The Roots Of Supremacy

WorldsWhen he remarked that football was nothing without the fan, big Jock was talking about the professional game of course, which needs the fan for funding. There will always be the men and women who wish to test their skills with a ball against others, for love of the sport, for the competition. At this level, the fan is not essential, although he/she is welcome.

Most people have a favourite professional team. Some have more than one. Until recent years, we believed the competition to be more or less honest, although we often had doubts. These were dismissed as paranoia by those in the know.

Scottish football is in the throes of massive trauma caused by the collision of integrity with commerce, brought about by the need for some to win at all costs, whether for monetary gain/survival, or the need for reflected glory to bask in, no matter how tainted that glory.

I believe that to achieve any reasonable kind of outcome we need to see the malady for what it is. In my opinion, the biggest problems for our game and society lie within the Ibrox support stemming from the “We Are the People mentality”. It’s also widely believed that this mindset is based in a feeling of superiority. Certainly supremacism rears its ugly head, but that’s not the same thing.  I’m sure historians, psychologists and rugby players will put me right.

A long time ago with friends who played rugby, I sometimes visited the bars of their clubs. Following a dose of lubrication of the vocal chords players and members would start to sing songs and recite verse you wouldn’t want your maiden auntie to hear. Even your brother in the Marines might have blushed.

When I hear the WATP cry go up it takes me back to those days, especially to the old chant about a fictitious pigmy tribe native to Borneo. Any rugby club regular will know the story. The pigmy tribe members often got lost in the high jungle grasses, the story goes. They would then call out to one another in panic, “Wherrafeckarwy, wherrafeckarwy?” Anthropologists who first discovered this people having followed the shouts for help, logically enough named them the Wherrafeckarwy.

The “We Are the People” shout sounds to me just like the plantiff cry of that fictional tribe. Supposedly a chant claiming supremacy, it is rather the sad, insistent plea of a crowd of people lost and trying to convince themselves and anybody listening that they do have an identity, though they’re not quite sure what it is. It’s a case not of “Wherrafeckarwy”, but of “Hoorafeckarwy”.

How did this almost innate sense of not belonging, having no cultural identity, come about, among so many of our friends, neighbours, relations and compatriots? The response of many Ibrox followers to this area of their collective subconscious is not surprising given their history since Roman times at least.

Ptolemy’s 150 AD map of Caledonia gives us a clue. The Romans didn’t venture north of Antonius’ wall, which was intended to keep the Picts out. Ptolemy identifies the tribes resident between the Antonine and Hadrian walls, from Clyde to Forth, and south to the border with England. The inhabitants then of that part of the country were the Votadini, Novantae, Selgovae and Damnonii who resided between Drumchapel and Dumbarton.

“Roman Scotland” online magazine describes them as the peoples of ancient Scotland, and points out that we do not have to imagine a “different” people, but those intrinsically the same as now, only living in a different period, under different conditions.

These peoples, threatened by the imperial presence, opposed the invader on occasion. They are also the tribes which at different times took the Emperor’s denarius in return for acting as the imperial eyes and ears, passing information to the occupying forces, and acting as local militia to keep their compatriots under the heel, doing the dirty work backed by local knowledge, which no invader can manage efficiently. Rome called them foederati. Local people called them by other names. All of the above tribes from time to time took the money, jobs, housing and security offered, in return for being the client army doing the security chores of the invasion force.

Interestingly this same DNA is still prevalent in the indigenous population according to “Roman Scotland” which quotes one expert contributor’s opinion that “these people are removed from ourselves only in time”. In other words, social conditioning has been continuous since AD 71 at least.

They have a history of working with the invader to keep their own people in subjection. Additionally, always having safe employment and all which that brings, induces a sense of security. All is well, maintain the status quo at any price. In such a mindset, education is an unnecessary encumbrance. Why bother when the milk and honey flow anyway? This mindset of course is encouraged and supported by the forces of the Emperor/Empress. What army of occupation wants a smart, thinking local militia?

Right up through the Jacobite uprisings, the Williamite wars, the Scottish Famines of the 17th 18th Centuries, the Plantations of Ireland, especially Ulster, (see Dr. Karen Cullen’s “Famine in Scotland; The Ill Years of the 1690s”) they stood behind whichever invader promised most, and for those hundreds of years prospered to a degree.

Those days are past now. The wind of change blew the empire out of Africa, the middle East, the Mediterranean. Most of Ireland is now independent. The Welsh have always been totally independent of spirit anyway, hence the strength of their own language and traditions. Scotland is about to decide its own destiny.

What’s left for the foederatus, the vassal, the militiaman, the special constable? Now redundant after hundreds of years of employment doing empire’s bidding what’s to be done when the occupier has moved out and gone back to his ain hoose? I believe this is the source of the problem. This is the cause of the mixed up identity, the confusion, the displays of superiority hiding deep-seated feelings of the opposite.

On that score, the experts say that the superiority complex in reality is an escape from an overwhelming sense of inferiority. It is one of the tricks that a person may use as a method of escape from those feelings of inferiority. False success compensates for this state of mind. The normal person does not have a superiority complex, they say, nor even a sense of superiority. It is normal to “have ambition to be successful; but so long as this striving is expressed in work it does not lead to false valuations, which are at the root of mental disease.”

{Ansbacher, Heinz L., and Ansbacher, Rowena R., ed. The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler – A Systematic Presentation in Selections from his Writings. New York: Basic Books Inc., 1956 (page 260).}

Symptoms of this inferiority inversion according to Adler include:
aggressive bombastic behaviour;
over reliance on reflected glory of association;
overbearing need to be best at everything;
need to denigrate other people and their achievements;
Inconsistent behaviour.

