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Why we write about Rangers

Posted on July 03, 2012 by

We got an annoyed comment yesterday from a reader about the number of articles we’ve written on the Rangers fiasco. Only a tiny (fingers-of-one-hand) number of readers have ever objected to the football pieces, but we don’t want that number to grow, so we’re just going to put this here for future reference.

There’s a whole raft of reasons why the “crisis” at Ibrox is relevant to a Scottish political blog. As we’ve touched on before, we believe that were New Rangers to either disappear entirely or become a greatly-reduced force in football over the next two years, it could be a game-changer in the independence campaign. The parallel that could be drawn if the game survived in a healthy state bereft of the big Union Jack-waving institution everyone said we couldn’t do without would be pretty obvious.

Secondly, there’s no point pretending that Rangers stories don’t draw in a wider audience to the blog, from right across Scotland, exposing people to its core content who’d otherwise never see it. We’re not here to preach to the converted, that’s a waste of time. We have to speak to people who have no political axe to grind and may not have made up their minds about independence yet, and anything that puts more eyes on pages is a positive.

The third reason, though, is something much more personal.

Wings Over Scotland took a team trip to Royal Wootton Bassett last weekend. After all the fuss over our mock “Better Together” poster a few days before, it seemed like it might be interesting to see the much-lionised town in person (especially on Armed Forces Day). And hey, if nothing else we could donate a few quid to the local economy by way of compensation for any unintended offence we might have caused.

Royal WB is an odd place in several ways – it feels a bit like visiting the 1950s. The single High Street is all but totally free of big chain stores, inhabited instead almost exclusively by local independent businesses. Everyone says a friendly “Hello” when you walk into a shop. It supports a remarkably high number of newsagents for its size, at a time where they’re closing down left, right and centre everywhere else. But the thing that really leaps out at you is that it’s surely the most patriotic town in Britain.

There’s hardly a shop in Royal Wootton Bassett that isn’t festooned in Union Jacks, in one form or another. (There are a few St George’s Crosses knocking around too, but the UK flag is overwhelmingly dominant.) Butchers, hairdressers, knick-knack shops, card shops, inside or outside, it makes no difference.

(We’d have taken pictures of more of them, but we had to keep ducking in out of the intermittent downpours of torrential English summer rain, and you get the idea.)

Houses, too, frequently have flags or (at a minimum) bunting fluttering in the breeze to ensure you’re never under any misapprehension as to which country you’re in.

And as you might expect, municipal buildings such as the charmingly quaint museum-on-stilts (formerly the town hall, open 10am-12am Wednesdays and Saturdays) join in.

There’s no discernible menace or aggression about Royal Wootton Bassett’s somewhat ostentatious display of Britishness, unlike other places I’ve seen bedecked in the flag. But it made me feel a little uncomfortable anyway – sort of like a vampire in a church – as the Union Jack nearly always does. I’d never really thought about why until quite recently, but when I did I realised the reason is Rangers.

Alert readers will have noticed that the blog’s usual collective mode of expression has shifted to the first-person at this point, because while we’re normally speaking on behalf of various people, my feelings about the UK flag are my own. I’ve never felt any attachment to the Union Jack, even as a child long before any awareness of politics. It’s always felt like the banner of an unwanted foreign/colonial power, the emblem of a bullying occupying force, and reason for that is because the only people who ever waved it where I lived were Rangers fans.

Being from almost the exact geographical centre of mainland Scotland (apparently located in Armadale, just four or five miles from where I grew up in Bathgate), I had a typical Central Belt childhood, which is to say that the majority of children at my school and in my neighbourhood supported the Old Firm. The divide went almost exclusively down religious lines, with Protestant friends supporting Rangers and Catholic ones Celtic, and as I went to what Scots coyly term a “non-denominational” school my day-to-day experience was mostly of the Rangers side.

Even at the age of six or seven, when I first took an interest in football, I immediately and instinctively knew I didn’t want to be part of that binary world. It seemed to be defined by hate on both sides, and it was ugly and frightening.

