On Parade

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Three closely related questions strike you after watching this video. Which bright spark at the MoD thought this would be a good idea? Which executive at Ibrox organised this event? What kind of a country are we living in?

You can see how the custodians of the new club trading as Rangers can make short-term capital by pandering to jingoistic sectarianism. But what do the armed forces get out of it?

Roy Greenslade (and it’s absolutely no surprise it takes a non-Scottish based journalist to say it it), asks:

Will mainstream media report on sectarian singing by British troops? It will be interesting to see if any newspaper covers the fact that members of Britain’s armed forces appeared to join in with Scottish football fans as they sang sectarian songs at a match yesterday. Initial reports suggest not.

Some 400 uniformed soldiers, seamen and air force personnel attended an armed forces day at Ibrox, the Rangers ground. After a formal march and band music, a group of soldiers (they were in khaki) were filmed dancing, clapping and singing along with the crowd.

Although it is difficult to make out the exact words on the video posted on YouTube, people have identified sectarian songs and chants celebrating the death of the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.

Ever-present sports journalist (on virtually any sport you can mention) Tom English chipped in by saying:

Here’s a ‘radical’ proposal. Both sides of Old Firm stop singing about Bobby Sands. Wearying and cringe-making tit for tat on that front.

In doing so, he spectacularly missed the point. This ISN’T about Celtic v Rangers fans. There isn’t always an equivalence. This is such tired lazy cliche.  It doesn’t make any sense. The armed forces aren’t run-of-the-mill fans. The people who organised this are responsible for mass manipulation and exploitation. This was an event where military chiefs were in attendance and was sanctioned by football authorities. That simple reality must have consequences.

Here’s a really radical proposal, why don’t politicians, footballing authorities and the sports media respond appropriately and effectively to this event? It’s an opportunity for democrats and pro-independence forces to stand up to the unionist mob that threatens and intimidates anyone who challenges it.

As one tweeter put it simply: “If they do not condemn & prosecute serving soldiers for anti-Catholic slogans/chanting, then what on earth are we to think of them?”

That’s a simple enough question.

We’ll wait and see the response from the media, politicians and sporting authorities in the coming days. The response will answer the question ‘what kind of a country are we living in?’ and a subsequent question, what sort of Scotland do we aspire to?

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  1. I’ve always maintained a respect for the forces and while there’s always been an element of this sort in them, no way should they be involving themselves in crudely disguised sectarian right-wing imbecility of this sort.
    If the military authorities do not openly address this, it will, sadly undermine that respect.

  2. Dave Coull says:

    This is an utter disgrace.

    As it happens, I am an ex-serviceman. Also, as it happens, in my younger days, I have been known to sing “The Sash”, although usually only when I was far from sober.

    However, one thing I never did, even when I was young and very foolish, was to engage in sectarian behavior, in uniform, and on duty.

    In this particular instance, condemning both Celtic and Rangers fans for inappropriate singing or slogans just won’t do. There were no Celtic fans anywhere to be seen. However, there were serving members of the armed forces, wearing uniform, and apparently “on duty”, taking part in sectarian behavior.

    In the above photo, five individual soldiers can be clearly identified. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find out the names of all five of them.

    It is possible that two of them could just be innocent bystanders, but three of them are clearly holding up a banner with a picture of King Billy and the slogan “Keep Ulster Protestant”. Those three soldiers are bringing their regiment into disrepute, contrary to Queen’s Regulations. They should be charged, and, if they are found guilty, they should be dis-honourably dismissed.from the army.

    I say “if” found guilty, but, given the indisputable evidence of this photo, there is really only one defence they
    could possibly have against such a charge: that they were ORDERED to do this by a superior officer.

    If they were indeed ordered to do this by a superior officer, then that superior officer was bringing the regiment into disrepute, contrary to Queen’s Regulations, and should be charged; and, if found guilty, dis-honourably dismissed from the army.

