Countless column inches have already been filled about yesterday’s game by eager journalists who had been slavering over the prospect of an actual Rangers-Celtic match more than most of the fans, many of whom couldn’t really give much of a toss about it. Most of it just makes me roll my eyes as a Celtic fan. As usual, because this is the media, most of those journalists do not write from the same perspective as the fans, but from the outside looking in. You don’t easily get to be a published journalist if you’re one of us. I’m sure it’s merely a coincidence that 54% of the top 100 newspaper editors, columnists, broadcasters and executives went to private school, despite fee-paying schools accounting for only 7% of the total school population. And that a similar proportion of leading journalists went to Oxbridge (a third of them went to Oxford).
The class prejudice shines through every article. Take this column by Libby Brooks (who, although she may have been born in Glasgow, clearly doesn’t mix in the same circles as your average matchgoing football fan, as quel surprise, she studied law at Oxford). Tick off the gleefully-listed Scottish working class stereotypes as you read through it. Fighting! [check] Domestic abuse! [check] Alcoholism! [check] But most of all, sectarianism [great big check with a self-satisfied flourish]. They just can’t control themselves you know, it’s these ancient tribal hatreds. Brutish. Savages.
I am reminded of the upper classes taking their tours in the 18th and 19th centuries, coming to marvel at the spectacle of these heathen foreign Scots engaging in their curious habits. The scandalous prospect of witnessing a bit of rough, close up, and then back home to nice safe London. Like Samuel Johnson (he of the dictionary episode of Blackadder, tv fans), who enjoyed his tour of Scotland in 1773 so much he said this about it:
“Scotland is a vile country, though God made it, but we must remember that he made it for Scotsmen, and comparisons are odious, but God also made Hell.”
“A Journey To The Western Isles of Scotland” was very well received by the chattering classes back in London, not surprising given that he basically slags us off throughout the whole thing. And he was writing for an audience that wanted to see us as primitives.
These articles by Oxbridge journos are in the same vein. Look at the ghastly Glaswegians, aren’t they beastly. And always falling over themselves not to take sides, with that phrase ‘both sides are just as bad as each other’ running through everything written about the fixture. Both as bad as each other, and both to be sneered at down your nose. All Scottish working class savages. Don’t get any ideas above your station.