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The heavy nudge

Posted on May 29, 2013 by

There’s a story in the Herald this morning that wouldn’t normally come within this site’s remit, dealing as it does with a specific aspect of Scottish Government policy unaffected by independence. It reports a Celtic fan acquitted under the Offensive Behaviour (Football) Act after admitting singing a pro-IRA song at a game between the Parkhead club and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

For reasons we must confess ourselves puzzled by, a great swathe of the Scottish commentariat, on all sides of the constitutional debate, has set itself against the OB(F)A, apparently in the belief that existing laws had done such a good job of eliminating Scotland’s sectarian problem over the last 100 years that there was no need for additional action.


We expect this case will be used as further ammunition for their criticisms of it. But there’s a crucially important line buried three-quarters of the way down the piece.

“Mr Graham, said to have never been in trouble with police before, told the court he had been to more than 300 Celtic matches and regularly sang the song.

After the case he said: “I’m relieved. The last 10 months have been terrible and I’m glad it’s all over.” But he added: “I will never sing the song again.”

(Our emphasis, of course.)

That’s a win, is it not?

The Offensive Behaviour (Football) Act will not, and cannot, ever defeat sectarianism directly. If hundreds of fans all sing an offensive song, they obviously can’t all be arrested and prosecuted – there aren’t enough police present at games and the legal system simply doesn’t have the resources. But that doesn’t mean it’s useless.

Mr Graham’s experience is an important step in the “de-normalisation” of sectarianism. It’s an approach that’s paid dividends with other aspects of anti-social behaviour, most notably smoking. As such it is, in the wider analysis, almost completely unimportant that he was eventually cleared.

If convicted he’d have suffered a small fine, payable at a few pounds a week, which in itself would have served as no deterrent. But being dragged through the courts for months with the mere threat of a criminal conviction has, it seems, brought home to him that his actions are no longer considered acceptable in a civilised society.

Or at the very least, has taught him that singing songs praising the suicide of murderers at Scottish football matches – in pursuit of an agenda related to the internal politics of another country which was rendered obsolete before Mr Graham was even born – is more trouble than it’s worth, which in practice has the same effect.

Every time one young man is dissuaded from singing sectarian songs by stories like that of Calum Graham – either because he realises his actions are ugly, brutish and retarded, or simply because he doesn’t want to risk the possible consequences – the voice of bigotry literally gets quieter, and volume is its lifeblood.

This site hopes the Scottish Government stays strong in the face of sustained criticism of the Act, both by those whose motives are clear and those whose are more opaque. Even if there’s never a single successful conviction under the OB(F)A, it can still make a huge contribution to achieving the goal for which it was designed.

It’s a relatively heavy-handed application of the nudge theory, to be sure. But decades of ingrained, corrosive hatred in Scottish society won’t be shifted without a more full-bodied shove.

As a tackle, it’s crude and decidedly late. We gave the alternative approach – tutting piously and shaking our heads – at least a hundred years, despite its manifest failure. But while nobody ever cheers and applauds their team’s centre-half for hauling down an opposing striker 40 yards from goal when he’s about to break through the last line of defence, wise commentators will note that “it was a good foul to give away”, considering the inevitable yellow card a good trade for a near-certain goal.

Sometimes it’s wise to step back and look at the bigger picture, to candidly appraise the flawed action that’s ultimately in the team’s best interests. And that’s a lesson which has resonance far beyond the world of football.

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      Nudge Numpty: The Rev. Stuart Campbell. | Tychy

    263 to “The heavy nudge”

    1. Gordon Bain says:

      This is beautifully written. I agree wholeheartedly.

    2. Doug Daniel says:

      Careful Stu, you might upset a couple of football fans and derail the entire independence movement.

    3. Iain says:

      I hate the political cliche of ‘a message must be sent’, but in this and several other areas a statement of intent about what we want our country to become has to be made. If someone feels that their ‘rights’ are defined by singing about Fenian blood or being able drink 20p cans of lager, at the very least it should be made clear to them the poverty of their ambitions. For all their flaws, the SNP seems to be the only mainstream party taking this on board.

    4. Holebender says:

      Exactly! As with so much government policy (smoking bans, taxation, etc.) the whole point is to discourage undesirable outcomes and encourage some other behaviour.

    5. indy says:

      To be honest most of the vocal critics of the bill are middle class types who have never been around sectarian violence. That doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to criticise of course and maybe there are aspects of the bill that need reworked or looked at again, as well as aspects of the implementation that need to be looked at. But they are looking at it from a distance. There was one particular article I read by Alex Massie questioning why someone had got lifted for wearing an overtly sectarian t-shirt which could have got his head kicked in. That aspect of the issue didn’t seem to occur to Mr Massie!
      I guess rugby/cricket fans are rather more civilised. I realise that sounds really classist and I am not saying people like Alex Massie or Lallands Peat Worrier don’t have any point, but when you read them you just can’t help thinking they aren’t really in touch with the full wide screen technicolour splendour of sectarian violence cos they’ve never seen it in action and – crucially – don’t perhaps realise that things can go from calm to mayhem in a split second.

    6. Luigi says:

      The two tribes in the above photo are obviously from different nations. Which one does Margaret Curran consider to be “foreign”?

    7. Desimond says:

      Hmmm..No mention of the 2 Police Officers at Inverness who were found to be “unreliable witnesses” during such a case. One officer misheard a lyric and claimed “Well i found it offernsive!” as justification of an arrest.
      I remember you defending the Government against OTT Police action during the kettling incident Rev, I dont see you calling for Police to change their attitudes anywhere here mind. if yoru going to praise the Scottish Govt here, your gonna have to accept the abuse they get when they law-enforcers act incorrectly.
      As for Offensive and Sectarian songs, are we back to the Flower of Scotland or Rule Brittania debate again. Im not defending any IRA songs here, but the Offensive Behaviour Bill has been a total own-goal to continue the football patter. 

    8. Iain says:

      Don’t be putting hard questions like that! All I can see is Magrit repeating ‘does not compute, does not compute’ and her heid exploding.

    9. orkers says:

      Both sides of the divide, at least those expressed in rival football blogs, has been virulently opposed to the ‘Football behaviour Bill’.
      I have always been in favour and said as much in various forums, so much so that I’ve been barred from posting on them. Not only for my support of the Bill, but my support for Independence and my support of the SNP.
      The only reservation I have is …………….why does it only apply to Football? 

    10. HandandShrimp says:

      Alas football, two tribes watching increasingly dire rubbish. The SFA and the continual jostling for power and money have led the game into the wilderness and they have lost the map on how to get back. What surprises me is that the fans can even be bothered with the old enmities. It is about as interesting and relevent as New Cumnock saying they don’t like Third Lanark. The footballing malaise has fed through to the national team. Can we even call it our national game any more? How often do we see kids practising, desperate to be the next Pele.
      That aside, I am glad that the Neanderthals on both sides of the fence are being nudged into realising that what they are doing is both old, pathetic and irrelevant in a modern world.

    11. The Man in the Jar says:

      Hats off to the SG for actually doing something with regard to sectarianism. I sometimes wonder if other parties have let it go for years because it suited their agenda.
      I acknowledge that there are many people outside the central belt that just don’t “get it” regarding sectarianism I think that it is something that you have to live with for a long time to fully understand just how insidious it can be. Things have moved on a lot since I was a wee boy but it is still there lurking below the surface. Sectarianism should be attacked from every direction and should become socially unacceptable just like drink driving. This in turn brings up the subject of “faith” schools. Why do we teach children as young as four that we are all divided into “us and them”. What lesson dose that teach them?
      Religious education should be taught in the home and in the church and has no place in a modern education system, which in all other ways teaches equality and tolerance.

    12. An excellent piece, Stu.  I do have deep reservations about criminalizing songs. However, when they are sung by mobs whose sole intent is to antagonise another group of people, then the OB(F)A is a measured response.

      I still think the best way to deal with sectarianism is to take the mickey out of it, though.

    13. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The only reservation I have is …………….why does it only apply to Football?”

      Much of the most recent criticism has been that it doesn’t. It was speculated, for example, that Roseanna Cunningham’s comments to some Tories in the Holyrood bar could have come under the remit of the bill because there happened to be a football match on the telly at the time. Other cases have concerned behaviour at train stations and travelling to games. Basically it can – theoretically – be made to apply almost anywhere.

    14. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I sometimes wonder if other parties have let it go for years because it suited their agenda.”

      Indeed. Labour in particular have been adept at playing both sides of the sectarian divide, cosying up to the Orange Order and then somehow also getting the Catholic community to believe that the SNP/independence is a threat to them. If sectarianism dies, so does that political tactic. I wish it was possible to be less cynical about it.

    15. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I still think the best way to deal with sectarianism is to take the mickey out of it, though.”

      That works on a website or a TV show or in a newspaper. It’s not so much use on the Copland Road or Kerrydale Street.

    16. Desimond says:

      Is there a line, can it be drawn?
      Should Sports fan refrain from any Political Campaigning?
      Be careful what you wish for.

    17. Cath says:

      I probably fall into the middle class, doesn’t really understand sectarianism group. Until I moved to Glasgow a few years ago it was just something odd that happened over West. Living here it’s everywhere – in the colours of pubs, in flags flying, in the air. And I still don’t really understand it. I just know I don’t like it, and especially when it’s manifested in large, drunken groups of yobs in football shirts.
      So I’m all for the Scottish government tackling it. And even where politicians and the media have tried to use it against them, like with the Green Brigade action, I don’t think the government came out those reports as badly as their opponents might hope.
      However, where I suspect there may be an issue with the OBF act is that sectarianism is very real in Glasgow, way beyond football. It’s real within politics and institutions. So it may have been overly-optimistic to expect that the police and others would, in all cases, apply it in a reasonable and just way. It actually gives some sectarian interests a tool they can use to persecute others. So the application of it does need carefully monitored to ensure bigots and yobs of both sides are being taken to account and it’s not being used to unfairly silence only one side.
      I also feel, having seen the number of orange marches recently in Glasgow, it needs to be a far wider than just football.

    18. Barontorc says:

      Roddy Mac… I agree that the whole secterian cess-pit is a charades game. The songs are about another country’s people and history, but it has been a history with such an impact socially and divisively, that it deserves to be recorded, but not perpetuated into the modern age by people who have no association whatsoever apart from their respective football team’s colours.
      The unholy state Scottish Labour is in; continuously playing the sectarian card, speaks volumes of their standards and what values they aspire to for a future balanced Scotland.
      Let’s keep it all, where it should be, as folklore, no more than that. I’m more worried about Hague’s present-day sabre-rattling!

    19. Training Day says:

      Very ambivalent about using legislation to address this problem.  Many unionist elements (particularly as the Rev says in the Labour Party) have seen the legislation as a godsend to allow them to corral some supporters of both sides of the divide into – ironically enough – the same anti-independence pen.  That Labour have no consistency, no principle and no shame in so doing is the least of that party’s worries.
      Having recently been treated to a respectable-looking middle aged woman launching a tirade of sectarian abuse at anyone in her vicinity in a pub on a quiet Sunday afternoon, we better believe that the problem hasn’t gone away, and that scratched surfaces reveal much ugliness.  On the plus side, the legislation has prompted supporters of the team I support – Partick Thistle – to desist from singing a song which, although intended as a refutation of allegiance to both blue and green religiosity in Glasgow, has in my opinion long since passed its sell-by date.  In that sense, the legislation has been positive.

    20. DMyers says:

      Desimond, at what point did sectarian hatred/ignorance become political campaigning?  What does Irish history have to do with 21st century football, other than nothing?

    21. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Rev Stu.
      At 10;31am
      Could you possibly be thinking of my MSP a certain Mr. McMahon (a liar!) leader of the Irish Diaspora in Scotland cosying up to the OO when he welcomed their contribution to the No campaign?

    22. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Should Sports fan refrain from any Political Campaigning?”

      The idea that singing about Bobby Sands at a Scottish football match is “political campaigning” is, without wishing to be offensive, moronic. What is the goal of that “campaigning”, exactly? Persuading Inverness Caley Thistle fans to bomb pubs in aid of a united Ireland?

    23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Many unionist elements (particularly as the Rev says in the Labour Party) have seen the legislation as a godsend to allow them to corral some supporters of both sides of the divide into – ironically enough – the same anti-independence pen. “

      As previously noted, they were doing that anyway. They’ve just had to change their script a bit, and this one’s a little harder to sell because nobody loves football neds.

    24. The Man in the Jar says:

      at 10;46 am
      I think that you last sentence could be a tad incorrect.

    25. MajorBloodnok says:

      I hadn’t realised that singing sectarian songs intended solely to wind up the other lot of bigots was a form of political campaigning.

    26. Jiggsbro says:

      For the people who object to the bill, I have only two questions:
      1) Which religious or ethnic group would you like to be free to express your hatred of?
      2) Why?

    27. Erchie says:

      Be careful Rev. You’ll get certain well known “Unionist of no party but never criticise SLab” lawyers like 
       @loveandgarbage teaming up with genteel Nat SNP Academic lawyers to tut loudly at your naivety on Twitter

    28. Desimond says:

      Bobby Sands…so Christine Grahams “Celtic fans sing Political songs” quote comes to fruition. The Bill is seriously flawed and severely open to interpretation. At what point is something offensive? Is the Fields of Athenry okay but the Irish National Anthem is not? I would be interested to see how many of Kennys Conviction stats are based on fans within football grounds and fans within general areas. Is this really the best use of limited Police resources? Is this really the best use of Parliament time? How many people who were afraid of the “monster called sectarianism” feel safer with such a Bill?
      I have no qualms regards a Government looking to make a fairer safer society but this Bill has did nothing for the SNP Scottish Government but harm. Perhaps it will work out “for the greater good” but the short term damage coudl be enough to sink any greater long term gain for the country itself.

    29. Desimond says:

      My point is perspective…do we decide “Nothing is allowed” as someone will be offended? The vague and rushed Bill has allowed Police officers to make judgements that they should not be making. 

    30. Jiggsbro says:

      The vague and rushed Bill
      Which parts are vague?

    31. Bobby Mckail says:

      Seen Peter Bell this morning regarding the Smoking ban in Cars saying sometimes the Gov Legislate to send a message.
      After seeing this Lad saying “I’ll never sing that song again” it brings a smile to my face.

    32. Iain says:

      @ Desimond
      ‘Perhaps it will work out “for the greater good” but the short term damage coudl be enough to sink any greater long term gain for the country itself.’
      Surely short term damage to a political party is always trumped by long term gain for a country? At the very least you have to accept that the SNP government embarked on this legislation entirely out of principle, and the politicians, e.g. McMahon, who are sticking their oars in are entirely lacking in principle.

    33. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I have no qualms regards a Government looking to make a fairer safer society but this Bill has did nothing for the SNP Scottish Government but harm.”

      Last poll I saw it still had a large majority of public support. The fact that the objectors are loud doesn’t mean they speak for many.

    34. Weedeochandorris says:

      @ The Man in the Jar. 100% correct.  We must stop segregating our schoolchildren – thats where the rot starts.  Them and us.  I remember school football, netball etc teams having rivalry based on faith not just different schools when competing.  Is it still the same now?  Anyway, its archaic and should be flung oot wi the bath water.  I think it has served the ‘keep them divided and easier to govern’ purpose long enough.

    35. Tobias Smollett says:

      @Reverend Stuart
      Please do not take this the wrong way sir. I know passions run high when campaigning for the country in which you deign not to live.
      But, given some of your output, both here and elsewhere, the impartial reader could sometimes be mistaken for having visited the wrong end of a fevered Irish republican website in terms of  style, tone and intent:
      “Fight on and make our homeland a nation once again !”

    36. Peter Mirtitsch says:

      I have heard some come away with such nonsense as , “How will we know what is offensive?”…well, if you really can’t work that one out, should you really be allowed out in the first place? Maybe you should get your bumper pack of crayons and get back to your room.

      Seriously though, there are many who claim that this action is unwieldy and unworkable, and for some reason should never have seen the light of day. Since self policing has been shown to be an unmitigated disaster, maybe the people need some guidance. I would love some constructive criticism which would give some positive ideas as to how to cope with this very real problem. Come on all you Billies and Tims, let’s hear yous now. Where are yer bright ideas, or are you just happy to aggravate people and enjoy a good fight?

    37. Marc Conaghan says:

      Am I the only one who thinks you seem to have missed the point all together. The guy did not commit an offence because the song was judged to be non sectarian. So what your basically saying is that the legislation brought in to eviscerate freedom of speech and arrest celtic fans is a success because even though it has failed in the court of law it makes people scared to engage in something you disagree with. So what happens when unionists decide “independence” shall not be spoken? Freedom of speech, especially the nasty things people say must be protected to ensure a free society. I dont want to live in a society where the majority decide what is morally right for us all. I suspect neither do you.

    38. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      The problem here is what is “offensive”. The song he was singing does not appear particularly offensive to me but probably could offend a variety of bigots.
      It’s quite a complex issue and while the intention of the law is admirable the detail is definitely muddled.
      Singing songs about Kevin Barry for instance and other heroes of the Irish struggle to independence does not qualify as offensive to a fairly substantial section of our population and because it might offend other intolerant people doesn’t neccesarily make it genuinely offensive.
      Does “Lay the proud usurper low” have an offensive tone to it ? 
      Singing abusive songs about religious leaders and other persons’ religions is patently offensive however.
      I ran a pub in Lanarkshire. To everybody’s surprise I allowed the Rangers bus and the Celtic bus to leave from it. I also allowed football colours to be worn at the bar.  
      As I had to explain on many occasions “If Sammy there wearing a Rangers scarf or Paddy there wearing a Celtic scarf offends you YOU are the problem. Grow up!”
      Why do we continue segregating fans at Celtic /Rangers matches. We are merely continuing a problem. They should be allowed to mix and then be required to behave themselves like sensible, adult people and if they don’t they should be arrested and banged up.

    39. HandandShrimp says:

      On tribalism and flags. Once independent there would be no Union flag to wave and why would the other side wave the Irish tricolour at the Saltire. They should both wave the Saltire and their team colours – nothing more…well I suppose they could adopt a developing nation say Malawi vs Swaziland or something…
      …I struggle a bit with sectarianism…it really is all 40 shades of stupid.

    40. Jiggsbro says:

      if they don’t they should be arrested and banged up.
      They won’t and there aren’t enough cells.

    41. Desimond says:

      Peter Mirtitsch says:
      29 May, 2013 at 11:21 am

      I have heard some come away with such nonsense as , “How will we know what is offensive?”… Sadly thats easy to dispute with events such as 2 Police Officers talking utter nonsense in court, some would say lying, as they made an arrest just because they were offended by a football fan who was simply enjoying himself and singing a tribute to a player.

    42. Doug Daniel says:

      I remember waking up one morning in my flat in Glasgow city centre, opening the curtains and seeing stuff spray-painted on the windows of the building across the lane. But because they were done from the inside, the phrases were backwards to me. I shook my head and went to the bathroom, only to find out that the position of the graffiti was perfectly positioned to reflect in my mirror. So every day for about the remaining 18 months I stayed in that flat, I had “FUCK THE POPE”, “RFC”, “UVF” and “BNP” staring me in the face every morning. I’m not a catholic, but just the idea of some troglodyte Rangers numbnut breaking into a building just to spray-paint his stupid sectarian slogans that no one was ever going to see (I’m fairly sure it wasn’t intended to annoy me specifically) was enough to piss me off.
      I also remember being stopped a few times in Glasgow and being asked what school I went to or what team I supported. Fortunately “Harlaw Academy” and “Aberdeen” are fairly safe answers, regardless of which side the questioner supports.
      Those two things sum up Glasgow to me, as an outsider who had the (mis?)fortune of being a resident for 4 years. It’s fucking pathetic, and I don’t really care which side is worse – the whole thing is just fucking pathetic and a complete embarrassment to the rest of Scotland.
      Incidentally, normal football chants go along the lines of:
      “our team is the best”
      “our team is great, your team is shit”
      “this player is extremely good”
      “one of your players has a reputation for embarking in questionable sexual activities”
      “the wife of one of your players is very sexually unappealing”
      “the person officiating this game indulges in masturbatory habits”
      “this is a well-known pop song, but we’ve changed some of the words to make it about one of our players”
      You get the picture. Now, I’m not offended by songs about the IRA, hunger strikes or anything like that – in fact I’m very sympathetic to Irish nationalism and the aim of a united Ireland (especially films about it like The Wind That Shakes The Barley, Hunger and In The Name Of The Father) – but what exactly do Celtic fans (many of whom probably don’t have a clue what they’re actually singing about) feel they are accomplishing by singing such songs at football matches? What does it achieve, other than to keep the whole pathetic rigmarole between protestants and catholics going?
      To those of us looking on, it just looks like people trying to prove some tedious point. And it’s not offensive, it’s just a pain in the arse.

