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The dirty game

Posted on November 02, 2013 by

“There’ll be nae books or pencils fur Our Lady’s High School if the SNP gets in here.”


I heard those words first-hand at a door in Motherwell some years ago. But let me give you some context first. Lots of people reading this in parts of Scotland will have no idea about what I’m about to describe here so I’d better establish my credentials and provide some background.

I contested council seats for the SNP in Lanarkshire on four occasions, was SNP PPC (Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) for Hamilton for a period, and I was SNP election agent for Winnie Ewing in 1970 and for Jimmy Wright in Motherwell South as we fought to save Ravenscraig in the 80s.

After running Labour to 16 votes at one council election I was approached by a deputation and asked to stand for the party at the next council election (they were annual in those days) – a probable shoo-in. But I’ve never had any burning desire to be a local councillor so I resisted the offer. Independence was “it” for me.

But here’s the point. I wasn’t asked to be Labour candidate because of my great political skills. I wasn’t asked because of my socialist beliefs (though that’s where was, and still am, generally). I was asked to be a Labour candidate because I fitted the bill. I was a Catholic teacher in a Catholic secondary school.

Let me fill in some other context.

From the middle of the 19th century until the early years of the 20th there was large-scale, long-term Irish immigration into Central Scotland. It was mainly of the rural poor – fugitives from the devastation of the potato famines, and largely uneducated. They were in the vast majority Catholic, coming into a very Protestant country, but it should be remembered they were, at that point, also British.

Generally in a Scotland during the growth of its industrial revolution there was plenty of work. But things change and it would take a book to describe the circumstances that created an unpleasant division which still resonates today. Being prepared to work for lower wages than the indigenous population was a charge levelled against some.

An Irish rebellion in the middle of WW1 was deeply offensive to many in a proudly British Scotland. The depression came and the sudden shortage of work didn’t help. The importation of large numbers of shipyard workers from loyalist Belfast onto the Clyde was another element.

By the mid 1920s and onwards into the 1930s, the position of the Irish diaspora in Scotland was deeply troubled. The Kirk was talking of the “Irish menace”, with some suggesting repatriation. So, sadly, were vociferous political elements including some in the national movement in Scotland. There were parties formed contesting local authority elections on anti-Irish platforms, and some candidates got elected.

The partition of Ireland in 1922 left two communities in central Scotland with violently opposed views on the constitutional future of Northern Ireland. This actually was a political difference not a religious one – you’ll notice I have made little reference so far to religion, because I don’t believe that religion per se has a lot to do with this.

The fact that the Irish were mainly Catholic was, in my opinion, initially incidental. It was specifically anti-Irish sentiment Scotland developed – a substantial and very Catholic Italian community met with little ill-feeling. But when many of the other defining factors in the breakdown of community coherence slipped away, the Catholicism of the Irish immigrant peoples became, by default, a defining difference.

Two factors grew very important to the immigrant community in these troubled times – support of many in the Labour Party and the 1918 Education Act which generously brought the schools for the poor Irish (set up by Catholic parishes) into the state system. The church and the school – together – very quickly became the central pillars in the lives of the Catholic community in central Scotland and the Labour Party became its political voice and protector. In particular the Catholic schools became – and remain to this day – a totemic issue.

Most people probably imagine “bigotry” was stronger the further you go back into history. But this doesn’t seem to have been the case. Celtic supporters, for instance, used to sing in praise of “wee free” John McLean at football matches. Intolerance took hold, and got worse, through the 20s and 30s, right up to and through WW2.

Systemic and deplorable anti-Catholicism deeply infected civic Scotland in all those areas where there was a large Catholic population. As late as the 50s you could see “No Catholic need apply” in job adverts commonly. Rangers’ recruitment methods were an unremarked national disgrace for decades and I know personally the very first Catholic to be employed as a reporter (in a city that was about 40% Catholic) on a prestigious Glasgow newspaper – in the 1960s.


A defensive aggression developed in a new generation of Catholics not prepared to tolerate these trials in silence, as their parents generation had done. Sectarianism – hitherto Scotland’s dirty little secret – became very public. But in fact it isn’t religious sectarianism, it’s actually tribalism. An unspoken and informal mutual defence pact between the Catholic community and the Labour Party in Scotland developed out of these circumstances.

In west central Scotland a very coherent Catholic community adopted the Labour Party as a political weapon, and in many areas where Labour is in power its membership is dominated by members of that community.

Another kind of tribalism quickly developed in response: cloth-cap, working-class Toryism with significant connections to the Orange Order, seen in the successes of the Unionist Party of the 1950s (which is too often treated as a simple forerunner of the modern Conservatives). By and large, however, that peculiar political contradiction has only survived in small pockets.

Some suspect that, in power, elements in the Labour Party felt justified in “righting the balance” and making very sure that a previously disadvantaged section of the community belatedly got its share of the cake, and sometimes rather more. Understandable, perhaps. So far, so good – and then along came the SNP.

My early political jousts with the Labour Party in Lanarkshire were typified by good humour and mutual respect. We both had laudable political aims and I met no resistance to Scottish independence among the Labour activists I canvassed alongside, had pints afterwards with and fought elections against.

It was hardly surprising – the Scottish Labour Party had supported Home Rule right up to the 1950s and had merely conveniently forgotten about it when it got into government after the war. I first noticed a change after Winnie Ewing won Hamilton in 1967. That wasn’t supposed to happen and a Labour Party, which until then had been entirely confident of a permanent grip on political power in central Scotland, suddenly found itself facing an enemy which actually could take that away from it.

The political history of Scotland since the 1960s has been the uneven but relentless growth of the SNP. Almost every step forward for the SNP has been a reverse for Labour, the Conservatives having been basically in terminal decline since they replaced the Unionist Party. In central Scotland people who a generation ago would have found themselves in the Labour are now, in very large number, in the SNP. And very many of them are from the Catholic community.

Labour doesn’t hate the SNP because the SNP threatens independence. As many commentators on this site and others have explored at length, independence would in all probability lead to a significant Labour revival. Labour hates the SNP – and real, venomous hatred it is – because the SNP is taking its power away.


The vested interest of power in the Labour Party in Scotland has led it into a very strange place. Which radical socialist movement ever stood against the independence of its own people? It seems to have been forgotten that Scotland’s James Connolly led the Irish Labour Party and the Irish Trade Unions into the GPO in Dublin in 1916.

But I digress. The Catholic community in Scotland has good reason to owe a debt of gratitude to the Labour Party. Now Labour is in trouble, and it’s been calling in that debt over the last few decades. A community has a long memory and there is no doubt whatsoever that Irish Catholics in Scotland had a very bad time indeed – a long time ago. But some would have them believe that nothing has really changed.

There are of course bigots in Scotland, as there are in every society. That makes the job of those who seek to sow and exploit division a little easier. “The SNP will push for repatriation to Ireland of all unemployed Irish in Scotland” is an old one, but I’ve heard it said (and believed) again recently.

There are subtler variants: “An SNP government will limit family allowance to two children only.” And always the old favourite, of course. We met it the first canvass we did in the Glasgow North East by election:

“Youse are the bastards that are gonnae close oor Catholic schools”.

The quote I used at the beginning is exactly as I heard it, in a council by election in Lanarkshire. The SNP had won a few council seats in quick succession, and we were winning this one. Then over a few days the canvass sheets suddenly changed. Lots of “For” votes had become “Against” ones.

This was on a third canvass but that doesn’t happen unless some disaster has sunk your campaign. A quick glance at the names on the roll told me exactly what I had suspected. With a local SNP councillor and the late Allan McCartney we went down to a multi-storey block where there’d been a big change in a few days and knocked at a door which had promised us four votes and was now recording four Againsts.

We confirmed what I already knew. The man of the house told us that a few days after the SNP had canvassed the block, some people purporting to represent Labour had been round carefully-chosen doors. The dangers of putting the SNP into the council had been spelt out. The Catholic schools would be under attack. Nae books and pencils for them (and they’d be closed as soon as that could be managed).

A bigwig had been down – I won’t name her. But under no circumstances was Labour to lose this one. We were then treated to Labour canvassers knocking doors in Celtic tops and Labour vans going round blaring out rebel songs, and we lost. My abiding memory of election day was of folk walking past us in to polling station looking away from us or with their eyes down.

The Labour agent I had spent much of the day with at the door of a school had looked uncomfortable all day. He eventually came over and blurted out an apology about the appalling campaign Labour had fought.

That was then, you may say, and this is now. Indeed. A lot has changed. In fact polling experts have decided in their wisdom that at the 2011 election a majority of Scotland’s Catholics, for the first time, had voted SNP.

But that night in Motherwell revealed an unscrupulous element that has never left Labour in Scotland. And the wholesale abuse of the trust of the Catholic community is probably under way again, a year out from the vote.

I wrote this article because a close member of my family, just last week, entertaining an old school friend and her husband – professional, intelligent people – was hit with the same old story: the SNP closing Catholic schools. Another couple reported to me that independence “will set Scotland’s Catholics back a hundred years.”


Now, you’ll never hear this stuff. It’s whispered about in safe company within that community. Believe me – I am of that community. But central Scotland will be the cockpit in next year’s battle. The Yes campaign could win or lose the referendum in the still-Labour seats that stretch from Inverclyde to West Lothian, and it needs to be aware and ready to deal with the unscrupulous nature of some of its enemy and the desperate depths to which they’ll stoop to hang onto their powerbase.

Here’s a parting thought. Some experts have suggested that had the Scottish Catholic population voted SNP at the second 1974 election in the same proportion of the rest of the population, the SNP would have taken a majority of Scottish seats. Where might we have been now, had that happened? What did that defeat cost Scotland?

But if Scotland lost, who won? Most of those communities have known only 40 years of unbroken suffering and deprivation at the hands of Labour and the Conservatives since that day. They got no reward for giving in to fear.

There are only losers in the dirty game.

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422 to “The dirty game”

  1. aldo_macb says:

    I think we should be talking about making religious schools a constitutional right in an independent Scotland. My own children don’t go to a religious school but I think we should respect those that want to make this choice

  2. fairiefromtheearth says:

    aye George Galloway came out with, if Scotland gets independence it would put back the catholic community 100 years or stuff to that effect on his radio show.

  3. Alba4Eva says:

    ‘Divide and conquer’ in Scotland has always, ironically, been the ‘Better Together’ way.

  4. ASairFecht says:

    Similar tactic was used at my door when I was living Glasgow G33 during the 2012 council elections.

    Two separate Labour activists on two different days engaged me in chat about the elections before asking what ‘team’ I supported – I played along knowing Killie wasn’t the right answer. Depending on my answer, I was given two completely different interpretations of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, ie. ‘Vote Labour coz the SNP hate Celtic fans’ followed, 2 days later, by ‘Vote Labour coz the SNP are taking away Rangers fans God-given rights to be offensive.’

    Votes and power at any cost. We’ve just seen it again in Dunfermline. And Mr McEwan Hill is correct, they hate us for taking their power. They believed it was theirs in perpetuity. 

  5. john king says:

    My own parents (catholic) are testament to that, 
    I was warned as a teenager that the SNP were “not our friends” I stupidly ignored my parents and have voted SNP every time I could since and have never seen a reason to change.

  6. KillieBoab says:

    Got to disagree ASairFecht. Killie is always the right answer.

  7. ASairFecht says:

    Correct, Boab.

  8. Aucheorn says:

    I’ll back up Dave’s excellent article.

    We were fighting an election in Broxburn West Lothian, we were winning, good canvass results, waves and horn toots on the streets and the best indicator of all the kids were wearing our badges and shouting for the SNP.

    Then the Sunday before polling day the priests in the area announced from their pulpits “All good Catholics know who to vote for to protect your children’s education” 

    We lost by a large margin.

  9. Albalha says:

    Very interesting read Dave, thanks. As a Dundonian it’s always been interesting to me the difference in attitudes. Many say that the, in relative terms, largely absent discrimination was down to there being only Irish Catholic migrants.
    Of course there were exceptions. One prominent institution into the 80’s, allegedly, as an example.
    A friend who grew up in Kilsyth told me, recently, that as a child he was told SNP stood for ‘Say No to the Pope’, I was rather dubious to be frank but you tell the tale very well of how and why such attitudes arose.  

  10. bunter says:

    Another reason to emphasise that a YES vote is not a vote for any one party, and as someone said, protections can be included in a written constitution.

  11. Alba4Eva says:

    Wow… both of the Killie fans are on here.  🙂

  12. ASairFecht says:

    @Alba4Eva We’re behind in the polls but if each (ie. both) Killie fans just converts one other, we’ll double our support in time for the 2014/15 season.

  13. scottish_skier says:

    Sectarianism and anti-Irish feeling are not Scottish, they’re British. Hence the intimate association with the union flag.
    The decline in such things in Scotland directly correlates with the decline of Britishness.
    The peak of Britishness in Scotland was the early to mid 1900’s, when the above problems also peaked as they were actively encouraged by the British state. The exit of Ireland from the union was obviously a major factor.
    A quick search shows data from 1979 onwards and you can see the clear decline in Britishness in Scotland. At the same time of course, so the old British encouraged divisions have died away. It is only unionists who still promote them.

  14. Gaavster says:

    Excellent article Dave and a good insight into what we’re all up against…
    Asairfecht and Killie bob, another Killie fan here an aw…
    How about Killie for Independence?

  15. Albalha says:

    Talking of Dundee I see GG is in Glasgow on Monday with his ‘Just Say Naw’ roadshow. Expect that to be riddled with much of the sentiment Dave describes.
    Seems, though, he has other things on his plate just now.

  16. Juteman says:

    Can I be a lone voice and say that religion has no place in schools?

  17. Doug Daniel says:

    Really interesting article Dave, thanks for that.
    Do we have many prominent Catholic folk supporting independence in the Central Belt? It would be good to have them front and centre to dispel this pish if so.
    Anyway, it’s clear from their diabolical campaign in Dunfermline – the promises already chucked in the bin – that Labour’s campaigning antics have not changed. Sometimes I think it wouldn’t be so bad if we were all wrong about independence leading to a resurgence for them, because the sooner people like Anas Sarwar, Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander leave Scottish politics for good, the better. Can the party be changed into one that is respectful of democracy? I’m not convinced – certainly not with the likes of those three jokers in the upper echelons. 

  18. scaredy cat. says:

    Excellent article. I am also ‘of that community’, and recognise much of what is said. There is a lot of movement towards ‘yes’ in my family but some are still wary. I am going to share this. Thanks.

  19. Ron Burgundy says:

    In his book The Strange Death of Labour Scotland Gerry Hassan claims that one of the key reasons for Labour’s  declining grip of the Scottish Catholic vote since the 1970’s  has been a mix of declining sectarianism as a whole in Scotland and rising incomes along with an equal access to the “middle class” among Scottish Catholics. 
    The days of having strong religious and or ethnic identities have waned – we are all Jock Tamson’s bairns now and I believe most Catholics see this. I cannot believe that the the SNP could be characterized by SLAB as a sectarian organization.
    Nevertheless YES Scotland must be aware of the toxic depths to which a political party like Labour, in it’s death rattle, will sink to survive. Any whiff of this kind of black propaganda from SLAB must me crushed – Scottish Catholics are vital for a YES win

  20. braco says:

    Dave McEwan Hill,
    great article, I am sure it will help explain a few things to those from other parts of our country lucky enough not to have encountered, or even needed to consider such issues.
    Do you have any concrete actions you think can be taken to counter this kind of calculated abuse of trust by WestCentral Scottish Labour? The more re assurances are spoken the more the accusations of treachery and ‘aye ye say that now” are deployed, many times just making it worse.
    I was hoping we might be past the tipping point. I certainly know how far things have changed even since 2007, never mind the dark old days of the late seventies and 80’s.
    Is this really going to be a ‘community’ debate in the old ‘Labour’ manner? I can’t help but feel those ties are a lot less powerful now (on both sides), and that folk will approach this issue thinking about what is the best way forward for themselves, their families, communities and Country, in the face of Westminster’s open promises of decades more austerity.
    I am so sick of this divisive crap. It’s really the main reason I could never see myself vote Labour again. It’s also why I think, if they persist with this dangerous and sectarian abuse of power during Scotland’s referendum campaign, win or lose, they will kill any chance they might have had of a revival. It’s all just so bloody obvious, now that they are talking to a smaller and smaller group of their own scared believers! 
    Thanks again for a great article.

  21. Craig P says:

    Every time I hear someone blaming Catholic schools for perpetuating sectarianism and therefore they should be closed, I feel like banging my head against a wall. Thanks Dave for highlighting that such attitudes harm the independence cause if uttered by otherwise well-meaning pro-indy people. Other countries have Catholic schools and no sectarianism, so there’s more going on here than separate schools.
    One of the interesting things about Scotland is the lack of national celebrations of Irish heritage. The USA does it. If Irish heritage was recognised, accepted and celebrated by the wider Scottish community it could only be a good thing. Imagine Alex Salmond in a leprechaun hat on St Patrick’s Day!

  22. Dramfineday says:

    Yes and let’s not forget the other old canard some of us were fed – “Home Rule is Rome Rule”. What lovely bunch of Britnats – and they say Cybernats are the problem ho, ho, ho.

  23. Big Al says:

    Great informative piece Dave.

    I’ll come straight out with this. I am an Atheist. Sectarianism sickens me. To think that these arguments will be used and opinions will be swayed on the basis of religion or ethnicity in the 21st century is appalling. Is this the Scotland of the future we want? There are many passionate posters on this site who are unified in the belief that our future and that of our children and theirs is best served by Independence; but if part of the legacy of the vote is tribalism based on ideas of illiterate Palestinian shepherds and the misogynistic council of Nicea then our Independence is a hollow victory. This is not the vision of the future of a Scotland I want.

    I vote SNP and I will definitely vote for independence. I want to see an end to ALL faith based schooling. All children of Scotland should be equals and not defined by the point of view of their parents which they have no critical reasoning to dispute. A child is born a child, not a muslim child, not a catholic child, not a hindu child. If you want your child to have faith it should be taught in the home.

    Until we get rid of these schools and have a system where all children are educated to the highest standards, only then can we move on from this sorry state where the dirty game is being played.

    I know my desire to live in a forward thinking religion free Scotland may never happen in my lifetime but I hope I am not alone in the desire to be rid of this malicious, pernicious plague in our reasoning.

  24. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Home Rule is Rome Rule
    I remember that from my youth but think it comes from over the water a wee whiles earlier.

  25. seoc says:

    Great article which rings many bells for me.

    The Labour Party of earlier days deserted its supporters many years ago and who now could trust them again. They have earned their deserved political oblivion.

    The religious strand has/d a deeper root – I well remember the “No Irish Here” attitudes and notices of my boyhood Gorbals slums. The people banded together for safety and gradually climbed to population and economic parity despite the legions ranged against them.

    They were then steadily deserted by their trusted Labour Party which increasingly seemed only interested in an Anglo/ Ermine future, ditching their loyal troops as soon as it was deemed politically safe to do so, as Westminster seemed to be doing on a slightly larger platform.

    The religious hold has become entirely tenuous as human experience and evolution works it wonders – it has now all but gone leaving a vacuum to be filled by the ordinary person in an embryo ‘Humanitarian Party’ in which the said ordinary person has learned to work together – despite the efforts of the State and many other vested interests anxiously trying to farm the Human Herd for selfish interests.

    Reaching far beyond politics, it most likely will sweep away Parties, Governments and their two-faced Institutions erected to preserve the ‘Good Life’ (for them) at the expense of the usual exploited victims.

    We live in great times and if the SNP remain our Party to work with and for us, there is now no valid reason on the horizon to alter things, despite Westminster’s desperate street circuses and contrived wars to keep us locked in the struggling existence in their notion of uneven ‘equality’. 

  26. Doug Daniel says:

    Juteman – no, you’re not the sole voice. It’s maybe a bit rich to say it, since schooling – in Scotland at any rate – has its roots in the various churches, but in the 21st century, it seems bizarre that we still insist on dividing children up by religion.
    (Plus all organised religion is evil and we shouldn’t be brainwashing children with it.)
    However, it’s also not going to win anybody any votes, so it won’t happen anytime soon. Although the last census did auggest there are finally more athiests than Church of Scotland types, if memory serves me correctly,  so maybe one day schools will simply be about imparting knowledge onto kids, and not passing on the same religious superstitions your parents were brainwashed with.

  27. Albalha says:

    Re prominent Central belt YES people, Dennis Canavan.

  28. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    An ajoinder

    My maternal Grandmother was born in Ireland and came to Scotland with her family and a newborn. She married at 16 my Grandfather who was a Protestant and 28. She must have been a beauty.

    He was ostracised by his family as she was by her’s.

    Religion was never a hot topic in my Parent’s house and I agree with Juteman that it should have no part in the schooling curriculum in Scotland.

    Each to their own but not paid by the State.

  29. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    I like that, the Anglo-Ermines.
    It should be adopted as a badge for the unionist politicos.

  30. chalks says:

    Agree juteman, I’m catholic, but live in the north east, where no one cares about religion. I’d advocate mixed schools, one generation later and sectarianism would be in the minority in glasgow.  Religion has a time and a place, it shouldnt be in schools.

  31. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    I have just realised that if she were still alive, very unlikely as she would be well over 110, as we could never find her birth certificate, Teresa May wouldn’t let her a have a British Passport or worse she might have arrested at Glasgow Airport by the UKBA and put in a detention camp.

  32. Brian Mark says:

    What a good article, I was brought up a protestant and concur with the views expressed in the article.It would be wrong to ignore the ingrained bigotry that still exists in Scotland, it simmers on the surface of Scottish society and in times of a challenge to unionist authority the bigotry will raise its ugly head as a weapon of choice for those unionists. This bigotry has to be challenged head on and not allowed to gain a foothold in the independence debate. Failure to do so will see the debate descend into a sectarian rant which will benefit nobody. 

  33. Atypical_Scot says:

    Brilliant article. Ultimately, Labour are demonising the SNP in Catholic communities which can only perpetuate sectarianism.

    A vote for Labour is a vote for hate.

  34. beachthistle says:

    Thanks. A very good piece. Not surprised by any of it at all though – and  I’ve been increasingly concerned about it since reading the tired and emotional tweets of lawyer Smart, and the nonsense from Galloway.
    However despite being aware of it, I still, I reckon, managed to be blind-sided by it.  A few weeks ago I was at a family gathering and was ‘ambushed’ by 4 of them: 3 of them with the usual Scotsman anti-SNP and Daily Mail anti-Salmond nonsense; but 1, my brother-in-law, wouldn’t (I now recall/realise) actually say why. He, Scottish born in a Irish-Catholic family, just mumbled something along the lines of “not able to trust the Scottish government and if things stand as they do now I’ll be voting No”.
    At the time I was most shocked by his position. It was the first time he has ever ‘come out’ about his views re independence in our family discussions.  But having read this, it now makes more sense to me: him bringing up the subject in the first place (having previously moaned and groaned every time I brought it up), followed with his vague explanation made with his head-down, (like the voters in the piece) avoiding eye-contact….
    So while I’m now less bemused about the role my brother-in-law played in my ‘family ambush’, I’m very alarmed at how it appears that a certain group within SLabour are successfully scaring the Irish Catholic community with the message that an independent Scotland is going to be against them…
    And of course bigger picture I’m not surprised at all, as the London establishment was always going play every divide and rule dirty trick they could in this campaign. But the UK elite generally can’t actually do this kind of work themselves. Historically they tended to depend on their colonial proxies/patsies to do divide and rule stirring and scaremongering work on the ground for them. It is clear to me that in this nasty and pernicious strand of the Scottish independence campaign, the UK elites’ frontilne stooges are the SLab Redcoats…

  35. david says:

    I remember my mum who was a Liverpool catholic of Irish descent being terrified of the snp when i was growing up. Over the last 10 years she has voted snp and is voting yes, she calls it a vote for Scotland. Im proud of my mum for seeing through labour party lies.

  36. Iain says:

    Dave McEwan Hill mentions the influx of Northern Irish Protestants who came to work in the Clyde shipyards. I don’t think their influence can be underestimated: it is acknowledged that there was nothing more than a sporting rivalry between Rangers and Celtic until the Northern Irish incomers adopted Rangers. I’ve also read recently that in Lanarkshire in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, anti-catholic feeling was almost entirely a feature of the immigrant Northern Irish community, not Scots.

    In the 1970s I manned an SNP recruitment phoneline. I received a couple of phone calls from a woman who appeared to be acting a part: she had evidently prepared what she wanted to say, was very interested in maintaining a conversation, was pushing the sectarian issue and seemed to be trying to get some sort of anti-Catholic quote. The time and effort she devoted indicated to me that there was a certain political party involved.

  37. tartanfever says:

    Is this the article I was meant to get up at 8am for ?

    News Alert ! Certain identifiable groups in Scotland might get together and encourage a block vote against Independence.

    No shit Sherlock.

    How’s this for a scoop, I’m black – if we loose the independence vote I’m blaming all you crackers.

    Going back to bed, seriously pissed off.

  38. Alex Taylor says:

    I think we should be talking about making religious schools a constitutional right in an independent Scotland. My own children don’t go to a religious school but I think we should respect those that want to make this choice

    Very strongly disagree with this. Religion should be a private matter for individuals with no particular religion endorsed or financially backed by the state.

    Secularism in fact.

    You should have the constitutional right to believe in any god or version of that god you wish, but no more than that. There are some 44000 (wikipaedia is your friend) flavours just of christianity in the world and they can’t all have their own schools paid for by the state.
    And then there are all other religions far too numerous to mention. Including my own choice, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (his Noodleiness be upon you: Ramen)

    I respect everyones right to believe in whatever nonsense ( I don’t think that is too strong a word) they wish, but segregating children by supernatural differences is not a good idea.

    And if at some point in an Indy Scotland a party sits on a manifesto to build schools open to all children, of all religions and none, I’ll vote for them.

    Keep religion for your church and home.

  39. Keef says:

    In Glasgow in the late 80’s my younger brother (who was a bigoted Rangers fanatic) suggested to me that he would never vote for the SNP as it was a hotbed of Catholics who wished to impose papal rule in Scotland. He steadfastly refused to listen to my suggestions that it was his Labour Party that was controlled by Catholics.
    I have drank with guys in my local who I know are members of the Orange Lodge who said the same thing. They too thought I was deranged when I told them it was their Labour Party that was controlled by the Catholic  community. 
    The real story is how well Westminster and the labour party has played the sectarian divide in Scotland for decade after decade.
    I just know that this ugly cancer of sectarianism will be exploited to the max by Westminster and it may well be the undoing of a Yes vote. 
    I still Class myself as a Rangers supporter but fully back the SNP. I also fully back any religion in Scotland that wishes the freedom to educate their kids and practice their chosen faith, so long as they commit to the flourishing of Scotland and her whole community.

  40. crisiscult says:

    Really interesting article. I grew up in the west of Scotland but didn’t know too much about sectarianism. Does anyone know how large Polish immigration has affected this dynamic? Have labour been trying to leverage the religious aspect in order to gain their vote?

  41. Clydebuilt says:

    Sectarianism = Divide = Conquer
    Conquer = Scotland / (Old Firm)

  42. Then Let Us Pray, That Come It May... says:

    An excellent article, I’ve seen it first hand over the years too.  i am a fervent supporter of the Yes campaign.  …but my views on separate education are different to most comments so far…it should be removed – for all religions.  I see it as the one thing that is perpetuating the bigotry in our land.   All the other catalysts of ‘tribalism’ are historical and long gone, but this one remains, and allows ‘new’ Labour a foot-hold to dupe Scotland’s catholic community into voting ‘for’ the Union.  I’ve experienced it over the years and see it today with my children’s children…their pre-school playmates suddenly take a different path at age five, and it grows from there.  Sorry for the long rant, but this is a real bone of contention for me.  #yes2014

  43. Danny says:

    This article rang big bells for me. My Father stood on a regular basis for the SNP back in the 70s and early 80s. He to was a teacher in a Catholic school and well known at the local Catholic church. 

