Anti-sectarianism needs more honest dialogue

With the stories over songs at football, you may be forgiven for believing Scotland is a sectarian society. It is not. ‘The Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland’ report did not discover a divided country, but it did find ‘pockets’ of sectarianism. This is where we are today. It is a sensible and mature view. But you may believe differently if you rely on newspaper headlines.

Taking the rational view is not popular because many wish to embellish bigotry or deny it exists for their own benefit.

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Mark Warburton: From trader to manager

Imagine the scene. It’s 2004 and you are a 42-year-old trader in the City. You have a comfortable lifestyle, happy marriage and children. To the outside world everything seems great. Others might even envy your success, but you feel it differently. You enjoy your job, but it’s a job. You feel the call of football like a vocation. One day a big trade comes in and you catch yourself drawing a passing drill on the back of a bit of paper. You realise where your heart lies. You make the decision and you go home to tell your wife you are giving yourself a ten-year deadline to go from nobody to someone in professional football. And you do it. It is courageous. It is inspirational, and it is Mark Warburton.

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Celtic and Rangers should welcome strict liability

When ‘The Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland’ issued their final report they found a society which is mostly sensible and integrated. Covering the findings, historian Tom Devine noted:

“[The] labour market discrimination along religious lines is a thing of the past. No evidence was found of structural disadvantage among religious groups. An important degree of overlap existed in the social networks of both Protestants and Catholics and this was extended by high rates of religious intermarriage across Scotland.”

That’s the good news, but the study found “pockets” of sectarianism still exist. One of these is football — specifically the Celtic and Rangers rivalry.

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