Scotland's secret shame…

PANORAMA tonight (BBC One, Sunday, 27 February 2005, 22:15 GMT) takes a look at Scotland’s ‘secret shame’ – sectarianism. It asks if Old Firm rivals Rangers and Celtic have done enough to combat bigotry on the terraces. Are some fans just 90-minute bigots, or is the problem so serious that First Minister Jack McDonnell right to convene a summit on sectarianism? Meanwhile, “the Catholic church has called on Scottish police forces to conduct a Northern Ireland-style religious audit of their officers amid fears of sectarianism in the ranks”, according to the Sunday Times.

  • aquifer

    Socialist self liberation may be the answer
    Eamonn McCann in the Blanket
    Bit short on detail, but keep the faith . . .

  • Donnie

    Take the sectarianism out of Scottish football and not much remains. This programme highlighted what a tawdry game this is.

  • Edgylee

    Having watched the programme I’m left with the impression that the football clubs can do very little about this social problem. They have an interest in getting as many bums on seats as they can every week. Surely the sectarianism reflects the attitudes in the society outside the grounds. The initiative headed by the Scottish First Minister is to be welcomed and should be supported by all the clubs involved, who will control the fans inside when thing start to change outside. However, there is a deeper change required in Scottish society before that can happen.

  • jimmyquickswipe

    I watched that myself. I’d get the IFA in as consultants, they can’t register a player properly for sh*t, but they can dramatically reduce sectarianism.

    Regarding the bums on seats, from what I can see, much more people go to Windsor Park now than for years, full house nearly all the time now, including ‘dopey friendlies’. Amazing atmosphere, its near like a Cup Final every match.

  • Hardy Handshake

    The naked sectarianism of Rangers football club knows no bounds.

    An utterly revolting organisation which shames a decent country.

  • MysteryGhirl

    The panorama programme was very inaccurate in many ways. Yes there is a problem with sectarianism in the West of Scotland, but imo will only be eradicated with changes in the policy of the media rather than through the farce they call sectarian laws.

    In Scotland, the media presents things from a biased view. Take for example the recent game that they used to make the programme. The main headlines were about things being thrown on the pitch but failed to mention the steward who was slashed that day by a rangers fan. There was only one report of this that I am aware of and it was relegated to page 15 on the Tuesday after the game. At a game last year the rangers fans threw potatoes and coins and made monkey noises to our black players yet was not reported by the media except a few light hearted comments on how it was funny.

    The programme mentioned Celtic fans disrupting a minutes silence for 911, but failed to mention that the fans were still outside the grounds and knew nothing of the silence taking place.

    The use of the Coatbridge Republican Flute Band had what point exactly? And where was the fact that Republican marches are only 1% in Scotland whereas OO parades are 50% …. they did not even mention OO marches.

    Before you judge Scotland on this programme check out the facts they claim.

    There is a rangers fans forum on the internet and the hate filled comments on that show the true nature of sectarianism in Scotland. Go to any Celtic forum and find me anything which slates protestant religion ……. it dosent happen.

  • Hardy Handshake

    They’re falling into the trap which the lazy media here do – parity of blame. And they won’t solve it by engaging with church people who mouth weasel words about ‘mutual toleration’ and ‘understanding’ and ‘forgiveness’ – the christian churches ARE the sects to which the word sectarianism refers.

    For many in the Scottish media the fenian-bashing inherent in mainstream Scottish life and the mere expression of Irishness by many Celtic supporters and many others of Irish descent in Scotland are somehow equivalent – there IS no equivalence. One is an expression of cultural identity, one is of religious and political oppression.

    Rangers is a thoroughly racist sectarian club and should be resisted by decent people evrywhere just like the disgusting Orange Order -it’s not just how they behave which makes the Orange Order objectionable – it’s what they believe in which stinks: (Protestant) supremacism vis-a-vis other human beings.

  • Ringo

    The old Firm stuff is beyond a joke at this stage. Neither team on the pitch is remotely representative of the idiots frothing at the mouth in the stands. Old Firm games have to be one of the only occasions in the modern game where I feel sorry for a bunch of overpaid, pampered journeymen trotting around for 90 minutes, as opposed to the fans who pay to watch them.

    The football is diabolical. The fans are a disgace and everyone associated with the two clubs is treading on eggshells for weeks either side of a game for fear some fool who’s had his head filled with sectarian nonsense all his life decides to take it as a licence to kill.

    I agree with the parity of blame theory – but it is also the case that you can’t deal with this without sorting out the sectarianism on both sides.

    MysteryGhirl

    From my experience of Celtic and Rangers boards (I used to read Follow Follow with much enjoyment when Man Utd were in the same CL group as Rangers) – it is appears to be true that the Rangers fans are far more likely to bring religion into it than the other way around. But Celts are more than capable of filling the gaps with common vitriol. It is debatable as to what extent this is an improvement.

    Only way forward is to merge the two clubs into Glasgow United and raze Ibrox and Celtic Park to the ground. And make them play in an all pink strip.