    43. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “a football fan who was simply enjoying himself and singing a tribute to a player.”

      Sorry, which position did Bobby Sands play in?

    44. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “legislation brought in to eviscerate freedom of speech and arrest celtic fans”

      Please fuck off.

    45. Desimond says:

      While i find the SNPs intention honourable in many areas, the Bill and especially its implementation has not been their finest hour, just my humble opinion.

    46. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Please do not take this the wrong way sir.”

      I shall take it in precisely the offensive and stupid manner which it was intended.

    47. Desimond says:

      To Rev
      You cite the Bobby Sands example….i cite the Oh Ah Samaras example. Youre offended by the Bobby Sands song and 2 Police officers were offended by a Celtic Player tribute song….miles apart but deemed the same in the eyes of the Police it seems under the remit of a bill named “Offensive Behaviour”

    48. Jiggsbro says:

      The problem here is what is “offensive”. The song he was singing does not appear particularly offensive to me but probably could offend a variety of bigots.
      It labels an entire country as a ‘monster’ (changed to ‘bastard’ in this case) and promotes a terrorist organisation and armed resistance to the state. It’s clearly offensive – you don’t really need to be a bigot to be offended by support for terrorism – and the case only fell because public order was maintained by police and stewards. To my mind, that was a cop-out by Sheriff; I don’t imagine parliament intended ‘would be likely to incite public disorder’ to be read as ‘would be likely to incite public disorder if there weren’t sufficient police to prevent it’, which is why it’s there together with the ‘likely to incite public disorder’.

    49. Marc Conaghan says:

      Ha ha touch a nerve did I? When the SNP minister Christine Grahame says the bill is about equalisation that said it all. For the record i am a member of the SNP and of course very much pro independence 🙂

    50. indy says:

      I agree with Cath that it is real outside of football -although not as prevalent as some think.
      But the thing is you are not supposed to be sectarian. It is officially frowned upon, workplaces  have polices on it. In normal polite society there are things you aren’t allowed to say. Schools spend a lot of time and money teaching children that sectarianism, like racism, is bad and nice people don’t do it. And that is effective to a point. But it is completely undermined if we say yes sectarianism is bad and nice people don’t do it – unless you’re at a football match where it is perfectly OK.-
      That is the real issue here and why it is necessary, quite apart from giving police powers to move in quickly when things look dodgy. As long as we effectively said sectarianism is bad except when it’s not, we weren’t really saying it was bad. And that was what we were saying before the past few years. Football provided a space where sectarianism was not only allowed but celebrated. Now it doesn’t. That’s progress. No matter what anyone says by that fact alone it has already reduced sectarianism.

    51. Cheryl says:

      Personally I find it quite worrying that anyone would consider Roll of Honour to be offensive.  The song isn’t about ‘murderers’, it’s about men taking the only road left to them to have their status as political prisoners recognised and as a supporter of the suffragettes who took the very same route I can never see that action as offensive, nor the commemoration of deaths from such actions.  Hunger striking still goes on all over the world.

      The problem as I see it, so far as Celtic supporters in general are concerned, is that there are swathes of Scottish society who are offended by anything remotely Irish, Catholic or Irish Republican in nature.  Many times one of my cousins has insisted to me that Celtic supporters should stop flying the tricolour and stop singing Irish songs, which I just find incredible.  It seems history and tradition and heritage are only to be celebrated and remembered and enjoyed, and Scotland is  to strive to be an inclusive and welcoming country, only where it doesn’t involve expression of Irish identity.  I very rarely see the same hostility levelled at any other group of football supporters who display any sort of collective identity.

      That, of course, is not to excuse any of my fellow supporters who do partake in offensive or sectarian behaviour. 

      The problem with the bill is that what is offensive is subjective and it gives the police free reign to decide exactly what is offensive on top of the already heavy handed policing I know the Green Brigade for example have been dealing with – we all saw the ridiculous show of kettling.  The police are making the lives of many supporters a living hell by turning up at their doors regularly, waiting for them at airports, double searching fans going into the grounds etc.  It’s unjustified. I also don’t think a single Celtic supporter as yet who didn’t plead guilty for an easy life has been convicted of offensive behaviour for singing one of these songs.  Maybe it’s a combination of just trying to smash any organised group along with the offensive behaviour bill but the result is that it’s making life unnecessarily hard for supporters (not just Celtic supporters).

      We’re turning into a country of utter cry-babies who are offended by everything.  Football supporters always have and always will say and do not very nice things.  Football fans have also traditionally been working class – that’s certainly true of Celtic supporters – and therefore a fair number have been and are political.  I don’t see quite why politics should be kept out of football.  I’m more than happy to see Celtic supporters with their Yes banners, anti-fascism banners, support for the Palestinians etc.  I really don’t see why it’s the one area of life where politics is supposed to be a no-go.

    52. Jiggsbro says:

      Ha ha touch a nerve did I?
      Yes, you got the ‘bullshit nerve’ tingling.
      The guy did not commit an offence because the song was judged to be non sectarian.
      The guy did not commit an offence because the Sheriff decided that the police and stewards prevented any public disorder. A song commemorating sectarian terrorists is sectarian.
      So what your basically saying is that the legislation brought in to eviscerate freedom of speech
      If you want the freedom to express your hatred of ethnic or religious groups, you have it. You just have to express it in your own home, not at a football match in the presence of members of that group.
      So what happens when unionists decide “independence” shall not be spoken?
      We wake up and wonder what we ate to give us such strange dreams.

    53. Jiggsbro says:

      The song isn’t about ‘murderers’,
      Francis Hughes was convicted of murder. Others were convicted of attempted murder, manslaughter, possession of various weapons, theft of various weapons and punishment shootings. They all belonged to an organisation which routinely murdered people and it is vanishingly unlikely that only Hughes was involved in murder.

    54. Cheryl says:

      @Doug  – And it’s not offensive, it’s just a pain in the arse.
      That’s exactly how I see it.  In my younger days I might have been more into singing ‘the rebs’ as they’re known but being a bit older it’s not really my cup of tea to be going to a game and singing those sorts of songs any more.  Sometimes I wish they’d wheesht.  But I don’t find any of it offensive – I share a lot of the sentiments.  In my more recent experience, the older sections of the support are moving away from the more politically motivated songs and the Green Brigade will rarely sing Irish rebel songs at Celtic Park.  It’s the younger, ‘hardcore’ away support and I find there are less and less of them as time goes on.  I think it’s going to die down or off naturally as there are more and more Scots-born Celtic supporters with no or little Irish heritage on a personal level.

    55. balgayboy says:

      Read all this antiquated sectarianism shit and wonder if my country Scotland will ever pull itself into the modern world?
      Presently working in a country that has been over the centuries/decades experienced invasion, occupation, suppression and oppression many times and with the added bonus that it went through a horrific civil war only to end up with their people divided by political idealism and the geographical 38th parallel.
      Guess what! the people of this divided country I work in are for the best part very tolerant of all religions, foreigner’s and other cultures. This country also has some of the largest and most successful manufacturing and heavy industry company’s in the world.
      Never heard from any of these the nationals espousing dislike or singing hatred songs about their previous oppressors or anyone else for that matter.
      For the most part these people just work hard for themselves and their families to enhance their own and their children’s future as well as enjoying their own culture and entertainment without prejudice.

    56. MajorBloodnok says:

      @Doug Daniel
      As an east coast boy at Glasgow University in the early ’80s (“my, you’re so cosmopolitan” as someone said to me once, without any detectable irony), I did ask why the phrase “Fuck the Pope” was commonly written on walls and elsewhere.
      Seems it’s because it’s easier than writing “Fuck the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland”.  Who knew….

    57. Atypical_Scot says:

      Don’t follow the hockey, and live east enough to be untouched by the hand of God however, my young lad likes Chelsea, seems down south Nazi salutes are common place, along with intense racial hated.
      Tak a big bunch o loons, put em aw in een place, gee them a shack, throw in a ba, and someone’ll  aye be disappointed. 

    58. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “For the record i am a member of the SNP and of course very much pro independence”

      Neither of those things actually prevent someone being an idiot.

    59. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Youre offended by the Bobby Sands song”

      When did I say that? I have a problem with it *being sung at a Scottish football match*, where it has no conceivable relevance or purpose other than provocation.

    60. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “it’s about men taking the only road left to them to have their status as political prisoners recognised and as a supporter of the suffragettes who took the very same route”

      Ah yes, how well we all recall those many indiscriminate mass murders of civilians committed by the Suffragettes.

    61. Another London Dividend says:

      There is far too much sectarian bile at Scottish football matches and segregation of fans probably made the chanting worse although less actual violence involved. The Scottish government was right to tackle this head on.
      Brian Wilson  and other Labour politicians attacked  the Scottish
      Parliament’s Offensive Behaviour at Football Act no doubt as a result
      of recent police action against a group of Green Brigade football
      supporters. It is more likely the police action was relating to the
      pre devolution UK Public Order Act 1986 which was passed when Brian Wilson
      was an MP.

      Among its many other draconian restrictions Westminster requires at least six
      clear days’ written notice to be given to the police before most
      public processions and provides police the power to impose conditions
      on assemblies to prevent serious public disorder, serious criminal
      damage or serious disruption to the life of the community. The
      conditions also include specifying the number of people who may
      take part, the location of the assembly, and its maximum duration.

      The incident Brian Wilson referred to resulted in charges brought related to misuse of drugs, breach of the peace or other public order matters.

      Whether the police over reacted is of course another matter but for
      Labour politicians to blame the anti sectarian measures was a bit far fetched and no doubt polically motivated.

    62. Joeninho says:

      The problem with this bill is that the Police arrest people at the fitba’ for offensive behaviour, but then don’t arrest them on the high/main street for the same behaviour.

    63. Rod Mac says:

      At the outset let me once again confirm my footballing allegiances lie in the South side of Glasgow ,and  I am happy to profess my fondness of the Glasgow Rangers. Neither bigot or British unionist am I!!!!
      On the topic of “nudging” would it not help society if the United Kingdom Government repealed the appalling Act of Succession which is far more blatant in its sectarianism than any knuckle dragger singing about murdering  British subjects of the crown , or being up to their knees in Fenian blood?
      This would send out the message from the British establishment that religious intolerance is not acceptable in this day and age.

    64. Cath says:

      Never heard from any of these the nationals espousing dislike or singing hatred songs about their previous oppressors or anyone else for that matter.
      It does seem ironic that in a country where we are about to have a democratic referendum on independence, which will – if we win – achieve independence without bloodshed or terrorism, we have a section of society singing songs celebrating another country’s far more violent independence struggle. And playing it out with bigots on the other side of our own independence debate.
      Why can’t both sides put away the hatred and the focus on Ireland and join the real debate about the country they actually live in?

    65. HandandShrimp says:

      There was a time when all the flags, banners songs and insults were pretty much unchecked. We also had deaths, riots and police horse charges on the pitch to break up the battling fans. The problem is that the bearers of these traditions have repeatedly shown themselves to be immature numpties incapable of conducting themselves in a reasonable manner. You don’t get this sort of behaviour at..well just name any other sport.

    66. Joybell says:

      When I came to Scotland at first I wondered what this “Old Firm” was that commentators on the Scottish media seemed to be so proud of. (Not just sports commentators, and both male and female)  Imagine my disappointment when I discovered it is just two teams that hated each others guts.

    67. Jiggsbro says:

      You don’t get this sort of behaviour at..well just name any other sport.

    68. cheryl says:

      I’m not sure how banging on about murder and murderers somehow invalidates a genuine claim to the status of political prisoner. There are many notable current and former political prisoners who could easily be – and have been – branded murderers and/or terrorists. It doesn’t make them any less entitled to be afforded the status of political prisoner. The point about the Suffragettes was that hunger striking has long been regarded a tool in the battle for recognition of that.

    69. scaredy cat says:

      I would be interested to know how many people, commenting on this piece, actually know the words to the songs they criticise. I will be honest and say that, despite the fact that I lived for several years in a working class west of Scotland, football crazy home, I do not. Other than ‘The Fields of Athenry’, which is a beautiful,  song, I didn’t pay attention to anything else. It strikes me though’ that some do take offence to it simply because it is sung by the other side. It is not always easy to know why some people find some songs offensive or why. I once, in my nativity, sang it at a typical Scottish house party, to be met with fury some some of the men there. Interestingly, the women in the room shushed them, and before long all the females were singing along. Personally, I would not want to criticise until I knew more. The Fields of Athenry records the hurt suffered by a young woman, left alone with her child, after her husband is sent to Australia on a prison ship, after stealing to feed his family. Too poor to eat, at the hands of the Westminster government. Some stories need to be told again and again. 

    70. cheryl says:

      Cath – both sides have, at least to the extent of banners at the grounds. The debate fairly rages on the online football  forums as well and I’m happy to say that the one I frequent regularly has a substantial majority in favour of independence in the fairly regular polls.
      Unfortunately, as everywhere, still too many people who can’t see by the independence/Salmond thing. And strangely a few crackpots who think obtaining independence by peaceful and democratic means, means you dont really need it.

    71. Erchie says:

      It’s amazing, paranoid even, that Celtic fans declare this Act is aimed at them when the background at the time was of bullets being sent to Neil Lennon and others.
      Both sides have had 100 years to stop this hate, a ridiculous one since both sides have more in common than they realise, especially the being shafted by the British State bit

    72. Craig M says:

      I might as well pitch in with my thoughts.
      As the incident was in Inverness and as a recent resident of the town I think I’m qualified to comment.
      I can recall laying on my bed, listening to a bunch of guys walking through the High School grounds at night, singing something along the lines of “We are not sectarian, we are UDA” or something like that. The guys in question were Invernessians, born and bred. So why were they singing something associated with the troubles in Ireland? Answer, because they are not particularly bright in the grey matter and like many of their demographic, they latch onto whatever tribal, herd following trend the demographic group are currently following.
      What did I feel at the time?
      Answer, despair and sorrow, that a group of young men from the Highlands can’t find anything better to think about.
      I can bet that this little tale is common throughout Scotland, so what is the moral?
      Answer, that we have a many people  in our society who are fundamentally lacking in either education, insight or common sense. Perhaps their intellectual horizons are limited. Perhaps the tribal instinct is strong. Perhaps the tendency to follow a fad, trend, group is strong within them and the path to individualism is obscured.
      Football is a great game. Why can’t fans from the Old Firm invent songs or legends based on the skills displayed? Or is that not displaying enough testosterone?
      Anyway, I ramble. Thank goodness I’m not part of the demographic that participates in sectarian singing, thoughts and activities. But then my intellectual horizons are not limited.

    73. pmcrek says:

      @Rod Mac
      It certainly would and while I do agree with the article that the legislation may actually be tackling the problem, as a supporter of free speech, no matter how much I detest what is said by bigots, I do still oppose this legislation.
      Its been said many times before but one of the largest contributors to intolerance in Scotland is segregated schools, one entirely secular school system would decimate sectarianism in a generation or two, however as such a move would be so politically sensitive in Scotland, I can understand why the SNP are looking for other solutions.
      To be fair, its not as if Labour ever tried to do anything about sectarianism, in fact Labour actually seem happy to stoke the bigotry fire whenever it suits them.

    74. Albert Herring says:

      You don’t get this sort of behaviour at..well just name any other sport.”
      I’ve personally been involved in some pretty nasty incidents at the Subbuteo.

    75. Shinty says:

      Nice one Major!
      I have no interest in football (but do enjoy it at World Cup level).
      Surely the SFA or whoever, could stop all this shit in an instance if it had the balls to make a stance, be it race related or sectarianism. It may not help off the grounds, but it would show the numpties on both sides that it wasn’t acceptable.

    76. HandandShrimp says:

      To be fair when one of those wee subbuteo men ping in your eye all reason flies out of the window.

    77. pmcrek says:

      Albert Herring
      While being the victim of regular violent assaults from my brother anytime I bought Mayfair or Park Lane, most distressingly of all, I’ve actually had a handful of 4 sided dice hurled at me. For those not familiar with D&D they are extremely pointy dice, I actually  suffered 2D6 damage to my face and unfortunately lost initiative…

    78. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Other than ‘The Fields of Athenry’, which is a beautiful, song, I didn’t pay attention to anything else. It strikes me though’ that some do take offence to it simply because it is sung by the other side.”

      I’m not sure I’ve ever heard that particular song cited as being sectarian, certainly not in court.

    79. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “There are many notable current and former political prisoners who could easily be – and have been – branded murderers and/or terrorists. It doesn’t make them any less entitled to be afforded the status of political prisoner.”

      Indiscriminately murdering civilians is not a political act. Nelson Mandela didn’t do it.

      It’s pretty easy to tell if you’re a political prisoner or not. If you were imprisoned for what you believe, or for voicing your opinions, you’re a political prisoner. If you were imprisoned for murdering people, beating them up or shooting them through the knees, you’re just a criminal.

    80. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “On the topic of “nudging” would it not help society if the United Kingdom Government repealed the appalling Act of Succession”

      Has that not either just been repealed, or is about to be?

      (Apologies for the state of that sentence.)

      EDIT – here we are:

    81. Rod Mac says:

      Sectarianism is the bastard child of the British state.
      This has been used to great affect in Ulster and Scotland to benefit the ruling elite in london.
      Divide and Rule is a tactic used brilliantly by Westminster.
      Sunni against shi ite , Hindu against Muslim , Protestant versus Catholic  Jew against Muslim Zulu against Xhosa  the list is endless ,wherever there has been British Rule the divide and rule has been deployed.
      keep the natives busy while London plunders.

    82. pmcrek says:

      Re: Fields of Athenry, at least way back when I was going to Parkhead there were actually timed chants placed in between the songs lyrics one of which extolled the virtues of the IRA. A shame on two counts, because it really is a beautiful song.

    83. Desimond says:

      I see calls for ending Catholic schools. There are more Orange Walks in Glasgow than in Belfast and Derry combined. Now i find those Offensive, will we see the Bill extended to cover such nonsense or is that a Political Suicide step too far?

    84. scottish_skier says:

      Ah yes, sectarianism. An unpleasant, very British tradition.
      The lack of saltires makes me smile.

    85. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I see calls for ending Catholic schools. There are more Orange Walks in Glasgow than in Belfast and Derry combined. Now i find those Offensive, will we see the Bill extended to cover such nonsense or is that a Political Suicide step too far?”

      There’s no connection between the two things. I’d happily see every Orange Walk napalmed, but everyone on them is there of their own free will. Children have no say in what school they get sent to.

      And of course, some people would say that ending segregated education would choke Orange walks at source. It’s much harder to hate Catholics if you were at school with them for 12 years.

    86. Braco says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
      29 May, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      It’s pretty easy to tell if you’re a political prisoner or not. If you were imprisoned for what you believe, or for voicing your opinions, you’re a political prisoner. If you were imprisoned for murdering people, beating them up or shooting them through the knees, you’re just a criminal.
      That’s so simplistic Rev Stu. Watch Battle of Algiers again.


    87. Rod Mac says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
      29 May, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      “On the topic of “nudging” would it not help society if the United Kingdom Government repealed the appalling Act of Succession”
      Has that not either just been repealed, or is about to be?
      (Apologies for the state of that sentence.)
      EDIT – here we are:
      I might be mistaken Rev but I think the only amendment was on sex of the heir the Catholic barring is I think still in place .
      I could be wrong but I don’t think so.
      I would have had my ears burning in the Copland Road Stand if it had been.

    88. kmag says:

      It’s funny. I always see calls about schools being the root cause of the problem. Yet England and Wales seems to do just fine with faith schools without the baggage. 

    89. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I might be mistaken Rev but I think the only amendment was on sex of the heir the Catholic barring is I think still in place .
      I could be wrong but I don’t think so.
      I would have had my ears burning in the Copland Road Stand if it had been.”

      You didn’t get as far as this bit, then?

    90. manandboy says:

      Re Sectarianism & Catholic Schools
      In 13 years of catholic education, not once did I hear anything about ‘them & us’ or anything anti-protestant.
      Further, there are catholic schools, colleges and universities elsewhere throughout the world, but no culture of sectarianism in any of them.
      I’ll leave the reader to draw their own conclusion.

