Banging the Drum

The connections between the Loyalism and Labour are legion. Now, as Rangers FC face a barrage of criticism for their appalling handling of their fans most recent behaviour, they also face scrutiny (sort of) for their new ‘media partner’ the Heart and Head podcast. But if it’s a problem for the Glasgow Rangers it’s also a problem for Scottish Labour.

The Daily Record had ‘Rangers’ new media partner in police probe over hate-filled sectarian tweets’ which included details of the management of the Heart and Hand podcast saying things like “Barry Ferguson continues to sully himself by mixing with tarriers” Cammy Bell (@Beatthatbeat), and his colleague Ian Hogg, whose Twitter handle ­@vanderhogg referred to a woman ­associated with Celtic who has tweeted about anti-sectarianism, he posted: “The rancid bitch deserves anything she gets. Like herpes from (name omitted).”

Hogg goes on to makes various references to “mongs” and “spazzies”.

But who is Ian Hogg? The Record fails to tell us that his wife is a senior Labour councillor in West Lothian. She was also a parliamentary candidate for Labour in May.

Here’s her site here.

There’s also the former Labour frontbencher Alasdair Morrison working prominently for Rangers, see here.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with politicians supporting their team, there’s nothing wrong with taking jobs with the club they support. But as Rangers ‘official media partner’ faces a police investigation the relationship between Labour the Orange Lodge and Rangers FC needs to be out in the open.

Why is there no more of a price to pay for this for Scottish Labour?

I think this a problem for a Scottish Labour party desperately trying to find its mission and its voice. Cleaved to the Union it wants to maintain its bedrock but in parts is wedded to some toxic elements it is too weak to sever its links with. This is disastrous for a party trying to define itself as a progressive force in contemporary Scotland.

As Stuart Christie wrote in 2017:

“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.”

The irony is that Rangers have kicked out mainstream sports journalists for years, so despite the continuity of Succulent Lamb Journalism they have burnt many a bridge.

The litany of Rangers media feuds is far too long for this article but one Graham Spiers was banned in 2015. He writes: “The past 24 hours have been utterly excruciating for Rangers. The newspaper expose, which revealed the antics of these boys who had excitedly marched in as “official media partners” to Rangers, has been an utter disaster for the club, and a terrible price to pay for paying too much heed to “the hardcore”. Here were these blokes happily chirping online about “bead rattlers” and “mongs” and “Romanists” and “spazzies”: atrocious words from a world we’d all like to leave behind. And there they all were, happily being invited by Rangers to attend pressers, while a number of us who felt we were decent journalists and decent people were ordered to stay away.”

The irony is the consummate “establishment club” is out on the fringes operating with a malign sub-culture. This has a jeopardy for a corporate football entity but also for a political party aspiring to be taken seriously in Scotland and in the wider UK.

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Comments (49)

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  1. Derek says:

    Absolute disgrace of a club and fan base. It is time their shallow words were challenged and the govt took severe action against any sectarianism or racial abuse by any club. I’d ont mean fining the club or banning fans. There are always others waiting to take over. I mean start by docking a minimum of 10 points. Then get harsher. We will soon see where their beliefs are.

  2. David B says:

    These Heart & Head people sound odious. Was the Labour councillor asked for comment? I don’t think a person should be held responsible for her husband’s opinions (unless they also happen to be her own).

    And if the GOLS has switched allegiance to the Tories, that’s really a reflection on the Tories not Labour.

  3. Graeme says:

    The leader of the council you talk about is a catholic Celtic fan, who married a Rangers fan

  4. Kieran says:

    I have, absolutely, no doubt this shall pass and the status quo will resume unabated. The Scottish media will revert to type; sectarianism will replace racism in newspaper articles and Orange march ‘hatefests’ will rise.

    As one, living in the North of Ireland, I can safely say, without contradiction, a certain part of Scotland has surpassed the hatred level here a long time ago.

    The Scottish press has a lot to answer for, as does the Scottish government and many of those high up in Civic Society.