    In any case, regardless of whether the men in this photo were “just obeying orders” or not, it is a fact that the presence of a large number of serving soldiers at Ibrox in what turned out to be a blatantly sectarian event was organised by SOMEBODY. And almost certainly NOT organised by a junior officer. At least one very senior officer must have been involved, and they must have had the active involvement of other officers who thought this a good idea.

    Who was the most senior officer involved? We, the public who pay their wages, have a right to know, and it should not be too difficult to find this out.

    Who were the other officers involved? We, the public who pay their wages, have a right to know, and it should not be too difficult to find this out.

    EVERYBODY involved in this disgraceful episode should face charges. The only way any of them should be able to get out of being charged is by saying they were obeying orders, naming the officer who gave them those orders, and giving evidence at that officer’s court martial.

    At least some of those involved must be dis-honourably discharged. That is the only way to get across to all other serving members of the armed forces that this sort of behavior is NOT acceptable.

  3. Dave Coull says:

    Consider the sign which these three soldiers are holding up. It says “Keep Ulster protestant”.

    What is a protestant?

    A protestant is somebody who is
    (1) Christian. They can’t be atheist, or agnostic, or Buddhist, or Sikh, or Jewish, or Hindu, or Muslim; and
    (2) belongs to one of the Christian churches which, like the Church of Scotland, says ‘the one and only Head of the Church is Jesus Christ – there is NO Earthly head’. They can’t be Church of England, or Russian Orthodox, or Ethiopian Orthodox, or Greek Orthodox, or Coptic, or Maronite, or Roman Catholic.

    It’s pretty obvious protestants are a minority world-wide. Not just a minority of the world’s population as a whole, but a minority of Christians world-wide. However, protestants aren’t just in a minority world-wide; they are also in a minority in Ulster.

    Since protestants are a minority in Ulster, what can possibly be meant by this slogan “Keep Ulster protestant”? It can only be a declaration of support for religious/ethnic cleansing. It can only be a declaration of support for using force to drive atheists, agnostics, members of the Church of England, Greek Orthodox, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, and Catholics out of Ulster. Oh, and by the way, any such intention would horrify most genuine protestants.

    There are countries where the army makes a habit of violently intervening in political affairs. We do not want Scotland to be such a country. Therefore it is extremely dangerous when serving members of the army display such anti-democratic views.

    These three soldiers have to be charged with bringing their regiment into disrepute; and, if found guilty by a court martial, they have to be dis-honourably dismissed.

    1. Morag says:

      I’m pretty sure the Church of England is protestant. Ask Henry VIII.

      1. john says:

        Church of England is both ‘catholic and reformed.’ From its own Website

      2. Dave Coull says:

        The only thing Henry VIII did was to substitute himself as Head of the Church in England, instead of the Pope. Henry was a brutal tyrant who continued to persecute, torture, and murder protestants as heretics even after his break with Rome. Henry VIII is the last person whose opinion should be considered on what constitutes a “protestant”. The definition of what constitutes a protestant that I have given is sound. A protestant is someone who can say “the one and only Head of the Church is Jesus Christ; there is NO Earthly head”.

  4. jdmank says:

    If those characters want to chant sectarian songs I for one don’t see why as a taxpayer I should have to pay money to allow them to do it, and besides is their not a rule in the forces that you cannot wear your uniform at political and sectarian events?
    those people and the superiors who sanctioned this should be drummed out of the army

  5. Futeman says:

    I don’t know why folk are surprised. This has been going on for years in west coast recruiting Scottish infantry regiments.
    All you need to do is look at the ‘no surrender’, UDA type tattoos a lot of them sport.
    The book ‘Bandit Country’ gives an account of a patrol in Crossmaglen by the Argyles during ‘the troubles’ in NI.. The Captain leading the patrol had his men stop in the town square, and his piper played ‘The Sash’.

    I wouldn’t blame the young, impressionable squaddies, but the higher ranks know exactly what they are doing.

    1. Jim McNeill says:

      Ditto. Where’s the news value in this? Last I heard 2% of the armed forces in the West of Scotland were Catholic. It’s probably decreased since then.
      We all know where we stand, and that goes for our wonderful police force too.

