Yes, that’s right: centre row, far right. If you don’t understand what that last sentence was about, read yesterday’s post.
This morning was hectic because I had to chair a big meeting in the afternoon and still wasn’t fully prepared for it. I had to take a late lunch as a result, but when I went out to buy my soup at lunchtime (chicken and pasta – most nice) I started to think about my NaNo novel.
And it came to me.
The title of my next novel popped into my head – just like that. And with it came a motive, a murder weapon, and sprouting ideas of where I can take the book. I knew it would happen eventually … my faith was rewarded. Everything is falling into place nicely. What’s it called? I hear you shout: Blood Ties.
MyStella editing is moving on well, too, although as if to make it appear I was standing still on the work, my stats haven’t changed that much because I decided to split a particularly large couple of chapters up thus adding an extra three to the total. It’s now a fourteen chapter book, instead of eleven.
No writing in the evening because we had friends (and clients) round visiting the house. Carol and Ian run a B&B down in the Borders (remember the hot tub weekend?) and I did their website for them last year. They’ve asked for an overhaul of the site, which will also require some professional shots be taken of their accommodation. So it’s a job Gail and I can both work on.
If you’re ever down in southern Scotland and are visiting near Peebles and Biggar, check them out. The testimonials left for their hospitality is quite remarkable, and I can vouch for that since we stayed there last year (the hot tub weekend!)
I’m afraid the time has cometh for another rant. Consider this my first in a short series of articles on the problem with Scotland. Today: The Cancer of Bigotry.
We have two types of bigot in this country, and I can’t decide which one is worse.
On one side we have the Enforcer, the type of bigot that drills hatred and poison into their lives, their families and children, and to all those around them. They enshroud themselves in a life of narrow-minded obsessions and tie it together in a warped logic. You know the type: UVF or IRA tattoos on their arms, a stream of anti-protestant or anti-catholic jibes always at the ready, and they probably wouldn’t miss the Old Firm match even if their own mother was dying in hospital. This form of bigot actually gets upset if Celtic/Rangers lose. They think that one bad priest means a whole religion and their followers are scum. Their most favourite expression: “I’m not a bigot; I just hate those fenian/orange bastards!”
And on the other side we have the Hider. This is the kind of bigot who has done well in life, who might hold down a decent job with good pay and a family; a bank manager, lawyer, a golf club member, a teacher. This kind of bigot can be described as a WASP: White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. They hide behind a more intelligent form of logic, perhaps voicing their opinion on 17th century Catholicism and how people were treated under it, and use this to support their belief that’s why it is still wrong today. This form of bigot is more subtle in their bigotry, it’s not as obvious but it’s there. They make an anti-protestant jibe and call it a joke, when in fact they actually believe what they are saying. They think that by saying they aren’t a bigot and that they are open-minded, but put there or four Hiders in a room and the poison starts to flow. Their most favourite expression: “I can’t be a bigot; I’ve got a catholic/protestant friend!”
Bigotry is a cancer in Scottish society and it blights us all. It’s yet another reason why this country can never go nationalist; we’d tear ourselves apart. Think about it, if we have over half of this country still concerned to some degree what religion another person is, and we have been unable to shift people’s attitudes so far in the last , oh I don’t know, couple of hundred years, how on earth do we think we are mature and open-minded enough to govern ourselves fully?
If it were up to me, I would put the mindless bigots on a boat and sail them out to a disused oil rig on the North Sea. There, they can tear themselves up in their futile bile until they realise the damage they are doing to themselves, but more importantly, our children and our nation. Would I let them back in afterwards? Not on your life.
Of course, I’ve only addressed one form of bigotry today (protestant versus catholic) simply because it’s the big one in Scotland. But there are others, and the above argument also applies. Take what I’ve written above and substitute catholic and protestant with the following words: Muslim, Pakistani, Arab, Yank, Chinese, Indian, French, gay, lesbian, Islam, Sikh, Jew, disabled … the list goes on and they all fit.
So, have you decided if Hiders are worse than Enforcers? Got anything to say on this? Do you think I’m wrong? Leave a comment below and don’t hide; let’s hear YOUR opinion!
Stella (final draft by chapter)
The Scruffy Dog Review – Autumn Issue OUT NOW!!
Ah dear, what to do about bigotry. It is indeed a cancer and no-one is going to find a cure for it overnight, obviously.
I believe that the pressure of modern society contributes to it greatly. I think that the more pressure there is in society, the more we want to cluster into groups to satisfy our need for security – the security provided by being close to others like ourselves. These groups are then self-perpetuating as each member begins to mimic others in the group and especially to mimic the leader. Patterns of behaviour are strengthened and sustained. (It is well known that these are aspects of group behaviour.)
Factors that can break down inter-group hostility are (a) reduction of the social pressures (b)communication between and increased understanding of other groups (c) trust – one of the strongest forces for common growth.
Problems in initiating the breakdown of bigotry include (a) lack of individuals with the vision of what is required (b) no means to support these people – i.e. how do they make their living.
The Protestant/Catholic schism is a good model (good in the sense of being true to type and easy to read). Others, like the hate between the (Christian) western world and “the forces of terror” are just the same in essence.
As individuals, and as groups, we define our goals, plan how to achieve them, set out to do so, read our environment as it changes and adjust our actions accordingly. So there is a model of action that all living forms adopt – from amoebae to Churches. It may be a jumping-off point for dedicated souls to try to preach the breaking down of suspicions. An idolised model of corrective action would not be difficult to design but, as always, it is in the doing that we get stuck. Who is going to do the teaching?
I think Hiders are worse, because they’re devious and hypocritical. At least with Enforcers, they’re in your face and you know what you’re dealing with. Two-faced is always more dangerous that those who are open about their position, in my opinion.
I agree with Devon. The hiders are worse. You know where you stand with someone who is upfront, They may be idiots, but they are honest idiots. The Hiders are the type who I’ve come across on hundreds of occasions since I left school nearly 30 years ago. One of the first questions you get asked is ‘What school did you go to?’ In the West of Scotland this means; ‘what religion are you?’ I tend to ignore this question when I can.
Unfortunately I cannot see an end to this Scottish problem. Children are born and branded one side or the other and their parents beliefs are drummed into them from birth. Until we remove Catholic and Protestant schools we are never going to move forward.
As for Celtic and Rangers……..don’t get me started. ;-((