nationalist in general demeanour. I am of that community and I can sing all the songs.
      I think we are getting into a position in which the word “nationalist” is being traduced to mean something other than it actually does.
      Any person who wants their nation to be a free nation is a nationalist and that is what the word means. Unionist, mainly unionist Labour attempts to suggest that it means something else is having an effect .I have heard John McAllion making this very point. I would consider myself to be a socialist, a republican and a nationalist. (I could be a capitalist, a royalist and a nationalist but I hasten to add neither of the first two but I know some nationalists who fit that bill)

    87. Jim Slaven says:

      Dave, thanks for responding and I have no wish to nitpick either. I do think there is an important distinction between republicanism and nationalism but it’s probably for another place at another time. Yes in 2014 is the priority. 

    88. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Cheers, Jim. Thanks
      And 2014 it is.

    89. James McAteer says:

      Hi Dave (Hill) – this is James – eldest son of John McAteer. Long time no see. Minor correction – John died of bladder cancer at the age of 44. Not that it matters now but probably smoking related which he had given up a few years before diagnosis. From his hospital bed he warned my brothers and I that he would ‘break our legs’ if he ever caught us smoking. Hope you are well. All the best.

    90. Chris says:

      Excellent article. A commemorative statue of James Connolly stands under the bridge at Beresford Place across from Dublin’s Liberty Hall. It was commissioned by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in 1996 and designed by the Derry-born artist Eamonn O’Doherty.



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