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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February 2005, 17:45 GMT
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Your comments on the "Scotland's secret shame' programme, first broadcast on Sunday, 27 February 2005.

The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily the views of the BBC. The e-mails published will be reflective of the balance of opinion received.


Rangers and Celtic fans sign bigoted songs at every game they attend it doesn't matter who they play. The songs that they sing are never going to change mainly due to the fact that these are the only songs that these people know. The bigots don't care who they hurt young or old. It is no longer about the religious basis of the teams it is part of every day life for these fans who use history as an excuse.
Catherine, Perth, Scotland

How sad that this beautiful green land is being corrupted by the vilest of bigotry and hatred. What a sad reflection on so many good people who live here. And having lived opposite a pub which carries a very strong allegiance for one particular football club, I have seen first hand the hatred and intolerance spilling out onto the street, often with violent and - sometimes - fatal consequences. Scotland's secret shame? No - its a very public shame.
Jack Scott, Glasgow, Scotland

Sectarianism in the West if Scotland is more than Rangers and Celtic. This programme gave a simplistic and unfair representation of the issue.
Colin Atkinson, Glasgow

That is why the education system should be secular and religious schools should be banned
Neil Curran
The only way to combat bigotry and sectarianism is to defeat it at its source. That is why the education system should be secular and religious schools should be banned. Only when catholic and protestant children grow up together and learn together will stereotypes and prejudices be defeated. I can't understand why the Scottish executive is going out of its way to encourage religious schools rather than encouraging all of our children to grow up together in an environment of tolerance.
Neil Curran, Dundee, Scotland

The programme has put the everyone at the higher level of both football clubs to shame at their dodging of questions, especially David Murray being asked if he was ashamed of bigots. The local media (especially radio) bury the sectarianism heard and try to sweep it under the carpet. Unfortunately with the attitude shown in the programme it's going to be a long time until this is sorted out.
Andrew Fraser, Glasgow

This is not a Scottish problem! The West Coast and Glasgow: certainly! In all my years in Dundee I've never heard of any of the issues raised happening. The entire programme kept banging on about "Scotland's secret shame". Tripe!
Stewart Lawson, Scotland

I watch your programme and I think it was very good but all this talk to stop bigotry will never ever stop and if it did stop it would take the excitement out the game!
Chris Mcd, Glasgow

Jack McConnell spoke very impressively about getting rid of bigotry in rising generations. Which makes me wonder why his executive is still so hell-bent on funding separate Protestant and Catholic schools?
Ian Johnston, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire

A very good programme but I was a bit surprised to see the Irish national anthem being sung in contrast to "The Sash" without an explanation of what it was. I would recognise that it can be used to taunt Rangers supporters but I feel that the programme should have explained that it is the Irish national anthem and not just any other "sectarian" song. I would hate for viewers to think that if they hear that national anthem they are hearing sectarianism - this is not always true. Just as hearing the UK national anthem doesn't mean that its singers are racists but the context could mean that they may be at times - for example during a march by far right-wing "white" nationalists.
Mark, Cardiff, Wales

Thank you for making this programme. I love Glasgow, but this is a big ugly stain on the city that needs sorted out... it's been allowed to go on for far, far too long.
Rob L, Glasgow, Scotland

It's very simple: football provides the opportunity for sectarian hatred. Unless the clubs themselves take responsibility for outlawing sectarianism, BAN FOOTBALL.
Janey, London

The segregation of education is, in my view, far more important than football in the schism that exists in Scottish society
Niall Garvie
Yet again the BBC takes a superficial and inaccurate view of an issue where the programme makers look like they had decided the outcome before they started. Bigotry in the West of Scotland (and indeed in Scotland in general)goes a lot deeper than football. The segregation of education is, in my view, far more important than football in the schism that exists in Scottish society. We should also have seen the A&E stats for a normal Saturday night across Glasgow not at one hospital near a football ground.
Niall Garvie, London