(This was the case even though it was conducted with a weird sort of professional detachment – in Bathgate, unlike some towns further west, the two communities intermingled with very few outward signs of hostility. The atmosphere was that the sides formally hated each other but that it was mostly a duty rather than a conviction – the Protestants hated Catholicism rather than individual Catholics, and vice versa. When our primary-school bus passed the local Catholic secondary, kids would jeer and shout and make rude gestures at each other, without the slightest idea why they were doing it, but would then come home and play football together as if the sectarianism had been merely part of a job, left behind at 5pm.)

Eschewing the Old Firm I could have ended up with almost any team – probably not Hearts and Hibs, who seemed in some vague undefined way to be somehow caught up in the same unpleasant business, but about a dozen professional sides played within 25 miles of Bathgate at the time. Instead, though, I arbitrarily picked Aberdeen, because my best friend supported them as his family came from Boddam.

After a terrible first season it turned out to be a fortuitous choice, eliminating any possibility of falling into the swamp in pursuit of glory or under peer pressure. But there was little danger of that anyway – the Union Jack, and the Irish tricolour along with it, were both alien symbols to me, signifying only darkness and grunting primitive savagery, and I wanted nothing to do with either one.

(Strictly speaking I had, and still have, a very marginally lesser aversion to the tricolour solely because it was the flag of the numerically-inferior of the two antagonists and therefore possessed some tiny amount of underdog value, but it felt just as nauseating and depressing when Celtic reached the UEFA Cup final in 2003 and turned Seville into a sea of Irish rather than Scottish flags as it did when Rangers fans rampaged thuggishly through Manchester under the Union Jack five years later.)

It would be years more before I had any concept of Scottish nationalism, and more still before I fully grasped it as a political idea rather than an emotional one, but when it appeared it was pushing at an open door. I’m British, in that was born on and live in the British Isles, and will always remain so, but Britain is not my country and its flag means nothing to me – or at any rate, nothing good.

Let’s be clear: I currently live in England, near the Welsh border, and I like the English, Welsh and Northern Irish a lot. They’re fine people, just as the French and Germans and Poles and Dutch are, which is why I want them to have their own nation (or nations, should that be their preference). But my land is Scotland, and my colours are the blue and white of the Saltire. Rangers (and Celtic) supporters are collaborators with an occupying army, and the sooner they and their flags are banished the sooner my country can hold its head high in the world.

So we’ll probably be writing more about football, until the Scottish game either sells its soul for a few pieces of silver – just like Scotland’s “nobles” did in 1707 – or finally stands up for the people and does the right thing. Either way, it shouldn’t be long now.

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31 to “Why we write about Rangers”

  1. Seasick Dave says:

    Its a little ironic that they fervently support the state that directly caused the deaths of the servicemen.

    I watched the excellent and poignant documentary about 7/7 on the BBC last night and at several points had tears running down my cheeks at the pointless loss of all the innocents in London.

    It was noticeable that the lady that had received the letter of commiseration from Tony Blair didn’t buy the contents of the letter but what she left unsaid was very powerful.

    This was a completely and utterly contrived war and one which is the sole cause of ‘terrorist’ attacks in Britain.

    Our soldiers have no place in Iraq and Afghanistan and the sooner they return home the sooner the nightmare will be over.

    I distinctly remember Osama BL saying in one of his tapes that the ‘war’ would be over once the infidel forces left their lands.

    We really are unfortunate to live under the rule of this warmongering and hypocritical British state.

      

  2. Maybe as a Celtic supporter I would say this, but I think you’re way off suggesting our fans collaborate with an occupying British state. Maybe the means of opposing them are different – and let’s face it, historically Irish republicanism was a more overt way to resist the British state than Scottish nationalism – but essentially the root cause remains aversion to Westminster rule.
    That’s not to defend the Celtic family’s obsession with Ireland, just to explain it. And as an aside, I know plenty of folk who went to Seville in kilts wearing Saltire capes. My friends are mostly nationalists, so that’s why, but I don’t think you’re fair in divorcing the Saltire from Celtic fans entirely. Nor, for that matter, Rangers fans.
    Otherwise, I wholly agree with your piece.

