The Saltire and the Union Jack

1410893869063_wps_81_GLASGOW_SCOTLAND_SEPTEMBEBy Phil Mac Giolla Bhain

Living in a Border County with Northern Ireland as a neighbour I am regularly reminded of the importance of flags and emblems in that part of the United Kingdom.

They are visible markers of a divided society and a way of marking out territory; they also serve as a warning to outsiders. This is particularly true of what has become known as the PUL (Protestant Unionist Loyalist) community.

Although the nationalist tradition to an extent reciprocates it is the people within the Loyalist community who go for flags, emblems and painted kerbstones in a big big way.

Indeed there have been recent unsuccessful attempts by US Special Envoy Richard Haas to broker a deal on these flags and emblems as a way of moving forward to a shared future.

On George Square last Friday night in the immediate aftermath of the Independence Referendum there was little evidence that the Union Jack tribe would contemplate a shared space in Scotland.

Just like in the Six Counties the only world view they seem to be able to cope with is one where a British monoculture is imposed.

I had been in George Square on the Wednesday night and it was a wonderful uplifting experience.

The ambience was friendly and inclusive.

Then some of the No chaps arrived and established base camp for Blighty just outside of the City Chambers. There may have been thirty of them at the most.

Their banner of choice was the Union Flag although I did see an Orange Order flag too.

Around the war memorial many hundreds of mainly young people waved saltires and sang flower of Scotland. There were some impromptu ditties offered too: “We’re having party when the Union dies” was one of them.

I grew up in a Glasgow where the Ulster Loyalist sub culture connected to Rangers Football Club targeted the Irish Tricolour. Now it sees the Saltire is also viewed as an enemy standard. On the Friday night, according to reports, the British chaps were larger in number and, perhaps emboldened by the result, felt authorised to strut their fascist stuff.

The video of the young woman being pushed to the ground and having the Saltire ripped from her hands was seen by many of Generation Yes on their phones before the sun was up the next day.

When I was an organiser for the SNP in the east end of Glasgow in the 1987 General Election I had argued with my party colleagues that the indigenous haters of Irishness would one day hate a Scotland that dared to think outside of the Westminster box it had been put in.

These are days of great change in Scotland and as an interloper from Ireland I could pick up the changed ambience in my native city. Now I am hearing from people who I know in North Lanarkshire that there is an enmity being directed at the local Labour party that goes beyond politics.

It is the anger of betrayal.

I was born in the late 1950s and there were four central pillars to my socialisation. The Catholic Church, Celtic Football Club, an Irish ethnicity and the Labour Party. This gave the People’s Party ethno-religious bedrock in the mining villages of the Lanarkshire coalfield. It also provided an ethnic bulwark against the rise of Scottish nationalism from the 1960s onwards. Three years before I saw the light of day the Unionist party (what the Tories called themselves in Scotland in those days) won a majority of the Westminster seats in north of the Border.

The suspicion and hostility to the SNP among the Irish community is now clearly generational and in time it will pass.

Only the own goal of the Offensive behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act (which in effect criminalised political expressions of Irishness within soccer stadia) gave that suspicion some extra life within my community.

The Labour Party in Scotland now seems to have two areas of possible support. The middle class areas that strongly voted No and the British nationalist right. This could be an epochal change similar to what happened to the Liberal party in Scotland over a century ago.

In post IndyRef Scotland they are the party of the Union Jack, of standing shoulder to shoulder with Tories. Even the great left-wing maverick George Galloway found himself on the stage with Ruth Davidson being all Churchillian under his black fedora.

In Northern Ireland the Saltire has been an emblem of choice in Loyalist areas.

Faced with the prospect of an Irish Language Act as part of the Belfast Agreement and the St Andrews agreement Loyalism felt the need to say that they too had an imagined língua maternal in the debatable land of the Six Counties. The ‘Ulster Scots’ movement underpinned the Britishness of Loyalism by over identifying with Scotland.

As a Loyalism watcher I will be interested to see if IndyRef has caused this flag to be somehow tainted in the eyes of Ulster’s British tribe.
On the Sunday after the Referendum I was in Celtic Park and I spotted a few Saltires in among the home crowd.

All flags and emblems are socially constructed and that can be altered by significant historical events. The Sanskrit character for health and wellbeing will always be associated with the Third Reich and in the 1980s the European far right attempted to appropriate the Celtic cross.
If IndyRef has ushered in a cultural paradigm shift apropos Scottishness and Britishness then the attitude to the Saltire (who loves it and who hates it) might be one indication of that.

