Anti Irish Catholic Racism and Bigotry Remains Scotland’s Shame

New shocking statistics released by the Scottish government last week have revealed what many knew to be the case: namely that if you are a Catholic living in Scotland in the 21st century you are more likely to be the victim of a hate crime than if you are a member of any other ethnic or religious minority.

Comprising 16 percent of the Scottish population, Catholics were victims in 58 percent of the 693 criminal offences aggravated by religious prejudice in 2010/11, the highest recorded number in four years. Protestants were victims in 37 percent of cases, while crimes related to Judaism comprised 2.3 percent and Islam 2.1 percent.

It should also come as little surprise that 51 percent of hate crimes in Scotland occurred within the Glasgow area, given the relative social weight of the Scottish Catholic community in the west of Scotland. Moreover, the fact that only a third of the charges were directly related to football refutes the notion that this is an issue that can be confined within the narrow parameters of Glasgow’s Old Firm, Celtic and Rangers FC.

Overall, the only conclusion to be drawn from these statistics is that attempts to paint this issue as one of equivalence can longer be sustained on any objective level. On the contrary, they prove that, culturally, anti Irish Catholic racism and bigotry remains entrenched within a significant section of Scottish society, and that until the nature of the issue is recognised and confronted no amount of legislation will deliver a just solution.

Last season’s sectarian hate campaign endured by Celtic manager Neil Lennon, the intended victim of mail bombs along with other prominent figures associated with the club and a Glasgow-based Irish cultural organisation, shamed the country around the world. The shame was compounded by the acquittal earlier this year of a supporter of Edinburgh club Heart of Midlothian FC who towards the end of last season ran onto the pitch and assaulted Neil Lennon in front of 16,000 fans in the stadium and tens of thousands more watching live on television.

In addition, leading members of the Catholic clergy in Scotland have been on the receiving end of hate mail and bullets sent in the post, while as recently as last weekend Celtic player and Republic of Ireland international Anthony Stokes was forced to move out of his West Lothian home after the windows were smashed by a gang of youths while his partner, pregnant with child, was inside.

The current attempt by the authorities and political establishment in Scotland to criminalise Celtic fans for singing Irish rebels songs at games, songs that are political in orientation, is rightly being resisted by Celtic supporters clubs. Celtic’s Irish heritage cannot be separated from the freedom struggle that brought the country into existence, and Irish republicanism in its modern incarnation is an avowedly non sectarian political creed and doctrine. Football and politics are intertwined around the world and in Scotland especially, given that Celtic were formed in 1888 to raise funds to feed an Irish immigrant population living in conditions of extreme poverty and destitution in the west of the country, where its assimilation into mainstream society was blocked. The association of Rangers FC with anti-Irish racism and religious bigotry came as a reaction to its rival’s role in raising and representing the aspirations and hopes of those immigrants.

George Galloway is currently promoting his book, Open Season, on the hate campaign suffered by Neil Lennon. Though Lennon’s plight is explored in some detail, this is by no means a book on football. On the contrary it charts the social and political history of the issue back to the mid 19th century, when Irish immigrants began to arrive in Scotland in significant numbers. I researched most of the historical data contained in the pages of the book and despite having read widely on the issue over a number of years was genuinely shocked at how deep and virulent this strain of racism ran in Scottish society – and at all levels. The book also provides an historical analysis of Irish republicanism beginning with its founder, Wolfe Tone, a southern Irish protestant, in the late 18th century

The history of the struggle against racism and religious bigotry around the world throws up the irrefutable truth that it must be confronted if it is to be defeated. For too long in Scotland when it comes to anti-Irish racism and Catholic bigotry it has been swept under the proverbial carpet by the authorities and political establishment. It continues to be so with the Scottish government’s new anti-sectarian legislation, which rather than identify the source of the problem attempts to obfuscate it by placing the victim on an equal moral and legal footing with the perpetrator.

Without the necessary political will to confront racism and bigotry, it can only thrive. This is the only conclusion to be drawn from the Scottish government’s own statistics on hate crimes in Scotland. They demand nothing short of a complete rethink of the way ahead.

85 comments on “Anti Irish Catholic Racism and Bigotry Remains Scotland’s Shame

  1. Selected poetry from Scottish poet Francis Gallagher’s self-published collection of poetry entitled Fuck Scotland

    the burden of lying chills the soul oh for
    just once to tell the truth and say I hate this
    phony country & the people with their shabby
    spoor of tribal myths about their own ineffable greatness

    Scots adore themselves but it¹s hard
    to see why they so love themselves a bankrupt
    politics predictable mediocre culture a failed sad
    people pouring their soul into alcohol football
    celebrations of their sentimental heart

    my country is me I am my people and my loyalty
    is to my instinctive intelligence that tells me
    all this Scottish stuff is pure shit

    Scotland is
    the petrified vomit
    of a fish supper

    I¹d like to drop an atom bomb
    on the fucking Highlands
    that would stop their whining
    being Scottish is like having sex
    with a dead camel or
    the editor of a poetry magazine

  2. An Duine Gruamach on said:

    Egad, joker, is that real? If so I can see why it had to be self published. What turgid, self-pitying doggerel. Exactly what is wrong with modern poetry.

  3. Socialist on said:

    In my view the overall trend in Scotland is away from bigotry against Catholics towards greater intergration between catholic and non-catholic communities and I think the evidence backs this up (see the study Sectarianism in Scotland).

    The Neil Lennon case is problematic. Personally I think its an example of a media driven moral panic, and whilst Lennon suffered intolerably, what happended to him is not refelctive of Scotland as a whole.

    There was no clear evidence that the guy who assaulted Lennon did so on the basis of sectarianism. In fact no one, including Lennon, claimed to hear any sectarian remarks which is why the sectarian charge was dropped.

    In my view George Galloway and the few sychopants that surround him have shamefully jumped on the bandwagon, probably to try and sell some books, and also to shamefully appeal to catholics voters during Galloways ill fated election campaign earlier this year. On this question Galloway does more harm than good. Hopefully his book is ignored.

  4. The figures of hate crime speak entirely for themselves.

    It is sadly revealling that although i have now deleted them, the immediate response by a few readers here was to post anti-catholic bigotry.

  5. How inappropriately names you are ‘socilaist’ with your head in the sand unionist mentality

  6. The statistics referred to are not “new” – a similar study five or six years ago were almost identical. The question is how to deal with the issue. I must say I don’t remember the issue being raised the last time. I say that because I wrote a piece for my party’s newspaper at the time and if there was any other comment made it escaped my attention. I do think there is a degree of bandwagon jumping by some into an area that is far from straightforward and full of pitfalls.