      

  3. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Maybe as a Celtic supporter I would say this, but I think you’re way off suggesting our fans collaborate with an occupying British state.”

    Yeah, I should have tidied that up a bit, I just didn’t want to make the paragraph any more unwieldy. Clearly Celtic fans in the context of the analogy would be more representative of some sort of hostile insurgency.

    “I don’t think you’re fair in divorcing the Saltire from Celtic fans entirely. Nor, for that matter, Rangers fans.”

    I hear that quite a bit, from both sides, but the photographic evidence never seems to back it up. (Not to say you’re lying about your friends, but there were precious few Saltires visible to ordinary TV viewers/newspaper readers in the sea of tricolours in Seville.) And domestically, any instances of Saltire-waving seem to be more aimed at provoking the other side than proclaiming pride in Scotland.

      

  4. (Not a) Tim says:

    the sooner they and their flags are banished the sooner my country can hold its head high in the world.”

    Never a truer word spoken. I grew up in Orkney, and hearing little kids who have never even set foot in Glasgow (or Belfast or Dublin) calling each other Huns and Fenians was quite an eye opener. True, in these cases it’s mostly just ‘my team is better than yours’, but when kids do end up in Glasgow (at uni or whatever), they can find themselves in a lot of bother.

    The sooner one or other of the Old Firm disappear the better IMHO.

     

      

  5. jimmyarab says:

    Dundee has similar denominational schools as well but it doesn’t seem to be as big an issue as it is on the West coast. It was a weird upbringing though as my friends who were catholic would go off to their catholic schools and I would go off to my protestant school and then we would meet up at night or weekends and never really talk about religion. It was like a dark shadow that lurked in the background. Their houses would be spooky to me as a young kid with their statues and crosses on the walls etc.
    I knew religion was a load of rubbish when I was told about burning bushes that spoke or invisible sky pixies watching over me. I was far too cynical a kid to believe any of that rubbish. But I’ve got no problem allowing people to believe what they want. As long as I don’t have to suffer the consequences of those beliefs. Sadly we all have to suffer.
    Things will never change until all schools are multi denominational. And that will never happen due to the power of the church. So bigotry will be endemic far into the future.

      

  6. Tris says:

    I so empathise with much of what you have written there.

      

  7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Things will never change until all schools are multi denominational. And that will never happen due to the power of the church. So bigotry will be endemic far into the future.”

    Yep. Tragically, any attempt to discuss the issue sensibly tends to get instantly jumped on by more extremist Catholics as evidence of persecution, invariably shouting “But our schools don’t teach prejudice!”, as if that was the point. (Nor, incidentally, is the fact that other countries manage to have separate schools without Scotland’s problems. They also don’t have Scotland’s historic sectarian culture.)

    For as long as we separate out our kids when they’re toddlers and effectively teach them that they’re different (and by implication superior) to their friends, we’ll never solve the problem. (And no, that isn’t like wanting independence – for a start, because voting is a decision of informed adults, not innocent impressionable children.)

    Kids shouldn’t be indoctrinated into ANY religion. If you want to decide to believe in God as a grown-up, knock yourself out. And if you’re unlucky enough to have parents who want to force it on you in the privacy of their own home, tragically there’s not much the state can do about it. But I’ll be damned if taxpayers should be paying to have it done in schools.

      

