Tories silent on growing evidence of anti-Irish and anti-Catholic bigotry inside party

Tory “gypsies” rant follows paedophile and “fenian blood” posts by party supporters

A TORY COUNCILLOR in Warwick has been suspended in the latest blowback from extremist online posts by party councillors and supporters.

Nick Harrington, a Tory on Warwick District Council, posted on Sunday 14 May after midnight: “You can keep your f’king gypsies! Hard border coming folks!” in response to Ireland’s appearance on the Eurovision song contest.

The anti-Irish rant has led to his suspension, but is the third in a series of attacks by Tory members or supporters directed against Ireland or Catholicism to have come to light in the past week. 

Tory councillor for Dunblane and Bridge of Allan Alastair Majury has pledged to undergo anti-sectarianism training after the Scottish Catholic Observer revealed his history of anti-Catholic posts.

Read more - Extremist Tory candidates elected to councils across Scotland

He used a secret Twitter account, which ‘joked’ that the Catholic Church was against birth control “Because they’ll run out of children to molest”.

Tory leader Ruth Davidson also posed with hard-right British nationalist John Buchan last week. Buchan, one of four prominent supporters for a photocall with Davidson, had made threats against Nicola Sturgeon, supported far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, and had shared several anti-Catholic posts online.

Buchan shared a post containing the lines “up to our knees in fenian blood” and “fuck your Pope and Vatican”. The Press and Journal reported that he had been reported to the police. He did not respond to comment requests from the media.

Before the latest scandals, a series of Tory councillors had already been unmasked for making abusive and extremist comments - with links to far-right groups, xenophobia, anti-refugee campaigns, and Ukip among the revelations.

In April 2011 "viable" parcel bombs were sent to high profile Scottish and Irish Catholics, including then Celtic manager Neil Lennon, lawyer Paul McBride QC and Trish Godman MSP in the West of Scotland.

The growing theme of anti-Irish and anti-Catholic abuse from party members and supporters harks back to a history of state sanctioned discrimination. Irish immigration to Scotland and the rest of the UK was met in many cases with persecution, with bigotry and anti-Irish employment practices. While progress has been made in eradicating institutional bigotry, its cultural form continues. The Orange Lodge, itself accused of anti-Catholic bigotry, claimed at least six of its members had been elected to councils in Scotland.

The UK Conservative Party, asked to comment by CommonSpace on the series of anti-Irish and Catholic comments, did not respond by time of publication. 

In February 2016 British nationalists targeted North Lanarkshire councillors over plans to fly the Irish flag, and were warned against any “illegal” actions.

In recent years dozens of threats towards journalists by loyalist groups have been recorded by the National Union of Journalists in Scotland. Dozens of arrests were also made at the British nationalist riot in Glasgow George Square following the vote against independence. 

In April 2011 "viable" parcel bombs were sent to high profile Scottish and Irish Catholics, including then Celtic manager Neil Lennon, lawyer Paul McBride QC and Trish Godman MSP in the West of Scotland.

In this context, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson made comments online about the Troubles in Northern Ireland – where three and a half thousands people were killed. She attacked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn claiming “Corbyn and co wanted the IRA to win”.

Read more – Ruth Davidson roundly mocked for Corbyn IRA jibe

Picture courtesy of twitter

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is: Pledge your support today.



Mon, 05/15/2017 - 15:56

There's a certain irony that, back in the 17th century, the then- emerging Tory political faction supported the Catholic James VII.


Mon, 05/15/2017 - 16:31

And Carson said of the Tories...In a 1921 he said in a speech complaining not only about Home Rule but also about the separation of Ulster from Ireland "What a fool I was! I was only a puppet, and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in the political game that was to get the Conservative Party into Power."

gjm's picture


Mon, 05/15/2017 - 19:17

Quite blatant about it Davidson is too. Shameless is probably a good description of her style. Her politics are impeccable mix of spin, half truths, outright falsehoods and the drumming up of the anti vote (anti indy, anti immigrant, anti EU, anti catholic). Would be dangerous if in power I reckon.


Mon, 05/15/2017 - 19:24

Very dangerous! Our public services would soon experience the policies of the Tories in England, and our parliament would be a prime target for abolition.

Alasdair Macdonald

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 19:28

Has there been anything on the BBC or STV about these people?

They certainly gave it big licks when Mr Jim Murphy was egged and Ms J K Rowling received abusive tweets.

Do you think we will ever hear anything on these channels?


Mon, 05/15/2017 - 20:23

They will stay silent as long as they can. they just leave it out there. RD does not even respond to comments to her Tweets...she just likes the responses it makes her look popular...looks like she has lots of followers. Seriously disturbing she is stirring up religious hate. Her mistress at any cost..or at best create unrest & divide!

florian albert

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 21:35

A few people on the Left, have got it into their head that political anti-Catholicism is on the rise.
The Sunday Herald printed an article on the (alleged) political influence of the Orange Order. This was then ridiculed by Gerry Braiden - The Herald's Chief Reporter.

There is never a shortage of idiots to say stupid and offensive things on Twitter. There is rarely a shortage of supporters at Ibrox to engage in their well known offensive chants.
The political significance of this is zero.
The Left should be worried that, even led by the likes of Ruth Davidson, the Tories are making a comeback.


Tue, 05/16/2017 - 09:54

Unionism in Scotland has historically enjoyed close links with various anti-Catholic groups. In,addition the Tories in Central Scotland were sustained for many years by the existence of the phenomenon of the working class Orange vote: something I can attest to personally in my own family. Of course, it is stretching credibility to suggest that the ancient regime is returning.
However, it is also extremely complacent to suggest that as a society we can assume sectarianism isn't a tool that can be used by a new generation of bigots. To suggests that the recrudence of sectarian politics has been comprehensively debunked by Mr Gerry Braiden is frankly arrant nonsense.
Furthermore political exploitation of sectarianism is not as you claim simply a passing fancy of the left. Rather, I would argue combatting sectarian attitudes like racism should be incumbent on all political parties regardless of their orientation on the left-right axis.

Bert Logan's picture

Bert Logan

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 11:01

Lets not forget the recent 3x 'anthrax' packages sent to the SNP. "SNP Out - Tories In".

The extremism is the right wing always.

Gabhan Mac Cana

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 11:52

The judgement of God sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson, that calamity must not be too much mitigated. …The real evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the Famine, but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people. ”

— Charles Trevelyan

Says it all really.


Wed, 05/17/2017 - 08:17

You advise "the Left" to concern itself with the supposed Tory "comeback" while urging them to ignore a highly significant factor in Ruth Davidson's ridiculously over-hyped triumphs. Together with the self-inflicted collapse of British Labour in Scotland, it is the appeal to a base, visceral British nationalism that has contributed most to the Tories' relative electoral success.

CommonSpace journalism is completely free from the influence of advertisers and is only possible with your continued support. Please contribute a monthly amount towards our costs. Build the Scotland you want to live in - support our new media.