    He was approached by what he called the “Labour mafia” and offered a safe council seat if he would leave the SNP and join Labour.

    These Labour characters  had no comprehension of political beliefs and that my Dad was standing for the SNP because he believed in Scottish independence. It wasn’t a gravy train,it wasn’t a chance to get your snout in a trough and it certainly wasn’t his duty as a “good Catholic” to support the Labour party.

    Labour will play the sectarian card next year, they will try and exploit the ancient bigotry of both the orange and green sides in certain parts of Scotland while the rest of us look on in disbelief. And as others have said it has nothing to do with political beliefs but everything to do with power.

  44. edulis says:

    I come from North Lanarkshire. If I say that I lived for a short time in Larkhall and I come from a mixed faith family, although brought up a Protestant, for those who have lived these issues you will know exactly where I come from.

    Dave characterises the 1950s exactly as I remember them. The merging of the working class protestant vote into the Conservative and Unionist Party. The experience of an almost mafia-like influence amongst the Labour cooncillors. The underhand tactics of Labour in getting the vote out. 

    But do you know what, I identify with the catholic church as fellow Christians, even though I couldn’t sign up to many of the internal belief sets. It is important in this differentiation business to see the big picture. The big picture is more important than the differences.

    All this is to say that I wholeheartedly agree with Dave McEwan Hill when he identifies the problem as tribalism, not religion. And what tribalism depends on is that the average punter does not empower himself with the facts, but simply acquiesces in being led by the zealots.

  45. The Man in the Jar says:

    I concur with a lot in this article having lived amongst this shite for most of my life. It never ceases to amaze me why in this modern educated world that we live in why people still cling to religion in any shape or form.
    Religion in general has been at the root cause of conflict throughout the world and for countless centuries. Millions have died all over whose version of some obscure bronze age text it the “true” version. 
    I sincerely hope that when it comes time for Scotland to write its constitution that we declare Scotland a secular society. I do not want one penny of my taxes spent on polluting young minds with this mumbo-jumbo. 

  46. GP Walrus says:

    The point here is that sectarianism is the problem not religion. That is made clear in the article. So the fact that people have different beliefs is used as a means to divide and conquer. The answer is persistent and patient tolerance of all beliefs and none. Diversity of belief is a good thing because no one worldview has all the answers. The comparison of ideas and constructive argument therefrom brings greater enlightenment, but that cannot be done in an atmosphere of existential threat.
    Suggesting that draconian measures are taken against those with a different viewpoint to yours is the fuel of sectarianism not its solution. One measure of the success of iScotland will be its plurality and tolerance of all.

  47. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Excellent article. ASairFect, I’ve also noticed those two tactics – I recently spotted a Facebook post from a No voter that was suspiciously close to ‘Home Rule is Rome Rule’ and was quite shocked. I’ve also been involved in a discussion on whether Protestants would be discriminated against and whether sectarian tensions would lead to violence in an iScotland (though to be fair, I think this was about debunking a fear rather than genuine concern). As others have mentioned, it’s divide and conquer – the British establishment are the equivalent of the guys sellling CDs of rebel songs and marching songs to opposing groups, it’s just a means to an end. 

  48. Embra says:

    A very nasty business, and as someone brought up in a non religious middle class household outside west central Scotland, all very alien to my experience. I can only hope that anyone who plays this card during the referendum will have a bright light shone on them.
    As for the schools issue, I think we need a long term vision to phase out religious apartheid in education. 

  49. Alec K says:

    “I think we should be talking about making religious schools a constitutional right in an independent Scotland. My own children don’t go to a religious school but I think we should respect those that want to make this choice”

    Segregating children based on their parents religion at 5 years of age is one of the causes of, not a solution to, the problem of sectarianism in Scotland. If parents want to indoctrinate their children let them do so in a place of worship, not a place of education.

    I would despair at this being enshrined in any Scottish constitution. 

  50. Murray McCallum says:

    Great article Dave and a very informative read.
    Researching my family history demonstrates the fickleness of religion. In the mid 19th century my Free Presbyterian, Gaelic speaking ancestors moved from Sutherland to SW Scotland. My grandfather was effectively abandoned by his single Mum and raised by his Aunt, who had married a Catholic Irish immigrant. Hence, my generation being Catholics, though from the age of about 11 or 12 I lost any sense of “belief” in religion.
    I think all religion should be excluded from primary and secondary schools. Faith should not be mixed in an environment where the key objective is the desire to create a culture that critically questions and learns. Religion should be “taught” in churches at the weekend or evenings outside of formal education.
    The freedom to practice religion and express your faith should be a constitutional right though. This should not be confused with segregating the education system to accommodate this expression and practice of religious faith.

  51. Conan_the_Librarian says:

    I went to a living hell that was a Catholic high school staffed with all sorts of sadistic weirdos (present company excepted Dave). It made me the evangelistic atheist I am today.
    There should be no faith schools of whatever flavour whatsoever in my opinion.

  52. Peter Mirtitsch says:

    Aldo, I am totally against state sponsored religious schools, as IMO religion has no place in academic circles other than for comparative religious studies. If you want to school your children in your faith, then your church should be doing this. What of those who do not share your faith, especially where they are claimed to be barbarians or some such, or the godless ones who have no religious faith? Why should THEY have to support a system which divides communities? You can still have the CHOICE for these schools, but why don’t the particular churches pay for them themselves?

  53. Jock says:

    Excellent article.
    Growing up the east of Scotland in the late 20th century  the only form of religious trouble I ever experienced was not between my protestant and catholic relatives. Rather it was between my (elderly) relatives of Italian descent and the Irish branch of the family. The Italians had few good words to say about the Irish.  Their main gripe being that the Irish mixed up religion with nationality. I assumed such views were a hangover from the 30’s and 40s intertwined with a dose of social snobbery until something that happened to me in the late 90’s.
    At uni I had a pal who came from a straight from central casting Glasgow Labour background. His uncle was (and still is) a Labour MP with an obviously Irish surname.  During a discussion about politics he told me that “we could never be Scottish” before launching into a rambling anti-SNP diatribe that suggested the SNP were a cross between the orange order and the blackshirts.  The reference to ‘we’  reflected the fact that because I have an Italian surname he assumed  I was catholic and therefore shared his world view.
    Identity and religious belief is a personal thing and I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone they are wrong to feel the way they do even if I don’t agree or even understand their view. However,   the attitude of many in the labour party to the independence seems to reflects some stunted 1950’s view of society.  This benefits nobody in 21st century Scotland irrespective of what religion they do or don’t belong to.

  54. gordoz says:

    Great article Dave :
    All stuff that needs to be ‘out there’, as it is a major problem Scots Catholics who are being duped at every turn by their party of tradition Labour (not by choice – often they dont have a choice by means of that said tradition, which in the modern age is regrettable).
    But its also a huge problem for all Scots who wish our country to progress and prosper. Labour feed on this ‘sectarian threat’ fear and historic divisive rhetoric, (despite its diminishing signifigence in Scottish society) but the press are also guilty for its promotion and perpetuation by means of lack of challenge when ever Labour stoop into the ditchwater of past politics.
    Davidson & Galloway; 2 sides of the same britannic coin, MP’s who have perpetuated this myth along with others at Holyrood we all know.
    Living in Dunoon you will know that sectarianism has never been and is not part and parcel of everyday life. Part of the reason is the remoteness from the central belt issues and the fact that beyond denominational primary education there is only one non denominational secondary school, (not a great one admittedly). The town supports both CoS & RC church(es). The end result is people & kids living together without issues.
    I only point this out as an example as opposed to Inverclyde (merely across the water) there are real endemic issues in a Labour controlled bastion.
    As far as Im aware the SNP has and will not be  drawn into contesting the right to Catholic education property provision. Even more thatn their lack of recognition and support for Independence, this is perhaps a more hateful aspect of Labours approach to Scotland for me personally (and we know why they exploit it).
    I would urge all Catholics to jettison support for such liars and join with us in promotion of a new and better, fairer Scotland devoid of the very things which both divide us and hold us back. Join your true brothers and sisters and go for a YES in 2014 to get rid of the rubbish.

  55. Robert Kerr says:

    Not only Polish people but also Ukrainians and others from the East.
    A friend teaches at a North Lanarkshire school and has a number of non-Irish students.
    He even got a laugh using a Russian phrase I taught him which translates as “Work! Work dogs! faster! faster”
    I attended his father’s funeral in the Catholic Church and found it both moving and educational.

  56. Smudger says:

    Religious bollocks has no place in a state funded school system, leave that at home

    my imaginary friends bigger than yours

  57. Helpmaboab says:

    I’m another who was brought up in Dundee and so I’ve always been baffled by the religious politics of Clydeside. I’ve also never seen any justification for a religious presence in public education.
    Dave McEwan Hill’s article has however gone a long way towards enlightening me about this culture. It’s well-written food for thought.
    I know this for certain though. “Divide et Impera” has always been one of the British establishment’s favourite maxims. It’ll be one of their chief tactics in the coming year. It’s a “dirty game” indeed.

  58. Yodhrin says:

    @Alex Taylor: Spot on chief, spot on. The written constitution should absolutely enshrine the right of people to believe whatever they want to believe – no matter how wrong I think someone’s opinion is never I nor anyone else should have the right to prevent them from having that opinion, and from discussing it in any forum they choose(with the single caveat that nobody should be allowed to express direct threats of harm against other people).

    But religious schools are not a free speech issue, religious schools are, in my own opinion, divisive and actually contribute to the prolonging of our horrible problems with sectarianism by placing children in an environment where, even at a young age, they can already tell they live in a world of “them” and “us”. A secular(an important word; secular is not atheistic, ie it is not “against” religion, in general or in any specific instance, it merely means there is no official position on the rightness or wrongness of religion and no bias towards any one faith or against no faith), academic study of religion and philosophy should be part of the national curriculum certainly, but religion-specific schools are an anachronism we could do without in modernity, and I find it somewhat depressing that whether or not parents will be able to segregate their children from others based on said parents’ religious faith is still an issue so important to some people that it could actually prevent them from voting for independence.

  59. Clydebuilt says:

    George Galloway
    I used to listen avidly to his show during the Invasion of Iraq. Funny how he seemed so right then. To me he’s a member of the British establishment. Says he want’s rid of Trident his badge of honour was being carried away by 4 cops from a Faslane Demo. BUT he’s against the only measure that will remove Trident from our country, Independence. 

  60. Vambomarbeleye says:

    Have a friend that is convinced that Alex and Nicola are catholic so won’t be voting yes. He can’t say where that information comes from. I have looked on the web and can find no reference to ethers belief’s but can’t convince him otherwise. He of course has not been inside a church in years but this is still important to him. This is what we are up against.

  61. orkers says:

    An excellent piece and dare I say, a balanced one.

    Long past time everyone in Scotland of whatever denomination or creed voted for their country, themselves and their descendants, rather than the mythical deity they have faith in. They shouldn’t have faith in a political party that’s cynically used and abused them since the close of the Second World War.

    They care nothing for you or yours, only for themselves and theirs.

  62. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Every time I hear someone blaming Catholic schools for perpetuating sectarianism and therefore they should be closed, I feel like banging my head against a wall.”

    This is one of the great straw men of the debate. I’ve never ONCE heard anyone say “Catholic schools perpetuate sectarianism”, at least not in the sense you appear to be using it. Nobody except single-figure-IQ Rangers fans thinks Catholic schools teach their pupils to hate Protestants.

    But what faith schools – ANY faith, in ANY country – do is enable the people who DO have sectarian agendas to EXPLOIT the division of Scotland’s children on the basis of what their parents believe. It’s much, much easier to get innocent, vulnerable kids to believe that some other group of kids is their “enemy” if they’re segregated from that group all day every day because of something they don’t understand. The reason other countries with faith schools don’t have the problems Scotland does is because they don’t have the underlying sectarianism that wants to exploit the schools issue, and which Dave’s article does a brilliant job of exploring.

    It’s a form of apartheid, no more and no less. Would we tolerate separate schools for black and white kids? Of course not. So why is it any less reprehensible to divide our children from the age of five based on which of two 99.8%-identical set of superstitions their parents happen to hold?

    My personal position on this issue, which speaks for me alone and not the Yes campaign or anyone else, has always been clear: NO religion has ANY place in ANY school except as an academic subject. Schools should be places for teaching facts and skills, not blind faith. As several people here have said already – if you want your kids to believe in your particular version of the magic man in the sky, that’s fine and dandy, but indoctrinate them in your own house in your own time and don’t make me pay for it with my taxes.

    (Personally I’d rather children were left alone to come to their own decisions about what they believe in when they’re old enough to do so, but parents get to make that choice for themselves, so there it is.)

    But Dave’s article isn’t about Catholic schools. It’s about Labour creating and exploiting existing sectarian divisions in Scottish society for their own cynical ends. Catholic schools aren’t the cause or even the symptom – they’re merely one of the weapons Labour use to further that aim. The article doesn’t take a position on the subject of Catholic schools and I don’t know what Dave’s feelings are, because I haven’t asked him and I don’t care.

  63. Tony Williams says:

    I must agree with Juteman – religion has no place in schools, whichever version of the fairy story it is. I dream of an independent, democratic, secular Republic and, in the first election post a Yes vote, will vote for the party who’s manifesto comes closest to promising that ideal.

  64. Kara says:
    Hopefully the catholics who vote no to Independence because it is supposedly a vote for the SNP (as opposed to being a vote FOR Scotland and democracy) will read the above article in The Herald, maybe it will help bridge the sectarian divide, they can all get together and form an organisation with the ulster unionists coming over to campaign to maintain the union. 
    I think ink they could be called Bigots Together for Better Together. 

  65. Douglas says:

    It is clear that divide and rule is one of the main tools of the Union and the Empire before it.

    I think this song sums up my view:

    We can build a tolerant country given a chance. In fact tolerant undersells it -a country that actively celebrates our very mixed heritage.

    There is nothing that the Unionists would like more than to shift the debate onto whether or not the state should fund religion based schools.

    It’s all part of the ‘unanswered questions’ angle, trying to paint a Yes vote for Scotland as a threat:

    ‘If you vote Yes then to ‘insert whichever issue is important to you’ will definitely turn out badly’.

    There are some questions that the Yes campaign have no business getting drawn into -beyond a very very firm reassurance that protection of democracy, respect and civil rights will be at the heart of an Independent Scotland (in sharp contrast to the status quo).

  66. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Is this the article I was meant to get up at 8am for ?
    News Alert ! Certain identifiable groups in Scotland might get together and encourage a block vote against Independence.
    No shit Sherlock.
    How’s this for a scoop, I’m black – if we loose the independence vote I’m blaming all you crackers.
    Going back to bed, seriously pissed off.”

    That’s an extraordinary amount of anger to base on one tweet that said “We’ve got a powerful post coming up tomorrow”. You seriously don’t see the parallel between religious bigotry and racial bigotry, between segregation on religious grounds and apartheid? You think the Ku Klux Klan were atheists?

  67. Keef says:

     Nobody except single-figure-IQ Rangers fans thinks Catholic schools teach their pupils to be sectarian.
    Of course all other single-figure-IQ football supporters are way too smart to think this.
    What an ill-thought, derogatory comment Rev.
    Sometimes your hatred of Rangers fans overcomes your sense of rational thinking.

  68. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Of course all other single-figure-IQ football supporters are way too smart to think this.
    What an ill-thought, derogatory comment Rev.
    Sometimes your hatred of Rangers fans overcome your sense of rational thinking.”

    Sigh. I was really hoping someone wouldn’t leap on that, I’d hoped our readership was brighter.

    It does NOT say that all Rangers fans have single-figure IQs.

    And you can’t – surely you can’t – be suggesting that ingrained, dedicated anti-Catholic sectarianism among any other Scottish football club’s support comes within a million miles of that found at Ibrox?

    Once again: that’s IN NO WAY to suggest that ALL Rangers fans are guilty of it. But those songs are sung awfully loud for it to just be a couple of wee guys in the corner from Larkhall.

  69. Sean Paul O'Connor says:

    Good article, we see people like George Galloway trying to reignite catholic-protestant prejiduces to strengthen his position as a voice for the Scottish-Irish. Can probably tell im of Irish descent but that clown will never speak for me.
    However, having studied migration into Scotland between 1850 and 1950 I disagree about there being little anti-catholic feeling to start with. Immediatly native Scots accepted the Protestant Irish but not the Catholic Irish. Also, the Italians got it very tight as they were seen as facists and were often accused of sexualising scottish girls and boys and being a bad influence with their discos etc

  70. rabb says:

    As someone who spent half his life growing up in Airdrie and the other in Coatbridge, I saw Labour’s tactics in Monklands DC first hand!
    Growing up in Airdrie we were always told that Catholic Coatbridge were being given everything by catholic councillors. We were to vote Labour to keep this favouritism in check. We duly did.
    Living in Coatbridge, the unspoken line was the same. “Protestant Airdrie gets everything!” “Vote Labour to keep these protestant councillors in check!”. Again, catholic Coatbridge duly voted Labour.
    It’s Labour’s very own “Dirty little secret” that it continually fans the flames of bigotry in order to hold on to it’s meal ticket. They’re playing us off against each other!
    As someone who would be tagged as a Protestant male (Of Irish catholic decent on BOTH sides of my family BTW!) I’m making a direct appeal to the good people of Airdrie & Coatbridge. I would urge you to ditch this mob. Their bad news and simply using our fears to keep their nose in the trough.
    No one will be closing St Stephens in Sikeside, no one will be closing Dunrobin in Petersburn. Nor will they be closing St Margaret’s in Airdrie or St Ambrose In Coatbridge.
    It’s just another pish scare story and you’d be doing well to tell them to stick their scare stories up their jacksie!
    Do yourselves a favour, vote yes, put this behind us and get cracking on building a better future for all our kids! If Labour have any sense they’ll get on board instead of protecting Ed Milliband & Westminster.
    Here’s a a wee secret for you. Ed Milliband doesn’t give a shit about you, he only cares about the wee cross you put on a bit of paper now and again. He’ll have his activists chap your door and tell you any old shite in order to get you to put that cross against his party.
    Just keep the thought in your head that the referendum next year isn’t about voting for the SNP or Labour. It’s about you taking full control of your destiny and handing back the levers of power 100% to your kids and grandkids.

    Come the first Independent Scottish general election you can safely put your cross against whoever you want safe in the knowledge that if they don’t do as they say; you can boot them in the balls at the next election. Try doing that to the Tories if England decides to vote for them!
    That’s what were voting for folks. I suggest we do it together and put this sorry chapter behind us!

  71. john king says:

    o/t rev
     but wife was sitting watching her favourite chef (no longer) James Martins Saturday kitchen when he pulled back his jacket to show the writing on his tee shirt espousing the pleasures of visiting Yorkshire, fair enough you might think.
    but that wasn’t enough for him he we onto to say Yorkshire was voted number three in a list of destinations to visit after Brazil and Antarctica I swear I saw his nose grow a little,

    needless to say I put him right on 0330 123 1410 and on the BBC website which was please don’t block their lines or crash their website as its not big and its not clever.

  72. jim mitchell says:

    I have maintained for years the Labour, especially where local election are concerned have won many seats, not by theiir official campaigns but by wha they whispered in folks ears at doors etc, 

  73. Keef says:

    I understand you did not say that all Rangers fans had single-figure IQ’s  but you did do was singularly classified the lower IQ Rangers supporter as being the only ones capable of being sectarian and anti catholic.
    That’s the way it reads.
    Mind you, as you suggest rather condescendingly, I might just not be bright enough to read something else into it. You’re being an arse Rev.

  74. john king says:

    what? whats that your saying?
     oh what is the right answer then? 
    who said smart alec?
     well ok then this is the CORRECT answer

  75. Albalha says:

    I think you should do a one man tour of Airdrie and Coatbridge delivering that message take a loudhaler and neutrally coloured YES soapbox to stand on.

  76. crisiscult says:

    Robert Kerr
    My wife is half Russian, half Ukrainian, and Baptised Russian Orthodox. Her perspective on Scotland and independence is interesting on the first point there and the second i.e. nationality, and religion. Firstly, being two nationalities, having a passport for one (the latter) while being born Soviet, gives her some experience of the reality of arguments about building borders.

    Not wanting to oversimplify that point, but Ukraine was the country that prevented their citizens having dual nationality, not Russia, despite some parts of Ukraine having clear Russian identity majorities e.g. Crimea (in fact, maybe it was because of this that they didn’t want dual citizenship). However, focussing on Religion; as a product of the Soviet Union, religious schools just seem a bit surreal. She’s not against the idea, but I think her slight awareness of sectarianism here makes her confused about whether it’s a good thing or not. Something I notice spending time with those from the pre-Baltics and ex Soviet Union is that they feel like immigrants, and many feel self conscious about that, and their religion doesn’t seem to have any bearing, echoing what Mr Hill said.
    I’m still wondering whether any political party is focussing on these communities in an underhand way like they have with the Protestant/Catholic/N Irish/Irish communities.

  77. Atypical_Scot says:

    As one who doesn’t follow the hockey, are there clubs other than Rangers with anti-Catholic tendencies?
    Honest question.

  78. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “As one who doesn’t follow the hockey, are there clubs other than Rangers with anti-Catholic tendencies?
    Honest question.”

    That’s the one I put to Keef, but he seems to be too busy being angry for no rational reason to answer it.

  79. Albalha says:

    Some would say Hearts and even possibly Dundee. May well be some of it in both sets of supporters, don’t know.
    It’s based on the background of the two sides in each city much like the history in Glasgow.

  80. iain taylor (not that one) says:

    We’re seeing it. The dumb Lawyer Smart’s eloquent & educated Tweet about the SNP being racist.

  81. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Some would say Hearts and even possibly Dundee.”

    After 40 years of following Scottish football, I have to say that the idea of Dundee FC as a bastion of anti-Catholic sectarianism is an entirely new one on me. Ready and willing to be shown otherwise. Anyone got a YouTube video of their fans singing The Sash or anything?

  82. Scaraben says:

    @Rev Stuart Campbell,
    I wholeheartedly agree. The problem is not having Catholic schools, it is having different schools for different religions, which encourages sectarianism and hinders integration of religious minorities. Separate schools for Muslims or Jews or Hindus are, or would be, divisive, as would specifically Protestant schools. And if we do have state-funded schools with specific religious affiliations, surely we should have atheist/agnostic schools? Also, how large does a particular sect have to be before they are entitled to have their very own schools?
    Having different schools for different religions causes extra expense, through duplication of facilities. (My father was a Depute Director of Education for a county in the Central Belt, and he was opposed to separate schools because of the cost and the compromises which often had to be made to implement them.) It is bad for the environment because of longer school runs, as for many children the nearest school will be the ‘wrong’ kind.
    Let us have genuine separation of Church and State in an independent Scotland. If parents wish their children to be indoctrinated in their brand of religion, let them do this outside school hours; if they really must have their children indoctrinated at school, this should not be at the expense of the state.

  83. orkers says:

    Hearts fans used to have a name for it and I dare say others have/had too.
    Celtic are generally recognised as a Roman Catholic Club and they are successful.
    Success breeds hatred ……………..look at RFC to see this in all it’s glory.

  84. HandandShrimp says:

    I don’t really get the religious, sectarian, tribal thing. Religion itself seems to be on the wane and I really doubt that many that claim to be motivated by such things politically give a damn about the teachings of Jesus as it might apply to them personally. In short they are frauds and if any of this stuff is true there is a special place in the hot fires for religious frauds….which won’t worry them because they don’t actually believe in any of it (and I’m talking about all sides of the fence here)

  85. Alex Taylor says:

    Rev at 10.22am
    That’s what I tried to say earlier. I can see why you have 100K + followers and I don’t!

  86. liz says:

    I was brought up a catholic in the 50’s and 60’s in Glasgow and later I taught in a catholic school in the recent past although I would have been happy to teach in any school.

    Most of the kids never went to church except with the school and this was obvious because the RE dept had to put up a power point in the church telling them what to do and say at certain times, so I think the power of the church is waning slowly.

    It is outrageous that a priest can influence how a person votes in the 21st century
    I am against faith schools of any kind but I recognise the people mentioned.

    As I have said before I have friends who are smart and well educated and they share some of the nonsense mentioned in this article.

    For example when Neil Lennon was sent bullets in the post, one of my freinds thought it was because the SNP were in power in Holyrood.
    These views are deeply entrenched and when I suggested to my Celtic supporting friend that she had more in common with the Ulster unionists than the republicans she was shocked – but it did get a response.

    Although she is still labour and that will never change, she said she was considering voting Yes and I have mentioned WOS to her but she has yet to connect with this site.

    One step at a time.

  87. Atypical_Scot says:

    Never knew that. I’ve never experienced it first hand, but thought it strictly a Glasgow old firm phenomenon. Tribalism eh? 

  88. starlaw says:

    At present there is no sectarianism in schools , but mix them and it would be introduced , wee Wullie comes home minus his rangers scarf , guess whom his dad will blame , and vice versa . Bigotry would then be in the school.  I was brought up in a mining village in West Lothian and as a child learned to dodge the kicks aimed at me from ADULTS for being catholic . Watching recent army displays at Ibrox I now consider the orange card is in play . I have many rangers supporting friends who are not bigots, but sadly a great many are and these people appear to be getting encouragement . I wonder if any more appearances by the army are planned at Ibrox .

  89. Vambomarbeleye says:

    I all ways find it amusing that in the Greater Glasgow area a mason is assumed to be protestent. Could be Buddest, Hindu, Sike and even a Catholic.

    Thankfully in Wester Ross where I call home there is only one school. So you don’t get all this Hooray Boo stuff thart seems to dominate peoples lives in the central belt.

    We need to get the bigger picture across to as many people as possible.

    Another wee thought. Why do some MSP’s state their belief and others not. Is there some advantage one way or another.

  90. Peter Mirtitsch says:

    Doesn’t being sectarian and bigoted mean that you have a low IQ irregardless of religion?

  91. Albalha says:

    I was only answering the question posed. There’s no doubt that traditionally Dundee was seen as the blue end of Dens Road and DUFC the green, as it were. The idea that Dundee is wholly exempt from anti Catholic sentiment is simply wrong.
    As I said above it was nothing like the scale in Glasgow and its surrounds but there existed in a well known institution an anti Catholic recruitment policy until relatively recently, for example. Not necessarily in all sectors but in some.

  92. crisiscult says:

    HandandShrimp – a good point. I’m not Catholic, but I am Christian, and I am from Scotland. To some people, that would make me a protestant. Once, during lent, a colleague heard me talking about having given up alcohol for lent, and this colleague was seemingly quite angry – ‘why are you observing lent, you’re not Catholic!?’ This demonstrates a very limited understanding of the Christian belief and the myriad different confessions – much easier to label the world Proddy and Catholic.
    Reminds me of the joke about the Glasgwegian asking a man what team he supported, and when the man said he didn’t have a team, the next questions was what religion are you, when he said Jewish, the guy asked him; Are you a protestant or catholic jew?

  93. Alex Taylor says:

    @ Douglas
    Hadn’t heard that, thanks

  94. gordoz says:

    In the name of a great Scots Catholic Tommy Burns, please steer clear of the fitba’ crap that is the Rangers / Celtic – Catholic / Protestant divide; serves nothing.

