Letters: Political divide over tackling sectarianism

The SNP Westminster MP Pete Wishart has called for a royal commission to be set up to hold an inquiry into sectarianism in Scotland (your report, 20 May).

Clearly identifying this as a complex issue, Mr Wishart is quoted as saying that political institutions are "not properly equipped" to take on the task which should be headed by an independent judge with far-reaching powers of investigation. He also suggests that the inquiry should look at Manchester and Liverpool, cities with large immigrant Irish populations where sectarianism in football is not a significant issue.

It is good to hear an SNP politician suggesting we might actually learn something from the English.

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How interesting that later the same day the First Minister announced that he is to fast-track a new law that could see football fans singing sectarian songs jailed for up to five years. This legislation is to be rushed through, without being brought before the whole parliament for discussion, in order for it to be on the statute books by the new football season. Whatever song these two politicians are singing, it is not from the same hymn sheet.

It would appear that the First Minister's dismissal of anything remotely connected with Westminster now even extends to MPs of his own party, whose views he clearly does not feel are worth listening to before announcing party policy.

There is an old legal saying that "hard cases make bad laws". Mr Wishart clearly understands this and urges a thorough examination of all the facts before deciding how best to tackle the problem of sectarianism.

It is hard to believe that a royal commission would conclude that the best way to tackle it would be to introduce a draconian, completely unworkable law which would do nothing to address the root cause of the problem or make us a more tolerant, inclusive nation.


Forth Street


If AN organisation's central core was to "protest against and oppose the erroneous and dangerous doctrines and practices of the Church of Islam and resist the power, ascendancy and encroachments of that Church" would it be guilty of sectarianism and bigotry?

Substitute the word "Islam" for the word "Rome" and you have one of the qualifications for being an Orangeman. The Orange Order is an organisation which is allowed to parade its form of sectarian bile on our streets with impunity.

It is time this country accepted that such sectarian parades (and those of the equally loathsome Republican movement) be banished from our streets. Let them gather in their halls and lodges and protest all they want, but keep their bile and vitriol for those who wish to be subject to it.


Atlas Road

Springburn, Glasgow