If you have to arrest everyone at a football match you are taking away at least 75% of the fans.
Colin MacDuff, Glasgow, Scotland

These are not 90-minute bigots, I heard these derogatory remarks against both catholic and protestants every day of my life while living in Scotland, and I have never been to a football match. Expressions mentioned in the programme are not confined to adults, walk about the streets of Glasgow or Greenock and you will hear 10 year olds and under using the same expressions on each other.
James Milligan, Manchester

Sectarianism is only a excuse use for both of the fans and the history that it stems from means nothing to most of them. If there was no sectarianism it would just be something else that was used as a tool to hate the other team. It happens all over the world at football matches and will continue to happen in 'Old Firm' game even if the religious hatred is gone.
Graham, Dunfermline

The programme was accurate. I believe football is at the heart of the bigotry. 15 years ago I spoke up against blatant football bigotry being expressed at my workplace (being made by Rangers supporters against Celtic). I was sent to Coventry for this by my so-called workmates. I am not a Catholic. I am not a Celtic supporter. Football has a lot to answer for. I have made sure my son has as little to do with football as possible.
David McDougall, Linlithgow

The programme was interesting regarding an outsider's prospective of the problem but like Colin said far too simplistic. Major blame should lie with our country's school. After just leaving my Catholic high school after 6 years just 2 years ago, hindsight has allowed my to realise sectarianism isn't merely taught at home but breed in Scotland's schools. I think the separate schools should be scrapped although at the moment this is unrealistic.
Stephanie, Hamilton

These songs are never going to die. They are here to stay. 90% of people who attend Old Firm matches are simply trying to get behind their team and frustrate the rival support. I agree that there is a problem when it over heats and turns into violence with people's lives endangered but the thrill of the Old Firm game, the passion, the tension, the atmosphere... simply cant beat it.
Steven Stewart, East Lothian

This has been going on for years and the reason why Celtic and Rangers clubs are massive is due to the sectarian rivalry. Sectarianism is making money for the clubs and, being from Northern Ireland, is a tradition on both sides. I think what the programme did leave out is the problem which Glasgow has with drugs and alcohol related offences. The programme made the problem worse than it really is. I have been to loads of matches and never seen a fight. It's the drunken battles late at night that are the problem.
Rob , Northern Ireland

I think all football clubs should ensure that no violence is acceptable or tolerated, whatever the excuse
Alison, Glasgow
I found this programme very basic in examining the reasons why these problems surround Celtic and Rangers. I think the amount of progress in the past 60 years has been ignored, considering my mother and brothers when at school, could only make friends with people certain schools who were protestant. The cousins in my family now acceptably support Celtic and Rangers, which I think is a great progress for one generation, and I think this positive progress should be supported and publicised. Similar violence amongst fans occurs in Wales when Cardiff and Swansea play, and sensible locals tend to stay away from the centres when these matches occur. I think all football clubs should ensure that no violence is acceptable or tolerated, whatever the excuse.
Alison, Glasgow

I'm not a football fan, and I rarely visit the west, but I could not believe that this level of hatred exists in my country. I applaud the First Minister's attempts to resolve this deep rooted madness which is clearly founded on ignorance. I think the only hope is the next generation and a first step should be the abolition of church schools.
David Watson, Edinburgh, Scotland

A lot of the violence may have an undercurrent to do with football, but what the program fails to mention is the level of alcohol that is involved also. This however cannot condone the mindless acts. I feel it is fair to say that it will never be eradicated.
Stephen, Glasgow

The main problem is 90-minute bigots. There is violence after almost all major football matches, and local derbies. People do attack each other because of what team they support, not just with Rangers and Celtic, but with many other teams and clubs too. Football induces a lot of passion in people, when passion and alcohol are combined, violence will often follow.

