This year we’ve seen a few instances that have epitomised the old cliché that at times the few ruins it for the many.
Before I explain, what I’m no havin is this view that because we’ve been cooped up for that long some numpties are just goin off their rocker. Nonsense. There’s plenty of people going through the exact same thing and have acted perfectly fine since the easing of restrictions. To say it’s the restrictions, per se, that are forcing people to act like dingals is about as logically sound as Limmy’s dream about the Finnieston Crane.
Across the Irish Sea in March, violence spread into cities such as Belfast and towns all across Northern Ireland. Rioters within loyalist areas flung bricks and gasoline bombs at polis. Scenes reminiscent of ‘The Troubles’ that have stretched back decades. A wee reminder that in this corner of the United Kingdom, there still exists, at times hostile, cultural and political divides. Folk talked about the Brexit negotiations brewing tension, but I don’t think the high-level, macro politics of Britain’s negotiations with the European Union will be going through the mind of a young fella fae Belfast about to launch a brick at the bus that goes through his area. Maybe I’m wrong.
Regardless, few will disagree that the actions of the few (widely condemned actions by the way, by those that live in Northern Ireland) have at least caused bother for the rest.
Then we have the good old ‘Meadows’ in south Edinburgh. A beautiful large park used for recreational sport. A park for Edinburgh uni students to play guitar and influence Instagram with their delicate photographs and corny captions showing how woke they are. A park for dog walkers going on a casual stroll… a pleasant, quaint setting if you will.
Little did we know the WWE tour was about to come to Edinburgh in May 2021. Substituting the likes of Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio came in young teenagers. Instead of steel chairs being used to scud people over the heid they’re using beer bottles. A real-life royal rumble.
And I’m joking but not joking… they were disgraceful scenes. Police officers were hurt. 15 children, some as young 11 years-old, were charged in the series of violence that occurred at the meadows earlier this year. Scenes of disorder, without even mentioning the fact we’re in a global pandemic, that’s no acceptable.
Then we have the celebrations of Rangers fans after lifting the Scottish Premiership title at the weekend.
Violence, vandalism, and flaunting covid restrictions aside, there’s one aspect of these scenes that has been an elephant in the room for far too long in this country.
Rangers as a football club have plenty to shout about – they’ve just gone a whole season without a single defeat, their history boasts 55 domestic league titles, they have some tremendous talent in their team. So I put to them this question… why the sectarianism?
We now live in the 21st century. So many strive for equality. So many strive for a fight against discrimination. A Rangers player, Glen Kamara, fell victim to the kind of unacceptable racism that still exists in society. Yet how can one stand against racism and then sing songs about being “up to our knees in Fenian blood”?
It’s a taboo subject in Scotland. The media don’t do enough to highlight it. The government doesn’t do enough to condemn and put action towards giving it the red card. I’d be counting my fingers on one hand the number of times I’ve heard Police Scotland call it out specifically. I canny even mind an anti-sectarianism protest happening in Scotland. We’ve all got a part to play, and change won’t happen overnight.
And it’s no a case of ‘aw they’re just football fans.’ That’s as naive and ridiculous as saying ‘boys will be boys’ in justifying gender discrimination. Football fans happen to make up a pretty fat percentage of people that live here… so to say football fans get a free pass from the kind of behaviour we expect from other citizens if they shove on a coloured scarf is a ludicrous statement.
They call it bigotry but nothing about it makes you big. If we could re-name it wee laddie-otry it would genuinely be more appropriate.
So I’ll leave you with this thought… many people at the weekend (albeit a minority that ruined it for the majority just as in Belfast and Edinburgh) indulged in thuggish, often violent behaviour with anti-Catholic bigotry running through its core. If this isn’t a catalyst for change, what is?