  8. Embradon says:

    I have had a remarkably similar life experience. In the Dunoon of my youth, the arrogant and bullying – as well as a less dominant clique of hangers on and glory hunters – were decked in the union colours. As soon as I was old enough to go to matches I supported Morton and enjoyed some great times there.
    When I went to university in Aberdeen I was caught up with a club devoid of bigotry. The board, exemplified by Chris Anderson and Richard Donald, were canny but genuinely ambitious (for the club and the community  – not as property developers – ochone ochone).
    Fifteen years later footballing glory came to pass. At that time Rangers fans HAD done walking away. Ibrox was half empty when the Dons visited, in spite of more Aberdeen fans attending than Rangers have ever brought to Pittodrie – but that was before the cheating years.
    The situation at Celtic was curious. They were much more competitive and still attracted big crowds to Parkhead. I remember regularly being shoe-horned into a ground with a 53,000 capacity which was patently 90% full then reading next day that the crowd was 23,000. Aye right.
    Every time I see Michael Kelly bumping his gums on Newsnicht, I long for someone to ask him what was happening to the cash.
    The plastic Irishmen who filled the collecting tins of the IRA outside the ground, sanctifed their martyrs in the struggle against the British state but then voted for Britnats like John Reid and Brian Wilson.
    At the other end of the city, the “loyal” strutted and swaggered in their bowler hats and rolled umbrellas trying to look like toy-town English bankers. (No longer a fashionable concept gents). Meanwhile the rest of the world outside a 40 mile radius, scratch their heads and laugh.  

      

  9. R Louis says:

    You know this sectarian guff, that has NO place in Scotland, but has been imported from N.ireland, on some occasions beggars belief.  I recall, quite a few years ago, talking about something quite unrelated, to a person who was well educated, polite, intelligent, and was to all eyes most definitely not a bigot.  We talked about how he was transferring to another town in Scotland, due to his high level professional job. At that point he turned to me and said, ‘I’m not sure how I’ll get on though, as they are all blue noses through there’.  I am still shocked when I think about it.

    Such is the rank stupidity running through some people within Scotland. 

    Anyway, getting back to the union jack (yeah I know it’s technically called ‘flag’, but heck, we all grew up calling it the union jack, and only carping pedants really care) my honest opinion is very similar to that of the author, in that I have never seen it as my flag.  I actually find it quite surreal when I walk the streets of Edinburgh, and see union jacks all over the place, because to me they are merely a symbol of London supremacy and control over Scotland. It is sad that so many Scots embrace it with little understanding of what it truly represents. 

    The other reason I have a problem with the union jack, is we are told it stands for the union of all the countries of the united kingdom, but there is no Welsh flag on it – dating from the notion that the England flag will suffice for Wales.. Then of course there is still the red St.Patricks cross, dating from a time before Ireland achieved independence from London rule – it’s presence now is a colonial anachronism.

    If somebody truly wanted to make a flag that represented the United Kingdom, that was free of ALL the wrong connotations associated with the English dominated union jack, then surely, it would consist of four equal quadrants, with the respective national flags of Scotland, England, Wales and N.Ireland.  No single nation would have a dominant segment.

    I guess the only reason the union jack is still foisted upon us, is because by and large, the English are rather fond of their union jack.  However, as a symbol of supposed friendly and equal unity between four nations, the union jack is actually a disgrace.

    Bottom line, give me the Scottish flag, the Saltire, the oldest national flag in the world, over the outdated and absurdly colonial ‘union’ jack any day. 

    P.s Is it not time we had a Saltire flying on the highest flagpole of Edinburgh castle, rather than the stupid union jack??

      

  10. Morag says:

    Secondly, there’s no point pretending that Rangers stories don’t draw in a wider audience to the blog, from right across Scotland, exposing people to its core content who’d otherwise never see it. We’re not here to preach to the converted, that’s a waste of time. We have to speak to people who have no political axe to grind and may not have made up their minds about independence yet, and anything that puts more eyes on pages is a positive.

    There’s your killer argument right there.  I will now officially shut up about being bored senseless by all this football crap.  (And no it wasn’t me complained yesterday.)

      

