Across the world, St Patrick’s Day sees the Irish diaspora taking to the streets for parties, celebrations and parades in their respective cities. Everywhere that is, except for Glasgow.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Paisley Labour MP Jim Sheridan made headlines after he voiced his opposition to St Paddy’s day parades in the city, arguing that the Irish aren’t an ethnic minority and that facilitating such parades is “living in the past”.
It may be a surprise to Jim to hear that there was a St Patrick’s Day parade through Glasgow city centre today, yet there wasn’t a tricolour or oversized Guinness hat in sight. Rather, the parade was being held by extremist loyalist faction the Regimental Blues – and what’s more, it had been fully sanctioned by Labour-run Glasgow City Council. Incredibly, the march had been allowed to go ahead on the same afternoon as the Scottish League Cup final, with Celtic taking on Dundee United at Hampden, and passed several packed Celtic pubs on its route near the city’s Gallowgate.
With the Dennistoun Rangers Flute Band (yes that’s their real name) leading the march, around 60 supporters also tagged along as it made its way from loyalist enclave Bridgeton along London Road and High Street, culminating at George Square. There, a short ceremony was held at the Cenotaph, before it returned to the east end along Duke Street. A large section of the city was effectively shut down for the duration of the walk, with the police primarily concerned with chasing away anyone wearing green from near its route, an easier option than restraining anyone on the march itself.
The Regimental Blues are a self-proclaimed “pressure group campaigning for the Loyalist Community in Scotland”. They’ve long made it clear that they view any expression of Irish culture in Glasgow as tantamount to support for terrorist groups, which is ironic given how big fans of proscribed groups (i.e. the UVF) they are themselves. In 2013, their chairman Kris McGurk put his case to the council for why the Blues should be allowed to march up the Gallowgate – a street lined with Celtic pubs that has seen violent clashes over Orange marches in the past, saying:
There’s no point in dressing it up. It will cause tensions. But for them for the simple fact they support terrorists.
Unsurprisingly, their march didn’t get the go ahead on that particular occasion. Today, however, the Regimental Blues were allowed to all but march through the Gallowgate, with their route taking them both within earshot of it and right in front of several Celtic pubs near Glasgow Cross. That serious public disorder was avoided – today at least – is more thanks to good luck than any skilful planning on behalf of the council or police. Quite why they were also allowed to carry spiked, weapon-like flagpoles, which we believe to be illegal, remains unknown.
But beyond the public order issue, a simple question remains: why were a hundred bigots from the loyalist fringe allowed to march through a city centre to “celebrate” the national day of a country they despise? I’m sure they’ll justify by saying that the St Patrick’s cross is, after all, one of the component flags of their dearly held Union fleg, but their St Paddy’s banner from last year’s march, with its slightly sinister sign-off from “your friends at the Regimental Blues”, doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence when it comes to their intentions.
While the arrival of PEGIDA Scotland in Edinburgh next weekend will inevitably spark a media frenzy, much the same bigots marched through Glasgow today with the explicit intention of riling up the Irish community and there has barely been a murmur of dissent. For anyone doubting the links between these organisations, check out the charming James Campbell, who we believe works for the council, and his public social media posts below:
For a long time, the simplest thing for the authorities in Glasgow to do has been to allow bigots to march whenever they want – with Labour councillors even going so far as to cut secret deals with them ahead of elections. While the Orange Order continually invoke “tradition” to justify their marches, that line of argument doesn’t really fly with the Regimental Blues, who’ve only existed for a few years as a sort of EDL/Lodge mash-up, intent on standing up to the “onslaught and eradication of [loyalist] culture and ways of life”.
Marching down the Gallowgate is some kind of twisted Holy Grail for the Regimental Blues, with the presence of a few Celtic pubs and an Irish Republican shop seeming to them to be the greatest injustice in Glasgow and an affront to their culture. The next big event on their calendar is a mysterious “New Campaign Launch” on Saturday 4 April. Its mooted location? The Barras.
Deary me. Maybe when their football team stops being such a shambles they’ll have something else to believe in other than a futile crusade to wave a union fleg in front of Timland. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic – and potentially dangerous.
Like this post..
