By G.A.Ponsonby

Glasgow Labour leader Gordon Matheson is coming under increasing pressure to explain his stance on Orange Order parades after it was claimed he admitted his council’s policy on limiting marches was flawed and in need of review.

SNP MSP Humza Yousaf has written to the Labour leader of Glasgow Council asking him to clarify what areas of the policy he believes are flawed and how many times he has met with Orange Order groups.

According to the Herald newspaper, in his letter to Mr Matheson, Mr Yousaf said: “Can you clarify which part of the policy is, in your opinion, flawed and in need of review?”

He added: “Can you confirm how many meetings you or indeed any Glasgow City Council officials have had with Orange Order groups during the last council session and what was discussed?”

The questions follow revelations by Herald journalist Gerry Braiden that the Labour Council leader had spoken in front of a cheering crowd of Orange Order members days prior to the local elections.

According to eye witnesses, the Labour front man claimed the 18 month old policy aimed at restricting the number and duration of marches was wrong and promised to review the policy should Labour win the upcoming local elections.

Mr Matheson’s pledge to the Order followed polls that showed his Labour group trailing the SNP. It was also alleged that the Order had threatened to campaign against Labour over the council’s parades policy.

Mr Matheson later claimed that there were no plans to alter the policy and that an annual review had always been scheduled. However, in the eighteen months since the introduction of the policy no such review has ever taken place.

In fact the council has repeatedly hailed the policy a success, with disputes being resolved quickly. Police chiefs have also described it as a “template” for other local authorities.

According to the Herald, the Labour run council is currently looking into increasing the number of processions throughout the city and allowing religious and political parades to start playing their music earlier and also allowing music to be played later.

Mr Matheson’s hustings meeting with the Orange Order received no coverage from the Scottish media and many believe had reports been published, then his party would have suffered at the hands of the electorate.

Anne Keay, of the Merchant City Community Council who worked with Mr Matheson when the policy was being drafted, accused the Labour Councillor of changing his position and of having let her down.

She said: “Gordon Matheson has changed his stance and I feel enormously let down. He has continually given the impression at our meetings that he is in favour of reducing marches through the city centre and re-routing them.”

Members of the Catholic community in Glasgow have expressed concern that the large number of Orange Order Marches in the city encourages and promotes sectarian behaviour.

Monsignor Peter Smith, the former chancellor of Glasgow Archdiocese, described the attitude of many marchers towards Catholics as ‘appalling’.


2012-05-19 13:41

This episode suggests that Labour policy, such as it is, can be jettisoned by one individual at the drop of a (bowler) hat.
Shouldn’t an political organisation hold a democratic meeting in public to debate, discuss and decide any proposed changes to their status quo?
2012-05-19 13:59

Hi hiorta,

Don’t be silly. Labour own Glasgow and can do as they please, and that includes running it as a one-man-band if they want to. We saw just before the elections how much power dissenting councillors have – none, unless they are prepared to be cut off from the pack and lose all privileges.

That’s how Labour-controlled Glasgow has always worked, with the interests of the electorate coming last, if at all.


ituna semea
2012-05-20 07:37

Quoting hiorta:

This episode suggests that Labour policy, such as it is, can be jettisoned by one individual at the drop of a (bowler) hat.
Shouldn’t an political organisation hold a democratic meeting in public to debate, discuss and decide any proposed changes to their status quo?

Unconscious irony?


2012-05-19 14:02

Labour “the working man’s party” will use any means possible to maintain power and will sell (or have) their souls to the devil to achieve it. There is no bottom to the level these charlatans will sink to keep power and their trough. The curse of Scotland.
2012-05-19 14:33

Quoting balgayboy:

Labour “the working man’s party” will use any means possible to maintain power and will sell (or have) their souls to the devil to achieve it. There is no bottom to the level these charlatans will sink to keep power and their trough. The curse of Scotland.

Aye, where is Elliot Mc Ness when you need him


2012-05-19 14:06

Labour hypocrites one and all. When, Oh When, will Glasgow voters wake up to the self-serving vipers in their midst?
2012-05-19 14:19

I predict that the Labour group on Glasgow City Council will go back into self-destruct mode within the next year; probably a lot earlier. Does anyone honestly believe that Matheson, McAveety and Co are reformed characters?
2012-05-19 14:23

The ugly face of Unionism in Glasgow?
2012-05-19 17:33

Quoting davemsc:

The ugly face of Unionism in Glasgow?

It’s also the ugly face of sectarianism, dressd up as unionism. The disease of Glasgow and much of the Central Belt.

