Blue Order

The media have been salivating in recent days about the prospect of a Tory revival in Scotland. There’s been much speculation about what has been driving this [apparent] phenomenon and whether the numbers from an STV local election can transfer across to a FPTP General Election? While the story we’re told is of an effervescent and media-savvy ‘kick-boxing’ Tory leader, bringing together an ‘anti-independence’ coalition, there is other evidence of the rise of British nationalism combining with a brutal lumpen extremism. Welcome to the new Tory Scotland mired in cultural self-hatred, fear and loathing of the other and with a craving for strong leadership that’s just a drum-bang away from fascism.

Don’t believe me?

Reading the words from Alastair Majury, the new Tory councillor for Dunblane, Kathleen Leslie, Fife, Ron McKail, Westhill, Aberdeenshire, Neill Graham, Paisley Northeast, Renfrewshire – and many others – should reassure you that this is no exageration. Read Michael Gray on ‘Extremist Tory candidates elected to councils across Scotland’ here.

Councillor Neill Graham is a prime example of where loyalism and the far far-right converge. 

Still, best celebrate the ‘Tory revival’ and their chirpy leader.

Yet homophobia, racism, bigotry, misogyny,  are the common and shared ideas expressed by many of the councillors now elected to run local services.

There’s no reason why Scotland should be immune to the rise of the far-right? With the Tories morphing into UKIP, the collapse of a discernible left voice and with an active recruiting group in the loyalist foot soldiers, Ruth Davidson has benefited from consolidating the anti-independence forces. But she’s not doing this all on her lonesome.

As Stuart Christie writes:

“The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland — the dead fly in ‘the apothecary’s ointment’— is, possibly, with a claimed membership of 50,000, the largest and most effective pressure group, both clandestine and overt, dedicated to promoting Unionism and undermining and sabotaging the idea of Scottish independence. It is these members and proxies of the GOLS, many of them previously stalwarts of the Labour Party, especially in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, who have switched their allegiance in an attempt to thwart a second independence referendum, which is one explanation for Tory gains in the recent council elections. Like other fundamentalist and tribal mindsets such as Islamic State/Daesh (other mindsets are available, but can’t think of any offhand), it is difficult, frustrating and time-consuming to argue the toss with them; the only hope is in the sentiment expressed by psychologist William James: ‘The ceaseless whisper of the more permanent ideals, the steady tug of truth and justice, give them but time, must warp the world in their direction.’”

Every country has it’s own brand of fascist.

Ours has cultivated the hatred of the other for decades, we’ve justified, colluded with and mainstreamed bigotry, giving it oxygen and airplay every week. If this has now been hyped and boosted by Brexit and the new toxic playground of social media, why should we be surprised? The Tories have been complicit in playing the bigot card for years and it’s now fair-play to blame everything from school standards to hospital waiting lists on ‘immigrants’.

If it doesn’t quite fit with the story we’re told of Britain and Britishness as the font of everything inclusive, multicultural and pan-national, against the story of those nasty parochial Scottish ‘separatists’, neither does it fit with the story we tell ourselves of a ‘Tory-free Scotland’. British exceptionalism is a fraud, but so too is Scottish. The truth about Scotland’s right-wing forces is bubbling to the surface.

This is a country drunk on nationalism, that talks about ‘reparations’ from the EU (seriously) and has fine-tuned a grievance culture for it’s own dim-witted electoral self-harming. With news that reads more like psyops and economic violence raining down on the poorest in our society, out they vote.

So we get a country that fetishises militarism, revels in its own colony status, foments hatred of its own culture and has accepted mainstreaming a fear of foreigners as a sort of panacea. You are left wondering what will they do when Brexit breaks Britain? LOL.



Comments (34)

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  1. david kelly says:

    I know, I know – its SO EXCITING – soon we will be able to punch above our wait again! Now, should we punch brown people or black people first, or does it matter as long as they are Muslim? (the new word for Catholic)

  2. bringiton says:

    Will they empty the bins and clean the streets while they are parading along them?
    Council recruitment policies based on religious convictions or maybe just convictions.
    People get what they vote for in our council elections.
    Their friends across the water may be about to become “foreigners” should NI remain in the EU,no doubt they will try to stop that from happening.
    The nasty party are going to regret stirring that particular pot.

