My attention was drawn to the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) blog yesterday, also covered by Joe O’Rourke on the Association site. SCVO Director of Pubic Affairs, John Downie, writes about the “proposed bill on sectarianism” but seems to get muddled in his role as a director of SCVO and using SCVO resources to speak as a Rangers fan; in this instance blaming Catholic schools for sectarianism. How ironic.
“We’ve previously seen Rangers fans outraged by Celtic goalie Artur Boric crossing himself during games but less bothered – obviously – by about our own players (like Vladimir Weiss last season) doing the same thing.”
“Our own players”! Is SCVO some closed shop where they talk about Artur Boruc as a “Celtic goalie” and Vladimi Weiss as one of our “own”?
So far, so disturbing, but Downie then uses the article to ride to the rescue with:
Personally, as someone who grew up in the East End of Glasgow and lives in the west of Scotland, I agree with some of what Conservative MSP John Lamont says. In my opinion one key causes of sectarianism is Scotland continuing to have separate denominational and non-denominational schools.”
So, if only we didn’t have Catholic schools, players like Artur Boruc and “our” Vladimir Weiss would be able to cross themselves free of harassment. Bizarrely, Downie’s article is subtitled “treating the symptoms not the causes”. I don’t think he was trying to suggest it’s best to treat the symptoms.
The cause of intolerance is not differences in ethnic, religious or sexuality, it is ignorant bigots. It is ludicrous to suggest tackling intolerance by assimilating people into some mono-culture. It’s downright dangerous to blame a minority for intolerance of, and by, them, a sentiment that will only fan the flames of hatred.
The European Examiner reports that various politicians have called for Mr Downie’s removal but SCVO chief exec, Martin Sime, apparently sees nothing wrong in SCVO running a blog discussing one of “our” Rangers players and the “Celtic goalie”, while simultaneously blaming educationally successful faith schools for sectarianism. SCVO has offered a metaphorical No Surrender to resignation calls.
A brief comment for those who don’t live in Scotland…. Attitudes like this once prevailed but are harder to find these days. We are a modern, progressive, society, for the most part.
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