The Enlightened Protestant

When I was a young boy going to school on the bus, we’d sing many a jolly ditty to help the time pass.

This was in a town called Corby – which had recently been the happy recipient of about 30 thousand Scottish immigrants who’d been promised work for them, their sons and their sons sons at the newly opened steelworks.

What the woman of the town were going to do is anyone’s guess.
Anyway, back on the bus, we were enjoying one of Glasgow’s less appealing exports, sectarianism.

Imagine, if you will, a bus load of 5 year olds singing as one, “We hate the Catholics , we hate the Catholics ….” over and over again.

I didn’t know what a catholic was! I had some vague notion that it was a scary hairy creature that lived in the woods.
Then, one day it dawned on me – my friend, Paul MacIlvanny went to a different school from me….maybe he was a….good god, he was….and there was I singing…

My infant school self stood up on the bus one day and declared that no more would I sing this hateful song.

My co-travellers were quite a malleable bunch, so they agreed. Leaving us to years of chanting, “Double decker 282 hurry up and get your shoe…” over and over again.

My dad told me he supported Glasgow rangers because he’d been brought up to hate the Catholics.

Mum said he was an idiot. So, of course, I supported the mighty Glasgow Celtic with dreams if becoming another Danny McGrain in my green and White hooped shirt.

I stayed with a couple in Inverbervie on my journey – he , Pete, a teacher and she, Pauline a gp treated me like an old friend with lots of interesting conversation and debate.

Pete told me how he’d become an enlightened Protestant when he decided to support Celtic against the sectarian norms.

What a great way of walking in another’s shoes – support his team, try on his beliefs…

Walk a mile people


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