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Friends of the Union

Posted on July 18, 2012 by

Whichever religion you belong to, or if you belong to no religion at all, most Scottish people are aware of the significance of the 12th of July. The Scottish Conservative blog Tory Hoose chose that day to publish a post from Jason Lingiah, the Chairman of the Edinburgh and South West Conservative Association and also the party’s defeated 2011 Holyrood-election candidate for the Loyalist stronghold of Coatbridge & Chryston.

In it, Mr Lingiah called for the Conservative Party to “do more to reach out” to the Orange Order, stating that its value system “echoes core Conservative beliefs” and that the Tories should try to reverse a situation where “Labour has become the Unionist party of choice” for the Order.

On the same day, just across the water in the New Lodge area of Belfast, the body which Mr Lingiah believes “stands for civil and religious freedom” was up to this:

The clip shows an Orange July-12th parade stopping and repeatedly circling in front of St Patrick’s Chapel, which you may not be entirely surprised to discover is a Catholic place of worship. They then start to play a tune which innocent English readers might know only as the Beach Boys hit “Sloop John B”, but which Scottish people will recognise under its alternative guise as “The Famine Song“, a cheerful ditty beloved of and regularly aired by Rangers supporters. When members of the Order belatedly notice that someone is filming this display, they violently attack him.

Given that the events took place in Northern Ireland, it would perhaps appear to be understandable under normal circumstances that no Scottish newspaper or broadcaster reported on them. But in the context of Mr Lingiah’s comments, on a site officially endorsed by the Scottish Conservative Party and which has hosted a number of articles by both the party’s leader Ruth Davidson and its Rangers-supporting former deputy Murdo Fraser, it’s a touch more strange that they attracted so little notice.

The SNP is regularly called upon to condemn and/or accept responsibility for the actions of random supporters of independence who make offensive or merely controversial comments on the internet. Yet the Scottish media seem oddly disinclined to castigate the Tories for failing to publicly attack these provocative and despicable sectarian actions, and actual violent assault, by an organisation a senior Conservative was lauding in print the very same day. (And which Labour is keen to see taking a more active and prominent role in Scottish society.)

Labour and the Tories are fighting for the backing of these people. The media turns a blind eye. If we were more paranoid we’d find that a bit worrying.

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    38 to “Friends of the Union”

    1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Ever wonder why someone wouldn’t take a pot shot at that lot? 
      Rhetorical question, Your Honour.
      I think the Unionist beast is severely wounded and is now lashing out at all and sundry, metaphorically speaking, looking to get some coherence in their No position, repugnant and violent as it is.
      Somehow “No” strikes and chord with these thugs in fancy dress so they could have a home in the Bitter Together movement.

    2. Doug Daniel says:

      I don’t know why we don’t just ban Orange marches. Seriously, if this had been a group of Muslims marching outside a church, singing songs about people being infidels or whatever, they’d be stopped. What exactly is their justification for the marches? We don’t even have a march for actual historic moments in Scotland’s history, so why is this stupid little bunch of bigoted nitwits allowed to continue their anti-Catholic marches “celebrating” some battle that no one else cares about?

    3. Cuphook says:

      To me this is proof that the Unionist are in a panic. Reaching out to an organisation whose values are abhorred by the majority of Scots shows just how out of touch they are with the mood of the country. I’m all for the drum banging bigots getting airtime to voice their support of the Union.

    4. douglas clark says:

      Is it not a bit, err, odd, that they don’t want their parade to be filmed? Whatever is one to make of people taking to the streets in celebration of something or other and taking umbrage at this new fangled moving photography attempting to capture the moment. Perhaps, if they wanted privacy, then they should do it at home between consenting adults and not out on the street?

    5. Willie Zwigerland says:

      To be fair to the Tory Hoose, the comments are unequivocal that Lingiah’s suggestion is not a sensible route for the Scottish Tory party to take.

    6. R Louis says:

      Not many normal people will know the words of the song, but after checking online, I can only say it is the nastiest racist piece of bilge you are likely to hear.  Any group of people attacked in such a vile way would get angry, and the fact they chose to do this quite intentionally outside a catholic cathedral, shows the orange order for what it is.

      Like others have said, why are parades from the orange order still allowed anywhere, never mind in Scotland, and most importantly why are the Scottish Tory party hosting articles by them on their website, and aiming to get their support??

      Labour (especially labour in Glasgow council) and Tory both grasping for the support of an organisation like this.  British unionism/British nationalism, call it what you like, but either way it is ugly.   

      Ruth Davidson and Lamont both have serious questions to answer on this.  Of course the ‘Scottish’ media, especially the biased BBC will choose to ignore it as usual. 

    7. Ross says:

      To guarantee the votes for the local council elections, Labour voted against the anti-sectarian bill then announced that the previous policy of trying to reduce the sheer number of Orange walks “needed looking at”, not to mention revising the ban on walks playing music whilst outside filled places of worship.
      Afterwards, during the Jubilee, who did the Orange Order receive funds from? The Labour-run council.

