THE university’s Chancellor and former First Minister Lord Jack McConnell has condemned the culture of sectarianism in Scotland following the riots in Govan on Friday August 30.
McConnell criticised the Scottish Government for taking “the foot off the pedal” when it came to tackling sectarianism.
He has called for more national leadership to address sectarian violence in Scotland.
“The big problem with sectarianism is that it’s back. It’s back on our streets and it’s back in our football grounds.
“The problem with a cancer like sectarianism is if you don’t kill it off it never really goes away. The office of First Minister can bring people round the table, it can force people to make commitments and then ask them what they’ve done.”
He also expressed his willingness to help the First Minister and the Scottish Government tackle sectarianism.
“If the First Minister is willing to do that, I’m certainly willing to help.”
“The best way to deal with this is to challenge the culture of sectarianism and to make sure the marching organisations are on board for the change in culture that’s needed.
“We need less violence on these marches, less alcohol, less aggression, better routes and we need better dates.
“The best way to achieve that is to get the marching organisations round the table and agree with them a better way of conducting themselves.”
When McConnell was in office as First Minister, he arranged national summits to address sectarianism, these summits were scrapped by Alex Salmond when he succeeded McConnell in 2007. In the aftermath of the riot, McConnell has called for these summits to return.
“I really believe what we need is the local authorities, the Scottish Government, the football clubs, the employers, the religious organisations, the schools, pulling together as one under strong national leadership to make sure we can put sectarianism in the dustbin of history.”
Glasgow City Council have since put a blanket ban in place on all marches to allow “breathing space” until the council can figure out how to prevent such disorder in the future. The ban saw four loyalist marches and an Irish republican march stopped.
Loyalist protesters gathered in George Square to protest the ban.
Featured Image: John Aitken