  11. Bill C says:

    Firstly may I congratulate Wings over Scotland on being the best Scottish blog on the internet. I am retired (early!) and have plenty of time to surf the net and in my opinion, WoS is in a league (premier) of its’ own, excuse the pun.
    With regard to the sorry sage of the now defunct Rangers Football Club plc. There can be little doubt that the demise of arguably the most influential bastion of working class unionism in Scotland, is a tremendous boost for the cause of Scottish independence. Equally, speaking as a life long Celtic supporter, member of the SNP for 40+ years and someone whose grandfather was Irish, I fully endorse the call for Celtic ‘minded’ people to accept that their team is a Scottish team which plays in Scotland and that they should support their national flag i.e. the Saltire.
    However, nationalists should be under no illusion as to the forces ranged against our cause;  poisonous unionist propoganda has been drip fed to both sides for well over a century. I well remember  my mother coming back from Mass one evening in 1968 and telling me that I should resign from the SNP as it was anti-Catholic and that we would have a Protestant Scotland if they were in charge. Some one (from the Labour party I suspect) had been spreading the poison among the faithful! I also remember having my car attacked by stone throwing thugs (adorned with Rangers scarves and Union flags) at Bridgeton Cross  because my car was covered in SNP stickers and Saltires (my car was part of a cav,alcade during an election campaign).
    The slow decline of sectarianism is accelerated by the demise of RFC, hopefully the ‘other half’ will recognise that there is no longer a threat to their culture etc. etc. wisen up and be proud of their Irish heritage but be equally proud of their Scottish nationality.

      

  12. Morag says:

    I remember a Catholic neighbour saying to my mother in 1992, “You wouldnae vote SNP, would you?  They’d close the Catholic schools!”

    Why exactly she thought the widow of a Church of Scotland minister would care, I don’t know.  But it was a sample of the disinformation that had been fed to her.

      

  13. Appleby says:

    Flying the Union Flag, etc. is encouraged by or company policy for many chains and brands. You won’t see Kit Kats or other bands pushing for the Scottish nationalist side. The public too are obviously encouraged to do this by the media and huge amounts of subsequent peer pressure. The other side of the coin, refusing to wear or fly that flag or even choosing to openly support independence is seen as almost taboo to talk about or show. Even refusing to wear the icon is considered to make you fair game. Considering the huge numbers that voted for them, you’d think you’d see the SNP supporters more often and more vocal.
     
    We need to break down the barrier that makes it so that open independence or Scottish Nationalist supporting is not a taboo subject for whispered conversations in secret while the British Nationalists can bellow it out at events and plaster the land in their favoured flags. Likewise politics and economics in general needs to be an open topic or else no one will be any better informed come 2014.
     
    As long as change and Scottish nationalism remains a taboo then it will be suppressed and kept under. It’s another crippling ailment that needs to be healed before the vote.

      

  14. R Louis says:

    Appleby

    I agree with much of what you say, although to be fair, the situation is much better than it used to be.  The difficulty I have, is that there is a notion amongst the SNP leadership that flags don’t matter, a belief which I think is remarkably short -sighted.  Take a look at recent events, and the rampant British Nationalism has been clear for all to see.  To describe it as propaganda would be too kind.

    If only some Scottish industries would truly embrace the Scottish flag, in the same way London and English businesses embrace the union jack.  I grow tired of walking into Scottish shops to see row upon row of union jacks, with not a single saltire in sight.

      

  15. Juan Solo says:

    I for one first visited WoS fairly recently when I was sent a link regarding the latest goings on at the now defunct RFC, an utterly massive story in Scotland.  I liked what I read as it was so far removed from the normal ‘journalism’ we have come to expect here. I have been an avid visitor ever since and it has also lead me to the Newsnet Scotland site.  Any doubts I had about my ‘yes’ vote have since disappeared.  I have also sent the link for WoS to numerous friends and family. All because of that initial post about football!

    I am a little disappointed in this most recent post however. The use of the all encompassing ‘Old Firm’ term to prevent alienation from one side or the other has become all too common in what passes for Sports Journalism in this country. We are unable to criticize one without telling the reader that the other is just as bad. 

    I am Scottish and extremely patriotic.  I am also a Celtic supporter who has Irish roots on one side. Before I was old enough to understand religion and its petty differences, I understood that I was a Celt and proud of it. 

    Bill C – the Saltire hangs proudly above Celtic Park, just as the Irish Tricolour does.  Celtic is a Scottish club. I recognise that the flag of choice for Celtic fans is the tricolour but we were founded by Irish immigrants and play in similar colours….why can’t it be that simple?  Only in this small country would it be an problem.

    I fail to understand as a Celtic fan why I am considered to be a collaborator with an occupying army?  For following a club that flies the flag of a Celtic nation??

