BBC BLOGS - The Editors
« Previous | Main | Next »

Scottish experiments

Peter Barron | 13:14 UK time, Thursday, 6 July 2006

Newsnight logoIt's been drawn to my attention that our archest critic in the debate over our St George's flag bedecked car experiment, the Sunday Mail, isn't averse to a bit of experimentation itself.

Here's their piece from 4 June.

    "St George Makes Us Cross (by David Taylor)
    Five days to go until the greatest show on Earth kicks off. So should we rally round the flag and support England in the World Cup?
    "Don't talk rubbish" was the literal message as we put Scots to a light-hearted test with a giant England flag yesterday. Talk about showing a red (and white) flag to a bull - we took our St George's cross attached to the bonnet of a parked car round four cities - and in two it was stolen and binned within an hour.
    In Edinburgh, our flag was trashed after just 17 minutes -while Glasgow punters put up with it for half an hour longer. And in Dundee, lads even gave it a two-finger salute - silly really, as the flag can't answer back. Our completely unscientific survey involved parking the beflagged car in George Square, Glasgow, Leith Walk, Edinburgh, Perth Road, Dundee and Union Street, Aberdeen.
    Our photographer hid to watch what happened. In Leith, locals were tolerant - for 16 minutes. Then two bare-chested lads ripped it off the bonnet and jogged off to stuff it in one of the city's industrial bins. The flag lasted 50 minutes in Glasgow, although we overheard shouts of "put a brick through the window". Then a young, casually-dressed man detatched the flag, crunched it into a ball and binned it.
    In Dundee's Perth Road, the flag remained intact for more than two hours. But bizarrely, a group of lads heckled it - and even threw it a V-sign. The flag drew little more than suspicious glances from well- behaved Aberdonians. But it did confuse a parking warden - he was so busy looking at the flag, he forgot to check the car's parking ticket. Maybe he was English...

"The BBC was last night accused of staging a stunt to portray Scotland as a nation of English-hating thugs" screamed the Sunday Mail on 2 July.

Just fancy that.


  • 1.
  • At 03:03 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • THR wrote:

A "test"? We all know that test was a forgone conclusion.

You ask someone from Scotland, Northern ireland or myself from Wales and we'll say "No" to St. George Flags on cars in non-English countries.

Fine, in England. But we take affront to it in our own backyards.

  • 2.
  • At 03:09 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Ed wrote:

Now, if that's not hypocritical then I don't know what is....=

  • 3.
  • At 03:10 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Neil Robinson wrote:

Well done Peter Barron, you've managed to show what was once a respected news programme is now more like a rag like the Sunday Mail.

Just fancy that.

  • 4.
  • At 03:10 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Dominic wrote:

It just shows what a bunch of miserable, jealous, racists the Scots really are.

If Scotland was in the World Cup, the English would cheer them on. Sadly, the Scots do not appear to share our generosity.

But hey....maybe it's OK to be racist if you're part of an "oppressed minority". Let's face it, the Irish are allowed to march and wave flags on St Patrick's Day and every says what a wonderful expression of national identity it is.

When English people do the same, it "jingoistic nationalism".

I'm confused.

  • 5.
  • At 03:11 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • paul wrote:

And yet we, as Englishmen (and women) are encouraged by our leaders to support them in their sporting endeavours. Hypocrits the lot of them. If we don't support Murray in Tennis we're letting Britain down. If we don't support both Coultard & Button we're letting Britain down. Rubbish. England doesn't need Scottish support to be successful - how many world cups in any sport have they won?

  • 6.
  • At 03:13 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Jane Donald wrote:

I have no problems with the experiment you took if it was reciprocated in England - with a car covered in Saltires or Portuguese flags to see if the English are anti-Portuguese or anti-Scottish. It speaks volumes that you have not attempted this.

Also, I note after the England versus Portugal game that there was running battles in Jersey, a place with the same population of Portuguese to natives that the English are to Scots in Scotland:

If this was Scots attacking the English, do you think Newnight would have kept this quiet?

  • 7.
  • At 03:18 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Barrie Higgs wrote:

Much energy and time is spent discovering racial problems in the United Kingdom, particularly against so called vulnerable minorities. These efforts are praised

Why should minorities have more care taken of them than majorities.

Surely we are all equal in the eyes of the law and racism is racism, wherever and whoever it involves?

  • 8.
  • At 03:22 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • RB wrote:

Well i knew the Scots didnt really like us, but i didnt think they would go that far! interesting experiment and to the guy who thinks that the experiment was only set out to prove that Scots are 'a nation of English-hating thugs' whether they wanted to prove it or not, the fact is...They did!

  • 9.
  • At 03:22 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • robert bright wrote:

Why would we be suprised by the way the scots hate the english? In a spanish bar (for the jamaica game) i witnessed the disgraceful behavior of a 60 year old scot (who had retired on the money he had made in england incidently) parading around in a scotish football shirt booing every goal we scorred. It is not a small minority, I am sure the cheers could be heard in every pub in scotland when we lost to portugal. Stop sending our tax pounds across the border I say!