Here in Ulster the fact that 1.6 million people in Scotland wanted out of the United Kingdom is a huge problem for the Ulster Scots (sic) world view.
Scotland is meant to be the bedrock that underpins the Britishness of the guid folk o Ballymena and Portadown. However it matters not a jot to Generation Yes in Scotland that the loyal tribe of Norn Iron now have a Caledonian strand to add to their identity crisis.

Of course the Saltire is for everyone in Scotland and it should not become a divisive symbol, but the chaps who indulged in the Famine Song and Nazi salutes last week in George Square may take a different view.



Categories: Identity

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81 replies

  1. I appreciate the article. I felt uncomfortable in the latter stages of the referendum campaign as No-voting Scots and English celebrities both pledged their allegiance to the union – as thin an alliance as we’ll see for a long time within this island.

    I also felt a little uncomfortable at mentions in many articles (including on Bella) of “across these islands”. Somehow we managed to bring ROI into British politics. I know it was just loose terminology but I thought perhaps we should have been more delicate.

    • The Republic of Ireland is involved in British politics anyway. I do not mean by that that it is ruled by the British state. However, the Irish government was involved in the Good Friday Agreement, and it continues to have a voice and role in the situation in Northern Ireland. The Irish government have said they would welcome a United Ireland, but only if it was achieved democratically. The George Square mob were largely extreme right wing British nationalists/Loyalists. They would have been heavily influenced by Northern Ireland politics. The idea that British politics is like a weather map on the BBC, with the Republic of Ireland cut out, is inaccurate.

    • “across these islands” shouldn’t bother you. Scotland has lots. I should know, I’ve been looking for a house on one. Northern Ireland isn’t an island.

  2. It’s also worth remembering that the Union Jack was used long before the political union of Scotland and England in 1707 was ever dreamed of – it was a symbol of the shared monarch of two independent countries, in the same way that NZ has the union jack as part of its national flag today.

    • the personal union, sharing head of state and currency. common ground but independent government. Why not, the new powers vow will be a constitutional crisis possibly greater than independence.

  3. The whole British Nationalism scene has been brewing for years.
    Remember a certain Gordon Brown talking about “British jobs for British workers”.
    Scary stuff.
    I’d also be wary of this whole extra parliamentary unionist scene hanging around hanging.
    Would you like to be on your own out canvassing next year and meeting up with these characters.
    I know i wouldn’t.
    I hope what their posting on their (British) websites isn’t the future.
    Basically the entire YES camp is a cross between Islamic State and Gerry Adams according to the George Square bully boys.

  4. When was the last time you actually saw a Union flag (it is not a union jack) flying anywhere outside of Ibrox Park or at an Orange Walk? It is basically the flag of the past, of a time when there was an empire and when it meant something in the world. In Scotland nowadays they fly the blue saltire on all public buildings and nobody has a problem with that.
    The role of the saltire will change however. You always saw it at parades in Ulster as the Orangemen saw the Scots as their brethren across the water. I believe we will see less of that in the years to come. And I am sure you will see Scotland’s national flag flown a lot more in places where it never flew in the past. I will say no more.

    • I live in Edinburgh. the Union flag flies above Edinburgh Castle, various government offices, and even over the Scottish Parliament (at half mast after Thatcher died.) Just a few of the many places we can see it in the city.

    • I pass Union flags every day. I’m not a footy fan or the sectarian type but I react to it like you would to an oppressive authority symbol. The flags I pass are in the more priviledged areas and I live in the food bank capital. So, its kinda funny that the famine song is mentioned. As for the mindless violence, this is part of the old divide & conquer routine, fear of the other and for those who don’t think.
      I’m always suspicious of flags.
      Despite them just being a piece of cloth, opposing groups use the same flag to different ends.
      Like the no campaign (mainly in their declarations of rampant nationalism and “braveheart sentiment” belittling rhetoric) and the yes campaign (where it was used to promote everything from said “braveheart sentiment”, independence, hope over fear, innovation, multi-culture,
      fairness and equality).
      Reminds me of Eddie Izzard “Do you have a flag?”
      A powerful tool. but a dangerous one too.