    Those involved in racism, sectarianism and hatred of all kinds have been allowed to do so with impunity.

    Is it such a surprise they are taken back by criticism now?

    Scotland, looking in from afar, appears to be s sad, bitter and twisted little country, run by a cabal of Orange and Masonic dictatorship – albeit clandestine.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      ‘Scotland, looking in from afar, appears to be a sad, bitter and twisted little country, run by a cabal of Orange and Masonic dictatorship – albeit clandestine.’

      Given that the Scottish establishment is so demonic, imagine if our Orange Masonic State was independent! What a dystopia that would be.

      1. Kieran says:

        Not necessarily true, Colin. It may lead to a better, more open and inclusive society as all parties would be much more interdependent on the other.

        I don’t believe the Scottish people are in a good place as things stand. Change is not just needed, it is essential for the good of all its citizens.

        One thing I can assure you of is the goodwill of countries throughout Europe and beyond.

        Westminster is a disaster for Scotland.

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          It may indeed, Kieran. And pigs might fly.

          What reason do we have for supposing that making the Scottish government independent of the UK government would transform the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised in Scottish society by your clandestine cabal of Orangemen and Freemasons?

          1. Kieran says:

            I remember people here saying it would be a ‘cold day in Hell’ before Ian Paisley & Martin McGuiness would share power …

          2. Colin Robinson says:

            What’s that got to do with anything?

          3. Kieran says:

            “What’s that got to do with anything?”

            In context, everything. Having lived within a combined Loyalist, Orange, Masonic statelet my entire life, I can assure you that the ‘Dinosaur Brigade’ are losing support at an alarming rate.

            Even the NI Protocol demonstrations have more band members than supporters.

            People are sick and tired of the OO, the Masonic Lodges and the baggage that goes with them.

            Nationalists despise dissident Republicans … they have no support whatsoever.

            Scotland, through time, will remove the shackles of racist and sectarian hatred.

            Not overnight, but slowly through time.

            Those bigoted, hate-fueled and out of touch members of Civic Society shall slowly be ostracised, marginalised and reduced to accepting the support of unintelligent fascists.

            Permit me ask you something, Colin; what has annoyed you most about my belief in Scotland as being run by an Orange, Masonic cabal?

            A) You believe it is true?
            B) You don’t believe it?
            C) Scotland doesn’t have an Orange/Masonic problem but other factors are causing the problem?

          4. Colin Robinson says:

            ‘I can assure you that the ‘Dinosaur Brigade’ are losing support at an alarming rate.’

            But that flies in the face of the sectarian articles that are appearing here, which insist that the establishment’s ‘anti-Irish racism’ is a clear, present, and accelerating danger.

            I’m hardly ‘annoyed’ by your belief that Scotland is run by a cabal of Orangemen and freemasons. I’m not that emotionally invested in the politics of belief; as far as I’m concerned, you’re perfectly entitled to believe whatever floats your boat. I’m just wondering how you would evidence that belief and whether or not I need to take it seriously.

            To answer your question, I don’t have a problem with any community protesting its tribal convictions, however unwarranted or distasteful I find those convictions to be. Such protest and free expression is a vital part of an open society.

          5. Kieran says:

            Strange comment that you’re not that bothered yet you’ve taken quite a bit of time to comment on what floats my boat.

            Sectarianism and racism is rife in Glasgow, no doubt about it … I was referring to the possibilities which may/may not create a better societal future for the country, as a whole.

            You appear to give up, offer nothing of note and appear content to remain with the status quo as you’re not that ‘interested’.

            That’s sad as every citizen, of every country, should be concerned about creating a caring, better and welcoming space for all. Flying pigs, I know!

            At the end of the day, change is needed for the betterment of Scotland, as a whole, in my opinion; for what that’s worth, if anything!

            Perhaps, if you’re not interested in your fellow citizens welfare and can offer nothing positive to the land you call home, you’d be better refraining from making any comment at all?