    91. Rod Mac says:

      You didn’t get as far as this bit, then?
      No but I got to this bit  
      The provision of the Act of Settlement requiring the monarch to be a Protestant continues unrepealed.
      The sectarianism of the British state is kept intact

    92. Ex-pat Jock says:

      After the case he said: “I’m relieved. The last 10 months have been terrible and I’m glad it’s all over.” But he added: “I will never sing the song again.”

      I wonder what the cost to the taxpayer for scaring this one chap into moderating his behaviour was? It’s going to be an expensive way to change people’s behaviour and even then it’s only once or twice a week.

      Also I would suggest it was the threat of being convicted for a “sectarian offence” and the impact on potential career opportunities etc, rather than fear of a fine, that is more likely the driving force on stopping him singing certain songs.

      However it should be noted the gentleman in question was “cleared under the Offensive Behaviour (Football) Act after admitting singing a pro-IRA song”, so whilst you say “That’s a win, is it not?” – it’s not a win in court…

      This is where the criticism of the “OB(F)A” stems from, in my opinion. I am not sure of the song in question but the accused admitted to singing it, at a football match, and yet they still couldn’t secure a conviction?
      Also, I’m no a legal man, but does this set a precedent for future cases? Is this now a legally approved song?

      And that is what I think is weird with the OB(F)A is – how actions which are perfectly legal in everyday life are suddenly deemed illegal set if done on match-day. Songs on cd that are legal to buy in Princes Street or down Sauchiehall Street cannot be sung outside those very shops? Doesn’t that seem weird?

    93. Atypical_Scot says:

      Sectarianism is not a political football.

    94. Dal Riata says:

      As I expected, those most against any legislation are those who have an affiliation with either side of the Old Firm. This also applies to politicians and journalists in Scotland. ‘This is a despicable violation of our human rights!’ or other ridiculous comments are often quoted.
      Those in authority of the Scottish game throughout all the worst of times are as much to blame for the continuation of the bigotry on show at OF games as the supporters. Wanton cowards they were (still?). It was the three monkeys routine with them each and every time ‘incidents’ occurred.
      To the eternal shame and embarrassment of Scotland’s football administrators, it took UEFA to say, ‘Enough of this!’ before any action was taken. Europe had decided that to play in its international football competitions it wasn’t acceptable to have teams with supporters who sang songs of hatred toward other nations, praising terrorists and their organisations and religious hatred and extremism. The OF go, ‘What? Who, us? No way, that’s not right!’ when it *was* right, the behaviour abroad was an embarrassment to the clubs and to the country they represent.
      Then the SNP implements legislation to make overt expressions of religious bigotry an offence and then we get what we have now – those who have most to lose from it squealing that its ‘Not fair!’, ‘Not right!’ or’ ‘Why us? What about…?’ That it has taken a government legislation to make bigotry an offence for the good of society as a whole to unite OF supporters in their opposition against it is hilarious, in the darkest sense, and shows up their pathetic accusations that ‘It’s not us. It’s that other lot!’ as being just that – pathetic.
      Standing up to bigotry takes a lot of guts in the present day – guts that no other government in Holyrood or Westminster had – and the SNP government should be applauded for starting the process.
      With something so ingrained within certain levels of society for so long the fight will be hard and long. But when the majority of the population of the country is so abhorred and disgusted with the bigotry that is so prevalent today, the cause is a good and proper one for a better society. Let’s see the battle won and Scottish society rid of this debilitating plague in a forward-looking and progressive independent Scotland.

    95. Desimond says:

      Its much harder to hate Catholics if you were at school with them for 12 years?
      If the solution is remove Catholics schools,  why are Catholic schools only a problem in Scotland and Northern Ireland?

    96. kmag says:

      “Then the SNP implements legislation to make overt expressions of religious bigotry an offence.”

      No it didn’t. It made those expressions an offense in a particular context, one that’s relatively ill-defined. The goal of the law isn’t the issue, it’s the actual implementation of it. It’s a well-meaning but badly written piece of legislation which has successive court cases have found isn’t up to scratch. 
      Either criminalise the behaviour or don’t. The legislation shows a complete lack of balls by casting the sectarian issue as football issue. The behaviour is either a crime or it isn’t it shouldn’t matter if someone is at or going to or from a football game when spewing bile or not.

    97. Atypical_Scot says:

      Easy rule to implement, if there’s sectarianism at a match, ban all the supporters from going for the rest of the season. 

    98. Shinty says:

      Del Riata
       Let’s see the battle won and Scottish society rid of this debilitating plague in a forward-looking and progressive independent Scotland.
      Couldn’t agree more.

    99. Rod Mac says:

      When I read a lot of the comments here I can only assume that the vast majority of you have not attended a football match and certainly not one involving either of the OF.
      Much of the comment here is like middle class dinner table chatter.
      You have to get to the root of any problem and not tinker with the edges of the effect The United Kingdom is a Sectarian State ,of that there is no doubt.
      One only has to look at the partition of ireland and the rights to the throne to confirm this.
      It is not the OF, or Catholic Schools that are to blame but a culture in the UK that not so long ago that  Catholics ,nor Jews ,nor non whites could gain entry to a golf club ,a bowling club or certain offices of state.
      Indeed tony Blair chose to demit office before becoming a Roman Catholic
      Indeed the UK has never  to my knowledge ever had a RC Prime Minister.
      If we were to investigate the very top echelons of power in UK at government and Civil Service I suspect there are very few if any non WASPS
      I refer to my earlier posts divide and rule suits the British establishment
      Before anyone thinks I have any ulterior motive I am in fact a Church of Scotland attending Christian and Rangers man.
      For what it is worth the crowd at Ibrox is most certainly getting less and less sectarian.
      The fans of either side like winding each other up , and in banning certain songs you only encourage the defiant minority to goad and flaunt the law.
      In the Independent Scotland with a written Constitution stating that anyone of any religion or none can hold the highest office  we will then address the root and not have to tinker with the affect. IMHO

    100. Braco says:

      kmag says:
      29 May, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      It’s funny. I always see calls about schools being the root cause of the problem. Yet England and Wales seems to do just fine with faith schools without the baggage. 

      religion has not been used as consistently in England and Wales as it has been in West Central Scotland as an issue for cynical political control. As Doug Daniel has stated, the problem does not exist in Aberdeen, though it has Catholic and Non Denominational Schools.

      So it’s not just ‘not an issue’ in England and Wales, it’s ‘not an issue’ in the rest of Scotland outwith the West Central Region. (Except on match days, sadsadsmily)
      Consider England’s ‘issues’ with Muslim schools, Asians, foreigners and the political hay UKIP and the BNP (not to mention Labour and Tories) are making with them. Then simply multiply by say 100 years.
      As we have been seeing from Mags Curren et al, the Unionist parties outlook on the usefulness of these divisive political opportunities are not really all that different.
      We in West Central Scotland have to deal with the realities of where decades (centuries) of these policies have left us. The obscene division of children along religious lines in order to bolster political and regional divisions which have helped retain the institutional powers and interests of the status quo (whether Protestant or Catholic) is, to me and many others, unacceptable. 
      To ignore School segregation as the specific problem it is within the (thankfully less and less) corrosive sectarian culture of West Central Scotland, just because such schools are not a problem in other regional cultures around the UK would be like refusing to tackle a cause of racism in the Midlands of England just because the same institutions show no sign of racism in other English regions.

      ie Stupid.

    101. Jiggsbro says:

      If the solution is remove Catholics schools,  why are Catholic schools only a problem in Scotland and Northern Ireland?
      History, geography and politics.

    102. kmag says:

      Braco. Where’s the proof that the abolition of faith schools will resolve or even affect the issue?
      As you freely admit they don’t seem to be causing or feeding into sectarianism in the rest of the UK which would suggest they’re not really much of a factor outside some middle class delusions.

    103. Caroline Corfield says:

      personally I am against separate schooling for any reason; financial, religious, disability. There ought to be one single school system as there is one single society that all these children will eventually take there places within as adults. However, I agree that faith based schooling is not an issue outside of West of Scotland/Northern Ireland working class communities where it has been cynically used to divide and conquer. Consider that with the exception of school based nursery, all nurseries/playgroups are non-denominational and all universities and colleges of Higher and further education are non-denominational, and ask yourself what is so important about a child’s education that between the ages of 5 and 18 they must be kept separate for educational purposes from those of other versions of the SAME BLODDY RELIGION? Down here in Newcastle, Catholic schools are favoured by many non-catholics because of a reputation for discipline and nowadays are also favoured by muslim families as the secondary school of choice because of an apparent belief that it will protect their children from the bad influences many teenagers fall prey to (you know the growing up stuff). My solution for no separate schooling for anybody; no private schools, no special schools, no denominational schools also means no Montessori schools (unfortunately) and no home schooling either and I can’t see that getting too far, so if we allow people to pay for a different education, or to home school, we must allow denominational schools and instead make sure that standards are applied across the board and the content of the education the children receive is one which does not encourage division but highlights the benefits of a cohesive society ( pretty sure this goes on nowadays). You know, schools might not be the problem at all it might be what gets said at home….

    104. scottish_skier says:

      Independence will kill sectarianism in Scotland.

      Go visit Eire if you want to see.

      A very British thing as noted.

      England/Britain vs Ireland. English/British vs Irish.

      The flags tell you all you need to know. They show you people’s dominant national identity. You wave what you identify most strongly with – it says who you are.

      St. George’s Cross (English), red hand of ulster (British) and Union Flag (British) vs the Tricolour (Irish).

      The Football Association is emailing England fans asking them not to indulge in “offensive songs” when their team play the Republic of Ireland at Wembley on Wednesday night. It’s safe to assume there’s one song they have particularly in mind.

      “With St George in my heart keep me English, with St George in my heart I pray, with St George in my heart keep me English, keep me English till my dying day.
      No surrender, no surrender, no surrender to the IRA. Scum.”

      English/British. Hence the general absence of saltires. If they do appear (e.g. sometimes on OO marches), they are secondary to the union flag.

    105. Rod Mac says:

      Those with tricolours I would suggest are 90 minute Plastic Paddys , after the final whistle the vast majority of them become as big a unionist as Ian Paisley

    106. Braco says:

      middle class delusion? WTF are you talking about?
      You quote what I ‘freely admit’ but don’t seem to have read or understood the point of the post my quoted sentiment is taken from. Please re read my post if you want answers to why I believe removing School segregation from West Central Scotland will aid the diminution of sectarianism in our (West Central Scotland) culture.
      Jiggsboro answers your query better and more succinctly than I could.
      If the solution is remove Catholics schools,  why are Catholic schools only a problem in Scotland and Northern Ireland?
      History, geography and politics.

    107. Rod Mac says:

       One day I hope in Scotland we have no sectarian schools and all kids are educated in the one building in an inclusiveness that goes all the way through our society.

    108. Braco says:

      Rod Mac,
      I agree whole heartedly with your sentiments. The thing is that religious schools seem to be converted into ‘Sectarian’ schools only in Central Scotland and Northern Ireland. Other parts of Scotland, such as Aberdeenshire, happily have no such problems and so need no such action.
      I would suggest that the solution you suggest and hope for, be instigated in the areas of Scotland where these denominational schools have been transformed into unwitting accomplices to a sectarian society.
      I think we are in danger of seeing our regional problem (however serious) and projecting it as a National one. Solving this problem with a single ‘solution’ Nationally will in fact cause problems elsewhere, where none exist at present (thankfully). 
      The situation of Sectarianism is abnormal and has been engineered over generations in particular regional cultures. It should be dealt with as such.
      It reminds me of SLABS last election campaign policy of ‘Carry a Knife, Go to Jail!’ A National policy seemingly engineered to solve a serious cultural problem only really found in and around half a dozen or so schemes and town Centers in West Central Scotland.

      Not a problem in the rest of the Country?


    109. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “so whilst you say “That’s a win, is it not?” – it’s not a win in court…”

      I don’t care about that, though. I don’t particularly want the young man to be fined or have a criminal record. If he’s stopped singing the song, that’ll do me.

    110. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      While I recognise the good intention of many who believe that doing away with Catholic schools will deal with sectarianism I see no evidence that the sectarianism we experience has anything whatsover to do with separate schools. As has been pointed out endlessly Catholic schools have no sectarian effect anywhere else and as I taughtfor years in a large Catholic school in Lanarkshire I can testify that the only function in Catholic schools in Scotland that is different from what goes on in non denominational is that the RE and the general ethos is Catholic.
      Is it the suggestion that children being taught the Catholic religion as a choice made by their parents somehow produces sectarian bigotry?
      Catholic and non denominationals schools in Scotland are open to all and many Catholics chose to send their children to nondenominational ones and many Catholic schools are in very popular with non Catholic parents.
      Sectarianism is community and family based and not a product of schooling and if we are to face the truth it is the result of many years of instutionalised anti Irish- Catholicism which disfigured civic Scotland from before the turn of last century and reached a zenith in the 1920s after the most of the Irish escaped from UK leaving a seriously disgrunteld section still “loyal”. That’s the key
      The 1918 Education Act which took Catholic Parish schools in Scotland into the state system was a generous act but met with wide approval not least  in part because a considerable section of society didn’t want their children in school with the wee teagues.
      In truth the sectarian behaviour we now suffer from has little to do with religion at all and is basically tribal and the biggest bigots I know  – and I know plenty – are rarely seen anywhere near a church. I have also lived in two communities in Scotland in which everybody goes to the same school without any significant difference in the attitudes of many of the population who regularly come to blows after Old Firm matches. 
      If we want to make sure that Scotland does not choose independence next year we will play into the hands of the Labour Party by suggesting that Catholic schools should be done away with. They already whisper this round the doors in West Central Scotland. You don’t think George Galloway’s crass intervention last week was not carefully orchestrated?
      Just as a matter of interest I believe that the responsibility for the teaching of religion to children actually should lie with the parents and the clergy in a sensible world. This is not where we are however but I also know that the religion taught in  schools does not cause or encourage sectarian behaviour anywhere else and it does not cause sectarianism in Scotland either.                                             
      Our recent social history is the reason for it

    111. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Is it the suggestion that children being taught the Catholic religion as a choice made by their parents somehow produces sectarian bigotry?”

      No, it’s that teaching children from the age of five that they’re somehow different from each other makes them easy prey for bigots who want to turn that separation into hatred.

      Religion of any kind has no place in any school except as an academic subject. It’s scarcely believable in the 21st century that we still allow the indoctrination of toddlers at state expense.

    112. lumilumi says:

      Caroline Corfield @4.28 pm, and others who’ve raised the shool issue
      I come from a country where there’s minimal segregation in education. When I started school in the late 1970s (oops, showing my age here!), everybody just went to the nearest possible local school, and everybody still does. We lived in a suburb of Greater Helsinki that was growing fast so there wasn’t actually room for me in the nearest school, I went to the one 400 m down the road, and similar things are happening today, but it doesn’t matter because the schools are pretty much the same anyway.
      There were and are no private, fee-paying schools. The very few non-ordinary schools (Montessori, a couple of schools where the language of instruction is other than Finnish (German, Russian, French – strangely no English speaking schools in my time, though there are some now)) were and are free because either the state or the local council cover the cost – in budgets each pupil is allocated a sum that he/she takes with them to their school. The non-ordinary schools aren’t much better or worse than the ordinary schools when it comes to final grades after the compulsory 9 years, or matriculation examination (highers/advanced higers) after 12 years.
      When I started school, just about everybody was a member of the Evangelic Lutheran Church of Finland (a protestant Christian church) because it was sort of automatic. The church had kept (very accurate) civil records for hundreds of years and married and babtised generations of Finns so you were automatically a member unless you opted out. My parents, semi-radical in the 1960s, got married in a church and had their children baptised because that’s just the way it was. They’ve never been religious (weddings and funerals type of church-goers) and never taught us kids anything religious (school would do that), apart from reading the Christmas Gospel from an 1845 family Bible (old translation, very quaint) before we kids were let loose on the presents, or now the grandkids. An attempt to fight the commercialisation of Chistmas.
      Religious education was (and as far as I know, still is) compulsory all through school. The few Eastern (Greek) Orthodox pupils had their own RE classes while the rest of us had ours, and a couple of kids whose parents weren’t in any church had philosophy or ethics or something. There are hardly any Catholics in Finland – I didn’t meet a Finnish Catholic until I was 25! It never occurred to us to ‘hate’ our school mates who had a different religion, it was just interesting.
      RE in primary school was mostly bible stories, lower secondary got a bit into ethics and doctrine, in preparation for the pupils’ confirmation at 15. Most teenage Finns want to be confirmed because it’s preceded by a two-week ‘confirmation school camp’ away from parents and full of other hormonal teenagers 😉
      RE in the last three years of academic upper secondary was still compulsory in my time (late 1980s – I think nowadays you can opt for ethics/philosphy etc. instead.) and it was one of the best courses we had. Our RE teacher Anja (teachers are called by their first names in Finnish schools, not Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms something) was a practising Christian, wore badly pleated tweed skirts and didn’t shave her hairy legs (I saw, I sat in the front row, like we cool, smart kids did, to challenge teachers) and she had a great sense of humour and a big heart. During the three years we were taught some Christian theology but also lots of church history – which tied in with our history courses – and church architecture – which tied in with our art courses – and, most importantly, a course in ethics and a course in other religions. She never pushed her religion on us and she was a friend. Though we didn’t tell her all the naughty things we got up to 😉
      For ethics, our devout Christian hairy-legged RE teacher introduced controversial subjects such as international aid/Christian missions/cultural imperialism; contraception (not very controversial, half of the girls were on the pill anyway, and everybody used condoms), abortion, rape, euthanasia. She ran through the bacic arguments pro-con, left us debating the subjects and wrapped up with what the Evangelical Lutheran Church teaches.
      The best RE course was “Other religions and philosophies”. Our hairy-legged devout protestant Christian teacher took us to a synagogue and a mosque, had Mormons and Buddhists and Hindus (where did she find those in the late 1980s in Finland!) and even the only Catholic priest in Greater Helsinki come to class to tell us about their religion and answer our questions. And this was a bog standard school, not some fancy school. We just had a great teacher (even if she had horrible hairly legs).
      In retrospect, RE, especially the ethics and other religions part of it, has been one of the best things I learned in school. I was taught to be open-minded, inquistitive, tolerant but also to think for mysef as to ethics, morals, right and wrong, to question things, balance rights and responsibilities.
      Nowadays I’m a person with no religion. I opted out of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (one of the sanest Christian churces worldwide) when I realised that I didn’t honestly and deeply believe in God. To stay a member would’ve been dishonest. Some Finns stay members so that they can get married in a romatic old church, opt out soon afterwards. Nowadays only about 75% are members or the church, and numbers are falling fast, a lot of people have opted out over gay priests, gay marriage etc.
      Sorry, I wrote another essay, or a tediously long, rambling post, but I felt I had to open my big gab about non-segregated education. Finland tops the PISA year on year so we must be doing something right. Even if our teenagers hate school the most, according to international surveys. Maybe they’re so comfortable AND uncomfortable with the good education they’re getting that they have to slag it. But they still study hard, which isn’t ‘cool’ 😉

    113. Edulis says:

      I don’t know if this has already been mentioned but I don’t think I am naive in thinking that Independence will go a long way to solving this problem – no more British state to rail against in Scotland and no more support for the British state because we are out of it. I realise there will be a few straggllers, but over time the reason for the division which is only nominally religious will cease.

    114. Chic McGregor says:

      Bigots are maggots that live on the carcasses of dead ideas.  Best way to deal with them is to deprive them of the oxygen of publicity.