Where are these characteristics all on regular display?

The irony is, or as some call it the law of unintended consequences, that when we attempt total suppression of peoples we drive many out. We thus create a diaspora which recognizes the opportunities, financial and educational, available in the host country, and avails of them. This diaspora also becomes active politically and powerful, all the things quietly but firmly discouraged by the masters in the stately homes of empire, and denied to their supporting natives. The slow dawning realisation of this state of affairs is the root of the inferiority feeling. Add to this the dissolution of empire, and is it any wonder an identity crisis develops within loyal imperial servants?

We all need to take a closer look at our history. Scottish history was neglected in our schools, in favour of the British version. We were proud to be the second city of the British Empire. (apologies to non-Weegies, although maybe they too were proud to have one of their nation’s cities with that accolade). A wee bit of flattery now and again kept our minds off large-scale unemployment and other deprivations unknown closer to Westminster.

So those chanting, “We are the People”, are in reality pleading, “Who are we?” They are as “Roman Scotland” quotes, the descendants of the people who have been servants to the imperialistic invaders of this country over the best part of 2000 years. Nearly all of us at least in the Central Lowlands could have some of this DNA. But they cannot be responsible for the skeletons which keep falling out of the cupboards. There is no need for anybody to feel shame, embarrassment or inferiority for the actions of previous generations.

When this small fact is pondered and eventually accepted, feelings of inferiority, false superiority, will melt away, as will the outward signs – bombast, mob mentality, hubris, need to win everything always, lack of identity, keep minorities underfoot and so on.

We might then see a normal football environment in this country, in which all those lost individuals looking for an identity would support their local clubs. That would bring an end to supporters’ buses leaving towns around the country for Glasgow. The Jags could win the League!

At the very least, the matchday experience would be pleasant for one and all, banter and backchat would rule, instead of bile and venom.

We might also see a normal society in which tub-thumping, coat-trailing triumphalist marches would simply peter out as the silly, anachronistic exhibitionism they are. We would all be well placed to get along with everybody else, regardless of faith, colour, or other differences.

Haste the day. Luathraich an latha.

(Gerry Cassiday is a football fan and avid history buff! This is his first article for On Fields of Green.)

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8 thoughts on “The Roots Of Supremacy

  • 2 July, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Great Article, well done Gerry.
    Cause if, you know, your history……..

  • 2 July, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I am a Roman. I hate the Christians! Come tae think o it, I even hate the Romans, I’m just a little jobby.
    Billy Connolly, 1973

  • 2 July, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Your genetic assessment may be correct, but your cultural assessment is far from the truth. The people’s to the North of the Wall are known in Welsh Brythonic culture as the men/heroes of ‘The Old North’ or ‘Hegg Ogledd’ and were in fact ancient Brythonic tribes making them related to Welsh culture not the Scots or Gaelic culture. They were here before, during and after the Roman times. The Scots were invaders, were foreign oppressors along with the Romans/Romanised Celts and the Germanic tribes, Saxons et al. So let me make this clear, these genetic Britons of the area between the Forth/Clyde to the wall were not genetically or culturally Scots, English or Roman they were ancient Britons or really more correctly we should think of them as Welsh. And the real pity is that between Scottish and Saxon/English speaking hegemony there is not even an inkling that a whole culture has been ethnically cleansed so thoroughly that very few know it ever existed. Even the name Wallace means Welshman and comes from the time of this ethnic cleansing. It not only means Welshman but it used a derogatory name, handed out by the Saxons and perpetuated by the Scots and originally was an insulting name akin to the n….r word in the US. As the n….r word was used for people of black slave descent, so Wallace was used for those of Welsh/Brythonic slave descent. They were slaves to both English and Scot a like.
    There is good evidence that the real King Arthur, if there was one, fought to keep the Old North clear of Saxon, Scot, Pict and Romanised Celt, was himself from the Forth/Clyde area.
    One thing I hope anyone reading my comment gets from this is that the Scots culture is equally as foreign to this area as is the English, Roman or any other.

  • 3 July, 2014 at 1:43 am

    And here was me thinking it was about football, and Billy McNeil, Jock Stein, Jock Wallace (n***er???) Willie Wallace (ahem!) Paul McStay, Kia Johansen, Jimmy Johnstone, Ally Dawson, Martin O’Neil, Dick Advocaat, George Connolly, Derek Parlane Alfie Conn, Charlie Nicholas, Johnny Doyle, Neil Lennon etc.. Away and shite and catch yourself on

  • 3 July, 2014 at 1:50 am

    It’s comments like that one that keep me coming back for more, again and again and again.

    I can’t regard an article as a true success until it’s generated at least one gross over-reaction from someone who’s missed the point.

    Bravo to you sir! I can put a check-box next to this one now! Job done!

  • 3 July, 2014 at 1:59 am

    As long as yer happy Jamesy :-). Now, what’s the Icelanders’ proposition? Need to know before the big qualifier….What does Ansbacher et al say about them folk??

  • 3 July, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Haha thanks for that mate.

    I tell you, I listened to Big Ronny tonight on CelticTV and I like this guy a lot.

    We’re going to have a lot of success with him at the helm. He wants to play the right style of football and he is engaging and sharp.

    This appointment is better than I ever hoped for. It’s taking us in a radical new direction. I’m excited.

  • 3 July, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    I will be MORE excited when we have come through the three qualifiers…YNWA

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