    2. I am now educated in this matter and cordially disgusted!!! In this day and age that anyone can be so ignorant is a joke … I am worried now in the Scottish education system!!

  6. Juteman says:

    That should be ‘Juteman’, not ‘Futeman’!

  7. Albalha says:

    Thought it curious that the only flag on display in the early part, on the pitch is the flag of Scotland, then towards the end a bald person, (who is that), tries to thrust the flag of England into someone’s hands and he appears to be rebuked.
    What a wholly bizarre ‘event’. So many questions about who, what, why etc.
    And of course how does the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act (2012) fit into this, certainly was ‘offensive behaviour at football’.
    Don’t see many police people in the video however.

    1. G. Campbell says:

      It wasn’t the English flag. You get a much clearer idea of what everyone was up to in this video.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqX4tn538S4

      Derry’s Walls (5:30)

      “F*ck Bobby Sands, he’s deid” (6:05)

      Besuited higher up military idiot waves the Red Hand of Ulster flag before throwing it into the adoring Ibrox crowd (8:12)

      I’ve no idea what the military idiot was handing out. The the launch codes for a nuclear strike on Celtic Park, possibly.

      1. Albalha says:

        As you say much clearer, and yes, from the distance it looked like the flag of England and close up it’s obvious he’s a forces person. Looks like Channel 4 are taking it up with the MoD.

      2. AlexMontrose says:

        The guy waving the Ulster Flag is a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy, he appears to ordered back onto the pitch by a Lieutenant, the pre-parade refreshments have fully kicked in.

  8. Rod Mac says:

    How many on here showing sock horror are actually ,shocked or offended?
    How many are in fact in that band of Rangers hating Scots?
    Is this about being affronted that the British Army support the British Government and establishment, or hatred of a football team?
    Lest we forget according to the unwritten British Constitution no Roman Catholic can be monarch or has ever been PM.
    Because of British Unionism we have the disgrace of partition in the island of Ireland.
    Those wanting football sanctions I suspect show their hand ,and indeed their own prejudices.
    The root cause of sectarianism lies deep in the heart of the British Establishment.
    The biggest outcry should be against those like Dr John Reid , Jim Murphy, Brian Wilson , Frank Roy,Jack McConnell ,Godman et al who embrace the British state in the full knowledge that all those of the same religious persuasion as themselves are downtrodden by the British Establishment they defend daily.

    1. Craig says:

      I am a Celtic fan and proud Scot (I have also served in the TA) but thought that this went beyond any idea of just congratulating the armed forces.
      I have always been uncomfortable with these events at Ibrox as I feel there is an element of pandering to the lowest elements of the Queen loving brigades. This particular one was seemingly uncontrollable and lacked planning, allowing hundreds of personnel to just randomly float about. This displayed a lack of professionalism from themselves and a lack of self control that I have never witnessed from any personnel before.
      It is shocking, perhaps only because how little coverage there has been of mass bigotry for a while, but also because it involves public servants.
      The lack of coverage from the national press is disturbing.

      1. As a Celtic fan I would like to say that this has absolutely nothing to do with Celtic whatsoever !!! This is obviously a political sectarian issue which should never involve Celtic … I say let those from the army involved be sacked and shamed! Those at the game in question! No surprise really but keep other decent people out of it!

  9. George Gunn says:

    Deep inside us lies the ice of our blame Scotland will ne’r be at peace til Johnnie comes merchin hame

  10. Ken MacColl says:

    Surely nobody should be unduly surprised that bigotry and sectarianism are alive and well at Ibrox -it was always so -but far more problematic is the compliance in this of senior officers in the British Army and,, apparently, the fact that nobody in the Police presence at the ground appeared to notice the illegal singing. However the most disturbing feature of all is the blanket reporting embargo applied by the Scottish media, print and broadcasters. In the age of the internet such censorship simply does not work but our newspapers and broadcasters do not seem to realise how easily their bias and partiality are exposed

    1. setondene says:

      I doubt if Police Scotland will do anything about this disgrace. I lived in a garrison town (Arbroath) in the seventies and the civilian police simply could not protect the civilian population from the drunken and violent antics of Royal Marines: they were always referred to the military police and that was the end of the matter.