    Also, pedantic maybe but is sectarianism racism?

  7. “Also, pedantic maybe but is sectarianism racism?”

    Any scholarly approach would find great difficulty in disentangling the two as applied to Irish Catholics. The history of anti Irish racism is well mapped by scholars and provided the template for future applications of that form of social control. During its development the terms Irish and Catholic became part of the package and so it remains to this day.

    Hatred of the ‘other’ in Scotland is not motivated by a burning desire to refute transubstantion and it would be pointless to deny the ‘racist’ element in sectarianism.

    Now very shortly we will have some clown advocating the abolition of Catholic schools as the the solution to this problem.

    On a brighter note such attacks often intensify during a period of profound change before reducing substantially. I think Scotland is changing and for the better, never the less action is needed.

  8. Jews appear to suffer most, if these figures are to be believed.

    Many Scots tend to be quite aggressive towards outsiders or those who are ‘different’. Scottish Catholics share this tendency, hence the leader of the BNP youth wing in Scotland is a Catholic Celtic supporter.

    Time to grow up and move on, instead of taking sides in a sad, sterile sectarian bunfight, as GG and John seem to want to do. Orange or green, Prod or Pape, we’re all Scots so let’s leave this ‘we’re better than yous’ bollocks behind in the last century where it belongs.

  9. Anonymous on said:

    #10 “I don’t think he’s very confident about a lot of things he writes.”

    John is a vey astute and articulate socialist , unlike you deluded tosser.

  10. anon no longer on said:

    #3

    ‘There was no clear evidence that the guy who assaulted Lennon did so on the basis of sectarianism. In fact no one, including Lennon, claimed to hear any sectarian remarks which is why the sectarian charge was dropped.’

    The Hearts’ steward gave evidence that the accused called Lennon a Fenian bastard.

    The sectarian charge was not dropped.

    The accused was charged with two offences: breach of the peace and assault, both aggravated by religious prejudice.

    The jury convicted him of breach of the peace under deletion of the reference to religious prejudice.

    They returned a not proven verdict on the assault charge.

    The verdict was perverse and was as much an indicator of the nature and extent of the problem as was the original incident.

  11. John is a vey astute and articulate socialist , unlike you deluded tosser.

    He’s articulate, but not astute. When an ideologue is articulate about saying something silly, it kinda makes it worse.

  12. Thanks, Andy – and here was me thinking you were a Scotsman forced by bitter economic circumstances to migrate south to eke out an existence as an itinerant boiler repairman traversing the M4 corridor.

    Will ye no come hame again…to the warming fires of sectarian division fanned by John Wight who thinks chanting songs in support of the IRA should be an integral part of Scottish football culture (but chanting songs in support of the UVF should be banned)?

  13. jock mctrousers on said:

    This constant drip drip of anti-Scottish, anti-protestant racism is just a part of the fake MI5 left’s general identity politics strategy( evolved in the think tanks of the elites)- divide and rule, set all the minorities against the notion that majority government is legitimate…

    These figures actually show the opposite of what was claimed. Do you notice in the quotes above that protestants as a percentage of the population is not given? Maybe that’s because there are probably no more than 100,000 (and probably a lot less, and most of these Rangers supporters) white non-catholics in Scotland who identify as protestants;Scots are overwhelmingly atheist/agnostic/plain uninterested. On the other hand, my experience is that catholics tend to not identify throught their teens and twenties but often go back to it, marry ‘inside’, and send their kids to catholic schools ( which SHOULD be closed, for their low standards if nothing else).

    Remember that a ‘sectarian attack’ needs the attacker to know (or have reason to believe) that the victim is of ‘the other’ – they have to be DOING something ‘papish’ for instance. I struggle to think of a way of identifying a protestant that doesn’t involve a Rangers scarf or an Orange lodge lapel badge.

    Anyway, my whimsy is that these figures show that protestants are actually suffering far MORE attacks than others.

    But others previously have posted devastating critiques of these figures here – I should have kept them for reference, I suppose – and I don’t see any movement here; how many times has Wight turned this piece out now (half dozen) with the same automatic support from Andy, all on a flimsy pseudo-statistic from a book by a notorious gobshite (with some outstanding good points, I acknowledge).

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep on saying it. It’s time to address the book ‘Sectarianism in Scotland’, discuss its findings, accept them, or show why not, or just shut up, and stop this anti-Scottish, anti-protestant, anti-democratic,anti-working-class, anti-socialist poison.

  14. John Grimshaw on said:

    The information that John Wight uses comes from the Scottish government and was also published in the Observer on Sunday. However the article also gives some concrete real life examples of the corrosive impact of sectarianism. e.g.
    1. Two men appeared in court yesterday charged with sending bombs to Neil Lennon and Cairde Na h’Eireann (Friends of Ireland). Defending one of the men is one Donald Findlay a lawyer who had to resign from the Rangers board after being caught singing the Sash and who was censured by his professional body for sectarianism.
    2. John Hynd (age 16) has received death threats after deciding to ditch his bigotted (sic) Protestant background when as he said “…I don’t want to be upto my knees in Fenian blood.”
    3. Cara Henderson, a brave young person, set up a group called “Nil By Mouth” in 1999 which goes into schools to educate young people about the dangers of sectarianism. They seem to be remarkably successful at the moment. However she did this because of her anger about the death of her friend Mark Scott who was murdered on his way home from a Celtic match (it was not an old Firm Match). He was not wearing his colours however this was not enough to stop him having his throat cut by some Rangers fans on his way home. The murderer who has just been released from prison came from an extreme background and both his father and uncle had done time for explosives charges related to the UVF.
    4. Alison Logan who works for Glasgow council recounts that when children are asked “What is a Catholic?” or “What is a Protestant?” she has had answers like “A Catholic is aggressive and ginger” or “A Protestant is someone who doesn’t go to church”.

    Despite what some of the contributors on this site say it is quite clear that Catholics are attacked because of their religious/ethnic background out of all proportion to their numbers in Scotland (the report says 16%). This has its genesis in the anti-Irish racism of the past as well as the hoodwinking of Protestant workers by the Scottish and English ruling class. They were brought up to believe that the Irish were inferior and were a threat to their own jobs. This of course prevented them from realising the obvious. Namely that if both communities were united they would all get better jobs.

    And just for #8 education really is important. Scotland has a sectarian education system where students of either religion don’t get to meet each other and resolve their differences and where these historical sterotypes are allowed to fester. Of course both the Presbyterian and Catholic establishemnts like this because they think it gives their respective ideologies power – and keeps them in a job. This is recognised by organisations like “Nil By Mouth” because they spend time going into schools. Alison Logan of Glasgow council’s “Sense Over Sectarianism” project spends her time according to the Observer “,..aiming to unpick religious bigotry by twinning between denominational and non-denominational schools.”