  5. Phil, Agee thoroughly with what you say, even if we’d disagree about football, me being a follower of Glasgow’s oldest SPFL club…lol!! As far as the Labour Party is concerned they are de facto, if not indeed de jure the party of the nice and respectable middle class. Fused with the Unionist die hards who consider them more respectable than the Tories. I too have always thought the biggest danger to Loyalism would not arise in N. Ireland, but here in Scotland a warped notion of which holds a dear place in the heart of every loyalist. However, that vision of Scotland is as outmoded as Brigadoon. Even in its heartlands of Larkhall etc., demographics if nothing else are against it. That should not mean that we will see a recrudence of Loyalist violence on the scale obfuscation Belfast. Frankly, despite efforts to portray the contrary, nationalism in Scotland is now not an issue with a sectarian divide, whatever the case may have been in the past. I would adduce that the division is more related to class than ethnicity. Although as always, in disputes of this nature cleavages run along fault lines that do not always lend themselves to superficial classification.

  6. The more Saltires the merrier.
    The union jack boots can keep their butchers apron.

  7. My Saltire will stay above my shed its the only place I could manage to get it up.Very interesting point of view,I lived for a while across the border in Lifford,and made frequent trips to Strabane Laundry and Guinness reasons.That was back in ’73/’74,have only been back once since then.There was a distinct different feeling when you walked over the bridge and passed the custom post(what was left of it)an ease of tension or perhaps it was my imagination.I think we should be flying our Saltire more often and in more places.

  8. Yep I know what you mean gonzalo1.

    Times change. The Saltire, I believe, is now a symbol of Liberalism. With Liberalism comes tolerance. Tolerance of all religions, ethnic origin, gender, political beliefs, sexuality etc. The proposition was, and still is, TOGETHER we will build a better nation.

  9. Funny that as soon as we kicked out the kailyard/Jocks/shortbread image the Saltire went down the flagpole in unionists eyes.
    Roll on more YES people being elected.

  10. I was glad someone put into words what I have been thinking for the last few months. I too live in the north of Ireland and know just how devisive flags and emblems can be. The last thing anyone needs is for the ethnic problems of the north to become a feature of the quest for independance in Scotland.

    What ever it takes don’t let these people get a foot hold. It is my belief and that of many others around the world that the PUL have run as far as they are going to. They have a panchant for forcing themselves into corners where from they growl and bare their teeth. It will serve no one any good if the same mndset takes root in Scotland.

    In the north they know that their days of dominance are gone never to return. They will fight total integration to the bitter end. Part of this is due to fear, I do understand this and that fear has been addressed numerous times but there is another part that just simply refuse to see the writing on the wall, a sort of ‘thraness’ in their Scottish DNA if you like. Their ‘leaders’ and I use the word lightly, have betrayed the Protestant people of the six counties in the most shameful way. They really are rudderless and that makes then dangerous. My fear is that the 45% will tip the Scottish, Protestant, Unionist over that same precipise as it has in the north of Ireland.

    Please be careful…..

  11. However, the people who were burning the Saltire in George Square last week DO want to turn the Scottish question into an ethnic conflict-it is how they see the world.
    I am confident that they will fail-but the danger they pose must be acknowledged.

    • Phil, it was my impression that a large number of Loyalists came to Edinburgh from Ulster for the OO rally on the 13th, and then stayed until the referendum to see what trouble the could make. Maybe they headed over to Glasgow on Friday night?

      On Thursday 18th I was representing Yes outside a polling station in Edinburgh when a burly young lad with a t shirt and developed muscles and a Northern Irish accent joined the No crowd also outside the polling station. He attempted to start an argument with us but gained no traction. He was sparking for a fight. He then tried to gain some influence with the No crowd, stirring them up, but they weren’t having it either. I could see that these mainly middle class educated matrons were embarassed to be seen associated with this ignorant ill-educated thug, and they cold shouldered him too. He was clearly not part of their group.

      Nothing could be plainer to me that the culture he seems to represent is profoundly un-British, however he sees himself.

      • Thats good to hear and very heartening too that the sort of Scottishness that these people proclaim to have is not ‘real’ and certianally not part of the modern Scotland. Thanks.

      • We in Scotland identify with Robert Burns, not Samuel Rutherford, and have done since 1796 when the much loved bard died. The universalism of Auld Lang Syne and A Man’s a Man For a’ That defines our culture and our values. I find the Ulster Northern Irish profoundly un-Scottish in this regard and my English friends find them un-English and we both agree they are thoroughly un-British. They are an idiosyncratic embarrassment to everyone in the UK but nobody has told them that yet. Although I was raised Church of Scotland I have always sided with the RCs in Northern Ireland, the Gaels, and the republican Irish in general. I feel they are sort of Celtic cousins. But I have never felt any affinity whatsoever with Northern Irish Protestants. I am angry that they seem to be appropriating the Saltire and Scots language as theirs. They have nothing to do with us whatsover.