    115. Jeannie says:

      Hmm…is it just me or does anyone else have a problem imagining that a perfect,all-powerful God, creator of everything that exists, who displays love and compassion in equal measures towards all his children, etc. actually gives a shit about football? In the interests of not showing favouritism, though, I would have to imagine him appearing one week at Paradise wearing a green scarf and singing Irish rebel songs and the next week at Ibrox waving a Union Jack and singing God Save the Queen. Perhaps for God, football is, as Father Jack would say, an ecumenical matter.You’d think God would have better things to do with his time, like maybe focus his attention on victims of war and hunger. 
      I worked in Eire in the eighties.  Although publically they would declare support for the Republicans in the North, privately many people I spoke to in the South said they were not in favour of unification as they didn’t want anything to do with any of the people in the North as it would bring too many problems to their doors.  They still enjoyed singing the songs, though.  Their support for people in the North was more cultural than political from what I could make out.
      And re separate education, eventually it will probably come to an end naturally in many areas for economic as well as social and educational reasons.  People just aren’t having so many kids to justify keeping so many schools open and in some parts of the west of Scotland, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to provide the breadth of qualifications many pupils want due to the small number of pupils wishing to take qualifications in specific subjects.  You wouldn’t provide a teacher at an overall cost of some £40,000 per annum so that a handful of pupils in a given school can attain a particular subject qualification.  And it is already difficult to get qualified teachers in some subject areas.  Already, pupils in such a situation in say, a Catholic school,  go to the local non-denominational school to receive tuition and sit the exam or pupils from both schools can go to the local college together.  Resources are being pooled where necessary for the good of the kids.  If people actually had to pay the full bill themselves for separate education as for example, in the United States, they might be willing to give it more thought than they do at the moment.
      Also, during my parents’ time and when I was very young, marrying outwith your religious affiliation was frowned upon, though it didn’t stop me or my own parents.  Increasingly, people are marrying people of different religions to their own and it then becomes difficult to justify separate systems of education within the family.  I’m not really bothered about catholic schools, but it did seem ridiculous that my kids went to a different school from their cousins, but played with their cousins at their grandparents’ house at the weekend, stayed over with them, went to their birthday parties, etc., but just couldn’t be educated with them.
      I think it will sort itself out in time.  Hopefully, society will just gradually have to adapt to changing social and economic conditions.
      On the other hand, if any of you football supporters come back next week and say they saw a man in a long, flowing robe with a halo round his head sporting a blue or green scarf and firing verbal abuse at the opposition supporters, I’ll gladly consider myself in the wrong.

    116. Chic McGregor says:

      My wife is a teacher and we have a son in Turku (Finland Proper), so we are well aware that your country (and Canada and New Zealand) have knocked Scotland off its top PISA perch for some time now.  Although we still have more top universities, pro rata, than any other country. 😛
      I may show Sheena your post later, but just a bit concerned she might start rubbing Regaine onto her legs.  🙂

    117. velofello says:

      Jeannie, you’re a wee smasher.

    118. lumilumi says:

      @Chic Mc
      Oh, god, no, not Turku! The sinking star since 1809! 😉
      Actually, I have nothing against Turkuians and have spent many a good time in Turku, lovely town, and I’ve figured out their ‘tois puol jokke’ (other side of the river) thing. As a Helsinkian, I’m kindly indulgent to their delusions of grandeur. Poor Turku, still hasn’t got over the fact that Helsinki became the capital of Finland in 1809, and remained so after independence. Even the university moved to Helsinki in the early 19th century. Turku got its own new university after independence in the 1930s.
      Helsinki (capital, lots of buzzy business, civil servants etc.) and Tampere (manufacturing city, creative city, highly educated city) have a bit of a friendly laugh about historic Turku, and maybe want to help it along. One third of the Finnish population lives in the triangle Turku-Helsinki-Tampere (southwest corner).

    119. crisiscult says:

      the arguments on this thread just go to show how divisive this whole ‘sectarian’ issue is! However, we can console ourselves with the thought that many countries in the world have similar tribalism and sectarianism – first one that comes to mind is Lebanon and if we use that as our yardstick we can feel very much consoled. Try not to spoil the feeling by thinking about highly developed, high quality of life countries that we’d really like to compare ourselves with though.

    120. Joybell says:

      As a child in Belfast I can honestly say my Mother never taught me to hate Catholics, but of course I never actually got to know any until I started work. In the event two of my very best friends there were Catholic.  One was my bridesmaid (sadly dead now) and I still to this day chat regularly with the other one on the phone.  We have so much in common. 
      You must understand, though that the RC church was quite scary to us Protestants, and I could never have contemplated marrying a Catholic.  Things have changed for the better there and will continue to do so.  Sadly what we have on the West Coast is the sad result of all that mistrust.  It all seems so silly to me nowadays. 

    121. Krackerman says:

      “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
      ? Salman Rushdie 

    122. ewen says:

      Segregation of schools is the biggest load of pish out.  Growing up in the 70s and 80s we didn’t  know any of the kids from the Catholic schools.  It was only when we left to go to work or study that we met them. It was also a handy way for people and employers to pigeonhole you, that and your team.
      Luckily being a Jags supporter I was able to avoid that crap. 

    123. Chic McGregor says:

      I thought including ‘Proper’ might be a blue touchpaper. 🙂

    124. Krackerman says:

      Ewen – bang on.
      No religion should play any part in the education of our children. Let them find that madness when they grow up should they wish to but it’s not for us or the state to allow those who believe in sky fairies to start spitting our kids into groups of the saved and the damned.

    125. Jeannie says:


    126. ewen says:

      Hmm, krackerman. I don’t see why the  parents can’t opt in or out of RE in a non denominational school. Lithuania has a good system . You choose RC or protestant RE or ethics which is a sorta social resposibility class. Then again, being married to a Catholic ex RE teacher I  can’t say I’m impartial :). What  I don’t like is the situation here in Ireland. Nearly all primary schools are faith schools. I couldnt find a non denominational school for my kids……who are Catholics. I class myself as lapsedCoS.

    127. Lochside says:

      In a perfect Scotland there would be no problem about ‘faith’ schools. But we’re not there yet, so for misguided idealists to suggest that abolishing Catholic schools would somehow destroy sectarianism are quite simply naïve. The statistics of sectarian attacks clearly demonstrate that the amount of assaults and murders that have taken place are very much weighted towards ‘orange’ attacks on ‘green’. Not that the reverse does and has not happened, but there has and continues to be greater sectarian violence directed at the Catholic/Celtic fan by fans of Rangers on a far greater scale than in reverse.

      As has been noted on here, there is a historical basis for this, going back to the massive emigration to Scotland after the Famine. However, the Irish Catholics have been assimilated everywhere in Scotland except in the West….why? because institutions such as Rangers (until recently) and the Orange Order (ongoing) have  continued a campaign of hatred and vilification of them. Celtic FC were created to attempt to give the Irish of both religions a focus, but also to integrate them more fully into Scottish society. Most of the early Irish born Celtic heroes such as  the ‘Mighty Quinn’ etc in the early part of the 20th century opted to play for their adopted country. 

      Unfortunately, that noble objective crumbled as Ulster protestants flooded into the new Harland and Wolfe shipyard in Glasgow in 1912 and took their bitterness into the nearest sporting arena…Ibrox. Which became a Protestant and British citadel for the next 60-70 years.
      Because of this, here we are with these ‘warriors’ for Ireland uniting in their mutual loathing and self-pity regarding  some of their number being lifted for their songs of political and religious hate . The British identifiers, I can understand…Alec Salmond must be a secret Irish Republican surely?…but as for the plastic paddy lot?…this legislation was initiated to protect people such as Neil Lennon being assaulted just because he’s a N.I. Catholic who manages Celtic, but also to protect an innocent woman on a train who objects to some adolescent harpy in a Celtic top screaming obscenities at her and then adds insult to injury by battering her because she doesn’t want to hear about the ‘Bhoys of the Old Brigade’. These blockheads don’t have the insight to understand that if all the Old Firm with their rotten bogus ‘history’ and ‘tradition’..i.e. embarrassing failure in Europe(’67 and ’72 excepted) and thuggery throughout the U.K. were to disappear tomorrow then the police would have nobody to arrest except the insignificant numbers of miscreants that exist at other clubs.

    128. Krackerman says:

      It’ll be interesting to see how a written constitution for a newly independent Scotland will square free speech with this type of law – or how it will ensure that no religion plays a part in any aspect of the state.
      BTW I repeat – ALL faith schools should be banned – we can’t split our kids into groups and then wonder why we have sectarian problems when they grow up. Shut them all down
      Does the fantasist fraternity even pay tax in the UK?

    129. Dee says:

      Iam a confused rangers fan, I am dead against the union jack now, and all that crap about a wall in Derry.. I really have turned against all that, since I joined Yes Scotland I have stopped going to Ibrox. Their are thousands of rangers fans like myself.  Then the ulster unionists got involved and started telling  us to vote No. Well that was it. I will not be back to Ibrox till we get independence, when I hope a whole new kind of supporter start going…

    130. scottish_skier says:

      Excellent post.

    131. The Man in the Jar says:

      I am a confused West Central man. I have read here statements from what I understand to quite clever and articulate people. These same people are trying to tell me that faith schools do not cause religious division. Never have I read such utter shite! (Well not since Grahamski and Co. got the boot!)

    132. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      The Man In The Jar
      Is there any particular reason for your aggressive post?
      Have you read any of the posts? Faith schools do not cause religious division. The religious division exists whether there are faith achools or not. As we live in a democracy we are allowed to go to different schools, different churches, different supermarkets, support different teams, different parties, believe different things, have different ambitions and none of this forces us to behave badly or in a sectarian way. Our sectarian problem is a product of our history as to an extent are our separate schools though faith schools in the rest of the UK provide no problems whatsover. The sectarian problem we have has nothing to do with schools and everything to do with history and time alone will solve the problem.   

    133. Krackerman says:

      Dave – nail on the head –  religion is indeed the root of the problem but you fail to draw the connection that the faith (or religious) school perpetuates the problem by given credence to the fallacy.
      Stop indoctrinating the kids. stop splitting them into factions before they even know what it means and perhaps we can finally start to put an end to stupidity that carries though to adulthood.

    134. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “for misguided idealists to suggest that abolishing Catholic schools would somehow destroy sectarianism are quite simply naïve. The statistics of sectarian attacks clearly demonstrate that the amount of assaults and murders that have taken place are very much weighted towards ’orange’ attacks on ‘green’.”

      This is a complete logic fail. Separate schools makes it easier for EITHER side to perpetrate sectarian shit. Nobody cares what the score is. (Keeping score at all is a kind of sectarianism on its own – all it does is say “But they’re worse than us!”, thereby reinforcing the difference and the enmity and seeding grudges and retaliation and entrenchment. It’s also pointless, as obviously the majority will be responsible for more attacks than the minority.)

      You think there would be as many “orange on green” attacks if everyone was at school together? You think it would be as easy for Protestant kids to be told that Catholics were the enemy if they sat side by side in the same classroom all day?

    135. Indion says:

      Lap limbed  lumilumi @ 8:07pm: thank you for the insight into a tried and tested example to be inspired by. Hope you got/get over your hairy-legged aversion.
      Smashin wee Jeannie @ 8:39pm

      Naw, Twickenham has her booked for the second coming during the winning rendition of Jerusalem at the Rugby World Cup final against France in 2015.

      (It’s that red crossed over white hot anger Norman crusader thing. They can’t forgive the Franks for their forced eviction over a handy 20 mile or so moat behind them ‘cos they didn’t have what it takes to dig one in front.

      Bit by bit they’re tunneling their way back to warmer climes we should offer them every encouragement to wander off to so that we might visit and share their well being there also.)

    136. Tobias Smollett says:

      “If he’s stopped singing the song, that’ll do me.”
      The crux of the matter. You don’t like it therefore it must be stopped – no matter the means.
      Spoken like a truly intolerant censor with his own internalised sense of bigoted justice.
      Giving arbitrary powers of arrest to the police based on judgement calls such as this is the type of power autocrats dream of wielding. The comment by the sheriff regarding Flower of Scotland and the policeman’s reply shows just how ridiculous this ill thought out legislation really is.
      Your support of such police state tactics is beyond offensive and backwardly stupid for an allegedly progressive nationalist.  
      First they came for the dodgy song singers. But I was not a dodgy song singer. So I said nothing…
      Well done! You win the brown shirt of the week award.

    137. The Man in the Jar says:

      @DaveMcEwan Hill
      I have read all the comments. And I stand by mine apart from one word. After reading you comment I concede that faith schools don’t cause religious division but they sure do perpetrate it more than anything else that I can think of.
      Just to add. It is not just faith schools (of any flavour) that I am against but faiths in general. Id prefer to just leave it at that.

    138. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Your support of such police state tactics”

      People don’t tend to get acquitted in police states, you halfwit.

    139. The Man in the Jar says:

      If you are still awake here is a wee video for you. Seems apropriate somehow.

    140. scaredy cat. says:

      I went to a catholic school. After school i played with friends from other schools. As I grew up I socialised, worked with and dated non-catholics. I also married a non catholic and so did many of my catholic friends. I no longer believe in God and I don’t believe that religious schools are a good idea but i don’t believe they cause or contribute to sectarianism. Religious bigotry, like all bad behaviour begins at home. To blame catholic schools is naive and simplistic. Anyone who has been to one knows this.Getting rid of religious schools is probably a good idea but many people are not ready for this and will feel threatened by the prospect. Let’s take things one step at a time. Jumping to conclusions only has negative consequences.

    141. Taranaich says:

      You think there would be as many “orange on green” attacks if everyone was at school together? You think it would be as easy for Protestant kids to be told that Catholics were the enemy if they sat side by side in the same classroom all day?
      Given the current standards of our education system…

    142. cheryl says:

      Just going back to the bill for a sec – people were arrested under the Offensive Behaviour bill for having a banner which depicted someone taking aim at a cartoonish zombie.  Is that what we’re reduced to?

    143. scottish_skier says:

      “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”

      Freedom of expression:

      I disagree with you. I don’t think XYZ is correct. I appreciate you see things differently. If we can’t find a compromise, we may have to just agree to disagree and accept the will of the majority on the matter.

      Freedom to offend:

      You are talking s**t, you stupid [insert racial / religious grouping] barstool. You lot are all the same; f**king backwards, additional expletives etc. 

      I see a difference here.

      Of course Mr Rushdie is correct in that there will still even be people offended by the first example, i.e. what you believe ‘offends’ them simply because they disagree with it. But then they’re idiots and a minority.

    144. Jiggsbro says:

      people were arrested under the Offensive Behaviour bill for having a banner which depicted someone taking aim at a cartoonish zombie.
      No, they weren’t. Celtic were charged by the SFA but cleared. Do you genuinely think having Rangers/their fans portrayed as neandarthals, apes and zombies means that it isn’t offensive to unfurl a banner showing them being shot, when Celtic fans regularly sing the praise of IRA murderers of Unionists? I’d regard it as both offensive and threatening. Context is everything.

    145. cheryl says:

      Two people were arrested for it and the banner had nothing to do with the IRA. If you think that was an arrestable offence and that its the kind of thing people should be arrested for, fair enough. I don’t.

      Threatening, ffs.

    146. Rod Mac says:

      I went to a school in Glasgow that had a very large amount of Jewish kids.
      These children have a religion that is more devout and complex than any Christian religion.
      They had a separate dining hall and in winter got away early on a Friday afternoon.
      We were all jealous of course.
      We went to school assembly and prayers every morning ,they had their own assembly.
      There was no fights over religion or a them and us culture.
      My point is simply this if you can integrate two such diverse religions in one school ,surely it is feasible to integrate to alleged Christian cultures in one school?
      The problem is not parents of Catholics and Protestant children ,the problem is the Catholic Church.
      The Jesuit teaching of show me the child till it is seven and I will show you the man.
      While the Catholic establishment cites bigotry against it ,it is the one clinging to the separate schools strategy thereby continuing the  problem.
      There should be one school per area ,and if the Catholic Church want faith based schools they should of course be allowed to have them ,providing of course they fund it ,and not the state.
      For financial ,and integration reasons there should only be State Schools  IMHO.

    147. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Scaredy Cat
      Religion is not the root of the problem. History is.
      “You think there would be as many “orange on green” attacks if everyone was at school together?”
      I doubt if it would make any difference.
      “You think it would be as easy for Protestant kids to be told that Catholics were the enemy if they sat side by side in the same classroom all day?”
      Who tells Protestant kids that? The teachers?
      This stuff happens in the home and in the family. Perhaps we should all live in the same big hoose

    148. Guy Fawkes says:

      Lets face it, Vast swathes of Scottish society have a problem with anything Irish or Catholic. As a Londoner who remembers the Tartan army with 1314 on their flags and singing about sending the English home to think again, long ago battles and slaughters. It did’nt offend me. I remember an article by John Lloyd in the Scotland on Sunday years ago arguing that mainly protestant Scotland should have had a republic before mainly backwards Catholic Ireland, and one of the main reasons for this not happening was the songs song at a football ground in the east end of Glasgow , Celtic crowds were about 20.000 at the time. A few weeks later he argued that the orange marchers at Drumcree were the Democrats and the residents were behaving facists and all was revealed.  

      In Holland , Ajax were abused for years for being a Jewish club so adopted the identity and songs, Tottenham have a simular attitude. Celtic are perceived to be the team of the Catholics (Scotlands Jews) and maybe they are reacting to the way they have been treated. As for singing Irish Rebel songs, I read Bob Dylan’s biography. At his birthday party Tommy Clancy asked him to sing “Roddy McCorley” an Irish rebel song. He forgot the words half way thru and Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood of the  Rolling Stones had to join in. If Bob Dylans Birthday party had been in the Scotland you invisage they would have got the jail.  

      A small point, you allow the term Plastic paddies on your site, a phrase my Irish mother and many other immigrants of the 50s hated, i’m betting if this debate was about people of Pakistani descent you would’nt allow a term like Plastic Pak***s to appear. So my advice is stop obsessing about the Irish, just pray that after the SNP win the independence vote that Westminster does’nt carve the country in two like they did in Ireland after Seinn Fein won 92% of the vote in 1919. In Uk as the whole we are now being warned to “guard against the EDL”  after the Celtic’s manager’s treatment in the recent past, let us guard against anti Irish Catholic sentiment.

    149. Jiggsbro says:

      Two people were arrested for it
      What were their names? Claims of arrests were certainly made but no evidence of arrests was provided.
      and the banner had nothing to do with the IRA.
      The banner was inevitably associated with the IRA by being displayed by Celtic fans. If Celtic fans don’t want to be associated with the IRA then they or the club need to tackle the supporters – the ones you excuse – who sing songs in support of IRA murderers. It is disingenuous to pretend that Celtic fans can display a banner featuring a gunman shooting at Rangers and not expect the gunman to be taken as a paramilitary.
      The banner clearly showed Rangers fans portrayed as sub-humans and either them or the club as a zombie being shot by a gunman inevitably linked to the IRA. That’s offensive to anyone except the sort of bigot that thinks sub-humans can’t be offended and IRA murderers are victims. And it wasn’t even displayed at a game against Rangers: this is how deep the bigotry and hatred lies (at both clubs), that a pre-season friendly is seen as a perfect opportunity to express your hatred of the other side. Most  supporters define themselves by their support for their club. The mass of the Old Firm’s supporters seem to define themselves by their hatred of another club. That’s pretty fucked up.

    150. Ahwellthatsthatthen says:

      For first time ever attended Yes Campaign meeting last night.Came away enthusiastic about possible bright new future for Scotland and my children….this morning looking  up this & other websites recommended by the speakers …….ah well what can I say ? As a Catholic reading that having my children instructed at school in their faith is ‘ where the rot starts’ ………bright new future for my children? ..what was I thinking?
      better the devil you know eh? So sad so sad….

    151. Ex-pat Jock says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says: 29 May, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      ““That’s a win, is it not?” – it’s not a win in court…” I don’t care about that, though. I don’t particularly want the young man to be fined or have a criminal record. If he’s stopped singing the song, that’ll do me”
      So the state spent c. £2100* on securing an assurance that this guy will not sing a song or two. Why don’t we give everyone who signs a song-singers charter a grand and save ourselves money?  
      But that is my point Reverend, this didn’t result in a prosecution for the singing of said song so it is it not now in the “legally approved” camp and ergo subsequent prosecutions will be harder to make/achieve?
      And as for the hoary old schools debate – it’s not a problem in Aberdeen seemingly, it wasn’t a problem a big problem in my hometown of Edinburgh, but it’s a West Coast thing based on History, geography and politics? So the West Coast bigotry is the tail that wags the dog for Scottish education?
      The rest of the country loses choice because West Coasters go into a rage about transubstantiation? Or is it actually more the geographical proximity to Northern Ireland and its troubled political and religious history? Is it not therefore a tribal issue where Celtic/Rangers or Catholic/Protestant is a proxy for Republican/Loyalist? That explains the flags in the pictures – no flags with Papal crossed keys I note, but certainly some Red Hands…

      * avg cost of a prosecution, source:

    152. cheryl says:

      The gunman image was from a Dawn of the Dead poster, a well known zombie film, possibly the most well known. Anyone looking at that and making a connection with the IRA says more about that person than anything else.
      I dont mind being defined as a Celtic supporter but I do have a problem with people sweepingly defining the entire support and treating us as one block group of Irish Republican IRA supporters. Every single one of us knows better than that. We’re as diverse as any group of people that size.
      The banner was in the same vein as the four horsemen of the apocalypse banner – a wind up of the same rivals who mocked us in the same way when it was our club going through a hard time. I’m never going to be of the opinion that its something we should be arresting people for.