    If you don’t believe that religious schools are a problem look at the education system in Tower Hamlets. A large number of the schools are voluntary aided CofE or Catholic schools. Yet the population of the borough is over 40% of Muslim background. The result is that we have non-denominational schools that are 90% Bangladeshi and denominational schools that are mostly Afr0-carribean/African/White. And what that means is that members of the these communities don’t speak to each other throughout a vital period of their teenage lives.

  15. Anonymous on said:

    “Comprising 16 percent of the Scottish population, Catholics were victims in 58 percent of the 693 criminal offences aggravated by religious prejudice in 2010/11, the highest recorded number in four years. Protestants were victims in 37 percent of cases, while crimes related to Judaism comprised 2.3 percent and Islam 2.1 percent.”

    Hold on a moment. That means that the rate of hate crime offences committed by members of the Catholic population is about 32 per 100,000, while in the Protestant population the rate is around 10 per 100,000.

  16. #20

    This is logic turned upside down.

    The bombs sent to Neil Lennon, Trish Godman and Paul McBride, the bullets sent to members of the Catholic clergy, the panic button over which Lennon’s wife has to sit every time he’s at a game, the terror experienced by the pregnant partner of Celtic and Irish international player Anthony Stokes – none of that can be alibied away with intellectual gymnastics.

  17. That can’t have been James Doleman, the famous court reporter who posted that stuff (albeit not under his usual handle)Can it?
    Otherwise he would have not have missed the fact that the head of Hearts own security testified in court that Lennon’s assailant DID shout a sectarian insult before he struck the Celtic manager. Neither would the erudite Mr Doleman of the SWP have missed the front pages of most of Scotland’s on the very day he posted; which carried the reports of how another Irish Catholic Celtic player, Anthony Stokes, had his house attacked in the middle of the night leaving his heavily pregnant partner, home alone, in a state of terror.
    Aye, “we’re all Scots”…except when our origins are Irish.

  18. Anonymous on said:

    No John, only a fool would concentrate on one side of the issue for political and financial gain, trumpet statistics and headline cases that supposedly prove his point and try to make it look far more widespread than it is. Let’s face it, you have an axe to grind in this one.

    We all know exactly where the anti-catholic bigotry lies. In clumps in and around Glasgow and a narrow band across the central belt in the towns around Bathgate where even the baize is blue.

  19. “if you are a Catholic living in Scotland in the 21st century you are more likely to be the victim of a hate crime than if you are a member of any other ethnic or religious minority.”

    That’s not actually true. Not trying to score points here, but if you’re going to use statistics you need to interpret them accurately otherwise eyebrows may be raised about what you omit. Taking into account the actual percentages from the 2001 census on the religion that people in Scotland identify with shows that Jews are 30 times more likely to be the victim than protestants, catholics 5 times more likely and muslims 3.5 times more likely.

    What’s interesting is that according to that census, fully a third of the population have no religion or didn’t say. There’s no reason to believe that trend hasn’t increased in the last 10 years. However, the militant atheism we saw over the Pope’s visit suggests you don’t have to have a religion of your own to display anti-catholicism.

  20. No one will ever ‘win’ this interminable tit-for-tat battle that has deformed Scottish society for a century.

    Why do Celtic fans feel the need to sing crappy old folk songs about “being but a lad like you, I joined the IRA” and “a martyr for auld Ireland”?

    If this is a harmless celebration of Irish Scots heritage then celebrations of Ulster Scots heritage like “the sash my father wore’” and ” here lies a soldier of the UVF” should be allowed too, no?

    Alternatively, we could put this juvenile drivel in the bin and unite the people behind a socialist programme.

  21. #24

    On the contrary, eyebrows are raised at the efforts people will go to twist statistics to suit their purposes. You’ve extrapolated from stats issued by the Scottish government an entirely different set of stats. When 16 percent of the population is subject to almost 60 percent of recorded hate crimes, this suggests to me that this minority is more likely to be the victim of a hate crime than any other. Why? Because almost 60 percent of hate crimes were carried out against members of this 16 percent minority.

    Then there is the content of these hate crimes, the high profile cases we know about; namely viable mail bombs, bullets in the post, death threats, attempted home invasions, and so on.

    I just don’t feel that any of that can be extrapolated away so easily.

  22. #26

    Did you actually read my post? You’ve entirely missed the point. I’m not extrapolating away anything. My figures *support* the fact that catholics are very likely to be victims. Just not “more likely than any other”. Your seeming blindspot is a gift for those who would attack you on other questions.

    #27

    I didn’t say hate crimes had been committed. I said atheists can also be anti-catholic.

  23. “Alternatively, we could put this juvenile drivel in the bin and unite the people behind a socialist programme.”

    Well no you cannot because then you would be saying these attacks do not matter.

    What is worse you would be attempting to deny that the events that gave rise to the Boys of the old Brigade and the Sash were significant, and why they happened and that they have contempoary relevance and plainly reasonance.

    Now neither of those songs are inatley sectarian unlike say The Billy Boys. Nor is it possible to evenly allocate blame here. There is plainly a problem and it needs to be tackled.

  24. John Grimshaw on said:

    Okay the figures as I understand it show the following.
    1. Religious hate crime as defined by the government rose 10% in the year.
    2. 60% were committed by the under thirties.
    3. One third of the charges related to football.
    4. 58% of these crimes were against persons who were of a Catholic background.
    5. 37% were against Protestants.

    Therefore Catholics were more likely to have these hate crimes committed against them. These figures are made worse by virtue of the fact that Catholics constitute a smaller proportion of the overall population. And yes “Anonymous” (get a better name) I am sure that the demographics are geographical. I wouldn’t expect to get the same statistics in St. Andrews or the Isle of Lewis. But the figures were produced for Scotland as a whole. This is not to take away from the fact that crimes were also committed against Protestants or Jews or Muslims just that because of the peculiar history of Scotland attacks on Catholics are statistically more significant. And #29 is right you can’t just wish all this stuff away and pretend it never really happened you have to find concrete ways to combat it. I agree with having some kind of socialist programme but if I go away and write it now and then e-mail it up to Glasgow will the violence stop?

  25. John Grimshaw on said:

    #19 You really should go to bed earlier if you have to keep yawning.

