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TOPIC: The Strange Rise of Anti-Sectarianism

The Strange Rise of Anti-Sectarianism 9 years 8 months ago #894

  • ErtaisLament
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I think we can all agree with both of your points here, John, that nobody is calling for the legitimization of outright violence and that one-sided perception (okay when we do it/bad when they do it) is a false pretense. Not sure if you're using my post just to make these points or if you feel they are pertinent to my post itself. If the latter...

On the first point, not sure why that's raised as I think we're both talking about the same thing. On point the second, I can only speak for myself when I make a distinction between banter and hate speech, a position that seems sympathetic with what the good doctor has written in the original piece.

Thanks for the reply!
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The Strange Rise of Anti-Sectarianism 9 years 8 months ago #895

  • Driver85
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Great article was Dr Waiton.

Sectarianism was all ready on its way out of our communities (almost completely out of football) before this media and political out cry. For me, if anything it has brought it back or should I say gave it a megaphone so you can hear it more. Maybe still, people want to hear it to peddle their agenda.

Let's not kid ourselves on when the bill has only attacked Rangers fans. I would like to say it has been balanced because maybe I would get more support from my Celtic supporting friends, but it's not the case. Remind me a of Celtic fan who has been charged for singing IRA songs? Now every other week when Celtic are away you hear IRA songs. All away games last season you heard them and this was the debut season the bill came into act.

These songs don't offend me, if anything I feel sorry for the person who sings them. Their hatred of Britain, the Queen and even the Protestant people is the reason why Rangers fans responded by singing "why don't you go home". Maybe me saying "I feel sorry for them" is me trying to be a wee bit snide because I know, from friends and family that they kind of songs are just tribal and a "get it up ye" to Rangers fans. A bit of banter if you will. It's the exact same on our side!

For the past say, 3-4 years, I have never been called a Hun so much before in my life and it's not in a joke kind of way but a deliberate and serious way. Even in the work place after a heated argument! This is why I think it's on it's way back.
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The Strange Rise of Anti-Sectarianism 9 years 8 months ago #897

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I dont think resorting back to the no one likes us attitude regarding sectarianism serves any purpose. We have to contribute to debates maturly. Sweeping statements such as slagging snp labour off,the scottish left elite whoever they are? or any other political group. Rangers have a diverse support base from all political grouping left and right thankfully. Inward looking parania does not do the clubs image any good. One of my favourite herald sports writer is a self confessed celtic fan. To pretend fans can spend there life in a bubble surrounded by unquestioning rangers fans is lowering the tone to daily record hotline level.
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The Strange Rise of Anti-Sectarianism 9 years 8 months ago #898

Excellent article. He spoke very well at the RST function a few months back too.
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The Strange Rise of Anti-Sectarianism 9 years 8 months ago #902

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johndcgow wrote:
To many ordinary football fans in Scotland, especially but not exclusively the Old Firm fans, the ‘war’ against sectarianism in football seems utterly bizarre. For these fans, especially the older fans, five years in prison for singing a song is unfathomable. More than this, the very fact that a song at a football match can lead to your arrest is treated with complete incomprehension. Nevertheless, this is the state of play today. In Scotland at least, much of the criminalisation of football fans has come in the guise of the fight against sectarianism.

Anti-sectarianism has become part of the fabric of life in Scotland, not just in politics, law, and football, but also in education. In schools, anti-sectarianism is now described as something that is at the heart of the new Curriculum for Excellence. ‘Education,’ the Scottish government notes, ‘can play a pivotal role in challenging sectarian attitudes and religious intolerance’. As such, anti-sectarian initiatives are crucial for developing ‘informed responsible citizens’.

It is not only children who need awareness training about sectarianism. In prisons this attempt to develop ‘positive attitudes’ was given a boost in 2011 when the funding for anti-sectarian training of prisoners was doubled. The success of this re-education process would be judged by illustrating the changed behaviour of those receiving the training. For example, prisoners would be encouraged to understand that cracking sectarian jokes was harmful, something that it was claimed had been successful in 50 percent of cases so far (Scotland on Sunday 25th September 2011). By November of 2011 it was announced that anti-sectarian training would also be available for the staff of the Scottish Parliament (Herald on Sunday 20th November 2011).