  11. bellacaledonia says:

    As Alex Thomson puts it:

    It’s not about Rangers. It’s about the Ministry of Defence.

    The one thing any soldier (rightly) runs a mile from is getting into anything deemed “political”. Our armed forces need to be seen to be distanced from politics. Theirs is the lonely and dangerous business of doing the bidding of our politicians for better or worse.

    In recent years that has meant fighting long, unwinnable wars, far from these islands, with little support or thanks from voters and politicians who would rather Iraq and Afghanistan just somehow went away.
    – See more at: http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/armed-forces-involvement-sectarian-rangers-protest-pr-disaster/6182#sthash.eylUoAjm.dpuf

    The problem is with our servicemen and women being exposed to this and hung out to dry by their commanders who seem to have the PR skills of a garden slug. This is the British Army, the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy – and some years into a delicate peace process in Northern Ireland.

    You can’t expose young people in the ranks to this and expect them to do anything else but let their hair down. What is idiotic and so far unexplained, is how they were put into this position by their commanding officers.

    It was so easy: march on. Stand and enjoy the applause. March off.

    Who thought allowing these people to be sucked into this deeply political cauldron and be made idiots of, was somehow a clever plan? The MoD either lost control of this event or, worse, never thought to impose any. We await answers to these questions from the MoD and, in particular, the General Officer Commanding Scotland, Major General Nick Eeles.

    More here: http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/armed-forces-involvement-sectarian-rangers-protest-pr-disaster/6182

  12. David says:

    Having a quick read through the proposed national service bill ( http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0032/cbill_2013-20140032_en_2.htm#l1g1 ) and was wondering how this week-ends events meet the following aims:

    Scope of the scheme
    (1)Regulations shall provide that the scheme must extend the scope of the
    National Citizen Service and include the following elements—
    (a)educational assistance for those participants who have yet to attain
    basic educational requirements of reading and writing in English and
    mathematics;
    (b)coaching and instruction to attain basic levels of physical fitness,
    personal discipline, smart appearance, self respect and respect for
    others;
    (c)instruction in personal financial budgeting, household bills, nutrition,
    cooking, time keeping, life skills, tolerance towards others, treating
    elderly and disabled people with dignity and respect; and
    (d)instruction in basic aspects of the law in relation to the most common
    offences involving young people.

    As for the CPO waving the flag well I really do worry about state of RN if he is a representative of the senior service.

  13. Cant say much to this ill-mannered and badly conceived idea or show of support.This is the results (the plural is meant) of the establishments method of keeping the masses under control divided and remained conquered.The majority who cant see and fail to understand are being led like sheep by a few bigots,there are other who will not see for they have an excuse for their own degenerate behaviour any excuse to inflict harm on those that would rather not have anything to do with them,and I believe there are many who follow the crowd through fear and therefore bulk out the attendance and make it look bigger that want it might have been aye PROJECT FEAR HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR MANY YEARS just that some don’t see it others know it but like the small power kick they get.

  14. Dave Coull says:

    It wasn’t just these soldiers, there were members of the Royal Navy and of the Royal Air Force, in uniiform and on duty, at this event as well. For an officer to be able to order members of all three services to attend an event, in uniform, and on duty, that had to be a very senior officer. So, if it wasn’t Major General Eeles, General Officer Commanding, Scotland, who gave the order for them to attend, in uniform, and on duty – who was it?

  15. Abulhaq says:

    What has this grubbing in the gutter of Irish sectarianism to do with Scotland? Is the armed forces involvement in this event a sign of something menacingly sinister developing within the pro-Unionist camp?

    1. Davy says:

      It could be said that Scots had some input in exporting “sectarianism” to Ireland……
      http://www.2ndcouncilhouse.co.uk/blog/2012/12/17/the-roots-of-sectarianism-in-scotland/

  16. Douglas says:

    The only way we are going to extirpate the niggardly, idiotic, loathsome sectarianism in Scottish culture is by making a clean break with the British State. A non-confessional, democratic republic is the cure for this malady…

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Yes

      1. dave says:

        “non confessional”?……and you think that’s NOT biased?