    153. Rod Mac says:

      One of the problems in all the bigotry in Scotland /WOS  is that one set of the divide are in complete denial.
      The comments on here confirm this, it is all the fault of those big bad Rangers fans and Protestants.
      The cheeky wee Irish chappies in East End never sing bad songs ,never display bigotry everyone is just out to get them.
      What utter drivel and nonsense ,be it bigotry ,alcoholism ,drug addiction , till you accept you have a problem you will never get a cure.
      In this day and age the “Celtic minded” need to stop this persecution complex and denial if we are to move forward.
      There are idiots on both sides , it is not one sided, so by all means kid yourselves on ,you are not however helping the situation one bit by continually attacking any perceived insult from one side while denying complicity on your own side

    154. Jiggsbro says:

      Anyone looking at that and making a connection with the IRA says more about that person than anything else.
      No one looking at that would have thought “Oh yes, that’s from Dawn of the Dead. I’d know that silhouette anywhere”. Anyone not as clearly blinded by their own prejudices as you would have looked at fans – fans inevitably associated with the IRA by the singing of songs portraying murderers and terrorists as heroic martyrs – displaying a banner showing a gunman shooting at Rangers fans – fans inevitably associated with the targets of the IRA by the singing of songs calling for the murder of Catholics and by their support for Unionist murderers and terrorists – and seen it for what it was: a monumentally stupid, provocative and offensive incitement to disorder.
      Your “What could possibly be wrong with supporters of the IRA displaying a banner showing sub-human Loyalists being shot? *innocent face*” simply won’t wash, I’m afraid. The connection with the IRA existed before the banner, because people like you choose to excuse – and praise – terrorists in the laughable belief that that’s an appropriate way to show your support for a football team. The banner was displayed in a context that allowed no other interpretation, regardless of the intent of those who created it.

    155. cheryl says:

      To be honest I’ve no interest in carrying on a coversation on this with someone who can’t discuss a banner without throwing around unjustified accusations of bigotry and prejudice towards me along with  ‘people like you’ comments.

    156. Joybell says:

      @ cheryl
      Nobody is denying that Celtic supporters are a diverse lot.  I have defined myself as an  ex-Ulster Protestant yet my younger son is a Celtic supporter here in Scotland.  It’s a good team, he says and he has a natural aversion to the union flag(his early childhood in N I is the reason for that!), but surely you must agree that some chipping away is necessary to change the bad behavior on both sides.  I certainly don’t believe that the law is slanted in either teams favour
      It’s very easy to for a government to do nothing, and extremely difficult to please everyone. And doesn’t the Rev Stu know just that!

    157. ianbrotherhood says:

      As a lapsed Buddhist, I take solace in the faith that all things, including this thread, must eventually pass…ohmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

    158. cheryl says:

      Of course, I absolutely agree that some of the behaviour needs to be challenged.  The problem with the bill is that what is ‘offensive’ isn’t laid out and so absolutely anything can come under that umbrella. Surely not every instance if bad or undesirable behaviour is arrestable behaviour?
      I also dont believe the legislation to be slanted towards the fans of any particular team. In my opinion it demonises and criminalises supporters of all clubs who are already made out to be an undesirable group of people and who are already treated poorly by the police. I’ve never been on bother with the police but the sheer numbers at away games is uncomfortable as is having bunches of them down the front of your stand filming your every move. Its a terrible environment and a terrible relationship and the bill gives the police free reign to harass and arrest people on the most ridiculous of charges.

    159. Lochside says:

      Rev Stu, I admire you and your site, but your jibe at my post as a ‘complete logic fail’ demeans you. If you read my post in its entirety, I pinpoint the institutions of Rangers, Celtic the influx of N.I. Loyalist workers to Harland and Wolfe in 1912, and the Orange Lodge as being the main pernicious influences in the West of Scotland with its preoccupation with sectarianism. By stating the the facts that more Catholic/Celtic victims occur because of this sickness is not contributing to’keeping score’ (Is the fact that more Asians are attacked by racists than whites are in London, is this keeping score?) it’s about stating the consequences of these institutions’ very existence, and unfortunately a long history in the West of Scotland of anti-Irish Catholic sentiment, which is waning, but not fast enough.. Somehow, you and others on here are adamantl that abolition of Catholic schools will end sectarianism, well I believe that these two clubs and the Orange Order are far more of a malign influence than any school with a ST. at the front of it. They must be challenged publicly to disown supporters who perpetuate this poison, or be put out of business unless they stop feeding this disease.

      What a lot of the anti-faith brigade seem to ignore is that there are over 800,000 Catholics in Scotland. Why is their civil right to educate their children in their faith less important than three institutions that thrive on sectarianism and division? In an independent Scotland I would like to see no state sponsored faith Schools, as I believe religion should be separate, but until we stop blaming Catholic education for our own shameful history of both anti-Irish racism and anti-Catholic discrimination we cannot expect reconciliation of all communities leading to an end of the current divided faith educational situation.

    160. cheryl says:

      Also just to add, in terms of the police, I also think there’s a bigger picture whereby the police all over the UK target and harass members of organised political groups – there was a kettling incident in Glasgow with I believe anti-facism demonstraters (the group might be wrong). I think that contributes to the perception that the Green Brigade are targeted more frequently than any other supporters group. I dont think that aspect of the bigger picture should be lost.

    161. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Well said, Lochside.
      The dogged determination of some to believe that doing away with Catholic schools would do away with the sectarianism that has nothing to do with them is exasperating.
      In many cases this is well intentioned but it is simplistic and just wrong
      All that would do would be to further alienate a large number in a community which already has a very large chip on its shoulder cultivated by the Labour party.
      There are actually more than 800,000 people of Irish Catholic tradition in mainly West Central Scotland and in a number of areas they are the majority of the population.. If we want to make sure we lose in next year’s referendum this is the issue that can do it for our opponents.
      It has not escaped the notice of the more percipient observer on here that the Labour Party has already managed to persuade a sizeable proportion of that community that legislation brought in in response to murderous attacks on Neil Lennon is against them. How much more ammunition do we want to provide?   

    162. Braco says:

      Dave McEwan Hill and Scaredy Cat,

      No one is saying Catholic Schools have caused sectarianism in our society. That is a strawman.
      This problem as you say goes back a long way, but Scotland is not the same country it was in 1918 or 1955 or even 1985! I understand the creation of Catholic schools was in response to a sectarian problem…. back in 1918!

      They may have fulfilled a purpose then (and later) but Catholics are far more integrated into the establishment of Central Scotland now and the segregated school system, like the de facto segregated catholic schemes (Carfin etc), are now being used by that same establishment to sow fear and division in order to protect their positions gained in the status quo.
      The SLAB and it’s leadership in West Central Scotland is stuffed full of democratically elected self styled outsiders and victims of our national sectarianism that has stopped them gaining and holding any position of power in this sectarian protestant Scotland. Oh wait a minute, that can’t be right can it?
      They are princes living off a historic memory of victimhood few have actual experience of but it suits their purpose and psyche to continue the divisions.
      This is the same strange mindset that sees Celtic as somehow the club of the underdog and down trodden! 60 years ago they were European Champions and giants of the Scottish game!? They are 50% of the old firm! and one of the two biggest and most powerful clubs in Scotland! How does that work?
      By being allowed to opt out of a Non denominational system in Scotland, Catholic Schools have in fact created a de facto Protestant School system from the non denominational system intended. It’s this and not what kids are taught in the different types of Schools that is now the problem.
      Kids are segregated. It’s simple!
      This alone is reinforcing a historic memory of bigotry and victimhood by planting the seed again and again in the subconcious of the children of our communities. No matter how enlightened, educated and liberal I become that schooling system has left a nagging, nonsensical feeling of otherness between myself and fellow Scots and for that I hate it.
      Catholic Schools also give the Catholic Church a veil of authority to ‘speak’ for their ‘community’ on matters ethical and political. Something which I also feel reinforces a feeling of otherness in our own Country as no other Church in Scotland is responsible for the education of ‘their’ communities children and nor should they.
      One last point. I hear justification of Catholic Schools along the lines of Muslims and other religions choosing to send their kids there, as the schools at least have a religious foundation which such parents appreciate.
      This may well be true, but it has the danger of now starting to include race and other religions in this de facto segregated system that I have tried to describe. Something which can only cause more harm to the fabric of central Scotland’s society.
      If this was a race issue nobody would stand for it!

    163. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “For first time ever attended Yes Campaign meeting last night.Came away enthusiastic about possible bright new future for Scotland and my children….this morning looking up this & other websites recommended by the speakers …….ah well what can I say ? As a Catholic reading that having my children instructed at school in their faith is ‘ where the rot starts’ ………bright new future for my children? ..what was I thinking?
      better the devil you know eh? So sad so sad….”

      It would be nice if a “bright new future” included people being allowed to politely express honestly-held views on the wisdom of segregating children and indoctrinating them in religion – ANY religion – from a vulnerable age, would it not?

    164. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      “indoctrinating”  You’re floundering now

    165. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Why is their civil right to educate their children in their faith less important than three institutions that thrive on sectarianism and division?”

      Please stop putting up these straw men. Who here has demanded any sort of special protection/status for the Orange Order? I suspect not a single person reading this would shed a tear if they were banned from the streets forever.

      I don’t think ANYONE has a “civil right” to indoctrinate vulnerable children in ANY religious faith, but doubly not to have the state actively facilitate it. If that’s your faith, good for you. Explain it to your children at home, in your own time, if you really must force it on them rather than letting them make up their own mind when they’re old enough to process the information.

      For the last time, because I’m tired of repeating myself – absolutely NOBODY, so far as I’ve seen, has said Catholic schools are the CAUSE of sectarianism. I’ve never heard even the most frothing-at-the-mouth Orange nutcase suggest that Catholic-school teachers teach their pupils to hate Protestants. The point – which I don’t think I could have made any more simply or clearly – is that if you separate children from each other from the age of five on basically religious grounds, then the bigots on either side will find it much easier to exploit that separation for their own despicable ends.

      (Because it’s human nature to be suspicious of other “tribes”, and young children are almost infinitely suggestible and malleable.)

      If it’s awkward for you to deal with that argument, feel free to ignore it and just keep going on and on about how it’s all the other lot’s fault. But I’m not going to waste any more of my time talking to someone who isn’t even pretending to listen.

    166. scaredy cat. says:

      @Ahwellthatsthatthen (If you are still around)
      I can well imagine how you feel. I assure you if this had been the first post I read back in January I wouldn’t even have finished reading it. However, I simply liken this to a group of cyber friends who happen to have one common bond. There will always be disagreements and you arrived at a bad time. For what it’s worth, I think this debate offers no real value to the independence debate. I recommend you stick around, providing you don’t take offence when someone disagrees with you. Fingers crossed, we’ll be able to stay on message…

    167. The Man in the Jar says:

      At 11;34am
      Rev Stu
      At 11;47am
      Very well said the pair of you!

    168. Braco says:

      scaredy cat. says:
      30 May, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      ………… For what it’s worth, I think this debate offers no real value to the independence debate…..
      I am surprised by this attitude scaredy cat. How can what I thought was an honest and civilised debate, amongst Independence supporters on an Independence supporting Blog, over possible ways to tackle the problem of sectarianism apparent in the culture and politics of certain regions of Scotland ‘offer no real value to the independence debate’?

    169. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “If this was a race issue nobody would stand for it!”

      Mm. Imagine if someone wanted to start up “black schools”.

      I’m amazed the Scottish education system isn’t described more often as what it is – apartheid.

    170. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Utter rubbish and unworthy of a serious debate. The choice of school is entirely voluntary.

    171. Ex-pat Jock says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says: Mm. Imagine if someone wanted to start up “black schools”. I’m amazed the Scottish education system isn’t described more often as what it is – apartheid.

      There are Catholic schools all round the world – 2,300 Catholic schools here in England, nearly 7,000 (educating 2m), in the USA, they play major parts of the education system in Asia, but nowhere are there the same issues that we have in Scotland.
      Why are we Scots different to the rest of the world? Is it the presbyterian nature of our protestantism? Is it the influence of nearby Ulster? Do we need to examine what defines us as a nation?
      In contrast to some other posters, I think these are very much questions that need to be addressed when it comes to considering an independent Scotland.

    172. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:


      There are Catholic schools all round the world – 2,300 Catholic schools here in England, nearly 7,000 (educating 2m), in the USA, they play major parts of the education system in Asia”

      So? All that means is that they’re apartheid there too.

    173. Braco says:

      We are all getting close but simply not connecting.
      Ex pat jock,
      read my posts. I have emphasised  the fact that this sorry state of affairs does not exist in other parts of ‘presbyterian’ Scotland already, so what’s your real point. Please read my posts.
      Secondly, whether self imposed, externally imposed or by choice, this situation we find ourselves in is religious segregation of children. Surely we can agree on that simple fact?
      I was religiously segregated as a child and I am trying to express honestly the damage it has done to me, my culture and my world view. I live in Lisbon at the moment and it is still impossible for me to feel safe on a Benfica vs Sporting match day, even though the locals have no real trouble taking the whole family to the event, such is the worry they have of the safety of the event.
      This stuff is alien and stupid and there should be no place in a modern Scotland for it.
      When I lived in Aberdeen, I regularly went out by myself to play pool of a night. One night I was given the fish eye by this guy so badly that all the folk I  played kept warning me about it and then, each withdrew. I had already had a few and I was starting to believe my own bravado so as usual ignored the warnings and kept on playing.
      So I go to the bar for another pint and the woman behind the bar starts getting shirty with me as this guy is her boyfriend. The fisheye at the other end of the pub gets more intense. She eventually asks me in disgust ‘where are you from anyway?!’ So I says ‘Motherwell’ again the truth but more in bravado (as the old Aberdeen and Motherwell Casuals have more than their fair share of emnity). I thought that was it and I was getting myself ready for real trouble.
      The Guy approaches me all aggressive and the barwoman tells him I am from Motherwell too!
      All of a sudden it’s all Palls together, brothers in a foreign land . The boy was from Motherwell, Our Lady’s High (Catholic). I told him I was Braidurst High (nondom Prody). We talked all night cause we had so much in common. We talked all night cause we shared a different Motherwell from each other. All new information about the place we grew up in. It’s segregation.
      We agreed why we liked Aberdeen and it’s culture. We agreed how fucking stupid it was that we had to travel 200 miles to meet in a place where two Motherwell boys could go out for a drink and a great night (as it turned out to be) without religious fucking segregation over powering a simple, enjoyable, interaction of a chance meeting.
      That’s the kind of shit I am talking about and most folk my age have just such similar experiences, but it’s not the norm of every day life that it should be and is (in my experience) in other parts of Scotland and the world.
      That’s what I am angry at and will never forgive the social system that has been engineered over generations in Lanarkshire (and elsewhere) and go’s under the name of ‘The Status Quo’.
      Now tell me this situation is normal or a civil liberty.
      In Aberdeen or Norfolk or Lisbon they have Faith Schools. In Lanarkshire, West Central Scotland and Northern Ireland we have religious segregation of children. It’s what our culture has made of it in the past and it is now the remnants of a historic Institutional memory of unacceptable bigotry that each new generation of school kid is being forced to imbibe.
      Individual character and experience then decides how that child deals with it. That’s usually mostly down to the culture they grew up in, and there you have the catch 22.
      I enjoy these debates because it’s so rare that I get to honestly interact with folk of a different tradition (catholic!) as the system mitigates against that exact eventuality. Every time I have had such interactions it only emphasises our shared experiences and not our differences. Could that be the reason it’s not encouraged.

    174. ahwellthatsthatthen says:

      At my school I was taught the meaning of the word apartheid. 
      This evening followed another story on this site regarding Ms.Curran and her gift comment on  ‘foreigners’ 
      most folk seem pretty certain after independence no one will be considered a ‘foreigner’ or different or ‘other’ ….some comments quite rightly ask ‘whats wrong with being foreign anyway?’
      others wisely point out how dull life would be if we were all the same …..
      clicked back to this story where some seem to have a real problem with the ‘otherness’ of Catholic  schools …..
      so is it ‘we dont mind folk being different if you cant help it ..if say you were born that way ….if you came from another country …if your skin is different …but  what we really cant stomach are those who deliberately choose to be different …who deliberately choose to raise their kids in a way we dont like or approve of ..
      what will an independent Scotland  look like? ….much the same, lots of different people hopefully tolerant of each others beliefs….but scratch the surface and its not long before you find those who have another very definite fixed idea of what kind of Scotland they will accept. 
      describing my faith as ‘rot’ ‘madness’ or ‘indoctrination’ is neither ‘polite’ nor tolerant …the remarks are deeply offensive but very illuminating.

    175. Tobias Smollett says:

      “People don’t tend to get acquitted in police states, you halfwit.”
      No. They get intimidated into ‘correcting’ their behaviour by the machinations of the state, you brownshirted moron.

    176. Braco says:

      After their acquitted?

    177. Caroline Corfield says:

      you know Tobias, there are worse pieces of legislation currently on the statute books at Westminister if you want to go looking for a police state

    178. Krackerman says:

      Amazed at the number of people who think they have a “right” to educate their kids in a faith before that kid even has the maturity to understand or choose for themselves!
      This is the 21st Century and you are demanding your right to have some half-wit in a robe/dress/dodgy hat or whatever lie to your kids just to make YOU feel better?
      Giving a kid a religious education of any kind is flaming child abuse pure and simple.
      Teach them only the truth and established facts – not bloody fantasy nonsense that will land them with a guilt trip or superiority complex for life!
      I heard it said that we’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns – aye right so do you think he’d start splitting them into colours based on different hues of the same dark-age mumbo-jumbo shite?
      There a good quote from a half decent comedian – Denis Leary I think – “Bigotry isn’t born, folks, it’s taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list.”

    179. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “describing my faith as ‘rot’ ‘madness’ or ‘indoctrination’ is neither ‘polite’ nor tolerant …the remarks are deeply offensive but very illuminating.”

      Nobody has described your faith in such a way. Forcing ANY religion – not just yours – on children has been described as indoctrination, because that’s exactly what it is. And people have described ALL religions as “rot” – not just yours – because that’s how some people feel about religion, for perfectly valid reasons. Stop going out of your way to take things personally, you’ll be much happier.

    180. Taranaich says:

      I’m not going to get involved in the schools/religion debate, save to say this:
      They are princes living off a historic memory of victimhood few have actual experience of but it suits their purpose and psyche to continue the divisions.
      If you really think sectarianism is “a historic memory of victimhood few have actual experience of,” then I don’t know what to say. Sectarianism is still a big problem in Scotland: not by any means as profound as it was even 20 years ago, but it’s still present, and bullheaded remarks by the likes of Galloway and Labour’s despicable sniping at SNP-led anti-sectarian initiatives aren’t going to help.
      I was alive during the later years of the Troubles. I have Catholic and Protestant family, and am indeed the product of a Catholic/Protestant marriage. I experienced discrimination on a personal level from both sides, and have on many occassions feared for my wellbeing. Years later, I don’t have that fear, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to be so complacent as to allow it to happen in my niece’s lifetime, or her children’s. And part of the healing process is admitting there’s still a problem: much of the opposition I’ve seen in the anti-sec movement I’m part of is of the “why do we need this, it isn’t a problem, those bloody Proddies/Fenians need to sort it out themselves” variety.
      Nobody has described your faith in such a way. Forcing ANY religion – not just yours – on children has been described as indoctrination, because that’s exactly what it is.
      So you are saying that certain commentators said that “forcing” children into a religion is “indoctrination,” and your comments elsewhere in the thread suggest you share this opinion. You are perfectly entitled to have that opinion, it’s one I understand and respect, but don’t try and argue that it’s not offensive to people’s sensibilities to say it.  Calling someone’s deeply-held beliefs indoctrination is going to offend them.  Given your reactions elsewhere, I would’ve thought you would’ve taken it in stride instead of trying to appease someone who took offense by essentially telling them to “not take it so personally.”

    181. ahwellthatsthatthen says:

      In addition to being taught the correct definition of apartheid at my school the children are also given guidance on how to express themselves appropriately on the internet….that the use of capital letters and exclamation marks can be misinterpreted.
      Is there a particular reason why in responding to my comments the Rev Campbell feels the need to use capital letters?….do you realise how aggressive it makes you sound?…are you trying to intimidate me? is this your idea of ‘polite’ debate….when someone is effectively shouting at me to make their point I figure they have already lost the argument.
      do you have a response to my point on ‘otherness’ and ‘foreigners’ ? 

    182. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Is there a particular reason why in responding to my comments the Rev Campbell feels the need to use capital letters?….do you realise how aggressive it makes you sound?”

