Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Taliban


Hostility between Protestants and Catholics is thankfully a thing of the past. Northern Ireland may seem to be an exception, but even there the terms are just labels for populations with a different sense of nationality and identity. Similarly, the displays of naked bigotry at football matches between Glasgow Rangers and Glasgow Celtic don’t extend beyond the confines of the stadium, apart from violent drunken altercations between rival groups of moronic fans after the conclusion of matches.

The oddest manifestation of the Protestant Reformation is probably to be found in the Outer Hebrides, where the north of the island chain is staunchly Protestant, and the south devoutly Catholic. Of the northern islands, Harris and North Uist display the most extreme forms of Calvinism. I think even the Rev Ian Paisley would be shocked at the unbelievably strict form of Sabbatarianism that prevails. Children’s swings are tied up on a Sunday, and there are strict injunctions against drying laundry, watching television, or reading newspapers. Woe betides anyone who does not abide by these rules: they will immediately be castigated as spiritual lepers.

It’s a bizarre experience to travel between North and South Uist. The North is home to the free churches, while the south is home to chapels and statues of the Virgin Mary. There is no open hostility between the two, but it would be fair to say that there is little in the way of social interaction.

On a yacht trip I was once in a pub in the Lochmaddy hotel, North Uist. It was during a Scottish Cup final, and the locals were pissed out of their minds (obviously not church goers). One of them asked where I was off to next. When I said I was heading to South Uist he informed me that I should think twice about my choice of destination. “Don’t go there pal, they’re all Catholics and they don’t wash”

It’s nice to know that such enlightened views are to be found even in the wildest corners of the Kingdom.

21 comments:

S.I.D. said...

Yes, the religious barriers are certainly coming down over here.

This is mainly due to the big influx of Lithuanians,Poles,Latvians and Estonians.

Yay,more Catholics to take the proddies jobs.

Steve said...

Yeah, it's certainly a problem in the hebredies, especially with the recent "Ferry Furore", but you've obviuously not spent much time in Glasgow if you say it doesn't exist here outside the football stadiums.

I've lived here a just a few months now and I've seen bare-faced bigotry on a number of occasions. I deliberately don't wear blue or green these days.

garfer said...

Some of the Glasgow pubs are probably no go areas to people of the orange/green persuasion.

It's odd that that kind of prejudice still exists in the poorer areas, you'd have thought they'd have realised that they're all in the same boat years ago.

funny thing said...

It if wasn't that, it'd be somethin' else.

People are just like that.

Now bugger off, you bloody halfwit northerner. It's Saturday night and I've got cottages to set fire to...

garfer said...

Do you keep a packet of firelighters in your big pants, just in case the possibility of a spot of cottage burning presents itself?

I know I would (if I had some big pants).

MHN for short said...

Aye, and all of this carnage in the name of the beloved Saviour. I don't think that it's what he had in mind, but then that was 2000 years ago & I wasn't around back then.

garfer said...

Tattoed women would have been given short shrift then.

A lengthy stint in the salt mines perhaps, or a years sentence as a hunman dung gatherer.

Them were the days.

pissoff said...

Really, Catholics don't wash? I must be a heathen.

Kyahgirl said...

You know, green is my favorite colour. I'm going to be pissed off if I come over the the UK and have to wipe it from my wardrobe.

I find the religious fanatisicm hard to fathom. But then I don't get the soccer (football) furor either. Every time we hear of another riot at a ball game I have serious worries about what might be getting into the gene pool if we allow those people to reproduce.

First Nations said...

this was a righteous post, garfy.

funny thing said...

No. Of course I don't keep my firelighters in my Big Pants. That would be silly.
It would make my pubes smell of parafin and then I'd never pull.

garfer said...

Oh, I don't know, I'm sure there are some weirdos out there with a fetish for that kind of thing.

becca said...

snnnnif is that parafin? sexy

Garf, I have been trying to see if my cat can recognise her nationality and responds to Belfast voices. This is a nifty website to check out for a bit of UK trivia on accents:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/voices/

let me know how you get on with the quiz.

Spinsterella said...

I know I haven't actually lived there for many years, but the sectarian division in Norn Iron is worse then ever.

A lot less actual killing of one another, but still absolutely no social interaction whatsoever.

Fucking awful place.

MHN for short said...

As long as you would have been with me, my friend, I would not half minded. As long as I'm there, THAT'S where the party will be! HA!

Rowan said...

I have a friend that immigrated from Ireland when he was 14. He told me that he was tormented as a child consistently for his faith. I have never understood that. Canada will show our biggotry with your colour, but rarely faith has anything to do with it.

MHN for short said...

Garfer,
Is this all you have to say?

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Anonymous said...

The Taliban:
What an incredable stupid article.
Never heard or read such a load of nonsence about the Uists!!!!!
I live on the Uists, I'm not religious and I've never had a problem!
JAc