      

  16. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “the Saltire hangs proudly above Celtic Park, just as the Irish Tricolour does. “

    It flies at Ibrox too, alongside the Union Jack. Point is, seeing it carried by either team’s fans is a once-a-season rarity.

      

  17. Barbarian says:

    I think to imply that all Rangers supporters as unionists is both wrong and falling into the trap of xenophobia ( I know the paragraph could have been written better, but once its online its too late). The club as far as I am concerned can disappear, given that the loss of taxpayers money far exceeds any loss to football in financial terms.

    Getting all heated about flags is not very productive when it comes to winning the independence argument. Most people don’t give a jot.

    And given Salmond’s desire to be “at the heart of Europe”, no doubt the Saltire may soon be replaced by the EU flag.

      

  18. Uilleam MacDiarmid says:

    Absolutely spot on Appleby. The Independentistas are still an underground movement in many respects, possibly because the vast majority of people are not all that highly motivated which means that we are seen as slightly odd-ball.

    How do we overcome this. Well I think in the first instance we must be given the bullets and not just through blogs like this but by public declarations from the politicians and particularly credible people like Blair Jenkins, Crawford Beveridge and the like.

    I have just been listening to Alex Salmond’s tour de force in California. He made me proud to be Scottish by his grasp of Scotland’s story and a compelling vision of how we can contribute to the world. If we had a friendly MSM we would have heard this on BBC/STV but that is not the case so any time we do get exposure on talk shows or TV debates, we need use Alex’s material as much as we can.

      

  19. Bill C says:

    Juan Solo, I have no problem with the Irish Tricolour flying anywhere in Scotland. I am  proud of my Irish roots and have great admiration for the heritage, culture and people of Ireland, they are indeed our Celtic cousins. I just wish that more Celtic fans would see Scotland as their home country and be as proud of their Scottish heritage as they are of their Irish.
    As I hinted in my earlier post, it is entirely understandable why some folk with an Irish background might be wary of Scottish independence.  I remember as a student  in 1972 (starting a summer job with the Coop in Titwood Road Glasgow), being called a Fenian b…… by the foreman, simply because when asked what school I went to, I replied St. Mungo’s Academy.  He took offence that he would now have to work with someone who went to a school with a Saint in its’ title! Sectarianism in Glasgow at that time was rife.
    My plea to fellow Celtic supporters is be proud of your Irish heritage by all means, but be just as proud to be Scottish.

      

  20. Erchie says:

    Juan Solo
     
    I like to think I am no that rare in Scotland, the product of a mixed Irish-Catholic/Scots Protestant heritage
    ALthough I have relatives that support Rangers, I used to support Celtic for the same reason as Rev Stu, my best friend supported them at a time when I had three (legitimate) choices of team
    Eventually I left, and started going to lower league football, because, in its own way, the tricolour and Palestinian flags flying agaisnt the Union flag and the Israeli flags are both symptoms of something quite poisonous.

    Celtic has slightly better karma, for example they didn’t operate a “No Prods” policy as long as I can remember, but the faux-Irishness and the collections for  “The boys” are just as distasteful as the Orange shirt mentatlity of the other side
    Much better to get on with being Scots, no matter where we came from

      

  21. Juan Solo says:

    Bill, can only speak for myself I suppose but I am a proud Scot first and foremost, and one who hopes all this kind of baggage can be left behind come 2014. I do personally believe that fellow Celtic fans are equally patriotic but perhaps this isn’t always evident as you say.

    Perhaps it would be more evident but for the corruption that has existed within the SFA!

      

  22. cirsium says:

    RevStu – I have no interest in football but am glad that you have written about the Rangers case.  As it concerns institutions, legal firms, accountancy firms, newspapers as well as the football club, it seems to me to be an instructive example of corruption in the UK state.  I’d also like to support Uilleam MacDiarmid’s comment about Alex Salmond’s speech and his responses to questions at the Commonwealth Club of California.  Inspiring.