    If you have an education system which accepts in any part division of educational access based on religious background then I’m afraid you have a sectarian education system. This is just as true in England as it is in Northern Ireland or Scotland, although of course the results of this sectarian system can be a lot more explosive in Scotland or NI given their historical background.

  26. John Grimshaw on said:

    #32 Well well! I’ll settle for straight as a die mate. Whoever you are. Napoli tonight but we’ll see.

  27. John Grimshaw on said:

    By the way I had no idea what RT tv was but it seems to be linked to press tv which has been taken off air by the government because it had links to the Iranian gov. Is this right or have I misunderstood?

  28. RT TV – broadcast from Moscow, run by Novosti Press Agency. Takes a leaf out of the Western book by bigging up our dissidents, which makes its international news coverage quite entertaining. Some of its round tables are quite intelligent, some are just mad. It has some characters on it too. Max Keiser is certainly worth watching, at least once.

  29. scotinlondon on said:

    #34 It is an old buddy of yours,you nominated me to stand against Julie Watersons boyfriend at a district aggregate in 95.Oh and RTtv is on channel 85 on Freeview

  30. When making comment on the songs sung by the support of Celtic or Rangers, it is important to know the meaning of the song. The IRA mentioned in the songs mentioned in previous comments, is the IRA of the Irish war of independence. This war resulted in the formation of the Irish Republic. All the main political parties in Ireland can trace their roots back to the leaders of this IRA. Now, these songs are about a conflict for independence against Britain. Last weekend Rangers played the Star Spangled Banner. This is a song about the American war of independence against Britain. What about Flowers of Scotland? This is a song about Scottish war of independence against England. So, other than confusing than confusing the IRA with the PIRA, can someone please explain why the Irish songs are the ones being banned? Songs of the UVF or UDA, are purely about the glorification of groups who specifically targeted Irish catholics. The Sash is a song glorifying the Orange Order. This organisation is both catholic by it’s very nature. Please identify the anti protestant songs that are sung by the Celtic support. Not agreeing with the politics of another group does not make that group sectarian. But by definition, the condemnation, censorship and oppression of a groups viewpoints because they differ from what you agree is bigoted.

  31. Darkness at Noon on said:

    @Murph:

    “When making comment on the songs sung by the support of Celtic or Rangers, it is important to know the meaning of the song. The IRA mentioned in the songs mentioned in previous comments, is the IRA of the Irish war of independence.”

    As a casual Celtic supporter who has been to Celtic Park several times this is simply not true nor inferred. The IRA as glorified by some Celtic supporters is very much also the IRA of the 60′s and the post-split (P)IRA of the 70′s and 80′s.

    I have been to a match in Amsterdam where the Celtic fans chanted “IRA” and there where “tiocfaidh ar la” banners (presumably because they could abroad). Not a doubt about it that the (P)IRA are the reference there.

    It is not a criticism, just an observation.

  32. scotinlondon on said:

    #38 Do not wish to appear pedantic but I always thought the Star Spangled Banner was from the war of 1812

  33. You are correct the Star Spangled Banner is about the War of 1812. And on re reading my post it is clear that I have been wrong in mentioning the American war of independance. However, the fact (and the point of the reference to the Star Spangled Banner), is that this song recalls a war against Britain. In doing so it should be just as offensive to the British as The boys of the old brigade, The Soldiers Song and songs of this nature.

  34. Are you trying to bullshit our English comrades by pretending that Celtic fans sing only about the old IRA of the 1920s? What about all the ditties beloved of the Parkhead faithful that explicitly glorify the Provisional IRA? For example, Roll of Honour, Say Hello to the Provos, Neil Lennon; Like Me and You He’s a Provo Too, Bobby Sands, Loughgall Martyrs, P-I, P-I, P-I-R-A, etc

    And then there’s the charming genocidal add on to We’re On the One Road by the Wolfe Tones – “soon there’ll be no Protestants at all” – which kinda lets the cat out of the bag.

    Why don’t you give over? You’re convincing no one but yourselves that there is a side worth backing in the game of divide-the-workers perpetuated by Rangers, Celtic, the Orange Order and the Catholic Church.

  35. Betty B on said:

    I don’t know if the following article has been discussed, but it offers an analysis and opinion on these facts and figures by Steve Bruce in the Guardian, Sunday 24 April 2011.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/apr/24/scotland-sectarianism-research-data?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038

    “But Scotland never divided in the way Ireland did. It did not divide politically: the native Scots who worked with the Irish settlers and their children in the labour movement and in the Labour party always vastly outnumbered those who supported tiny and short-lived anti-Catholic parties.”

    “Scotland’s disgrace is not religious bigotry. It is the unthinking way in which sectarianism is assumed. In 2004, on the Sunday after a heated Rangers-Celtic game, a Sunday tabloid newspaper ran a two-page story under the headline “Real toll of that Old Firm mayhem”. One page was given over to a fire which severely damaged a Catholic church in Stornoway. The implication was clear: “Priest’s church blaze agony” was caused by “Old Firm Mayhem”. The boring truth, which merited just one column inch in a sister tabloid the following week, was that the fire was caused by an electrical fault.”

    Speaking as a Communist, I would offer this. The sectarian bigots on both sides probably can’t remember when they last saw in the inside of church or chapel. If they tried to take the gospels of Jesus seriously, both sides would have to leave their sectarian filth forever.

  36. Every intelligent, genuinely progressive person in Scotland knows that the sectarian divide consists of a minority of tribal bigots on both sides. One lot sing ‘God Bless the Pope’ while the other lot sing ‘God Save The Queen’.

    If you want to cling to the (mercifully fading) conflict in Ireland and make it a key part of your political identity, then at least have the decency to go and live on an uninhabited island where Green and Blue can beat each other to a pulp without disturbing the rest of us.

  37. 43. You are suggesting that one side is as bad as the other. These figures and previous ones show that is not true. So your starting point in addressing this is to ignore the evidence, there is not much hope in that approach.

    If you want to get to root causes you need to think about key phases in the development of the British State and the role of Orangeism and Loyalism you ignore this at your peril in any serious analysis.

    Scotland is on a journey and in the course of that some historical baggage will get dumped those enamoured with it will resist and that is why imo we have seen a 10% rise in these attacks.

  38. “Scotland is on a journey and in the course of that some historical baggage will get dumped those enamoured with it will resist and that is why imo we have seen a 10% rise in these attacks.”

    WTF – so was the Celtic manager attacked because (a) he’s a confrontational wee gobshite who is loathed by supporters of every other team in Scotland, especially Celtic’s equally aggressive sectarian rivals or (b) because of Scotland’s evolution towards greater independence?

