Sunday, April 24, 2016

Is UKIP harbouring anti-Catholics?

UKIP in Scotland has been accused, by Dr Jonathan Stanley, a former party official, of trying to hoover up sectarian votes by indulging in anti-Catholic rhetoric, The Scottish Catholic Observer The Tablet report. They refer to tweets by Caroline Santos, a candidate for the Holyrood elections which take place in May, for the South of Scotland.

I thought I'd have a look myself. Ms Santos has not deleted her tweets, which is interesting in itself, and I can't say I like the look what she says. I should add, of course, that UKIP is not the only party with activists, and even candidates for elected office, with dubious views. I'm interested in this because the target is the Catholic Faith.

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  1. I was once involved with a Protestat fundamentalist organisation. We used to distribute material attacking both the Catholic Church and the European Union. We used to view the EU as a conspiracy engineered by the Catholic Church.

    As a convert to Catholicism, I now find it hard to understand or empathize with Catholics who support UKIP. A century ago, the people who join UKIP today would have been shouting 'No Popery!' Modern British anti-European attitudes have their roots in that old anti-Catholic prejudice.

  2. The woman is clearly a Dawkinsite, not a sectarian in any traditional sense. Obviously the EU is not a "Catholic plot" and Catholics of all political persuasions should read and think long and hard before supporting it.

  3. The fact that 'out' is supported by a few nutters is no more relevant than the fact that 'in' is supported by a few nutters. It's not a political beauty contest, there are real issues at stake.

  4. I agree strongly with the points of view expressed here by Oliver and Joseph, and disagree strongly with Matthew.

    I am campaigning for Leave and, although not a member of any political party, I am (I suppose obviously) sympathetic to several of the policies of UKIP. I have recently met some UKIP activists whom I also found personally sympathetic.

    I'm tempted to assure Matthew that this modern Briton's anti-European attitudes have nothing to do with anti-Catholic prejudice, except of course that I don't have any anti-European attitudes - only anti-EU ones. I think that many prominent campaigners for Leave are Catholic, and I have not heard any anti-Catholic comment in this context, and many of my Catholic friends are for Leave. I know of none for Remain, although I suppose there may be some.

    1. Sorry - correction. Delete "of", above. I know no Catholics for Remain personally, although I do know of one, by reputation, whom I think I have never met. Two, I suppose, if you include Cardinal Nichols.

    2. I know lots of Catholics are UKIP supporters, but I don't understand them.

      I don't get how one can support one lumbering, supranational bureaucracy (the Catholic Church), while opposing another lumbering, supranational bureaucracy (the EU).

    3. Perhaps they think it makes a difference whether the organisation in question was founded by God.

  5. You have nothing to fear. There may be Protestant sectarians in UKIP, but my sponsor when I was received into the Church five years ago was a lay Carmelite and the treasurer of his local UKIP branch.

  6. This is not the first time UKIP Scotland has been shown to contain anti-Catholic elements.

    In January 2014, then UKIP Scotland chairman Arthur "Misty" Thackery drew attention by saying:

    - Glasgow City Council was for "Gays, Catholics [and] Communists".

    - Catholicism was based on "fascist ideology" (linking the faith to Islam in this way)

    He refered to the Holyrood parliament as:

    - the institutionally catholicised pretendy parliament

    (Ironically, the Herald newspaper itself has a long and distinguished history of anti-Catholicism)

    I dont know much about Thackery, but he seems to be one of the minority of Scots who have anti-Catholicism as a prominent part of their identity.

    These curious people are what is left following the collapse of Scottish Protestantism, which will all but disappear in the next quarter century or so. The Protestant groups have died, but their prejudices live on.

    These people vaguely understand themselves as "Protestants" but in fact are usually wholly non-religious and they simply define themselves with reference to what they dislike (Catholicism).

    They usually have links / sympathies with Northern Irish "Loyalism" - often, quite seriously, imagining themselves to be locked in an ongoing social struggle with subversive Catholics. They also have links with far right groups like the EDL / SDL.

    Glasgow Rangers FC fan base contains a significant amount of such people. They have a remarkably shallow identity which is chiefly concerned with hatred for others and notions of cultural / racial superiority.

    There is a paranoia and hysteria about them, reminiscent of the worst of 20th century protestant paranoia about Catholics in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

    This obnoxious sub-culture exists in its own little erroneous bubble and is largely left alone by the Police and Politicians, despite their claims to be interested in tackling prejudice in modern Scotland.

    Despite this, UKIP are quite attractive to me as a Catholic and I know of some other "traditional Catholics" in Scotland who also like them.