      What a wearyingly familiar path this conversation is following – with no answer to my points, you start issuing ridiculously bogus allegations of abuse, based on precisely two words which were emphasised (because you appeared to have missed their point), not shouted.

      You have no “point”, you merely made an untrue and offensive allegation. Everything you’ve said has been based on you imagining I said something completely unrelated to what I did say, and it’s rarely constructive to attempt to engage with people who’re just making things up and putting them in your mouth.

      Since you’re clearly not listening, you don’t need me here. Feel free to just have the argument you want to have by yourself, because it’s plain that you’ve decided in advance what I think and nothing I actually write to the contrary will ever persuade you otherwise.

    183. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “So you are saying that certain commentators said that “forcing” children into a religion is “indoctrination,” and your comments elsewhere in the thread suggest you share this opinion.”

      I wasn’t “suggesting” it, I quite explicitly said that that was my opinion.

      “You are perfectly entitled to have that opinion, it’s one I understand and respect, but don’t try and argue that it’s not offensive to people’s sensibilities to say it.”

      I didn’t. I fully expect people’s sensibilities to be offended by it and made no attempt whatsoever to argue otherwise.

      “Calling someone’s deeply-held beliefs indoctrination is going to offend them.”

      I didn’t do that. People can believe what they like as adults. Belief in itself is not indoctrination. Pushing those beliefs onto defenceless children is vile, and having it done by the state at the expense of taxpayers is doubly so. I haven’t called for churches to be banned, simply objected to schools doing their job for them. In America the separation of church and state is actually written into the constitution – is that constitution “offensive” too?

      “Given your reactions elsewhere, I would’ve thought you would’ve taken it in stride instead of trying to appease someone who took offense by essentially telling them to “not take it so personally.””

      No idea what you mean by that. I objected to someone portraying my objection to ALL state religious indoctrination of children as a specific objection to THEIR particular specific faith (sorry for intimidating you with capitals there), which is an unwarranted, wrong and offensive accusation of sectarianism. I don’t care if it’s Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist or snake-handling, I object to religion being forced on children before they have any mental capacity to resist it.

      Let’s try it another way. I support Aberdeen. Now, I don’t really like people buying football-club bibs and babygros and whatever for their children either, but let’s suppose I had a child and wanted it to share in something which was culturally important to me. If I took my son or daughter to a few games when they were five or six to see if they’d catch the bug, that’d be a pretty harmless thing. To FORCE them to keep going week after week when they didn’t want to would be something else. But to demand that their SCHOOL tried to impose the “values” of supporting Aberdeen on them, or made them sing “European Song” every morning at assembly? I’d be laughed out of court as a demented lunatic and/or prosecuted for child abuse, and rightly so.

      (Especially given the way they’ve been playing this season.)

      Supporting Aberdeen is, in the cold light of day, a stupid and irrational thing to do, but it’s a free country and if it makes people (very rarely) happy then all well and good. But for some reason, the piously religious insist on treating their own irrational beliefs as some sort of special case requiring state intervention and reinforcement.

    184. Jeannie says:

      You know, I do think a lot of this will sort itself out in time.  I’ve seen huge changes in attitude to religion in Scotland over my lifetime.  I come from what was referred to in times gone by as a “mixed” marriage. On one side,  I had the most catholic granny ever known to the church and on the other a fairly liberal protestant granny.  I had catholic cousins and protestant cousins.  I love the bones of all of them.  What school they went to made no difference to me.  I was baptised in the Church of Scotland and went to a non-denominational school but was never really a churchgoer.  Religion was not an important part of my upbringing.
      When I left school and went to work, I acquired new friends.  And I’m still friends with them to this day.  They are catholic.  And I love them to bits.  Religion is not an issue for any of us.
      I married a catholic man.  His family was shocked at the time.  In his part of the world, marrying outwith the faith was frowned upon back then.  But I must have grown on them.  And my husband’s parents gradually discovered, as had my own grandparents,  that it was perfectly possible to have grandchildren of a different faith or no faith whatsoever and to love the bones of them and the sky didn’t fall in.  Most of their grandchildren are catholic, but now that these grandchildren are choosing partners of their own, some have, and are, choosing non-catholics and are sometimes choosing not to send their own children to faith schools.  That would have been largely unheard of in this neck of the woods at one time.
      And then there’s the fact that people are moving around more than they used to, either within Scotland or further afield.  I’ve lived abroad so I’m very much aware that in many other countries the catholic/protestant divide is much less of an issue  (or not an issue at all) than in the west of Scotland.  I also lived on the east coast of Scotland and found that it wasn’t so much of an issue there either. Where we lived, there was only one primary school for all of the children and all the kids in the village went to it, irrespective of religion. Wasn’t important.  It’s exposure to other examples that makes you think and question, isn’t it? 
      It’s just that times change and what was important to one generation is not necessarily so important to the next.  And in the future, as people continue to marry outwith their own faith and if they continue to have small families, and resources become scarcer, then people might change their thinking about the society they want to live in and how their resources can best be shared.  In other words, as the context changes, so does the decision-making. 
      For the time being, I accept that there are many people for whom faith and separate schooling are important issues. But in the future, as society becomes increasingly integrated, our own grandchildren will probably want different options. What makes sense to us, might make no sense at all to them. 
      And for what it’s worth, from the point of view of someone who holds no particular religious affiliation and who has no interest whatsoever in football, the whole Rangers/Celtic thing just looks like plain old tribalism that has hijacked religion and politics to try to provide a reasonand fuel for its existence.  But its really just base tribalism at the end of the day. There’s a huge difference, IMHO. between genuinely supporting a football team you love and using that football team to engage in the politcs of tribalism.

    185. Tobias Smollett says:

      Your sentence should read: “After they’re acquitted.” Keep up.
      I mentioned ‘police state tactics’ – which arbitrarily arresting people for singing songs at the football happens to be.
      It’s tolerance of such tactics which can lead to a police state. If we were a police state the sheriff wouldn’t have acquitted.
      Conflating your point to Westminster is pointless because the original article was never about Westminster.
      Brownshirted support, such as the Rev’s, is what gives such tactics a foothold. He appears to support arbitrary state sponsored intimidation of football fans singing songs because he doesn’t like a particular song. Hence the brownshirt label. 

    186. The Man in the Jar says:

      I agree.
      I think / hope that all religion will one day be consigned to the history books. After all it was devised to allow a small minority to control the masses. The crown to control the land and the church to control the people. Job done!
      I can imagine in a couple of hundred years from now school kids reading about religion in their history “books” and rolling about the floor (a la Cadburys Smash “Martians”) and making statements like “And real people like us that actually walked upright believed all this?”
      The number of wars and the unbelievable human suffering that has been caused by religious division over the millennia is staggering. I believe that mankind in general is inherently good otherwise we would not have survived past the first ice age. It is only when we allow ourselves to be manipulated by a minority with an agenda that we start to slaughter each other on a large scale.

    187. Krackerman says:

      the songs are not banned as a form of intimidation or mind control – they are banned as a recognition that the knuckle dragging apes on both sides that get “offended” by them are incapable of rational thought or basic self control.
      Personally I think this is the wrong approach – we already have laws to charge and lockup people who are incapable of civil behaviour – these should be strengthened to ensure that those who think violence is an appropriate response to a “song” are removed from society for as long possible.
      A three strikes rule might be appropriate.

    188. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      There is enough intolerant rubbish being posted on this subjest to sink the referendum effort completely.
      I just love the stuff from all the athiests who, of course, know everything 

    189. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Brownshirted support, such as the Rev’s, is what gives such tactics a foothold. He appears to support arbitrary state sponsored intimidation of football fans singing songs because he doesn’t like a particular song. Hence the brownshirt label.”

      Time for a warning, I think. Quite apart from anything else, you mean “blackshirt”, you tool.

    190. Krackerman says:

      I think you’ve got that back to front there Dave. It’s the religious that claim to “know” everything – without a shred of evidence to back it up too.
      I’ll say now – a free Scotland that’s not rooted deeply in secularism is not a country I’d want anything to do with. We need to move forward with a new enlightenment, not sink back into the childish dark age myths of our past.

    191. Jeannie says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill
      I don’t think I’m an atheist, Dave.  I really don’t know one way or another whether there’s a God – my mind is open on that one.  I just don’t feel the need to belong to any organised religion.  I do have my own beliefs about the nature of reality and I accept them for what they are – merely beliefs generated by myself.  Not eternal truths.  Just beliefs that are private to me and not shared with anybody else.  In fact, I expect Mr. Jeannie would be inclined to sleep with one eye open at night if he were aware of some of them 🙂

    192. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      This piece – which happens to be about Catholicism but could as easily have been from any of the big ones – does a pretty good job of summing up the “principles” at play in organised religion:

      Like I say, if people want their kids taught that mammals are fish, that’s up to them, but I’m really not sure it should be happening in the same place that teaches them the completely contradictory reality.

    193. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “If you really think sectarianism is “a historic memory of victimhood few have actual experience of,” then I don’t know what to say.”

      Without wishing to put words in Braco’s mouth, I believe the point being made was that the kind of overt, institutionalised sectarianism which used to infest Scottish society is a thing of the past.

      Of course there’s still sectarianism – we’re all acknowledging that fact by having this conversation at all. But it’s no longer acceptable – either legally or in societal terms – for certain companies (and football clubs) to more or less openly operate a “no Catholics” policy, for example.

      That doesn’t in any way belittle the experiences still suffered by victims of sectarianism today. But the argument, as I read it, was that the flame of bigotry was being kept alive by those who remembered a time when it was FAR worse, and who have an agenda of one sort or another in trying to pretend that it’s still that bad now. Both Braco and Jeannie (among others) have testified eloquently to the progress that’s been made, albeit that there’s still plenty work to do.

    194. Braco says:

      Rev Stu,
      Time for a warning, I think. Quite apart from anything else, you mean “blackshirt”, you tool.
      No, I think Tobias has gone back to the true mother load of Fascist accusations and is playing the Nazi SA card rather than piddle around with some little diddy British fascist organisation. I would just take it as a compliment. (Weaksmily)

    195. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “No, I think Tobias has gone back to the true mother load of Fascist accusations and is playing the Nazi SA card rather than piddle around with some little diddy British fascist organisation.”

      I know he meant the stormtroopers, but they were the paramilitary wing of an (ostensibly) democratic political party. They were purged in 1934, before the Nazis were properly fascist.

    196. Braco says:

      Rev Stu,
      Not at all. Thanks for saving me the time in having to respond myself. You have said all I would have wanted to, and more effectively.
      Cheers Min.

    197. Braco says:

      What would Britain do without the Nazis?

    198. ex-pat Jock says:

      I agree that the problem is worse in the West Coast, hence my comments suggesting proximity to Norther Ireland might be an issue (ref. flags in picture), however that could equally apply to the North West of England, so it is still a peculiarly Scottish problem it seems.
      How is the Scottish psyche different from our cousins across the border? Well one thing that has been different is the state religion. That was my point. Why is sectarian bigotry a problem in Scotland and not in England? It can’t be the mere presence of Roman Catholic schools, but can be shown by people’s attitudes to them. That is also the reason why I ask the question and reference an independent Scotland, after all, if there is an issue with we Scots and Catholicism, I can’t imagine that will disappear with the stroke of a Government pen.
      “Secondly, whether self imposed, externally imposed or by choice, this situation we find ourselves in is religious segregation of children. Surely we can agree on that simple fact?” I don’t see it as segregation of children. I had Catholic, Protestant and friends with no religion, my parents had no issue with my hanging out with anybody. Regarding schools, coming from Edinburgh, I perceived segregation more on economic not religious grounds (Watson’s, Heriots etc). You say you were religiously segregated as a child – how? You went to a different school? Were you precluded from having friends of other religions?
      I am at a loss to understand your next point – you now live in a Catholic country but you were so damaged by your experiences in Scotland that you fear Sporting versus Benfica games? Is one more or less Catholic that the other team, or are you simply referring to concerns over sporting occasions in general? I went to see my team play against Benfica a number of years ago – I was travelling alone and a friend living in Portugal got me the ticket which was in the Benfica end. I wore my team shirt and got nothing but friendliness from the fans around me. What on earth happened to you to make you so fearful? And is it really religion that caused that?
      This stuff is alien and stupid and there should be no place in a modern Scotland for it. No dispute from me on that, but again, WHY does it happen. We need to establish that before we can solve it, surely.
      It’s an interesting story regarding your experience in Aberdeen – but again., I don’t really see the relevance in reference to religion or sectarianism. You state there was a problem when the guy didn’t know where you were from, but when he found you were both from Motherwell, you talked all night, despite having gone to schools with different religious backgrounds – so where are the barriers you claim stops you from doing that? Did you guys really have no opportunity to meet anywhere in Motherwell outside of school times and indeed only under the age of 16 or 18 or whatever? I have met plenty folk from Edinburgh, of my age, but they drank on the other side of town, went to a different school ( religious or not), and our paths never crossed. Is that segregation or is it life in a big town or city?
      Those of us of an age, know people who claim to have been asked the schools question and if that is what you are angry at, I share it. A shorthand for religious discrimination that went on for decades, but if the employer is wanting to recruit A or B, they will find another question to ensure their aim is met (ref. the story that Celtic & Scotland legend Danny McGrain, a protestant, wasn’t signed by Rangers because of this first name!). But again blaming that on Catholic schools is the same as claiming a victim of a crime brought it on themselves.
      Why do “they” have Faith Schools, but “we” have religious segregation of children? You say “our” culture is to blame, not the schools themselves, but rather than treat the cause people seem to want to treat a symptom.
      “Every time I have had such interactions it only emphasises our shared experiences and not our differences.” Again, you seem to be saying that we are all Jock Tamson’s bairns, regardless of schooling. I agree and will sign off by saying by saying we should celebrate many cultures in our One Scotland.
      Reverend – having to go back to the 17th century to try and find something to ridicule organised religion about surprises me – there are much more recent examples of the absurdity of organised religion, yet that article to me, shows pragmatism and a willingness to change. Maybe that’s why you had to go back so far! 😉 

    199. Krackerman says:

      Want a laugh at religion – check this out –
      There are what – 14 million people who follow this batsh1t nonsense – including senior politicians.
      But is it any less nutty than any other belief?

    200. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Reverend – having to go back to the 17th century to try and find something to ridicule organised religion about surprises me “

      I could have cited a million, but that article appeared in my timeline this week so it was the freshest in my mind and the easiest link.

    201. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Let me make myself perfectly clear. It matter not a jot to me whether anybody is an atheist, an agnostic, a Jew, a Moslem or a Christian or whatever.
      What matters to me is ignorant intolerance and there is quite a lot of this on display here.
      I also recognise very well indeed how little I actually know. Such understanding would be useful to a few contributers here (and an understanding of sarcasm).
      Very many highly intelligent people, many of whom are fervent supporters of independence, have deep and sincere religious beliefs.The greatest of these is charity.

    202. Krackerman says:

      Your belief does not have a monopoly on Charity – compassion predates religion and there are plenty of us who don’t need the threats and score keeping of a holy Kim Il Sung to be kind generous human beings.

    203. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Your belief does not have a monopoly on Charity”

      Mm. I resent in the strongest possible terms the depiction of kindness, compassion, decency and other human characteristics as being inherently “Christian” or religious. When I’m nice to people it’s not because some magic sky being told me to be.

    204. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “What matters to me is ignorant intolerance and there is quite a lot of this on display here.”

      No, there isn’t. There’s a point of view being expressed that you disagree with, and which you haven’t countered in any way other than complaining about it. WHY is it fine to force beliefs on children? Why should the state do so, and why should taxpayers pay for it? Why should it not be a private matter for parents?

    205. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      There is a considerable amount of ignorant and offensive intolerance on this issue and very deliberate misrepresentation.
      Do you think this l clever?
      At which point did I even hint that “kindness, compassion, decency and other human characteristics as being inherently “Christian” or religious”?
      At which point have I ever even vaguely hinted at a Christian personal agenda?
      You are demeaning yourself and this hitherto admirable site

    206. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “At which point did I even hint that “kindness, compassion, decency and other human characteristics as being inherently “Christian” or religious”?”

      When you said this:

      Very many highly intelligent people, many of whom are fervent supporters of independence, have deep and sincere religious beliefs.The greatest of these is charity.

      Right there. Charity is a “religious belief”, rather than a merely human impulse. Claiming ownership of charity for religion.

    207. Braco says:

      Ex pat Jock,
      Thanks for the reply. I think a lot of the questions you ask are reasonable and thoughtful. Unfortunately it’s difficult for me to explain to you, maybe due to your east coast upbringing, the all pervasive and tribal nature of the problem in West Central Scotland back in the late seventies and early to mid eighties. It is so much better now and is getting better all the time, maybe due to conversations like this and the new ways of meeting and mixing.
      My sister’s first husband was catholic and I myself seem only to have been attracted to Catholic girls during my school days (the attractiveness of other, perhaps) so what I am talking about is certainly not a simple wall between communities. It is however the definite and purposeful creation of separate communities among people with no real discernible differences other than which big man up in the sky they don’t believe in. 
      This is not about religion. Most Scots, Protestant or Catholic don’t actually have a strong faith and are very similar in that respect. It’s about tribal division and the memories and fears of persecution being used for modern political and social ends.
      My point is, I feel from my experience, that our society is moving on and trying to leave these divisions behind but institutions such as segregated religious schools, that were originally set up to mitigate against the problem are now (that society has moved on) one of it’s last institutional bastions.
      In a conversation with Dave McEwan Hill on this subject over on Bella some months ago we were discussing an article he had written addressing why the ostensibly nationalist catholic community in Scotland should be considering voting to stay British. It is a very good article.
      During that discussion he said something off the cuff and innocuous at the time but I have thought of it many times since.  He explained how he has been politically active in the SNP and a School teacher in and around all the places I grew up or hung around. When I expressed my pleasure at the vast changes in attitudes that have taken place by the folk in these areas and how orange walks etc. are shadows of their former selves, even since 1985, he replied in a very interesting way.
      He said and I paraphrase, that he was heartened to hear this but not being of that community he he couldn’t be sure. He went on to describe what he felt was going on in his community. (I hope I have given a fair appraisal there Dave I would be glad of your opinion).
      Anyway, that makes my point about the kind of segregation that I am talking about in the areas that both Dave McEwan Hill and myself have grown up in. We are both educated, politically pro independence and anti SLAB. We are both anti sectarian and livid at the way SLAB have consistently played the Sectarian card for personal and political gain.
      Yet he has as little confidence in knowing what is going on in Protestant West Central Scotland as I have in what’s going on in the political minds of Catholic West Central Scotland. It’s the same West Central Scotland yet apparently two separate Constituencies in our minds. This is segregation.
      Scotland’s National movement toward self determination and a true social democracy, accountable to all it’s people, is slowly uncovering the lie of this unnatural division of the Scots people.
      A lie that was perpetuated for political reasons by both SLAB and the Conservative and Unionist parties from long ago. Now that there is no Conservative and Unionist party in Scotland any more (effectively) SLAB is starting to implode from the inherent contradictions of courting both sides of the sectarian divide.
      Before the Conservative and Unionists could be relied upon to spout the ‘Independent Scotland will become a Catholic dictatorship and us protestants will be hung and whipped again’ line, ‘just look at all the Papes that vote and are at the top of SLAB!’.
      SLAB were able to spout the ‘Independent Scotland will become a presbyterian theocracy and all Catholics will be tortured and purged’ line, ‘just look at all the Orangemen who vote and are in the leadership of the Conservatives!’ 
      Both sides shit scared of an Independent Scotland. Job done.
      With the demise of the Scottish Tories as a political force and SLAB hoovering up what once was considered to be the proddy vote, they find themselves now having to be the sole purveyors of the hackneyed old lines and they look ridiculous!
      Hence the spectacle of die hard celtic minded ex cabinet ministers and shadow secretaries of state screaming their Irish nationalist credentials while spouting about British values and the need for Scotland to remain in the UK to keep it civilised. (us and them apparently?!)
      One last point. Aberdeen is Presbyterian and yet has no sectarian problems. Is Aberdeen not Scotland?

    208. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      The children get taught religion in schools because that is what their parents choose for them. It’s called democracy. It’s entirely voluntary. The parents can choose not to have them taught religion. Parents tend to choose lots of stuff for their children. Monkeys and cats and dogs etc tend to do the same with their young. Until we can come up with a way to produce fully formed adult children I suspect parent will insist on their right to bring up their children the way they choose.
      You are obviously unaware of the conditions governing the establishing and operation of Catholic schools. They can only be set up and maintained  if  the numbers involved justify this without extra cost to the taxpayer. Glasgow city, for instance, hardly a hotbed of anti Catholicism, has closed a number of Catholic schools in recent years because the numbers do not justify their operation.
      There is no extra cost to the taxpayer in the operation of schools for Catholics who of course pay their taxes like anybody else. 
      As I have already stated in a previous post ideally I believe religious education should be done in the home and by the churches.  