      2. Douglas says:

        Dave, a non-confessional state is a state which does not have any official religion, for example the French Republic. It is not a catholic state, even if most of the people who live there are catholic…

      3. Douglas says:

        Dave, here’s the Wikipedia definition of a confessional state

        :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessional_state

        A non-confessional state being the opposite, at least as far as I understand that expression. A complete separation of state and religion.

    2. Jim McNeill says:

      You’d better hope that the Catholic minority in Scotland vote for independence then, confident enough that the Afrikaaner tendencies of some of their neighbours will be kept in check, very specifically those of their neighbours in the police and armed forces. On this showing that may well become a forlorn hope.

      You know, wandering around these liberal-minded forums I am struck sometimes by the way otherwise sensible people are unable to see that their seemingly non-confessional, anti-religious viewpoints are little more than thinly covered anti-catholic/ anti-irish racism. The ones that get the boot into religious schooling are normally the worst.

      1. Douglas says:

        Nothing anti Irish or anti catholic about a non-confessional state, Jim. Look at France. What would you rather we aspire to in Scotland? A catholic state? A protestant state? A Jewish state? That’s obviously a rhetorical question.

        A non-confessional state won’t solve all of the problems of sectarianism, but it would be a big step forward. We know the British state has a long history of anti Irish Catholicism, hence if sever our ties with the British state we will also be severing our ties with that. The elements in Scottish society who were at Ibrox the other day are unlikely to be yes voters. Or how many yes voters do you know who wave the Union Jack?

        Scottish independence is a way of getting out of that nightmare of history, not getting deeper into it.

        As for anti Irish viewpoints, rest assured that half my family forms part of the diaspora.

      2. Jim McNeill says:

        When there’s an attack on a religious minority Douglas, I would suggest that a reply of a generalised attack on religion is not one that would give that minority any consolation.

        Proposing a non-denominational state in 2016 seems to me no way of tackling the problems of the dangerous, repressive attitudes of law-enforcers and the armed forces re the Catholic minority. Those attitudes need to be directly challenged, instead of some pipe-dream, displacement activity of constitutional fiddling.

  17. John McAloon says:

    As an Ex-Servicman and a Catholic I am disgusted with this display. In my day there were two subjects which were NEVER discussed around the mess deck table, politics and religion. If they came up they were swiftly shut down by the older hands. How this shower ever got themselves involved in this is beyond me. Mind you watching their so called “march” on to the field, they clearly can’t march very well and would have been put on a charge for that alone in my day. God help us if we have to rely on this bunch to protect the Realm. I’d say thank God we have a Navy, but they were just as bad.

  18. I am absolutely shocked at the brazen bigotry that was not stopped but encouraged!! Surely some one realised this would be recorded!! This must have been deliberate.. People in this day and age aren’t that stupid or un educated!! Bobby Sands has a family !! This is disgusting and embarrassing .

  19. Tam O Shanter says:

    I am a first generation Australian with Scots/Irish parents and married to a Scottish born wife and so glad to be hear bringing up my 2 children with no religious baggage or hatred in a multi cultured society that unfortunately continues to be the blight of Scottish society.

    What I don’t understand with the Scottish media is they seem to think that this religious bigotry is all to do with what football team you support when in actual fact it is a social problem!

    I must say I have to laugh when people from other nations here in Australia talk to me about Braveheart how it inspires them and gives them a sense of pride and they have this notion that this wee nation called Scotland are all united for the one cause of Independence, how far from the truth is that!
    But there again if you don’t have a respect or knowledge of where you come from or where your neighbour is from how do you expect a change in social attitude for a better future for your country.
    But I must say my Granny was always right the “butchers apron” has divided, conquered and planted many a bigoted seed on our planet for over 800 hundred years which we are still paying for unfortunately.

