With the detection and interception of a fifth mail bomb intended for another target in Scotland, the time for turning the other way when it comes to the issue of anti-Irish racism has surely passed. The position of attributing equal blame to Irish Catholics and those who view their very existence as an insult and threat to some Protestant Ruritania is no longer sustainable. The truth is there exists in Scotland both an active and passive strain of anti-Irish racism that up to now has been brushed under the carpet by all sections of society from the political establishment to the police to the Scottish Football Association and sadly even to the trade union movement and the left.If it were high profile Muslims, Jews, blacks, or if it were asylum seekers who were the targets of these mail bombs, we would already be out on the streets with the placards demanding action – and rightly so. Yet when the targets are high profile Irish Catholics a deafening silence reigns, except in the conspicuous case of George Galloway. Equivocation has long been the currency of the establishment in Scotland when it comes to religious sectarianism and anti-Irish racism, where hiding behind the fear of alienating its adherents the mantra has traditionally been one of uniting the working class around economic and bread and butter issues instead of confronting and tackling racism.The danger of course is that in failing to tackle it politically the door is opened to a more extreme response on the part of those who feel targeted and threatened. When people focus their ire on Neil Lennon for daring to cup his hands to his ears at Ibrox at the weekend in a gesture of defiance after an attempt was made on his life and after enduring years of racist abuse and attack; when the blame for anti-Irish Catholic bigotry and racism in Scotland is levelled at the existence of Catholic schools, an institution that began life to minister to the needs and isolation of Irish immigrants at the beginning of the 19th century, then we’re looking at a clear cut case of blame the victim.The intended target of this latest mail bomb was the Glasgow-based Irish republican organisation, Cairde Na H’Eireann, or Friends of Ireland. This is a political organisation, affiliated to Sinn Fein and committed to the peace process, which supports the objective of a united Ireland and represents the rights of the Irish community in Scotland. Here again we see evidence of uppity Irishmen and women, who have the temerity to celebrate their culture through either a football team or political organisation, being singled out for attack and intimidation.It has always been the view of supporters of Scottish independence that it would constitute a progressive advance on the union, given that in Scotland there exists an inbuilt left of centre majority. Indeed, the SNP in power have reflected this left of centre bent in many though not all of their flagship policies. But in Scotland in the 21st century the prevalence of anti-Irish racism remains the truth that dare not speak its name, rendering the words progressive and Scotland antithetical rather than complementary.It’s because of this that there now needs to be a concerted effort on the part of the political establishment to tackle the issue without fear or favour. But in order to do so effectively there has to be an honest acknowledgement that the problem lies in a poisonous culture of racism and religious intolerance that has long existed against Catholics in Scotland who trace their roots and cultural heritage to Ireland.Anything less is political cowardice.