  3. William Davidson says:

    The Orange Order has never been a large and effective pressure group in Scotland, it is a micro group which has never, despite its own claims, been able to exert any meaningful political influence. I would regard claims of a 50,000 membership in Scotland with extreme scepticism, indeed disbelief : the O.O. is at its strongest in Northern Ireland, where, according to its own figures, it has just over 30,000 members, down from 90,000 in the 1960s. The O.O. at its peak (the early 1950s) in Scotland could never muster more than 1% of adult male Protestant Scots and averaged barely 2% in its West-Central heartland. Whatever may be driving the Tory revival in Scotland, it certainly isn’t the O.O.

  4. George Gunn says:

    I don’t think the Tory “revival” will transfer from STV to a first past the post General Election. At the local elections every vote counts. In Paisley North West, for example, the SNP took 43 percent of all first preference votes compared to 27 percent for Labour and 13 percent for the Tories. It was only at the final stage (the 10th) of counting that the Tory managed to emerge as an elected representative of the people, god help us.

    1. I share your scepticism George – but that’s no denying that the far-right populism is real and we are not immune?

  5. Monty says:

    the Influence of the Orange Order has been blown out of proportion. The Herald identified one OO councillor for the Tories which is less not more than i would have expected. Real problem in Scottish politics is rival nationalisms are squeezing all other voices out. Once nationalism is unleashed the consequences are not good and not controllable.

    1. This article isn’t just about the OO its about the rise of the far-right and their mainstreaming into everyday politics, its about the connections between hate politics whether that’s hating catholics, women, people for their sexuality or foreigners. There are links to several specific examples of this in the newly elected councillors, several of which have had to resign almost immediately because of their repellent views and comments.

    2. Grady says:

      Agreed. Nationalism begets nationalism, which is why many steer clear of it. Each nationalism assumes to be justified the other while pointing the finger. Britnats bang on about the the iniquities of Scotnationalism and Scot nats respond with ‘no but you are’.

      Both, in order to justify themselves then project false equivalences onto anyone who disagrees with them…e.g. don’t like nationalism and point this out to a Scot nat.. your a Britnat then. Don’t like Britnatism and want to remain a member of the EU…your a Brussels lacky and Euronat.

      Total nonsense.

      1. Alan Bissett says:

        This strikes me simply as a description of how politics works, not just ‘nationalism’. You’re talking about action and reaction. Socialism and capitalism react against each other, feminism and patriarchy react against each other, environmentalism and industrialisation react against each other, Scottish nationalism and British nationalism react against each other. What makes the last one so very divisive and the rest somehow not? Each side of *any* political divide presumes the other to be acting in bad faith. That’s not a ‘nationalist’ issue. The key for the observer is in identifying the more progresssive push-forwards and the more reactionary push-back of these competing social or economic forces, not in lazily saying, ‘Ach, they’re probably as bad as each other’.

      2. Wul says:

        I’m very keen on Scotland becoming independent but I just don’t feel “nationalistic” in the way it is presented in the media. I don’t really know what “nationalism” means in the context of my wanting Scottish independence.

        I do see Scotland as a definable nation or potential nation state. Does that make me a “nationalist”?

        I don’t think Scotland is any better or more worthy or superior to any other country or part of the world. I just want to live in a normal, sane country which is organised primarily for the benefit of most of its citizens.

        I want to live under fairer laws which use public money & assets for the benefit of all rather than transferring the country’s vast wealth to a few private individuals. (This current way of working leads to an unhappy, unhealthy country.

        I think there’s a better chance of this happening in a smaller country where the elected representatives are more like the people they govern, and are more easily reached and lobbied in a parliament closer to home.

        In many ways London is now a country of its own (it has its own “Remembrancer” in the House of Commons to look after City interests). It has less in common with the rest of the UK than it has with other global(ism) capitals. Unfortunately it rules the UK without understanding it, being a part of it or participating meaningfully in the common-wealth interest of the whole UK.

        Many of those who rule us don’t actually live in the UK like the rest of us. They live in a place called “money”. Its needs dominate their thinking and actions.

        I want to try something different. I’m sick of living in a place where every public service is “stretched”, “underfunded”, “making tough decisions”, “cutting back”, “suffering low morale”, “failing” etc etc etc…

        If that makes me a nationalist, then so be it.

        1. Michael says:

          Very nicely put and describes exactly how I feel. Yet we are constantly told this is an unreasonable thing to want.