    Scotland you have a’lot to offer leave all the baggage & hate remember your history don’t sell your soul for gold be UNITED!,

  20. Douglas says:

    “God is everywhere except the church”
    (Vincent Van Gogh)

  21. baldrick says:

    Perhaps when rememberance day comes round we can witness fans from other teams in Scotland showing there appreciation of our armed forces.

  22. Douglas says:

    Jim, I can’t reply to your last comment above, there’s isn’t enough space.

    I haven’t made an attack on religion, Jim. I have total respect for people’s religious beliefs. But you must agree that there is a structural problem in a British state which excludes Catholics from the throne and which has a very, very long and bloody record in Catholic Ireland across the water.

    My alternative to that is a written constitution for a democratic republic of Scotland which allows people the right to believe in the religious faith they like, and which protects that right by law, and outlaws discrimination and religious or racial hatred of any kind whatsoever. I wouldn’t describe that as constitutional fiddling but enlightenment.

    What is your alternative?

    1. Jim McNeill says:

      That’s going to take too long. Time is short, and what needs to be done is to reassure Catholics that they will be respected – and safe! – in an independent Scotland, not under threat from newly-emboldened police and army bigots in “Prodland”.

      There needs to be immediate, public apologies at very least from the army and Rangers FC. The fact that that’s very unlikely to happen doesn’t bode well for 18/9/14.

      1. Douglas says:

        Of course I agree with that sentiment, Jim, that barely needs stating.

        But I do worry about the Catholic vote, you’re right, George Galloway gets on his high horse and asks what Alex Salmond is saying about the other day at Ibrox, as if Alex Salmond had anything to do with Rangers FC or the armed forces.

        The perception created is that this incident is somehow attributable to the Scottish state when that is a blatant falsehood. It’s attributable to the endemic anti Catholicism practised and preached for centuries by the British State.

        It’s worth repeating: the guys waving the Union Jacks are not in the yes camp, and also that they are singing a song about the victory of a King from three hundred years ago at the Battle of the Boyne who did everything in his power to weaken Scotland at Darian and who did as much as anybody did to create the situation which led to the treachery of 1707. King Billy had no sympathy for Scotland whatsoever, an added irony and a measure of the idiocy and ignorance of the people singing his victories still today…

  23. Lochside says:

    Jim O’Neil, you are wrong to lump the anti-Faith liberal atheist crowd in with the Orange bigots. They are not the same. The Green Brigade fail to realise that the SG legislation was brought in directly because of Orange attacks on Catholics e.g. Neil Lennon but also because of most non-Old Firm people tiredness of the Irish Troubles backwash associated with it. Most of the Catholic Labour ‘Leadership’ in Scotland, as you pointed out, are traitors to their Irish origins and their Scottish birth by deliberately ignoring legislative and religious discrimination by the British State over centuries. Don’t divide and conquer the Yes vote, challenge Police Scotland and the Military Police, and the Scottish Football Authorities into investigating and charging these sinister cretins who organised this: Rangers Newco Directors; Military Top Brass and British MOD.In addition pressure must be made, yet again, on the supine Scottish MSM, collaborating yet again in keeping Scotland’s shame i.e manifestations like this, of the Orange/Unionist ‘NO’ camp out of the World’s view.

  24. Lochside says:

    Apologies Jim for spelling your surname wrong!

    1. Jim McNeill says:

      That’s not the only thing you got wrong, I never called anybody traitors either!

      Weird, I just had a road to Damascus moment over this. I was 100% pro-independence, and to begin with I was amused, everybody knows that the worst sectarian bigots in the land are in the police and the army, right? Whether that’s a result of British state anti-catholicism or not, that’s the way it is now. But it finally dawned on me that that’s only amusing while we’re part of the UK, the only other scenario is that CATHOLICS WILL NOT BE SAFE IN AN INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND, at least any voted in while the situation in the police and the army remains the same. While that continues, Catholics voting for Scottish independence are like turkeys voting for Chrismas, a yes vote in 2014 basically puts us at the mercy of the Red Hand Gang.