  • 10.
  • At 03:23 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

Maybe Scotish papers should leave Saltire covered flags in England and then we can see how nice the English really are.

  • 11.
  • At 03:30 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Robert Mckay wrote:

Some thugs and neds trash flags and a car and, probably rightly, are deemed "racist". But isn't extrapolating this result to assume that the whole country is filled with xenophobic thugs not also racist?

P.S. Newsnight, if you go deliberately trying to provoke trouble, then you generally will succeed.

  • 12.
  • At 03:31 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Andy wrote:

To paraphrase a great Englishman...'they do protest too much methinks'

maybe mr barron should try his experiment the other way around with scots flags or bangladeshi flages in england and see what results he gets.lets face it england is one of the most racist countries in the world.

  • 14.
  • At 03:34 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Well said!

Two phrases spring to mind…

"People in glass houses..." and "He who laughs last…"

  • 15.
  • At 03:35 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Malcolm wrote:

How about repeating the exercise but with a Portugal flag in English cities and towns? I would expect stronger reaction than with the St George's flag.

  • 16.
  • At 03:35 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Ben Leivesley wrote:

In response to the 'how many world cups in any sport have scotland won?' comment I believe they won the Elephant Polo World Cup in India.

Bless them.

  • 17.
  • At 03:36 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Anton McCoy wrote:

I wonder if anyone is actually going to tackle these clear cases of racism in Scotland? I heard that people were being attacked whilst wearing England shirts in Scotland. I somehow think it would be dealt with a little more urgency if people in England started attacking people in Scotland, Germany, Ghana or Iran shirts. Does the law in Scotland exempt being racist to the English and the English flag? Sounds like it.

  • 18.
  • At 03:37 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Phil wrote:

In reply to Jane Donald, I have seen may people decking out in their national flags in England during the World cup period.

It speaks volumes for the tolerance and open-mindedness of the English that foreigners can do this without any fear.

Other countries should take lessions from the English and how they, in general, welcome those from other any other country with open arms.

  • 19.
  • At 03:37 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

Ah..the old 'everyone else is doing it' might have worked once if you were caught smoking or drinking as a youngster, but really, come along, it's time to grow up.

They've got you bang to rights...

  • 20.
  • At 03:37 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • DEEKS wrote:





  • 21.
  • At 03:41 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Andy Moore wrote:

I think there are racist people both sides of the border and it's a shame.

I over heard many English people slagging off the Scottish over the world cup period due to the reports in the media about how the Scottish were supposadly supporting every team England played. This just seemed to either be ignored by the non-racist amongst us and unfortunately fueled those stupid enough to be racist to further racist comments and acts.

Let's just remember that we aren't all like that. Some of us English people have the intelligence not to be racist just as some Scottish people do.

It's only the thugs with 'behind the times' views in BOTH England and Scotland that let us all down.

I suspect similar behaviour would have occured in England and I am ashamed of people both sides of the border that think in such a stupid way.

  • 22.
  • At 03:47 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • nerdboy wrote:

Exactly what was this post for? To show that at least the Sunday Mail is as bad at journalism as you? I hardly think you've got bragging rights about this episode.

PS - "Just fancy that" sound rather patronising to me

  • 23.
  • At 03:47 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Geraint Evans wrote:

Recently a pub landlady in Somerset was reported to the police for organising a "game" whereby the Welsh flag was used as a target for archery practice in her pub garden: The English media lambasted those Welsh people who found this behaviour as deeply insulting by saying that it was only a flag and that the Welsh should get a sense of humour. With regard to your Cross of St George experiemnt might I venture that its only a flag and that you English should get a sense of humour?

As an Englishman living in Scotland, I can only heap praise on the sense of fair play and good humour of those people I mix with on a daily basis. The other day I taped two pictures to the front of my car - one of Mr Jeremy Paxman, and one of Ms Kirsty Wark. This was a scientific experiment designed to test the hypothesis that anyone badly predisposed to the English would deface the picture of Mr Paxman rather than Ms Wark. If the mood of the people is against Newsnight then there should be no difference in the degree of defacement.

The results surprised me. When I returned to the car 30 minutes later, the picture of Mr Paxman had been replaced by a cartoon of a bulldog savaging a sheep, and the image of Ms Wark had been replaced by a ransom demand for Newsnight to 'do a piece' on the allegation that Andy Murray lost on purpose to annoy the fickle army of English supporters who had switched allegiance away from Henman the moment he left centre court.

I laughed and laughed at that one. But could it be true.....?

  • 25.
  • At 03:56 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Graham wrote:

A simple question.

What is the worse crime:

a) Attacking the FLAG of one nation with which you have an occasionally heated rivalry,


b) Attacking PEOPLE of all nations, whose countries you assume to have colonised for 2 - 3 weeks every second year. Just ask the people of France in 98, Holland in 2000, French & Portugese people in England in 04, and of course German people this time around.

People in glass houses shouldn't really be throwing stones, however throwing stones does seem to be a sport you do lead the world in.

It's coming home, it's coming home...oh it's not actually.

