Over the weekend, a Scottish journalist working for The Sun offered one of the most diabolical excuses for sectarianism I’ve heard yet; he tried to minimise bigoted singing at Tynecastle by saying that there was no problem on the east coast like there is on the west coast.
He stooped to the worst kind of whatabouttery, and slandered an entire section of the country whilst he was at it.
I get sick and tired of the characterisation of the west coast as some kind of bastion of sectarian attitudes whilst the rest of Scotland sneers at us. It is garbage and it’s always been garbage. I’ve heard sectarian singing at every ground in Scotland.
Everywhere I’ve been there’s been a section of the crowd screaming that sort of abuse at Celtic fans.
Let’s get it straight; Celtic is a non-sectarian club and by and large we have a non-sectarian support.
The kind of bigotry we’re talking about here is a virulent strain of anti-Catholicism, and that is not the province of the west of Scotland but a problem that extends beyond Glasgow and Lanarkshire and is distributed evenly across the country.
On top of this, he puts two phrases at the end of his tweet as, I can only presume, examples of this west of Scotland “sectarianism” he refers to.
Except that neither of those phrases is sectarian at all.
One is an Irish Republican phrase meaning “our day will come” and the other is a reference to Ulster Loyalism and its determination not to allow a united Ireland.
They are expressions of differing political ideologies … they are not sectarian in any way.
But you know what? The Hearts fans song which Angela Haggerty and others highlighted was.
And this yahoo works for a national title?
As a Celtic blogger I get this a lot, and if people want to equate the odd Republican song with sectarianism, I suggest they go back to school and learn some history; the Irish War of Independence was waged by Protestants and Catholics both.
Now, people might not like hearing those songs but that’s a different argument and when there are no longer Orange Walks going up and down our streets dozens of times a year I will happily attend any seminar on respecting people’s rights not to be offended any day of the week … in other words, I’ll put down my gun when you put down yours and not before. People don’t like Republican songs? I don’t like Jazz. No-one wants to have it made illegal.
On top of that, as everyone knows, the beating heart of bigotry in Scotland is Ibrox, and that’s hardly in dispute, but blaming this on west of Scotland attitudes is to live in blissful ignorance of the number of football supporter’s buses that leave cities all across this fair land to ferry fans to that ground every second week; if sectarianism seems to be rife over there it’s perhaps because those other places export much of theirs to Glasgow for games.
Wherever the Pied Piper of Hamlin took the kids, I’m sure the locals were very glad to see and welcome them. But I’m equally sure that there were at least a few who said “I can’t help noticing, that we’ve got a hell of a lot of rats all of a sudden …”
And in case anyone forgot … Neil Lennon was attacked on the touchline in Edinburgh, not Glasgow.
For a journalist to attempt to minimise sectarian singing in one part of the country by slandering another part of the country is loathsome. Rather than state, plainly, in simple language, that sectarianism has no place anywhere in the game he tried to palm it off as a disease primarily afflicting just one corner of the nation. It was a shocking comment, as ignorant as it was bigoted. He and his newspaper should be ashamed of such views.
They are disgraceful.
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