    Your attempts to paint Scotland as Alabama circa 1962 are ludicrous. The vast majority of Scottish Catholics, of Irish, Polish, Italian or highland origin would think you were mad. They don’t experience sectarian hate, unless they choose to by attending Old Firm games.

  39. anon no longer on said:

    I reckon if Scottish Celtic fans lived in Norn Iron the majority would vote SF and if the Scottish huns lived in Norn Iron the majority would vote DUP.

    I suppose the question for socialists then is, are SF and the DUP two sides of the same coin? Is one as bad as the other?

  40. Pathetic try – Scotland is not the Six Counties. Most Celtic and Rangers fans still vote the same way – Labour.

  41. anon no longer on said:

    Gordon

    Do you disagree with my opinion?

    How do you think both sets of supporters would vote in a NI context?

  42. lone nut on said:

    “are SF and the DUP two sides of the same coin? Is one as bad as the other?”
    Well they are two sides of the same government actually, and seem to find quite a lot in common with each other. Not that I have anything in particular against that, I might add. Still an interesting thought experiment. Perhaps we might speculate about how the two sets of supporters would vote in Macedonia or Australia, and base our socialist assessment on that. Or even how they might vote in Peter King’s congressional district.

  43. John Grimshaw on said:

    I am confused by some of the posts on this blog.

    It is quite clear that there is an unacceptable degree of anti-Irish bigotry in certain parts of Scotland. The evidence shows that this is true. The reasons for this as many people have pointed out on this blog, including myself, are a hang over from the British state’s collective history. Namely the desire of the British ruling class to obtain cheap labour whilst also at the same time dividing the work force amongst themselves. This was particularly true after the British inspired Irish famine of the mid-nineteenth century. Its not just Strathclyde where the Irish were discriminated against: Manchester where I come from (read your Engels), New York (you could do worse than watch that silly film with Leonardo di Caprio in it) etc. etc. For historical reasons this sectarianism is particularly strong in parts of Scotland even if the motivation for it has dissipated to some extent in recent modern times. It is not therefore surprising that people of an Irish background seek to defend themselves with their own form of nationalism which manifests in song singing etc. and sadly counter violence. Note I do not say that all Scottish people are anti-Irish nor do I seek to justify Catholic sectarianism. However we should try to understand and explain what happens on the ground.

    Some contributors to this blog on this issue seem to be in denial and I wonder why. Maybe some of you are Scots nationalists subscribing to your own myths i.e. kilts, Brigadoon, forced English union, short bread biscuits, and owning up to your part in the suppression of the Irish is too much to accept especially in this brave new Salmond world.

  44. anon no longer on said:

    ‘Perhaps we might speculate about how the two sets of supporters would vote in Macedonia or Australia,’

    Well that would be worthwhile if the historic, political, economic, social, family and other connections between Macedonia or Australia and Scotland were as extensive as they are between Scotland and NI and if the supporters concerned themselves with the politics and history of Macedonia or Australia.

    But they ain’t. So, nice try, but no cigar.

  45. #43 I am not “trying to bullshit our English comrades”. However, I believe that you are.
    The language that you use, “the Parkhead faithful that explicitly glorify the Provisional IRA”, subtly gives the impression of mass (or would you prefer I used altogether) sing alongs by near 60000. Let me take the songs you mention, Roll of Honour/Bobby Sands – this song is about the hunger strikers – men who starved themselves to death for the Irish Republican cause. The reasons for the hunger strikes was the removal of the special status by Thatchers government. A policy bullishly forced through to provoke a conflict and allow a show a Thatcherite strength. The hunger striker Bobby Sands was an elected member of parliament and his funeral was attended by over 100000 people. The hunger strikers obviously have the IRA connection, but they also symbolise a head to head struggle between the catholic working class people of northern Ireland and the British Thatcherite right wing government. A goverment who showed time and again that they would impose their policies regardless of the will of the people or the moral right. Remember the brutal handeling of other ‘head to heads’ against the working classes by this government at the same time. Remember how the Tory spin painted pictures of selfish and evil workers who had to be crushed. See how the same spin was applied to the hunger strikers. Regardless of your political views of the hunger strikers, ther can be no doubting their courage. It should also be noted that the British government’s policy for dealing with the hunger strikers was internationally condemned and that Sands was applauded by the US congress for his “courage and willing to sacrifice his own life for his country”.
    Say Hello to the Provos – I’ve not heard this at Celtic Park for a long time now. Like Me and You He’s a Provo Too Bobby Sands- A tasteless little ditty sung by a few knuckle heads who think they are supporting Neil Lennon following the sectatrian abuse he has suffered throughout his time in Glasgow.
    Loughgall Martyrs- again sung by a few,and sung rarely. It does however highlight the ‘shoot to kill’ policy employed (but denied) by Britain under Thatcher.
    P-I, P-I, P-I-R-A – I always heard this as the I, the I, The IRA.

    “The one road” is actually a song that speaks about the solidarity of the Irish people as they stood together regardless of social status or creed. The addition of “soon there’ll be no Protestants at all” is mearly a half arsed attempt at improvisation by a few who miss the point of the song.
    It is not a ‘Wolfe Tone’ song, but it is worth pointing out that Wolfe Tone himself was a protestant.

    Now, as for letting the cat out of the bag?

    You would have people apportion blame to Rangers, Celtic, the Orange Order and the Catholic Church.

    2 football teams, a sectarian oragnisation and the religion of those who have been shown to the statistical victims of the majority of sectarian offences.

    So you try to take the high ground while ‘blaming the victim’.

  46. lone nut on said:

    “Well that would be worthwhile if the historic, political, economic, social, family and other connections between Macedonia or Australia and Scotland were as extensive as they are between Scotland and NI and if the supporters concerned themselves with the politics and history of Macedonia or Australia”
    That may be so, but the particular value of imagining how these supporters might vote in a different political system and country of whose realities most of them are only dimly aware is lost on me. Most Irish people in Britain vote Labour, if transplanted back to Ireland they would most likely vote for Fianna Fail or Fine Gael. So what? And both Scotland and Ireland have extensive ties with the United States, so who do you think would be more likely to vote for Peter King, a hun or a bhoy?

  47. “Like Me and You He’s a Provo Too Bobby Sands”
    This should be, Neil Lennon – Like Me and You He’s a Provo Too

  48. 48. You are still not facing facts, taking your points one by one.

    Lennon was subjected to a violent hate campaign by Loyalist bigots who identified him as a high profile uppity Tim. Nor was he alone. I think such bigots are likely to be unsettled by Scotland’s journey and the emergence of an inclusive civic Scottishness.