            In the North of Ireland, we’re slowly but surely creating a more inclusive society. Generations away from where we want to be but we’re trying.

            As I said, with the utmost relevance, if Paisley and McGuiness can work together then there is hope for us all.

            Good luck, Colin

          6. Colin Robinson says:

            Aye, you’re right there, Kieran; sectarianism is rife in Glasgow. In fact, it’s a national trait. As you said at the outset, ours is ‘a sad, bitter and twisted little country’. And as I said, I personally can’t be bothered with all that Scots and Irish, Protestant and Catholic, Unionist and Nationalist, Left and Right, Holyrood and Westminster, Rangers and Celtic sh*t*. I’m not that emotionally invested in the politics of belief; as far as I’m concerned, you’re perfectly entitled to believe whatever floats your boat and to protest that belief.

            It does bother me that you’d interfere with that entitlement in relation to communities you don’t like, however.

            You’re also right when you say that ‘change is needed for the betterment of Scotland’. As I’ve said many times, my concern is for diversity, dissonance, acquiescence in difference, and respect for the autonomy of others.

            The varying experiential situation of different people makes it normal and natural that we’ll proceed differently in our beliefs, values, and practices. The trick is to acknowledge this and allow a general harmony of constructive interaction to prevail despite the diversity, dissensus, and dissonance among groups and individuals that constitute a postmodern plural society. This requires us to accept and come to terms with the fact that others will differ from ourselves in matters of knowledge, custom, and behaviour, and to concede the right of others to go their own variant ways within the framework liberty that must be imposed in the interests of maintaining a peaceful and productive communal order that’s conducive to the autonomy of everyone alike.

            To the betterment of Scotland – to transform our ‘sad, bitter and twisted little country’ into a vibrant, plural, cosmopolitan society – we should not be trying instead to silence those with whom we disagree and whose beliefs, values, and practices we find strange and/or abhorrent.

          7. Tom Ultuous says:

            ” allow a general harmony of constructive interaction to prevail”

            Colin, If I shouted those exact words through a loudspeaker in George Square on “celebration” day or during the forthcoming marches I’d never walk again.

          8. Colin Robinson says:

            Yes, I know, Tom. That’s the problem: ours is ‘a sad, bitter and twisted little country’. How will independence change that?

          9. Kieran says:

            Colin, if I’ve given the impression I want to deny people a voice, please excuse me. I don’t believe I have, anywhere, but it may have appeared that way.

            My aim would be to promote an open and honest agenda aimed at removing inherent institutionalised racism and sectarianism within Civic Scotland, allowing all a voice – the vast majority will move forward with a desire to grow and flourish together.

            It is a ‘national scandal’ that it has been allowed to fester for so long … even today, the BBC have to be dragged into the 21st Century to report racism as racism.

            Some supporters of a certain Glasgow side don’t believe that the Irish are a race … that is the level of unintelligence you’re facing.

            As I said earlier, the reason those complaining about being exposed as racist are confused as to what they’re guilty of; they’ve been allowed to get away with it for so long and those leaders who have allowed it to happen are ‘cowards’.

            The Scottish media have people like Magnus Llewellyn spouting complete and utter garbage about The Famine Song being a bit of satire!

            You believe that an editor has the right to ride roughshod over a court ruling? Only in Scotland would it be tolerated.

            Would it be a far fetched suspicion to fear that Magnus is being held in a stranglehold by the Masonic Lodge?

            Irrespective of any scenario, his stance is very, very odd from the viewpoint of common decency.

            As I said, showing people the correct way to act in no way prevents others from expressing a view. It marginalises them and forces them to seek support from others who seek to spread discourse and hate.

            I’m sick and tired of reading about hate-fueled youngsters talking about maturing and regretting ever having sectarian and racist tendencies – it’s better not to instill them in our young in the first place.