  95. Keef says:…h?v=LOM2rx-NU-A
    Here is the you tube evidence you asked for.
    Go to 40 seconds in and listen to the Hearts fans singing “up to our knees in fenien boys” 
    I’m not angry Rev. just disillusioned when you sprout shite and have no reason other than to have a dig at Rangers fans.
    I expect now that you have the requested evidence you will amend your supercilious statements and  apologise.
    I’m not holding my breath mind 🙂

  96. Marcia says:

    Growing up in Dundee we rarely saw any friction. We heard rumours that D C Thomson did not employ Catholics but that is now a thing of the past.  The only other instances were as a primary school pupil I heard one my classmates castigate the kids in the neighbouring non-catholic playground as, ‘all prostitutes’, I am sure the nine year old did not know the meaning of the word. The other was election day on 10 October 1974 when I was manning a polling gate, the Labour Councillor said to my fellow activist, ‘Alec, what is a good Catholic doing helping them (SNP)? Alec replied through pursed lips, ‘Robert de Bruce was a good Catholic too!’ 

  97. Albalha says:

    Too late to add but re your Sash comment I never said either Hearts or Dundee were akin to Rangers but was merely pointing out that Hibs and DUFC had similar backgrounds to Celtic which seemed to be what ATypical_Scot was asking.

  98. Conan_the_Librarian says:

    @ Atypical Scot
    I don’t know any other Scottish team where the fans wear England tops…

  99. HandandShrimp says:

    Dundee United and Dundee rivalry missed the formative sectarian years because Dundee United (Hibernian as was) were pretty much in the always in the second division. So the two teams hardly ever played each other. By the time Dundee United got good, Dundee were less good. Hearts and Hibs I suppose is comparable to Rangers and Celtic and some would maintain that the Hearts fans used to be some of the most unpleasant but I think that was an inferiority thing of trying too hard. I may be wrong but I think the worst of the sectarianism is in the past. There are still complete fannies out there that think it is important but they are a dying breed.

  100. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Some people are missing the point here.
    My piece was not about whether religious schools are a good or bad idea ( I might be drawn on that at a later point) it was pointing out that our unscrupulous enemy will use this issue against us. Some posts on here would give them all the ammunition they need.  

  101. crisiscult says:

    DUFC supporter here and used to go regularly in the late 80s up to mid 90s. Now go to the big games like cup semis and finals (hence, not that many now!). Our background is Irish way back but seems to be no issue about religion now. Some fans used to sing hello hello, but when it got to ‘we’re up to our knees…’ you couldn’t make out what people were singing cos they were all singing different things, plus a sizable minority of our support would boo the song from the start. Also, it’s very common for families to have supporters of Dundee and Dundee United.

  102. JnrTick says:

    Fine article Dave and good to have some historical background to what Labour have and still do to keep supporters onside.

    Before continuing with my post, I too am atheist.

    Big Al’s post echo my views regarding religion, schools and Scottish independence, exactly my stance within this mix .

    Religion has no place in schools, as Al says, its for the home (and respective churches) Having said this, we have this situation and must not allow it to be engineered to benefit either campaign, surely this debate is far wider than narrow minded religious divide.

    Dave is probably quite correct to highlight the importance of the central belt and how it requires concentrated sustained attention form everyone ‘Yes’ related but would be folly to imagine the tactics deployed by Labour will only have an influence on this area of Scotland. We have these schools throughout Scotland, social media stretches far and wide.

    Doug Daniel’s suggestion about prominent Yes supporting Catholics helping to dispel the myths is  a good one, they must become more vociferous, have them involved, held up, prominent in the debate as women must given the recent stats showing on their voting intentions. 

  103. Conan_the_Librarian says:

    “up to our knees in fenien boys” 
    Ooh er missus…

  104. Albalha says:

    Re ammunition wholeheartedly agree with your point.

  105. Keef says:

    Thanks for the post of the Proclaimers song. I love the sentiment they have captured in this song.

  106. HandandShrimp says:

    The only other instances were as a primary school pupil I heard one my classmates castigate the kids in the neighbouring non-catholic playground as, ‘all prostitutes’, I am sure the nine year old did not know the meaning of the word.
    LOL – maybe they meant protestants 🙂

  107. Keef says:

    Thanks for that 🙂
    I think the word should be blood. Never paid attention to the crap they sing.

  108. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    I believe that it is below the surface in cities with two main teams vis
    Hearts and Hibernian (clue in the name here)
    Dundee and Dundee United (new one to me as I just thought they were all just racist Arabs, smiley thingy)
    Everton and Liverpool (much more certain on that one)

  109. Helpmaboab says:

    Marcia, Albalha, Rev et al,
    My childhood was spent within spitting distance of the Dundonian football grounds. I remember next-to-no religious hatred either associated with football or not. (I don’t think that I’m indulging in rose-tinted nostalgia.) The only folk who indulged in the “Hello, hello!” guff were bitter and elderly cranks.
    On the contrary, my parent’s generation would regularly make disapproving remarks about “thae Old Firm” and their nasty habits.

  110. Oisín Murphy-Lawless says:

    What most frustrates me as an Irishman in Scotland is the wedding of catholicism with national identity over here, to the point where catholic schools are seen as essential to a catholic scots-irish community. I was lucky enough to go to a non-denominational school back home, and we heard time and time again about the importance of schools with no religious affiliations to the progress of the situation in Nortern Ireland. It seems crazy that a strategy which is part of the solution to violence in the 6 counties would be seen as a danger to a related community over here. Now I feel I have a better understanding of why scottish catholics feel the way they do.

    I can’t begin to express my disgust at the use of these of some of the tactics outlined here. Seems odd that scots catholics would view GB as a protecting their community after the likes of Gerry Conlon’s experience.

  111. Krackerman says:

    “You think the Ku Klux Klan were atheists?”

    Oddly people still today that Hitler was an atheist…

  112. Bubbles says:

    Great article. I well remember my primary school friends being taken off to different middle schools back in the 70’s. We all pretty much lived next door to each other but after the division we rarely played together again. I think it’s disgraceful to have sectarian schools in the 21st century. Teach religion by all means but it should be all religions or none.
    On Dundee – damn right there’s a divide! It’s nowhere near as obvious as it is in the Central Belt but it exists.

  113. rabb says:

    I’ve got no beef at all with Catholic schools or any other school of religious origin.
    I grew up in this environment. Some of my best friends went to the catholic school next door. It really wasn’t a problem.
    I won’t name names but there are many people who preach tolerance and then go on to say religious schools should be banned “Blah blah blah”. REALLY? I mean fucking REALLY? You call yourselves tolerant and you can’t even tolerate someones religion?
    Here’s the deal. We went to different schools, other than religion we were taught the same basics. We all learned the alphabet, how to read, how to write and how to count. All the basic requirements to function as a human being in a modern world.

    After school we all played happily together down the park kicking a ball about or chap doors & run away! We were all normal kids.

    On a Sunday morning I went to the BB’s parade at the local church with some mates whilst the rest went to chapel. Come Sunday afternoon we were all playing football down the park again IN MIXED TEAMS!!

    None of us were poisoned against each other by religion? Contrary to popular belief it was never in the fucking curriculum to hate catholics or protestants!
    This is a ludicrous subject and exactly what the Labour party prey on in the central belt.
    Left to their own devices kids don’t give a toss about which school they go to or what religion they are taught.
    It’s us that put these religious notions into their heads. Leave them alone and let them be kids. It nearly got to me, thankfully I and others I grew up with had the sense to dismiss it in favour of friendship.
    My point is this. It’s not schools that instil religious intolerance, it’s us. Leave them alone and let them grow up in peace!

  114. Craig P says:

    Rev, you are right to an extent, the main place I see people calling for Catholic schools to be closed for perpetuating sectarianism is on football messageboards.
    The more widespread reason people give for wanting to close Catholic schools is atheism (including some friends who were themselves taught in Catholic schools). Whatever the reason, the end result is still a desire to remove religion from schools. And for people who want to keep it, that is enough. Dave McEwan Hill makes a powerful point in his article, and then the below the line comments go and give the impression that actually yes, the nats *do* want to close their schools. I’m not religious myself, but it’s not the way I would go about persuading Catholics to vote Yes…

  115. Breastplate says:

    Wow, this has opened a can of shitstorm. 
    It seems very few people have been indoctrinated into the religion of TOLERANCE, in my humble opinion of course.

  116. Marcia says:

    Agreed, cannot understand the closed mind mentality.

  117. Juteman says:

    As a Dundee fan, I can assure you that anyone singing The Sash at Dens would be sorted very quickly. I’ve seen the odd UJ, but that has Dundee Utility(Dundee casuals) printed on it. The casuals follow both Dundee teams though. They aren’t sectarian, as they will fight anyone, regardless of creed. 🙂

    The ‘Casual’ movement seems to have an organised right-wing element lurking in the background. I know a few that are OO, and ex NF.

  118. jahoca says:

    I’m from ‘that’ background as well and I’ve waited a long time for this article. For the RC community there are plenty of issues and few quick fixes but the fact that the sectarian issue is in the public domain now is a big step forward – the cat’s out of the bag and no one can pretend it doesn’t happen any more. I doubt if this could have been done as effectively if it had been left entirely to the Westminster parties. There’s progress still to be made but as long as anyone is using the ‘divide’ to score points we might as well be going backwards and that just doesn’t bear thinking about. As ‘Embra’ says (9.54): I can only hope that anyone who plays this card during the referendum will have a bright light shone on them.
    Excellent article, btw. 10/10

  119. Yodhrin says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill: Most of us weren’t responding to your article at all, but the comment that religious schooling should be a right enshrined in the written constitution.

    As for giving our opponents ammo, if you seriously think they won’t twist -anything- we say at all to suit their agenda, you’re ‘avin a larf; if they thought it would work, they’d paint the SNP as bastions of protestantism, catholicism, and atheism all of the militant variety and all at the same time.

    I will not allow the lies and atrocious bigoted manipulation of the Unionists to dominate what can and cannot be discussed about the future of an independent Scottish nation. It is my opinion, as a secularist and an agnostic atheist, that we should not be funding segregation with state cash, and we certainly should not be using our supposedly modern and enlightened written constitution to legally empower segregated schools, regardless who is doing the segregating. I will no more stop arguing that point than I will stop arguing that an independent Scotland should be a left-of-centre social democracy with a strong Nordic-style welfare state and tax regime, or that an independent Scotland should devote a substantial portion of its GDP to funding scientific research, or any number of other things.

    If we start deciding what is and is not a suitable subject for open and honest debate based on how many voters it might possible maybe allow the opposition to influence to their side, we have already lost, because at that point we may as well stop making any arguments at all since they could -all- have such an effect on -somebody-.

  120. crisiscult says:

    Craig P – I’m not sure the fact that some people who are pro-independence are anti religious schools is damaging to the cause. I would definitely send my kid to Catholic school because there’s no Russian Orthodox school as far as I know. One of my colleague’s muslim kids go to Catholic school and they’re very happy. If Labour promised Orthodox schools if we vote no, I’d still be voting yes, cos a) they don’t appear to be very honest, and b) I’m more concerned with about 40 other issues including illegal wars, inequality, privatisation, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, neo liberal economic policies, etc etc

  121. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    rabb at 11.29
    Right to the point

  122. Yodhrin says:

    And as for this recent guff about “tolerance”: what utter rubbish. Virtually everyone here who has expressed an anti-segregation view on schools has taken great pains to point out that freedom of religion is important, and that they support the right of individuals to believe as they believe and parents to bring up their children as they see fit regardless of how ill advised we consider their choices.

    School is about -learning- not -faith-, and it is NOT “intolerant” to note that segregation is negative and should be fought whenever possible. Social unity comes from the open sharing of differences and the acknowledgement that those differences enrich not diminish us, not from parcelling wee kids off into tribal groups based on something as arbitrary as their parents’ religious affiliation.

    While I am not, and will never equate religion with genuine bigotry(the bigoted among the faithful are a minority subset not a defining characteristic), I will point out that the arguments being used in favour of religious school segregation are almost exactly the same as those used in favour of racial segregation of schools, and I seriously doubt any of you would be willing to publicly argue that you think an independent Scotland should enshrine in its constitution the right for parents to demand the state provide them a “whites only” school. So why “catholics only” or “protestant only” or “muslim only”?

  123. Albalha says:

    I think what we see, still, in the West is sectarianism and bigotry and in the other parts of Scotland, in years gone by, it was anti-Irish discrimination mainly in employment. And re Dundee, I’ll just point out again, I was answering what seemed a genuine query about the history of football clubs other than Glasgow.

  124. rabb says:

    Apologies. Your article was so real it immediately set me on fire to the point that I never actually commented on it.
    Fantastic mate and certainly brought a few things back into focus for me personally!

  125. HandandShrimp says:

    I would agree with the notion that as issues go schools and whatnot are not exactly in the first tier of burning issues. What depresses more about the whole sectarian thing is not that some people are bigots (depressing though that is) but that there are still politicians like Galloway who are more than happy to play the sectarian card as if it has some sort of relevance in 21st Scottish politics. It is a link that needs to be broken and purified in the open air where people can see it for the anachronism it is.

  126. Krackerman says:

    I reckon Galloway is an MI6 agent – has been for more than 20 years.

  127. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Funnily enough, I have had that same feeling for Jim Murphy, for years.

  128. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Wow, this has opened a can of shitstorm.”

    Seems to be a perfectly civilised discussion to me.

  129. Dave McEwan Hill says:

     None of the schools are “Catholic only” or “Protestant only”. We should be absolutely correct on anything we say on this subject. 

  130. gordoz says:

    O/T Remember Scorched Ayrth ? – News on the Bedroom Tax !
    South Ayrshire  council local authority which is run by a Conservative / Labour alliance has sent out letters to council tenants serving Notice of Proceedings for Recovery of Possession due to rent arrears.

  131. Jimsie says:

    The sectarian divide in west central Scotland is self remedying. All the christian churches are in membership decline and it will soon be untenable to provide separate education facilities for one particular type of indoctrination. Hardly worth falling out about. 

  132. Atypical_Scot says:

    It was a genuine query. I only venture out of the east on visits etc. Growing up in St Andrews, then Carnoustie, then Dundee, I’ve never experienced any sectarianism whatsoever – and only read of it regarding Glasgow’s football teams in game or in towns. I knew there was a Catholic school in St Andrews, but that was it. 

  133. HandandShrimp says:

    Galloway presents so many contradictions and seems to fall out with everybody he works with that I can’t decide where his loyalties lie (well George obviously but apart from that).

  134. Ken500 says:

    What’s new. Labour fights dirty. Just did in Dunfermline. Sectarianism exists in the Central Belt.

    Catholic/Protestants cancel each another out. Sectarian ruins the economy. Come Independence, everyone will have a job, there will be no energy for sectarianism.

    Orange Walks and separate schools cost more. The Churches are losing members because they don’t practise what they preach.

  135. Les Wilson says:

    A very good and I think important article, one which must make the labour hierarchy squirm in their seats. I do think the way to solve this is to have rights of all religious groups in the charter. Where all groups will be secure in their religions, whatever they may be. 

    Labour has been exposed here just how they manipulate sectarianism and promote it secretly for their own purposes, what a shameless, desperate crowd they are beneath contempt. However, we can take this sad tool out their hands and promote equality across our land in our new Scotland.

    The assurances need to be made very publicly and convincingly so none are in doubt that there is utterly NO threat to their welfare or way of life. Such assurances have to be made and as soon as possible and the way forward tightly held in order for those who preffer dissent for their own purposes do not get a hold. We can and will, do better.

  136. Ken500 says:

    Galloway is a hypocrite.

    GG doesn’t support self determination for Scotland.

  137. gordoz says:

    George Galloway supports himself no one and nothing else.

  138. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Here’s the question to ask Galloway or Murphy

    “If this was 1920 and you were in the Mansion House in Dublin would you be waving a tricolour or a Union Jack?”

    They couldn’t answer that. Correction. George probably could make a decent stab at it. He’s too bloody smart. Jim would be floundering.

    My nephew was on a plane to the Middle East sitting next to George recently. Having confided in George that his mother was an SNP member he was treated to a flight of anti SNP invective. Wonder why George hates us so. I can still remember him waving the big blue flag at the Scotland United Rally in George Square and suggesting that Scotland might have “to go it alone” if it kept getting Tory governments it hadn’t voted for.

  139. Breastplate says:

    Yes, I agree that it is civilised

  140. gordoz says:

    Galloway ia a Buffoon, (But a dangerous one)

  141. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Daily Record is reporting S Ayrshire as a Tory run council

  142. crisiscult says:

    One of GG’s main arguments against independence seems to be that it’s not really independence cos we’ll keep the pound, the queen, and be in the EU. On that logic he’d be voting for independence in its currently proposed form as a stepping stone. I’ve never met him but I think he just comes across as someone who wrote the following article 

  143. ronnie anderson says:

    A auld neighbour  ( wee PAT ) day also need tae say he wis a Irish Catholic oony wi Pats Wife n Family we gd Cth In later years we both worked in the Steel works ( Imperial ) Frids early louseing Joe n me meet tae go fur pint ( baillies lane orange hall ) wwe pat joined us going fur his refresment ( albert bar ) onnyway we asked him tae come wi us at first hes hesitant but the promise of a gd pint of guiness won the day & any abuse would be dealt with hard Joe /me  ordered the drinks, ( wait fur it ) YA WEE FUCKIN IRISH TIM WHIT ARE YOU DAYIN IN HERE ( JOE / ME LOOKIN AT WAN INITHER WE BOTH KENT THE VOICE ( TAM OOR FRIEND ) ANITHER IRISHMAN ( NOO GD FRIENDS DONT ABUSE WAN INITHERS FRIENDS/ HE GAME OVER GRABBED WEE PAT ROON THE WAIST LUFTED HIM AFF THE FLAIR AN STARTED TA E DANCE WI HIM ( WHIT CAN WE DAY POSL ) WEE SCREAMING PIT ME DOON YA BIG BASTERD I LL BOX YER EARS IN YA FKER  THEY HAD NT SEEN EACH OTHER FUR 30YRS BUT STAYING IN THE SAME TOON  ( DID AH NO GIT IT FAE THE WEE MANS WIFE HIVIN TAE BE CARRIED UP THE STAIR AT 9PM ) JOE/ME LEFT THEM AT 5 PM EVERY FRID WEE PATS WI US FUR A PINT BUT WE LEAVE PATS PULLED OOT TAE( AM NO FACEIN HIS WEE WIFE  JUTEMAN / DOUG SCOTLAND DIZNA NEED SEPERATE EDUCATION FAE ANY FAITHS

  144. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Dave McEwan Hill
    I should have mentioned earlier how much I like your article and admire your courage to bring this sectarian manipulation of SLAB back into the public eye, especially with the perspective of personal experience.

    To those of us from the West, we know that the duplicity of SLAB it has been sleikitly in place for generations, playing one side against the other and then looting the collective purse.

    For me the issue, it is not that this is a revelation, it is that of how do we counter it?

    The Daily Record and The Herald (two name but two Glasgow based titles) are in this up to their necks. It is what sells their rags.

    if you can hold your nose, go onto the Herald website and look to the right where they display the most popular and most commented upon article and count how many are Rangers / Celtic ones.

    So much for Scotland’s famed broadsheet; just keep politics down and parochial, stir in a fair measure of footie controversy and leave to ferment spontaneously before consumption.

    At least the DR is openly moronic.

  145. braco says:

    I see no one being intolerant or wanting to shut down religious schools. Some folk are saying, and saying it quite eloquently in my opinion, that State schools should not be of any particular religious faith (which does not mean atheist). Tax payer funded Schools should be secular and all inclusive. It’s not that difficult a concept surely.
    Dave McEwan Hill, this is why I asked for concrete proposals of how to combat these Slab sectarian tactics. Raising the legitimate issue of Schooling Systems in an illegitimate way seems to be their tactic. You yourself raised the issue in your article.
    As we certainly know that they will keep raising the issue in their divisive manner, is your only answer to ask that it become a ‘NO GO’ area for pro YES campaigners? If it is, then I am afraid I think that to be not only weak and ineffectual, but quite possibly counter productive. That way their smears and whispers go unanswered and unargued.
    In none of the discussion above have I read a sectarian, anti catholic/Irish threat to Catholic Schools. I have heard many thoughtful posts on moving  Scotland forward as a secular society, with equal opportunity and freedom of religion to all, written into a Constitution.
    Where is the damage in that intelligent rational conversation? Other than the obvious twisting and lies that will be invented by those in Slab that would be spreading and fabricating those same lies as a matter of policy and tactic anyway.
    I am genuinely interested in how you see this issue ever being able to be played positively by us, other than through intelligent, rational and honest exchange (such as expressed in the posts above) and over the very long term?

  146. Rod Mac says:

    I don’t know any other Scottish team where the fans wear England tops…

    but wearing ROI tops is ok ???

    I like Keef am getting a little fed up with the slurs against Rangers in this site.

    The very same unionist slurs against Nationalists is something we all dislike.

    Seems Rev your constant digs at Rangers are  in the same mould.

    Let me once again say this , there are more British Unionist MPs ,MSPs , indeed ex cabinet ministers sitting toe tapping in the Celtic stands of a Saturday than  any other club in Britain never  mind in Ibrox.

    The very same Labour bigots that use religion and sectarianism in Scotland  are the bulwark of the British State that is anti Catholic and sectarian,

    Labour in power did not remove the abomination that is the Act of Secession preventing RCs from taking the British Crown .

    Even Tony Bliar waited till he had demitted office before converting to Rome because of the inherent anti Roman bias in British state.

    It is just too easy for you to point at Rangers and their fans when talking of bigots while doing an Admiral Lord Nelson with Scotland’s biggest British Unionist Football Club Celtic FC.

  147. Breastplate says:

    Forgive my manners Dave, I forgot to say excellent piece.

  148. call me dave says:

    The ‘bedroom tax’ story.
    According to the Daily Record it’s a Tory led council.Labour are blameless in all this.Its the way they don’t tell them, funny old world init!

  149. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Yes, I agree that it is civilised”

    Then the word “shitstorm” is poorly used.

  150. Alba4Eva says:

    The influence of organised religion is not waning slowly… its plummeting off the cliff.   I am among the new majority of Aethiests in Scotland (although I personally prefer Humanist).   There are more Aethiests in Scotland than either Catholics or Protestants.  Its time politicians stopped cowtowing to a few religious leaders and realised that Aethiests are a much larger and more influential group.

  151. Tony says:

    I was brought up a Catholic in the west of Scotland and am now a devout non-believer in any religious doctrine. 

    Anit-Catholic sentiment in Scotland was rife before the influx of Irish during at after the Great Hunger. The writer refers to it as a Famine, however there was enough food to feed everyone in the country but much of it was being exported. The writer points out that these people were British at the time, yet omits to mention that Britain, as one of the richest nations on the earth at the time, failed to stop the starvation and mass migration of millions of people under it’s ‘protection’. 

    Some of these people shipped up in Scotland where there was already anti-Catholic sentiment. In Glasgow at the end of the 18th century, there were more anti-Catholic societies than there were Catholics. So, it’s not quite the case to suggest it was simply an ‘anti-Irish’ seem that was being mined in Scotland.

    “It was specifically anti-Irish sentiment Scotland developed – a substantial and very Catholic Italian community met with little ill-feeling.

    The above is a remarkable statement. In later years, Italian Catholics may have had less grief in general and perhaps weren’t subjected to the ‘No Irish Need Apply’ over forms of bigotry and racism, however the writer himself notes that it took until the 1960s before a Catholic got a job on a “on a prestigious Glasgow newspaper”. And we know that there were no Italian-Scots Catholics playing at Ibrox in this time either – I would suspect that it wasn’t until the 1990s that Italians played for Rangers, and no home-grown ones spring to mind to this day.

    So, can the writer still state that it was merely anti-Irishness that permeated the Scottish establishment at this time? There were plenty of other venerable institutions, in banking and media, who would not employ a Catholic either until the 1960s, so the ‘no Catholics’ wasn’t confined to the shipyards which had become a bastion of Protestantism, Orangeism and Masonic influence. Many of those Protestants had come over from Ireland and far from being excluded, found themselves in advantageous positions of power and employment – and exclusion of those they didn’t like.

    So, when the author states, “Being prepared to work for lower wages than the indigenous population was a charge levelled against some”, he fails to note that there weren’t many jobs out there for Catholics and so they were offered wages at less than the going rate by unscrupulous employers. The question could be asked: “What else were they supposed to do? Starve themselves and their families to death?”

    “The Catholic community in Scotland has good reason to owe a debt of gratitude to the Labour Party. Now Labour is in trouble, and it’s been calling in that debt over the last few decades.”

    This is an interesting statement and it would be useful it was expanded upon by providing facts rather that suggestions of whispering campaigns?

    Maybe an innate distrust amongst some older Catholics has a simpler explanation? Maybe some remember the controversial comments by William Wolfe regarding the Pope’s visit in 1982, or his justification of those comments ten years later, where he states that, “silence (which was the party’s stance) without protest would have been just as hypocritical, according to my conscience.”

    You could perhaps infer a lot from what the then President of the SNP referred to as the ‘party’s stance’. Perhaps it is incidents like this that have left a residual disquiet amongst some Catholics about where the party’s true intentions lie. Another modern form of distrust may lie in the furore over Christine Grahame’s comments, as Convenor of the Justice Committe, which seemed to suggest more Catholics should be arrested in a bid to even up numbers.

    It is a dubious justification for controversial laws – which regularly sees people being subjected to dawn raids (yes, dawn raids) and arrests at airports for singing songs at football matches. The cavalier disregard (with football fans, religious organisations, anti-sectarianism organisations, children’s charities, the Law Society, the Human Rights Commission, the Scottish Justices Association all opposed the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act) doesn’t promote the notion that the SNP is a listening party, rather one forcing through unpopular laws on spurious grounds with no regards for the consequences.

    Also in the article, we get this gem.

    “We confirmed what I already knew. The man of the house told us that a few days after the SNP had canvassed the block, some people purporting to represent Labour had been round carefully-chosen doors. The dangers of putting the SNP into the council had been spelt out. The Catholic schools would be under attack. Nae books and pencils for them (and they’d be closed as soon as that could be managed).

    A bigwig had been down – I won’t name her. But under no circumstances was Labour to lose this one. We were then treated to Labour canvassers knocking doors in Celtic tops and Labour vans going round blaring out rebel songs, and we lost. My abiding memory of election day was of folk walking past us in to polling station looking away from us or with their eyes down.”

    So, a ‘man in a house’ says ‘people purporting to represent Labour had been round carefully chosen doors’ to say there would be ‘nae books and pencils for them’. It is utterly ridiculous and says nothing – you could easily have said, ‘a taxi driver’ or a ‘guy in the barbers said this to me’ and got more credence. Still, it was a phrase of such great import that it was adapted as the sub-heading on the article.

    After initially being wise enough to go round ‘carefully chosen doors’ all caution is then thrown to the wind with “Labour canvassers knocking doors in Celtic tops and Labour vans going round blaring out rebel songs. And we lost”.

    The phrase ‘Did ye, aye?’ springs to mind.

    Did these ‘Labour canvassers’ suddenly not care who else lived in the street? Are all Catholics Celtic supporters? Do all Catholics support Irish Republicanism and listen to rebel songs?

    The author laters states in his article about the ‘nae pencils’ position: “Now, you’ll never hear this stuff. It’s whispered about in safe company within that community… The Yes campaign… needs to be aware and ready to deal with the unscrupulous nature of some of its enemy and the desperate depths to which they’ll stoop to hang onto their powerbase.”