  12. There is indeed a huge, palpable backlash against the Labour Party in North Lanarkshire. We are disgusted. Socialism and LP, huh, haven’t noticed it for a very long time.

  13. The problem the tartan union jack boots element have is they have no one who’d speak up for them.
    Unionist Murphy, Galloway and Reid come from the same background as Phil.
    Should YES have won we’d have seen the strength of the union jack wavers.
    Possibly we could have been looking at a mini UWC strike from the 1970s.
    Doubt the months would have passed peacefully.
    Even a few hundred Bigots Together willing to cause civil disobedience could have caused chaos.

  14. There’s been a vogue in Northern Ireland recently to fly the Saltire as a unionist flag, interesting then that at the sharp edge of British identity the Saltire may now be seen as a betrayer of unionism. In Scotland it is still a fairly positive and inclusive symbol, would be interesting to get mainstream unionist feedback on whether they still see it as their symbol too post indy ref. I’m not a fleg fan either way but I’m glad the Saltire – so far – has avoided the kind of negative associations the union flag has garnered through the continued actions of some ultra Brit eejits.

    • ” ultra Brit eejits.”
      Very well put Craig.
      #Chapeau

    • I’m with you Craig…..I am wondering too if we will see little or no flying of the Saltire in Balllymena or Portadown. It could however have a positive effect though. Maybe it will dawn on ‘some’ in the PUL community that things really are changing, that things are no longer under their control and going only in their direction. Some will I’m sure sit back and have a good look at just what the referendum did show…..nearly HALF the population of Scotland voted for independence from Britain, that is a huge blow to the PUL community. Just maybe we will see some making that move out of the ghetto. Lets hope so.

      • I’m thinking that maybe the conversation is moving in another direction…..my over all hope is for the 45% to increase by bringing on board the NO’s who were frightened into that vote by the WM brigade invasion. By bringing in the No votes are afraid of the still unknown…and there are unknows, you are taking a leap of faith I want to see a multicultural Scotland come to the fore, embrace the challenge and work as one unit for the better of Scotland. But, there is an elephant in the room that can’t be ignored. Scotland has for centuries been divided on sectarian/religious grounds. I hope I’m right in saying that it is not as blatant as it once was, but, ‘they haven’t gone away you know’…….all i’m saying is just be careful. Some don’t want to be embraced.

  15. Public houses in Glasgow have lost their licenses for sectarian activity in the past. Time to close those pubs where these fascist thugs hang out. Glasgow’s reputation is on the line here, the un-holy alliance between Labour & the Ludge is a disgrace to decent folk! They’re heading for the history books in any case, time to hasten the process.

    • Yes, please! We do need to remember, and I wish the Police had said it, that a good number of the thugs in George Square were those up from the South from the groups of BNP, EDL and Britain First. They are the rent a mobs that will travel anywhere for a good ruck – they also descended on Rotherham and caused a lot of damage etc. in faux outrage at what is happening there. They have to be invited in of course, by their mindless mates.

  16. Workers have no country.Nation states are a way of capitalists organising their wage slaves. Though it is true that wages are the means by which the workers live, it is equally true that wages are the means whereby the workers are robbed. The wage serves no other function than to render possible this robbery.

    Most of us don’t own a single square inch of Scotland.It doesn’t belong to us: we just live here and work for the people who do own it.In or out of the Union, that won’t change.

    In Scotland, society is run in the interests of those who own the
    wealth. They argue among each other over billions of barrels of oil, GDP
    rates, profits and exports, because where the borders lie matters to
    them. Every border is an opportunity to wring cash out of other
    property owners.
    Scotland will remain dependent upon their whims and interests whatever the outcome of the referendum.
    National liberation struggles are capitalist liberation struggles and should play no part in the workers efforts to free themselves from captalist domination.

    Workers worldwide should educate,agitate and organise for the abolition of the wages system and an end to private property and ownership by companies,corporations,cartels, individuals or states.

    Whether government is directed from Westminster or Hollyrood is of no consequence.The enemy is capitalism wherever its government is situated.