2012-05-19 19:32


2012-05-19 14:28

The lodge can have their labour council endorsed marches to celebrate some insignificant event which occurred over 200 years ago. The real event is going to happen in 2014 and hopefully the result will change Scotland forever, no looking back then, only looking forward with aspiration and hope which any real sensible Scottish person would wish for. Roll on 2014
2012-05-19 16:34

The Orange Order, and Scottish Labour (the leaders), are very similar.
They have marches to celebrate things that hapenned many years ago, and have no relevance to modern day Scotland.
2012-05-19 18:23

The sooner, the malodourous, malevolent boil that is sectarianism is lanced and purged from Scotland’s soul the better. Why a significant minority of imbeciles on both sides of the divide persist on keeping such an aberration alive is beyond me. As someone born of a ‘mixed’ marriage and seeing both sides, I view the whole thing as an embarrassing anachronism and I also apologise for swallowing a dictionary today!
2012-05-19 19:15

I lived and worked in Leicester for more than 20 years and never witnessed any sectarianism. My youngest daughter’s best friend was catholic, but went to the same state school as her. I also knew protestant kids who enrolled in Catholic schools.

Both my daughters are now living and working in Yorkshire. The elder has just married a catholic and the younger has a catholic partner. The shame is that my daughters are no longer Scottish, because I had to leave Scotland to find work and their home is now there.

This is one attitude in which the English could teach us a lesson. They are bang up-to date. The west of Scotland is still languishing in the 17th century, much like Shia and Sunni muslims.

My parents, by the way, will have turned in their graves (born 1899 and 1909) as they were stuck with the bigotry of their age. Glasgow City Council and the Orange Order should at least try and join the 20th century.

2012-05-19 19:33

Has anyone ever experienced sectarianism in recent years in Scotland?

It’s largely a myth. Everyone thinks it happens yet it never happens to them; always to ‘other people somewhere’. Go ask those other people in that place and they’ll say the same – They’ve heard it happens to other people somewhere.

In 35 years of my life I’ve never seen anything ever. Nobody I know has either, and that includes lots of friends who live in or have lived in Glasgow/the west coast.

Its all largely gone now away from a few stupid football fans who shout e.g. ‘fenian’ but if you ask them what that means and the origins of the word they’ll just look rather dumb and scratch their heads.

The scourge of sectarianism in Scotland is a bit like Scotch mist methinks….

Actually not a bad article in the guardian recently about it:…/…

And anyway, sectarianism is not Scottish, it’s a fine British institution. A battle between imperial Britain and rebellious ireland played out in Scotland. All those jacks and pics of the queen being waved by knuckle draggers – lovely people those unionists.

PS. I’m a half breed. Oh the shame of it 😉

2012-05-19 21:46

Quoting scottish_skier:

Has anyone ever experienced sectarianism in recent years in Scotland)

I have on many occasions. I suggest you open your eyes and ears

2012-05-19 22:05

Sorry to hear that. Care to expand? Genuinely interested.

My eyes and ears are very open. Although I do tend to ignore idiots. However, I have yet to meet a ‘real’ bigot in the street that I chose to ignore. I’m surprised at that if it genuinely is a big problem.

curley bill
2012-05-19 22:48

Oh it’s real and alive, more’s the pity.
An example:

A young girl’s getting married and her favourite uncle refuses to come to the wedding because she has the temerity to fall in love with a Catholic boy and be getting married in the chapel.
He then refuses to attend her child’s christening because it, too, is in the chapel.

This is true – the girl is my eldest daughter and the uncle is my now estranged brother.

(What makes it worse is that we were raised in a non-sectarian household and it was only when my brother started working at a place where most of his workmates were in the Lodge that he became intolerant.)

Where I work it is present, but usually only in an undercurrent – it raises its head at the Old Firm games.

2012-05-20 05:53

Quoting scottish_skier:

Sorry to hear that. Care to expand? Genuinely interested.

My eyes and ears are very open. Although I do tend to ignore idiots. However, I have yet to meet a ‘real’ bigot in the street that I chose to ignore. I’m surprised at that if it genuinely is a big problem.

Going back a long time it happened to me. It was the day news broke that President Kennedy had been murdered. I was at Govan Cross with a few friends and met up with another group of youths. When asked how I felt about the murder I said I was shocked. Then asked how I felt about the dead president I replied I did not think much of him. I was then confronted with my dislike was because he was a cafflic. I just laughed as all the friends I was with were actually Roman Catholic. They persisted in a threatening manner until my good friend Denny Rourke told them to unrinate off as he, like me, disliked the president because of his politics. Quite confronting for someone without a sectarian or racial bone in my body. But the real tragedy was when they all laughed at me when asked what team I supported and I said the mighty Maryhill
Magyars: Partick Thistle. Still hurts to this day 50 years on, I mean come on laughing at the Jags.