    I happily accept that there is not a uniform patter of bigotry towards Catholics across Scotland but you are quite wrong to say it is limited to Old Firm games. Clearly it is not and here is the Scottish Government’s report that proves it.

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/362943/0122956.pdf

    It is you who is making comparisons with Alabhama in 1962 I feel no need to do so. I prefer we need to concentrate on the evidence as it stands and the historical context that produced it.

    I appreciate that this is not an easy issue to deal with but it does need honest debate and timely redress.

  49. International Reaction to the Hunger Strikes

    Europe

    In Rome, the President of the Italian Senate did what the Britih Speaker couldn’t bring himself to do by expressing the Italian government’s sympathies to the Sands’ family.

    In Milan, 5,000 students burned the Union Flag and shouted “Freedom for Ulster” during a march.

    In Ghent, students invaded the British Consulate.

    In Paris, thousands marched behind huge portraits of Sands, to chants of ‘The IRA will conquer’.

    In France, many towns and cities have streets named after Sands. Examples include Nantes, St Etienne, Le Mans Vierzon and St Denis.

    In Oslo, demonstrators threw a balloon filled with tomato sauce at Elizabeth Windsor, Head of the British Crown Forces.

    In Spain, the Ya newspaper said Bobby’s death was “an act of heroism.”

    In Poland’s Lech Walesa paid tribute, “Bobby Sands was a great man who sacrificed his life for his struggle.”

    Soviet Union

    Pravda described it as ‘another tragic page in the grim chronicle of oppression, discrimination, terror and violence’ in Ireland.

    In Liverpool a march in support of Sands took place from Upper Parliament Street to the Pier Head, chanting “Bobby Sands MP”.

    USA

    The US Congress and state and local governments passed resolutions honouring Bobby’s sacrifice and sent letters of condolence. The New Jersey state legislature noted his “courage and convictions”

    The International Longshoremen’s Association in New York announced a twenty-four-hour boycott of British ships.

    Over 1,000 people gathered in New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral to hear Cardinal Terence Cooke offer a Mass of reconciliation for Northern Ireland. Irish bars in the city were closed for two hours in mourning.

    In Hartford, Connecticut a memorial was dedicated to Bobby Sands and the other Hunger Strikers in 1997, Set up by the Irish Northern Aid Committee and local Irish-Americans, it stands in a traffic circle known as “Bobby Sands Circle,” at the bottom of Maple Avenue near Goodwin Park.

    Cuba

    In 2001, a memorial to Sands and the other hunger strikers was unveiled in Havana,

    Africa

    The ANC not only sent representatives to the funeral but Nelson Mandela sent a personal message from his prison cell.

    Asia

    In Tehran, Iran, President Bani-Sadr sent a message of condolence to the Sands family and also sent a representative to the funeral. An official blue and white street sign was affixed to the rear wall of the British embassy compound saying (in Persian) “Bobby Sands Street” with three words of explanation “militant Irish guerrilla”.

    The official Pars news agency called Bobby Sands’ death “heroic”.

    The Hindustan Times said Margaret Thatcher had allowed a fellow Member of Parliament to die of starvation, an incident which had never before occurred “in a civilised country.”

    In the Indian Parliament, opposition members in the upper house Rajya Sabha stood for a minute’s silence in tribute.

    The Hong Kong Standard said it was ‘sad that successive British governments have failed to end the last of Europe’s religious wars.’

    A large monument dedicated to Irish protagonists for independence from Britain, including Bobby Sands, stands in the Waverly Cemetery in Sydney, Australia.

    How could Bobby Sands not be a hero and inspiration to thousands of people, his self sacrifice is a shinning example of hope in the face of adversity

    I know that I’m going on here, but I feel that it is impotant to show that these songs do not represent sectarianism.

  50. Murph is a wonderful illustration of how this issues drives certain people mad. Who on earth cares what the Pars news agency of Iran said in 1981 about Bobby Sands, a fellow few people in Scotland give a shit about?

  51. Don the season that I posted that is to show that there was international reaction to the issue. It is not one about catholics and protestants in Scotland. I think I explained this and I also think you understood it. You are just trying to snipe.

  52. No. You are obsessed with what you misdescribe as anti-Irish racism in Scotland. Proving that various left-leaning solidarity networks protested against the death of Sands in Havana or Paris in 1981 tells us little about the tedious tit-for-tat sectarian bollocks that occurs in small pockets of Scottish society today.

    A bunch of guys wearing Celtic scarves beat up a bloke in a Rangers shirt. You see that as football aggro. A bunch of guys wearing Rangers scarves beat up a bloke in a Celtic shirt. You see that as a racist attack.

    In fact, both are products of the same sickness: mindless sectarianism.

  53. anon no longer on said:

    ‘mindless sectarianism.’

    So sectarianism just happens does it? Like the rain?

    No political, economic, historical or social reason?

    Nice and simple.

    Like the ‘one side’s as bad as the other’ mantra.

  54. Don stated earlier that Bobby Sands was someone that ‘few people in Scotland give a shit about’, despite the fact that his death resonated throughout the world.

    Inadvertently, Don in his own words merely confirmed that on the issue of Ireland and Irish republicanism Scotland was then and remains a centre of reaction, even within large sections of the so-called left. The role that Orangeism has played in entrenching anti-Irish Catholic sentiment, reflected in the mere fact that an avowedly anti Irish and anti Catholic organisation, which the Orange Order is, has been able to attain a level of acceptance if not respectability within Scottish society that its racist aims and objectives would not anywhere else, remains a huge factor in how the issue is portrayed today.

    I know of one fairly prominent socialist in Scotland who is a Rangers fan. He recently declared that on occasion he’s sung the ‘Billy Boys’, though with the caveat that he doesn’t sing the chorus, ‘we’re up to our knees in Fenian blood’, etc.

    Billy Fullerton, the subject of the song, was not only an anti Irish racist, he was also a fascist. He joined Mosley’s blackshirts in the late 1930s in fact. Prior to that he and his racist goons were employed as strikebreakers during the 1926 General Strike. For any socialist to sing the Billy Boys under any circumstances cannot be defended.

    This to me sums up the problem in Scotland within the left on the issue. Sadly, Don is just another example.

  55. John Grimshaw on said:

    #63 Is it just me? I am bored with your ridiculous post-modernism. By the same logic presumably you could come up with some narrative which says that we have to understand the Jewish Holocaust in the context of both sides having a legitimate point of view. Stop now before it gets any worse.

  56. Rangers and Celtic fans ARE as bad as each other.

    Stating that (to most Scots, self-evident) truth is not like trying to establishing moral equivalence between Nazis and Jews, FFS.