    Both Yes and No campaigns insisted they are ‘business friendly’.
    That makes them ‘working class hostile’.Supporters of capitalism.

    The means and instruments for creating and distributing wealth should be commonly owned with free access to wealth and voluntary labour to create it.The workers flag is a Red one.

    ‘Because the condition of the workers of all countries is the same, because their interests are the same, their enemies the same, they must also fight together, they must oppose the brotherhood of the bourgeoisie of all nations with a brotherhood of the workers of all nations.’- Engels, November 29, 1847.

  17. And herein lies the problem with Scotland! So depressingly frustrating. Until we move on from the divisive loyalists and republicans, we will never truly be a free and peaceful country. We will never move on and progress as a country and people as long as we have these in built hatreds.

  18. I live in Belfast and can confirm that the Saltire is used as a (Protestant) sectarian symbol here. I always feel the hackles rise when I see it used in that way.

    That said, not everything in the above article is correct. Members of the Ulster-Scots Language Society insist, in the face of all available evidence, that their speech variety is a language separate from Scots, presumably in the belief that it needs language status in order to counter Irish Gaelic, but possibly also because Lowland Scots in Scotland is strongly associated with nationalism (ironically much more so than Scottish Gaelic). Most Ulster Protestants subscribe to utilitarian views on language and have a rather problematic relationship with Ulster Scots.

    And Protestants in Portadown are mainly Ulster-English (Anglican).

  19. “The Labour Party in Scotland now seems to have two areas of possible support. The middle class areas that strongly voted No and the British nationalist right.”

    The Loyalist right have traditionally distrusted Scottish Labour as too pro-Catholic, of course, but may now change that view, just as white Southern US racists got over their traditional hatred of the Republican Party.

    We must be extremely careful, too, to distinguish between Loyalists and the Rangers support in general, hundreds of thousands of which voted Yes.

    And Celtic Yessers should only wave Saltires IMO if many fans at other clubs do so too. Last thing we need is the media presenting independence as a hate-fuelled Glasgow sectarian issue.

  20. But it isn’t a British monoculture they want to impose. It’s a BNP-PUL culture, which bears no resemblance to any part of the UK, Scotland or England. That’s what these idiots don’t get. They stand alone. Completely alone in the UK they seek to defend. It doesn’t even resonate with Nigel Farage. His vision of Britishness is small Tory middle brow Englishness and for all its faults it bears no resemblance to these ugly troglodytes.

    • They may stand alone but the British establishment uses them for their own ends and that’s when it might get out of hand.

      There are no orange walks in England or Wales because both of those countries are already well established parts of Britain.

      I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if there had been some agent provocateurs out in George Sq.
      We need to be vigilant but the WM establishment will start to remove powers from Holyrood and transfer them to the councils – that will be the Labour lots reward for shafting their own people.

      How do you explain the mind set of folk like Murphy, Galloway and Reid – all Celtic supporting Irish background?

      • Being an Irish Catholic in Scotland does not automatically confer understanding or indeed appreciation of the complex forces at work in building or supporting national identities. Whilst those of us on the Yes side the interrelation between the politics of nationalism on both sides of the Irish Sea are obvious. For too many, particularly middle class Catholics its easy to express support for Celtic and Ireland in a fairly nebulous and non-committal way. Being careful at all times not to adopt any contrary views to the dominant British narrative and restricting their deviance to snatches of the Soldiers song when drunk. All the while knowing that this will have no cost to them whatsoever.
        Scottish independence by it’s very nature challenges these nice cosy assumptions, causing some like George Galloway to resort to concepts of Scottish Nationalism outdated in the 1970’s. Of course amongst these No voters, there are those who remember the SNP’s vote of no confidence, which allowed for the subsequent election of Margaret Thatcher, although there has been a total sea change in Scottish politics since then.
        In conclusion, I would advance two main reasons for Catholic’s voting No, the first and most important I would say, they definitely share with their countrymen and women of different and no religions and that is quite simply class, or self-identified class at any rate. The second reason is age, which again they share, if for slightly different reasons with their fellow Scot’s.
        Incidentally, a professed love for Celtic is in my experience a less than reliable guide to political behaviour.

      • Liz,there are quite a number of Orange Walks in England,Carlisle,Manchester,Liverpool,Brighton,Lewes,in London,they are steadily decreasing in numbers each year though.