  • Panda

    I agree with Ringo here.
    Reading Hardy Handshake’s and MysteryGhirl’s views on Rangers reminds me of myself when I talk about Liverpool in that I’m 100% partial and biased.
    Difference between me and I believe the vast majority of Celtic and Rangers, is that I support my team (and despise its rivals) on grounds other than religion or nationality.
    Less religious bigotry at Celtic but they do seem to have a rather unhealthy obsession with the Irish nation-and nationalism and football ain’t a good or healthy thing.

  • George

    Rather than merging the clubs, how about Western Scotland with its Irish population ceding to the Irish Republic to create the Republic of Ireland and Western Scotland.

    Partition supposedly worked for Ireland so why not Scotland?

  • CavanMan

    George
    Western Scotland,is mostly protestant with places like Ayrshire,loyalist havens,if there was any part of scotland,which would join Ireland,it would probably be the highlands,were most of the catholics of irish descent live.

  • Young Fogey

    the highlands,were most of the catholics of irish descent live

    Highlands? Irish descent?

    Uh?

  • CavanMan

    Young Fogey.
    the lowlands in scotland have a Protestant majority,while the highlands has a Roman Catholic majority,and seeing as a majority of the Roman Catholic majority in Scotland is of Irish descent,then you will find that my statement is true.

  • CavanMan

    Excuse the bad grammar,im typing a project along with watching slugger.

  • Young Fogey

    the lowlands in scotland have a Protestant majority,while the highlands has a Roman Catholic majority,and seeing as a majority of the Roman Catholic majority in Scotland is of Irish descent,then you will find that my statement is true.

    Er… um… no!

    The Highlands Catholics are not of Irish descent. They’re just people who never converted to Protestantism at the time of the reformation.

    The majority of Irish descended Catholics are in Scotland’s industrial heartlands, especially Glasgow and Lanarkshire, where you would expect people to emigrate looking for work.

  • Scot

    These days sectarianism in Scotland virtually starts and ends with the Old Firm. Aggressive young men mouth off, get drunk, and attempt to wind up those from the other footballing tribe. Then they all go back to work on Monday with their mates from “the other side.”
    The high profile of the clubs keeps the story going.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, Scottish Catholics marry non-Catholics, have equal success in the job market (correcting for location) live wherever they want and have much the same political views as other Scots.

    Active religious participation in Scotland is very much a minority pursuit. What we are left with is West Side Story stuff.

    “”Take the sectarianism out of Scottish football and not much remains. This programme highlighted what a tawdry game this is.””

    Posted by: Donnie at February

    Au contraire, Donnie. Take the football out of Scottish sectarianism and not much remains.

  • Hardy Handshake

    ‘Scot’

    What nonsense, this is a myth by people with their head in the Ayrshire Sands – the footballing milieu merely gives expression to a sectarianism which remains very much part and parcel of the Scottish West coast experience in daily life.

    Your smug ill-informed comments echo those of the smug lazy mainstream media’s refusal to take the issue seriously and Scottish society’s inherent inability to come to terms with its own continuing intolerance.

    This is perilously close to a Yellow Card H.H. Ball not man please A.U.

  • Hardy Handshake

    I didn’t tackle the man I tackled his comments – non-personal, see. Very much ball and not man I think you’ll find ref.

    OK, I’ll refer the exchange to management. A.U.

  • Hardy Handshake

    What are you A.U., the ‘security man’ ?! Ok I await a sternly worded memo from ‘upstairs’ in due course.

  • Timothy Bhoy

    I agree with Ringo here.
    Reading Hardy Handshake’s and MysteryGhirl’s views on Rangers reminds me of myself when I talk about Liverpool in that I’m 100% partial and biased.
    Difference between me and I believe the vast majority of Celtic and Rangers, is that I support my team (and despise its rivals) on grounds other than religion or nationality.
    Less religious bigotry at Celtic but they do seem to have a rather unhealthy obsession with the Irish nation-and nationalism and football ain’t a good or healthy thing.

    Posted by: Panda

    In respect of these comments, when Public Houses of a certain clientele were banned from playing music specific to their religious and political beliefs, why then can i still hear Republican music in irish bars across the land?
    Is it possibly because the lyrics do not mention anything of a religious hatred for the other side? Unlike the loyalist anthems which which unanimously chant about being “up to their knees in fenian blood”? YES there are religious bigots on both sides and one reason it may look like the OO and loyalists are worse, it could be that there are more of them. The two clubs couldnt give a toss about the problem as long as the PR machine makes it look as if they do then that is their only concern.

    The Highlands Catholics are not of Irish descent. They’re just people who never converted to Protestantism at the time of the reformation.

    The majority of Irish descended Catholics are in Scotland’s industrial heartlands, especially Glasgow and Lanarkshire, where you would expect people to emigrate looking for work.

    Posted by: Young Fogey

    100% correct, and the reason that there is an association is because Celtic were formed as a charity for poor Irish descendants in the east of Glasgow and the boundary encompassing it.
    NOT Irish Catholics but any one of Irish descent who may be in need of help or support, but it is this association and a sense of historical pride that keeps the thousands going to Parkhead each home game.