Winston Smith’s post yesterday has provoked some reaction, as I thought it might.
Winston himself has provided a lengthy follow-up piece, but first I want to offer you Falloch’s opinion in which he goes through Winston’s piece and comments on it. Falloch’s comments are in bold.
I will see you at the end of Falloch’s comments in time to introduce Winston’s further words of wisdom.
“I’m not a football fan and I generally wish you would all concentrate on more important issues. But, I have to say, there is a sense that Celtic’s victory last night was one of those special historic moments. It’s a great result for Scotland too and goes beyond football.”
What a way to warm up your audience, put them on the back foot immediately with a little patronising. The first sentence is a bit wordy though Winston, you could have shortened it to “Halfwits, listen to me!”
Sport does indeed occasionally reach out past its own sphere, unfortunately though more often than not this is the result of politicians attempting to utilise it for their own ends (Salmond and his Saltire at Wimbledon, anyone?). However, I’m honestly not sure that last night was one of those occasions, as great as it was. I really do not believe that the result and Celtic’s subsequent inclusion in today’s UEFA Champions League draw (Barca again!) has had, or will have any effect, profound or otherwise on Scottish society other than very happy Celtic supporters.
The result (not the game itself, because you don’t subject yourself to anything so trivial) may have enticed you to put down “Lanark” for a moment or two, but I think that’s the extent of it.
“Little wonder then that Rangers fans are hurting today. They hurt because they have separated themselves from Scotland. Rangers fans revel in Scotland’s failures nowadays, not our successes. Just recently on a Rangers forum, for example, I was shocked to read that a majority of them wished England success in a football game against Scotland.”
If The Rangers Football Club Plc fans are hurting at all, it is due to the competitive nature, at varying levels, scope and intensity, of the relationship they have with Celtic fans. I would be doubtful if Scottish identity plays a part, primarily because I think most of them castigate Celtic and Celtic fans for being Irish and not Scottish/British (manifest in the songs they apparently STILL sing), whether the fans or the club have claimed such an identity or not.
Indeed, what about those fans that would support the Irish national football team in a match against Scotland, would you be “shocked” at this betrayal of Scotia? You say “we aspire to be tolerant of varying faiths, religions, and cultures”, yet you seem fairly intolerant of support for the English football team from anyone living or born in Scotland.
You probably are not aware, seeing as you are not a football fan (why would you be!), but a Scottish-born ex-Celtic player was continually verbally abused at football grounds the length and breadth of the country for having the temerity to choose the Irish national team over the Scottish national team. Are you aware that the largest minority in Scotland is the English? We are in the realms of birth, blood and belonging here, and unfortunately accents identify a man as being different before his attackers ask him where he was born – you can ask the many English people who are verbally and physically assaulted on the streets of Scotland.
In your analysis that fans of The Rangers Football Club Plc “have separated themselves from Scotland”, you reveal the dark Janus-faced nationalism which a lot of people fear, leading them to wonder that if a ‘Yes’ vote is achieved next September, how will all those who voted ‘No’ be treated?
You ask us (Celtic fans) to put aside our historical grievances: firstly, I’m not sure that ALL Celtic fans do have historical grievances, but those of an Irish nationalist persuasion certainly can’t proclaim their political beliefs (yes, some football fans think of things other than football, who knew eh?!) for fear of prosecution thanks to legislation passed by the current Scottish nationalist government.
“Celtic fans need to understand that there is a growing rejection of what Rangers stood for, all across Scotland. Proof of that is there for all to see, in the groundswell of opposition to Rangers being crowbarred into the SPL last year, in voting trends, in football forums up and down the country, on the streets and in coffee shops — almost everywhere.”
I’m unsure as to how voting trends show a rejection of Unionism (I’m assuming that is what you mean by “what Rangers stood for”). Obviously the vote for the Conservatives has been steadily dropping since the late 1980s, although it has maintained at circa 500,000 for the past few general and local council elections. It is well documented that there are people voting for the SNP who don’t want independence, and those who vote for unionist parties that do. It could be argued The Rangers Football Club Plc also stood/stand for the neo-liberal model of using other people’s money to generate private wealth, and it can be construed that both Salmond and Swinney are keen devotees of that doctrine due to their contention that an indy Scotland would/should be able to borrow on the international financial markets due to the strength of the oil reserves.
What about the connection between the SNP and Jim McColl (Scotland’s most successful entrepreneur according to the SNP, and keen advocate of the Yes vote – is he considered a bad unionist in your analysis? Do you know that he is a The Rangers Football Club Plc? supporter and possible future owner? A The Rangers Football Club Plc supporter and not a unionist, mind-blowing eh?!)
“Outside of Kinning Park, the Union Jack is considered offensive just about everywhere in Scotland. Scottish people generally want nothing to do with Northern Ireland’s problems, except where we might help fairly resolve them, and we aspire to be tolerant of varying faiths, religions, and cultures.”