  21. Interesting to see the replies on Phil’s own website regarding this very subject.
    Seems half of his followers are in the same camp as Better Together.
    Some are even honest enough to say, “I’m doing okay so it’s no thanks”.
    Btw, they also don’t see any link between voting No and events in George Square.

  22. “Only the own goal of the Offensive behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act (which in effect criminalised political expressions of Irishness within soccer stadia) gave that suspicion some extra life within my community.”

    And rightly so

  23. Fantastic article from phil as always don’t forget to check out phils book on the dark side of being Scottish Irish
    “Minority reporter” a must read for all academics see link below

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00GG1CF3M?pc_redir=1408792873&robot_redir=1

  24. Reblogged this on The Celtic Footsoldiers and commented:
    Excellent post the feeling won’t go away because the unionist undertones,in scotland are louder than ever,its sad that they polluted the referendum with there sectarian hate….

  25. Maybe it’s time now to put away the flags. The Yes movement was and still is about increasing democratic powers for those who live in Scotland so that we all get a more equal chance of deciding how the country is run. The saltire seemed as much a symbol of a cross on a ballot paper as a symbol of Scottish identity and that’s why it was taken up by some of the yessers . Well most of us agreed identity wasn’t the issue. As for that offensive Offensive Act – it will be subject to review soon enough so why don’t football fans organise themselves for that by gathering facts to support removing it from the statute books. Waving bits of cloth about seems to me to be waste of time.

  26. Wow,that’s some rant,see all those people you saw in Buchanan St,there wasn’t one arrest,there’s been 21 and counting arrested,all Unionists,we didn’t kick a pregnant woman,we didn’t take a saltire from a 15 year old child,we didn’t racially abuse two young students from Ghana,we didn’t tell a gay councillor he was a traitor,we didn’t start the fire at the Herald headquarters,we didn’t make Nazi salutes at the cenotaph,we didn’t punch a young lad in Sauchiehall Street,we weren’t exposed on American,Russian,Italian and Spanish TV,you were.!!!

    • ‘The arrests are all unionists’ and you know this how??. You privy to Police info? Fire at herald nothing to do with unionists as well you know. Please stick to facts. I don’t know who torched the labour offices in Dumbarton on Sunday night and thus i don’t go accusing people. The guy that lashed out with his leg was wrong no matter what, also wrong was trying to grab his tannoy off him umpteen times. It’s what nationalists do . They dont want an opposing voice to be heard. They have become everything they purport to hate.

    • You falsely accuse unionists of arson whilst going on about facts. Bunkum. Also, it seems your police mole isn’t up to speed ‘all arrested were unionists’. No, on c4 news a nationalist was led away in cuffs screaming at the cameras!. Rallys. Sigh. Let’s move on eh. The settled will an all that. Can’t you folks accept the democratic process? It just keeps all the division going, it’s as if you thrive on discord, the angst of it all! Ps, on the off beh act, many want that scrapped just so fans of a certain club can freely go about praising terrorist organisations. Buttoneduptheback.com

  27. Did we really stand alone (allies?) ? Where do we stand now and who with ?

    • Last one to fall in western europe. We fell the game was up. You know it. Even some of churchill’s cabinet were advocating a deal with the nazis so bereft of hope were we. Thank The LORD wne didn’t. Now? Stronger united, but nothing is ever perfect. Sinful human nature will see to that no matter what. Better together, it’s what we voted for. We run with that. Otherwise chaos gets a foothold. Democracy, it matters.

    • Witness99,as a matter of fact I was indeed privy to information from a good friend who works at Windmillmill Police station in Motherwell.
      You say “It’s what nationals do,” facts are there want a single arrest,not one so don’t come on here spouting nonsense.
      Sauchiehall St/Buchanan St was a sight to behold prior to the result and although we were disappointed,we didn’t feel the need to threaten anyone,nor throw a bottle at the crowd the way one of the female Unionists did.
      There will be a rally in George Square on the 12th of October and a huge rally in Edinburgh on the 29 of November,why don’t you come along and see how decent people behave,not like the thugs you associate with.

    • Deary me witness99,one YES voter arrested and I missed it,is that the best you can come out with,seriously,you are the weakest link,goodbye.

  28. Despite my Scottish heritage, I grew up outside of Scotland until I came to live there as a student. I have since been learning what it means to be Scottish. I have been very confused as to why the union jack and Rangers FC mixed. I have also been confused as to why others are so threatened by the saltire. I am only beginning to comprehend that there is a cultural undercurrent at work passed down from generation to generation. I hope we can overcome these tribal tendencies to become a Scotland that works together whatever background people have.

