For those reading this who are not football (soccer) fans, or may not be familiar with this kind of sectarianism . . . Rangers is a Scottish football club, based in Glasgow. It’s supporters are Protestant and are found mainly in Scotland and among the Scottish-descended Protestants of Northern Ireland (the Scotch-Irish). Rangers’ great rivals are Celtic, also based in Glasgow, but whose supporters are Catholic, mainly of indigenous Irish descent, Celtic’s fans are also to be found mainly in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Political divisions mirror the religious distinctions, with Rangers fans being supporters of the United Kingdom and sympathetic to the Unionists and Loyalists in the North of Ireland. They fly the ‘union jack’ and assorted variants of the Northern Ireland flag. Celtic fans wave the Irish tricolour and tend to support Irish republicanism. Games between the two clubs always result in some violence and often fatalities, in Scotland and Ireland.
Celtic and Rangers are the two biggest football clubs in Scotland and, partly due to their diaspora support, are among the biggest clubs in the world. Even though both are based in Scotland they have very little to do with that country, both sets of fans being more concerned with Irish history and politics, and the relationship with England and the Union. I give this background information to help you understand the video, in which Rangers fans express their opinions on independence and Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond. It’s ugly, crude and incoherent.
Before dealing with the hyper-vocal star of the show, let’s consider some of the supporting cast. First, the group at the beginning, with the Saltcoats Loyal flag. The one on the right, perhaps the village idiot on a day out, wants us to believe that Alex Salmond has sexual congress with his grandmother. The remark is so crude and infantile, that the village idiot himself seems embarrassed by what he’s just said.
Then there’s the little crowd up close to the camera shouting “Fuck Bobby Sands, he’s deid”. Yes we all know that, he was an IRA prisoner who died on hunger strike in 1981. So what’s the point of saying it?
Or the older man in the company of the vociferous star, who occasionally makes a half-hearted attempt at restraining him. He looks like he’s been over-indulging on the Buckfast. Is he the star’s father, uncle, agent? And what of the guy on the touchline making the strange gesture – is it directed at the camera, or is it a comment on the performance of the star?
What we are seeing here is a set of inherited (possibly acquired) prejudices that stand firm against the buffetings of reality. Listen to the star saying that in Ireland ” . . . they’re living on the streets, mate”. Presumably in marked contrast to his Protestant brethren in the Six Counties, who’re living in the lap of luxury. Reality check: the Republic of Ireland recently overtook the UK in the Legatum Prosperity Index while Northern Ireland remains the poorest part of the UK. But these are just facts, and the people we see in this video have no interest in facts.
Proven by the same man’s “Rule Britannia, yer fuckin’ bastards” rant. Anyone who thinks the Royal Navy still rules the waves is not just living in the past, he’s so divorced from reality that he might benefit from psychiatric help.
Ruling the waves aside, everything comes back to Ireland. The bogey men have always been Irish Catholics, millions of them, all supporting the IRA, and bent on world conquest. Yet now there’s a new threat, in the form of the SNP and independence. This has necessitated a rethink, something that confuses those who prefer a world of unchanging, comforting prejudices. And while earlier centuries gave Loyalists some memorable songs the video proves that the new threat is something that, musically, they haven’t yet come to terms with.
To some extent I suppose these Rangers fans were set up, but no one put those words into their mouths. Which is sad. Partly because those opposed to independence must include decent and sincere people (so how do they feel about being on the same side as these morons?), and partly because there are Rangers fans who support independence.
Now all this could be dismissed as being of no concern to us because it’s happening in Scotland – I certainly would have ignored it – but then came the chilling climax, with the leading man promising that if Scotland did become independent he’d leave – for Wales! But why not Ireland? Almost everything that motivates Rangers fans is tied up with the history and politics of Ireland, or, more specifically, Northern Ireland / ‘Ulster’ / the Six Counties. Their Protestant Loyalist brethren are over there, beleaguered and in need of help. So why come to Wales, a country with which they have no connection?
The reason he gives for choosing Wales over England is that ‘England is letting in all those immigrants’. So we see that our star’s bigotry is not confined to the Catholic Irish. He thinks Wales could be more acceptable to his sensitivities because we have fewer immigrants. Which, by a strange coincidence is why many English move here. (But we mustn’t say this publicly – it makes us ‘racist’!) These final remarks also expose the linkages and overlaps I’ve marked on the map.
So why have I chosen these, what am I trying to say? Of course, the linkages between Orange Lodges, Loyalism and Rangers FC are obvious, others are perhaps less so. For example, we know that Loyalists support Rangers, but so do British National Party and English Defence League members.
There have always been links between Orange Lodges and English Masonic Lodges, often via Scotland. Ukip of course is just the golf club variant of the BNP, and well represented in Freemasonry. Back in the 1980s MI5 tried to reorganise the extreme Right and use it, much as the Italian secret service was doing in Italy at the time, using fascists to commit atrocities that were then blamed on the Left. The inspiration came from fascist refugee Roberto Fiore, friend and mentor to Nick Griffin. Then, during the Troubles, British intelligence and security forces worked closely with Loyalist terrorists.