    So, you’ll never hear it unless you’re in that ‘community’. As if all members of that community whisper like a secret society unaware that there will be a myriad of political views amongst its members. Or is the author saying that he has somehow managed to sneak under the radar, and hear the “unscrupulous” tactics of “some of its enemy”?

    The author, as a teacher, is surely smart enough to understand that putting that ‘community’ and ‘enemy’ in the same paragraph will lead some readers of his article to draw allusions. For a writer, it is an irresponsible link to make, if he did it intentionally.

    For the record, I voted SNP the last time as I was scunnered by what new Labour had become. It was nothing to do with religion. A lot of Catholics will vote SNP and a lot of them won’t, and some of them won’t because of some of the reasons outlined above.

    But, while Catholics share a doctrine, they are not an amorphous political group. This article seems to suggest that they are. If not, then the entire purpose of the article seems to be confused at best.

    As someone who lived most of his adult life outside Scotland, it depresses me a bit that religion still plays such a prominent role in what people see as their ‘identity’, rather than being a private belief system. I do think that children should mix freely at school, but I feel the decision has to be arrived at sanely and rationally and not at the behest of a bigoted agenda.

    At the moment, it seems that the people who shout loudest about ‘integration’ of school children are those who march to the beat of a drum for months every year and who seemed to care less for ‘integration’ in the adult workforce when their networks of influence preventing Catholics, not just Irish ones, from getting a foot on the ladder for over a century.
    It’s no wonder that people are switching off from politics if this is what we are getting. After years of listening to the forked-tongues of politicians of all hues, I am largely apathetic. If Dave McEwan Hill’s article, which makes a notable contribution to the ‘dirty game’ he refers to in his heading, is indicative of the level of debate we can expect, then I might just switch off altogether and tick a box with my eyes closed next year. 

  152. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    I look upon this thread a bit like a pub conversation over a pint or two, except the pub has 10,000+ plus people there.
    There will as many perspectives as people here and, with the best will in the World, conversations do wander into parallel but relevant territories.
    It is a bit like herding cats, especially cyber ones.

  153. Ken500 says:

    Any Catholic/Protestant believing the SNP is going to close faith schools, cut social/NHS care, or elderly bus passes, cut means tested Student loans, put up student fees or believes ‘the something for nothing’ ideology, isn’t getting a very good education.

  154. Helpmaboab says:

    Gordoz wrote, “Galloway is a Buffoon, (But a dangerous one)”
    Not quite, I think Gorgeous George is just dangerous, fullstop.He’s a ruthless, cynical, self-serving adventurer. If he ever had any genuine beliefs they were long since abandoned in his campaign of self-aggrandisement.
    When the Labour party could no longer provide him with a good income, he switched to cultivating the Muslim vote, first in London then in Yorkshire. Now that this constituency is slipping away he is returning to Scotland with an openly sectarian agenda which makes the North Lanarkshire Labour party look mild. He is not to be trusted.

  155. Albert Herring says:

    Back in the 70’s the Shed at Tynecastle would resound to the strains of ‘The Sash’ and suchlike, meanwhile ‘We’re off to Dublin in the Green’ etc could be heard coming from the green end. It all seems to have died out now.

  156. Albalha says:

    I realised it was genuine. As I posted last I think when it comes Dundee, it was more about anti-Irish discrimination, particularly in the professions, law, accounting etc. It’s why some Dundee Catholic lawyers set up their own firms for example.
    And going back to my very first post the big difference between Dundee and Glasgow and Irish migration is that in Dundee it was pretty much exclusively Irish Catholics.
    I worry however that Glasgow is the focus for all that is bad in Scottish society, that the issues don’t exist in any shape or form elsewhere in the country. It isn’t that simple in my view. If I had a fiver for everyone who says, ‘oh well I probably will vote YES but I just wish we could get rid of Glasgow and its problems as well’.
    Scratch a few surfaces elsewhere and interesting opinions pop up and contrary to popular belief, per head, it’s probably the Western Isles and other parts of the H and I that has some of the most serious alcohol issues.

  157. a supporter says:

    “That’s the one I put to Keef, but he seems to be too busy being angry for no rational reason to answer it.”

    Rev Stu: Keef is being angry because as you sometimes do, you take up your pen and without engaging brain write the most stupid remarks; all of which tend to alienate people. I personally cannot see this article being of any help to Independence. All it is doing is raising old sectarian sores.

  158. Alba4Eva says:

    Couldn’t agree more Panda.  The question of Scottish independence will not affect the sectarian issues at all… only education can do that.
    What is really depressing for me is ‘so called’ parents, who are supposed to be mature enough to know better, but still pass small minded childish ideas such as sectarianism onto their kids.  

  159. ronnie anderson says:

    SOS DAVE, Meant tae start ma post on your piece ,yes well done it needs to be said Religion / Politics / Politicions / Church leaders use people to their own ends Have don /And will continue Unless people wise up Devide and Conquer to protect themselves . POWER IS A CORRUPTER OF MANKIND & PLENTY DONT NEED CONVERSION 

  160. rabb says:

    OK Folks, I’m bowing out of this debate.

    Their are some ludicrous posts that are getting my goat up to the point that I’m fuming and may post something I’ll later regret.
    Dave, great article mate 🙂
    I’ve said my piece.

  161. joe kane says:

    Just to give a single instance of Scottish Labour Party duplicity over the issue of Catholic education being safe in its hands.

    A local primary school was finally closed down, and has now been bulldozed, after a very high-profile local grassroots campaign to keep it open. A local Labour Party Councillor even joined in a march in support of keeping it open who, a few weeks later, voted in the North Lanarkshire Council chambers in Motherwell Civic Centre to close it. It was a reprehensible act of betrayal which left many in shocked disbelief. Sufficed it to say, the local SNP Councillor, unlike the two local Labour Councillors, took part in the consultation on the future of the school and voted to keep it open.

    One of the ironies is that the primary school served one of the most deprived areas of Scotland and is right next to the former Ravenscraig site which has seen the NLC plough millions into its “regeneration” and has seen a new £70 million Motherwell College built and open on it. Fabulous riches next to an area notorious for its standards of health and lack of wealth.

    References –
    Parents’ fury as North Lanarkshire Council axe St Matthew’s Primary School 
    Daily Record
    31 Mar 2013

    North Korea has higher life expectancy for men than Craigneuk 
    Wishaw Press
    24 Apr 2013 Apr 2013

  162. benarmine says:

    George Galloway was at the same school as me, he was an obnoxious tosser then and hasn’t changed one bit. That’s part of his problem, he’s stuck in the past. An immovable mindset incapable of moving on.

  163. Breastplate says:

    The complete abandonment of logic, over zealous opinionated statements and innuendo in quite a few of the comments led me to believe, in my opinion shitstorm was warranted.
    I understand if you don’t agree.

  164. ronnie anderson says:

    jUTEMAN , Nae singin Only The Lonely / Hows Aboot a Choris of Wee Are Not Alown

  165. Linda's Back says:

    Labour have played the sectarian card for years.
     My father, a Protestant, told me that whilst campaigning for SNP in West Lothian mining area in the late 1960s he was told by senior Labour Party Branch officials that “Home Rule equals Rome Rule” 

  166. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    a supporter
    So it’s the Nelson’s eye road to independence, is it?

    This is avery useful discussion. I disagree very strongly with some of the comments but I recognise that theyare well meant and well intentioned responses to a subject that has been in the “if we pretend it isn’t there it will go away” category for a long, long time.  

  167. chalks says:

    That would be the immediate reaction, but once the dust settled, both sides would see they are actually human beings.  I’m telling you, one generation later of mixed or where I come from, normal schools, and there would only be a minority in glasgow that still clung to this sectarian nonsense. 

    Glasgow has held Scotland back for too long and shit like this just makes me think IT SHOULD be an enclave of the UK. Let them deal with this sectarian pish seeing as how they have played the two off against each other and done nothing to try and educate the people.

    Poorest parts of europe = glasgow areas and yet the people there still vote labour, still believe in a unionist party, still get scared into thinking their life might get a little worse than it already is with a vote for indy.  Glasgow hard men? Fucking softies more like, grow a set of balls and be accountable for your own actions, vote labour, stay fucked.

    Rant over.

  168. ronnie anderson says:

    Benarmine, theres nae love lost on G Gall in LINLATHIN he s wan o the Lab mob the sent the Lab club intae bankrupt

  169. crisiscult says:

    I’ve followed most of this thread (maybe I should get out but it is raining :-/ ) and haven’t noticed much of any insults, intolerance, or particular controversy. Some people are talking about religious schools, some like them, some don’t. Some are talking about football – is there evidence of bigotry at football? As Mr Hill said, the main point was about politicians using such divisions for their own benefit, which is important not to lose sight of and how to challenge it. On this point, i’d like to return to something I raised earlier, which was about different çommunities’and their likely vote. I’m slightly worried that a lot of overseas nationals I meet through my work, and I’m thinking mostly of non Western Europeans or Commenwealth, are tending towards better together. Does anyone have access to figures on the size of such communities with a vote?

  170. chalks says:

    Polish for Independence is launching on the 11th November.
    I’d imagine many Polish, Lithuanians, Estonians ex Soviet Union will sympathise with indy.  It’s worth noting that BT have already tried to scare them into thinking they will be deported the day after the Yes vote. 

  171. Albalha says:

    On EU folks it’s around 60 000. It’s omportant if you’re speaking to any of them, other than Irish nationals, they will have a vote in the referendum unlike for a UK General Election. It’s the same as council elections when it comes to eligibility.

  172. tartanfever says:

    Rev Stu said:
    That’s an extraordinary amount of anger to base on one tweet that said “We’ve got a powerful post coming up tomorrow”. You seriously don’t see the parallel between religious bigotry and racial bigotry, between segregation on religious grounds and apartheid? You think the Ku Klux Klan were atheists?
    No Rev, what I have an issue with is ‘myth’ building, ‘stereotypes’ and ‘doctrines’. 
    This article, on occasion uses phrases that do exactly that – 
    ‘Scotland’s shame’ – no it is not. there is individual shame or group shame, but not national shame. The author identifies one region of Scotland and bases his article geographically, but decides to project this apparent shame nationally. Thats a myth.
    It’s not religion, it’s tribalism – No, they are identical and work hand in hand. The whole basis of group belief is on myth, storytelling and doctrines, they inhabit the same social and cultural sphere, they are based on recognising a group and in doing so, seek to perpetuate the myth of difference.
    In the same way Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims or whoever perpetuate the myth that their own belief system is right, political parties or social based groups with pseudo religious  connections, like the Orange Order also believe that they are ‘right’.
    It’s an undeniable fact, like Ying and Yang, that if you are for something, then you are against something. That is the nature of these groups and their genesis. That does not mean that people are outwardly hostile to another group, many are, some aren’t – however, the fact that you have this group mean that you want to be recognised for having a belief system that makes you different from others. We support independence, unionists don’t – we are different from them.
    Therefore,in my thinking,  religion is tribalism, not the other way round.
    I’m generally fed up with articles that feel the need to give us a ‘historical’ perspective. In doing so, all the author does is invite members of groups to make an opinion based on their group, or indeed to see non-group individuals make assumptions about groups.  Whether or not that is divisive is open to question, however it gives them validity to exist in our here and now. It brings their specific history up to date and allows it to exist in ours. You can see it through all the posts to the article.
    Many include the response ‘I remember’ or ‘My father told me’ – yet these people haven’t actually been subject to any particular kind of behaviour. This is myth building. Take a portion of history of which you have never witnessed and make a judgement on it, even if it is to condemn it. 

    The reality is that it’s just another reminder – another tool for those that wish to follow a group to pass on to the next generation – it perpetuates the myth – and hey, while were at it, let’s call it a ‘national’ shame – it’s got more impact.

    Do people ‘believe’ in religion because they want to be ‘saved’ ? That there is a ‘better place’ after death ? That their time spent in this existence is truly sinful ?
    Or do they ‘believe’ in religion because that’s the group they were born and raised into ?

    Do they actually consciously consider their beliefs on a daily basis or are you only more likely to hear them do so when they are ‘attacked’?

    Yes this might be a form of tribalism, not religion – but this is exactly how your church wants you to think, or in this case, not think. You accept the rules of the church and you stick up for it, no matter what they do. This is religious tribalism. This is what we witness, either by aggressive posturing or by playing the victim.

    This article does nothing for me except make vague generalisations that fit the author’s myth and conform to the general myth of society in Scotland that we are meant to accept as our history and culture. In doing so, any salient points he may have are lost.

    Strip away the religious historical mumbo jumbo and what are you left with – one group is telling lies about another, disseminating their message with fear. Thats it.

  173. megsmaw06 says:

    I haven’t read any comments so far acknowledging the fact that religion is was present in state schools.

    Growing up I went to state schools only and at all of them, even my Secondary school, I had to attend church at Christmas and Easter. The local priest would also come into school to do assemblies, in a couple of the primary schools we had to pray in the morning or before lunch.

    My own daughters attend the local Catholic school. Not because we’re religious, but because it’s the nearest to us and it’s a good school where my children have thrived. Next year my eldest will go to a Catholic secondary school, a school with an excellent reputation. I want them to do better than I did.

    As far as I can see it’s done no harm to my children. They still play with their friends in the street that attend different schools. There isn’t a them Vs us attitude.

    The Catholic schools allow anyone in, you don’t have to be Catholic. It’s the adults at home who teach the hate and divisions, not the schools.

  174. HandandShrimp says:

    Not being party to either tribe on this matter, I can’t say that the debate has been particularly acrimonious or full of slights (unless they are going over my head). There is an issue that Labour still do try to play the sectarian card in some parts of Scotland and that they will do so over the independence referendum. We will never resolve the issue of bigotry in a single thread or through a few well meaning legislative acts. Such differences will only fade and die as time passes and people move on. Independence will assist because it will re-boot Scotland’s position in respect to our relationship with the other countries in these isles.
    Nevertheless there is a bizarre take on independence where you can see posts by wing nuts on opposite sides of the sectarian divide quite convinced that the SNP are a hotbed of Catholic intrigue/anti Catholic intrigue. Clearly this is barking and needs to be punctured because it is a double win for the Better Together side who play both sides. We need to stress the emphasis on tolerance and an inclusive tent for all in the Yes camp….support for a particular football team being utterly irrelevant…it is just a game. 

  175. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Many include the response ‘I remember’ or ‘My father told me’ – yet these people haven’t actually been subject to any particular kind of behaviour. This is myth building.”

    Almost everything Dave refers to in the piece is stuff he saw with his own eyes and heard with his own ears. I’m not fond of third-hand accounts myself, which is why I think this piece is so strong.

  176. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I like Keef am getting a little fed up with the slurs against Rangers in this site.”

    Sigh. There were no “slurs against Rangers”.

  177. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “The Catholic schools allow anyone in, you don’t have to be Catholic. It’s the adults at home who teach the hate and divisions, not the schools.”

    Isn’t that exactly what I said earlier?

  178. I grew up on a council estate in Greenock. The street wizny very big but there wis a lot a weans playing on it every day. Jimmy wis my best pal, me an Jimmy did everything the gether, fitba, cowboys, picnics oot the back, everything. Then wan August day, Jimmy went to school, I went a week later,  to a different school. As a five year auld wean, ah didny understand it, and noo 55 years later, I still don’t! 

  179. Yodhrin says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill; Just to clarify, was your “pretend it isn’t there” comment directed at those of us arguing for secular schools? I want to make sure before I attempt a rebuttal in case you’re referring to something else.

  180. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    In an extremely longwinded post tartanfever has given us acres of his own opinions and managed to completely miss the actual point of the article

  181. pmcrek says:

    As someone who grew up in these communities in Hamiltion during the 80’s every single word of this article is rings true.

    I’ve even been told by Labour card carrying teachers how Catholics in Scotland would be persecuted if the SNP ever won an election. This happened more than once and in more than one class. In fact half a history lesson on the British Labour movement was abandoned one day while the teacher had a half hour long rant about how Scottish independence would lead to catholic death camps. I am not joking.

  182. a supporter says:


  183. ronnie anderson says:

    Tartanfever , ie through all the posts on here, wherein my post does that appear 

  184. velofello says:

    Within tartanfever’s post above is a wee kernel,reference to Ying and Yang. Seek to work your mindset to the centre of the Ying and Yang diagram, its peaceful.The further out you are from the centre of the diagram, whether in the Ying or Yang camp, the more turbulent will life be for you.
    In football terms, support the very excellent Scottish Ladies team, and the rapidly improving Men’s team.And the team local to you.That people are prepared to travel from Ireland weekly to support Celtic and Rangers I find astonishing.

  185. orkers says:

    I don’t know any other Scottish team where the fans wear England tops…
    As many Fans of Rangers wear England tops as Celtic Fans wear Republic of Ireland tops.
    Always been a fan of yours Conan, but you should always be prepared to see both points of view.
    Also to other points made ………….you don’t have to be thick to be bigoted. Many otherwise intelligent people on both sides of the tribal divide can be extremely so.
    Also Gordoz, holding up Tommy Burns up as an exemplar of Roman Catholic Christianity is a bit iffy when the said chap was a supernumerary for Opus Dei, defended Torbett and died without even having a football match postponed to bury him.

  186. crisiscult says:

    chalks says: 2 November, 2013 at 12:45 pm Polish for Independence is launching on the 11th November. I’d imagine many Polish, Lithuanians, Estonians ex Soviet Union will sympathise with indy.
    Good to have a number for EU residents but as for the ex Soviets, I’m getting anecdotally worried about their vote. They seem sceptical, though reasons are a bit nebulous. I get the feeling they see a certain prestige and perhaps security (no tittering at the back) in Brand Britain. Some of these people are married to Scots (mostly the non-EU Russian speakers – Ukrainians, Russians, Kazaks, etc), so they probably aren’t so worried about the EU/visa aspects.

  187. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    No I’m making no comment whatsover about the advisability or not of denominational schools. There is a legitimate range of opinions on this.
    I’ll give my opinion at some point

    I’m talking about the dirty little games our opponents play on this issue and that fact that lots of people would like to suggest it doesn’t go on (even when they play parts in it).

  188. Boorach says:

    Not going to take part in the schools/sectarian debate as having grown up in the Highlands it’s not a thing that I have any experience of… except of course with those Wee Frees!
    What I would like to say is that any religious leader who isn’t standing in his/her pulpit (or whatever is equivelant) and railing against the iniquities being perpetrated by successive Westminster Governments against the most vulnerable in our society seriously need to question their priorities and beliefs. 
    Where are the Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, islamic et al leaders who should all be united in their lambasting of Westminster and urging their followers to vote for a more caring, humane society as depicted in their various creeds? 

  189. liz says:

    I am also surprised that people think there are acrimonious comments on this thread as I have only seen people give account of their own experiences.
    It does show however that these feelings go deep and therefore it is important that we discuss it

  190. Albalha says:

    And the Western Isles and all other parts of Scotland.

  191. John H says:

    Reading the article coming home from Edinburgh this morning, I was reflecting on how the religion thing was way less than it used to be in the West Lothian village I live in. I was sick to the back teeth of religion and finally turned off it when I was told I shouldn’t be playing with x because he was a catholic. Until that point neither x or me had a clue what we were!

    People are becoming less interested I was thinking and there may be a small contingent but even that will run it’s course, just give it a generation or two and we’ll be free from it.

    Then I thought I’d pop to the corner shop …you know those pink iced coconut bars? Well in their wisdom Mmmums have decided to sell ‘Ibrox Iced Bars’ and ‘Parkhead Iced Bars’, blue and green respectively.

    With that shite happening what chance have we got. From here on in Mmmums know where they can shove there f***ing dumplings.

  192. Arabs for Independence says:

     Juteman says: The casuals follow both Dundee teams though. They aren’t sectarian, as they will fight anyone, regardless of creed.
    Surely that should say ‘will run away from anyone regardless of creed’?

    As an arab brought up around Tannadice and Dens in the 60/70s there was a wee bit of silly songs being sang but mainly out of ignorance. Since then there is no divide on religious grounds whatsoever – there is however a divide on playing ability 🙂

    Any catholic/protestant issue in Dundee was usually dealt with by humorous banter and there was a general dislike when the local labour MPs John McAllion and Jim McGovern supported Celtic and the Lord Provost supporting Rangers.

  193. Thomas William Dunlop says:

    There is another side to this story. They go round staunchly Protestant areas saying that the SNP are a vote for the return of the Stuarts and catholicism.
    The divide & conquer card is a’ways a good strategy for the desperate elite to play

  194. beachthistle says:

    The main issue raised by the article is that of ‘Divide and Rule’ being used as a tactic by elements of the No campaign. However I hope that all the posts going off on the faith, sectarian, education, football etc. tangents won’t detract from the main messages of the piece:

    that this ‘Divide and Rule’ strategy has happened, is happening and will (probably increasingly) happen in the lead up to the referendum vote in central Scotland;

    that those in the Yes movement should at least be aware of the tactic and know what evidence of it happening to look out for; and

    for the Yes movement to start thinking of and acting on ways to reduce and ideally prevent it happening.
    The more we in the Yes movement dither and/or start/continue discussions about the underlying issues/causes, the longer the Scottish-Independence-specific ‘Divide and Rule narrative is given time to get a head of steam – it isn’t an accident that Gorgeous George’s (borderline inflammatory) views about the ‘dangers to ethnic minorities’ post-Yes are being given the full MSM megaphone treatment (e.g. the Scotchman today: “I wouldn’t like to be a religious or an ethnic minority in an independent Scotland. This malignant resentment can take the form of resentment against minorities.”)

    I said in my previous post that the UK’s footsoldiers for this Divide and Rule task are SLab’s Redcoats – but they need to be given top-cover – and that is what GG is doing/providing them with now.
    I was thinking when reading some of the posts above that the trailer to this piece last night helped to lead to the direction this discussion went in – maybe something about British Divide and Rule tactics over the past few centuries would have been more appropriate. Anyway, I googled ‘British Divide and Rule’ and found a good summary graphic embedded in a Daily Mail article about comments Dianne Abbot had made about Divide and Rule – and couldn’t help notice that one of the few politicians who defended her was none other than, er, GG.
    In my view GG knows exactly what he is doing now, and, to quote Laird Foulkes,  doing it deliberately. Why GG is doing it is a puzzle though, and bit of a mind-fuck – but maybe a clue is that it has been reported that on the night of the 2011 election, when he stood as Respect candidate in Glasgow, he was sitting in a car parked outside the SECC – and when he got a call saying he had been gubbed, he quickly drove away…no doubt furious  – and probably vowing revenge…

  195. Hotrod Cadets says:

    I’m an atheist, and in an independent Scotland I will vote for abolition of religious schools of any sort.
    In the meantime, we’ve got a referendum to win.

  196. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Thanks, Beachthistle – back onto the main point

  197. A2 says:

    “My personal position on this issue, which speaks for me alone and not the Yes campaign or anyone else, has always been clear: NO religion has ANY place in ANY school except as an academic subject.”

    While I utterly agree with this, (picking your comment amongst the others for obvious reasons Rev) it throws up unfortunate ammunition for the very tactic that the article seeks to warn us about. “Head cybernat seeks to ban religious schools”

    Still best discussed right now before it’s too late, head them off at the pass.

  198. HandandShrimp says:

    That is my take on the matter too, the real matter is divide and conquer. In our day to day life people of all faiths and none work side by side and any any rivalry barely rises above good natured football banter. What people like Galloway and others do is hark back to darker times and play on fears that are not rational in the cold light of day. This is despicable and counter to everything Galloway claims to stand for.
    What we need to do is address those fears, not by avoiding the subject but by fair, tolerant and reasonable debate.

  199. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Hotrod Cadets
    They are not “religious” schools. They are normal schools with a normal curriculum with some religious education included in it. Let’s be precise. 

  200. tartanfever says:

    Dave McEwan Hill – 
    ‘In an extremely longwinded post tartanfever has given us acres of his own opinions and managed to completely miss the actual point of the article’

    Dave I have no issue with the salient point of your article that a political movement are using lies to scare people. We know that. What I’m not in favour of is the historical myth building perpetuation that comes along with it.

    Ok, specifics – you say ‘Scotland’s shame’ , I say prove it.

    Or am I to take from your argument that you agree with Johann Lamont when she apologised on behalf of Scotland for the release of Megrahi – not the actual decision itself, but her ‘claim’ to be able to voice an opinion for the Scottish nation?

  201. Conan_the_Librarian says:

    @ orkers
    I think many people mistook my comment for sectarianism. I was merely trying to point out that they wore the tops to prove their “Britishness”.
    And to piss off every other team’s supporters too, of course. 

  202. DonDeefLugs says:

    Good article, thanks Dave.  It’s important to shine a light on the dirty tricks Slab play with their cynical use of the sectarian card. 

  203. Jimbo says:

    The Labour Party are still up to their same old dirty tricks to this day.
    In the run-up to the 2007 Scottish elections two Asian friends of mine were told by Labour canvassers that an SNP win would see all Asians not born in Scotland expelled from the country.

  204. Monty Carlow says:

    I find this whole sectarian thing so alien.  I know from family research that amongst my forebears, I have Irish catholics and protestants, but I grew up in a small town, overwhelmingly protestant I suppose, but only in a “matter of fact” sort of way. 
    A best friend at school was catholic, and I  couldn’t have imagined why that should result in his going to a different school.  I thought he was catholic because of his Italian mother.  Years later, I found out that his dad was of Irish catholic  origin, and his mum had grown up as part of Italy’s small protestant community!
    I resent the idea that the protestant side of the sectarian divide represents a native Scottish tradition, as opposed to the Irish catholic imported tradition.  I understand that the whole sectarian protestant/Orange thing also arrived in Scotland as a result of immigration in the nineteenth century. 
    I  wish that after 150 years, they could all just get on with being Scottish (as most do, I believe).  I wouldn’t want anyone to abandon their identity and traditions – just ditch the hostility.
    The earlier comment regarding Dundee is interesting – that because the Irish immigration was wholly catholic, that city has been largely untroubled by sectarian tensions.

  205. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Ok, specifics – you say ‘Scotland’s shame’ , I say prove it.”

    Um, where did he say that? I can’t find that phrase anywhere in either the article or the comments, except where YOU’VE said it.

  206. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “While I utterly agree with this, (picking your comment amongst the others for obvious reasons Rev) it throws up unfortunate ammunition for the very tactic that the article seeks to warn us about. “Head cybernat seeks to ban religious schools””

    (1) If this article proves anything, it’s that they don’t care whether anyone ACTUALLY says it or not – they’ll say they did anyway.

    (2) It’s a view I’ve expressed many times before, including on this site, so that cat is long out of the bag.

  207. orkers says:

    No harm Conan.

    It may be that the supporters who wear English/Republic of Eire tops come from the countries concerned. Our society after all is pretty multicultural?

    Or on the other hand it could be purely something worn to wind up the other side of the tribal divide. Personally it beggars my belief that anyone born in Scotland would wear them.

    Human nature I suppose.

    Keep up your good work in the comments pages darn sarf, your contributions are always, mostly, a joy.

  208. A2 says:

    (2) It’s a view I’ve expressed many times before, including on this site, so that cat is long out of the bag.

    Aye but they weren’t looking then 🙂

    btw I’m not suggesting it shouldn’t be expressed.

  209. tartanfever says:

    I said :
    “Ok, specifics – you say ‘Scotland’s shame’ , I say prove it.”
    Rev says :
    ‘Um, where did he say that? I can’t find that phrase anywhere in either the article or the comments, except where YOU’VE said it.’
    This Rev: 
    ‘Sectarianism – hitherto Scotland’s dirty little secret ‘
    Fair enough, I apologise, is not specifically the phrase I used. i was wrong to do so. I hope that you accept my apology.
    However, if this does not mean ‘Scotland’s Shame’  I would sincerely appreciate hearing the correct definition of this phrase?