    • Africaigs, this is what we all want, an all inclusive, multicultural Scotland where everyone can be a part of. It sounds great but the practicality is another matter. Someone is always going to be offended or feel marginalised. What do we do about those people? I don’t have the answers. Thats why the north of Ireland is still tettering on the edge. I just don’t want it to get out of control there like it has here, please learn from our mistakes. Don’t let flags and emblems become the focus…..unity at all times.

  29. Sorry, after the third paragraph i just moved on……

  30. As a Northern Irish person, of 17th Century Scottish origin, I must admit I was pleased and relieved that the no vote prevailed in the referendum : that being said, even if there had been a Yes vote it would have made no difference to my attitude to Scotland and its people. For ancestral, religious, cultural and linguistic reasons Scotland is the only part of Britain that I feel any close connection with and that would not have changed had the Yes side prevailed, I would have wished the Scottish people well and would have hoped they had made the right decision. How could it be otherwise when I can see the Scottish coast from my house, twelve miles at its closest point, and was brought up in a rural Co Antrim valley where most people had Scottish surnames, attended Presbyterian churches and the vast majority spoke broad Scots dialect. To say, as MBC does, that the likes of myself and the community I was brought up in, have nothing to do with Scotland and have appropriated the Scots language is ludicrous and displays, as Phil himself frequently does, a complete ignorance of the historic interaction between Ulster and Scotland and the socio-linguistic history of the former province.
    To go off at a tangent much has been made of the apparent fact that 16-17 year olds voted heavily in favour of independence and were betrayed by older No voters. I happened to catch B.B.C. Radio 4’s “More or Less” programme yesterday afternoon : someone queried the origin of the poll which showed that 70% + of 16-17 year olds voted Yes. Apparently the figure was derived from a survey conducted by the Tory peer Lord Ashcroft of 2,000 voters, of which only 14 were voters in the 16-17 category, 10 of whom voted Yes. As the presenter of the programme drily observed a poll based on such a very small sub-total is likely to be a fluke and that the larger sample of 18-24 year olds, which showed a No majority is more likely to be representative. Or perhaps it was all part of a wider B.B.C. plot.
    And, contrary to popular opinion, Northern Ireland is not tettering on the edge because of disputes over flags, they are the obsession of a small minority, most people are getting on with their lives and have more to concern themselves with than these shards of coloured cloth.

    • On the subjects of flags and polls we could go round and round forever.
      Unfortunately, people just getting on with their lives is part of the problem.
      We do have more to concern ourselves with. That is exactly what we, collectively,
      are doing. Sitting doing nothing or standing still or remaining silent is detrimental to
      us all.

    • William, I am fully aware of the historic connections between Ulster and Scotland. There was no difference in the seventeenth century. It is the harsh rasping culture of Northern Irish Protestant identity today that as a modern Scot I feel zero affinity with. When I meet Northern Irish Protestants they feel like an alien race. Totally un-Scottish. They lack warmth and generosity of spirit, they are tougher, meaner, and narrower minded than modern Scots. I do understand what has made you that way. But you need to get out of it. It’s a trap, and it’s twisting you. Let it go.

  31. What an utterly, utterly execrable article.

    I am a Celtic supporter but unlike Phil am not catholic, have never voted Labour (or SNP), have no Irish ancestry and did not vote Yes in the referendum. Why do these traits always have to be presented as some sort of package, with the result that if you do not tick all of the boxes you are made to feel a less worthy Celtic supporter?

    More importantly, in what way does the behaviour of the George Square Neanderthals represent in any way, shape or form the two million plus (the 55 movement if you like) who voted No? 99.9% of us utterly condemn their behaviour outright. It is pathetic to try and tarnish the clearly stated democratic will of the nation by shamelessly dragging them into the debate at every single opportunity. And it was the style of the Yes campaign to bully and shout over the silent majority, many of whom were frankly scared to state their view. This was apparent both in the street and on the televised debates where Alec and Nicola consistently behaved as a couple of bullies.

    And what does the Independence debate have to do with the football club which plays at Ibrox, many of whose supporters actually voted Yes? Just another lazy assumption that people automatically sign up to a package of views and are incapable of considering them individually on their own merits.

    As for your comments about the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, this is a bit like saying Hitler was an OK guy apart from murdering six million Jews and invading half of Europe.