    209. Braco says:

      Dave McEwan Hill,
      So why not argue for that then as that’s all we are doing?

    210. Krackerman says:

      Interesting side point – in the 2001 census 43% of people in Aberdeen claimed to have no religion. This makes it on paper the least religious city in the country.
      The norm across the country for that census was 28%….
      Could say perhaps that’s one reason there’s no sectarian violence – but the fact is that prior to that Aberdeen was a religious mono-culture anyway – all religions are big on peace – usually after they’ve finished “removing” the opposition…

    211. Krackerman says:

      Dave – WHOA – in no way parents forcing a faith on their children is democratic – the exact opposite in every way!

    212. Braco says:

      And also Dave, I don’t see where anyone here has implied or stated anything that would contradict the info you have given on the equality of state resourcing of either type of school.
      What would be your point of bringing it up or implying otherwise?

    213. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I have not argued against it in anyway. Enjoyed your last thoughtful contribution.
      The point I was making was not about the desirabilty or otherwise of “faith” schools. The point I was making was about the folly of playing into the Labour Party’s hands on this issue by providing them with all the ammunition they need to make sure our YES vote in West Central Scotland is sunk.
      This point has ben ignored in a very determined fashion by a number of posters who have been riding thier own hobby horses on a different issue.
      Many of them have no idea of the political realities of West Central Scotland  

    214. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “As I have already stated in a previous post ideally I believe religious education should be done in the home and by the churches.”

      Me too. So what on Earth is this argument about?

    215. Braco says:

      I agree that it is difficult to explain to someone who has not been immersed in the culture, just how odd our social situation in West Central Scotland is. I think that too speaks volumes of the consistent and inter generational social engineering that has been practiced in order to sustain the Status Quo.
      We differ only in that I see The Catholic School opt out of what should be a non denominational School system as now part of the problem and you do not.
      This may be due to myself being part of a majority (although as you know in our area I have never felt myself to be part of some majority) and you and your community feeling and being encouraged to feel themselves somehow as a pressured minority (again though, in our area this is simply not a feeling many will have personally).
      Just as an aside, I can honestly say that up to the age of about 14 I thought Scotland really was a religiously split Country along 50/50 lines. Ridiculous I know but that was my experience and it seemed natural to assume it was representative. To this day that’s how I feel although intellectually I know it’s nonsense.  
      Anyway, it’s the chicken and the egg I am afraid. I went to a de facto Protestant school because there were no Catholics present. You went to and taught at a specifically ordained Catholic School. If a truly secular and non denominational system is to be set up (which I believe should be) then the only way is to remove the specifically ordained religious Schools. (not physically obviously, just the authority they are run by)
      I understand this is causing a fear in your community of assimilation, something I am sure SLAB have worked hard to nurture and encourage over the years. But what is wrong with Catholic Scots who attend a truly non denominational State School system alongside Protestant Scot’s who also attend that same non denominational School? I just don’t see it.
      The fear mongering and division peddled for generations has to be stood up to at some point and if thoughtful and politically switched on folk such as yourself on either side won’t begin to , who will?
      I know it’s not that simple. This cultural Gordian knot of religion, nationalism, republicanism, monarchy and immigration has been twisted and turned over and over again by our unscrpulous ‘community’ leaders to the benefit of their Status Quo vested interests, no matter the detrimental effect to our society as a whole and as such has really lasted the test of time.
      I only see the Knot being cut through many, many different reforms, from land reform, welfare reform and a written constitution, inequality addressed by repeal of the laws banning Scotland’s head of state from being a Catholic etc. etc. These can only be enacted by an independent Democratically elected Scots parliament. I don’t think this is overly idealistic or threatening, do you?
      I am not a politician and neither are you or to my knowledge is anyone else taking part in this incredibly interesting (to me at least) discussion about how we should go about tackling this persistent problem in our specific community.
      I am not screaming for change NOW! and I am not calling for this subject to used as some rally cry for our Independence march through Carfin, batons twirling (smilywink). It’s just that when the subject arises, as it has, I will not leave the field to the slavering fear mongering two faced liers (SLAB and their fellow travelers) that spread the muck they will inevitably spread, without putting my considered view. I can’t see where this can possibly damage the YES vote. Can you?
      As You have already quite rightly stated, SLAB have lied their way into gulling a few idiots into concluding that a Law brought about as a response to death threats to a prominent one of their own ‘community’, is now somehow a sectarian attack upon their community.
      This makes no sense and can only be countered by thoughtful, considered and fact based argument. SLAB will twist and lie on this issue no matter what the arguments put are.
      I just don’t believe the electorate are buying it anymore and that is common to both religious ‘constituencies’ of West Central Scotland. Something else I think that is exposing the lie of our fabricated supposed differences.

    216. ex-pat Jock says:

      I don’t know if Aberdeen has “no” sectarian problems, but I know that Edinburgh and Perth have been the hometowns of some of those convicted for sectarian assaults, and they are not West Coast. I am also not suggesting for one moment that one part of Scotland is more or less Presbyterian than the next, and therefore has more or less issues, I am only asking the question why does Scotland as a whole (and certain districts less or more) have a problem with sectarianism? It’s obviously more visible on the West Coast and that can easily be ascribed to the polarisation that is attracted to the big two football teams, but equally the predomintance of “marches” based around, er, let’s call it Irish history* shows this goes beyond 22 millionaire kicking a leather ball. 
      Again, I think the issues in Scotland are NOT about religion, for me religion (& Glagow’s two big football teams) is a proxy for Republican/Loylist – hence the issues with the Celtic fans singing “political” songs which the OB(F)A tries to shoehorn into “sectarian”, but I guess that’s another debate…
      As I think I mentioned, it’s been 25 years since I moved South, I am interested in this idea that followers of a religion vote in a block – something that should be risible in a proper democracy – is that the product of a siege mentality, safety in numbers if you will. I certainly think the perfect storm of no effective Conservative Party in Scotland, disillusionment with Labour and the LibDems in bed with the Tories before the Scottish vote delivered a stunning result for the SNP. An SNP in power has to ask the independence question of course, it’s their raison d’etre. As a (now) outsider I really am looking on with interest as to the end game in my native country.
      Addendum: in February this year, The Herald reported “Earlier this month a survey revealed that almost three-quarters of Scots want Orange and Irish Republican-themed parades banned. In Strathclyde alone there are more than 1000 parades a year” – the vast majority are Unionist/Protestant in nature, so I think your assertion that they are in the decline. That seems like a hell of a lot of marches. 
      And if the “marching season” commemorates victories of the crown over “rebels” in Ireland, even factoring the in protestant goverment/monarchy over a predominantly Catholic rebellion, how come there are no Culloden marches? It’s obviously more pertinent to Scotland, or are they more, as I suspect, again further importing problems? Keeping the Irish in their place? It’s weird looking from the outside in, as you must agree…

    217. Braco says:

      Ex pat Jock,
      Again you make my point for me.
      It indeed is weird looking in from the outside. This shows that the part of Scotland that you come from has no real idea or tradition of this kind of political and social manipulation. Consider yourself lucky (and normal) but had you been brought up in such segregated circumstances the feelings created, although intellectually obviously ridiculous, they never really leave you.
      Something that upsets me more and more the older I get and probably why I am spending such a long time trying to express my mixed up feelings on this thread.
      On the Orange marches. It’s to do with the intensity and community participation rather than the crude number of rag tag straggling individual marches, organised by the still existing (but reduced in circumstances) individual lodges.
      Anyone who had experienced the same events even as late as 85 would be amazed at their ‘decline’. I think this also exposes your lucky lack of knowledge of the situation. (smily)
      Finally, I am just trying to re assure you that after spending many, many years in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and mixing with other friends from all over the Highlands, the idea that sectarianism is somehow a Scottish problem is a fallacy.

      A politically handy fallacy and another fabled division within Scotland to add to the rest of the useful division fallacies to nurture. (Highland/lowland, Eastcoast/Westcoast, Scots/Gaelic/English etc. etc.)
      It is a problem specific to West Central Scotland and one that is, as my posts have tried to explain in some detail, very much on the wane.

      It’s Independence that will eventually kill it, just as the mere threat of Independence has finally uncovered the political falsehoods and motives of the vested interests responsible for its creation and effectively driven it for all these generations.
      That is the ‘end game’ occurring in your native country, not something to be feared, more something to be celebrated!
      Vote YES in 2014! (please)

    218. Tobias Smollett says:

      Time for a warning, I think. Quite apart from anything else, you mean “blackshirt”, you tool.
      A warning? Dear dear. Wearing a tinpot irony hat are you? Should I refer to you as constable instead of Rev?
      If you don’t like people disagreeing with your narrow censorious arbitrary counter-productive philosophy regarding songs sung at the football, don’t post such blatantly anti-freedom of speech articles. 
      And, for your information, ‘brownshirt’ was indeed the correct response when I awarded you brownshirt of the week, sir. Leave the embarrassingly misplaced mindreading antics to the likes of Derren Brown, you’re plainly not equipped for it. 

    219. Krackerman says:
      Billy says it all on religion 🙂

    220. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Bye, Tobias.

    221. ianbrotherhood says:

      Michty me, what a good thread this is.
      Okay, it’s become a bit hairy at times, but consider this – even ten years ago, this ‘conversation’ would be impossible.
      In ’79? Unthinkable.
      That’s why the BT brigade are losing, and know it – the Divide & Conquer strategy which served their masters so effectively for so long has finally fallen apart. All they have left is hand-to-mouth tactics based on fear and ignorance.
      The more of these ‘arguments’ we have, the less effective those tactics become.
      Argue on people…argue on – the more we thrash it out, the more we gain.

    222. Braco says:


    223. Braco says:


      such a good point min.

      1979! Can you imagine? How and where could conversations like this have taken place and been published?

      And this is about an actual YES/NO decision on full fat Independence. It’s amazing isn’t it! (but then maybe that’s why it’s happening now)


    224. The Man in the Jar says:

      Hi Guys
      I agree. I think it has been great to get all this out in the open. I can’t imagine any other “Scottish” forum that wouldn’t have descended into an abuse storm.
      I think that there have been some elephants danced around in the room, probably just as well I suppose. A whole lot of tongue bitten also. I must admit I was surprised by a lot of the comments, some posters went way up in my estimation, sadly some went down. I noticed that a fair few regulars stayed well clear. It is a tough subject to talk about so I don’t blame them. Hope we can discuss again some time. It is getting close to the marching season when I will have my Saturday afternoons ruined by the sound of the knuckledraggers in the village across the Clyde “marching” I can even tell when the bands pass the Chapel, the volume gets turned up to eleven!

    225. Braco says:

      The Man in the Jar,
      It’s certainly still a work in progress that’s for sure, but it is real and permanent progress. I think Ianbrotherhood has it bang on with his emphasis on our ability to talk (unmediated) about this crap now.
      That’s when we all realise that we’ve all been thinking only slightly different versions of the same thoughts. With politics and vested interests playing the Chinese whisper game as the self appointed go-betweens of our pointedly created and divided ‘communities’.
      I feel it’s slowly working itself out and given a YES in 2014 it will really accelerate and we will be equally amazed at the progress in 10 years as we have been with this last decade’s. 
      Here’s hoping anyway.

    226. The Man in the Jar says:

      A common enemy can be a great unifier. Sectarianism and blind prejudice is the enemy of right thinking people. It is good to see us unifying against it. Like you mention it is not as bad as it was a few years ago. I thought that “Just a boys game” and “Just another Saturday” were documentaries when they came out 🙂
      Must add, that might be “Only a boys game” it was a long time ago!
      Onwards and upwards!

    227. Braco says:

      I have tried to show both those ‘documentaries’ to my non Scots girlfriend in weak explanation (especially Just a boys game) but she can’t watch them. She see’s them for what they are, alien and depressing. Whereas they still seem to talk to me in some strange and sick way.

      ‘ Haw, that’s ma Burd!’
      (hard slow stare up and down) ‘Serves ye right!…’ 
      Night Min.

    228. Braco says:

      They are both on youtube by the way, if you fancy a trip down memory lane. You will be shocked. Especially with the Central Glasgow, actual footage of The Walk in ‘Just another Saturday’.

      Night, this time.

    229. The Man in the Jar says:

      I remember Frankie Millers face when someone shouts “McCafferty yer tea`s oot!”
      Must watch again thanks.

    230. Ex-pat Jock says:

      Hi Braco
      Our discourse has been interesting to me also, but I am not the optimist you seem to be, perhaps I’m still too dour even after all these years abroad…
      You seem to blame all the woes caused by sectarianism on divisions propagated by Scottish Labour and Conservative parties – well that’s handy, because, with due respect, it does seem to suit your apparent political preferences.
      According to the 2001 census, approx 16% claimed Catholicism as their religion, only 1% of those questioned classed themselves as Irish. I appreciate that there was a campaign to get more to admit to their Irish origins in the latest census, so I await the 2011 results with interest, especially regarding Catholicism/Eastern Europe – unfortunately despite the English & Welsh survey delivering the ethnicity & religion results for their Census late last year, the Scottish Census results are not expected for a few months yet.
      I do hope they don’t go the way of the Sectarian Crime Stats that the Crown Office managed to “destroy”! A very strange admission in these days of digitised storage.
      Either way, it is clear that Catholic and/or Irish are two very small minorities but there seems to be an inordinate focus on their activities in Scotland – as you say, so much so that it appears to a child that they are equal in number and importance to the Scottish/Protestant majority.
      The Review of Marches and Parades in Scotland of 2005 – is there a more recent review? – stated there were 1700 marches in Scotland in 2003, of which 853 were “Orange”, 20 were “Catholic” (that’s interesting terminology in itself, no?). The same report states of the 979 “Marches & Parades in Strathclyde” 713 (73%) were “Orange” in nature and just 20 “Catholic” (2%).
      In the absence of other data, a report from Stratchclyde Police regarding resources stated that between March 2008 and April 2009 there were more marches in Strathclyde than back in 2003 (now over 1,000) and that Glasgow itself had more parades involving Protestant Loyal Order and Republican organisations than Belfast, with 247 compared with Belfast’s 217. I don’t think it unreasonable to infer a similar proportion of Catholic versus “Orange” to that shown in the Review of marches, which would give a proportion of 97% to 3% between Protestant Loyal Order and Republican marches in Glasgow. I think we can agree that is a disproportionate number of marches which actively exclude Catholics, indeed which make a triumph of “their” defeat. BTW anyone got an opinion on the lack of Culloden Marches? Anyone, anyone, Bueller, anyone…?
      I certainly think a strong indicator of a rejection of sectarianism in a “New Scotland” (Nova Scotia?) would be to put a ban on Orange & Republican marches – clearly that’ll never happen, no politician wants to alienate tens of thousands of potential voters. You say these marches are less of a problem, what about the Royal Black Institution demanding a march going right past Celtic Park in 2011 – ON A MATCH DAY. If that is not deliberately provocative, I don’t know what it.
      And finally, with reference to the 70s/80s, I certainly remember do the Orange Marches in Edinburgh from my childhood. I remember one starting on London Road on a Saturday, right outside my judo club. It was one of the few times in my life I saw my father, a big, but very placid man, get exercised about anything – “Why are those people importing something that doesn’t belong here?”. As you say those things stick with you for a lifetime. And yet, Scotland has done pretty much dick about it in those 40 years.
      According to the head of the Scottish Catholic Media Office (who backs independence BTW) “Scotland remains a hostile environment for Catholics to live in… The number of crimes motivated by anti-Catholic intolerance has gone up every year since the 2003 Criminal Justice Act was created. Things are not getting better.” Yet you seem confident this 200/300 year history will all disappear in an Independent Scotland? Disappear in a puff of tartan smoke, as it is all a construct by the other political parties? Those other parties who are active in areas of Britain where there is no problem? I simply cannot believe that…
      BTW I don’t think I have a vote anyway.

    231. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      That 16% determines which party wins nearly every seat from Greenock to West Lothian as it makes up over 40% of the population in much of that area and is a majority in some communities. The real reason the SNP swept to power over much of that area in 2011 is that for the first time ever a majority of that population voted SNP.
      (In fact as a study found out had that community voted SNP in the same proportion as the rest of the Scottish community in the second 1974 election the SNP would have gained a majority of Scottish seats at it).
      The implications of the 2011 voting pattern did not escape the Labour Party and the sectarian card is being played right now. This will get much worse and it is essential that anybody who comes across instances of sectarian politics going on report it as soon as possible. It is also essential that we do not give the Labour Party ammunition which is basically what most of my previous posts on this thread were about.
      BTW I did much of my early political activity in Glasgow and Lanarkshire. I was for a short time SNP PPC at Hamilton before business difficulties forced me to stand down. I did my homework. At that point there were more Catholics registered in congregations in that constituency than in Protestant ones and more children at Catholic schools than at non-denominational ones. Hamilton constituency is fairly typical. Peter Kearney, head of the Catholic Media Office in Glasgow is in fact a member of the SNP and went for one of the higher offices at one point.
      We tread warily in this area or we lose the referendum and I sincerely hope that some elements among our enemies do not stumble across some of the more intemporate posts we have seen here

    232. Braco says:

      Dave McEwan Hill,
      Do you really still see voting intentions being able to be manipulated on block along religious lines by the same old SLAB/Unionist scare stories? I would have thought the way that  both so called communities ‘independently’ swung to SNP in just about equal numbers (give or take) would ease your fears on that matter.
      The cat is well and truly out the bag on this one and I don’t think all the SLAB, MSM, BBC or digging up and quoting of celebrity politicians such as Galloway (less than 2% vote at last electoral test in Scotland by the way!) is going to be able to raise that corpse, even one more time.
      The fear is going because society has simply changed. Look back twenty years, it’s staggering.
      I really don’t think that there is anything from this thread to fear. Has anything here been shocking or threatening to anyone who actually read the comments and didn’t just project onto them. (The argued points I mean)
      Please re read the posts that you seem to have read outrage and insult into and tell me if you still see them in the same way. I for the life of me can’t see it. In my view, this is exactly the kind of discussion that must be had (especially among us pro Indy’s) and normalised, if we are to win this referendum. Not stifled and pussyfooted around as if reasoned argument and reasonable positions are something to be feared.
      SLAB and Unionists will try and twist whatever is said as they always have done. As I say however, that lie is out and you simply cannot tell the same lie over again once you’ve been found out. It just looks daft.
      Is that not a fair description of how SLAB and their campaign looked at the last election? Is it not a fair description of SLAB and their contortions now?
      I say keep talking. Was this thread really of no value?

    233. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I most certainly KNOW that voting intentions are and will be manipulated by SLAB. It is going on as we speak.  The first thing our party met as we arrived to canvas in the Glasgow North East by election was “Youse are the bastards that are gonna close wur Catholic schools”.
      I have a good friend who is a Catholic parliamentary assistant to an SNP MSP. She is a member of the SNP. Her parents refuse to even countenance voting SNP “An independent Scotland will put the Catholics back 100 years in Scotland” is their opinion. That was last month. Why do you think the “Green Brigade” was gathered 3000 strong in George Square to be addressed by Michael McMahon MSP to be told that the anti sectarian legislation that was framed after bullets were sent to Neil Lennon was somehow designed against them?. Why does the same Michael go about telling meetings that the SNP is “anti Irish”. Why did George Galloway only last week say that an independent Scotland would be a disaster for Catholics?
      I had years of it in Lanarkshire. “There’ll be nae books and pencils fur Our Lady’s High School if the SNP get in”. “The SNP’ll stop family allowances efter the second wean”. I was at a by-election at which the Labour Party went about playing Irish rebel songs on their loudspeakers and canvassed wearing Celtic tops.
      You probably have no idea how much damage that idiot SNP council candidate  did when he made silly public remarks about nuns in North Lanarkshire at the last council elections but it sunk the SNP campaign. The SNP threw him out but that was too late. One wonders a lot about that little episode. But it is perfectly clear how to completely frustrate an independence vote in Central Scotland. And our enemies know exactly how to do it. So we have to be ready to combat it.
      Independence supporters from other parts don’t understand this. It’s not that Scotland is a deeply bigoted country anymore. And parts of Scotland never had that problem. It’s just that the past allows the fear of that to be easily whipped up in some areas.     

