Today in Glasgow saw the Orange Order walk the streets like it was 1717 not 2017 like some reminder of a historical cancer that took the form of bloated archaic attitudes made puffy, angry, bitter flesh. From an early age there were two things that guaranteed my bowels to tremble in fear; one was the John Williams theme to Jaws, and the second was the sound of some paunchy, balding playing a tin whistle while his comrades sing of ‘bathing in Fenian blood’.
Think that’s of the past? That that because in 2017 Glasgow is a progressive, enlightened city? Well, it is and a vastly different city to what it was in 1988 when I left to the one I returned to in 2016, but when I said ‘cancer’ I meant it. This form of Unionism sits like a tumour strangling your jugular vein and I have experience of just how that actually feels, and the only way to get rid of it is taking action to remove it and reject it as the harmful thing it is.
Does this seem normal in the 21st century?
I love being back in Glasgow. Once fitter and more established I can rebuild a life, but this hangs like a smell over the summer months, and although I hope the new SNP city council are less compliant than the previous Labour one (and Labour in Scotland are as infected by this hate group as the Tories are, and I find it extraordinarily hypocritical of Jeremy Corbyn to let this continue in his party) I can’t see these marches die out totally unless we as a city make clear we reject this.
It’s 2017 in Scotland’s largest city and people live in fear of racist, sectarian bigots who have roots in the Scottish establishment and who cling onto an identity that reflects the past, not the present or future. Irvine Welsh hit the nail on the head in this clip from Trainspotting 2.
So there you have it. Darkness is falling over Glasgow and pubs across the city will be full of Orange Order types pissed out their faces before they return home to take their anger and bitterness out on their families, but hey, it’s ‘their culture’ so our media and politicians brush this under the carpet because confronting the truth is the first step in trying to change things, and too many people don’t want to change things. Let’s try to make this the last summer where the Orange Order walk as they have done for too long…