    You guys seem less interested in socialism than tribalism. If you are a working class Catholic living in Scotland, 99% of the disadvantages, injustices and inequalities you suffer are a result of class, not religion or ‘Irishness’. Perhaps we should focus on that – or am I being postmodern?

    And John – do you deny my accurate if mundane observation that most Scots don’t give a shit about Bobby Sands?

  57. scotinlondon on said:

    #51 Unfortunately I have been severely ill for a few years but am soldiering on! You were correct with your criticisms of the Scottish education system in an earlier post,as one who experienced it first hand here is an example.I played rugby for the school team.Not long after Bloody Sunday we were due to play a team from a Catholic school,at PE the week before the match disparaging and sectarian remarks were made against them by the teachers.Come the Saturday morning of the match we were actively encouraged to go out and hurt them.We duly obliged.The name of this school which perpetrated this shameful behaviour? Morgan Academy Dundee

  58. anon no longer on said:

    67.

    ‘Rangers and Celtic fans ARE as bad as each other.

    Stating that (to most Scots, self-evident) truth’

    I suspect the citizens of Manchester, Barcelona and any other place both sets of fans have visited would beg to differ.

  59. Don, in my opinion Celtic and Rangers fans are not as bad as each other. Rangers have a far bigger problem than Rangers.
    Rangers have institutional sectarian problems that Celtic do not.
    It was only in November 1989 that the organisation employed it’s first catholic football player. Then can be little doubt that the motivation behind this lay in legislation and the punishments that the club would incurr should they not.
    Celtic have never had these same issues.
    Rangers Clubs are often named as “Loyal”, this is a direct link to the ‘Loyal Orange Order’ and are often linked with flute bands of the same name.
    I watched a recent interview with an recent Rangers director proudly uttering the loyalist slogan ‘No Surrender’ when speaking of an arguement with Craig White.
    Remember ‘eggs Benedict’ being taken off the menu at Ibrox when the current Pope took the name.
    Remember the ‘Orange’ day at Ibrox in hounour of the Dutch players in the team. lol (that’s laugh out loud, not Loyal Orange Lodge)
    Or the ‘tangerine’ strip that went along with this celebration.
    How about the ‘red hand salute’ that so many confused with a Nazi salute.
    How about the scenes in Manchester prior to the riots, when in jovial mood Rangers fans marched through the streets with flutes, drums and in full uniform.

    Now I know that Celtic fans can cross the line, but Rangers have a huge sectarian problem on a totally differant scale to Celtic’s.

  60. Anonymous on said:

    No matter what the smaller scale, lets challenge it at Parkhead when the small minority chant hated bigotry. They do it not in our name.that is better than buying all the books on the subject.

  61. No Popery! on said:

    Sure l’m an Ulster Orangeman , from Erin’s isle I came,
    To see my British brethren all of honour and of fame,
    And to tell them of my forefathers who fought in days of yore,
    That I might have the right to wear, the sash my father wore!

    Chorus:
    It is old but it is beautiful, and its colours they are fine
    It was worn at Derry, Aughrim, Enniskillen and the Boyne.
    My father wore it as a youth in bygone days of yore,
    And on the Twelfth I love to wear the sash my father wore.

    Chorus

    For those brave men who crossed the Boyne have not fought or died in vain
    Our Unity, Religion, Laws, and Freedom to maintain,
    If the call should come we’ll follow the drum, and cross that river once more
    That tomorrow’s Ulsterman may wear the sash my father wore!

    Chorus

    And when some day, across the sea to Antrim’s shore you come,
    We’ll welcome you in royal style, to the sound of flute and drum
    And Ulster’s hills shall echo still, from Rathlin to Dromore
    As we sing again the loyal strain of the sash my father wore!

  62. Socialist on said:

    For some reason John seems to be highly sensitive on this subject.

    Other than highlighting the Neil Lennon case, and hiding behind some questionable statistics he has no real argument.

    I think he supports this position because George Galloway supports it. And the fact that John has ‘researched’ Galloways book about Neil Lennon also gives him an axe to grind.

    I put research in adverted comas because it sounds like a classic case of doing research to confirm an already existing world view, which of course is not genuine research. But then neither Wight or Galloway are academics and therefore should not be taken seriously on this issue.

    For a serious study people should read the book Sectarianism in Scotland.

  63. For some reason ‘Socialist’ continues to defend the indefensible. This time he cites the work of Scottish academic Steve Bruce, as have others on this thread in an attempt to refute and/or dispute both the mountain of historical and contemporary evidence available, including high profile Irish Catholics being the intended targets of mail bombs, death threats, home invasions, bullets in the post, and so on.

    Here is a list of some of Bruce’s previous works:

    Paisley: Religion and Politics in Northern Ireland (Oxfod : Oxford University Press, 2007).

    Conservative Protestant Politics (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1998).

    The Edge of the Union: The Ulster Loyalist Political Vision (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1994).

    The Red Hand: loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1992).

    A House Divided: Protestantism, schism and secularization (London : Routledge, 1990).

    God save Ulster! The religion and politics of Paisleyism (Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1986).

    No Pope of Rome: militant Protestantism in modern Scotland (Edinburgh : Mainstream, 1985).”

    I don’t think more need be said as to the objectivity of Mr Bruce when it comes to the issue of sectarianism.

    Thankfully, there are better sources. For anyone interested in being properly educated and informed, I suggest the work of Professor Tom Gallagher. More importantly, I’d draw my conclusions from the evidence – i.e., mail bombs, death threats, bullets in the post, that type of thing.

  64. anon no longer on said:

    Steve Bruce

    Went to an army school.

    Presumably because his father was an officer.

    Seems he chose to hobnob with the DUP when he was in NI.

    Nae wonder he’s a pin up boy for the Billy Bigot brigade.

  65. This “debate” is quite sad by and large a few sensible comments excepted. Otherwise it appears some trotskyite commentators want to grind surrogate axes … I haven’t read much that adds to a situation that has existed for a hundred odd years now.

  66. Anonymous on said:

    So writing academic studies of militant Protestantism makes you a Loyalist sectarian,does it? I suppose all those academics out there writing studies of fascism and racism better watch out before John exposes their obvious sympathies for their subject matter. This really is the pits… I disagree with Steve Bruce about many questions, not least the debate over secularisation, but would never dispute that he is a first class sociologist and that there is probably nobody alive who knows the North Atlantic Protestant world better. Perhaps you should read some of his work before attempting to slur him in this manner? As to the attempt to drag what his father did into this… Jesus, what is this, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution?

