On Celtic FC

I was criticised on twitter the other day by a Celtic fan because I tweeted that I found it embarrassing and shameful, given the history and raison d’etre of Celtic FC, that there were fans who supported Westminster retaining control over Scotland.

This fan tweeted back “the only embarrassment is that there are other Celtic fans who fail to accept others’ opinions – this club is open to all”. He did not see the contradiction in his own statement. He certainly doesn’t do irony.

I had not refused to accept the opinion I tweeted about – I was merely stating that I find it shameful and embarrassing that fans of a club founded to put food in the mouths of hungry children were supporting a government that have constantly attacked the poor, the hungry, the sick and the vulnerable by cutting benefits to the point where literally hundreds of thousands are using food banks because they are no longer able to feed their children.

I do find it difficult to understand how even tories can do what they do, let alone how anyone from a country like Scotland can support that government in the face of so much poverty and desolation. I mean, just look at the place – Govan, the East End, Cumbernauld, Dundee. Even Edinburgh has areas you spend your whole life wishing you were out of. These examples are only the areas I know about. I suspect there are many more.

It is not just tories, though. Labour governments over the last 30 years have pursued similar policies and failed to reverse the worst excesses of the thatcherite years. It is an incontrovertible fact that Westminster governments of whatever shade clearly subjugate a nation that continually vote to remove their policies from Scotland.

There are only three things that are important to the Westminster government as far as Scotland is concerned:

1) the tax raised from the people of Scotland – because we contribute more to Westminster than we get out of it.

2) the proceeds of the natural resources from Scotland and the surrounding waters – none of which has gone to Scotland. All of it has been taken by Westminster to balance their books.

3) Scotland is the only place far enough away from London to give them a decent chance of surviving a first strike nuclear attack.

It is not only embarrassing that there are Celtic fans supporting this continued subjugation of Scotland, it is utterly mystifying to me.

For a wee while, I lived a couple or so miles from Celtic Park. I grew up with the sectarian prejudice of being from a catholic family. I grew up with the racist prejudice of being from a family with an Irish name and history.

I have also lived in St.Paul’s and Montpelier, Bristol, where the Black and Asian communities were ghettoised along with the poorest English families.

I lived in the North London squatter communes when I had no job, no money and no food, but was able to eat from the generosity of people who were willing to offer food in exchange for my labour, skills and know-how.

I lived in Singapore when the Raj was finally dying under the weight of opposition from the multiracial Singaporeans who were desperately sick of the arrogance of the rulers in London and the plundering of their treasures.

These times and places shaped my beliefs. They educated me to change from an altar boy and turned me into an atheist because I could not (and still cannot) see any evidence that any god exists. To this day I have utmost respect for anyone who sincerely believes in god. Any god. I admire the ability of those that have that faith to hold on to it despite the evidence to the contrary.

It sticks in my craw, though, that there are those within the support, and perhaps, the club hierarchy that seek to ensure that the power in Westminster stays in Westminster.

It sticks in my craw that there are those attached to the club (that was founded to feed the hungry children and grandchildren of the Irish refugees from An Gorta Mhor, and the poorest Scots who were ghettoised in Glasgows’ East End in particular) that would seek to ensure that Scotland is forever subjugated by Westminster.

It sticks in my craw that there are those who sing songs of Irish heroism and rebellion and the founding of the Republic that seek to deny the same right of passage for Scotland.

It is for me embarrassing, shameful and mystifying.

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