2012-05-20 07:45

I was attacked outside a football ground in Scotland by gentlemen from Northern Ireland who were supporting Rangers. Their behaviour and threats were disgusting – the sectarian issue was because they assumed I was a catholic.

From the terraces of Tannadice I have recently watched thousands of old firm fans sing songs that I had thought had long since disappeared from football games

2012-05-20 09:32

Thanks gents for responding to me. As I posted elsewhere, I’m a ‘half-breed’ with both parents coming from the west coast originally. They chose to leave that area because there was some hostility to their marriage; not from family, but from some in their communties. Nothing particularly bad – only so far as ‘you can’t marry him – he’s one of them’ type stuff. Anyway, they decided their kids would have neither religion and could make up their minds when old enough themselves. Nearly 40 years on from their marriage day and I, their oldest son – filled out the last census with my religion as ‘Jedi’.

Above, I read one story from days gone by as per my own. I read one concerning football and people from another country; a country divided by the British Empire. Football is sadly not violence free whether there is any religious association or not. Likewise for songs mocking the opposition. As for the ‘uncle’. That is sad, but then lots of people fall out in families and every extended family has an idiot somewhere in it, whether that relates to prejudice or not.

I stand by what I said in that the problem of sectarianism in Scotland is all but dead. There is no clear evidence of institutional discrimination and the vast majority of Scots are neither involved in it nor experience it. It is confinded to a small group of individuals and generally to the terraces where it is blurred by football rivalry and constitutional disagreements encouraged by the British state as a means of control. Today is not really a scottish problem, but an Britain vs Ireland one played out in Scotland; hence the buses arriving from N. Ireland ahead of old firm matches.

The cure for it is Scottish independence. As I understand it, sectarianism is largely non-existent in Eire.

To watch both the Tories (e.g. David Trimble speech, Troon) and Labour courting loyalist unionists (OO supporting Labour for May 11 and May 12) for a few votes shows clearly how desperate the British state has become.

Sectarianism is British and its last embers will die with the death of Britain.

It was posted that ‘Scotland should be proud of its protestant heritage’. Well, maybe, but then what religion were Robert the Bruce and William Wallace? Where was the declaration of Arbroath sent and what was the religion of the people that wrote it? I’d say some pride was due here too. We should be proud of all those who are proud to be Scottish and are willing to work to better it, whatever their colour, religion etc.

Scotland is moving forward and part of that movement is leaving old, british inspired divisions behind.


2012-05-20 00:55

Thanks for including the Guardian link. For me, the most significant statement in it was ‘Most Scots are not football fans’.
Steve Bruce is so right in this. I am a fervent supporter of independence for Scotland, (since 1952, if you’re interested), but football is completely irrelevant to this aspiration. I believe that the argument ‘for’ or ‘against’ independence is contaminated by football interests and loyalties and should have no place whatsoever in the discussion, voting, or eventual outcome of the referendum. I voted ‘Yes’ in 1979, ‘Yes’ in 1997, ‘Yes’ in the SG Consultation and obviously will be voting ‘Yes’ in 2014. I am deeply concerned, however, that football is given undue prominence to the real issues which we are deciding are best for our country’s future. I do not want the best opportunity I will have to achieve this to be diluted, deflected or defeated by such tribal interests.

2012-05-19 20:00

The council’s whole policy on these marches is ludicrous. As one of Cllr Matheson’s constituents I’d be delighted if a policy could be arrived at that doesn’t entail what feels like every single Orange and Republican march in Glasgow being routed by my flat every weekend from spring to autumn. Couldn’t they at least vary the route a bit, give everyone a turn?

It’s not so much the organisations involved themselves I object to. It’s what follows beside them on the pavements and hangs about in the area for hours after the march has passed being generally aggressive and unpleasant.

2012-05-19 21:23

Off topic but this has to be seen,…/…
The P&J; has gone all patriotic these last few days, more so than normal with the Olympics and jubilee neither of which I could give two hoots (polite version) of!!
2012-05-19 21:59

They must be hard up for speakers ……/…

I wonder if their members appreciated the #Indyref advice.


2012-05-19 21:23

What a nerve Humza has considering he constantly organises Islamic events throughout Glasgow.

Scots are proud of their Protestant heritage and NO ONE, especially Humza, has the right to stand in our way.

2012-05-19 21:45

As Billy Connolly has pointed out – you have to be suspicious of any group of religious fanatics in Glasgow that doesn’t have a football team. Whats wi’ that?
2012-05-19 21:51

Is Humza standing in your way?
I don’t believe he stated an opinion on ‘Protestant heritage’ he merely asked a question.
The crux of the matter is whether suggestions were made to the OO that policy would be changed in return for their votes.
If it was that is fine, we all vote on policies but it should be out in the open, not done furtively, so that everyone who has a vote in Glasgow can vote on the policies.
2012-05-19 21:52

I’m a ‘protolic’ or ‘cathestant’ by birth. I’m also Scottish.

