Sectarian behaviour is a plight in Scottish society.
It is most dominant in the West of Scotland, the discrimination towards Irish Catholics, many football clubs were set up to combat this Hibernian in 1875, Celtic in 1888 and Dundee Hibernian.
The diversity of Scottish society has changed so much that many clubs don’t have ties to these religions or Irish heritage with supporters being from many religions and ethnic backgrounds. However, despite this, sectarianism is clearly shown in football and within Scottish society, the historical links of clubs Glasgow clubs Celtic and Rangers and Edinburgh’s Hearts and Hibs use songs and chants to promote their political commitment and support for Irish based IRA and UVF.
Most Old Firm matches create hatred, religious tension and intimidation which leads to other sectors of Society.
Sectarianism is a huge social issue, in Scotland with many people having these old-fashioned views – what could be done to fix this?
The “Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012″, While this particular legislation aimed to address real sectarian problems, it was rushed through parliament in 2012 despite criticism from a wide range of lawmakers and politicians.
Sectarianism should not be tolerated under any circumstances. However, under the law that was – Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 – is rendered useless by many other laws such as “breach of the peace” and “threating or abusive behaviour” along with the law being ill-considered and badly drafted.
The latest recorded crime statistics show that the vast majority of these crimes continue to be charged under pre-existing offences – showing that the offensive behaviour act is unnecessary.
Scotland’s pre-eminent historian, Tom Devine, has suggested that this law would “likely to go down in history as the most illiberal and counterproductive act passed by our young Parliament to date” and that “it remains a stain on the reputation of the Scottish legal system for fair dealing”.
The 2015 Morrow report emphasises that the impact of sectarianism varies from community to community and that it is not a one-size-fits-all issue. We need an enduring change in culture and attitudes. That happens in homes, classrooms and communities. It is facilitated by the work of charities and third sector organisations such as Nil by Mouth, and we need to see and support more of that community-led activity.
Educational Programmes Nil-by-Mouth, is an anti-sectarian organisation, with its purpose to create a sectarian-free Scotland. Their efforts seem to have gone unnoticed with not receiving funding from the Scottish Government. However, There is also “Show Bigotry the Red Card” on the backdrop of a 50% rise of hate crimes in Scotland as reported by the BBC, the justice secretary claimed Scotland is “a safer place” as it is at the lowest level of reported crime in 41 years.
The police ran a program which was “highly successful” in cutting down hate crime and cutting sectarian behaviour, with the Chief Superintendent Barry McEwan saying; “Today’s figures provide evidence of our efforts but they also show that we must continue to work within all our communities to encourage reporting and to get the message across that hate crime will not be tolerated.”
However, the Tory MP, Douglas Ross and football referee says the SNP can’t have it both ways, when the number of reported crimes went down they celebrated but when it went up they still think the law works a treat.
The Labour Justice Spokeswomen also had something to say: “As a tolerant and inclusive society, Scotland has no place for such prejudices and the country must unite behind tackling these shameful acts.”
For police perhaps the most important match for the police was the Hibernian v Rangers; William Hill Scottish Cup Final. As it saw 140 arrests during the match with 673 for the whole Scottish football season. This shows that clubs can do much more than they currently are, most just accept it as a way of life, Celtic haven’t however, and in the past banned the Green Brigade for the fines they have imposed on the club.
Yet there always seems to be an uproar to get them back into Celtic Park. Many others believe the football clubs that have fans that behave in this way should ban and/or fine the clubs, meanwhile, others have suggested docking the clubs points.
So perhaps the clubs ought to do better to protect their own interests and possibly come together and unite against the bigotry. The governing body of Scotland should notice that their heels are only as strong as their Achilles.
And considering there isn’t much tackling it from government’s standpoint, and 76% of people witnessing or being subjected to say abuse shows the issue at hand.
Sectarian behaviour in Scotland is a major problem which doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.