          10. Colin Robinson says:

            But, as I’ve argued elsewhere on this site, the ‘Irish’ aren’t a ‘race’. There’s no such thing as ‘race’. ‘Race’ is an 18th-century social construct that was used to justify the assumption that European Enlightenment culture was superior to others and the colonisation or ‘enlightening’ of those others by that culture. I’ve no time for the grouping of people into distinct categories on the basis of some spurious phenotypical traits. That’s just more fascism.

          11. Colin Robinson says:

            Racism does indeed exist. We Europeans invented it as a justification for the colonisation of others; for the globalisation of capitalism and its Enlightenment ideology.
            But the claim that the ‘Irish’ are a ‘race’ is insidious. ‘Race’ has no inherent physical or biological meaning. It’s nothing but a racist construct.

          12. Davy Marzella says:

            Colin Robinson wrote :
            Racism does indeed exist. We Europeans invented it as a justification for the colonisation of others; for the globalisation of capitalism and its Enlightenment ideology.
            But the claim that the ‘Irish’ are a ‘race’ is insidious. ‘Race’ has no inherent physical or biological meaning. It’s nothing but a racist construct.

            – There is truth in above statement as regards the terms “race” and “racism” – ie. that the idea that there are distinct “races” is a “racist” construct .
            It begs some questions –

            The most significant question being is the term “race” a consequence of racism ?
            ( rather than the assumption that racism is somehow a consequence of the existence of “races” )

            Also , did those people and their descendants who were colonised and deemed inferior – experience prejudice from their colonisers as a consequence of their colonisation ?

            – was Ireland colonised by the English and its people deemed inferior ?

            “Race” and “racism” are inaccurate terms in general , and could be argued particularly when talking of Scots of Irish descent .
            Thats not to deny the very real history of prejudice against Irish and catholics in Scotland – which still lingers on.

            Would Colin Robinson prefer if this was referred to as anti-Irish/anti-catholic prejudice ?

    2. florian albert says:

      ‘Scotland appears to be a sad, bitter and twisted little country run by a cabal of Orange and Masonic dictatorship.’

      On the other hand, we have Professor Tom Devine’s take on the same topic. ‘The sectarian beast is in its death throes and is the least of Scotland’s modern social problems.’ (The Herald 5 April 2017)

      Who do you think has more credibility ? Yourself or Tom Devine ?

      1. Kieran says:

        As with most things when in their ‘death throes’, it is then they are at their most dangerous.

        I really don’t have to agree with anyone just because you say so, I believe!

        If I justify my opinion in a concise and coherent manner, conveyed in a perfectly honest and genuine way, I think I can argue a point with reason.

        I have a 2:1 English Degree and a PGCE, both from Queen’s University, Belfast.

        Does that make my point more meaningful than someone who doesn’t have a qualification to their name? Nope, it doesn’t!

        1. florian albert says:

          ‘I really don’t have to agree with anyone just because you say so.’

          I am not suggesting that you do. I am simply asking – again – whether you or Tom Devine has more credibility when writing about ‘sectarianism’ in Scotland. The latter has been studying the issue for decades and publishing the results. He has a – deserved – international reputation as a historian of modern Scotland. This gives him the credibility I refer to. Reading your comments, I do not see much evidence of comparable credibility on the topic.

          1. Kieran says:

            So, what is your understanding of the ‘least of Scotland’s social problems’?

            It’s a major issue? It’s not really that big a deal?

            Why is one person’s viewpoint so important to you?

            Have you studied any counter opinions?

            You seem to put a lot of faith in the opinion of one person, however, you do so without any legitimate context or comparison.

            I’ve never claimed to be an expert on any subject.

            Your image, as portrayed by you, of this individual seems rather petty and, if I dare say day, infantile.

      2. Kieran says:

        If Professor Tom would explain to the Sevco Rangers fans that The Famine was not a famine, instead British genocide, they may revise their present stance.

        I wouldn’t hold my breath though …

      3. Colin Robinson says:

        Their creidibility depends on who presents the more credible argument: Kieran or Tom Devine. We need to interrogate the arguments of both – i.e. do a little philosophy – in order to determine which has the better claim on our belief.