      This relationship runs both ways, of course. This week, representatives of the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund bared its political fangs. Look at that closing sentence:

      “A representative from Denny then informed the panel that he had four reasons why we should go into Division 3. First he believed it would test Charles Green resolve; secondly he believed it would show the benefit of Auchenhowie and allow the management team to gain experience. Third, it would galvanise and unite the Rangers support, and lastly it would allow us to move on and concentrate on defeating the SNP’s fight for independence.”

    8. Bungle says:

      There seems to be some confusion here – ToryHoose is not an official party site and appears to be a site run by members and supporters with no direct link to the Tories.

    9. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I didn’t say it was an “official party site”, I said it was officially endorsed by the party, which it clearly is.

    10. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I’m having a truly mind-boggling Twitter exchange about this at the moment. I might have to turn it into a blog.

    11. Bungle says:

      Not ‘endorsed’ any more than any other newspaper or blog.

    12. Siôn Eurfyl Jones says:

      Why don’t normal, sane persons turn out in force to laugh out loud at this risible lot? They look and act like imbeciles. That message needs to get through to them, and to their political supporters. 

    13. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:


      ToryHoose has Ruth Davidson and Murdo Fraser as two of their main contributors (along with alan cochrane).

      Now I dont know about you but if I saw a political blog that had Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon blogging for it I would say it was official SNP, even if it was being done out of the back of Angus Robertsons garage in London and manned by Oompa Loompas.

      They contribute to the running of the site, even if it is administered by supporters.

    14. Seasick Dave says:

      Bungle is Lord Forsyth and I claim a fiver.

    15. squidge142 says:

      You know I hang my head in disbelief that there are people out there in the 21st century who think that its acceptable to sing these kinds of songs.  I read the Toryhoose blog and think they have lost the plot.

    16. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Hilariously, they genuinely tried to claim that they were just playing “Sloop John B” and some “exuberant” members of the crown got carried away and started singing the wrong words. They also claimed that stopping outside the chapel was “pure chance”.

    17. Juteman says:

      If you watch the video, there are young kids joining in.
      That’s just sad.

    18. John Lyons says:

      Well that’s fine then. The Beach boys are well known supporters or The house of Orange and anyone can make a mistake….

      …six or seven times on every march.

      …year after year…
      after year…
      after year…
      after year…
      after year…
      after year…

      Obviously pure co-incidence on all of those occasions too…..

    19. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Obviously I meant to say “crowd” rather than “crown” in my last comment. There’s a Freudian slip if ever I saw one.

    20. James Morton says:

      There is another post now link here – 

      It has to be remembered that those posting these articles have tried to stand for office or are indeed office holders – be it local council/mep/msp or some other official body of the scottish conservative party. These are not random people off the street who are sending articles to this site.
      But I do find it provides an insight to the strange place the tories have found themselves in. Look at the other articles, one urges the party to apologise for Thatcher, one wants to appeal to the working class, one the orange order, then another wants to lay claim to the catholic vote, and then swings back round again to this last one which more or less claims the roots of the conservative party are to be found in the Victory of William of Orange at the battle of the Boyne.
      The past tempts them, the present confuses them and the future terrifies them

    21. Stevie says:

      I read the article and agreed with the points, then I watched the video — nasty bunch of violent bigots.
      shocking really.

    22. CW says:

      “Why are the Scottish Tory party hosting articles by them on their website, and aiming to get their support??”

      There are members of staff in Ruth Davidson’s office who are bigots. Search the Sunday Herald webpage for details about how she did not sack them after they were found making sectarian slurs in public. It is utterly pathetic that politicians and parties still chase the Orange vote and they should be exposed at every turn as the cynics and moral pygmies that they are.

    23. Gaavster says:

      If you were to ask me to look at the bigger picture here, the tories have probably had a damascene moment and they are probably looking to exploit the mass ‘disgruntlement’ and disillusionment prevalent in large swathes of the Rangers support at this moment in time…

      They [the tories], probably see them as some sorted of wounded animal that they can try and offer a home to, and use them where and when they can to defend their precious union and butchers apron…. 

      As stated further up this thread, it’s desperate stuff, but don’t underestimate for a minute the lengths the unionists will go to to preserve their  power and privilege

    24. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      I just went onto ToryHoose to read the comments and as I was reading the first laughing at the Tories sookin up the Orangemen after Labour had set the pace the screen suddenly changed and form 13 posted comments, all of a sudden there were only 6.
      This is all a bit too LabourHameish for me.

    25. peter says:

      the famine song, always elicits a wry smile from me. surely the “peepul” sing/playing it, understand that, historically, they can’t go home, because they were driven off their land!!

    26. maxstafford says:

      Like R Louis, I only learned of this song by Googling, (I’ve been south of the border for 20 years) and I was pretty staggered by the level of bile and hatred in that offensive excuse for prose. As someone who was born just round the corner from Ibrox  (I don’t follow, follow them myself but my brother and his boys love Rangers), I find this moronic sectarian shite to be an utter embarrassment to myself and my country. I continually marvel at the anti-catholic sentiment of schooled but uneducated halfwits who probably only attend churches for funerals. The goons in the video should be wearing brown shirts, not navy blue. Or maybe white sheets. Sorry if this post is a bit terse and emotional but people like this sicken me, whatever their creed or race.