Happy Paddy’s Day.
Thought the most interesting part is that word for word and picture the entire thread is on a couple of loyalist blogs.
The thought of some right-wing cretin with a fetish for Northern Irish politics and a side dish of John Knox reading “flowers” does amuse me.
Btw, i thought regimental blues was a jazz band.
Also why are you hiding behind “admin” why cant you have the balls to post the article using your real name, you afraid that it will show you up for the bigoted Protestant hating bigot that you are.. Your article is nothing but an attack on the Protestant community that you would probably like to see eradicated
I suppose since Glasgow Labour were criticised for allowing this march/demo, we will get equal criticism in the article for the Scottish Government that failed to call a summit to discuss this “shame-game” and failed to proceed to enact illiberal legislation to ban this sort of thing?
No?? Why not?
Don’t play party politics with sectarianism?
The point was not about NOT criticising GLP. It was about only criticising GLP,
GLP are the only agency that tried to stand up to the number of OO marches and related events they were having to police. They were taken through the courts and had their arses kicked by the legal establishment for trying to stand up to them.
Meanwhile, a Scottish Government which could enact laws to give councils like Glasgow the powers to do something stands idly by, in stark contrast to their response to a football shame game where they were very quick to introduce stupid legislation.
This council and this government allowed this march. Partial criticism of one and not the other is evidence of a partisan political bias and suggests more interest in kicking Labour than in stopping these marches.
As I said- no party politics in sectarianism.
A strange contradiction in your argument – you state the Scottish Govt legislation was ‘illiberal’ yet decry the fact that it wasn’t enacted? Could this be due to the deafening chorus of opposition from “Scottish” Labour – especially in Glasgow – who have never tried to tackle sectarianism in Scotland since the 60’s (I am old enough to remember some of their toxic election leaflets from the 1968 council elections, aimed at the SNP – Home rule = Rome rule). No wonder sectarianism thrives in Scotland when Labour use it for their own narrow advantage!
I am afraid you have misunderstood my point. The OBaF Act was Illiberal but it was enacted. What the Scottish Govt. did not enact was any legislation to help Councils stand up to the limitation of the right to March. Limitation within reason would not have been illiberal. We could have protected the right to free expression but still controlled the plethora of Orange and related marches that take place now throughout the year and not just in the 2nd week of July.
Yet the one Council that did try to stand up to that scourge was the Glasgow Labour Council and the courts made them back down. That was when a bi-partisan approach from the Government could have helped. Legislation time could have given them the power to control parades and marches from spreading as they have done.
Instead, to their shame, they chose to take up parliamentary time with a Bill developed on the back of a game that saw 3 players sent off. A shameless piece of political opportunism, populism and snobbery.
Contrary to your other point, it was the SNP government that let the Jack McConnell educational initiatives slide because it wanted to put its own tartan paint on some legislation. Their consultation was cursory, their drafting was “mince” (according to several non politically aligned Sheriffs) and they have handed over the interpretation of what constitutes “offensive behaviour” to ill-educated police personnel and they will not even attempt to justify their rationale.
The SNP are not an anti-RC party any more than the Labour Party are entirely RC in Glasgow (When you have bi-lateral ears you will recall bi-partisan jibes). This is not an issue on which to play party politics. The SNP, having done other good things, totally messed up in this area. They were even offered a chance to take the legislation home and think again but they declined the chance.
The OBaF Act is destined for the dustbin, no matter who wins elections because bad legislation will always die. Hopefully this time, instead of re-drafting it to help ‘Even up the score” on football prosecutions, they will instead take time to consult widely and produce balanced legislation on managing parades and marches. That will mean taking on the Orange Order and I make no sectarian point when I state boldly that they have not shown the stomach to do that even once.
The Glasgow Labour Party at least tried. It failed. It lost its court battle but at least they took them on.
That is why, on this specific case, you have the wrong enemy in your sights. Fight them at the election for all you wish but if you attempt to paint them as being in bed with the OO then you are just as guilty as those you heard stating that slogan about the SNP in 1968. Whoever said that about the SNP, and I trust it is not an Urban Myth, knew nothing about Willie Wolfe the SNP leader at the time.