    234. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      O/T completely
      Do you know how BBC Scotland Ceefax reported Margaret Cuthbert’s paper? They said that her conclusion was that Scotland couldn’t be in a currency union with the rest of UK. That was it.

    235. Braco says:

      Ex Pat Jock,
      I think we are probably as far as we can go with this. You seem intent on ignoring the general points of my posts in order to push stats that favour your reading of a political and cultural situation, in a part of Scotland, that you freely admit to not knowing or understanding.
      Again, If your dad was exercised about the importation of a ‘walk’ into Edinburgh and viewed it, quite naturally, as something foreign and unwanted, then surely that underlines my point that sectarianism, of the kind this discussion has been all about, is indeed only really present in West Central Scotland. Not the National problem you seem intent on casting it as ( for what reason, I have to ask myself now?).
      By the way I witnessed a similar event in Aberdeen during the Late 80’s, when a ‘walk’ tried to march down Union Street. The few bemused onlookers that had any idea of what it actually was were outraged and turned their backs as it passed. I fell for Aberdeen that day and it’s still my first love! So more corroboration to add to the story of your father, but just you stick with your stats.
      Speaking of your stats, instead of boring us all with regurgitated figures from wherever, could you not just come out and say what you think. Tell  me your opinion. Are you scared that it will come across as just too negative to be believed. Sometimes just expressing an opinion honestly is enough. So let’s here it. If not, let’s just not bother anymore Ok?
      For the record I am not and have never been a member of the SNP. I have turned to them in order to gain an Independent Scotland and they are, at the moment, keeping up the bargain they struck with me as a voter. No more and no less. So no need to look for any party political meaning behind my sentiments as I most probably will change my vote post Indy but we shall see.
      By the way, Culloden Marches?  Now that’s the kind of thing I am talking about. How long have you been an Ex Pat Jock, because that kind of comment sadly implies a wallowing in the English edition Dailymail puddle of intentional misconception for far, far too long.  

    236. Braco says:

      Dave McEwan Hill,
      I know all the scare stories and crap that are being whispered and more recently shouted by the usual suspects. Have you had a look at how that’s been working out for the SLAB and Unionist parties in Lanarkshire and West Central Scotland (and their effort to stop the rising tide of SNP voting)?
      This is an Independence Referendum Dave. They have always relied on party loyalties and divisions to try and marginalise the SNP. That effect will itself become marginal in this vote, as it is effectively one man one vote, with every vote of equal weight. It is also being fought out in front of the Scots electorate and will be solidly viewed in the Scottish Context.  YES is best for Scots and we can prove it. It’s that simple
      I think you are being too fearful and giving too much credit to the effectiveness of those old herding methods once so effective in areas such as ours. These places are no longer SLAB heartlands. They may still squeak a constituency MSP, but the majorities are incredibly small when looked at from even one election away!
      One more thing. When Scotland has been asked their opinion on more powers in a Referendum, we have never said NO. Not even in 79 with all the lies, fear mongering, false promises, split vote and lack of internet.
      1979, now that was a real sectarian period in our communities and Scotland still voted YES.
      You really feel It’s theirs to loose? 

    237. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I agree it is a diminishing feature, but it is still very real – and we ain’t seen nothing yet. The Labour Party got very complacent and got a real tanking. Their response  (or some of them ) is to drag this up again.It will have a significant effect with a significant section of that community unless we deal with it.

    238. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Do not forget the Labour Party supported Devolution and campaigned for it. It does not support independence

    239. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Ex-pat Jock
      There is an annual Culloden commemoration which I attend every year! The solemn commemoration where the dead of both sides are remembered is held at the monument and we feel no need to march through the streets banging drums.

    240. Braco says:


      Only nominally, while whole heartedly trying to scupper our strongest argument by initiating the original lie about Scots oil, whilst at the same time allowing the private labour Mp’s ‘40% amendment’ to take effect on their own government’s legislation!

      Great ‘support’ and ‘Campaign’ strategy there. It really was a miracle YES got over 50% at all when you include all the other shenanegens.
      But……… we did! 

    241. Braco says:

      God Dave,
      You’ve goaded me into sounding remorselessly up beat here! I resent that, as I’m certainly not feeling quite as up beat at the moment as I seem to be sounding. (hardonebysmily)

    242. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      As longas we recognise what our enemies are likely to do we can deal with it. They are in panic mode which makes anything possible. But we are winning.

    243. Ex-pat Jock says:

      Hold on Braco, you can freely make pie-in-the-sky predictions, that Scotland will be a land where prejudice and 300 years of sectarianism will disappear overnight once we are independent – yet my insult my use of facts and precedent? Tough to take that approach seriously.
      The statistics I have used were exclusively from the police sources – not from “wherever” – and I think the Strathclyde Police’s figures about policing sectarian marches are pertinent to any debate (1,000 events took nearly 50,000 hours to police at a cost of £1.7m). £1.7m for Strathclyde alone a few years back – that money that could, I think we all agree, be better spent.
      You say that despite your and my experiences of marches in Aberdeen & Edinburgh respectively, sectarianism “is only really present in West Central Scotland” and is not a National problem. You ask why I have reverted to my (original) position that it is a Scottish problem – this is because as I noted (again using that pesky evidence) two recent high-profile sectarian assaults were perpetrated by people living in Edinburgh & Perth – this highlights it’s not purely a West Coast problem. It’s more of a problem on the West Coast, but clearly not exclusively “their” problem, again the statistics are there for anyone interested.
      How can my opinion “be too negative to be believed” – it’s my opinion after all. You may disagree with my prognosis, but I it’s not up to me whether you “believe” my opinion or not.
      “For the record” I don’t believe I suggested you were a “member” of the SNP, only that the Scottish Labour & Conservative parties clearly didn’t reflect your current view. I think that’s as much party political as I went, I apologise if I did otherwise.
      I also think you are misinterpreting my reason for raising this issue of a lack of Culloden “marches” to celebrate a victory for Lowland Government forces over Highland Catholic rebels. I raise it because the defence I have read for Orange Marches in Scotland was that they were marching in celebration of series of battles that happened in another country 320-odd years ago was that the defeat of James VII & II by William of Orange was the symbolic point that Britain became a truly protestant nation. My question (not the Daily Mail’s) is that if that was the case, why wouldn’t Culloden and the defeat of The Young Pretender be celebrated in Scotland? It is my contention that marches celebrating The Battle of the Boyne and similar battles are in fact a celebration of Irish & Catholic subjugation not of uniting Britain under the crown. If you have anything that contradicts my assertion, I’m all ears.
      And Man In the Jar – thanks for making that point. Remembering the dead of both sides is a right and fitting way to commemorate such an occasion – which again takes me back to the point that IMO the Orange marches (and all marches of that ilk) are a celebration of the subjugation of another people/religion and the cementing of a protestant hegemony in Ireland & Great Britain, not one of remembrance.
      You ask how long I have been ex-pat – I mentioned that in my previous post. 25 years this year, I moved down during the Thatcher years having struggled to find work in Scotland. My view of Scotland’s economic stength is coloured by that time, and more failures in the banking sector, an area of strength previously.
      I was actually born in Glasgow, some 47 years ago, and I would say despite living in London that I am very well aware of the issues at hand, being a Celtic season ticket and commuting from London for games as & when I can (just booking next season’s now as it happens). The singling out of Celtic’s Green Brigade for “special treatment” under the OB(F)A by the police has been well documented, as was the SNP Justice Minister’s Kenny MacAskill praising of a league cup final as a “great spectacle” where fans of another club indulged in considerable amounts of singing songs, audible over the television, which were definitely of a sectarian nature.
      My opinion? It seems to me those examples and the pavlovian  reaction from The Reverend’s initial post relating to sectarianism in football moving to a debate Catholic schooling is harbinger of what may happen in an independent Scotland. All I have to back that are statistics and historical examples, sorry.
      BTW it could & should be noted the last time Scotland was in control of its own destiny it still had a Catholic monarchy, so we really will be stepping into the unknown if the vote goes for independence.
      BTW 2 re. The Daily Heil – I wouldn’t wipe my Archie with it if it was the last piece of absorbent material in the world :o)
      Signing off now.

    244. Braco says:

      Ex Pat Jock,
      I didn’t notice any solutions put forward for what is, after all, a problem overseen for the last 300 odd years by Union.
      We have our different views of what the future holds, I see that, but I don’t ever remember either myself or any other poster here stating the view that sectarianism in Scotland will somehow just disappear on Independence day. Neither side (like you I suspect) really wants change, and the power to really enact it would expose this to their own suffering constituency. 
      It was also nice of you to explain your references to Cullodden ‘Marches’ in your previous posts. Especially as again, no one that I know of on this thread tried to justify in any way the Orange Walk or it’s historic antecedants.  You do like your straw men don’t you.
      I would just say that victim hood status seems to be a very attractive, comfortable and politically advantageous position to hold in Scottish Society. That’s why both sides of the Sectarian divide (and their football teams) seem to spend such an inordinate amount of time squabbling over just who really do have the authentic keys to it.
      Strange mix don’t you think, years of political power and victim hood status. Workable when everyone understands that it’s only political power over a ‘Pretendy wee Parliament’. Probably impossible to pull off though, when it’s real power, over a real Parliament with the equivalent powers to that of other countries.
      Maybe that’s the real reason that neither side of this sectarian nonsense favours Independence. It would strip them both of their make believe security blanket of victim status. 

    245. The Man in the Jar says:

      Last para. bang on!

    246. Ex-pat Jock says:

      Braco: “I don’t ever remember either myself or any other poster here stating the view that sectarianism in Scotland will somehow just disappear on Independence day”.
      You described sectarianism as “A politically handy fallacy and another fabled division within Scotland to add to the rest of the useful division fallacies to nurture…. It’s Independence that will eventually kill it, just as the mere threat of Independence has finally uncovered the political falsehoods and motives of the vested interests responsible for its creation and effectively driven it for all these generations…That is the ‘end game’ occurring in your native country, not something to be feared, more something to be celebrated”.
      hmmm, “Independence will eventually kill it (sectarianism)”. Now that’s magic.
      And please do not put words into my mouth in favour of a status quo – there is nothing I have written than would indicate that, quite the contrary, I have challenged the status quo by asking uncomfortable questions that still remain unanswered. I am against a minority that is taken against but is held somehow responsible for that by being different. Whether that be a choice of school enjoyed elsewhere in the UK or the celebration of a cultural background different from the majority.
      Why was the SNP’s knee-jerk OB(F)A related only to football? Because if they had just brought in without the (F) it would have effectively banned marches by 10s of thousands of potential voters. Possibly threaten their clubs and lodges very existence. Want a solution? I agree with the posters that said the Scottish Government (independent of devolved) should ban marches which are sectarian in nature (whether that is exclusive to one religion or exclusive of others).
      A sectarian crime is a sectarian crime – regardless of circumstance or location – surely?
      BTW When is a victim not a victim? In Scotland when you’re the victim of a sectarian crime. Then it’s seeking a victimhood “status”. That sums it up. Sayonara.

    247. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “BTW When is a victim not a victim? In Scotland when you’re the victim of a sectarian crime. Then it’s seeking a victimhood “status”.”

      “Of Celtic supporters, who have been involved in the major protests against the bill and rightly or wrongly feel somewhat more persecuted by it, no one who has pleaded “not guilty” (and therefore gone to trial) has actually been convicted.”

      Michael is against the Act, like you are. But the figures to date give the lie to Celtic supporters’ paranoid insistence that it was designed to victimise them.

    248. Braco says:

      Ex pat Jock,
      Thanks for the quote. I would simply refer you to the word eventually. I really don’t think a word like that implies an overnight, speedy or magic transformation.
      Best for folk to just read the post and decide themselves what my intentions were (if anyone is really bothered, which I doubt).

      I am getting the feeling that you are intent on reading your own ideas into what you perceive my opinions are on this matter, rather than just simply reading what I am writing.
      Not a fruitful state of affairs for either of us I am afraid.
      One last point, just in defence of myself over the implication that I was ever referring to actual victims of sectarianism or sectarian attacks from that quote of mine, as I think is the intent of that last post of yours. 
      Rev Stu refuted a similar (but this time I think, honestly mistaken) implication much earlier up the thread. It was much better than anything I could have written, so I hope he doesn’t mind me referring you (and any one else reading this) back to it here.
      Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
      31 May, 2013 at 11:49 am

      BTW When is a political victim not a victim in Scotland?  When you’ve spent the last 70 years as leading lights of the governing Party of Scotland and embedded yourself into all the major institutions of influence in that Country and benefited personally in the same ways other members of that elite have and do benefit.
      That is normal procedure for local and national politicians. It’s probably essential to the integration and healthy growth of a culturally diverse country. This however, while simultaneously peddling the ‘poor me, I am such an outsider and everybody is against me’ line is not. So, then yes, it is seeking an undeserved victimhood “status” and is disfiguring our body politic. That sums it up. Sayonara.

    249. Krackerman says:

      Holy cow, no offense to the Hindus – but is this thread STILL going?
      Here have a wee song and raise a glass to the death of all religions!

    250. Braco says:

      It dies in the certain knowledge that it will be resurrected.

    251. Krackerman says:

      Aye – I’m sure the priests of Jupiter said the same in their day.

    252. mrbfaethedee says:

      With regard to ‘nudging’ social behaviour to desired norms, a research paper about how the act of restoring order is more effective than the presence of order itself when trying to promote socially desired norms –
      The importance of demonstratively restoring order

    253. Ex-pat Jock says:

      Heaven preserve us.


      Rev Stu: Lie? Paranoid? That’s pretty pejorative language. Look at the following “kettling” incident and tell me that is “paranoid”? As noted in session in Holyrood “it is now being widely alleged…by QCs and independent legal advisors… that the event was met with the very harassment, victimisation and the disproportionate action from the police which the fans where protesting against in the first place.”



      And Braco:
      So in 3 generations some members of the 14% Catholic community in Scotland have advanced themselves within the Scottish Labour Party is proof there is no problem?
      As for your final point, that because some Catholics have succeeded in Scotland the rest are “seeking an undeserved victimhood “status”, well rather than another lengthy post I’ll leave you with the following BBC news report. A word of caution, stats may be involved.
      Most Scottish religious hate crimes ‘target Catholics’

    254. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “That’s pretty pejorative language. Look at the following “kettling” incident and tell me that is “paranoid”?”

      That incident occurred because fans broke existing laws, nothing to do with the OB(F)A. It lasted, as far as I’m aware, for a few minutes, and calling it “kettling” is a gross insult to people who’ve been real victims of it.

    255. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Most Scottish religious hate crimes ‘target Catholics’ “

      Let’s take a look.

      “Police officers were the most common victims of religious hate crime, accounting for 42% of the [693] incidents.

      These often referred to incidents where someone had been arrested and subsequently abused a police officer in religiously offensive terms.

      The general community was targeted in almost a third of the cases and members of the public in just over a fifth of the cases.”

      So of these “hate crimes”, most of them were neds shouting at the polis after they’d been arrested (without, I suspect, any idea of the ACTUAL religion of the officers in question), and just 139 involved ordinary individuals. Of those, 58% (or 80) were directed at Catholics.

      Now, 80 is 80 too many. But in a nation of 5.3m people, over a whole year, and allowing for the fact that a majority took place in Glasgow, and a majority of those at the football, it really, really doesn’t add up to the systematic, institutionalised persecution you’re trying so hard to make it out as.

      (And it also suggests that targetting football is the best way to address it.)

    256. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      The fact that most hate crimes are against Catholics is probably as much to do with the relative population size of our communities as anything else but I would also suggest tha recorded instances are a fairly small proportion of the actual instances.
       Speaking as a confirmed (in every sense of the word) Tim and lifelong Celtic supporter I have no hesitation in saying that the “kettling” was a perfectly proportionate reaction to an attempt by a group of people to stage, without permission, an illegal march down the middle of a busy Glasgow street in an act of deliberate provocation. This was part of the sly attempt by elements in the unionist Labour Party to convince the gullible in the Catholic community that Scotland is anti Catholic. I’d have locked them all up , particularly the high profile leaders of it who should have more respect for themselves than to behave in an infantile manner with huge and malevolent chips on their shoulders  

    257. Krackerman says:

      I’d back that – religious extremists of all creeds should be treated for what they are….

    258. Ex-pat Jock says:

      Sorry Rev, didn’t realise there was a certain period one had to be “kettled for” for it to count.
      Certainly that kettle looks very tightly packed and I for one am not surprised voices were raised, leading to batons being raised. 12 arrests (we know not what for) under that sort of provocation is I think hardly a surprise. For me, use of “the” police helicopter, horses and a police presence of 1:1 against 200 “marchers” who were walking the exact same route as I and many others do when we go to matches seems OTT.
      Especially so when the subsequent George Square protest against this incident by 15x this number went off without incident. I just think it could have and should have been handled differently from the off. I think we can all agree on that, especially in light your point that no Celtic fans has yet to be convicted at trial of any OB(F)A offences, despite constant filming and apparent singling out of the Green Brigade (hence the protest, QED) so why this heavy handed, provocative  approach?
      As for your dismantling of figures the bald facts are: “New figures from the Scottish Government show there were 693 charges aggravated by religious prejudice in 2010/2011 – the highest in four years… the data shows 58% of these were against Catholics”. So that’s 402 offences against Catholics.
      You casually dismiss 320 of those offences (quite why I don’t understand, also clearly we cannot assume 58% of offences is a constant when we consider sub-sets) to only 80 offences “directed against Catholics”? So no real problem.
      Or if there is the majority is football related? But only “a third of the charges related directly to football” and 1/3 is by no measure a “majority”, so you really have lost me there. Was that 33% of the 80 or the 400?
      OK, whatever, you NOW say there’s no problem (despite your initial blog. I say there is. So does the Scottish Government (both current SNP and previous SLAB ones), the Police, charities, the Catholic Church, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all. But it’s your site. You win. No problem, nothing to fix. That’s put my mind at ease. Phew.

    259. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I have walked,as did my father and my uncles before me, and my three brothers to Celtic Park up the London Road or along the Gallowgate  hundreds and hundreds of times but we have always walked on the pavement as did everybody else. The Green Brigade effort which was effectively kettled was a deliberate provocation up the middle of an important road without permission when it was busy.
      It served no other purpose but to cause strife. It was in no way whatsover helpful or constructive in the struggle aganst remaining sectarianism and was used to reinforce the chip on the shoulder which the Labour Party uses against the SNP  

    260. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I’m going to leave the sane side of this one to Dave, as there’s no point in me trying to reason with someone who’s going to endlessly put words in my mouth that I haven’t said.

    261. Ex-pat Jock says:

      Dave McEwan Hill: I’m not saying the Green Brigade “march” was 100% kosher, only that the response was OTT…

      Rangers fans had a march (apparently of 8000) to Hampden which apparently had no official sanction the day beofre the march (official requirement is 28 days’notice) Praise all around it seems.

      That was 40x the number of Green Brigade that were walking directly to the stadium – on match day – up a road that is always disrupted when Celtic play at home – not everyone is as studious as you are, Dave, when it comes to footpaths versus road.

      I think it is clear though that this incident backfired on the police – as evidenced by their “light touch” policing at the subsequent march. As the Herald reported “…by contrast with last month’s approach, police today opted for a softly-softly approach, with only around 20 officers visible in George Square, and no attempt to intervene when around three-quarters of those at the rally (estimated at c. 2,000 of the 3000 total) spilled on to streets leading towards Parkhead for the home game against Hibs” (a considerably longer distance, along busier roads than the GB tried to do…).

      Chief Superintendent Andy Bates, divisional commander of Greater Glasgow division of Police Scotland said subsequently “There was no disorder and no arrests and I am delighted by the way in which those who took part conducted themselves.”

      So 8000 Rangers fans held a march that didn’t comply with regulations, as did 2000 Celtic fans effectively did subsequently, but 200 Green Brigade got singled out of “kettling”. Does that not strike people as inconsistent?

      For legal discussions, on this I recommend

    262. Ex-pat Jock says:

      Appeal Judges rule Holyrood had created a criminal offence “with an extremely long reach”… the Scottish Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications law distinguished between “a reasonable person” on the one hand and a person “ or, to use the language of the sheriff, an uninitiated member of the public…. The person likely to be incited to public disorder may have particular interests and particular knowledge. He may have particular views about the two songs in question and those who sing them…(and is more) likely to be incited to public disorder (than a reasonable person)”.
      So because those pre-programmed to be offended may be so, so the case is recalled? Pandering to the lowest common denominator seems a poor piece of “Holyrood” legislation.

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