Can muslims join the orange order? can catholics join? Do muslims do their own regular big parades in Glasgow/other Scottish cities to celebrate crushing those nasty western infidels? When is the next catholic parade due? I can’t find any timetable.

Thanks in advance,


Keep UTG
2012-05-20 08:26

Quoting MacGregor:

Scots are proud of their Protestant heritage

This is where it all goes wrong,this assumption that we are all proud of being Protestant,i`m not,i`m indifferent about all faiths,it has no effect on my life and how i choose to live it.

Some Scots may be proud of their Protestant roots and have a few parades to advertise the fact,fair enough,but not ALL, i look on these events as a need to massage the self importance of the participants,wi tness MacGregor`s ending ” and NO ONE, especially Humza, has the right to stand in our way”,when in reality, most of us couldn`t give a damn.

2012-05-22 11:55

MacGregor you’ve just proved Scottish skier’s naivety! Until many west of Scotland people start getting a proper education about Scottish history, we’ll keep getting your sort of knee-jerk response. By the way what is our Protestant heritage? Presbyterianism probably, which was suppressed by the Church of England and its monarchs at critical periods in both our and Northern Ireland’s history (never mind the Catholics, which I’m sure you don’t anyway!). Waken up, this is the 21st century, or maybe you don’t like muslims either?

2012-05-19 21:56

Bigots have no right to march anywhere. They are the scourge and shame of Scotland, a total embarrassment to all the decent people of this land Time to put a stop to it no matter what side the come from.
2012-05-19 22:26

Bigotry is a very British thing.

This is in berlin britain.…/01.jpg

Appeal to the baser instincts; fear, hate, anger, paranoia…. the classic divide and conquer approach. Very sad.


2012-05-19 22:29

Scotland should be moving towards becoming a Secular State, sooner rather than later.

That way, it will be easier to identify those people who are showing bias towards or against a particular religion.

2012-05-19 23:35

Glasgow council policy on marches and its guidelines for various groups is outlined here…/Policy

I haven’t been able to find anything in it that is “flawed and in need of review”.

Prior to Mr Matheson’s explanatory statement, could it be this?

“Responsibility for a procession and its participants lies first and foremost with the procession organiser who must ensure a pre-planned, well-organised and peaceful event, that has as little negative impact as possible on local residents, businesses and communities.”

2012-05-20 02:44

There is a price to be paid for Freedom of Speech, Freedom to protest (peacefully) and Freedom to March in an organised fashion against any governmental decision ( like going to war ).
The price is to accept that people whose views you dislike, even hate, have the same rights as you.
The alternative is to give power to some body (like a Planning Committee ) to decide which people should have these rights and which should not.
Care for that alternative?
the wallace
2012-05-20 09:50

Hopefully when we are independent, all of these stupid bigoted marches from all sides will be consined to the dustbin of history where they belong,they will have no place in the new scotland that all right thinking scots will desire for our nation.
2012-05-21 21:25

I love these two word catch phrases like ‘right thinking’

……..and who is to determine what ‘right thinking’ might mean?

All a bit theistic for me and best gotten rid of, along with all religion and it’s self righteous cant.


2012-05-20 10:14

Orangism tells you everything you need to know – it’s all in the past. Most significantly those who adhere to sectarianism have still failed to realize that they are some of the few remaining victims of the well-used British tactic of “divide-and-rule”! Shame on Britain, shame on sectarians. Scotland must go forward -if these dinosaurs don’t want to joing us may they fester in their bigotry!
2012-05-20 10:49

Ignore them and theyll go away.
Ard Righ
2012-05-20 11:36

There is little more contradictory than the Orange order in these ancient celtic lands. It’s more severe in Irelands North. Derry and Belfast, need I say more?
the wallace
2012-05-20 16:40

Message to our self,our day draws near,keep beleiving keep fighting, they cant defeat the truth,its our best weapon.
2012-05-21 20:36

By showing the OO a bit of respect, Matheson is elevating them. Look at the nut jobs in NI that get too much respect and get away with persecuting their own communities.
Sectarianism is hypocracy, the unionists preach the empty ‘Together we stand, divided we fall’ nonsense, yet they are tribal and biggoted and that has no place in modern Europe, retarded is the best word for it.
2012-05-22 11:59

The Orange order..what a bunch..ragged Unionists defending what? their rights to poverty and subjection to a royal family of dubious legitimacy? As for the other lot….kid-on Irish republicans, born and bred here and who vote Labour Unionist. You couldn’t make it up!

Comment edited – NNS Mod Team


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