Questions are being asked, “Is there a sectarian agenda at the heart of Glasgow SNP?”

You’d be forgiven for asking “What’s going on?” at Glasgow City Council as evidence grows of a possible undercurrent of sectarian bigotry within the city chambers and out into the branches of the SNP.

Whilst it could be said that the Orange Order and the Nationalist movement will always have a significant difference of opinion in terms of the union between Scotland and the rest of the UK, this should not lead to any discrimination against members of the Orange Order from SNP politicians in positions of power.

But recently, what seemed like a controlled undercurrent of dislike towards the Orange Order, has now transformed into blatant bigotry and discrimination.  And it seems that there are questionable comments, actions and decisions being taken at many different levels.

The evidence is growing, such as:-

  • The SNP’s John Mason, who was reprimanded by the First Minister for comments made that appeared to be supportive of the IRA in a social media conversation about three British soldiers who had been killed. Mr Mason was asked via twitter to support a private prosecution of those suspected of murdering the three young Scots but replied: “You say Irish murderers. Others say freedom fighters.”  The comments caused huge controversy and the row intensified as Mr Mason initially refused to withdraw his comments. After almost a week had passed, he eventually apologised, only after being instructed to do so by the SNP hierarchy. The First Minister wrote to the families of the soldiers and apologised on Mr Mason’s behalf.

Mr Mason has recently been active on social media criticising the Orange Order and calling for the organisation’s rights to be limited by restrictions being placed on parades.

  • Glasgow City Council SNP Leader Susan Aitken and her deputy David McDonald, who were reported to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland. This was after they refused a bid for a Fan Zone at Ibrox, but were then quoted as saying they welcomed the inclusion of “fan zones as a growing part of the footballing landscape”.
  • SNP candidate Brendan O’Hara who made derogatory sectarian remarks on a footballing forum. Mr O’Hara eventually apologised after the remarks appeared in the media.  He repeatedly called people ‘huns’, a term that the Scottish Government’s own research has identified as unacceptable.
  • The SNP Councillor Russell Robertson, who is currently appearing before the courts charged with acting in an abusive manner, shouting, swearing and making offensive and sectarian remarks. The charge is said to be aggravated by religious prejudice.  This same Councillor has been hand picked by his colleagues to represent them on the public processions committee. That’s right – his SNP colleagues decided he should rule over whether or not Orange Parades should be given permission.
  • And of course, Glasgow City Council has established the first no-go religious zones in Scotland. A number of parades by the Orange Order, or by  other organisations that are Protestant in nature, have been refused permission to march down streets in Glasgow where there is a Roman Catholic Church.  Even when organisers have offered to walk past when the church is empty and closed, this has been rejected and the organisers have been prevented from marching – purely because of their religion.

Something is happening in Glasgow, and it seems the nationalists are at the core of the troubles.  A dangerous alliance is forming to work against Protestant Orangemen and hidden hatred seems to now be crossing over into blatant bigotry.

Looking back, it can be argued that the Roman Catholic Church began wooing the SNP many years ago under the leadership of Cardinal Winning.  This happened because the church was concerned that the then Labour Government was failing to support their values.

The present Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, who is widely reported to be a season ticket holder at Celtic Park, has been publicly supportive of the current SNP government.

Behind the scenes, the links run even deeper. The Director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, Peter Kearney was, in a previous job, the SNP’s political education and training officer, a parliamentary candidate, and deputy leadership candidate for the party in 2000.

“What’s going on in Glasgow?” Sadly, the evidence is all too clear.