After the game, I have no doubt that he would return to some leafy, anonymous suburb of Glasgow or perhaps even further afield. Safely ensconced once more amongst the bourgeoisie, he would settle down and live the lie that he was different from his cruder, more bibulous coreligionaries. Who knows, perhaps he really did feel that he was not a bigot? I am sure that Hugh Dallas belongs to the same category as the nameless man whom I saw at Celtic Park.
I am certain that if asked, Dallas would say that he belongs to the majority of people in Scotland who claim that they are not interested in the tribal warfare between Celtic and Rangers, whom they regard as being both equally bigoted and wrong. I am baffled that if so many of this moral majority exist in Scotland, why is it that the country is bedeviled with such sectarian hatred?
We have to ask the basic question what caused Hugh Dallas to write the vile email that he did? Until we answer this question, we will fail to see the forces Celtic are fighting against.
The fact that a middle aged man would send an email clearly suggesting paedophilia is alarming in itself, but the vicious religious twist only adds to the feeling that one is dealing with a warped, disturbed mind. More perplexing is the simple fact that Dallas felt safe enough within the confines of the SFA to send such a disgusting email. The sordid incident reveals a lot about Hugh Dallas, but it also tells us much more about the SFA and the subsequent non-action by the people who run the game.
If Dallas were to have written an email which portrayed Muslim or Jewish leaders as sick paedophiles, it is a sure bet that he would have been relieved of his post within hours. It is evident from the lack of immediate action within the SFA that they do not view Dallasgate as an urgent matter. What else can one conclude?
Who knows, perhaps the very people who ‘regulate’ Dallas found his filth amusing?
By a strange irony, Dallas’s debacle coincides with the recent death of the much maligned Jim Farry. Despite what one may think of Mr Farry in his previous life, our thoughts go out to his widow and children. Nevertheless, whilst clinging to the mortal coil, Farry did everything within his considerable powers to favour one religious group over another.
The simple truth is that the SFA’s machinations are simply a microcosm of a bigger problem within Scottish society as a whole. The problem is simply that of pure, unadulterated anti-Catholicism, something deeply ingrained into the minds of many Scotsmen and Scottish women, especially amongst those who would be the most vociferous in protesting their innocence.
Those who would declare themselves tolerant and liberal in Scotland are not even aware of their unconscious prejudices. This state of mind was vividly recalled by Cara Henderson, the girlfriend of Mark Scott, the young Celtic supporter hacked to death by a Protestant bigot.
Remembering Mark, she recalled how she felt that when Mark revealed he was a Celtic supporter, she recoiled immediately. For a middle class, educated non-partisan young lady this is a candid confession. She realized in retrospect that by simply hearing the name Celtic, she had immediate preconceptions about Mark and his background, almost exclusively negative. Miss Henderson’s honesty and obvious intelligence shines through as she painfully examines her own initial reaction to Mark Scott. Inadvertently, she gives a masterly exposé of the sub-conscious anti-Catholic mindset which is so prevalent in many parts of modern Scotland.
There is a great myth that Scotland has moved forward in recent years, however the actions of public figures like Hugh Dallas quickly rubbishes this notion. In certain areas of Scottish society, anti-Catholicism is endemic. The fact that an organization such as the Orange Order can continue to flourish is a terrible indictment of Scotland.
The Orange Order is an easy and obvious target, the problem is much deeper.
It is in the bowling clubs, the masonic clubs and so many organizations within our civic life, not just restricted to Glasgow but spread all over the central belt. Ridding Scottish football of the likes of Hugh Dallas is to be welcomed, but it is a short-term measure. The people who run the game will have a conveyor belt of mini-Shugs waiting to fill the gap. The time has come for a total transformation of the SFA, if not the game will die.