      So while we can put all the pressure we like on Rangers FC, the armed forces and Salmond himself (I hate to say it, but Galloway is right), the inescapable conclusion for me is that the blight of sectarianism in the police and army as they stand means that Scotland is not ready for independence next year. We still need the English to save us from ourselves. Fortunately as the shortbreid, flag-waving Yes campaign seems more bent on pushing up Proclaimers sales than persuading floating voters that’s maybe something we don’t need to worry about.

      Right that’s me said my piece, you lot talk amongst yourselves, I’m off to sign up for Better Together.

      You know the worst thing about all this? I’m going to have to say nice things about the BBC!

      1. Douglas says:

        Jim, with the greatest respect, there’s not a lot of logic in what you’re saying, it’s all emotion.

        A non-confessional independent Scottish state would provide cast iron safeguards against the very concerns you raise.

        The SNP have actually done something and put anti sectarian legislation on the statute book. More needs to be done, that is obvious, but your conclusion that we need England to save us is frankly bizarre, what with their spotless record over the centuries on Ireland? How does that work exactly? And does the M.oD report to Alex Salmond all of a sudden and I just haven’t realised it?

        And I wouldn’t identify myself as either a liberal or an atheist for the record. I believe the fairest thing in a multi faith society is for the state to promote no religious faith over any other – that is modern and enlightened and tolerant. Again, the example of France is there to be followed.

        Finally, if you hear the braying of a donkey on your road to Damascus, don’t get the wrong idea. It will only be that self-seeking, self-promoting ass, George…

      2. bellacaledonia says:

        Very odd.

      3. Brian Watters says:

        you need to get out more Jim, not all Scots are religious bigots. In the little vacuum that exists in some parts of Glasgow it may seem to be the case but the vast majority of us couldnt give a sh*t where you went to school. So catch yourself a grip “we need the English to save us from ourselves”. Vote better together if you like but do so for valid reasons not because youve been programmed to think we arnt capable of looking after own affairs – thats the exact same shit they told the South Africans , the Kenyans , the Malaysians , the Indians and all the other colonies ffs.

  25. Davy says:

    Douglas wrote “The SNP have actually done something and put anti sectarian legislation on the statute book”
    So is this SNP legislation ( which has been perceived by many in practice as mainly anti Irish republican ) going to be used against those at Ibrox last saturday ?
    And why do you continue to use the term “non-confessional” – whatever it’s technical definition “confession” is associated with catholicism by many people .

    1. Douglas says:

      Davy, I use the term non-confessional because it is the term in the English language used to describe a state which does not promote any particular religion over any other.

      It has got nothing at all to do with Catholic confession……if you know of another term, by all means tell me it.

      I hope that the people at the highest level who are responsible for what happened at Ibrox the other day are hung out to dry…

    2. Douglas says:

      Davy, there is another term…a secular state: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_state

      So if it makes you feel better, a secular independent Scottish state would provide cast iron safeguards against the very concerns you raise, etc

      1. Davy says:

        Yes , secular sounds better , thanks

  26. Douglas says:

    By the way, I would urge anybody interested to read that wikipedia page on Secular States. The vast majority of states in the world are secular states it seems, including the Republic of Ireland, whereas the United Kingdom is listed as “ambiguous”.

    Here is what it says about the United Kingdom. It seems obvious by what follows below that a new, independent secular Scottish state would do a great deal to eradicate sectarianism in Scotland. Here is what the wikipedia page says:

    The Church of England is the established state religion of England, but there is no established church in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. Two Archbishops and 24 senior diocesan Bishops of the Church of England have seats in the House of Lords (the Lords Spiritual) and they can and do participate in debates and vote in divisions, which involve decisions affecting the entire United Kingdom. Parliament is opened with prayers, in the House of Lords usually led by one of the Lords Spiritual and in the Commons by the Speaker’s chaplain.[108] The full term for the expression of the Crown’s sovereignty via legislation is the Crown-in-Parliament-under-God. At the coronation, The King or Queen is anointed with consecrated oil by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a service at Westminster Abbey and must swear to maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel, maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law and to maintain and preserve inviolable the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England. Thus though the Church of Ireland is no longer established and the Church of England has been disestablished in Wales to the Church in Wales, the Crown is still bound to protect Protestantism in general in the whole of the United Kingdom by the Coronation Oath and the Bill of Rights, and to protect the Church of Scotland by the Act of Union.[109] All Members of Parliament must declare their allegiance to the Queen in order to take their seat, although it is for the individual MP to decide whether to do so by swearing a religious oath or making a solemn affirmation.

