#IndyRef: Orangemen and what they are represent a dose of scrofulous reality

I’m not sure Kevin McKenna’s experience of Referendum hustings is representative of the whole. The Yes campaign in particular seem to be reaching out in parts right across the vast swathe of land that is Scotland.

But he makes a pertinent point about just how unwilling, or unable the country’s political elites are to deal with people who cannot be classed as white, middle class or liberal.

Like for instance, the Orange Order:

I’ve attended a few referendum gatherings and while they have been entertaining, and occasionally inspiring, what they have not been is representative of all parts of Scottish society. In the main, the audiences were affluent, professional and university-educated. There were political activists there, too, and trade union officials.

I acknowledge that there are many who had previously been politically disengaged who are attending these meetings but, with some exceptions, this has been a campaign conducted by white, middle-class liberals. Each night in Scotland, there are utopian visions being shared of a land flowing with milk and honey and where the people will be the most tolerant and educated on the planet. Lions will be lying down with lambs all over the shop.

But while we are all going to sleep with pictures of tartan unicorns dancing in sun-dappled glens, we shouldn’t be disdaining the Orangemen and what they are representing in this campaign, which is a dose of scrofulous reality. These people may be grimly clinging to an old and outdated model of Scotland, but that’s only because modern Scotland has impoverished them, dismantled their neighbourhoods and their industrial hinterlands and shut down their schools.

And then we mock them for their adherence to God, Queen and country. In the same way that we deride any among us who persist in going to church in smart, enlightened, modern Scotland. In the meantime, we empower our increasingly antagonistic and out-of-control police force to stop, search and detain young, working-class men in the west of Scotland for singing songs about Irish history.

The people who will decide the referendum will not be those in the chattering, political classes but the tens of thousands in the housing schemes across the country whose children are underfed and who are exploited by employers paying very low wages.

Their voting records are not high and so we tend to ignore them at a Westminster or Holyrood election. Well, they’re voting in this contest – and so both sides had better start properly to understand their language and their curious ways.

  • Neil

    Orangemen and what they are represent a dose of scrofulous reality

    Absolutely. The (scrofulous) reality of what a No vote means, and who it puts you in bed with, nicely demonstrated for Catholics in Scotland. If in doubt see the comments below the article you posted. It seems going around annually singing about killing Catholics has turned some people off, and not just Catholics either. Whodathunkit.

    I think rrrrr puts it best:

    I sense that Kevin is mischief making with this article. The OO joining the No campaign officially, is however brilliant news for good guys.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Unfortunately as a Unionist it appears many Scottish Orange members appear to be voting yes in the hope that an independent Scotland will be more tolerant to them. Being shunned by the “Better Together” campaign made up a few minds too.

  • cynic2

    Hmmmmm … the problem is that oppressed minorities only stick being oppressed for so long before the rebel

    Have local government brings the sources of their grief closer to home and prevents the Nats blaming it all on the English

  • cynic2

    Hmmmmm … the problem is that oppressed minorities only stick being oppressed for so long before they rebel

    Have local government brings the sources of their grief closer to home and prevents the Nats blaming it all on the English

  • sergiogiorgio

    More chameleon talk or leopards changing spots. How do the Scottish OO rationalise a Yes vote ? I thought their MO was all queen and country…but Joe suggests a Yes vote. Its a cold house for the OO across the piece.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    sergiogiorgio,

    There was an online debate with as many in the Orange community for a Yes vote as were against it.

    The feeling was that since parades in Scotland are so heavily policed and disrupted, the Orange community may get more rights in an independent Scotland. Being shunned by the “Better Together” campaign hurt relationships too.

  • sergiogiorgio

    Joe – so the ability to parade trumped Queen and country – bit self obsessed and short sighted, me thinks. I reckon an independent Scotland playing the forward thinking, all inclusive card will be a cold house for the OO. If Scotland votes Yes, and then reverts to the green/orange division, it will sink into a morass of its own making. Thankfully the OO don’t define the SNP political agenda the way they determine DUP day to day operations.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    I thought Kevin was really having a dig at the scrofulous chittering classes in Edinburgh, the sort of folks who are more likely to be found at Murrayfield or St Andrews than amongst Rangers and Celtic supporters :)

    There is a delightful irony in all this, of course. For those who now want to ban the Orangemen from the Queen’s highway always affect a hand-wringing concern for us poor Catholics having to endure these vile and intrusive parades. This makes me laugh. The rest of the year this unlovely atheist high council is busy telling the world how rotten and corrupt is the Catholic church.

    Some of these chocolate intellectuals are currently engaged in a nationwide mutual masturbation exercise as they tour Scotland trying to chivvy the rest of us into voting yes on 18 September.

  • sergiogiorgio

    More chocolate sauce Findlay? Don’t mind if I do Frazer…its such a tasty lubricant. See you tomorrow night at Calton?

  • Joe_Hoggs

    sergiogiorgio

    Joe – so the ability to parade trumped Queen and country – bit self obsessed and short sighted, me thinks. I reckon an independent Scotland playing the forward thinking, all inclusive card will be a cold house for the OO. If Scotland votes Yes, and then reverts to the green/orange division, it will sink into a morass of its own making. Thankfully the OO don’t define the SNP political agenda the way they determine DUP day to day operations.
    ————————————————————————-

    I suppose it’s a case of dismissing the Orange at your own peril. In NI it’s in decline but this is not the case in Scotland where it is growing.

  • sergiogiorgio

    Almost sounds like a threat Joe…..I reckon the OO is pretty much dismissing itself through its own actions. Will you be catching the boat to fair Alba?

  • Joe_Hoggs

    sergiogiorgio,

    It’s not a threat, it’s the voice of disillusionment. I really don’t think it was wise of either group to dismiss such a sizeable minority in Scotland.

  • Old Mortality

    “In the main, the audiences were affluent, professional and university-educated.”

    That’s what you would expect since these are the people who have most to gain or lose from the referendum: in the Yes camp, that section of the middle class which lives off taxes; in the No camp, those who pay the taxes.

    Isn’t it shocking in so ‘progressive’ Scotland that more than a quarter of the Euro votes were cast for deeply unprogressive Tories and UKIP? These people will have to be marginalised and demonised along with the Orange Order.

  • ayeYerMa

    “Better Together” already have shunned UKIP as well. It is becoming a New Labour farce.

    This is ignoring the strongest argument against “Scottish independence” that there is — that inside the EU it is nothing of the sort!

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Isn’t it shocking in so ‘progressive’ Scotland that more than a quarter of the Euro votes were cast for deeply unprogressive Tories and UKIP? These people will have to be marginalised and demonised along with the Orange Order.

    ———————————————

    Old Morality,

    Are you being serious with this quote?

  • Old Mortality

    Joe
    Fairly serious. The Yes campaign’s essential mantra, particularly for the housing scheme dwellers to which McKenna refers, is “Nae mair Tory government”. In other words, a promise that Scotland will never in future be ruled by a party which advocates reduced public spending and taxation. If independence is achieved, it’s quite to easy to see that parties putting forward such views, and those who support them, could be regarded as beyond the pale in ‘progressive’ (the current euphemism for more and more public spending) Scotland.

  • Dec

    ‘I really don’t think it was wise of either group to dismiss such a sizeable minority in Scotland.’

    The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland claims around 50,000 members (and I’m sure that figure hasn’t been rounded up), which is around 1% of the population (at best). Hardly a sizable minority. The fact is in the Independance debate, both sides view them (the OO and their attendant hangers on) as toxic. The Scottish Grand Master’s recent assertion that the SNP are attempting to entice Catholics to support Independance by promising more dole money, rams the point home somewhat.