    27. Appleby says:

      It is disturbing and depressing to see this year after year. I wish Scotland could have had the immigrants but without the prejudices brought along all that time ago. Especially in the West of Scotland where it seems to be worse. Really uncomfortable with this as it has so little justification. It’s not even part of any belief or religion. It’s just something they do…because the want to. Not much else to it. It’s all so irrelevant today too, beyond trying to stir things up or lord it over another group.
      When you’ve got bigotry and problems at home to see this import still festering makes me wish it was sorted out generations ago.

    28. Waqar Ali says:

      Ugh, the Orange Walks are awful, and the order despicable.  As someone who used to work in a place en route…the amount of police power required is staggering, even since then, I’ve never seen so many police in one place before.  A colossal waste of money, but then again,  if they weren’t there, it’d turn into an actual riot.
        It’s actually such a disgusting display of bigotry and celebrated vileness.  Drunken hooligans everywhere, people pissing against everything, vomit and cans of tennants coating an unreal amount of the pavement, it’s a scene of utter devastation afterwards.  Not quite like a post-apocalpytic wasteland, but getting there.  And this was in the ‘quaint’ seaside town of Ardrossan.

    29. Appleby says:

      What surprises me most is that in many places by the locals it is treated in conversation as some joyful holiday event, like santa coming to visit or mardi gras.

    30. Barbarian says:

      As others have already said, why can’t these marches be banned?

      What do they achieve? Nothing except additional and unnecessary cost to the public purse. Police have to attend, taking them away from more pressing duties. I get one going down my street, albeit a small contingent, but it holds the traffic up.

      One way to start getting rid of all this bigotry would be the removal of state-funded faith schools. You want a faith-based education for your children then pay for it privately.

      Scotland needs to get into the present when it comes to such marches. But don’t expect any change soon, as politicians will be scared to lose votes.

    31. Peninsula says:

      The Britnats will use anything they can to preserve the union, even organisations steeped in bigotry and sectarianism.

      There’s now evidence to suggest that both Labour and the Tories are seeking an advantage in the Referendum by courting the Orange Order.

      I can’t say I’m surprised, but it’s a shock to see it actually happening in front of your eyes, in your own country, I suppose you only have to look across the Irish Sea to know it was inevitable.

    32. Adam Davidson says:

      It’s a shame the Beach Boys don’t sue them for royalties, that would be funny!

    33. Adam Davidson says:

      I asked a work colleague why he takes part in such a bigoted event. He is a very sensible person, one I rely on and trust at work in a major way but he couldn’t justiffy it and got very irate. It is just bizarre. He also switched from being a dedicated SNP man to a Unionist about 1 week before the local elections. I wonder why? He lives in Glasgow, all becomes clear. The reason he gave was that the SNP had stopped them singing ‘traditional’ songs at football matches. It wasn’t a problem before, just came up ‘all of a sudden….. Just before the election.

    34. Appleby says:

      The problem with long held beliefs and trust in such organisations is that there is such emotional investment into it they get angry when questions or flaws are pointed out. I think this is the root of the problem with your colleague, Adam. Otherwise decent people can end up angry and defensive over unpleasant behaviour or irrationally switch their support in elections or believe the biggest load of tripe in the form of rumours so long as it is filtered and whispered through their circle to give it credibility.

    35. seven says:

      If their making a go for the orange vote- Whats the numbers on how many of them are there?
      I Know from another blog that the total number was ~2000 + 3000 marchers/hingers on for the big glasgow one, Thats a very small number in terms of the population of greater glasgow.
      So their quest for the votes of an organisation with dwindling numbers doesnt even make sense electorally. Maybe it is idealogical

    36. Appleby says:

      It is a large activist base though. They can sway others.

    37. redcliffe62 says:

      The video does seem to suggest an attempt to incite a reaction.
      Having a family on both sides of the religious divide, some based in Northern Ireland, I cannot believe all this rubbish still gets aired. And that both sides take it so seriously.
      I naively bought a uni sweat shirt in Oxford for one of my family who is catholic and was told it was not suitable as it had a Union flag on it and so it could not be worn in Strabane. 

    38. Barbarian,I notice your comment on faith schools,why pick on them? there are not a lot of Jews here and they have a faith school,should we take that from them?What about the Islamic schools? and the Church of Scotland schools, and the loads of Church of England schools? Althoughj I am certain you meant the Catholic faith schools,The churches do contrbute monies to the schools and all the parents pay taxes same as those in state schools.If you closed them all you would just have to find places in the state system,and it would cost more.The state schools are supposed to be non-religious,but they do get ministers from the church in to visit.
      Now me I’m an atheist and say that as you deprive each of their liberties we all lose some liberty,just some wont accept responsability for themselves wont see that they hurt others but do complain if they get hurt,hypocrisy I think its called.

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