  210. gordoz says:

    orkers ?
    Did you know Tommy personally then ? Sounds to me like you did not.

  211. Albert Herring says:

    I’m more concerned about the damage the private school sector does to our society.

  212. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Albert Herring
    The Apex of the triangle

  213. Albalha says:

    I’ll do my best here to stick to what I should, happy however to be corrected, but the legislation directly related to the playing of football is being used as part of the divide and rule programme. Not sure at all why football is irrelelvant. Think Celtic fans have been bombarding SNP MSP’s with thousands of e mail asking for an early review of it.
    Don’t you think that’s exactly what GG will be basing a lot of his nonsense on? So why isn’t it relevant for people who know little or nothing about the history of football clubs, Irish migration etc not ask questions and people answer them?
    To argue convincingly against their attempts at divide and rule I’d have thought it was a good idea to know a little about how it all fits into the wider country.

  214. rabb says:

    Do we have a section on the site for irony?
    Dave eloquently raises the point of how SLAB use this to divide the populous then everyone falls into the trap of allowing it to divide them too.
    Can you all now see how easy this is for SLAB?
    It’s like shooting fish in a thimble with a blunderbus!
    Catholic & Non Dom schools are the red herring folks and your all falling for it.

  215. Albalha says:

    Eh not all.

  216. braco says:

    I am not divided, are you?

  217. castle hills chavie says:

    As to other Scottish teams supporters wearing England shirts, you get it all the time at Berwick games, but then a lot of us wear Scotland tops, so it kind of evens itself out

  218. HandandShrimp says:

    Football itself is irrelevant, it is just a game. However as an expression of tribalism it has been used as a vehicle that much is true. The legislation introduced to curb some of the more enthusiastic elements of that tribalism was brought about because some swivel eyed nuts were sending death threats to Neil Lennon (along with bullets and letter bombs). The papers and opposition MSPs were at the time screaming that something should be done. The moment something was done, it was all “oh that is a wee bit too harsh”. Perhaps it is and I think it will be reviewed in due course but perhaps the moral of the tale is “be careful what you wish for”.  My own view is I guess quite libertarian and I don’t really have an issue with people singing songs that others might find offensive. Discrimination in practice is another matter and to hold someone’s creed, colour, gender or orientation against them as point of principle is wholly unreasonable.

  219. Calum Craig says:

    A bit late to this thread as I have been out all morning. While the actions of the Labour party exploiting religious divisions to political ends are reprehensible, I do agree with various comments above that faith schools- of any particular batshit belief- have no place in a 21st century society.

    I grew up without any religion and my daughter will do likewise. I think she will thank me for all the Sunday mornings that will not be wasted in a draughty church.

  220. Albalha says:

    I give up! I’m well aware of the history of the legislation, not sure what you’re trying to say. Clearly whether DUFC gub Celtic at Parkhead today isn’t directly relevant BUT any banners against the legislation are.

  221. joe kane says:

    If enough people in a liberal democracy vote for “faith-based” schools then those views have to be accounted for and recognised. If supporters of faith-based schools are in a minority then the majority must be sensitive to the wishes of this group given that democracy is actually supposed to protect and encourage such minority freedom of expression and cultural diversity. 

    Any supposed “secular state” would take no view on the matter of religion, language and culture used in schools. Such matters are none of its buisness. It’s buisness is to carry out the wishes of the electorate. Nothing more. 

    So-called faith-based schools operate elsewhere without creating or attracting any problems or being accused of fomenting superstitious intolerance. 

    There are structural problems created by the promotion of loyalism/unionsim by the British state which exploits minority/majority sectarian politics for its own ends, as Dave McEwan Hill expresses so eloquently. 

    Just in passing, I think it’s a form of bigotry and superiority itself to describe the views of people of religion as irrational superstitious belief in fairy sky people and as something socially divisive, a view epitomised for me by the loathsome bigot Richard Dawkins.

  222. rabb says:

    Albaha, braco,
    I’ll retreat again and allow those who’ve lost the point of the article to debate their divided opinions 🙂

  223. Morag says:

    Extraordinarily good article.
    I was born and brought up in Overtown, just two miles from Wishaw.  My Dad was the minister there, for nearly 40 years.  My Mum’s family were all Motherwell steel workers.
    I was aware of a lot of this stuff, but somehow never felt part of it.  I never identified with the “protestant” faction, and was shocked when my Dad (born and brought up in Millport where there was no separate schooling) tried to warn me off a French pen pal by saying “you do realise she’s probably a Catholic?”  Er, no shit, Daddy?
    I know why my Mum, a natural left-winger, hated the Labour party though.  She was one of these who distrusted Catholics except for the ones she knew personally, and she knew very well what the Motherwell and Wishaw Labour councillors were about.  At bottom, though, she was mainly appalled by the corruption and incompetence.
    At the time of the 1987 election (after my Dad had retired to a council house in Wishaw) she told me that a Catholic neighbour had expressed shock that she would vote SNP, because “they’ll close the Catholic schools!”  Odd remark to a Church of Scotland minister’s wife.  My Mum thought Scotland would be a better place without segregating children at the age of five, but also knew that the SNP would not be closing the Catholic schools any time soon.  Obviously the Labour canvasser knew which doors to tell that tale to.
    I know it happened during the Monklands by-election in 1994.  I’m still shocked by how tribal this can be.  And I loved that Proclaimers song by the way.
    I always said there were three things I liked about living in England.  The weather, the fact that nobody knows or cares whether you’re a Catholic or a Protestant, and that they don’t have shows of presents before weddings.  But then I found out about the Lewes Fireworks….
    I’ve heard Catholic SNP members proclaiming the virtues of Catholic schools, and their devotion to their religion as well as to Scotland, and I think we need to consider people’s deeply-held beliefs rather than get too purist about not having schools that divide children.
    I hope the schools will go in the end because nobody can see any good reason for keeping them.  In the mean time, we have to concentrate on not being divided and ruled.

  224. Heather McLean says:

    Juteman says:
    “Can I be a lone voice and say that religion has no place in schools?”

    Not a lone voice, I agree – religion is a matter for the church, mosque, temple etc and the family who practise the religion, it is not something for schools. It is OK to touch on religion in the sense that children should be aware that people in socirty have different beliefs but I do not see it as the job of schools to indoctrinate children in any particular religion.

  225. Taranaich says:

    A very good article!
     I could launch into a dissertation about the history of faith schools etc, but since it’s something I find difficult to encapsulate shortly I’ll try and be brief. All I’ll say is that even if every single school was secular, there’d still be an element of tribalism going on simply because humans are naturally tribal creatures. But the problem is not that tribes exist: the problem is that realisation of tribal existence leads to conflict, when it needn’t. Apartheid comes in when one group is considered inferior to another, and methods are taken to actively suppress the “inferior” group: the Catholic population of Scotland has certainly experienced that in the past, but separate schools are not an active form of suppression in the way that forced relocation or denied citizenship are. In fact, I’d say that private schools are far more a form of apartheid than anything else, since there is a clear inference of superiority to public schools.
    We can have separate schools for anything under the sun – religious, ethnic, national, linguistic, philosophical, class – and that’s ok. What’s not ok is treating those differences as a source of conflict, mistrust and hatred. What happens to brood these ill feelings is when these communities become enclaves, shut off from the rest of the area, like cults. That’s not good regardless of what the difference between communities is.
    All that said, I’m of the opinion that schools should be abolished entirely, at least as they are in their present form. They are vastly outdated, demonstrably inefficient as methods of learning, and perpetuate ridiculous standards of worth and success which are just as damaging to “good” students as they are to “bad.”
    As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s really brilliant that I can find issues which I disagree on with the Rev and other commentators on the site, as it shows we’re not just an echo chamber of Right-Wing Conspiracy Theorists who step in line with what our Glorious Leader says. An independent Scotland will not abolish or retain Catholic schools simply because all pro-Indy voters want it that way, but because the people of Scotland will make those decisions as a whole. Where some may see “division” among the ranks of the Vile Separatists, I see loads of individuals who have many different ideas, yet united in one common goal for the good of all – including those they disagree with!

  226. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Calum Craig
    Any particular reason why you should think it appropriate to abuse our still substantial  faith community by referring to “batshit belief” on this topic which has nothing whatever to do with beliefs?
    Tolerance, eh?

  227. Alex Taylor says:

    Dave McEwan Hill
    I agree that Beachthisle has brought the point of the article back into focus. We need to understand what the Better No lot are up to and work on strategies to minimise their negative effects.
    My own long post earlier in the thread was a response to another poster and I probably failed to address properly your piece (which I found very interesting as I did not know much about the history you outlined).
    We all have our varying views as shown by the very well expressed, and calmly expressed, posts above. But we all have one thing in common: Independence.
    Focus people, and keep your eye on the prize. It’s a beauty.

  228. Scaraben says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill,
    A very good article, with which I generally agree.
    They are not “religious” schools. They are normal schools with a normal curriculum with some religious education included in it.
    Personally, I think it is reasonable to refer to any school which has an explicit affiliation to any brand of religion, and expects its pupils to participate in religious observances as practised by that brand of religion, as a religious school. Where does that leave the non-denominational schools in areas where there are Catholic schools? When I was at school in the fifties and early sixties, the schools I attended were, in effect, Protestant. As I do not have children, or any other recent involvement with education, I am not sure how much the situation has changed. None of my class-mates were, as far as I was aware, from any non-Protestant background, something that is less likely today.
    I do not recall any trouble between pupils from my schools and those of the nearby Catholic schools, but then I do not recall any dealings with them at all. To me at that time, the Catholic school pupils were somewhat alien beings to be treated with a little suspicion and generally avoided. However, this was well to the east of Glasgow.

  229. Atypical_Scot says:

    Labour just sweep it under the carpet, too thorny a subject.

  230. Albalha says:

    That was meant as gentle joshing, no need to retreat surely? I haven’t said anything about schools that’s all I was saying. And surely one of the aims of the article was to expose the issues underlying why divide and rule as outlined works with some voters.
    I’m against schools full stop! Ludicrous position I know hence why I rarely say anything about them.

  231. D Jessop says:

    SNP campaigners in North Lanarkshire are discovering that Labour have informed the masonic lodges that SNP will remove the Queen as figure head in Scotland under an independent Scotland, and so they are persuading all their members to vote NO due to this. Unbelievable the tactics of Labour, but also that people are so gullible to believe rubbish spread by an opposition party.

  232. Alex Taylor says:

    @ Joe Kane
    Loathsome bigot Richard Dawkins.
    I take it Joe, you’ve heard or read about Richard Dawkins’ thoughts and opinions: you have very definitely not heard or read a single bigotted comment from Richard himself.
    Or I stand to be corrected when you present one.

  233. Albalha says:

    Just read your post, glad to see someone else shares my rather fundamental view to all schools.

  234. Ian Brotherhood says:

    ‘I’m against schools full stop.’
    Hear hear.
    Now, that’s thinking outside the box.
    And while we’re at it, if we really must have schools, why not some (even wee toty ones) for Satanists, Druids, Buddhists, Anarchists, Stoics?
    You know – ‘choice’, ‘competition’, all that stuff?

  235. JLT says:

    I really pray and hope that religion does not become a hot topic for the referendum next summer.  There is probably not a soul in Scotland, who does not know that this is the one most divisive subject in Scotland, and the one thing that could destroy everything.
    I expect that this will be the ‘No’ mobs last card to play. Their Joker. They will play it should the tide turn against them. divide and conquer using religion as a weapon.

    If this should come to pass, then it needs to be jumped upon immediately, and condemned with one voice, from the top of the Scottish government, right down to the grassroots level. Everyone should protest angrily the minute someone raises it as an issue. There should be no debate on this religion. None what so ever!
    If the ‘No’ mob go down this route, then to give them an inch in debating on the matter of religion, would be giving them a foot. You do not want this to become an issue in the referendum. It has no place within it. Absolutely none.
    Personally, I don’t like seeing football or religion being discussed here on this site. I think they are detrimental to the bigger cause. It leads to arguments, insinuations and accusations. Personally, I think we need to focus on the bigger picture, and work out how to win this referendum, by discussing progressive policies to benefit the people of Scotland. We should not be discussing 17th and 19th century religious politics. For me …that time has passed, and should remain in their place in the history books. 
    Rather …we should focus on all the good work that has been completed so far, and what we should do next in this debate. As Margo said, we need to convert one person each, and hammer home the message.
    The ‘No’ mob are so close now …that we can touch them. That should be the next thing to aim for …to narrow the gap until we are neck and neck. Then, we can feel the joy in finally opening up a gap …one percent at a time. That is what I would rather talk about. Not religion.

  236. Albalha says:

    Now I’m veering O/T for sure now but two Belgian hitch hikers I picked up earlier this year (due to one being unwell they stayed with us for two days) anyway both had been educated at state funded ‘alternative’ schools. One Steiner the other Freinet, now maybe it was just them in particular but their breadth of thinking, and open mindedness was evident.
    I’d no idea the Belgians offered such a range of free educational choices. Maybe they’re not the answer either but surely an improvement on what we’ve got. 

  237. Dan Watt says:


    I’m atheist and my girlfriend is a catholic from Poland. I just told her about what is happening and she is going crazy about it. She just said “Catholics have only god and nothing to fear after that” I thought that was a good way to look at things.

    At the risk of getting a slap from her, and others no doubt. All I have to say is that there shouldn’t be any schools for one type of faith. Not christian, muslim, jewish or a.n.other. It should, however, be of the highest priority to ensure that, post independence, Scotland is completely secular, with no ministers on school boards and such like.

    But then, I am atheist and therefore, completely without bias.

  238. Calum Craig says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill
    As others have noted elsewhere, there is clearly a diversity of opinion on the subject of religion/ religious education and it would be quite divisive to get embroiled in lengthy debate on what is essentially a political thread so I will try not to do so and just reply to your post and leave it there.

    You clearly took exception to my choice of words- I was merely expressing what many others had elsewhere in somewhat less subtly language because quite frankly I have no time for indoctrination of children in the name of ancient myths passed down from a bunch of shepherds in the bronze age middle east.

    And I hardly think I was abusing the “faith community” (and by the way does that include non Catholics?) when I referred to “any particular batshit belief”- I include Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism and any other religion in my “intolerance”.

    I’m sorry if you were offended by choice of words but I absolutely stand by my point that I do not see a place for (state funded) faith schools in a modern society. I include England and any other country in that. I recently had to choose a primary school for my daughter and one of the good local schools was a Church of England one. I visited their website and despite the claim that it was open to children of any (or no) faith, it also told me that religious observance was a cornerstone of their curriculum. Luckily it was third in our preference so she will not attending it.

    Great article by the way, should have said that earlier- agree with Stuart that it is powerful due to your first hand experience of the despicable behaviour of Labour.

  239. Murray McCallum says:

    I think the septic boil that is being exploited – whether it is religious (faith or fitba) or Irish denominated – needs to be openly discussed and not hid in the back room. I really can’t understand why anyone would think discussing something like this would damage the vote for Scottish independence.
    Would be good to see all independence supporters openly talking about all this and draining the fuel that feeds the divide. Things that are openly talked about cease to be effective weapons to be used against you.

  240. Atypical_Scot says:

    @Murray MacCallum;
    Good point, and an opportunity to get in a Dune quote.
    ‘The first step in avoiding a trap, is knowing of it’s existence’
    Hmm, I wonder if Blair McDougall’s into sc-fi?

  241. beachthistle says:

    I expect that this will be the ‘No’ mobs last card to play. Their Joker. They will play it should the tide turn against them. divide and conquer using religion as a weapon.
    If this should come to pass, then it needs to be jumped upon immediately,…

    Which part of what Galloway is quoted as saying in the Scotsman TODAY  doesn’t suggest to you that it has started already?

    “Mr Galloway….warned ethnic and religious minorities would be the target of “hostility” if independence failed to deliver social justice.
    He said: “I wouldn’t like to be a religious or an ethnic minority in an independent Scotland. This malignant resentment can take the form of resentment against minorities.””

  242. M4rkyboy says:

    I think the Monarchy is a vital part of our identity and tradition that dates back more than 1500 years.I would fight for no one but the King of Scots and i am proud of their contribution to our country over the centuries.I am attached to it purely at an emotional level and recognise there is no logical justification for it but i would fight to the death to defend this part of our culture.

    Sometimes logic goes out the window and i think that Catholic schools are exactly the same.Parents send them there because it’s a vital part of their identity and tradition and this emotion overrules all else.

  243. Albalha says:

    Surely the point of the article is that the Labour Party in Scotland knows that for some voters these issues, from “17th and 19th century religious politics” are still with us if not their attempts at divide and rule wouldn’t have any traction.
    We neeed to know where we are surely to have any chance of getting to where we want to be. YES voters need to be aware of the issues the article raises.
    I’m no great fan of going into great detail about the kind of Scotland we want to see but we need to know how best to win the campaign. So being aware of what BT are doing and why is pretty important I’d say.

  244. HandandShrimp says:

    I give up! I’m well aware of the history of the legislation, not sure what you’re trying to say.
    LOL I shall give up too and bow out of this one. The whole religious divide thing seems insane and alien to me.

  245. Albalha says:

    @H and S
    Yes but it matters even if it leaves you cold. I’ve enjoyed the debate evidenced by my large amount of posts. It’s such an important issue, as an East coaster it still takes me by surprise but where is the largest concentration of voters, quite.

  246. RoryD says:

    As someone originally from Perthshire and living my adult life further north, this article and everyone’s comments have been really illuminating, thanks. I’m sure it will help many others too to attempt to get their head around this tribalism that’s focussed on w-central Scotland – and which we’ve never experienced. Just a pity we are unlikely to see such a mature debate in the mainstream media. I can also see now that it’s something the Yes campaign will need to be very aware of and smart about.

  247. Andy-B says:

    Great piece Dave, very enlightening stuff.
    And of course as you say at the end of it, the whole of Scotland will suffer in the event of a no vote, it wont matter your denomination one little bit.

  248. Shinty says:

    Dave McEwan Hill
    Good article, thank you.
    Having finally got to the end of the comments I wonder how many have actually read (& digested) your piece. Seems to me sectarianism is still very much alive and kicking.
    Pity really, as your article was about so much more.

  249. ann says:

    Just thinking about some of the comments about canvasers during elections.
    I noticed last week at the Dunfermline & West Fife election that quite a few Labour Activists with boards were going to certain doors in my street.
    I had a feeling at the time that they had a list of all the addresses of people who had yet to vote. 
    Now what I have to know is this legal as I always believed that whether you voted or not should only be known to the people who mark you off once you appear for voting and then are then locked away securely.

  250. Aidan says:

    It’s a deeply troubling subject.  The strength of feeling across the competing perspectives on this site alone is a testament to what goes on in the country as a whole.  I don’t think any of it should be swept under the carpet, particularly because such divisions are so easy for the powerful to manipulate.
    My parents left Scotland when I was 11, partly in disgust at the way the vote went in 1979 and partly in flight from the rise of Thatcherism. Ironically, this took my brother and I into the  ultra-Calvinist heart of white-Christian Nationalist-apartheid South Africa where we received a terrible formal education and even more terrible set of life-lessons by being everywhere surrounded by brutal attitudes and bearing daily witness to all kinds of inhumane actions.
    When I came back to Scotland in 1996, I was astonished by two things: 1) how casually racist so many people here can be (I had thought, rather naively, that I would find the opposite) and 2) this massive, festering sectarian division and all the bigotry around it. 
    In the words of Zaphod Beeblebrox: “What gives, man? What gives? What GIVES?”
    I question people involved on both sides any chance I get.  When it comes to the tribalism around football, I’m afraid I have to agree with the Rev with respect to a great depth of irrational hatred being found far more on one side than the other.  It’s not to say that there aren’t fringe-dwelling tricolour-wavers who are every bit as full of it as their opposites; I’ve heard there are such people but I’ve never met one.  By contrast, such hatred seems, if not standard, then at least perfectly acceptable on the side of those who clothe themselves in the flag of the Union; I’ve met many such people.  My father’s ancestral line has a lot of Orange in it.
    I don’t see why anti-sectarianism translates into getting rid of faith schools.  My step-daughter went to a Catholic high school and was not required to become a Catholic or participate in any religious activities. We have to be wary of confusing the issue of having such schools in our society with the wave of Dawkins-style anti-theistic sentiment currently crusading against religion, presenting faith as something inherently evil and faith schools as being particularly worthy of attack in principle.  I think people who propound such views are wrong but it’s a different matter. Religion does not equal sectarianism any more than skin colour equals racism.
    Everyone can drop sectarianism and still go to the football.  When it comes to identity, though, which is what flags signify, instead of tricolour vs Union Jack, my hope is that we can all take the Saltire and go forward into a country that includes every last one of us and leaves such bitter division (the glaring legacy of a textbook British divide-and-rule approach) as a memory of something we are leaving behind us.  When you are moving toward a different kind of future, some things belong only to the past.    

  251. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Apartheid comes in when one group is considered inferior to another, and methods are taken to actively suppress the “inferior” group: the Catholic population of Scotland has certainly experienced that in the past, but separate schools are not an active form of suppression in the way that forced relocation or denied citizenship are. In fact, I’d say that private schools are far more a form of apartheid than anything else, since there is a clear inference of superiority to public schools.”

    That’s a fair point, actually.

  252. Brian Powell says:

    Sad to see ignorant and hardened attitudes from the industrial past still causing trouble, especially as we don’t even have these industries anymore.
    In some ways it’s a bit like watching the drunk at the bus stop ranting at the world. He’s not part of it and has no control of it.
    I remember watching an interview with a socialist activist in Northern Ireland. He was saying, “Why are we fighting each other, we are all being screwed by the British State”.

  253. HandandShrimp says:

    I think it matters that we make it clear that it doesn’t matter to independence. That independence is for all creeds, colours and other affiliations. That to play on fears like Galloway has done, and was soundly rejected by the voters in Glasgow for so doing, is both wrong and iniquitous. Better Together will lie over this matter and we need to be ready to counter their lies by demonstrating we are a broad church (go maintain the analogy)

  254. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Dave eloquently raises the point of how SLAB use this to divide the populous then everyone falls into the trap of allowing it to divide them too.”

    I think we’ve had one of the most restrained and reasoned discussions on the topic I’ve ever seen. I don’t feel “divided” at all, even from those with whom I’m disagreeing.

  255. Peter says:

    HMFC supporters used to sing about marching through Gorgie.  Very fine song it was too.

    Then the old rangers-now-dead club got their stinking glasgow hands on it and changed the words into an anti-Catholic, sectarian, bigoted, hate=fest of an anthem. Now anybody singing ANY version of the song gets tarred with the rangers sickness

    P Mcbigot MSP is one of those who makes claims about The FM being a hun and trying to save rangers. He  and his family post on TSFM and stir up trouble. The constant little meme about the SNP Government trying to save rangers as they hate celtic/catholics. A revolting bigot who could be stuffed under the new laws if s House was bothered about real crimes instead of what people do with each other in private.

  256. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “However, if this does not mean ‘Scotland’s Shame’ I would sincerely appreciate hearing the correct definition of this phrase?”

    The full quote is “Sectarianism – hitherto Scotland’s dirty little secret – became very public.”

    What I interpreted that to mean was that a prejudice which had been under the surface became widely known. It’s a line about chronology, not nationality. It doesn’t, to me, imply that this particular trait was in any way peculiar to Scotland, merely that Scotland’s instances of it had previously been hidden. In other countries, religious/tribal divides were very upfront.

  257. Danny says:

    This shouldn’t be an argument regarding whataboutery . This is the tactic that Labour and others in the no campaign are going to play. Its happening already in this weeks Scottish Catholic Observer with an article about the nasty anti Irish SNP. 

    Divide and rule is the weapon of the unionists we all have to work on those we know who are susceptible to this nonsense.

  258. Albalha says:

    Way O/T Can’t resist, DUFC score against Celtic. I know bloody irritating to all the anti football posters and maybe everyone else.

  259. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Galloway is doing a fine job of alienating himself from people who once supported him, even if he did come out with some Category Five shite from time to time.
    The man is no fool – that’s why his comments are so perplexing. He knows what he’s doing. But why is he doing it?
    His input to this strand of the independence debate is unwelcome, and he should be told as much in no uncertain terms by anyone who goes to see him ‘in concert’.

  260. Albalha says:

    Without a doubt, goes without saying, but I do think people underestimate just how much this approach plays with some voters. In my first post I cited a friend who, in a discussion about the referendum, told me growing up in Kilsyth he knew the SNP as the ‘Say No to the Pope’ party. He’s in his late 40’s. It’s real and still surprises me. He’s still an undecided, incredibly suspicous of the SNP. Fairly sure I’ll win him round eventually however. 

  261. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “in this weeks Scottish Catholic Observer with an article about the nasty anti Irish SNP.”

    I’ve been hearing about that, and asking around on Twitter trying to source a copy. Do you have one?

  262. Andy-B says:

    it seems after reading some comments on this particular page, that folk are forgetting, it was and still is Labour political semantics, and divisive tactics, thats proplonged the religious divide in Scotland.
    The Us and Them, status, suits Labour, as they try to amass power theyve lost over recent years, and it wont matter where you came from or what denomination you are, Westminster, WILL punish you, if a no vote is returned next year.
    So come on Scots of all descents vote YES, for a better Scotland

  263. JLT says:

    Hi Beachthistle
    If Galloway has said this, then we should condemn him utterly, and I hope the Scottish Government are also just scathing towards him. However, to a degree, Galloway is also treated as a bit of a joke. The only respect I have for him, is when he tore into the Senators over double standards when it came to Saddam.
    Hi Albalha
    I understand what you are saying, but that is also my point. If we discuss it, then you are not giving an inch, but giving a foot. Before we know it (as seen in some of the comments), it leads to the odd nip and accusation. That is exactly what the No mob want; dissention amongst the Yes campaigners. That is why, I would rather we condemn, walk away, and move onto another subject.

  264. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Was at Lidl earlier, left some of the Aye Right flyers at the big shelf where you pack your bags. Look very smart, and match their in-store livery perfectly.

  265. Vronsky says:

    you’re not alone – I also think religion has no place in schools.  ‘Religious education’ is an oxymoron.
    NB: I’m an Irish Catholic.

  266. orkers says:

    Read a bit about him and he was no plaster Saint.
    No doubt you thought he was wonderful.

  267. Albalha says:

    Oh I like a bit of leaflet and supermarket harmony.

  268. Murray McCallum says:

    One of the many peculiar things I find about religion is how a child is born a Christian (Protestant or Catholic), Muslim, etc? How does the newly born baby know what religion they are?
    Being born into a specific branch of religious belief and then being taught about your specific branch in the same location where you are taught maths, physics, chemistry, … can’t be right. Can it?

  269. Albalha says:

    I can see that some of the comments could be used for BT ends but overall I’ve enjoyed, been interested to read the comments. (Not just beacause it’s pelting with rain and I’m waiting for an order to arrive). As we know we are a varied bunch of people on here just like the people in any nation, diverse range of views and opinions, belief systems etc. I would hope that any undecideds would see that of course there will be a range of opinions on these matters in any healthy democracy.  
    And I think for some people, what Dave has written about has truly come as a surprise, that’s important.

  270. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

    It’s interesting to note in all the denounciations of “religious” bigotry an awful lot of general “anti-religious” bigotry. Christians of any stripe believe that their faith trandscends the borders of country, race and time and as such it is something that needs to infuse their whole life and because it is so transforming and true they have a duty of love to pass it on to their children.