  67. Socialist on said:

    #73

    No one is arguing the indefensible John. What I and others are arguing is that your claim that catholics are suffering systemic oppression in Scotland is backwards. Indeed from the long view of history the opposite is true.

    What we have seen over the past 30 years is a greater integration of catholics into Scottish society, particuarly younger catholics. Scotland is becoming on the whole a more tolerant country and a more secular country. Again in the in the long view this is something to be welcomed.

    Of course we have problems at old firm football matches but there are other forces at play here many due to age old problem of divide and rule but also the fact that Glasgow Celtic PLC and Glasgow Rangers PLC know that there is a market for sectarianism.

    People like yourself and Galloway do more harm than good stirring up old sectarianism that belongs to another era, and for what its worth your romanticised Irish republicanism is completely anochronistic in today’s modern world.

    Finally you should focus more on criticsing Steve Bruce’s sociological data and less on criticising him as a person because he does not hold what you consider to be the ‘correct’ line. It might get you somewhere.

  68. anon no longer on said:

    lone nut

    You offer up Bruce as being a neutral observer.

    He’s not neutral.

    He’s a product of his environment.

  69. 78. So you have accused others of saying ‘ that catholics are suffering systemic oppression in Scotland’ and ‘Scotland as Alabama circa 1962′ in fact the only one saying these things is you.

    You also take the view that the problem of sectarianism is confined to Old Firm Games even though the evidence contradicts this.

    I don’t think you can substantiate the claim that Galloway and John are stirring up sectarianism. The sectarianism is active and violent and Galloway and John are commenting on it not promoting it. Your response it seems is to ignore it, that wont help at all. Nor will pretending that Celtic are as bad as Rangers or that protestants are as likely to be victims as Catholics.

  70. lone nut on said:

    “You offer up Bruce as being a neutral observer”.
    I did nothing of the sort. Steve Bruce is very much a parti pris kind of academic, who takes some pretty firm positions and argues for them forcefully – but as an academic he does so on the basis of research and data which aim at objectivity. Now you can question his research and data or the conclusions he draws from them – as I said I disagree with his position on whether secularisation is happening, although I respect the work he has done on that issue. What isn’t on is attempting to discredit him because you don’t like the people who are the subjects of his areas of expertise, or through ad hominem slurs (perhaps that should be “dad hominem”, since it is his father you are trying to slur).

  71. I don’t think that there is any doubt that society is becoming increasingly secular. There are many who were born into ‘christian’ families who are now non practicing.
    There are increasing numbers who would now rather declare themselves to be a ‘jedi’ than a ‘christian’.
    I think that this is one indicator pointing at a cultural problem in Scotland as oppose to straight Protestant vs Catholic socail conflict.
    I have personally been involved in discussions with individuals who call themselves protestants, though they don’t believe in God and have not seen the inside of a church.
    I do have to admit that there is increasing numbers of catholics who have lapsed from their faith, however the catholic school system has maintained a culture of faith that those of protestant faith find difficult to maintain in the non denominational education system.
    (many will criticise the faith school system, however in an increasingy secular society I believe it is important to those of faith)
    In many of the discussions that I have had, the conlusion I reached that rather than being protestant, these people were simply anti irish/catholic.
    I believe that this can be witnessed by the crowds who line the streets for the orange walks. If these people went to a church on a Sunday the buildings would be packed full.
    Again, they are united,not by their protestant faith, but by shared anti irish/catholic sectarianism.
    Now, I’m not saying that life is hell for a catholic in Scotland. I have done well socially and professionally.
    But I have no doubt that the anti irish/catholic culture exists.
    Day to day, most won’t notice it. But come marching season, football games, etc, it appears. I would say that those who don’t see this as a big deal are examples of at best a subconscious anti irish/catholic culture.
    If every marching season groups marched, multiple times, across the country, passed the temples and mosques united in negativity towards Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc there would be an outcry.
    How would these jews, muslims, hindus react in watching their work mates cheer on from the sides. How could they then be expected to return to professional/social normality with them.
    Irish/catholics do it several times each year.
    The anti irish/catholic culture is there. Most of the time it is kept hidden, but there is no doubt that it is there.

  72. Murph – do you think that if all state schools were to become non-denominational, sectarianism would increase or decrease? My hunch would be that it would tend to decrease.

  73. Brokenwindow on said:

    The same could be said for the Islamic Madrases and their questionable record on gay rights,Jews and restraining the younger members dreaming of watching CBeebies on Saturday morning and not rote learning the Qu’ran.Teacher-centred teaching went out with the arc.

  74. I feel that I can only comment with confidence on the qualities of catholic faith schools.
    I am a practicing catholic, I attended a catholic school, and my children now attend a catholic school.
    Throughout my time at school I had a wide social circle made of people both catholic and protestant.
    My children have an even wider social circle, embracing the multi culural Scottish vison, with friends of various religious, racial and national groups.
    The reason that I find the faith school so important is that, in my opinion, the increasingly secular, materialistic and morally corrupt influences that our modern world enforces should be tempered as much as possible.
    This should be both in the home and, out with the home.
    My belife is that my childrens development into happy and stable adults will best be served by maximising the positive influences around them.
    There is not an anti protestant culture in catholic schools.

    I realise that the value of this may be missed by those who do not share my beliefs. But they are my beliefs and my rights.

    How can we say that in order to reduce sectatrianism in Scotland, (shown to be largely against catholics), we should remove some of the rights of catholics.

    The idea that removing faith schools would reduce sectarianism is just that, an idea. It without evidence.
    Infact, faith Schools throughout other countries do not share our problems.
    For me this points to a cultural issue in Scotland and northern Ireland, rather than a problem with faith schools.

    For the information of any who may be mistaken, there is no ageda in catholic schools to have the children studying the catechisim rather than math.

  75. There is absolutely no contradiction between a situation where the position of an oppressed ethnic/religious minority in a given society can improve in terms of general relative economic wealth, access to resources, opportunities in employment, overall tolerance etc etc and at the same time a parallel growth in hostility towards them among significant groups within the same society.

    And the history of a number of European countries in the last century shows how we cannot afford to be complacent about these matters. Progress can be followed very quickly by the most horrific reaction.

    As for Catholic schools, let’s face it, Scotland has an established church, and calvinist Protestantism is part and parcel of the history of modern Scotland as a nation- John Knox, the Covenant etc. Don’t expect the Catholics to give up their faith schools until the majority decide that Scotland as a semi-nation state (or a full nation state in the event of independence) will become truly secular.

    I don’t know about the Church of Scotland, but down here progressive members of the C of E are very keen on the idea of dis-establishment.