The Rangers supporters group, Vanguard Bears, have met representatives of the Progressive Unionist Party to help the loyalist and unionist cause in Scotland to confront and oppose Scottish independence.
Now regular readers of Scotzine will know of my disdain and opposition to supporters groups of all allegiances bringing politics into our game, even more so when it is politics of another country. The fact that a political party which is clear in their support of the UVF loyalist terror group and led by convicted murderer Billy Hutchison is now being sought to aid the political agenda of a Scottish supporters group is a worrying development indeed.
At a time when this Rangers supporters group should be focusing on their football club and the issues at hand that are effecting it, they seem to be focusing all their energy on a political cause which has nothing to do with football, let alone the club that they support, in what I can only describe is another attempt to gain favour in the loyalist communities within Northern Ireland – to accompany their mural just off the Shankhill Road, Belfast.
In fact, if the Vanguard Bears were hell-bent on preventing Scottish Independence as they state they are – why select the Progressive Unionist Party? A party that doesn’t have widespread respect or support even among the Protestant community in Northern Ireland. A community that want nothing to do with the likes of the UVF, because of their involvement with drugs and protection rackets – as they turn away from so-called loyalist fighters to simple run of the mill criminal gangs.
So why have the Vanguard Bears sided with the political arm of the UVF than the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the fourth largest party in the House of Commons – the Democratic Unionist Party? Would that affiliation not be more beneficial to their cause if they got them involved?
Or is their cause more rooted towards self-interest and self-promotion within the Loyalist community in Northern Ireland than their opposition to Scottish Independence?
Is their agenda more aimed at brown-nosing the likes of convicted murderer and PUP leader Billy Hutchison and other senior members? Why did they not meet up with the Scottish Conservatives and other pro-independence Scottish political parties?
It is a worrying development for not only Scottish politics but also Scottish football, that a fans group is actively sourcing support from the political wing of a terrorist organisation. At a time when Scotland and the game in general is doing its utmost best to stamp out sectarianism and bigotry, the pandering to loyalist extremists by the Vanguard Bears is evidence that some just don’t want to let go of their dark past. It certainly explains their closed forum – which houses many extremists views focusing on religion, immigration and race.
I just wonder what the furore would have been if a Celtic supporters group talked to Sinn Fein about getting the republican group involved in Scottish politics and to support the pro-independence movement. You could bet your mortgage on these same elements foaming at the mouth demanding action and condemnation.
After this morning’s Gerry Braiden article in the Herald, the Vanguard Bears hit back with a statement on their website, that the BNP, SDL and EDL would be proud of.
It read: “Vanguard Bears will neither offer, nor proffer (sic) any apologies whatsoever with regards to our meeting last week in Belfast with the leaders of the Progressive Unionist Party.
“As our country stumbles into a vortex of sectarianism and hate from Republicans, Nationalists and Radical Islamists, we deem it our right in a democracy, just as they do, to seek guidance and assistance from friends with a similar mindset, that mindset being the preservation of the United Kingdom against those that would see us ripped asunder and sent down a road of treachery, sectarianism and hate – mostly aimed at one section of the community in the UK.
“Our friends in Ulster have suffered, at first-hand, from treachery and deceit from Governments and have stood proud and firm against a pogrom by Nationalist murder-gangs and butchers, all for the badge to remain British. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice in doing so, and for that we will forever be in their debt. Vanguard Bears wish to see a return to strong and finely principled Unionism here in Scotland, and will accept the offer of advice and leadership from anyone who shares our same aspirations and hopes for our country.”
‘Anyone who shares our same aspirations and hopes for our country’ – which seems to include the political wing of loyalist terror groups and convicted murderers. They claim to be out to maintain the union, but it is clearly evident that their main aim is to maintain hate, sectarianism and bigotry – while brown nosing the ‘wrong sort’.