    There is no such thing as “value-free” education and Christians have a duty to inculcate their values in their children by both example and formal teaching. This is why so many Christians support a Yes vote. Not because it is going to initiate a secular millenium but because the regime that Scotland is being currently subjected to seems to be more and more anti-Christian. Deportations of fatally ill people, contemptuous abuse of the poor and elderly and disabled, glorification of Mammon over the common good and forced separation of families are all profoundly anti-Christian policies.

    It would not be too much to say that many Christians view what Westminster is spewing out as downright satanic. For Christians the referandum doesn’t represent the chance to become some sort of pseudo-nordic economic powerhouse but to protect the practice of loving our neighbours as ourselves and being able to lead and help others lead decent lives based on faith in a Saviour, hope in salvation and loving one another.

  271. Boorach says:

    For all you doubters out there, there is a God!
    Looks like Ross County’s game is about to be abandoned with them 2 goals down!

  272. Robert Kerr says:

    Thank you Dave McEwan Hill for this insightful article and to you Rev for publishing it and permitting such a diverse free discussion.
    The faith schools diversion in the commentary is interesting but as has been pointed out is not the main thesis at all.
    But forewarned is forearmed.
    I wondered about the wisdom of introducing the anti-bigotry legislation at first but now see the Scottish Governments wisdom in doing so. An open minded discussion of the Irish question needs to be part of the New Scotland.
    As an aside to Morag I now understand your earlier comments re my kilt tartan, your father was the sixth minister. The internet is a source of knowledge. But we all know that. Quarantine
    7 September, 2013 at 1:20 pm
    Lets use it to further our aspirations.

  273. Ian Brotherhood says:

    It seems that a lot of folk are not getting the fundamental point here. (I didn’t write the article, and I’m not speaking for Dave, nor defending or having a go at anyone else.)
    Imagine this, horrible as it may be – a deer runs onto the M8, causes a pile-up, and there are fatalities.
    Would anyone, in the current atmosphere, and knowing the track-record of people like Lamont and Baillie, be in the least bit surprised if they ‘blamed’ the Scottish Government for not having erected deer fencing along all of Scotland’s major roads?
    Roads exist, and so do deer – we’ve all noticed that they’re becoming more common, and can frequently be seen dead at the roadside, right into Glasgow. It’s a problem, but there’s no-one to ‘blame’.
    Faith schools exist, and have done for a long time. They are inherently controversial, and SLAB have used that fact – as they will use any other controversial fact – as ammunition. It doesn’t matter what they really believe the SG’s intentions are. It doesn’t matter what they believe personally about schools/sectarianism/segregation.
    If the ‘problem’ didn’t exist, they’d find something else – it’s the politics of the sewer, as evidenced by Galloway’s dangerous stirring. Don’t fall for it.

  274. JLT says:

    Hi Albalha
    My view is that if someone (like Galloway) says something that we know is intended to provoke, then, yep …if it needs to be posted, then repeat what he said, and then every comment should just be three words …’shame on you!’
    By doing that, we speak with one voice, and hopefully, the ‘No’ mob will realise that they are beating their heads against another brick wall. Our resolve or dedication to the cause will not be split or tarnished because of one man’s idiotic views.
    If it is repeated in my workplace, then I would tell them, that everyone I know within the Independence movement is disgusted with what was said, and that if people make daft comments, then they should have a quiet word with themselves.
    The word …hopefully …will reach everyone that the people of Scotland will not tolerate this nonsense.

  275. George Gebbie says:

    Hi Dave! You recruited me in 1986! Great to see you are still to the fore and fighting the good fight!

  276. Graeme McCormick says:

    My grandparents were married in Greenock in 1910, both families had emigrated from Ireland, my grandma’s were Roman Catholic, my grandpa’s of the Orange tradition.

    Both sides of those families have retained their denominations to a greater or lessor extent but both have shared a wonderful relationship and religion has not been a barrier.

    In the 1960s I recall being mesmerised by the posters of Jim Baxter on the bedroom walls of my father’s cousin whose parents had high hopes that he would become a priest.

    Over the years my job has brought me into contact with many people and their backgrounds. From this experience I venture to suggest that there are very few families in the West of Scotland
    who don’t have Catholic and Protestant blood running through their veins.

    Surely the way to confront instances of those who indicate they will vote No from misguided influence is to ask them if their extended family has Catholics and Protestants, and if that has caused them to reach their decision? When you personalise the potential issue it rarely is a issue whatsoever.

  277. Albalha says:

    But this is wider than Galloway. Other institutions will use the same arguments to attempt to influence policy decisions, referendum outcome be them political or religious. And I’m not talking about the average voter but those at the top.

  278. Aidan says:

    If the ‘problem’ didn’t exist, they’d find something else
    Spot on.  
    And if the deer-fencing meant no-one saw any dead deer on the road, the cry would go up: “Why are we wasting all this money on deer-fencing when there are so many other things it could be spent on?”

  279. A2 says:

    Whether religious schools are right are not is kind of irrelevant.
    The point is that many people will place their vote dependant on their view on that issue not your view (or perhaps on your view not agreeing with their view) and if your view can be misrepresented, used as a tool it will be.
    PS I’ve had a deer on my bonnet on the A9 and it wasn’t funny.

  280. Daughter of Evil Reindeer says:

    @ beachthistle excellent comments!

    Galloway, his usual tactic is to single out minorities and play on their fears, he used it during his May 2011 election campaign. How catholics are victims, how the SNP will close catholic schools, “why not take it a step further and close catholic churches” being one ludicrous extrapolation. Deliberately misinterpreting any move towards secularism as a persecution of one section of society by another, all done with the usual GG shoutdown and posturing.

    For some complete GG insanity listen to what he says at the end of the vid…

  281. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Why are wasting so much money on deer fences when no deer have been killed?
    AS needs to come clean on this.
    The public deserves to know.

  282. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    I have a question.
    Why is he called George Galloway and not George Galway?
    Maybe Johan can ask that at FM QT.
    The public need to know.

  283. Albalha says:

    O/T And once again Celtic snatch a goal against Dundee United in stoppage time. Some may say the ref’s watch is fixed.

  284. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    It is early evening or late afternoon on a Saturday.
    I am feeling a dash of irony and a soupcon of whimsy.
    Need some more alcohol, I think.
    Off to the supermarket for the afternoon special then.
    Please anything I post after this.

  285. crisiscult says:

    wait till you see Graham’s miss at Celtic park. If there is a god, he seemed to intervene; either that or Graham is a donkey.

  286. Albalha says:

    Please ‘ignore’, perchance? Tempting fate I’d say.

  287. Albalha says:

    The man I live with, a DUFC supporter, is at Celtic Park, I’ll no doubt get the gory low down. You know I hadn’t realised just how many years it is since they’ve won at Celtic Park.

  288. kininvie says:

    O/T @Albalha
    I mentioned it on a previous thread a while back, but just wanted to say thanks for the Aye Right leaflets you turned up with for our Livi Yes stall. They’ve been incredibly popular and a really useful aid to conversations….

  289. joe kane says:

    Just to quickly respond to a comment defending Dawkins
    I’m not really interested in getting into an internet bunfight with anyone about Dawkins bigoted views. He’s expressed them often enough ie being raised a Catholic is worse than child abuse; how many Muslims have won Nobel Prizes? etc etc. He spouts the sort of islamophobic drivel normally associated with the edl, with his apologists using the same excuses as them to justify his bigotry ie he’s criticising the religion not its followers.

  290. ronnie anderson says:

    AFF TAk, REV I heard a piece of a interview this morning RT UNDERGROUND REPORT   10.30am LORD AHMED saying something about NTH East of Scotland  & DRONE operators launching attacks on Afghanistan / Pakistan  did any one else see that proggrame

  291. Albalha says:

    You’re most welcome. Let me know if you want any more.

  292. JLT says:

    Hi Albalha
    And we just condemn them when it happens. For 100% of companies, they won’t dare say a word about religion. It would go against EU law. The only institutions that will discuss religion are the Orange Order or some other extreme organisation.

    I think Scotland has come a long way in religious terms. Yes, it exists in small parts as a shameful fact, but it really is only a minority who spout their vileness. If these nutters do that, then ordinary people will see that as the possible face of ‘Better Together’ and instead may just push them towards a ‘Yes’ vote.

    And I don’t believe that Catholics these days, walk in fear of a ‘so called protestant’ independent Scotland. We are all well integrated now. We all have friends and family who are of both faiths. Most ‘protestants’ in Scotland (which I am one) really don’t give a hoot about religion. We all have bigger agendas to worry about than worrying what the religion is of our next door neighbours or who someone is marrying.
    As to the political views part, well, I’ve worked at 3 major Financial Institutions and my wife works also at one of them. Both of us can report, that at present, none of these companies are saying a word on independence. If you can keep the Financial Institutions in Scotland, then NO major company will move south.

    From the whispers I am getting, some are saying ‘Oh, such and such will move south’, but from what I have heard …Not. A. Peep! (and I am everywhere in these buildings. From the Basement to walking by the Chief Exec’s desk on the top floor).

    With the announcement of a EU referendum in 2016, I think this has put the cat in amongst the pigeons. I think companies have been stopped cold, and now have to have a damn good hard think. My gut feeling is that no company will leave Scotland. Instead, they will try to have the best of both worlds. What I mean by that, is that they will open up 2 HQ’s. One in London, one in Scotland.

    If England is foolish enough to vote itself out of the EU, then a lot of companies will want to remain in Scotland (or even open up offices in Scotland) so they can still trade in the EU. Businesses will look at 300 million folk in the EU compared to 63 million folk in Britain. There is no way businesses will want to turn their backs on 300 million potential customers.

    If the Scottish Government at somepoint, can announce some legal technical detail as to where we stand with the EU going post indy (since the UK government won’t), then I think a lot of companies will take that into consideration.

  293. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Got is in one. I am rubbish at typing onto a screen and need to proof read two days later. Nae chance on blogs so I use the edit feature extensively except when someone posts immediately after and I am time barred.

    On the Braveheart thread running vaguely parallel I have reposted wot I did here to Clarinda but with the appropriate correction.

    Wine chilling nicely, thirst warming in parallel.

  294. kininvie says:

    Derek Bateman’s having a down day:
    Why not go and cheer him up with a few comments!

  295. Scaraben says:

    @joe kane
    I think it’s a form of bigotry and superiority itself to describe the views of people of religion as irrational superstitious belief in fairy sky people and as something socially divisive, a view epitomised for me by the loathsome bigot Richard Dawkins.
    Richard Dawkins is an atheist who is willing to express his views on religion, and this apparently makes him, in your eyes, a ‘loathsome bigot’. What then are all those believers who publicly proclaim their religious beliefs, particularly those who would claim that unbelievers are wicked people who will burn in Hell?
    I am an atheist. I view belief in any deity as mere superstition; if I believed the opposite, then that would mean that I would believe in at least one deity, and hence I would not be an atheist. Religious freedom must include freedom for non-believers to be open about their views, if it is to be true freedom. Would you be happier in a society without that freedom, such as existed a few hundred years ago when someone like Dawkins could have been executed for merely saying that he did not believe in God? Even now, I think it takes more courage for someone to be as publically atheist as Dawkins than it does to be publically religious.
    @Rev Stu – sorry about this, I know it is off topic and possibly divisive, but I find it hypocritical when religious types slag off atheists but cry foul whenever anyone criticises their religion.
    Back on topic, there is one possible consolation. If Labour tell Catholics that they will be persecuted in an independent Scotland, and Protestants that an independent Scotland will be under the thumb of the Catholic church (or something along those lines), it could backfire if both sides of that religious divide realise what the other side is being told. Surely they could not continue to believe anything that Labour says? Sadly, however, I suspect that support for Labour is so ingrained in many that it hardly matters how many lies Labour tell.

  296. Albalha says:

    I think I was being too cryptic I was meaning political and religious institutions.
    However I enjoyed the post, regardless.

  297. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Derek Bateman’s having a down day:

    Why does every single link I ever see people post to Derek Bateman’s blog actually link to the comments? Nobody else’s site, just his.

  298. Daughter of Evil Reindeer says:

    @ BtP
    First they came for the deer, then they came for the pandas…

  299. Davy says:

    My son attends a catholic school in Keith, I’m na catholic nor’s my wife, infact the majority of kids at the school I don’t believe are catholic and it certainly is’int being drumed into the kids to go that way.
    Instead we have a fantastic school of teachers and staff who do everything they can to ensure our kids are becoming educated, respectful human beings. They regularly have guest teachers from other parts of the world, and in the last couple of years they have come from France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan and probarly a few more I dont remember.
    Surely respect for our fellow human beings is as much a goal for politians as it is for schools, religions and society in general. And if a political party would rather use religion to spread lies and decit, then they are not fit to govern this country. 
    One of my favorite school activites is attending the Catholic church next to the school for the christmas play or carol service, one year our school had the kids singing carols from around the world in that countrys langage, it is a memory myself and my soul will never forget.
    And perhaps with independence our country will show the world that within our many differences we can sing with one voice again.

  300. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “My son attends a catholic school in Keith, I’m na catholic nor’s my wife, infact the majority of kids at the school I don’t believe are catholic and it certainly is’int being drumed into the kids to go that way.”

    So forgive my ignorance, but – genuine query – what makes it a “Catholic school”?

  301. JLT says:

    Hi Albalha
    I had a funny feeling you were talking about religious institutions.

    However …I will be very surprised if any religious institutions (Church of Scotland, Free Church, Catholic Church) actually denounce independence. The Church of Scotland was betrayed by the Union in the 19th Century when it came to electing Ministers (or something like that), and that was why so many resigned, and created the Free Church.

    As to the Catholic Church, all they will look for is a sign from the Scottish Government to say that they can keep their schools. This will be done quietly, and so, no ripples on that front.
    As to the political institutions. Well, that’s the Unionist parties. If they do start with divide and conquer using religion as a weapon, then it could come back to bite! Scotland isn’t that daft. It can smell a rat pretty quick. All it will need is the sensible heads to tell the others what is going on and to ignore it. People if they cotton on as to what the Unionist parties are up to, may be so enraged, that they will vote ‘Yes’ in anger. I think it would be a dangerous game to play.

    Even the comments about Gorgeous George from the comments part on that piece have been pretty much the same. They all condemn Mr Galloway. That’s a good sign!

  302. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    bamboo tainted kisses to the Daughter of Evil Reindeer

  303. Famous15 says:

    Labour lie to both sides. Be sure your sins will find you out.I find that sectarianism is diminishing But we all have to bite our tongues at times for the sake of harmony.Yes? YES!

  304. JLT says:

    Even the comments about Gorgeous George from the comments part on that piece have been pretty much the same.
    I should have said on the Scotsman website. Near enough all the comments there seem to condemn the man. That’s great! Hopefully, that should give enough warning to the Scotsman or any other idiotic politician from wandering down that path!

  305. rabb says:

    Unless I’m reading something entirely different from everyone else there is a clear division between those in favour of abolishing faith schools and those who haven’t got a beef with it.

    It’s this kind of divergence of religious opinion that SLAB feed off (amongst other things). Surely everyone can see that?

    As someone who went to a central belt non dom with a catholic school right next door, I say it’s a load of shite. I grew up with it. None of us felt segregated or unequal or had any kind of chip on our shoulders. These sentiments only became manifest when we were subjected to adult life.

    Dave has made clear on several occasions, faith schools are exactly that…Schools. they teach the curriculum with a wee bit of religion chucked in here and there.

    I had the same at a non dom school. Singing hymns at assembly and the odd visit from the local CofS minister. Even trips to the local CofS church for Easter services etc. At no point was I ever indoctrinated or brainwashed by religion.
    The distrust amongst communities in the central belt is stoked by the political establishment. I have first hand experience of this living most of my life in the former Monklands DC. The sectarian card in particular was played at every turn.

    The quicker we dispel their bullshit the better things will be. Abolishing faith schools solves absolutely feck all. If truth be told all the talk of abolishing them just fuels their bullshit and causes further mistrust.
    Communities will decide for themselves what’s best for them and the rest of us will do well to accept it and move on. I have no place for religion but it’s wrong for me or anyone else to impose on others.
    Schools are not the issue. It’s politicians & the media and the bastards should be called out and humiliated every time they try to play the card!

  306. Daughter of Evil Reindeer says:

    @ BtP
    Evil laughter! xx

  307. JLT says:

    Schools are not the issue. It’s politicians & the media and the bastards should be called out and humiliated every time they try to play the card!
    Well said, Rabb. that is my exact opinion too. Condemn them utterly! If they spout it, then we hound any politician, or any person in a position of power, to the point that they must resign.

  308. beachthistle says:

    @Daughter of Evil Reindeer  Thanks!
    And ‘thanks’ for the Galloway in Glasgow 2011 video nasty! Seems even then, GG was losing it, in the process adopting the persona of a 1930’s soap-box faith-based politician, but with a mock/cod Middle East speech affectation…!?
    …Anyway hope that only a few people turn up to his £24 (now apparently reduced to £12) a ticket ‘performances’ in Scotland, and that most of those who do will see through Mr “I can shout louder than you”‘s self-serving shit-stirring, and give him the tough time he deserves.
    (P.S. any progress/joy so far re. getting Scottish Indy on the radar of international human rights and media watchdog organisations?)

  309. Davy says:

    Because it says it is, here is part off its web site “although we are a catholic school, we have and welcome children from other denominations and none.”, its offical title has R C in it.

    I do not know what level the R C church has influnce with it, but I do know it is one of the best where the pupils come first everytime.

  310. jahoca says:

    On topic and before this thread burns out – I’m old enough to have experienced being turned down for a job because of the school I went to. A thing like that could turn you bitter. it occurred to me then that maybe that’s what ‘they’ want, so I didn’t buy it and I still don’t.

    The first time I voted was for Denis Canavan in W Stirlingshire (as was). That was also the last time in a General Election I voted Labour.

    Thatcher came along and when the council houses were put up for sale the first buyer in my local community was the local (labour) provost. If I thought the Labour Party had any honour at all, I changed my mind that day.

    I’d be a natural Labour voter but for me the party lost it’s scruples long ago and shows no sign of getting them back. That they’re willing to cite sectarian issues in a scrabble for power is utterly shameful. That they can’t even acknowledge the SNP have a right to the position the voters gave them is just bad grace.

    This isn’t about catholic and protestant. It’s not about belief or non belief. It’s not about religion at all. This is about would-be politicians cynically using your opinions to manipulate you so that they get what they want. It’s not on.

  311. joe kane says:

    I know plenty of people who aren’t religious who criticise Dawkins. I’m one of them.

    Just because other people are bigots it doesn’t follow that Dawkins isn’t one either.

    Dawkins is from a privileged background and has nothing to fear when he expresses his views. Claiming he is somehow the target of religious oppression is nonsense. He’s part of the elite. I mean, bringing up religious oppression that was practised hundreds of years ago is the sort of thing I’d expect from the Orange Order.

    Dawkins claims Catholicism is child abuse. How is that in any way off-topic to this thread about Catholicism in Scotland and Catholic-based schooling which, according to Dawkins, should be abolished forthwith? Dawkins advocates suppression of Catholic believers right to freedom of expression by claiming its existence is oppressing him, which is nothing but intolerant authoritarianism. He also seems to be taking a more extreme position by arguing that Catholics should actually be put in jail for child abuse.

    This is exactly the kind of anti-Catholic intolerance that unionists, such as Galloway and the Scottish Labour Party, are spreading amongst people of Catholic persuasion in Scotland. God help us if Dawkins actually comes out in support of Scottish independence!

  312. chalks says:

    Surely merely pointing out to the former eastern blockers, that they used to be subject to rules and legislation that they did not vote for will turn the tide?
    The british empire is no friend of anyone.  Ukraine consistently is threatened by Russia over power etc…do they enjoy still being fk’d over by their former masters?
    A no vote ensures we are fucked over by our colonial masters.

  313. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Joe Kane, I am a lttle bit confused
    Are you talking about the Cosmologist, Stephen Hawkin?
    the Evolutionary Biologist, Richard Dawkins
    the Essayist, Christopher Hitchens, who is dead?
    A mix of all three?

  314. ronnie anderson says:

    REV weil be here tae weil past the Referendum debating this issue ah hud ma say this morning an bowed oot  Whits the number of blogers fur WOS

  315. Ken500 says:

    Political Party activists go to the door of people who have a (previous) declared an intention to vote for their Party, to gauge their continued support or encourage them to vote. It’s not illegal.

    The number of voters (1/3?) with Postal votes or signed up on the doorstep raises questions of legality. Votes are none transferable.

  316. handclapping says:

    In 1920 Ireland was a fearfully Catholic country. Theirs was a justified fear from the disgraceful way they had been treated by the Westmister state for more than 300 years. 80 years later the fear had left them and they were talking about abortion.
    The retreat into tribalism is a product of the fear of the “other”. All we need to do is to get proof of the one scare for the catholics and its opposite for the protestants, put them on a leaflet and put it out in the affected communities. Don’t even try to make a point out of it. People are not daft.
    Remember the referendum is not just about being £s richer in 2016. It is about the country we will leave to our great grandchildren when we are long gone in 2094.

  317. Murray McCallum says:

    joe kane
    I thought Richard Dawkins’ book, “The God Delusion” was a great read – thought provoking.
    I found it equally questioning of all the organised religions. In fact he quotes an American radio broadcast (Sep’01) in that book covering 4 year old catholic schoolgirls being verbally abused while getting a police and British army protective escort in north Belfast.
    Dawkins has a particular thing about children being labelled by “their” religion from a young age. Before they even understand what it means.

  318. AnneDon says:

    Good article. As a Catholic, born in the West of Scotland, I’m already aware of this. “They’ll take yer schools away” stuff.
    Of course, it ignores how Orange the Labour Party is in the parts of the country where that suits them!
    However, as religion has less of a hold in communities, it’s more focussed on perceived Irishness.
    As I’ve tried to explain to people, not all Irish are Catholics, and not all Irish are Catholics!

  319. Dílseacht says:

    To me, as an Irish Catholic looking on jealously as you Scots at least get the chance to break the Union, i think the onus is on the SNP and others in the YES campaign to convince those scared to vote YES for the reason articulated above that a YES vote is not a vote for the perpetual power of the SNP.. I see that SNP as a vehicle for Scottish Independence and not much more tbh,(apologies to the good SNP folk on here who will evidently thing otherwise)
    If Scotland is to get her independence i think there should be prior assurances given by the SNP and other parties that there will be elections held to decide the form that that independent state will take and who will govern it.. I think it would go a long way to convincing undecided voters if the SNP was willing to lay itself on the line for independence and show that its not motivated solely by perpetual power, but rather the ultimate goal of free and unfettered control of Scottish affairs by the Scottish people.. People are suspicious of the SNP for many reasons, but until they break the notion that a YES vote is a vote for the SNP, then the referendum will never pass. Its time for them to show real leadership in this respect.

  320. Alex Taylor says:

    joe kane

    I thought not. You’re referencing things people said he said.

  321. Ken Johnston says:

    Slightly O/T.
    One of our number is a Bulgarian, and he tells us the the opposition are telling immigrants that they will be deported after independence, so vote No. Also saying that some he knows have already moved back South just in case.

  322. southernscot says:

    Excellent article Dave. Makes you wonder how low Slab will stoop when the opinion polls really narrow.
    @Ken Johnston.
    Jeez that is pretty low. Despicable really.

  323. Thomas says:

    I read with interest as the author explained history from the 1950s to us, recounted his experiences campaigning in Lanarkshire in the 1980s and gave his analysis of the current political climate.
    May I ask was he on sabbatical during 1994? As he neglects to mention Monklandsgate entirely. One would have presumed that this would be relevant?

  324. Daughter of Evil Reindeer says:

    @ beachthistle
    I like your idea regarding the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg (27-29 November), if we could put something together for this in time?

    I am heading over to Brussels in March for the ICEC rally and would like to have something to present to others, certainly a breakdown of the tactics being used against us and some ways that people could support us, I thought that I might ask on here for contribution of ideas beforehand?

    One thing I would like to see is a ‘presentational tour’ to other international activists and democracy groups to raise awareness, the “Saving Iceland” folks did something like this, I think to good effect. This requires resources though, whether it is the optimum use of them???

    I would also like to see us getting regular space on things like France 24 Witness.

    I have been looking at what I can personally do to broaden our case internationally but what I think would be more effective is if a group of us who are into the idea could get together with perhaps the aim of advancing a strategy in mind… We could do this via internet ‘come up with’ and ‘put out for’ some ideas then feed them back to the ‘Bigger Yes’ both here and at the meetings to see what folks think and if there is support, then we could go for it. I would certainly be up for taking on some responsibility here, but it would be good to get a broad base for it?

  325. Taranaich says:

    @Albalha: Just read your post, glad to see someone else shares my rather fundamental view to all schools.

    Hah, maybe we really should get married!

    @JLT: I really pray and hope that religion does not become a hot topic for the referendum next summer.  There is probably not a soul in Scotland, who does not know that this is the one most divisive subject in Scotland, and the one thing that could destroy everything.

    That’s why organizations like Gie’s Peace and Nil By Mouth are so important: in tackling the issue of sectarianism now, it’s laying the groundwork for an independent Scotland where such issues can be tackled openly and peacefully.

    But Galloway’s “I wouldn’t want to be an ethnic minority in indy Scotland” damn near sends me into a fit, because Scotland has historically produced individuals and movements which actively promote their interests. Case in point, today’s Daily Scottish Mail (I know, I know) has an article about British companies recruiting Romanians to work in the UK 2 months before the EU migrant workers with an obvious anti-immigration bias. However, buried in page 49 is an article about the Metis People:
    “In North America, in the 19th Century, the Scots were one of the few European races which did not regard the natives with disdain, suspicion and even hatred. They regarded the ‘First Nations’ as equals, and were prepared to mix their blood with the Indians by marrying into their tribes, learning their language, adopting their lifestyle and, importantly, defending their rights.”
    I don’t doubt that Scotland has issues with race, but we have a wonderful history of distinctly anti-racist movements: I’d rather an independent Scotland took after these Scots, rather than the ugly sectarian Scots which sometimes rear their heads.

    @Rev: That’s a fair point, actually.


  326. Ian Brotherhood says:

    There’s certainly plenty of expertise on here, covering all sorts of stuff, and no end of positivity and goodwill. (Ask Albalha!) I’m sure you could get about as much specialist information as you need for any comprehensive presentation. (Are you thinking of a written document, a Powerpoint, what?)
    Here’s my tuppence-worth anyway – I would love our European brothers and sisters to see for themselves what George Robertson said at Abertay University, followed by a Jack Foster-style package outlining some of the ways in which Scotland has contributed to global culture.

  327. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Apologies. Long post
    Can I say that I am very pleased that this piece has elicited such response and in particular the confirmation from a number of sources that the dirty game is real and still going on is useful.

    Disappointed however that some respondents appear to have completely missed the whole point of the article. It was not a discussion about the advisability or not of having Catholic Schools. That is an interesting subject with a perfectly legitimate range of views on it.

    What I wrote was an alert about what our enemies will do and have been doing, using this issue.

    It was also a warning about what we should say and do about this issue which a number of respondents have obviously missed. The word “totemic” in my piece was no accident.

    Sadly the highest level of intolerance on this appears to emanate from our atheists/secularists. To be an atheist, agnostic or secularist is a perfectly acceptable position and one which I, as a vaguely Christian person of Catholic background, am happy to respect.  I keep forgetting of course that atheists know everything and I must factor this into future posts. (The wise man, of course, is the man that knows how little he knows.  I could write an awful lot about lots of stuff that has give me great pause for thought including running a very seriously haunted pub for a couple of years).

