Twenty Years On

Twenty years ago Steve Bruce, Professor of sociology at Aberdeen University, published “No Pope of Rome”, the first serious social-science study of sectarianism in Scotland. In the Scotsman he looks at how things stand today – Beware the myths that tarnish ‘sectarian’ Scots – and concludes that “the best parallel for the experience of the Irish Catholic community in Scotland was not the enduring conflict of Northern Ireland but the successful integration found in the United States.”

  • aquifer

    Great link, suggesting the perception of discrimination may persist long after the reality has faded. And that without major political interests vested in sustaining that perception.

    “Second, integration: just over half of married Catholics under 35 have non-Catholic spouses. In Northern Ireland, only 6 per cent of marriages are mixed. In the US, inter-racial marriages are also about 6 per cent. Despite segregated schooling, Scots now choose partners with no regard for religion.”

    Political violence and the identification of Unionism with protestantism have deepened sectarian divisions. Practicing the hippy virtues of peace and love would have been better social policy.

  • DessertSpoon

    I recently went to the new Scottish Parliament Building and talked to the people who worked there and I left feeling very depressed. Not because they aren’t great people or that it’s not a fantastic set up but because they are striding off into a great future of self determination of having a real say in how they are governed and how their lives, economy and environment can be made better. I’m depressed because we were so close to having a future too and now it seems so far away and we’re back to marking time. I don’t understand the need in Norn Iron to hold so fast to sectarian divisions because it really doesn’t matter. NO really it doesn’t trust me! I don’t understand why we have allowed paramilitaries to get such a stanglehold on our little place in the world and why we don’t just stand up to them (I read somewhere that bullies respond to that!). I do understand that our politicians feel they have more power playing the games they do right now and don’t really fancy the idea of real work. So do Norn Iron a favour at the next Election don’t vote for the extremists they want to control you through fear. Vote for someone who wants to help you, work for you and support you and doesn’t keep on keeping on about how they did this 30 years ago and they did that 25 years ago and it’s all their fault. We all know it takes two.

  • Davros

    I’m depressed because we were so close to having a future too

    Were we close ? It’s obvious that it was a false dawn.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    ‘DessertSpoon’, I feel compelled to speak my mind and tell you that your last post is the biggest load of pseudo- iberal, naive bullshit that I have ever come across!

    We are a divided society, and in my life-time I cannot see it changing. I am not being pessimistic, but realistic. I find it ludicrous that you compare Scotland with us, as the two main communities in Scotland were not on the brink of civil war in the early 90’s!

    You need to pull your head out of the clouds mate.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    It should read liberal and not iberal

  • spirit-level

    DessertSpoon I know how you feel m8
    and I love your use of “Norn Iron”
    it cheers me up everytime I see you post it.

  • Scotty

    Sectarianism exists throughout Scotland but more so in the Glasgow area usually associated with the “old firm”. Both clubs have taken enormous steps in eliminating the problem with life bans for a lot of people.

    However, to make further inroads to this marching for both sides needs to be stopped due to the amount of hatred and bigotry that is spouted by both the protesters and the supporters. This I may add is inflamed by the amount of alcohol that is consummed. This is the last thing any decent parent would want their children to experience.

  • DessertSpoon

    Concerned Loyalist – Your realistic, view of the future is enough to make anyone want to remain firmly in the clouds mate!

    Unlike many in Norn Iron (once more for spirit_level) I have no problem being tolerant of changes in my society. I am not bound by orthodoxy or suspect traditions and I find my naivety refreshing! 🙂 I must however object in the strongest terms to your use of the prefix “pseudo”. There is nothing insincere about my feelings on this matter, and I am in no way taking a deliberately spurious stance. It is simply my naive little opinion and if you don’t like it then fine there is no need to get so upset about it, unless of course you’re worried I might be right.

    It is true Scotland wasn’t on the verge of a civil war because to be perfectly honest they have more sense than to persist with this sectarian bollock$ and are just getting on with their lives. When do we get to just get on with our lives?! Nothing will change unless we change it.

  • Davros

    Another interesting article in the Scotsman – and as predicted the Royal Wedding has re-opened the debate on the succession and Roman Catholicism.

    Sectarian summit only deepens divide

  • aquifer

    Marvellous what operating an agreed constitution can do for community relations and social progress, despite unpromising beginnings.

    In secular UK terms, Unionists’ identification with protestantism is political suicide, ensuring that they are shunned by the ruling elite, inviting insurrection and separation, not Union.

    Note the cordial relations between UK apparatchiks and extreme nationalists, based on an English historic guilt complex and a shared distaste for Unionists.

    The cry of ‘Vote DUP – Smash Sinn Fein’ is a a particularly ridiculous fantasy, and the smashing of succcessive shared settlements by loyalists has played right into the hands of the IRA who need instability and exclusion to make their own outdated political prescriptions look at all plausible.

    Value protestant culture by all means, but does bigotry have to be so politically bone headed?

  • Davros

    There was an interesting reply to Prof Bruce by Tom Devine, who “profoundly” disagrees with his conclusions, linked on Nuzhound.

    Sectarian bigotry is no myth – it’s a very real problem

    Today the Scotsman reveals that Only three out of 8,000 tribunal actions linked to sectarianism