    Finally although you don’t state it in this article let’s nail this No voters voted out of fear nonsense. We all (Yes and No) voted in the way we did because we feared the alternative would be worse for our country, ourselves or both. This fear varied in how well informed it was, but to suggest that Yes voters were better informed is arrogant nonsense. There were undoubtedly some No voters who based their decision on a fear of the unknown, but many Yes voters based their decision on an equally blind optimism that change had to be good. And, of course, there were a number of significant unknowns about the consequences of independence that the Yes campaign did not address.

    I fully accept that 1.6 million is a very large number of people, but the failure by some to accept that 2 million is a much larger number of people is frightening, and this sort of rabble rousing jobby is typically symptomatic.

  32. Apart from the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act is a bit like saying that Hitler was a good bloke if you ignore six million dead Jews and invading half of Europe.

  33. Love the way supporters of the No side always blank the union jack wavers in George Square.
    “Nothing to with me” is the cry.
    Yeh and the same No voters would be the first to decry YES if it was the other round.
    If you voted No that puts you in the same camp as the George Square union jack boot brigade.
    Celtic supporter or not.

    • Don’t agree with the more industrial language in this article but the clips show it wasn’t all one way traffic…on the contrary…. http://themanthebheastscanttame.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/yes-tapo-agent-provocateurs/

      • While I’m actually in your camp, I don’t think this adds anything to the debate. The real point is that the behaviour of a group of individuals who could be counted in double figures does not in any way, shape or form represent over two million Scottish citizens. To pretend that they do is completely and utterly pathetic, and your average Yes voter knows this. Grasping at straws.

      • Brucecurdy…I agree it doesn’t help. The point was the incident at George sq is being exploited to cause further division.the incident itself was anything but clear cut. I don’t think all these yes rallys help either. We should just accept it and ensure Scotland gets the best deal possible from the devo talks.

    • By Phil’s reckoning, the George Square ‘union jack wavers’ could be counted as significantly more than thirty. Let’s be generous and double that to sixty. That would then account for 0.00003% of the No voters. So you’re absolutely right “Nothing to with me” [sic] is my cry, and rightly so, but absolutely wrong that had forty eight (pro rata) Yes voters behaved “if it was the other round” [sic] I would be decrying anybody.

      Your comment about being in the same camp is barely worth a reply. So if Hitler liked Mozart, that means that anybody else who liked Mozart is in the same camp as Hitler. Grow up.

  34. Anyone who quotes the bastion of truth that is the Daily Mail has already lost the argument

  35. Fact is Scottish/British Unionism has a very very sinister side to it.
    Problem being that many No voters lined up with this.
    How do you explain Labour openly canvassing with a well known organizer from the National Front.
    Can’t think of any point i’d line up on the side of Ukip/BNP/NF etc etc
    But Labour did.

  36. This nonsense about accepting the democratic process is a complete chimera: I maybe wrong, but I’ve no knowledge of groups of Yes voters seriously advocating armed resistance to British rule. In a similar vein. If say, a party loses an election, they don”t just pack up and say that’s it then, everything we’ve been saying for years is a crock of shit!
    Sure, they analyze their arguments and perhaps make tactical adjustments to their policies, but almost invariably their main policy or raison d’etre if you will remain the same.
    So tell me the great threat to democracy posed by the Yessirs pleas do!

  37. Reblogged this on clickysteve and commented:

    Interesting thoughts on flags and symbols.

  38. It’s a wonder the Union Flag is flown with pride throughout the UK as it is. It has become, not a symbol for union, but the forceful suppression of peoples the world over. Back in 1745/6 it was used by Cumberland the Butcher to clear the Highlands for sheep. Later it was the emblem under which we brutally conquered less-developed parts of the globe in the name of Empire. Now it is used to ‘bring British standards of democracy’ to the Middle East, hiding the real reason of being the agent of big business and the arms industry to exploit natural resources. George Monbiot says, ‘Why stop at Isis, we could bomb the whole Arab World’ – and make the arms companies, the oil companies, the mining companies, the security industry, the surveillance industries and all their suppliers much richer. War is good for business. People who lead us into war seem to do very well (Blair and Co) and it’s all done under the Union flag and the Star-spangled banner.
    Do Scots really want to fly this disreputable genocidal rag? I think we have something more benign in the Saltire.

Trackbacks

  1. 45+ News Round up 25/9/14 | 45 Plus News
  2. The Saltire and the Union Jack – Awakened State

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