At the end of the day, the problem stems from social deprivation, which is especially prominent in the west of Scotland. This fundamental problem needs to be tackled, in order to make lasting changes in attitudes across the board.
David Gammie, Glasgow, Scotland

Very easy to see that it's the clubs themselves that bury their heads in the sand and won't adequately censor their fans. Never a mention of closing the grounds for this sectarian abuse. Money talks. They are both a disgrace and fully see their respective "fans" doing this week in and week out.
Andy Dyke, Paisley

The bigotry and sectarianism in Scottish football are simply extremes at the far end of the spectrum of ignorance that we also see in English football. I'm sure the Panorama journalist's stomach would also turn if she attended any number of games on Merseyside, Lancashire, Teeside or London. Glasgow is an extreme, yes, but sectarian-based attitudes continue to haunt these Isles in ways that many are even unaware of!
Ivor, London

Having just watched the program, I felt very sick and ashamed to be Scottish. This is a huge problem that I cannot see getting better and the attitude of the clubs involved is not helping. For David Murray to say he has not seen Rangers fans doing the red hand of Ulster just shows the head in the sand attitude of both clubs! It should also be remembered that each week the planes and ferries are full of bigots coming over from Northern Ireland and Eire. Why?
Scott, Ayr

Football fans from all clubs sing songs which are 'offensive' to the other team, it is part of football culture
Ruth Larkin
This programme was presented in an extremely over-dramatic and sensationalist manner. Football fans from all clubs sing songs which are 'offensive' to the other team, it is part of football culture.
Ruth Larkin, Glasgow Scotland

Both Old Firm clubs had the opportunity to once and for all denounce the bigots and they didn't. David Murray couldn't say that he was ashamed of people who use his business to promote religious hatred, he should be ashamed of himself. Both clubs have shown their true colours: They are only paying lip service to the law.
Mark Smith, Dunbartonshire.

The programme done a great job & embarrassed both clubs. Neither club could not quite say that the action of the supporters was unacceptable. There are a lot of 90 minute bigots (on both sides) who get caught up in the match and do not even pay attention to what they are singing - they just go along with the majority. Unfortunately a small minority take things to the extreme and these are the people who go out and kill or injure people.
Kenny Tweedie, Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland

What exactly is a 90-minute bigot? If I sell heroin for 90 minutes does that make me a 90-minute drug dealer? These are absurd excuses that the clubs are making up. If the management are not willing to realise the problem what chance is there of solving them?
Peter Brady, Port Glasgow, Scotland

What exactly is a 90-minute bigot? If I sell heroin for 90 minutes does that make me a 90-minute drug dealer?
Peter Brady
As far as I understood the show, this episode sought to explore this Scottish phenomenon and put it in its cultural context, pointing out ways forward to eliminate sectarianism from Scottish society in the future. The producers/writers neglected one important aspect, however: the history behind sectarianism in Scotland. In the programme itself, Tom Devine from the University of Aberdeen dismissed sectarianism as an "Irish problem" that was brought to Scotland by Irish (both Protestant and Catholic) immigrants in the 19th century, thus absolving Scots of any guilt. This ignores the deep roots of sectarianism in Scottish history, however. Religious hatred is not just an Irish problem but is strongly linked to the history of the Scottish clans and the establishment of the Scottish national identity.
Mairead Haugh, Scotland

Politicians have ignored the problem for years because they want to make us believe that football and religious bigotry as they call it, is an issue which has no origin other than the stupidity of a minority, when in fact, it is the mirror image of the whole of the country when it comes to its attitude to Northern Ireland. This isn't Scotland's Shame, but Britain's Shame. When will you make a programme about that?
Catherine Laz, UK

The problem with bigotry and sectarianism is one for the government to amend. By blaming both football clubs they are simply pouring fuel onto the flames. The Old Firm are only given the blame since both sets of fans give a clear representation of the two major religious groups in Scotland. It's time for the government to make changes to our society and stop passing the buck onto others.
Flora McGrath, Glasgow, Scotland

