"Let the others come after us. We welcome the chase. It is healthy for us.
We will never hide from it. Never fear."
- William Struth

Life In The Vatican

Written by: Bluebear67
Tuesday, 26th February 2019

In the current social media hot topic of ‘Sectarianism in Scottish football’ I am saddened to see several tweets etc. from people (some of them in prominent positions) who are hell bent on making out that sectarianism in Scotland starts in the home, with children learning to behave as such from knuckle-dragging parents. 

The people making such claims are unwilling to accept that sectarianism afflicts many aspects of the society we live in, and that it is generated via many factors, the apartheid schooling system in Scotland being a perfect example.

Sectarianism in Scottish football is symptomatic of a wider deep rooted sectarian problem in Scottish society, it is not the cause.   It is also a myth that this is only a West Coast of Scotland problem.  Rangers supporters are routinely subjected to extreme sectarian abuse at practically every away Stadium visited and quite often the most vociferous abuse is encountered in places such as Pittodrie, Tannadice, and Easter Road.

Getting back to factors encountered in our lives whereby we find ourselves exposed to sectarianism and bigotry, let me tell you of one experience which had a major influence on my formative years as a child and young man growing up in Saltcoats, North Ayrshire.

In 1973, the then local council (Cunninghame District Council) decided to build a new housing scheme in Saltcoats on part of an old railway line operated by the Caledonia Railway Co.  As such, the official name given to the proposed housing project was ‘The Caley Scheme’ and construction started in 1973.  By early 1974, with the first 3 streets of houses completed and occupied, it became increasingly clear to locals that an unspoken housing policy of giving the newest houses built in Saltcoats to those of a certain religious background was in operation with about 95% of the houses taken up so far by Roman Catholic families.  This resulted in the scheme being re-christened by locals as ‘The Vatican’, a moniker that remains to this day.

Bearing in mind that the early 70’s represented the height of the troubles in Northern Ireland, the attempt by elected officials in CDC to create an almost exclusive Catholic only housing scheme on the West Coast of Scotland was naïve in the extreme.  Such were the level of complaints received that CDC were forced to change plans resulting in the remaining 3 streets built being occupied by around 95% Protestant families. 

For families living in the scheme (such as mine) this meant we had the bizarre situation forced upon us where one end of the scheme was literally Catholic only and the other end almost exclusively Protestant.  We didn’t ask for this situation, but due to circumstance we had to live every day with the sense of ‘them on the other side’ being different to us.  In the main both sides got on with each other and there weren’t any real issues.  We didn’t have a ‘Peace wall’ as none was needed but we were all acutely aware of the virtual boundary imposed upon us between two streets and the underlying ‘them & us’ thought process it created.  This was part of my daily life from the age of 7 in 1974 through to when I last lived there in 1988.  This wasn’t generated in the home, this was forced upon us by elected officials in our community who were supposed to serve us all regardless of religious background.

So, to those that claim sectarianism & bigotry starts in the home I say you are wrong. 

Sectarian division in Scottish society stems from children being separated from friends at the age of 5 and being thrown into different schools, forcing it on them from an early age that ‘We are different’ and that ‘We cannot mix’.

It stems from bigoted & morally corrupt elected officials trying to implement their warped version of utopia on society. 

Sectarianism and bigotry are rife in Scottish society, it is perpetuated by our politicians, by our media outlets and all others who need the industry it creates to justify their existence, and until these people accept that they are part of the problem it will continue to pollute our communities and way of life.


by Carson's Army


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