  27. Jim McNeill I agree with much of what you say Jim but I will vote YES even with this fear hanging over us because the English Govt. have silently supported the anti-Catholic bigots and yes the police and army are full of them as they make the best recruits-thick as shit and bigoted and the media and the SNP are afraid to speak out against them that is why they always play the royalty card ”we will keep the Queen and pay homage to her”to try to win the anti-Catholic vote but we must break away otherwise we will never have this chance again we must not fear anyone we are strong enough to deal with the bigots.

    1. Jim McNeill says:

      Johniain, true words. Forgive my wee wobble, I’ve duly grown a spine.

      The rebirth of a nation isn’t a risk-free activity for anyone. If our communities come under attack from the very people who are supposed to be defending them, then they will find, to their cost, that we are not without resources.

      Now hand me some shortie and a Saltire. Alba gu bràth!

  28. Douglas says:

    In short, it all comes down to the same question as always.

    Do we want to be part of a new, modern and fully independent Scottish Republic like they have in countries like France, Germany and the USA, with a written constitution guaranteeing citizens’ rights, or do we want to remain part of this arcane, medieval and totally backward thing called the British State, with Bishops of the Church of England – Spiritual Lords, no less; really, the airs and graces these people give themselves – legislating on Scottish affairs, the Queen anointed by consecrated oil, rushing about the country defending the reformed protestant religion when she’s not walking the corgies or meeting with the Prime Minister – to talk about what? – and all the other total claptrap that goes with the United Kingdom.

    It’s all a load of superstitious, medieval gobbledygook which which we should ditch, not as Scottish nationalists, not as independistas, not as Protestants, Catholics, Jews or Muslims or atheists, but as rational human beings who want a fully accountable and secular State which carries out its functions and leaves religion to individuals to decide for themselves, something the vast majority of countries worked out a long time ago, as they did on a democratically elected second chamber, nuclear weapons and illegal foreign wars of intervention, all of which have been seconded by the former Labour Party (R.I.P), by Brown, Blair and Alisdair Darling and by Brian Wilson among others.

    Anybody who looks at sectarianism in Scotland and sees the problem as primarily originating here is confusing a cause with an effect. If you have a head of state whose duty is to “defend the reformed protestant religion” in the United Kingdom” then what do you expect?

    And what does it means to “defend the reformed protestant religion” in the United Kingdom exactly? I suppose the people at Ibrox the other day could argue that they were merely celebrating that solemn pledge by the monarch of the United Kingdom to “defend the reformed protestant religion” with a song….

    It’s a total madhouse this country, and I like so many other people want out of it. You will never solve the problem of sectarianism in Scotland without either leaving the British State, or else completely reforming it, and since the Labour Party committed suicide a number of years ago, there is precious little chance of that.

  29. Douglas says:

    Maybe George Galloway, who obviously mixes with these Bishops of the Church of England / Lords Spirituals in his day to day life, and with all those others so keen to maintain the reformed protestant religion as the official state religion of the United Kingdom despite the fact that we live in a multi-faith society etc can put in a word with the powers that be? Or Brian Wilson for that matter?

    And also, maybe the otherwise admirable Alex Thomson of C4 News could actually provide a meaningful context for religious bigotry in Scotland the next time around, and start his report with the bald and sobering fact that it is the British State which institutionalised religious bigotry at the very highest level of the land, starting from the very same date of the very same battle the Rangers fans were singing about the other day…obviously just a coincidence.

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