BBC’s Paxman accuses Scottish government of ‘riot whingeing’


By a Newsnet reporter

BBC presenter Jeremy Paxman has described as ‘Celtic whingeing’ the reaction by Scottish and Welsh authorities after they complained about the BBC’s description of the recent English riots as ‘UK riots’.

Mr Paxman claimed that complaints made to the BBC over the corporation’s continual references to the riots as ‘British’ were examples of “Celtic whinges” and that the BBC’s decision to re-label them as English was evidence of the BBC’s “nervous system”.

The SNP had highlighted the possible damaging effects to Scottish tourism the BBC reports may have had.  Alex Salmond had pointed out that Scotland had not been affected by rioting.

In an article written for the Guardian newspaper Mr Paxman also claimed that the Scots and Welsh are over-represented at Westminster and receive more than their fair share of public spending.

Mr Paxman wrote: “At the height of last month’s riots, the BBC issued an edict.  It told its staff that henceforth they were to describe the disturbances not as “British” but as “English”.  Anyone familiar with the corporation’s nervous system will have instantly detected a response to Celtic whinges.”

He added: “Apart from over-representation in the Westminster parliament and a disproportionate share of public spending, the Welsh and Scots have a growing taste for asserting the identities they had before the United Kingdom was invented.”

Mr Paxman referred to the demand for more autonomy from Scotland and Wales as “fire-breathing” and said: “The English have yet to do so, and most of the time, the English, a relatively easy-going and conservative people, ignore the fire-breathing on their borders.”

Referring to Scottish independence as ‘separation’ Paxman described Scottish Labour politicians as “deadbeats” and said: “Separation would deprive the Labour party of a stage army of biddable dead-beats.”

The BBC presenter also implied that England should have a say in an independence referendum and added: “Not that anyone dreams of offering the English people a vote on the subject, or even a parliament to match the ones in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland: the union is supposedly a relationship of two equal nations, but its fate is not.”

Mr Paxman is no stranger to controversy having once described the works of Robert Burns as “doggerel”, he has also accused Scots of having a ‘chip on their shoulder’.

The BBC were forced to apologise after the 2007 Scottish election after it emerged that Mr Paxman had confronted SNP leader Alex Salmond with bogus survey results during a live TV debate prior to the election.