I note that many outwith the west of Scotland are claiming that they have no such problems with sectarianism. Having lived in many different cities in this country I can say without fear of contradiction that although it is a smaller problem outwith the west it does still exist. These other cities also have their own petty bigotries which should at least be acknowledged. Many also deem fit to lay the blame at the door of our schools. I would ask those people why it is that in every other part of the British Isles separate schooling isn't an issue. Too many people are looking at symptoms of a problem rather than the root cause.
Paul, Aberdeen, Scotland

i feel that the chants and songs by both Celtic and Rangers supporters are tradition like any football song and should not be taken away and should be accepted by rival supporters. I believe the violence in aftermath of the match is wrong and local police should do more to combat the problem. The Old Firm Derby isn't as bad as what the viewers imagine and i am sure much worse goes on in England and i believe racism is a much greater problem than bigotry. The Old Firm should support 'Give bigotry the red card' with the Northern Ireland Football Association.
Glenn, Belfast

Echoing earlier sentiments by Neil Curran and Niall Garvie, I find it remarkable that Jack McConnell was not asked about single faith schools and how their continued existence contributes to sectarianism in Scotland. As the link between single faith schools and sectarianism appears indubitable, one can only imagine that Mr. McConnell is reluctant to confront the issue as it would cost him votes. This mirrors the attitude of the Old Firm clubs, in that they are content to deal with the issue in an almost token fashion, as to do otherwise would cost them revenue.
Paul Johnston, Glasgow, Scotland

The priority has to be educating kids that sectarianism is as unacceptable as racism.
John, Aberdeen
I don't think the programme clarified the real source of the problem. This is not solely a problem at football, it's a social problem and the responsibility for sorting it out lies with the government and local authorities, not just the football clubs. There was little mention in the programme of the marches which take place in Glasgow (Orange and Republican). The priority has to be educating kids that sectarianism is as unacceptable as racism. The government/councils should take the initiative by discouraging separate protestant/catholic schools.
John, Aberdeen, Scotland

As it is apparent that neither club are interested in stamping out this bigoted behaviour, it is time for the Scottish FA to step in. They should place members of staff on the terraces who would report any sectarian chanting. Any such report would see an immediate stoppage of play and both teams should lose three points.
Colin, Bristol

It is not true to say, as some have on here, that there are "Catholic and Protestant schools". There is no such thing as a Protestant School. There are schools which are run by the state open to all, and there are Catholic schools, sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church, which their children are expected to attend.
Terry Hudson, Crawley, UK

Why is the schooling issue being mentioned on this reply board? If faith schooling is a cause of sectarianism, why is it only in Scotland and not in England, Wales and the many other countries that have faith schools?
Lawrie Murray, Alexandria , West Dunbartonshire

Sectarianism in Scotland is not just about two football teams but about a number of other factors. Go to Manchester, Liverpool or Birmingham and stakeout the A&E on the evening of a 'Derby' game. I dare say you would get similar results. What it did choose to ignore was the improvement, certainly at Celtic Park, during the past ten years. I have been attending Celtic games since 1976 and have been taking my 13 year old son for the past four years. Old Firm games aside (which I don't attend anyway) I haven't heard sectarian songs chants or abuse in a long while. If I did, I wouldn't take him. Every football club has it's supporters that they would rather not have. I've got to say that with Celtic this is an ever diminishing small minority. Sure, there may be a problem, but don't put it all down to football.
John Kenyon, Chester England

Your programme of Sunday 27th February seemed determined to portray both Rangers and Celtic Football Clubs as the cause of sectarianism in Scotland, which is clearly unfair. I would suggest that those interested in such divisive attitudes attach themselves to the respective club that suits their 'cause' rather than the clubs being responsible.
Craig, Stirling