To be against sectarianism is a new norm in Scottish society, an unquestioned good, something that can unproblematically become part of school curriculums and the training of prisoners, even parliamentary staff. Sectarianism is also something that all politicians in parliament oppose and indeed something that has come to be vocally denounced by Scottish governments for the last decade. As Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader explained at a debate in parliament, every single one of her MSPs is opposed to sectarianism.

At one level, opposition to sectarianism can be seen as a good thing. But to understand what is going on, we have to ask why now? Why and how has being against sectarianism become the new moral absolute, the new good, and something that the authorities feel needs to become part and parcel of our education.


This section of your excellent article is quite illuminating, in my opinion. Sectarianism is the new bête noir in Scotland's rather inward looking policies. It is apparently such a heinous crime that no half-baked suggestion that hints at its presence can be ignored. Vague, quango-like groups such as FARE and Nil-by-Mouth are sustained by claims of horrendous levels of abuse: from their perspective, the more the merrier as it justifies their existence and allows them to become the vociferous champions of the offended. I remain to be convinced that these Groups have taken an even-handed approach to followers of Celtic and Rangers and feel they act as oxygen to the smouldering embers of genuine sectarianism.
This approach is even allowed to impact upon free speech. This has got to be the most egregious aspect of this whole media- & political-driven bandwagon: the rather pathetic issue of sectarianism is being used to hamper our greatest democratic prize i.e. the ability to speak freely on any subject short of promoting violence. Certainly, there will be times when I dislike intensely what I hear someone say on a subject but I'd fully defend their right to do so. Loss of this freedom, no matter how trivial, is a dangerous precedent: powerful groups can then start to control what opinions we can voice, can't help but think there are quite a number of bodies who'd love this power in "Free Caledonia"?
On this specific point about sectarianism becoming an integral part of the Scottish Schools' Curriculum, I'd make three points:

1. Good grief! Try and teach our youngsters the basics of literacy & numeracy plus a foreign language before traipsing off into this trivial nonsense.
2. Who will set what is taught on such a sensitive issue? One can easily imagine how easy it would be for one side of a divide to be portrayed as an oppressed minority and the other as intrinsic haters to be despised. We all know that it can be very easy to indoctrinate a young child.
3. My views i.e. (a) all our children should be educated to the highest possible standard to allow our country to compete internationally and (b) I regard faith-based schools as an act of apartheid that set up foci of divisions that perpetuate sectarianism in a community. Hence all children in an area should be educated and grow up together.
Were I to express them, would be immediately labelled as "sectarian", by powerful lobby-groups, simply as it would lead to an end of state-sponsored education of children from catholic families separately.
What would be said about separate schooling in our new proposed curriculum?
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The Strange Rise of Anti-Sectarianism 9 years 8 months ago #908

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An interesting and stimulating article, although I don't think taking Mr Spiers as the barometer of anti-sectarian, or indeed any opinion, is doing that opinion a great service.

While agreeing thoroughly with the various sentiments expressed against the recent Offensive Football Behaviour legislation, I would like to know why the resistance to this legislation amongst fans was not more widespread or vociferous.

The only action I was aware of was a rally on George square organised by Celtic fans before a Celtic match at Parkhead - hardly likely to invite fans of different clubs to participate. There was some grumbling in DUFC online communities (but then, Dundonians do grumble at the best of times) but this did not translate into any action apart from some very pointed statements by Derek Robertson at the consultation in Holyrood.

Having watched some of those hearings (Spiers V Waiton was indeed enjoyable) I came to the conclusion that, judging by the questions asked by the MSPs and their eventual debate and vote, the SNP were going to pass the legislation no matter the strength of the argument against it or the weakness of the argument in favour - Christine Grahame I'm thinking of you.

As a successfully populist party, the only thing the SNP really care about is nationalism and votes. The lack of any significant public/voter outcry at the legislation must have confirmed to them that there was little electoral penalty
for passing such legislation and plenty of positive opportunities to say "We did something about sectarianism and offensive behaviour".

The subtleties of the content of the legislation seem unlikely to exercise the public to revolt in any great numbers, especially if the legislation remains largely unused.
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