        Although, as Kieran points out below, the respective claims you compare are not mutually exclusive or contraries; they could both be true. Further interrogation is needed.

        1. Kieran says:

          Yes, Colin, exactly.

          Too many people go for a black or white option. There are so many variables which need to be debated, before degenerating into farce.

          Somehow, I have to try and understand your reasoning behind your beliefs on racism and take it from there – without being derogatory.

          I have to admit though, it is incredibly difficult, for me, even to begin to comprehend your viewpoint.

          1. Colin Robinson says:

            That’s probably because my thinking on the matter is continually deconstructing and I’m obliged to keep making it up as I go along.

            The current idea is this. ‘Race’ has no objective biological basis. It’s a concept that began to emerge in 17th-century Europe to justify our colonisation of others and reached its highest expression during the period of empire in the late-19th/early-20th centuries. The justification was that those other races were naturally inferior to ourselves and that we had a duty to improve them.

            Now, my present contention is that to define the ‘Irish’ as a ‘race’ (as you do when you insist that some hooligan behaviour constitutes ‘anti-Irish racism’) is to legitimise and perpetuate the concept of race, the colonisation for which purpose that concept exists, and the history of which it’s an ideological expression. All of which is counter-productive in the struggle to liberate ourselves from that history and ideology – i.e. from the culture of capitalism.

            Instead of replicating it in our own behaviour, we should be helping that culture to deconstruct under the weight of its own absurdity. Like this, for example:


          2. Kieran says:

            Colin, it’s going to take me some time to go through the points you raise. I’m genuinely interested, due to the fact you honestly believe what you say to be true.

            However, there’s always an however, you really must accept the reality of what is deemed to be ‘racism’ through the eyes of a modern day judge, in other words, it’s present context – as is today!

            Any attempt by you to redefine it’s modern meaning is just folly, I’m afraid to say.

          3. Colin Robinson says:

            I guess you want to construct ‘race’ as pertaining to more than just distinct phenotypical traits in order to secure convictions of hooligan behaviour under the older legislation relating to the standalone hate crime offences of stirring up racial hatred and of racial harassment rather than under the new legislation. The new legislation (The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021) allows prejudice in respect of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, transgender identity, etc. to [merely] aggravate a criminal offence rather than constitute a criminal offence in and of itself. I can see how the latter wouldn’t be severe enough as punishment or divisive enough politically for some folk.

            Criminalising prejudices or ‘wrong thinking’ in and of themselves is a dangerous road to go down. Like I’ve been saying, it smacks of fascism. If we aspire to live in a free and open society, we must allow those hooligans to express their prejudices freely and openly, however much we happen to abhor them. Otherwise, what’s to stop others from constraining us in the expression of ours? If a criminal offence is aggravated by prejudice, then that can be taken into account when sentencing; but prejudice as such shouldn’t be criminalised.

            Anyway: I find it more useful for my purposes to reserve ‘racism’ for the belief that people should be classified phenotypically and that that classification should determine how rights and privileges (or ‘goods’ in general) are differentially distributed in society.

          4. Colin Robinson says:

            Also, for why it’s important to consider the ‘Irish’ a ‘race’ and Rangers’ hooliganism ‘anti-Irish racism’ rather than ‘just’ sectarianism, see Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s article from earlier in the month. The reason is good old ethnic nationalism.

            I wonder where the citizens of Ireland who don’t fit the ‘Irish’ racial profile stand in relation to those who do?

        2. for the Professor its literally academic

          1. Colin Robinson says:

            Yes, Tom Devine speaks with that authority to which deference is expected.

          2. Kieran says:

            Yet he gave an ‘opinion’ on the position of sectarianism and racism – not fact!

            Unless there has been a mass study into the affects of each subject, independently, it is not ‘literally academic’, surely?

        3. Colin Robinson says:

          Racism does indeed exist. But the claim that the ‘Irish’ are a ‘race’ is insidious. ‘Race’ has no inherent physical or biological meaning. It’s nothing but a racist construct. If the law denies this, then the law is wrong.