The term ‘Poppy Fascists’ may seem a bit harsh, but this is no insult to The Fallen; nor am I mocking the ex-serviceman, or the old lady, selling poppies in your local supermarket. I’m using the poppy as a symbol for the unrelenting ‘Britishness’ offensive we’ve suffered in recent years, and shadowy forces that can coerce and intimidate the BBC and other News media – ‘Wear a poppy! or we’ll set the tabloids on you’. Which brings us to the final link or, rather, the London media more generally. The manner in which they deal with immigration, Scotland, Wales, the monarchy and a host of subjects, the way they’ll print anything given them by the police or the intelligence services, condemns them as a propaganda machine, not the independent and questioning media of a healthy democracy.
Let me finish this over-long piece with a thought that might sober up the cast of the video. By this time next year you could be supporting a Union of which Scotland is no longer a part! If that happens, don’t come to Wales, we don’t want you. We have mercifully escaped sectarianism and we don’t want to see it close-up, lashing out in its death-throes.
Though having said that, seeing as these people are undesirables with no local connections, ‘Welsh’ housing associations would almost certainly be fighting to give them accommodation. Perhaps they wouldn’t be the only ones helping Loyalist refugees to re-settle in Wales.
13 thoughts on “Rangers Refugees!”
Red ²! A Stephanie Flanders section on BBC2’s Newsnight would completely confuse the aforementioned ‘donkey-voter’. His logic was and still is based on ‘tribal-loyalty’ i.e. Labour = Good the Tories = Bad and the fact that Maggie took away the school milk nearly 40 years ago in the previous past.
Funny thing!…. I did bring up point 5 just to show my political ‘neutrality’ and contempt for the lack of common sense that is now so prevalent in mainstream politics and politicians. I was also honest enough to admit the crisis was not entirely of Labour’s doing but did mention the party’s incompetence was still a significant contributing factor of which he completely disputed.
Funny thing? I am no great fan of George Galloway but he did predict that very financial catastrophe quite few years in advance (his political colleagues didn’t?) based upon one common sense judgment.
His judgment? Extreme unsustainable and unpayable mega debt(s) of that time and era had to be paid back and when that pay back time arrived like an avalanche? Catastrophe!
Thanks NADV. When it comes to finance news, I’m a Collaterlie Sisters fan.
Spack Handy Chops Tubes? Wurr!
#4 #444444 #44 #444 #444444444444 #2.4
It is actually rather frightening that individuals in that video are actually allowed to vote! They’re just as bad as your stereotypical Labour ‘donkey-voter’. I had a surreal experience of bumping into one a few years back? His personal take on the 2007- 2008 financial crisis?…… He said Labour was 100% blameless and right to let the banks run riot claiming any government regulation and preventative intervention would have been totally unjust. In his opinion/words the Labour government would have wrongfully “interfered” in “stuff that was none of its concern and business”.
He went on further to add that any future government regulation and legislation to prevent any possible future reoccurrence would also be “interfering” and “none of its concern and business” and thus should also be a complete and utter non-starter!!!!
The guy was utterly oblivious of the devastating catastrophic consequence(s) if a similar scenario was ever allowed to happen again! Some accumulative effect another financial crisis would have hey?
When asked for his antidote in the circumstance of another disaster?……..Hey Presto!….. Abracadabra!…… He said money printing presses should go into overdrive mode and manically print a shit-load of cash. This he said would counteract the possibility of complete and utter U.K bankruptcy and devastating society disintegration that I had warned him about seconds earlier.
I then had to walk away because I was in real serious danger (not kidding!) of kicking the Labour loving loon come complete and utter twat in the bollocks!
1. Did you explain Leveraged Finance Transaction strategy to the donkey?
2. Did you explain to the donkey that Gordon Brown was wholly responsible for Collaterized Debt Obligation packages that USA banks were selling to other banks?
3. Did you explain that all the USA banks were selling toxic packages to each other and Gordon Brown approved them personally.
4. Did you explain that the banks insured each other’s debt obligations against default?
5. Did you tell the donkey that Gordon Brown was criticised by the Tories for not loosening bank regulations even further?
Points raised in 2 and 3 are false.
Points raised in 4 and 5 are true.
Some football fans support Celtic because of ties made by marriage.
I think that Wales can cope with one Scottish moron who wears an England shirt.
We’ve got more than enough morons of our own. We don’t want any more.
Brychan makes some good points, Royston.
When I was working on the buildings in London in the mid eighties I met loads of Protestant Scots who were Celtic supporters.
Great article, though.
I also know Protestants (or at least, non-Catholics) who support Celtic for purely political reasons. As I explain in the reply to ‘Brychan’, it’s a very complicated picture.
An additional cultural-linguistic observation to add to my previous comment. When this ‘Welshman’ from the ‘valleys’ ventures into darkest Gwynedd and uses newly acquired linguistic skills in Cymraeg at the corner shop, all the little children of the said retail establishment, name of Patel, and are fluent in the indigenous language. I assume by colour of skin and mode of apparel that they have a family history from the Indian sub-continent. Conversely, all the ‘white’ settlers of the vicinity you ask on the roadside where the shop is when in search of a decent sandwich, have acquired no such linguistic ability. Is it racist to ask why?