      

  23. Gaavster says:

    Here’s Alex Salmond’s speech in full….

    enjoy



     

     

      

  24. Bill C says:

    Hi Juan,

     Couldn’t agree more, here’s to 2014 and a bright new Scotland, free from sectarianism, corruption and cronyism.

      

  25. peter says:

    i would say that extreme forms of bigotry are cultivated in the home, and not by having denominational schools.
    however, in writing that, i do feel it’s time to end state denominational schools. in conversation with my nephews/nieces,  who attend catholic schools,  it is of little relevance to their “outside” life.
    if we look at the muslim population, many attend state schools, but uphold their religious beliefs.
     

      

  26. charlie says:

    Erchie:”I like to think I am no that rare in Scotland, the product of a mixed Irish-Catholic/Scots Protestant heritage”
    Me as well, my Gran supported Rangers and lots of my Glasgow relatives, lots of my Embra relatives support Celtic, it doesn’t mean I don’t detest both teams.

    i think the Hibees (being biased cause we had a campaign to get the harp back on the badge) have got it right at the moment – heritage but this is 2012 not 1698 or 1969.

    I stand to be corrected 😉

    Cheers
    Charlie

      

  27. Scott Macdonald says:

    I’m disinterested in the Rangers saga – therefore I’m happy enough to skip the articles. If they’re interesting to co-workers, friends and family, I pass them on. They get you readership, and this is a good thing.

      

  28. Angry Weegie says:

    I disagree with many of the comments (though not with the article),but to me, most Rangers and Celtic fans seem stuck in some sort of a time warp (or perhaps I mean country warp).  For instance, I’m old enough to remember a time when supporters of both clubs would routinely barrack players of the other club when they were playing for the national team and when a certain satisfaction was expressed by one lot when Scotland lost with a team which had more of the other lot’s players than theirs.  This doesn’t seem to fit too well with a belief in Scottishness.

    On another point raised, I wholly agree with comments about the abolition of state sponsored religious education.  Separate schools for different religions only serves to emphasise the divide.  Kids will always support “our school” against all comers and when the big difference is religion, that’s where bigotry starts. However, I can’t see any political party taking the lead on that.

      

      

  29. John Lyons says:

    Armadale is so certainly not the centre of Scotland. If you travel directly south for about 65 miles you will have reached the border, (and one of the more southernly points of it at that!) Travel directly 65 miles north and you won’t even have reached Aviemore never mind Inverness, Dornoch, Golspie, Wick or Thurso. And that’s only the mainland.

    So what? You might ask.

    Well, so we currently live in a country were we have a north south divide with all the money in it being drained away in the south. (Yes, I am talking about Brittain!) How long before an Independent Scotland has a similar problem? The kind of people who think Armadale is in the very centre of Scotland are probably not that dissimilar to the people who, when talking about “up north” mean Watford!

      

  30. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    The sideways middle 😀

      

  31. johnnyorgan says:

    First time poster, long time reader.

    Just wanted to write and say I loved this piece Stu. I grew up in North East Glasgow so I’m a Celtic fan, grew up through Catholic schools, have Irish ancestry etc. but never, even when I was a young boy, understood the purpose of hating someone for their personal religious beliefs or the motivation of singing songs about wars from decades/centuries ago. I’ve always viewed it as an excuse to act like an imbecile with a poor excuse to act as an imbecile. Hate someone on my street for something their forefathers did during times of war? What were they fighting for? So we, their children and their children’s children, could all grow up in a fairer society mostly. Acting like an imbecile with a divine right over anyone is kinda like spitting on their grave and using their own name to do it to me. And above all else, what the hell has all got to do with 22 guys on a park kicking a ball?

    The only reason I’ve gotten so angry over recent years is because of media coverage and poor journalism. Scottish sports journalism’s own prejudice effectively helped destroy an institution adored by millions worldwide, but mostly in Glasgow. Their blatant disregard to do anything other than reword press statements and not dig deeper into the financial matters of Rangers left the general public in the dark before it was way too late.

    At the same time, I’m glad Rangers got their comeuppance for effectively distorting the financial rules to gain an unfair advantage over my favourite team and all the others.

    Great article, as always. 

      



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