        4. Kieran says:

          If you say so, Colin

  5. Tom Ultuous says:

    Sevco were allowed to buy £100 million plus of assets for a few million WITHOUT CHALLENGE.
    Their long list of creditors (including the tax man) got next to nothing.
    The liquidators were awarded £20 million “compensation” on top of what they “earned” because their “good name” had been supposedly tarnished.
    It’s reckoned another £80 million “compensation” will be handed out to more “good people” for the same.
    How deep does it go? As fat sally would say “Who are these people? We should be told.”

    1. Rab says:

      Bravo well said!! It’s getting ridiculous and they are going the same way and nobody seems to care! If it was any other team then it would be and would have been very different and the very compliant media wouldn’t be so compliant.

      1. Tom Ultuous says:

        They decided to hang on to their players and go all in for the Champions League money pot on the back of their fortunate 3 point start. That 1-0 loss could turn out to be the best result Celtic have ever had,

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          But would it not be true to say that Celtic got into the Champions League qualifying rounds this year on Rangers’ coat-tails? If I was a Celtic fan, looking for Champions League involvement next season, I’d be hoping Rangers does at least as well in Europe this season as it did the last. (Though the Gers do seem to have shot their bolt, which bodes well for the Celts in our own wee Diddy League.)

          1. Tom Ultuous says:

            The SPFL winners this year go straight into next season’s Champions League group stages Colin.

          2. Colin Robinson says:

            And why’s that, Tom? Why the improved coefficient?

          3. Tom Ultuous says:

            Sevco’s Europa League form was added to Celtic’s score over the previous seasons.

          4. Colin Robinson says:

            And if it hadn’t been…?

      2. Kieran says:

        We also had a very compliant Peter Liewell!

        Stating he was unaware of 5-Way-Agreement was bad enough – not doing anything about it was corporate negligence, at a minimum.

  6. Pat McAleenan says:

    This stone has only partially been lifted, this seam of unionism has thrived throughout Scotland for generations via placements in vital positions of influence, I remember the two trays of employment interviews, 90% of apprenticeships, 90% north sea, 99% police, in fact probably 90+% of all industries were for the chosen few except from the hard work industries of steel working & mining which was approx 50/50, but even there you were always reminded of who you are(Fenian) your faith( tarrier)and where you should go back to (Ireland).
    A new Scotland, an independent Scotland must be open and transparent, the hidden door of membership of all secretive & exclusive organisations must be opened to public scrutiny.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      ‘A new Scotland, an independent Scotland must be open and transparent, the hidden door of membership of all secretive & exclusive organisations must be opened to public scrutiny.’

      But, as Tom deflectively points out, if you shouted those exact words through a loudspeaker in George Square on ‘celebration’ day or during the forthcoming marches, you’d never walk again.

      Also, what business would it be of an independent Scottish state to have such access to your personal data? Would there be a special parliamentary committee to investigate your religious and political affiliations and to decide which such affiliations were to be proscribed?

      Now, that’s f*ck*ng fascism!

  7. florian albert says:

    Kieran @ 1.17 am September 9th.

    Why is one person’s viewpoint so important ? This one person is the best qualified expert.

    Have I studied other opinions ? I have read the work of James E Handley, Tom Gallagher, Joseph Bradley, Steve Bruce and David McCrone to mention a few obvious candidates. Who should I have read that I have not ?

    What is my understanding of ‘sectarianism’ ? From the 1840s till the 1970s, Catholics in Scotland suffered massive discrimination. This centred on employment. It got worse in the two decades after WWI. (Tom Devine explained why this happened in a lecture in St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh on the hundredth anniversary of the Easter Rising.)
    Since the 1970s, it has all but disappeared.

    A final quote from Tom Devine, for now; ‘in its death throes, sectarianism has spawned a new growth sector; a well-financed anti-sectarian industry. A delicious irony indeed.’

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