Yet, we feel that we can’t ban these marches – that we can’t ban the organisation – because to do this would be illiberal, it wouldn’t be tolerant. Rubbish! If the Orange Order insisted on marching through the more affluent streets of Glasgow, insisting that they too were “the Queen’s highway,” they would have been banned decades ago. If their songs and their open hostility were directed against Jews or people of colour instead of Catholics, the government would have no option but to ban the organisation. So, why is this not the case when they are marching down working-class streets?
Sectarianism is a reflection of the historical, social, and political tensions of Scotland, dating back – of course – to the Reformation. Even then however, from the mid-sixteenth century, the struggle between Catholicism and the various Protestantisms of the Reformation period was always, in essence – as it was in England and on the continent, a power struggle. With the Peace of Westphalia – ending the Wars of Religion in 1648 – where states recognised the principle of cuius regio eius religio, which granted the monarch the right to determine the religion of the state.
After sharing his latest opinion piece in The Times on social media, Massie added an afterthought, suggesting that “we might ponder how the decline of Presbyterian Scotland both made Scotland a warmer house for Catholics and independence.” Given his unhidden political bias against Scottish nationalism and independence, it could only be assumed that his linking of independence with Scotland becoming less hostile to Catholicism assumed his negative opinion of the latter. Sure, the last thing we need, we take from this, is Scotland becoming a more welcoming place for Catholics.
Sectarianism is a serious social problem in our country, for sure, but there is little we can do about it when it happens outside institutions. We can’t police people’s homes to stop parents poisoning the minds of their children. The best we can do here is improve diversity awareness and education in schools and hope some of it sticks. But racism, prejudice, bigotry, and sectarianism thrive in institutions where such cultures have gone unchallenged and allowed to fester.
Yesterday the independence-supporting city of Glasgow was treated to a vile demonstration of what this born-again sectarianism has become – a quasi-paramilitary and fascist “black bloc” masquerading as a supporters’ movement. Make no mistake about it; this is a sign of where the British state wants to take us. This is happening because the British state is pushing the right buttons in Scotland, and it knows where those buttons are because it installed them.
But if Scottish independence is to be derailed, than the Tories and truthless Ruth are the best the British establishment have. So can we be surprised to see her on the small screen entertaining small minds with her buns? Absolutely not, and it is not the first time. Channel 4 is putting Ruth on a charity episode of Great British Bake Off. She was already on the spin-off An Extra Slice last year and previously appeared on the BBC’s Have I Got News for You.
Over the past nine months, in an attempt break out of my own social media bubble, I have been monitoring about three hundred influential British nationalist and Scottish unionist accounts on Twitter with the help of a “lurker” account. It never tweets or retweets. This account simply follows, allowing me to see what is going on in the world of British nationalism in Scotland.
Anti-Irish racism and its close relative anti-Catholic sectarianism are serious problems in Scottish society. Greer talks a wonderful game of the Scotland he wants to see after independence, but I am afraid that by perpetuating this garbage he is doing nothing but replicating the nightmare vision of Murdo Fraser and his ilk’s bitter and divided Scotland.