For Murray and Quinn to be in denial of this bigotry is beyond my ken and to blatantly ignore that sectarianism is encouraged by each club flying their flags leaves me speechless. I don't think the root cause is the 90 minute bigots, it is the ignorance, peer pressure, misplaced religious understanding, and thuggery, that's what it's all about.
Donny Mac, Stirling

I enjoyed the programme but have to that it was rather limited in scope, why was there no mention of the Orange Order? Why were songs expressing political support for the IRA labelled as "sectarian"? Why was "The Sash" labelled a sectarian song when it is not?
Paul McElhinney, Glasgow

Bigotry is initiated and learned among family
Patrick Quinn
Historically, the establishment has got to take some of the blame for this problem. It was fostered many years ago by both church and society. I also feel that it is wrong to place any blame on religious schools, as there does not seem to be any problem in England or Europe etc. Bigotry is initiated and learned among family. For my part I would recommend an end to all sectarian marches and events, and not succumb to the "our right to march " brigade. Both football clubs are also making too much money on the back of bigotry to fully get behind eradicating it.
Patrick Quinn, Glasgow, Scotland

I was wondering how little responsibility the clubs have in this matter. The way they were trying to play down the problem it is obvious they don't want to do much about the problem. And why should they? Every fan they ban, is a loss of revenue for them. So for the clubs their is a disincentive to do anything about the matter unless there is a threat of heavy penalties. Only the threat of huge penalties is going to make either the fans sort themselves out, or make the clubs sort them out.
Guru, Slough, UK

Yes there is a problem in the west of Scotland but it also raises its head in different forms at other Scottish and English grounds with anti-English and Scottish sentiment respectively. I have also seen the "Nazi salute" at other English grounds, so "Scotland's secret shame" is shared by down South also.
Robert, Glasgow

I have to disagree with Jack McConnell's comments that we can only focus on the next generation, effectively washing his hands of the problem. The clubs and the government, backed by the police, could make a real difference now if the will and courage was there. If a concerted effort was made to educate these so-called fans via the clubs, followed by a real policy of arresting people and charging them for sectarian behaviour, a real difference could be made now! Unfortunately, as with most things financial and political considerations prevail.
John Cole, Glasgow, Scotland

I have supported Rangers for nearly sixty years and my support of the team does not stem from religious or political affiliations. I am sure there are many Rangers and Celtic supporters in the same category. Your report was rather subjective forcing the views of the reporter rather than listening to the contributors' views. I do not originally come from the West of Scotland and when I first came here over 40 years ago I was appalled to discover religious bigotry as I had never encountered it before. Having said that very few of the Rangers or Celtic supporters who engage in this kind of behaviour have ever darkened the door of a church - something your report did not address. So where is this deep rooted unacceptable behaviour coming from? I suggest you commission another programme on 'Segrated Education' and you may find a more objective answer than your programme answered! I have many friends who are Celtic supporters, and I respect their religion so I think religion is a red herring in finding the answer to the problem
Angus Maclean, Milngavie - Scotland

Sectarianism is like a cancer in this country. I have stood in Parkhead and watched father and son sing sectarian songs on both sides, it will take more than banning them from the grounds. If you want to stop it you will have to start with the next generation. If you have seen the hate you will see you are fighting a lost cause.
David Lau, Dumfries, Scotland

This was a disgracefully one-sided programme. The vast majority of fans were not represented who behave in a normal manner. The title of the show was "Scotland's secret shame", why then, did it concentrate on solely the fans of two clubs in the west of Scotland? In fact, why did it concentrate on solely football? If this is Scotland's shame why were all walks of life not represented? "Scotland's secret shame"? I don't thinks so.
John Ross, Edinburgh



SEE ALSO
Scotland's secret shame
22 Feb 05 |  Panorama
'First steps' on end to bigotry
14 Feb 05 |  Scotland
'Historic' summit tackles bigotry
14 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Team bid to tackle sectarianism
06 Jan 05 |  Scotland
Tackling bigotry: the proposals
05 Dec 02 |  Scotland

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