Again, your aspirations may need a little work, because you certainly don’t appear to be tolerant of those cultures that hold the Union Flag (the ‘Jack’ is flown on a ship) as central to their identity, or are you playing to the gallery here? Are ok with the SNP banning expressions of Irish nationalism?
Also, you possess huge generalisations about the attitudes and loyalties extant in Scotland and the Scottish people.
“We need Celtic and Celtic fans to play their part in the forthcoming referendum and vote favourably for independence. It just makes sense. Celtic could be the true champions of Scotland in that competition, and Scotland could make real progress towards building a new, better, country, making us all winners.”
Who is the ‘We’? Are Celtic fans not currently part of your group? And if there is a ‘We’, who is the ‘Them’?
“vote favourably for independence” – are there implications if anyone doesn’t?
“If you can imagine a Scotland that invested in its economy and created dignified jobs for people, if you can imagine a Scotland that didn’t take part in these evil foreign wars but vehemently opposed them, imagine a culture of hope and optimism instead of one that reduced people to bitterness and poverty (in a Scotland that didn’t dump half of its population on the scrap-heap), if you can imagine all that, you can have it. It’s that simple.”
Imagine a world where the international system of finance and industry doesn’t exist!
“So, I am asking all Celtic fans to put all their historic grievances to one side. You can always go back to them, if you want to. Get behind the Yes campaign and you could do more to undermine those representatives of Unionism and their vile agenda than you ever will on a football field. That and more.”
The irony is that the singing of certain songs and the waving of particular flags may have, in some way small or large, helped the Yes campaign if they hadn’t been banned.
So, Celtic fans can forget their historic grievances (whatever they are, and if they have them) until the Yes vote is obtained, and we can return to them afterward. Implying that we will still have grievances in an indy Scotia?
“Posted by Winston Smith”
Winston, maybe it was the patronising opening sentence, or your facile under developed argument, or maybe your intolerant and uneducated approach to the subject matter which made me write this trite reply. Maybe it was a combination of all three, I don’t know. But what I do know is that Celtic supporters and those who support other football teams (I know, why would you!), including The Rangers Football Club Plc, and also people who do not follow football at all (I don’t look down on you for it Winston, well…maybe a wee bit), are not an homogenous group, just like the Scottish society.
Posted by Falloch
And now we have Winston’s follow up comments – I should make clear that neither writer has seen the other’s response (until now) so if there are overlaps, or you feel matters are not addressed fully, that will be why.
Feel free to chip in with the independence debate in the comments!
Take it away Winston!
As expected, responses to my post from those of a Rangers supporting persuasion are entirely negative. Disappointing that they are not alone in that though.
The negative responses seem to fall into a couple of categories which I’d like to try and respond to.
1) We hate or don’t trust the SNP and / or Alex Salmond.
Nobody is asking you to trust Salmond or the SNP. We have a choice to make that goes way beyond party politics. The SNP secured our opportunity to make a decision on independence, but we owe them nothing. After independence, we can create a new political system that accommodates and reflects the will of the people. It will be democratic and you can vote for whatever party and policies you want. Compare that to what you have now — there are more Pandas than Tory MPs in Scotland, yet here we are again being dragged into a war by the Tories.
2) We need more info on how an independent Scotland would function in terms of economics and politics. What about the pound, Europe, etc, etc?
There are a million important questions we should be discussing. But let me throw some light on a huge conspiracy at the heart of this whole debate, a conspiracy that implicates the media, particularly the BBC, and most political parties in Scotland who are aware of the downright dishonesty of the debate so far and how important it is to control it by any means.
First of all, all those questions are being squarely directed at the SNP. There is rarely a day that goes by where we don’t hear of some news report that includes the words “independence” and “warning” and the SNP are put on the TV and expected to have all the answers. If they don’t have the answers, then independence is risky, that’s the narrative.
But those questions should be getting directed at all political parties, not just the SNP. Don’t we have a right to know how Labour would act if the people democratically voted for independence? What would the Labour Party do with the pensions or Trident in an independent Scotland? What about the Liberals and the Tories?
This is the trick, pin responsibility for every possible eventuality on the SNP. Don’t even ask Labour or anyone else what they will do if the people vote for independence. It’s very sinister when you think about it.
A lot of people are asking about these things and the truth is you are being deprived of a grown up discussion on the subjects. It’s a point blank refusal to take the possibility of independence seriously, and a point blank refusal to let you discuss it like adults.
We should all be discussing a variety of policy options on trident, the pound, the EU, etc, from all political parties, but instead the focus is only on the SNP who are responsible for everything.
Don’t believe me? Show me one link where Labour, the Tories, and Liberals are asked to explain what their policies would look like in an independent Scotland, on Trident, on the economy, the currency, pensions, the EU, NATO, etc, etc.
Saying you are against independence isn’t good enough: if you are asking the SNP what policies they would pursue after the referendum, you should be asking Labour and everyone else too.
Looking at it like that, when you think about it, the SNP are the only party that have at least tried to involve you in a grown up debate.
Posted by Winston Smith