        2. Moira Cochrane says:

          Well said. I, and many others I know. am not and have never been a member of the SNP but appreciate that they have brought about the only chance for Scotland to be self governing. I am for independence, not a proponent of “nationalism”. People from other countries who choose to come here to Scotland, settle, have families, are welcome.

        3. Alf Baird says:

          Many interesting points here. Desiring Scottish nationhood, self-determination and better government through what to many Scots seems culturally at least the ‘natural’ vehicle of a Scottish state does not make us nationalists. The SNP is not a ‘nationalist’ party; it is social democratic and merely titled as the national party of Scotland. If the SNP were really a ‘nationalist’ party would they still be sitting at Westminster with 56 out of 59 of Scotland’s MP’s? Conversely, the so-called unionist parties are all fundamentally ‘one nation’ British nationalist parties. Everything they do is driven by their desire to maintain their/our Britishness. This is an aggressive nationalism because Britishness depends on forcing an oppressive over-arching ‘imperial’ falsehood down the throats of people, many of whom want no part of it, and suppressing/diminishing long-established cultural identities in the process. British nationalism seeks to promulgate a false cultural cohesiveness between quite diverse peoples and cultures, and many in Scotland reject this, because it is simply not representative of ‘us’, or they way we think, feel, behave and aye speak (i.e. culture/language). It is false to those of us who can see through the ‘Britishness’ charade and its oppressive colonial nature. This is why the way people vote in the forthcoming election will mostly depend at the end the day on how British or Scottish they feel, and again this is really about culture, with many influenced by propaganda as well as socialisation. At its root that is what we are voting for – British nationalism or Scottish nationhood.

    3. Alan Bissett says:

      The ‘unleashing’ of nationalism is a direct response to the failure of capitalism, but more specifically to the failure of the Labour party to challenge capitalism. It’s no coincidence that the idea of Scottish independence gained traction after the banking crash of 2008, when many people woke up to the nature of the British state. The same Labour party which lectures the independence movement about ‘divisiveness’ fails to factor in how it kowtowed to the City of London, abandoned the socialist principles it now uses as a moral yardstick against us, and facilitated – in the shape of the banking bailout and numerous PFI schemes – the largest transfer of public funds into private hands in British history. With the abject failure of Labour to defend the working-class the switch to ‘nationalism’ (a nationalism, let’s not forget, which both Blair and Brown covertly stoked when it suited them) was inevitable. Now they cry, ‘Oh the humanity!’ Labour continuing to berate Scots for wanting to leave a UK which the party itself took a wrecking ball to is pretty hard to stomach, I must say.

      1. douglas clark says:

        Pretty much that. PFI in particular.

  6. Mach1 says:

    Just watched the Scottish Tory-badged party political broadcast on BBC Scotland… T May’s address to the nation and a vox pop made in England, not one Scottish voice. Even Ruth Davidson was reduced to a cameo, and was voiceless, and David Mundell must be on his hols, since he did not feature at all. The pitch: Strong and stable leadership, best deal for Brexit, and the general election as a choice between Corbyn and T May… Which does raise the question, in terms of Scottish politics, which planet are the Scottish Tories on?
    The story of the local elections was the implosion of the Labour vote and some signs that, on a very low turnout, the blue order tended to vote Tory, particularly in areas where scandal has hurt the SNP’s credentials.
    The only response must be to clean up and tighten up the argument for a strong, stable independent Scotland in a strong and stable Europe, one which has been strengthened by Macron’s victory in France. Where are all those pro-EU voices telling us that only the EU has helped secure peace in Europe in the post-war era?
    The focus in the article above, on the rise of the Scottish Tory right, correctly suggests that Ruth Davidson will not have her troubles to seek in the next five years, as she firefights a rash of extremist idiocy. A strong SNP, fighting on a left-of-centre, pro-European platform must surely be the main beneficiary of Labour weakness in Scotland? As for the Lib Dems… who really cares? They can’t be trusted.

  7. Ian MacLeod says:

    Anyone who thinks the Orange Order in Scotland hold political sway is a complete nutter!

    Those who voted Tory in the local elections are merely expressing opinion on the huge failings of the SNP over the last 10 years. It’s not hard to understand!

    1. As I’ve already said Ian this wasn’t a simple description of the Orange Order as power broker but as part of a drift to the right and as part of a move that hates ‘the other’.

      Sometimes I wonder if people actually read the articles they comment on?