I don’t think it’s as simple to define the ‘Protestants’ as native Scottish and the ‘Catholics’ as native Irish. That simplicity is a 20th century invention of the Labour movement based on the theory that ‘Irish peasants’ came to Glasgow to work in industry or that the divide is some kind of ecclesiastical difference based on considered religious doctrine. Sectarianism in Scotland has deeper and more sinister roots and dates back to the ‘Transplantation’ conquests in Ireland. In the 1650s the Westminster parliament funded a colonial war in Ireland based on mercenary troops. Payment of the mercenaries was in the form of confiscation of land and ethnic cleansing of native Irish into white slavery. With the ending on the Cromwell era and restoration there was a hundred years of ‘restitution’ which restored land ownership back to native Irish estates and this resulted in ‘protestant English settlers’ being made landless in Ireland. They were transported to a newly absorbed Scotland by the Act of Union. It is this that provided the basis of ‘sectarianism’ in Scotland. Scratch the surface of genealogy in Glasgow and you will of often find a ‘catholic’ being of native Scottish decent,and the ‘protestant’ has a family history from Ireland dating back to the ‘transplantation’. It is for this reason that an apparent ‘Scot’ wears and England football shirt to a Glasgow Rangers football match and spits sectarian vitriol. One thing that is remarkable with the ascendancy of the SNP is Scotland is that such attitudes are almost extinct and it has resulted in a ‘common national consciousness’ that has almost removed such sectarian divisions from the political landscape. Similarly, in Ireland the emergence of the Irish Republic did not result in anti-protestant pogroms (sectarianism only occurs in the UK counties) but an inclusive national consciousness which was not exclusive by religion. It should be noted that sectarianism in housing. or the workplace in Scotland was not outlawed by 100 years of domination by the Labour Party, but by an SNP government, most notably elected by ALL the communities of the city of Glasgow.
Many interesting points, which I’ll address when I return from my day out.
I agree that the picture is much more complicated than I have suggested in the post, but if I’d tried to cover every possibility and exception I’d still be writing. Though I’m not sure I agree with everything you’ve said, either.
Let’s start with the broad basics: Celtic fans are mainly Catholic and of Gaelic Irish descent, who support Irish republicanism; Rangers fans tend be Protestant Scots or Ulstermen who support the Union. For anyone reading my blog in California or Kiev that must be enough, anything more makes it just too complicated.
However, it is complicated by a number of factors you did not mention. The Jacobite clans were mainly Catholic, and Catholicism has held on in the Highlands and Islands. And of course the Gaelic Highlanders had more in common with the Gaelic Irish than with the Lowland Scots. There were a number of alliances across the sea between the clans. One was the MacDonalds with the MacDonnells. This was another reason that Ulster, the most Irish part of Ireland in the sixteenth and early 17th century, had to be broken.
Then we have the Old English, for whom I’ve always had a soft spot. These were the descendants of the Anglo-Norman and Cambro-Norman invaders. These always regarded themselves as distinct from the native Irish, but to English visitors there was little or no difference: they spoke Irish, they dressed Irish, they followed Irish customs such as fosterage . . . but they tended to remain loyal to the English crown and so this often got them special privileges.
Then came the Reformation. The Old English stayed Catholic, and that was the end of them. With religion now determining one’s position in the State the Old English were regarded as Irish. A new breed of Protestant English arrived, to become known as the Ascendancy and to rule Ireland until the Act of Union in 1801.
Now here’s a curious story from my family. In WWI my maternal grandmother’s brother joined the Welch Regiment along with my grandfather. When the Welsh Guards was formed he transferred. He made sergeant. I recall my grandmother telling me about all the Irishmen in his platoon. Now of course there was no conscription in Ireland so these Irishmen would have been volunteers.
My grandmother knew nothing of Irish history but she remembered the names her brother had told her, and she’d reel them off for me. These names meant nothing to me at the time either, it was only years later that I grasped the possibility. For the names my grandmother remembered were Fitzgerald, Butler and other names that are usually regarded as Old English.
I often wonder if this was some of the Old English making one last attempt to prove their loyalty to England.
I think my favourite part is where he claims the royals bring in £20 million through tourism, let’s assume he’s telling the truth for a moment. Let’s face it, he obviously loves Betty and he looks intelligent so he must have read loads of books about her. That family receives in excess of £31 million per year, it’s set to rise to £38 million a year.
Yet this genius reckons that without that £20 million we’d ALL be living on £10 giros. Whatever they are.
Someone should tell this guy that France receives 50 million MORE tourists per year than the UK does. They must have one hell of a good royal family over there.
Yes, and the Crown Estates are valued at almost £8bn. I think these people can see the end approaching, in Ireland and Scotland. Let’s also make Wales unattractive to them. Though that said, imagine a twee village full of middle class English retirees and good-lifers, how would they react to a few of these Rangers supporters being housed in their midst? Could clear the place.