The sticky issue of Scottish Independence and Rangers fans

There’s a very interesting article at Wings Over Scotland about Rangers fans and how some of them are openly not only supporting a Unionist position (which isn’t a problem), but doing so based upon an unquestioning belief structure.

This excerpt from the piece is central to the problem.

Beliefs are strange things. A belief is armoured. For whatever reason, a belief is like a locked file on a shelf. It sits in our brain waiting to be accessed at a time when the pertaining subject matter comes into conversation. When that happens, the file comes off the shelf, the dust is blown away, and a whole set of opinions can be accessed and broadcast without complication.

As such, beliefs become hard-wired and established, more tenacious than a simple idea. The stronger the belief, the bigger the file. The older the belief, the more important the file. Belief, dogma, belonging and tradition all lock arms and conspire to prevent the brain from thinking. “Things should stay just as they are because that’s what I believe – I don’t need to talk about it. I don’t want to.”

Even when the belief is detrimental to the wellbeing of the individual or group, it often persists. Immense harm can come from belief. Religious or sectarian conflicts persist because people cannot change their belief. Class privilege, racism, sexism, and more all endure because people’s beliefs resist being updated for the modern age.

Taking a bad belief apart is painful. People are reluctant to even try. We all recognise this behaviour. We even have a caricature for it – putting one’s fingers in one’s ears and shouting “la la la la”.

This isn’t to say all Rangers fans are hardwired sectarian bigots. They’re not and I know people who support the team for footballing reasons, but a large number are and here’s the problem. They’re supporting the Unionist position because that’s what makes them comfortable and the one thing everyone agrees on is the idea of an independent Scotland is making people uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. People are scared, naturally of change, while others are, naturally, wanting to be shaken out of their comfort zone.

Supporting an independent Scotland means however that you break the current system and build something new from it, while the fear of change is too much for those sectarian Rangers fans clinging onto long lost memories. This after all would mean the end of the Union and the end of what certain bigots within Rangers cling to, and this would mean, hopefully, people drop an outmoded bigotry which doesn’t belong in Scotland in the 21st Century.

So I hope those decent Rangers fans weigh up the options based upon what they want to vote based upon anything but sectarian hatred.This doesn’t mean Celtic fans get a pass for those who also preach hate via their own sectarianism as this is a chance to rid Scotland of the undying hatred of some Old Firm fans who want to cling onto what’s made the West of Scotland and in particular, Glasgow, seem like a throwback to worse days.


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