  8. Alba woman says:

    The Catholic community knows well the realities of the OO..Historically, it ensured that their lives and economic futures were stymied by employment practices which excluded the despised Catholics. The OO historically and currently,work Orange hand in glove with the Tories.

    I thought that it would be impossible for the Catholic Community to consider these people as in any way worthy of their vote.

    1. Willie says:

      In my area during the referendum the Labour Party actively provided the Orange Lodge with No posters and other campaigning literature.

      That the Labour Party were predominately second or third generation Irish, with Irish surnames, it shows all too clearly how these people now have common cause with the Unionist Orangemen.

    2. florian albert says:

      For decades, until the 1970s, the Orange Order was part of the political and economic establishment that discirminated against Catholics.
      As Tom Devine has pointed out repeatedly, this discrimination is now in the past.
      The Orange Order these days is a peripheral organization, dying on its feet.
      Standards of attainment are clearly falling in Scottish schools but there is a section of the left, which has nothing to say on that topic while talking up the non-existent threat of the Orange Order.

      1. Elaine Fraser says:

        Ive read Tom Devine on this subject but dont agree with his conclusions. This type of discrimination is still alive and kicking ( maybe not in his circles) and quite frankly it doesnt need any help from the YES side. For example , have you viewed the ‘Saviour of the union’ video mocking Jim Murphy. Who was the audience for this ? Yes voting Catholics ?

        1. douglas clark says:

          I did watch the ‘saviour of the union’ video. Was I wrong to think it was hilariously funny?

  9. Gregor MacFarlane says:


    What does it mean in the political sense?

    In the eyes of labour and tories parties (aka red and blue tories) it means embracing the orange order to combat the SNP at the polls.

    In the eyes of most people it is stepping back to 1690 and importing religious bigotry.

    I utterly dispaired last week when I saw this, not that I thought this was a vote winner for the red and blue tories, but because it introduces bigotry, religion and hatred into Scottish politics. We have seen how that has gone down elsewhere.

    Time and time again between now and June the progressive centre left of Scottish politics must highlight to the Scottish people what a Scotland post brexit will be like –

    – right wing tory rule from westminster with austerity and failing public services with a sprinkling of oranagism thrown in!

  10. john young says:

    Oh how “dyed in the wool” labour party supporters have been duped over the last 50yrs or so I include myself/family in that,tho I did see the light some 2o+ yrs or so,they represent nothing that resembles an agenda to make our society fairer,at local/national level they are almost to a man self seekers.Just ask the No,s/Unionists/Better Togetharists if we are so well off under Westminster why do our forward looking youngsters leave our country in their thousands to make a better life elsewhere??,we will all have friends/family that have done so,many of them can make quite regular visits home,whereas we if we are lucky can get a couple of times in our lifetime.

  11. Gordon says:

    “Yet homophobia, racism, bigotry, misogyny, are the common and shared ideas expressed by many of the councillors now elected to run local services”.
    Name one.

    1. Scott says:

      He gives you some names at the start of the piece if you read carefully.

    2. Did you read the article? Numerous examples linked to.

    3. Kenny Smith says:

      He did read the article

    4. Kenny Smith says:

      He did, he named a few read the piece.

  12. Andrew says:

    I think the real force for extreme right wing nationalism has been the press: particularly the Daily Mail which, sadly, has now got a bit Scottish readership.

    The Daily Mail is a massively more powerful force than the Orange Order and just as nasty.

    PS: Its possessive doesn’t need an apostrophe. I’m politically left wing but a grammar fascist I’m afraid.

    1. Yes – agreed. As Ive repeatedly said I wasn’t defining the OO as the sole force of Tory revival but as part of a panopoly of right wing forces in society, of which the tabloids are a clear factor. The ideology of fear and blame is their common denominator whether it be The Sun, the Mail, the Star or whatever…

      1. Andrew says:

        Thank you for doing your bit for the fight against!

  13. JohnGee says:

    The editor has said 2 or 3 times now that the article is not about the Orange Order, why make it the display picture then and thus a focal point? I also seen the OO mentioned in the same breath as ISIS in the article … it lost all credit for me there and then. I think the membership numbers quoted at around 50 thousand are probably correct because at the Glasgow walk there’s approx 15 thousand orangemen parading … and that’s from the Glasgow vicinity … you have lodges all over Scotland. The numbers aren’t what they were in the 50’s that’s correct as times change.

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