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Car watch

Peter Barron | 13:13 UK time, Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Newsnight logoScottish Nationalist MP Pete Wishart left a comment on my previous entry, saying he had tabled an Early Day Motion in protest at our experiment which sent a car covered in St George's flags to Scotland. We invited the SNP on the programme last night, which you can watch here.


  • 1.
  • At 02:16 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • rod lee wrote:

I've just watched Jeremy Paxman and the woman from the Daily Mail again.

They clearly don't realise that what they imagine to be rational debate sounds to scottish ears like sneering and bombast. The original piece was either ignorant or malicious or both. The follow up was a piece of sheer arrogance.

As an english born resident of scotland for the last forty years who always switches over to the the english newsnight when they split I value newsnight for its knowlegeable and balanced reporting. You are neither fools nor knaves, unusual in today's media. Unfortunately in your coverage of this issue you fail on both counts.

What a wonderful piece of 'investigative' journalism the original piece was.

The idea of including a Daily Mail journalist to defend The BBC was a masterstroke for the new thrusting Tabloid Newsnight.

Why not go all the way, rename the programme to 'News Of The Night' and change your intro titles.

White text out of red would be good.

  • 3.
  • At 03:17 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • nerdboy wrote:

It's no use having a follow-up piece about this much complained about report if you use the time to simply indulge your own views on the matter further. Mr. Paxman just sneered at the Scotish MP, refused to let him put his point across in full and then went of on a different argument anyway!

Newsnight used to be one of the only thing worth watching for me, not much longer by the looks of things. It's recently started to love itself far too much, ranging from constant smug, self-knowing in-joking to tabloid journalism usually left for the other channels to do.

Please stop!

  • 4.
  • At 03:40 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Tessa Collins wrote:

The past month has made me and many other Scots have harder look at our 'banter' and attitudes.
The attacks on children and adults wearing England tops in Scotland are shameful and horrified me.
Many of us hate the English media spin and self-centeredness and dread the day England win a major event, however a short stay in Barcelona in June showed me that the Spanish media were every inch as bad, so this also made me reconsider my inherited prejudice.

However, watching last night's Newsnight I was sharply reminded as to why I had those feelings in the first place.
The 'experiment' seemed totally determined to provide evidence that Scottish people are violently against the English. As far as I could see from the footage shown last night they didn't get a sufficiently bad reaction from their attempts in Edinburgh & Glasgow, in some cases quite the opposite, so they had to push it and leave the car unattended in the most volatile location possible. They might as well have parked it on the Republican Falls Road in Belfast.

This has grossly misrepresented mainstream Scottish attitudes and behavior, and for once in my life I agree with the SNP. I was absolutely livid, as I am sure the majority of other Scottish viewers were. I think the makers of both the original program and Newsnight owe us an apology.

  • 5.
  • At 03:49 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • justin wrote:

If a car draped in the colours of St Andrew was smashed up in London or Manchester how long before the English were accused of racism and a new law of "respecting other flags" passed by the government?

What does this show us? - That some Scots still think its 1746!

  • 6.
  • At 04:44 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

In December of 1990, I sailed on the Sky Princess shortly after the Italian Sitmar line had been taken over by Princess Cruises (the ship had previously been called the Sitmar Fairsky.) I made the mistake of asking a Scottish bar waitress how she like working for the English. She went ballistic and exploded in rage. It is hardly surprising to me that there is anti English sentiment among the Scots, even if it seethes below the surface. Your experiment revealed it exists but not its length and breadth. That remains an unknown to be determined by future tests intentional or otherwise.

  • 7.
  • At 07:04 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Molly Gates wrote:

I was going to reply to this diatribe that constitues a newsworthy piece in newsnight when I just realsied;

It is no secret that the REAL BBC's (anything not regional) Newsnight hates the fact that Scotland has an opt out and just realised that this particular piece is an 'in' joke, it must be right? Surely! Its actually a series adaption of the Anchorman film, Fantastic I take back everything I said this is hilarious well done!

great casting;
Jeremy Paxamn as Ron Burgandy,
The Mail as Champ,
SNP as veronica Cornigstone.

opening credit role;
[narration] There was a time, a time before cable. When the local anchorman reigned supreme. When people believed everything they heard on TV. This was an age when only men were allowed to read the news. And in San Diego, one anchorman was more man then the rest. His name was Ron Burgundy. He was like a god walking amongst mere mortals. He had a voice that could make a wolverine purr and suits so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo. In other words, Ron Burgundy was the b@lls.

with memorable quote like

"typical kind of sullen gloomy paranoid scottish thing"

"you lot "

im "porobably more scotttish than anything" (in your dreams!)

Im no fan of the SNP but that fella done well to compose himself under a barage of racist sterotyping.

  • 8.
  • At 09:14 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Ed wrote:

A shame you got that awful Daily Mail woman to 'defend' newnight, rather shot yourselves in the foot there. THe SNPs arguments were clearly ludicrous (what next? Was the seven year old kiwi being unduly provocative by wearing an england shirt when he was attacked?) but it did rather look like Newsnight ganging up with Middle England for a bit of Scot-bashing, which was unfortunate.

  • 9.
  • At 11:16 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Iain wrote:

So this is meant to be a follow-up to the previous programme? You could almost see from the start that it was going to be 2 opinions against 1. Paxman showed absolutely no intention of being a mediator in the discussion.

I am wondering whether this corporation is living up to it's remit of being fair and balanced medium. Is this the best journalism you can muster?

And as for that Daily Mail columnist with her "Braveheart" and "whinging" comments. Absolutely patronising at best, and downright pathetic at worst. Maybe the intimidators should look at themselves rather than make suggestions to alternative causes of anti-English feelings.

  • 10.
  • At 11:45 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

Sorry Peter, but this has really put my back up. I am all in favour of the 'union' - indeed I have family who fought in the first world war for Britain as a nation. But trying to defend this infantile journalism, and bringing on someone from the
Daily Mail to do so, should be a warning. This nonsense about people being 'anti-English' overlooks the fact that people want their own national identity. Do we really want to shove down people's throats that 'You are either with the English or you are the enemy'? This is the sort of facile cultural imperialism that the USA is trying to inflict on the globe. And there are English people who hate that just as much.

  • 11.
  • At 02:01 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Michael wrote:

Paxman as the new Clarkson, great idea. I never liked the show when you insisted on reporting the issues of the day in a fair and balanced manner. Headline grabbing tabloid fare fuelling the petty prejudices of Middle England, that'll skyrocket the ratings. Plus you're test driving cars and getting them smashed up, this new look format has it all. If you want the news, I guess you guys have to watch Jon Snow on Channel 4 like the rest of us.

  • 12.
  • At 04:03 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Martin wrote:

I've just learned of the controversy generated by the original Newsnight piece, and have watched the Paxman interview. I think the SNP Parliamentary motion was rather silly, but I think Angus Robertson MP's underlying point was a good one: it is a silly and irresponsible piece of TV journalism to do something provocative in a deprived area of a city and then claim to be shocked when the provocation succeeds. If Newsnight had parked a BMW with a laptop lying on the passenger seat in a deprived area of London, Birmingham or Newcastle, and then found that within half an hour the window had been smashed and the laptop stolen, would you have run a story to the effect: "English are all thieves". Or if you had arranged for a white woman and an asian man to walk arm-in-arm through a BNP stronghold in an English city, and racist thugs had beaten them up, would your story have been: "English youths are racist"? Frankly, I think the SNP have a point, but I think their Parliamntary motion was OTT. I really think we all need to start calming down about this English/Scottish antagonism. It's becoming both tiring and worrying.

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