Orange Order not shamed by hate fiesta
Orange Order not shamed by hate fiesta


The Orange Order has refused to apologise after photographs emerged of supporters in Scotland wearing bizarre and shocking costumes expressing racist and sectarian hate.

They include a man posing as Hitler, children wearing Jewish Holocaust yellow stars, the Pope with a rope around his neck, men simulating child abuse, and a woman wearing black face with an afro wig and a straw skirt.

The pictures are of guests attending costume parties organised by the Whinhall True Blues Flute Band at the Airdrie and District Orange Hall and Social Club in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 2010 and 2013.

In one photo published widely, a man is saluting the camera dressed up as Adolf Hitler. He is accompanied by a woman dressed as Eva Braun. They are joined in the photo by two children, dressed in rags and branded with yellow star-shaped patches, like those the Jewish people were forced to wear by the Nazis.

Two other men are seen clutching a children’s soft toy, dressed in the Celtic football strip. This is thought to be in reference to the abuse of children within the Catholic Church.

The photographs were posted to a public Facebook page intended to promote the activities of the Orange Order. The images have been condemned as hateful and racist by Jewish, anti-racist and anti-sectarian groups.

The images were uncovered just two weeks after an outcry over the playing of the racist anti-Irish ‘Famine Song’ at a major parade by the anti-Catholic organisation in Glasgow.

The Orange Order in Scotland remains defiant, insisting that the publication of the photographs is part of a “baseless agenda to attack and demonise our Protestant Culture and Heritage.”

It blamed media bias by the Sunday Herald, which first published the photographs. “The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland does not seek immunity from media criticism, but surely the Herald has a duty to be impartial or even handed.”

The images were uncovered just two weeks after an outcry over the playing of the racist anti-Irish ‘Famine Song’ at a major parade by the anti-Catholic organisation in Glasgow. That led to calls for a complete ban on Orange Order parades in Scotland.

Scotland’s most prominent human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar said there should be “utter condemnation” of the “grotesque” incident.

“I find this absolutely horrific - there is simply no space for this in the 21st century,” he said.

The images were described as “horrific, sick and indefensible” by the Scottish Nationalist Party, who said that the failure to condemn from the Orange Order had been “truly disturbing”.

Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, added: “At some point Scotland is going to have to deal with the range of issues that allows something like this to be a feature of our community.”

Sinn Fein also renewed criticism of the failure to condemn the sectarian July 11th bonfire displays in the north of Ireland. Speaking at the MacGill summer school, Sinn Fein Vice President Mary Lou McDonald said:

“On the night of July 11th effigies of Martin McGuinness were burnt on unionist bonfires. Unionist leaders were silent. Posters of Sinn Fein and SDLP Assembly members were all set alight, as were those from the Alliance party. These are representatives elected by unionism’s neighbours and fellow citizens.

“We need to call out these actions for what they are. This is not colourful pageantry; it is the ugliest side of sectarianism. It is a hate crime, and it sucks the hope of future generations.”

“Unionism tells us they want to share power with nationalists and republicans yet are complicit with this naked sectarianism. We are at a fork in the road. Choices need to be made.”

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