Thursday, 10 November 2011

Anti-Football Bill being shepherded through Parliament by Anti-Catholic?

Jeanette Findlay of the Celtic Trust on the allegations made against Christine Grahame MSP. 

In a potentially explosive development, a former employee of Justice Committee Convenor, Christine Grahame MSP has accused her of holding anti-Catholic views.  Mark Hirst who worked for Grahame for for two periods totalling 9 years and ending with his sacking in September for ‘gathering information without her consent’, has accused Grahame of holding deeply sectarian views in relation to Catholics as well as being racist and homophobic.  He claims she has expressed these views in front of witnesses from as far back as 2001 and that this was well known inside her SNP branch.

Mr Hirst is currently assisting the Parliamentary Authorities and the Electoral Commission who are investigating Ms Grahame over allegations that her parliamentary and constituency office were operating in a corrupt manner with systematic malpractice taking place routinely.

In addition, he has made further allegations to the Scottish Public Standards Commissioner into a number of sectarian and racist comments Ms Grahame has made.  He is also taking his case to an Employment Tribunal backed by his union.

Ms Grahame is accused by Hirst of comments about SNP colleagues who were known to be Catholics such as Michael Matheson, Roseanna Cunningham and Tricia Marwick.  In the case of Marwick she made references to Marwick’s parliamentary activity as being ‘influenced and directed by the Church’.  In relation to Matheson and Cunningham she accused them of being ‘as thick as thieves’ because they were ‘both Catholics you know’. 

Hirst claims that Grahame opposed the re-entry of a former SNP Councillor, Murray Hendrie, who had defected to the Labour Party on the grounds that he was a Catholic and that this was discussed at the Tweedale branch of the SNP.

Hirst accuses Grahame of being influenced negatively in relation to a number of pieces of legislation by whatever position the Catholic Church took.  In relation to Margo McDonald’s End of Life Bill she is said by Hirst to have been furious when Mike Rumbles suggested that an ad-hoc committee be set up to scrutinise the Bill and said, in front of witnesses:  ‘It’s because he’s a f*cking Catholic’.

These and other allegations about Grahame are contained in a blog at

The Celtic Trust and other members of Fans Against Criminalisation will be raising these matters with MSPs as a matter of urgency.  We have already highlighted Grahame’s comments, made during the evidence hearings of the Justice Committee, to the effect that the existing legislation does not convict Celtic supporters in equal numbers to Rangers supporters and inferred that this was somehow problematic and specifically ‘not even’.    If these latest allegations are true then this renders Grahame not only unfit to be dealing with this Bill but potentially unfit to be an MSP.

We call on the SNP leadership to investigate these matters and issue a statement as to their veracity.  We further call on them to halt the progress of this Bill with immediate effect as it is clearly now tainted with a strong whiff of anti-Catholicism.

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