BTW, I lived in Glasgow all my life and I am old enough to say that I never ever heard that jibe directed at the SNP by anyone other than the Orange Order and religious Unionists.
When will people see that scotland needs to shake this sectarian filth from its streets we are a backword nation when it comes to racist bigotry sectarian nonsense and some parents are still brainwashing there kids with it all lets learn from mistakes made in the past .
I am a prodasent and I think this is out of order they are just asking for trouble
Ye couldnae make it up. Really!
Shame on you jim sheridan its a day of celebration for the irish all over the world both catholic and protestant alike so if we celebrate st andrews day does that mean we all support the SNP no it doesn’t .but to be honest the loyalist in scotland properly celebrate saint Georges day as they are loyal to england and the crown . they are badly educated people
your a prodesent are you…well im a proud protestant
go to school and learn to spell, instead of going to chapel everyday to be sectarianated instead of educated
St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland (Northern and Southern) And the St Patricks flag makes up part of the union flag of our country. I’ve never read such one sided dribble in all my life. Go get your stupid hat on and fly your tri colour because thats whats St Patricks (not paddies) day is all about isn’t it
I’m trying really hard to see it but I have no idea what your problem is?
Fucking shameless Huns gave no idea what they’re at. Hope they all March off a fucking bridge the ignorant racist bastards
I was enjoying your story and then you had to slag of r.f.c who until then had nothing to do with it so now I take it for granted your nothing but a Catholic celtic fan well done for ruining your story .
The Regimental Blues hardly play down the fact that support for Rangers FC forms a crucial part of their identity so why should we? Loyalism doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s foolish to suggest that several years of complete disarray at Rangers, one of the biggest cultural institutions in the country, hasn’t had an impact on how the loyalist community perceives themselves and their position in society, self-evident in the defensive language the Regimental Blues use of “fighting back” against a “constant onslaught” etc.
surprise surprise.Scotlands shame?Well,among the candidates is anti-irish racism.I wonder if our esteemed SNP Gov would support St Patricks day parades in Glasgow?If we can have Orange Walks etc etc.Of course Scottish(sic) Labour are no better,especially in Glasgow,after their flirtation with the Orange Order during the IndyRef.I have friends in Buenos Aires,Paris,Philadelphia and all are enjoying the day with celebrations etc etc Irish extraction or not but………………….Glasgow?Forget it.Now that is shameful.
Makes some good points .. But can’t help think the person who wrote this has a cheek .. He’s or she are really. Bitter themselves .. They .. Them .. Don’t think they would of had a problem if one of those hibs March went a head .. I would like both to get stopped .. But end of the day I couldn’t. Care less .. Not easily offended
is the orange walk not living in the past also
as a labour controlled councel it has a duty to explain to the wider community the decision to allow a sectarian onslaught, when a large part of GLASWEGIANS ARE CELEBRATING A SAINT LIKE OTHERS THE WORLD OVER.
And they wonder why the labour is loosing the peoples trust to shame on u labour council all because u want to keep the loyalist vote in ur party just remember james connolly was a labour man remember
Fair play to the admin.
Just goes to show how wide an audience “flowers” has.
From issues of transgender to the Dennistoun Rangers flute band.
Truly an inclusive blog.
Would like for the Orangemen of Scotland to cease and desist from using the exact name as the members of the Syracuse University in New York…We are the Orangemen.. our soccer, baseball & basketball are knowing as the Orangemen.. You lot can switch to tangerines or melon.. Plum isn’t taken either
This rudimental Blues shamble !! , brought shame upon Glasgow and Scotland ,, shouting st paddys day celebrators support terrorists , ffs,, what about the UVF , UFF , UDA ,RHC need I go on ? Totally outrageous and a disgrace to society , as it states st Patrick’s flag is on their , butcher apron ! Well I put in butchers apron ,, who’s living in the past ,, King Billy the rat who was assassinated in long Lesh ,, aka the maze , was he a terrorist ?? Or just a murderer. ??
Disgrace no respect at all
Are you having a laugh, this us the most ludicrous piece I have ever read. I cant actually believe you are serious, athousandflower..net a clueless farce.