    Anyway though non enthusiastic about practising I’m perfectly comfortable in a church being aware that I am among a community that knows it is fallible but should be trying to be good and that killing and stealing and coveting your neighbour’s ass (no matter how firm and shapely it may be)is not on. I’ve seen Christian work in Africa.

    Maybe everybody should.

    My own conviction is that Catholic schools are not the cause of “sectarianism”. In many respects they are the product of it. As a result of the 1918 Education Act local authorities are charged with providing Catholic schools where there is a popular desire for them and enough potential pupils to make them educationally and fiscally viable. They do not cost our authorities “extra”.  When pupil numbers fall below a supportable level they are closed or merged.

    I am perfectly happy to concede that if we were starting from here they probably wouldn’t be a feature. We are not starting from here however. We are facing the product of our history.  The argument that doing away with Catholic schools may lessen sectarianism that already exists is a different one and one worth calmly examining. Having lived in two different communities in which everybody went to the same school and watched fisticuffs in both of them after Old Firm matches I remain to be convinced. Like in most other political areas of distrust and discord time will heal.

    It might surprise some to finds out that a significant section of the Catholic community are quite open on this subject and some (a few admittedly) no longer send their children to Catholic schools for a variety of reasons. It is undoubtedly a fact that a significant section of people of Irish Catholic background in Scotland are, like the general population, becoming less religious.  With the registered Catholic population at about one sixth of Scotland’s population and these others this combination probably contributes about one third of central Scotland’s population. In some areas it is a majority. They are a hugely significant component in next year’s referendum and will undoubtedly determine the result in many areas. The Labour Party knows this very well indeed. That is why this issue is very sensitive and very important. The sensible political position is to engage with the Catholic community on it.  In the meantime it should be made clear that the provisions of the 1918 Education Act are not under any threat and that Catholic schools will remain as long as Catholic parents are prepared to exercise a democratic right to support them by sending their children in enough numbers to them.
    Regardless of the merits or otherwise of having Catholic schools any suggestion emanating from anywhere in the YES side that they should be done away with will be seen by a very large number of voters as a deliberate attack on the Catholic community. This will play right into the hands of our enemies who spend huge energies telling them this is exactly what we are about to do to them . 

  328. beachthistle says:

    @Daughter of Evil Reindeer
    “I have been looking at what I can personally do to broaden our case internationally but what I think would be more effective is if a group of us who are into the idea could get together with perhaps the aim of advancing a strategy in mind…”
    Sounds like a good plan. I’d be up for being a member of an off-blog international engagement strategy group…

  329. world war z says:

    i notice no one has said anything about the reply ‘tony’ wrote to dave, because none of you can argue with it, he got it spot on,,well said tony

  330. JnrTick says:

    Those of us who are atheists are perfectly able to understand the content of your blog, no requirement to go over old ground for our sake, we like the rest, get your points perfectly clearly.

    Btw You advise us that “I keep forgetting of course that atheists know everything” Just to quash your assertion on this one, I for one do of course not know everything and fairly confident those of my persuasion don’t either. Not knowing everything I don’t quite know why your comment was necessary.

    You then almost immediately continue with ” I could write an awful lot about lots of stuff ” I as an atheist couldn’t. 

    Catholic schools, although not a barrier to independence themselves are a component of your blog and a component we are entitled to comment upon. Of course the threat albeit a false one of their closure and the use of this tactic is deplorable so is imperative that these claims are thoroughly countered.

    Those of us who like yourself are desperate for Scottish independence and will do all we can to ensure it happens also have views on how we would like an independent Scotland to operate. Opinions, desires are bound to differ but should not be a barrier to our common pursuit 


  331. Daughter of Evil Reindeer says:

    @ Ian and beachthistle – Will leave you a proper message tomorrow as heading out to party, many thanks DoER

  332. Alex Taylor says:

    ‘very seriously haunted pub’
    I’m thinking you’ve been in that pub too long today. You undermine a very good article with such unevidenced nonsense in the 21st century.
    Listen to this wee ditty:

  333. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Have a good one!

  334. A2 says:

    Kind of spoiled my take on the original article there Dave. Having a pop at those that don’t believe for arrogance, when the vast majority reading this haven’t commented at all is hardly productive.

  335. murtam says:

    Residing on the other side of the planet at the moment means that there is a time lapse till I get to read articles and especially comments.

    So this O/T comment is by way of a request.

    Is it possible to have replies to particular comments beneath these actual comments please, Rev ?

    This is a very interesting article and has generated a very large number of comments. However   
    I wonder if I am the only one finding it difficult to follow who is responding to whom without scrolling up and down and getting a bit confused in the process!! Maybe this is the price to be paid for having so many readers!!

  336. Jen says:

    Divide and conquer, that’s the British way and this religious aspect means that Scotland suffers with divided people. 
    People need to wake up and lose their fears as a NO will affect us all and not care what religion we are! 

  337. mrbfaethedee says:

    An excellent article first and foremost.

    The political threads that run through our communities are old and deep. They’ll be yanked at ll the way.

    I simply hope Scottish Catholics act the same way as I hope all other Scots we care to arbitrary subdivide by – and vote on what is the best future for Scotland as a whole.

    Good comments thread too though. FWIW – I’m all for (non academic) religion completely out of state schools.

    Not for anything to do with sectarianism, just that it has no place there IMHO. Don’t care what stripe it is – home and place of worship is more than sufficient for any individual’s need to incorporate religion into their children’s lives if that is their wish.

    I think the reason that the ‘anti-religion in schools’ folk (like me) are so quick to comment on it is because theirs is the only view that isn’t respected by the state. I suspect that when you’ve grown used to defending having your religion in schools against a (real or perceived) desire by others to remove it because they don’t like your folk/religion, it must be hard to see that there are other reasons and views on it beyond hate and tradition.

    I’d hope that open discussions (like this?) would demonstrate that the desire for removing religion from school is not founded on anti-catholic sentiment, simply a desire for no religion in schools, and that it could show that it’s not an attack on catholics – just a different view on what ought to be going on in school.

    While I can respect the notion that it exposes divergent views liable to be manipulated for political gain, I cannot think that anything other than bringing into the light of open discussion is the best preventative for that, and would expose the would be manipulators for what they are at the same time.

    Great article with a good tangential but relevant comment thread. Who needs the papers?
    p.s. Dundee here, in my own experience, no-one really cares about sectarianism – that’s why it’s so annoying 🙂

  338. Calum Craig says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill
    I said I wasn’t going to comment any further on religion but I am sorry I can’t let this one go:
    “Anyway though non enthusiastic about practising I’m perfectly comfortable in a church being aware that I am among a community that knows it is fallible but should be trying to be good and that killing and stealing and coveting your neighbour’s ass (no matter how firm and shapely it may be)is not on. I’ve seen Christian work in Africa.
    Maybe everybody should.”
    Your clear implication is that people not of faith somehow lack the moral compass to tell them that stealing and killing is wrong- I absolutely refute this. In fact it smacks of the superiority and intolerance that you accuse those that have no faith to practice.
    I am anti religious and I am a very moral person- I do not need some “commandments” to tell me that I shouldn’t go around killing, stealing and fornicating with my neighbour’s wife, the implication that I do is an insult to my intelligence.

  339. Calum Craig says:

    “In fact it smacks of the superiority and intolerance that you accuse those that have no faith to practise.”
    Sorry, spelling error there.

  340. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Calum et alia
    I made no implication at all about anybody else’s moral compass.
    There have been however a number of silly posts deliberately insulting and intolerant to those who hold religion which is not helpful. I am fully aware however that being an atheist does not render anybody intolerant. And neither does being religious. Intolerance is a state of mind shared fairly widely throughout the human race

    Alex Taylor
    As I managed a seriously haunted pub for a couple of years and you know absolutely nothing about it I don’t know why you imagine (1) I shouldn’t say so and (2)why I should doubt what I and many members of the community I was in were well aware of.

  341. Calum Craig says:

    Fair enough, if I misinterpreted your comments I apologise. I agree that anyone should be able to believe whatever they may like. And, yes, the thread did go off on a bit of a tangent- I completely agree that the actions of Labour that you detail in the original article are shocking and we need to be alert to that kind of “dirty game”.
    Part of the reason for my response and others similar to it is the traditional respect given to religious beliefs for no reason other than a state of default. If I asserted that I believed my father was god and that I was going to rise again after my death I would be sectioned, not worshipped. That is how much the world has moved on in 2000 years but yet religious beliefs are given privilege due to tradition.
    The issue I have is my tax money funding such religious schools which absolutely do promote their belief systems on impressionable children. Although as mentioned above (I think it was yourself but I’m not going to scroll back through the thread to confirm) we have these schools here already- we are not starting from scratch so as proponents of independence we have to take a pragmatic approach.
    I personally want to see an independent Scotland as a progressive, secular society with complete separation of state and religion. I will therefore vote for the party closest to proposing this vision after we actually have independence. You may well vote for someone different- that is the joy of democracy. In the current situation of union we do not have anything like such choice.
    In the meantime, yes, we need to pull together for the Yes campaign to get to a state where we have a country that reflects the people that inhabit it.

  342. The Man in the Jar says:

    @JnrTick, A2,Calum Craic and other fellow heretics. Respect!
    See you all in hell. 😆

  343. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Calum Craig

  344. Calum Craig says:

    @The Man in the Jar
    I rather suspect that us of no (or even anti) religion are far from the minority that we are made out to be. Many, many people go to church and call themselves “Christian” by default, i.e. that is what has always been the case (their parents were). Which is part of the problem I have with faith schools…

  345. Calum Craig says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill
    “Calum Craig
    I would imagine that you are referring to my last paragraph, so, great, let’s do this thing then figure out what kind of country we want after we actually have the powers to decide that kind of thing!

  346. A2 says:

    “I made no implication at all about anybody else’s moral compass.”
    While that might not have been your intention, It’s certainly the way it came across
    “There have been however a number of silly posts deliberately insulting and intolerant to those who hold religion which is not helpful. ”
    I was so taken aback by this statement I went and read the whole lot again. I’m having trouble finding anything “deliberately insulting” aimed at believers  (There was one very obvious deliberate insult but I’ve already commented on that)

  347. Weedeochandorris says:

    Serious damage has occured to Scotland over the years and I don’t think a lot of people are aware because they’ve been brought up that way and think this is how the world works. Well, it’s not, there’s a better way to teach your children.
    If you have the luck, the opportunity, to be out looking in for a while it’s very easy to see what’s causing the damage that has actively been encouraged because it serves the purpose of keeping us at each others throats. The old ‘divide and conquer’ thing is alive here and a lot of people are rabid with injected bigotry, so much so that they will destroy this country and we may never again have the opportunity to live in a normal society.  
    I say it’s lucky to be out looking in because, the feeling of complete freedom from this religious madness is like a lungful of fresh, clean air.  Let people be who they want to be and respect each for it because for so many generations we have been played for fools by the religion card.  Children shouldn’t be taught from an early age that they are different and the other ones who attend a different school are the baddies.  That’s just the beginning, the injection of a poison that keeps you sick if you dont find an antidote.  Children should all be together and taught to honour differences of race colour or creed and religion should be a private affair.  Please spit this poison out, let it go, let it pass or Scotland will never be the kind of country and society we’re all hoping for.

  348. cal says:

    If I could add my bawbee’s worth. The question of faith schools is really a non issue for the referendum and the immediate future at least. Education is a devolved issue and none of the political parties have said they’ll get rid of them (including the SNP).
    The answer to the question; “Will these schools be closed in an independent Scotland?”, is the same as the one for all the other scare stories – don’t be ridiculous! They are part of who we are as a country. Are they divisive? In theory, yes. In practice, not really. All schools (with the exception of private ones) are remarkably similar in the education they provide. The top two state schools in the country demonstrate this. One is RC the other is not. Will faith schools always be with us? Probably not. But they will go when there’s no longer a demand.
    Come on people! Different is good! Different is challenging. Different is interesting – a chance to broaden your horizons. Our enemies are our own demons – hate, fear, suspicion, apathy…. They only manifest themselves in things like religion, football etc. We must fight them with reason, wisdom, intelligence, trust, empathy, an open mind and an open heart. Do not be sucked in by this poison.

  349. arealscot says:

    we’ve got protestants voting no because YES wants to break up the unequal union. We’ve got catholics voting no because they are being told it will set them back 100 years, and we’ve got labour killing themselves laughing that they are convincing both of them that they should vote no

  350. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I wrote a post about the political implication of our enemy’s attempt to influence the vote of a large proportion of our voters by implying that the SNP is anti Catholic.

    At no point in it did I address the case for or against the provision of Catholic schools which was not the point of the original post at all. Nor whether we should be  Christians or atheists nor anything other than the fact that we could lose the referendum if we allow elements in the Labour Party in particular to misrepresnt the SNP in this way.

    I could have written exactly the same article as an atheist or a Christian.

    Lots of people then obviously completely missed the point of it.

    Perhaps I was naive.

    I am however satisfied that I have flagged up a critical issue and many people have read it and understood it

  351. braco says:

    Cal I largely agree, but who on this thread is being ‘sucked in by this poison’? I have read and taken part in a very interesting and civilised discussion on one of the most important and divisive issues in West Central Scottish culture.
    The idea that such a wide range of folk (plus all those reading without posting) have come together in an open forum, calmly and intelligently to wrestle with it, in my view is nothing but positive.
    It’s further concrete testament to the constructive manner in which the wide and varied group of individuals that favour Scottish Independence are approaching this subject in particular, but also attempting to approach and come up with solutions to all the other difficult questions of societal renewal facing Scotland today. I find it very exciting.
    I think it does the article, the thread and above all the general thoughtfulness of the posts a real injustice to use that kind of language as a description of what has gone on here.
    It’s been the lack of open forums such as this that has, for decades, allowed the Scottish Labour Party the cover to spread the real sectarian ‘poison’ of fear and distrust among and between our communities, for their own political and personal gain. Which is the whole point of Dave McEwan Hill’s original article in the first place, I think.
    This was not intended to be directed at you personally Cal, it’s just that yours was the last such comment on the thread, so I ended up using your post as my starting point.

    As I say I am generally willing to agree with your take on how to deal with the issue on the doorstep, which from the start for me, was the most urgent question needing answered. So thanks for helping me with that.

  352. KraftyKris says:

    Very good article Dave, it certainly got a discussion going (a bit disappointed that I missed it), that can only be a compliment to your piece.
    I don’t really have much to add on the content of the piece, however, I would like to respond to a few of the comments and put my views on schools (sorry Dave but I work in education).
    Agree with Taranaich and Albert Herring, I’m far more concerned with private schools than Catholic schools. There was a strong mentality among the pupils, in the private school I worked in, that pupils that attended state schools were uneducated, uncivilised, and inferior.
    The only major issue that I have with Catholic schools is that they can employ teachers based on faith, which is seriously discriminatory and also a violation of the European Directive 2000/78/EC (a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation).

  353. rabb says:

    I’ll get to the jist of how I see it. Last post honest!!
    Dave has highlighted the fact that the unionists (mainly SLAB) will use the sectarian & race cards to divide us wherever possible.
    In predominantly protestant areas they will tell you to vote no or forever languish in a catholic state where you’ll all get boils on your face and die (OK I embellished that slightly!).
    In predominantly catholic areas they will tell you to vote no or you’ll have your schools closed and your rights taken away in a protestant state.

    Our Polish or Bulgarian communities (And they are an integral & welcome part of our society) will be told to vote no or they’ll be “sent home”.
    We must all be vigilant and look out for this in our various communities. If we see it, we must call them out and publicly humiliate them. They won’t be long in getting the message!

  354. braco says:

    very interesting point about the discriminatory employment of teachers based on faith.
    Years ago when living in London, my girlfriend applied to a St Andrews teacher training course. She was unable to complete the application form because she did not know a Catholic Priest for the mandatory reference. I could not believe it! (ironically she was born a Catholic but never really raised in the religion).
    I still don’t know how a teaching institution in modern Scotland could have gotten away with such a blatant discriminatory practice.

  355. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Thanks, Rabb
    I could decide to enter into a sterile argument about a number of points made on here which have nothing to do with the point I was raising.

    That was that unscrupulous members of the Labour party have for years engineered their survival by persuading significant number of Cathlics to fear the SNP and Scottish independence. 

    That was the ONLY point I was making  -and that theya re still at it and will up the debate as they increasingly fear defeat.
    The debate about faith schools is another issue and one that has to be had primarily with the huge number of voters who take it as a right in plural democracy to use and support them.  

  356. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    D McEw Hill
    To anyone with an upbringing in the West of Scotland, in particular Glasgow and other attached towns, such disgraceful actions by Slab has been known, although not articulated (thanks Press and BBC), for decades.
    Just a wee thought.
    Is Slab at the same dirty tricks within the more recent minority communities? We know they are telling Poles and other Eastern European immigrants that the SNP will be expelling them as Scotland will not be in the EU but think about the Indian and Pakistani communities. I am sure that the barstewards have a similar operation in effect.
    I give you the evidence perhaps, the dynastic Westminster seat operated by the Sarwars?

  357. A2 says:

    “nothing to do with the point I was raising.”

    Come on dave, meandering is the nature of conversation, both here and in the real world, it is how different issues are raised and explored and it stimulates thought. It is a normal part of social interaction. We are not at a chaired meeting with a set agenda to get through.

    We are for the most part perfectly aware of what the point of your article was, and as I see it, took the message to heart. However to restrict comment to your point and only that point without the discussion of related topics which sit in the background would only result in a few congratulatory posts and no real conversation.

    It’s a compliment to your original article that we understood it so clearly that we didn’t feel the need to stick to the point.

  358. rabb says:

    They’re most likely at it wherever they see a crack big enough to wedge themselves into (Cue dodgy comments!)
    Hereditary MP Anas Sarwar is a good example.

  359. Daughter of Evil Reindeer says:

    @ beachthistle
    Thats great, like the name idea, we could do a newsgroup too. I can put a forum up at some point if people like the idea?

  360. Albalha says:

    Just to say I have contacts with the Gallician journalists who covered the YES march, may be of interest don’t know.

  361. Morag says:

    Dave, what A2 said.  It was a great article, but thread drift happens.  The discussion has been illuminating too, even if some of it was tangential to your main point.

    (Thinking about that avatar you used to have, I’m damn sure I’ve seen you on polling station duty at elections when I lived in Wishaw.  St. Ignatius primary school?)

    Sometimes the author sees the subject as confined by his own take on it, but others will always take a good article and run with it.

    If you want to see a real train wreck of a comments section, look at what happened when I wrote an article about the Lockerbie investigation.  Or maybe don’t.  I still bear the scars.

  362. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Possibly. I was about Motherwell South CA a lot for a period.
    My problem.though it’s not a big one, is not about thread drift but about the possibility that some comments on it, given its objective, were unwise if one understands the ability of our enemy to find ammunition out of what we say.
    I don’t have problem with robust exchanges of differing views only gratuitously offensive, patronising or insulting stuff

  363. Morag says:

    I know what you mean, but it’s the nature of the beast.  People are going to take the discussion in that direction and we just have to deal with it.  Voters need reassurance that the government of an independent Scotland isn’t going to persecute their particular interest group.  I’m gobsmacked that anyone would imagine that would happen, but clearly some have been persuaded it might, so hopefully the Yes campaign and the SNP will take that on board.

  364. jahoca says:

    Morag, I think the  author’s take is a necessary source of inspiration. The article wouldn’t exist without it but your point about being confined by it is right enough. We should each consider that as individuals we can’t know it all. I admire your contribution to the site btw.

    Dave, I lived in England ten years and as someone during the discussion said, the absence of religious tension was bliss. That anyone is willing to exploit that tension is more than a bit annoying and your article had to be written sometime. Kudos for that.

    As for the sectarianism itself, I think for some the issue has been so sensitive the best we can hope for is that a future generation won’t have to experience it. For what it’s worth, my own reaction was to drop allegiance to any sort of Christian doctrine at an early age and I have no regrets about that – there are plenty of other philosophies to try out (atheism didnae work for me). Thanks again.

  365. cal says:

    Braco. Point taken. Perhaps I was a bit strong but this whole sectarian thing scares me a bit. It can so easily get out of control. I honestly can’t for the life of me understand what all the fuss is about. Really. I was brought up a protestant in the west of Scotland but have and have had many good friends of the opposite persuasion. I can tell you it’s NEVER been a real problem for me.
    I think I pretty much agree with everything Rabb has said on the matter.

  366. cumoangerraff says:

    As a Catholic brought up in Glasgow, the union jack is something I avoid as much as possible. I feel there is a subconscious, built-in race memory, where the union jack equals oppression and is seen as a threat. Whether it is to do with the subjugation of my Irish ancestors by the English, or similar treatment of my Scottish ancestors, I don’t know. I have childhood memories of orange marches, threatening occasions, where the butchers apron was everywhere. The same goes for Rangers supporters, waving union jacks, who generally appeared threatening if they saw you in your green blazer.I am sure that many members of the Catholic community feel the same way about UK emblems, and see independence as the best way to rid our homeland of that hated flag.
    Whilst I support the right of anyone, of any religion, to send their children to a faith school, I also know many fellow Catholics, including myself, who have sent their children to non-denominational schools, and many who would like Catholic schools abolished. I don’t think schools are a major issue. It would be interesting to see if any opinion poll, or the census, has correlated the proportion of RCs that consider themselves Scottish rather than British. Getting rid of the British tag may be the best argument for getting my fellow Catholics to vote YES. I have yet to find any of my fellow churchgoers who are openly proposing to vote no.

  367. Kenny Campbell says:

    “SNP campaigners in North Lanarkshire are discovering that Labour have informed the masonic lodges that SNP will remove the Queen as figure head in Scotland under an independent Scotland, and so they are persuading all their members to vote NO due to this.”
    I’m not sure why the removal of the Queen as head of state would bother a Mason, there is no discussion of monarchy or royalty in any of their ceremonies. The discussion of politics of any type in a Masonic lodge is specifically banned so I suspect the whole thing is made up.
    Great article, as I have often commented on here…The Rangers problem is anchored in anti Irishism and not pro Britishness and has in modern times somehow morphed into a bizarre pro British stance.
    I’m West coast brought up in 70’s in a mostly ‘catholic’ community where I was an outsider in my own country, one where Irish flags flew and were painted on walls and pavements. I’m a Rangers fan and didn’t overcome my indoctrination until I was nearly 20. I’m still a Rangers fan and have almost exclusively voted SNP and am in fact a member.

  368. JnrTick says:

    What genuinely amazes me is how gullible  we can be in being taken in by whatever is put in front of us, our tabloids and broadsheets with their agendas, MSM in general and now actual accounts of blatant lies, win at all cost tactics deployed by these low-life canvassers. There’s no excuse, absolutely none for anyone nowadays in these times where we have masses of info at our fingertips with the net, YES shops aplenty  to vote blindly without being fully informed. All that limits the electorate is their will to take the time to educate, to look at both arguments which begs the question, do folks really think their country means so little that they will make such an important decision relying on a particular source delivering a particular message?. The answer is most likely yes, people feel disempowered, many accepting all will work out fine, all will be taken care of, what our governments will do with us they’ll just do. We on these sites have an interest in the politics that affect our country and it’s citizens. Sadly those who are either disillusioned, apathetic, disinterested, or who think its all just too boring are rich pickings, fodder for the unscrupulous. The only way to counter will be to bring our side of this debate to them, to their doorsteps and in doing so quashing their fears and offering real hope for all our futures.  

  369. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    You are correct but the biggest problem we face is the change in the behaviour of the media. What most people don’t realise is that they have changed the way they operate. They  used to actually be newspapers – ie actually carrying news as their major function. Though they all had political bias it was secondary and they were very careful about the reliability of what they printed.

    As the “news” is absorbed now by most people on the telly tabloid newspapers have become more like magazines with entertainment of the reader more  important than reliable news. Their standards for accuracy and some semblance of balance have also been largely abandoned but our people still tend to believe what they read in newspapers. The new generation of voters however are different. They get their news online. We are winning in this area because we can get the truth out in it. This may be critical. I suspect however a proportion of the electorate, presently counted as Nos wont vote. I also feel the Labour Party could implode at any point and I detect a fairly strong lack of confidence in it growing. We are getting there

  370. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    To go back to your earlier substantial post I liked the generosity and good sense of it.

    I well remember the Monklands by election. If I remember it was the very nice, very entertaining, and very likeable Kay Ullrich who was the SNP candidate. It was generally a disgrace of deliberately fuelled sectrarianism. It was so bad that the SNP organisers of the campaign felt obliged to seek out Catholic SNP activists  (like myself) to man the schools in defence of the SNP in the Catholic bits of the community (and after it the old canard that the SNP activists had spat at Labour officials at the count was put into the press). 

    I had some SNP musician friends who found out that the Labour campaign team were meeting  (I think it was in Airdrie Town Hall) so they set up outside, fiddles and accordians and played till the Labour team came out. They were led out by George Galloway  who said to them “Pity the SNP is running a sectarian campaign”

    “No. We are not “was the response 

    “You are now” said George and that accusation headlined in various papers the following day.

    So the guy has form. Actually my young brother, who was a member of the Strathclyde University Labour Club, warned me about George over thirty years ago.

    “A plausible rogue” he called him and a bit more

  371. A2 says:

    “The new generation of voters however are different. They get their news online. We are winning in this area ”
    I wish I could share your confidence there , the information in the recent poll however suggests that we are very far from persuading the new generation of voters.

  372. Morag says:

    Dave, I only campaigned for one day there as I had to return to England after helping at the Euro election in Peterhead, but I heard about it.
    That was when I first cancelled my Herald.  They had apparently been told by Newsnight that if they put something really controversial on the front page, it would be featured at the end of the programme – this was before Newsnight Scotland existed.  They printed a story about the SNP running a sectarian campaign, and the BBC ran it.
    I cancelled, and told them why.  I switched to the Scotsman, because they had run decent coverage of the SNP’s good showing at the Euro election which was both comprehensive and fair.  I told them why too.  Of course it didn’t last and I returned to the Herald in due course, sticking with it until Magnus Gardham.
    It was absolutely appalling, and shows that they’ll stop at nothing.  (I think I was mixing your avatar up with someone else’s though.)

  373. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I remember that and I remember the Herald making a front page apology – the first it had ever done in its history

  374. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    We appear to be behind with new voters in schools, but well ahead with the mid twenties online generation.

  375. fergie35 says:

    Coming from the north east of Scotland, I have never understood sectarianism, and why our brother and sister Irish, who in general I have found to be great people, have been so hated.
    I always put it down to divide and conquer.
    Lets hope that common sense will take over from fear.

  376. Beastie says:

    Very interesting article.

    I just find it immensely difficult to believe that Labour can STILL to this day convince otherwise rational, sensible people who happen to be Catholic to believe that the SNP, or an independent Scotland, would somehow see them all shipped back to Ireland without another word; they’re believing the SNP, and the wider Scottish population, would ship out people to a country that their ancestors came from.

    Well we would call it ethnic cleansing these days; and does that sound like the kind of thing any SNP voter, member, or politician would countenance? And I don’t mean just because it’s illegal under international law; I mean because it is a reprehensible, xenophobic action. And I don’t think councils would want to close Catholic schools… not considering they tend to get some of the best exam results in the country and closing them would drag down the council education percentages. Oh, that’s being completely flippant; there’s no way on this planet any SNP government is going to close schools based on religious grounds. I personally don’t like religious schools of any stripe, I believe education should be entirely secular, but I don’t think my opinion counts for much in the SNP hierarchy anyway, and that’s not the same as closing Catholic schools anyway.

    No surprise at all, reading down the comments, to find that the odious little opportunist shite that is George Miaow Galloway is an exponent of the anti SNP religious propaganda. Some day he’s going to realise that Scotland is no longer going to put up with the likes of him. He can stay put down in England, where he’s an MP, instead of hauling his wrinkly carcass north to tell ‘his’ people what they should do.

    Just say naw, George. Just don’t bother coming to Scotland. Your kind of divisive pish can stay you’re an MP, where you’ve conned another group into making you their man.

  377. revjimbob says:

    I for one hope that we do get rid of Catholic (and all state-paid religious) schools come independence.

  378. Restlessnative says:

    “I like Keef am getting a little fed up with the slurs against Rangers in this site.”
    Simple,put your tax dodging cheating team first,get yourself a log in to “Follow Follow and wallow in the bile about paedophilia,taig’s,terrorism and how wronged you all were when hubris destroyed your team and how it was everybody else’s fault.Or maybe you could resort to threat’s,intimidation and violence?That seems to be the Rangers way,ask Jim Spence.Alex Thomson and Raman Bhardwa to name but a few.

    How I hope the wee rumour about HMRC taking an interest in the phoenix company operating out of the bigotdome is true,after all,you’s did liquidate,shaft dozens of creditors and fail to provide 3 years audited accounts because you were a new team,yet continue to operate as if nothing has changed.This a team whose fans send live ordinance to players and manager of another Scottish team and you have temerity to go on about “slurs”?

    Same flies,different turd.

  379. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Yup. Just like the USSR

  380. Jimsy01 says:

    Have I missed something? Thought the referendum was yes or no on independence? I’ll be voting YES but I won’t vote SNP as I don’t trust or like their leadership.

  381. November13 says:

    _Just read that dreadful article in the Catholic observer.Oh dear this is the part I could never get with the likes of Michael Kelly,Galloway rtc.Say no and preserve the Union,The Flag,The Orange Orders reason for breathing,the protestant monarchy.Unionism is the natural home of anti Catholicism.Can they not see that.I am Catholic of Irish descent.Bruce was a Catholic not a Calvinist.Just how stupid are these people.Thankfully I am a lapsed Catholic these days and a proud Scot…proud of Bruce? you bet I am.

  382. starlaw says:

    I was raised catholic , Ive been voting SNP since 1972 for reasons I cant remember , Orangemen in West Lothian were encouraged to vote SNP at one time, because the sitting Labour MP had married a catholic. At other times they were expected to vote unionists . I consider the Catholic observers piece to be Guff and nothing else , and as for G Galloway he couldn’t pay me to go near any of his meetings   

  383. Steve Mulligan says:

    Voted SNP since I could; my parents were Catholic and traditional labour; thankfully they now vote SNP.  An independent Scotland should offer freedom of choice of anyone who wants to have their children taught in the way of their religion; Jew, Muslim, Atheist or Christian.  Intolerance should have no place in a modern Scotland and government should have a place in that also; tired of morally corrupt politicians and some of the tactics used by Unionist parties seem to echo of an age best forgotten.
    An independent Scotland should be an idea; an idea of something great and pure that we can hope to attain. Forget petty political point scoring and build something for our children and show the world how a nation can be governed by the people for the people.

  384. November13 says:

    My dad has been SNP since he was 16! He is now 72.I suppose he was a radical in west Scotland Catholic terms.Maybe as a republican he could never understand why Labour wanted to preserve all the functions that had been used to destroy the Irish.The term Brit was and still is a dirty word in Eire.I detest being called a Brit due to these connotations.But like it or not Scottish Catholics who vote to maintain the Union.Must accept that they are in the same bed as the Orange Order forming an unholy alliance to hold Scotland back within the Union.The truth is they both fear each other but require each other’s survival.In order to maintain their reason for existing.Think how Rangers and Celtic fans formed an unholy alliance when the new anti bigotry initiative started.Two groups who fundamentally hate each other but can’t live without each other.If that aint screwed up I don’t know what is. So it’s up to us in normal Scottish society to make a,stand and vote yes to end all this deplorable inverted bigotry once and for all.Divide and conquer? Not this time Galloway you are a prisoner of your own past.

  385. majestic12 says:

    I think the point that Dave was trying to make when he mentioned the haunted pub was that, “There are more things in heaven and earth,…”, and religion, especially Catholicism, gives us a framework within which to try to understand these events.  I also think he mentioned it because, as usual, some atheists and secularists are pretty shrill and shouty about how they would like to see a secular society evolve in an indepenent Scotland, with, dare I say it, a hint of “let’s eventually get rid of religion althogether, we’ll be much better off without it.”

    I do not for one moment believe most Scottish people think like this, as even non-practicing and lapsed folk carry a belief in the pit of their bellies that may well be brought out to useful effect when trying to deal with situations like seriously haunted pubs and other inexplicable, apparently otherwordly malefaction. Religious belief is a necessary function of human psychology, for most of the tribe, and I personally would fear to see a future Scotland where religion is harried, hounded and chipped away. And yes, Catholic schools, on average, consistently outperform other schools academically. Perhaps someone can offer a reason for this? I would genuinely like to know why.

    It’s rather ironic to think that there would be no separate Catholic schools if the poor Irish immigrant children had been allowed to attend the existing Scottish schools – they weren’t, they were barred so the few Catholic churches had to set up and finance their own schools for these children until the state took over.

    Some comments here about the wrongs, rather than rights, of faith schools are akin to master classes in shooting oneself in the foot. One can assume, I suspect, that most people logging on to this site are inclined in a yes sort of way. Let’s hope that not too many religious people flirting with no/undecided read some of the comments to this article. They could be forgiven for expecting a future where “nationalists” decide to outlaw religion because it’s stupid, divisive and illogical.  That would be a tragedy indeed – throwing the baptised baby out with the bathwater. That’s just the sort of thing the unionists would run with, preposterous or no.

    A tolerance and generosity of spirit and intellect will carry us much further than bald logic, lofty empiricism and withered cynicism. You don’t have to believe in God to understand that most people need to. Let them.

    Sectariansim will die its own death, in time, as the different tribes and their narratives become assimilated into just Scottishness. I believe this process will be hastened by talking about it less,  but after independence when it can no longer be used as a weapon to thwart self-determination.

    And I for one would love to hear about Dave’s very haunted pub, o/t or no.

  386. Kenny Campbell says:

    “Simple,put your tax dodging cheating team first,get yourself a log in to “Follow Follow and wallow in the bile about paedophilia,taig’s,terrorism and how wronged you all were when hubris destroyed your team and how it was everybody else’s fault.Or maybe you could resort to threat’s,intimidation and violence?That seems to be the Rangers way,ask Jim Spence.Alex Thomson and Raman Bhardwa to name but a few.”
    “How I hope the wee rumour about HMRC taking an interest in the phoenix company operating out of the bigotdome is true,after all,you’s did liquidate,shaft dozens of creditors and fail to provide 3 years audited accounts because you were a new team,yet continue to operate as if nothing has changed.This a team whose fans send live ordinance to players and manager of another Scottish team and you have temerity to go on about “slurs”?

    Same flies,different turd.”

    There you go children, classic tribalism at its best, out of context and dripping in vitriol, yet somehow its invisible to the writer himself that he exhibits the very deeds he accuses others of….now Questions… Mr Restlessnative, who exactly do you represent with this rather interesting and dare I say ‘balanced’ viewpoint ? Just so we know.

  387. Vambomarbeleye says:

    The SCO article. What a load of rubbish. Had a look to see if I could coment on said article. Couldnt even find it on their web site.
    The only place where you get asked what school you went to is greater Glasgow. For the rest of us it just isint that important.
    If you want to stand on your head, naked in a bowl of custard then that your progitive. Just don’t ask me to do it. Should be the same with religion. Kept in the place of worship and the home.

  388. Tony says:

    If I had to author an article and someone went into detail calling into question large tracts of said article which undermine the entire piece – not least the sensationalist headline and subheading, I would wish to counter those arguments. 

    Looks like I shouldn’t hold my breath on this one. Good luck with all the backslapping. 

  389. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Nice piece. 

    Sadly the haunted pub I referred to was knocked down about three years ago. The building had stood on the site since the 17th century. We had some amazing happenings in it – stuff flying about, footsteps from a room upstairs that had been bricked in for years, doors opening and closing, electrical appliances working when not powered (including the burglar alarm on one notable occassion – it worked when completely disconnected from its power source to the total confusion of the technician trying to fix it),staff nipped and slapped with nobody near them, bottles of spirits rising up in the air from the gantry and gently bouncing on the floor, teleportation of objects and lots of other mischief. It was probably all the work of Protestants! Seriously, we found out that the previous landlord who had lived in the premises never went to bed before first light – but the factor never told us anything about it before we signed the lease.

    We got used to it

    Laying aside any religious reference I am absolutely convinced there is another dimension with which we sometimes get a glimpse and have a tenuous and mysterious relationship to. There probably is a explanation for it all. We just don’t have it.

  390. Owen Dolan says:

    You talk about bully boy tactics or similar,yet you support all that the SNP do and stand for.The SNP have really put the boot into Coatbridge because we have two Labour MPs and no SNP MPs.

    The local MPs along with most of Coatbridge were given hope when NLC vetoed a application for a Pyrolysis plant at Coatbridge,but they have been overruled by the SNP, and why?, because the only vyable reason would be they do not hold the power in North Lanarkshire, and so punish the people of Coatbridge.If you want a similar situation the company for the Pyrolysis plant, also applied  to Perth to build a plant, but the local SNP MSP asked to have the application thrown out on health grounds, and guess what it was, and voting for independence does not mean voting for the SNP.

  391. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The plant referred to above at Carnbroe was given the go ahead by North Lanarkshire Council which is run by the Labour Party with 40 councillors. It had been supported by the Planning Authorities. The Council could have referred this to the Government but didn’t do so

  392. Stephen says:

    Have you address any of the issues raised by: Tony [2 November, 2013 at 2.17pm]
    I thought it was an excellent response to your article, measured and in no way confrontational, particularly the point about your inclination towards viewing the Catholic community as some homogeneous entity.

    I’m old enough to remember the the canvassing of the SNP in the 1970s ‘A vote for Labour is a vote for Catholics’. It’s no myth and, as Tony says, it’s understandable that there would a lingering distrust from those who were previously seen as the ‘enemy’ within the Scottish communities by the driving forces of the SNP.

    I’d be very interested to see each of Tony’s points addressed by the writer of the original article.

    For the record, I’m leaning toward a ‘Yes’ vote but that may change if I feel that, post-Independence, the SNP will have too much political control.

  393. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I have no intention of answering Tony’s points as, detailed as they were, none of them had anything to do with the central point of my article.
    Perhaps you can extract some pieces from it for me that you think have some significant reference to the thrust of my article.

    Where – exactly – in the 1970s was the SNP canvassing that a vote for Labour was a vote for Catholics? Certainly nothing to do with any SNP I ever had anything to do with. 

    I’ve said my piece on this subject and many posts have confirmed the accuracy of what I pointed out in it . I expect some sort of rescue operation obscuring or confusing it is possible.

  394. Restlessnative says:

    “There you go children, classic tribalism at its best, out of context and dripping in vitriol, yet somehow its invisible to the writer himself that he exhibits the very deeds he accuses others of….now Questions… Mr Restlessnative, who exactly do you represent with this rather interesting and dare I say ‘balanced’ viewpoint ? Just so we know.”
    I’d say factual rather than “balanced”.The gentleman I was replying to, himself launched a rather vitriolic attack on me not so long ago because I had the audacity to mention the “peepul”,he automatically assumed I was talking about every Rangers fan and hit me with umpteen links and spouted off about unionists at Parkhead without even having the common decency to enquire whether I actually I supported Celtic. I tried apologising,3 times in fact,and not once did he have the courtesy to acknowledge my apology.So when I see him spouting off again and giving it the big “whataboutery”  because The Rev suggested that there may be a slight sectarian element down Govan way it does tend to irk.
    The gentleman in question then goes on to say “but wearing ROI tops is ok ???” as if it wasn’t,did’t Margaret Curran spout some pish about “foreigners” as well?.Anyway,apart from the rumour part,which is what it is,can you point out any part of my “viewpoint” that is in anyway factually incorrect? I’m sorry I have the views I have,but its fact that some the most vilest,most right wing,bigoted,unionist,intolerant individuals I have ever met have had a common denominator, I wont mention it,the distant rustle of tin foil is doing ma nut in.

  395. Kenny Campbell says:

    Reads to me at you are talking about all Rangers fans, the point is that you make sweeping statements that are borderline offensive then attempting to justify it by saying its somehow factual or that he did it to me first……As i said you cannot see your own prejudice….flies and turds…reallyis that where the debate is.

  396. Stephen says:

    The canvassing I refered to happened in East Kilbride in the 1970s. Are you suggesting it didn’t happen?
    And Tony’s points couldn’t have been more relevant. I guess you are happy to circumnavigate some uncomfortable truths. Maybe Scotland needs some truth and reconciliation, going forward.

  397. Restlessnative says:

    “Reads to me at you are talking about all Rangers fans”
    No,but a not inconsiderable proportion,and as for prejudice,I’ll think you’ll find that’s a signing policy that in the main was largely sectarian for a hundred or so years.

  398. Aidan says:

    Everything you said. Exactly.


  399. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I knew the East Kilbride SNP very well. I’ll ask them. But you are taking about 43 years ago. I suppose its entirely possible that somebody said that though it certainly wont have been any part of any SNP plan as the SNP has always been very sure indeed that Scotland had to be cured of sectarian nonsense.    
    Which of Tony’s points were relevant to the point that I was making that some in the Labour Party go about even today trying to frighten Catholics about the SNP?
    All I read was a lot of stuff, some of which I entirely agreed with, none of which contradicted that point

  400. Stephen says:

    SNP has always been very sure indeed that Scotland had to be cured of sectarian nonsense.’ Really?
    Tony mentioned William Wolfe. His part in the lexicon of SNP rhetoric gives the lie to the sentence above.
    Do you accept Tony’s assertion that you have tended to treat Catholics as a homogeneous group? His assertion is based on the tenor of your opinion piece and, as I’ve stated before, is entirely relevant to your original article.

  401. majestic12 says:

    My son had the great good fortune recently of sitting next to gorgeous George on a flight to Beirut. They fell into conversation, which pleased my son, as he has a file on his computer with video clips of Galloway verbally battering moronic interviewers. One cannot help but admire the man’s quickness of wit and his ability to just bulldoze his way through piles of stinking lies that the British government has told, and continues to promulgate and perpetuate, especially about the War on Terror and the real situation in the Middle East.
    At some point my son, who has been brought up in London, volunteered that his mother was Scottish and an avid supporter of the Yes campaign. Galloway replied in words to this effect, but certainly not verbatim: “You seem a smart enough lad, so how come your mother is so stupid.”
    The conversation sort of died a death at that point. My non-political son didn’t know what to say to such a rude riposte. But the whole event serves to highlight GG’s hypocrisy. He’ll get up on any platform offered and wax lyrical about the oppressed peoples of the world, how they are enslaved to western interests and how they are abused and lied to by their own governments, how the British are abused by their own Westminster government…………..and yet he cannot stand up and raise the banner for the liberation of his own people from all this bullshit.
    One can only assume that being a British GG  better serves his political ego than being a Scottish one. Or perhaps he realises that Scotland simply doesn’t want him back. What a waste of a good mind.

  402. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Maybe Scotland needs some truth and reconciliation, going forward.”

    Then perhaps you need to start it by not harping on about things Billy Wolfe said in 1982 which were personal opinions not party positions, and which he subsequently retracted and apologised for in the most complete terms.

    It’s no wonder certain parts of the Catholic community get accused of a victim complex. That retraction and apology is now more than two DECADES old, and here you are still banging on about it.

  403. Kenny Campbell says:

    “No,but a not inconsiderable proportion,and as for prejudice,I’ll think you’ll find that’s a signing policy that in the main was largely sectarian for a hundred or so years.”
    So not all, just some or <through your gritted teeth> in fact most and they did it to me first… therefore you justify that you can also act like them. Essentially you allow Rangers past sectarianism to set your personal standards today. 
    Think about this, most of those Rangers fans are Scots, so were the thugs who sent bullets to Neil Lennon. Can I then say that its a Scottish issue rather than a Rangers one ? Yes because its factually correct even though the subset they form is smaller. I could go the other way and say its an Ayrshire issue as they came from down there…Nonsense of course as they acted as individuals.
    You castigate this broad brush population of ‘Rangers Fans‘ and accuse them of calling all Catholics or Celtic fans(its not clear from your posts where you see yourself and this persecuted group) as paedo’s or taigs or whatever…Yet you come on here and essentially do the same using different names to a different group.
    Then justify it in your own mind by saying they do it to me.  How they see you is how you see them as you mirror exactly their behavior. Where does that circle end ?. Unless you personally break it then it will only end when you die.
    My advice to you is not be led to the bottom by the behavior of others . Set your own standards and live by them.  Don’t be part of a group be an individual, make up your mind based on your own experience and don’t stereotype. People are all different.

  404. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    William Wolfe was friend of mine. He spoke on my behalf at my adoption meeting in Bothwell when I was SNP candidate for Hamilton He was seriously and very deliberately misrepresented. He married a good friend of mine and spent the last years of his life attending mass several times a week with her in Cadzow. He was proud of the Church of Scotland in which he was an elder and held several other positions but a less bigoted man it would have been very hard to find.

  405. Stephen says:

    That goes a long way to explaining why you brushed over that aspect of the SNP.
    I’m now engaging with you on a level which I never intended. Can you please at least acknowledge that ‘Tony’ made valid and relevant points in his reply to you. Or has Tony demonstrated that perhaps he is too switched on to your, conscious or unconscious, religion-based prejudices.
    And please don’t repeat your mantra that Tony wasn’t addressing the central plank of your opinion piece. He has made points which render your article absurd. Surely a stout defense would be more appropriate rather than ignoring a post which highlights a problem with your analysis?

  406. Restlessnative says:

    “You castigate this broad brush population of ‘Rangers Fans‘ and accuse them of calling all Catholics or Celtic fans(its not clear from your posts where you see yourself and this persecuted group) as paedo’s or taigs or whatever”

    Why wouldn’t I want to castigate this? For your information I was luckily enough to be brought up to make my own mind up about religion,I chose not to believe.I don’t care about other peoples religion,what I do care about is when some of the most intolerant godless people on the planet use their “religion”or the vile act of others on innocents as a weapon of hate and then try to justify it because its their “tradition”.You talk about making my own mind up based on experience,what kind of experience’s do you think Iv’e had? I can tell you that the vast majority Iv’e had at the hands of the kind of people I’m talking about are in no way pleasant but unfortunately oft repeated.

    I’m not as daft or angry as you seem to assume,I know fine well their are many decent Rangers fan who like me abhor the kind of thing I do,but calling some people bigoted and intolerant who actually were these things isn’t following the group. I don’t even bother trying to engage in meaningful dialogue with them nowadays,its futile.Yes,I can let my emotions get the better of me,we all do.But believe me,the opinions I have weren’t taught or passed down.They were formed by the bile and hatred I’ve seen emitted by a certain group and believe it or not I know more than a few former Rangers fans who have turned away because they to were sickened by the levels of hate they experienced on match days.The difference between myself and the kind I loathe is that I don’t wake up in the morning consumed by hate like you seem to believe I do,but I do have an unwavering contempt for them,and no,I belong to no “persecuted group”.

  407. Kenny Campbell says:

    I think your last post just confirmed everything I said and your post still seems quite angry. I never once said you were consumed by hate, I said that you allowed your behavior to be set and limited only by the low bar of others. You admit this yourself.

    If you are not part of this persecuted group then why do you say you have been on the receiving end of persecution and hatred in the previous paragraph and that you have made your mind up based on experience.

    Rangers or Rangers fans have clearly caused you some issues in the past, as per your own description. Clearly your concern for the crazy behavior towards Neil Lennon was expressed earlier. The perpetrators have been caught and got pretty stiff sentences. They are clearly nutters.  As I said it could be an Ayrshire thing.

    If you are not a victim then what are you and why the concern and outrage ? Do you live in Gazza and are concerned by the plight of others in another land ? Are you just a christian who abhors violence and hatred in general….

    It reads much more specific and personal than that to me….

    I’ll be straight, your posts read to me like you are part of the problem. You just don’t see it yet.

  408. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Brushed over what aspect of the SNP?

  409. Stephen says:

    I really don’t have any more time to waste on this. I asked that you address the points raised by a very good contribution to this debate from ‘Tony’. It’s patently obvious that you do not have a credible answer to any of his well thought out and eloquent post. That been clear for all to see.
    Good night. And may your God go with you.

  410. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Brushed over what aspect of the SNP I asked you?
    Tony’s contribution had virtually nothing to do do with the point of my article.
    I have talked to SNP East Kilbride. I know many of them and not a few who got elected as councillors many years ago. None of them have any idea what you are talking about 

  411. Stephen says:

    Who did you speak to? Jim Wardhaugh?

  412. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    No. I don’t know Jim Wardhaugh.

  413. Stephen says:

    I guess my local knowledge and experience surpasses yours then.
    Just when I thought I was out …you pull me back in!

  414. Tony says:

    Dave, I know you are unwilling to engage on this, but I gave specific examples and pulled out quotes from your articles, which reflect upon the thrust of your article. I also questioned the subheading in particular, given that it was based upon a bizarre example which I addressed fully above, in short, that Labour people went from going round ‘carefully selected doors’ to acting with what can only be called reckless abandon by turning up at any and every door wearing Celtic jerseys, and driving through housing schemes blasting out rebel music. 

    Apart from the obvious point that a Rangers fan, an Aberdeen fan, a Motherwell fan, a Hearts fan might have opened the door (people do move around in Scotland for work, marriage etc), it reads as if you assume:

    All Celtic fans are Catholics
    All Catholics are Celtic fans
    All Catholics and Celtic fans like rebel music

    None of them would mind such a crass attempt to win a vote by people employing such tactics. 

    I also noted that your headline The Dirty Game was ironically appropriate, as you seem to be indulging in a certain amount of mixing religion and politics in the run-up to the referendum, which is exactly what you accuse others of doing. Do you think that is an unreasonable conclusion to arrive at and, if so, why?

    If there isn’t a Yes vote in the referendum, it won’t be because Catholics have have been mobilised by Labour calling in favours, it will be because the SNP have not convinced enough people to vote for independence, as simple as that. 

  415. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I also questioned the subheading in particular”

    We don’t have “subheadings” here. Do you mean “first line”?

    “If there isn’t a Yes vote in the referendum, it won’t be because Catholics have have been mobilised by Labour calling in favours, it will be because the SNP have not convinced enough people to vote for independence, as simple as that.”

    In what way are those two things exclusive?

  416. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I know many SNP folks I worked with in the late 60s/early70s when I was in Lanarkshire.(and also in a period in the mid eighties) That was the era you talked of 

  417. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I still have no idea where you are coming from.

    Anything in the article experienced first hand. I was steeped in Lanarkshire politics for years and I know exactly what goes on – as do many people who have posted confirming what I said in the article. 

    As the current stuff from Hugh Dougherty and George Galloway rather underlines it is still a feature and I made none of the assertions you would seek to ascribe to me in your recent post.

    BTW I do love rebel songs. Have you heard Sinead O’Conner and the Chieftains version of The Foggy Dew?  

  418. A2 says:

    “it will be because the SNP have not convinced enough people to vote for independence”
    It will be cause WE have not convinced enough people to vote for independence
    If we are going to accept the Idea that it’s just about the SNP, may as well give up now.

  419. Tony says:

    Rev Stuart Campbell: Apologies for the technicality. Your first line is distinct from the rest of the article, separated from the text by a photograph and directly under the headline. It pretty much looks like a subheading.

    Regarding the question you asked, the point I was making was that Catholics are in the minority in Scotland. Even if every single Catholic was to vote ‘No’, (which isn’t going to happen) then there are still more than enough people in Scotland to carry a Yes vote, with plenty of room to spare. 

    Dave: I’m not surprised you have no idea where I’m coming from. I’ve challenged you on a number of points and you seem to be suffering from confusion with all of them. If you were ‘steeped in Lanarkshire politics’ then you would also know why some Catholics, particularly of an older generation, may have residual distrust of the SNP. 

    I know you stuck up for your friend William Wolfe earlier and said he was misrepresented a. By whom, may I ask? You say he was “seriously and very deliberately misrepresented”.   

    The Rev Stuart Campbell says: “…which were personal opinions not party positions, and which he subsequently retracted and apologised for in the most complete terms.

    It’s no wonder certain parts of the Catholic community get accused of a victim complex. That retraction and apology is now more than two DECADES old, and here you are still banging on about it.”

    To address both of these points at once, William Wolfe was interviewed in the Herald ten years later and there is no hint of apology or retraction. The article, should you wish to look it up, is called ‘Forging a covenant with my conscience’.

    Some interesting language in there, should you wish to follow it up.

    Rev Stuart, you seem unusually angry about this. Dave had written an article based on historical events going back to what he erroneously called ‘The Famine’.

    I was giving a historical context as to why some older generation Catholics might have a residual distrust of the SNP. You can read that a couple of times, before you go off on one again. And imagine some Catholics having had a ‘victim complex’ as you tactfully put it. Scotland is a country that practiced open discrimination against Catholics for many DECADES or even CENTURIES (copying your upper case for added effect). Imagine people ‘banging on about’ things like the President of the SNP railing against the Pope’s visit. Again, before you start typing in capital letters again, it was to provide a context as to why some Catholics do not trust the SNP.  

    Dave, thanks for flippant response informing me that you love rebel songs. Be careful where you sing them though, as you may get your door kicked in at 7am as a result of the SNP’s hamfisted introduction of the new bill, titled above.

    However, it is neither here nor there with regards to the point I was making regarding your utterly bizarre statement that Labour canvassers drove around housing schemes playing rebel music and wearing Celtic jerseys, only a short time after visiting ‘carefully selected doors’ to spread fear about there being ‘nae pencils in Our Lady’s high’.

    As I said earlier, I’m not religious in the slightest and I voted SNP last time. I think Dave was guilty of joining in the ‘Dirty Game’ he apparently abhors with a liberal sprinkling of unsubstantiated nonsense.

    Final point to A2, fair enough. However, as the SNP is the only party in the Yes campaign, the burden of convincing people to vote yes falls upon them surely? They are the ones who have to convince people that it is, amongst other things, economically viable?  

    To me there is no point in being a poor independent nation. I would rather live in a country that doesn’t follow others in the ‘arc of prosperity’ into financial oblivion. If the SNP can convince me, then I’ll vote for them.

  420. STARLAW says:

    Excellent article. From a very minority catholic family in a West Lothian village I had a very hard time. and recognise the story being told here as true. Even as children we knew the local labour councillor was a rogue but our parents voted for him ‘as he was better than the other guy’ sadly the other guy never had a chance. I have never voted for labour since nineteen seventy two, the year I finally saw through them. A friends wife began canvassing for the SNP here in Livingston some years ago I warned her she would find some labour supporters to be very very nasty people , I was right.

  421. Damien McKee says:

    I am a Unionist who voted Tory at 2015 for Westminster and for Holyrood this year and I come from an Irish Catholic background and I must say the carping that came from some Scottish Labour activists about the behavior of Yes Scotland campaigners was downright hypocritical given that they could dish out that kind of treatment but cried foul when it was flung right back at them.So whilst I oppose Scottish Independence, good on you for exposing the hypocrisy of Scottish Labour who dish out the abuse and dirty tactics but couldn’t handle it when it was flung right back at them!

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