  • 26.
  • At 03:57 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

Too much protesting from our Scottish cousins - I'm bored and fed up with their hyprocrisy - any Scots who have a problem with the views of the English on this subject should try an experiment - go into a pub in London or Manchester and order a pint - I doubt you will hear a comment from anyone in the pub. Get an Englishman to do the same in Glasgow or Edinburgh and I can guarantee something will be said or glances made. Until there is a very real awakening of the fact that there is a large minority of Scots with a massive chip on their shoulders, this debate will never end. Very sad and pathetic.

  • 27.
  • At 03:58 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Stewart MacDuff wrote:

I'm an Island Scot now living in Belfast and sadly not at all surprised by the reaction the St Georges Cross got. Scotland labours under an old misaprehension that it's woes come from without (England). They mostly come from it's own Administrations over the centuries. The CRE warned the 1st Minister of anti English racism in his own speech. That attitude is rife in the Scottish central belt and needs to be dealt with severely. It is in places also an Irish Catholic immigrant hangover. Can I assure the English readers that in the Highlands & Islands, the Scotland of legend, they will find welcome and few such small minded folk. To their considerable surprise they will also find Glasgow a more welcoming place than Edinburgh. Ah yes, and my date of birth? 23rd April

  • 28.
  • At 04:01 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Ronnie wrote:

I didn't conduct any such experiment, so I cannot be tarred with the "hypocrite" brush when I accuse Newsnight, the Sunday Mail and Scotland on Sunday (who did the same thing too) of all being equally irresponsible and inflammatory.

There is, moreover, no need to conduct the suggested "home leg" of the experiment - the violence and destruction inflicted on the Portuguese community in Thetford when England went out of Euro 2000 was all too real.

  • 29.
  • At 04:01 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Martin wrote:

Get over it England! You are the 'auld enemy'. It's good to have sporting rivals. The fact is that our national sporting teams aren't that good so the next best thing is for us to watch you lot get beat. it's not racist, it's fun!!!
AS it's been raiased a couple of times already, may I take this opportunity remind those English that think they subsidise the Scots, I'm sorry, but you don't.
X luv you all!

What amazes me here is not the time that the flags survived, but that they were disposed of in a bin!

  • 31.
  • At 04:02 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • norman wrote:

1. Can I suggest that Peter Barron is tied to a post in Trafalgar Square wearing a Portuguese flag ?

2. Before the England v Portugal match the 'quality' papers reminded us how Portugal was England's oldest ally. I am not sure what relevance that historical political fact had for a game of football but I guess it has now been superseded by events on the pitch.

3. The North East of England receive more public expenditure per head of population than Scotland. The North West receives roughly the same sum. Is the South of England going to reclaim those tax pounds too or are they safe from Southern miserliness because they support the same football team ?

  • 32.
  • At 04:07 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • E Laing wrote:

And the point of concentrating on getting back at a tabloid - hardly an intellectual challenge is it? - is what?

Does that mean you can now ignore the concern of your viewers as expressed on here, via e-mail and phone complaint?

Have you trumped the complaint by attacking the tabloid? My - you can just imagine the triumph when you came across that little gem.

Now - if we can get back to the point?

You left a car near Parkhead and obviously showed the camera was there and used it to ramp up the absurd media-led hysteria which is determined to pick out a couple of occurrences and tar every Scot with them.

And to help you bring in some tabloid columnist with rolling eyes because it is so clever that she happily namecalls Scots because that is terribly big and clever.

And yet you still fail to understand you've become complicit in attempting to cause trouble by employing an 'experimental method' laden with bias rather than attempting to objectively comment on a potential issue, and in so doing tar all Scots with the behaviour of a few. Just look at some of the comments on here - thanks to the media - you included - some of these deluded posters actually believe ALL Scots feel like that.

We don't.

  • 33.
  • At 04:08 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • James wrote:

English people can support Scotland in football safe in the knowledge that there is no realistic chance of Scotland winning the competition. The same is not true in reverse.

  • 34.
  • At 04:08 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • A Fisher wrote:

How do those of you so keen to condem an entire country on the actions of a very very small handful view yourselves?
Racist? Guilty of stereotyping? Because your own words condem you as exactly that!

  • 35.
  • At 04:09 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Jock McTavish wrote:

I think the Merry Olde Englanders should cast their flag a bit further afield to canvas opinion as to how well loved it is. It's not Scotland's fault they have to live next door. Try the list of former colonies your once great country plundered and now patronizes. Let's see how you fare by supplanting their proud flags with your wee red and white one.

Antigua and Barbuda
Basutoland - see Lesotho
Bechuanaland - see Botswana
British Antarctic Territory
British Central Africa
British East Africa
British Guiana - see Guyana
British Honduras - see Belize
British Indian Ocean Territory
British New Guinea (Papua)
British Somaliland - see Somaliland
British South Africa Company
Burma - see Myanmar
Cape Colony - South Africa
Ceylon - see Sri Lanka
Cook Islands
East India
Federated Malay States
Gilbert and Ellice Islands - see Kiribati and Tuvalu
Gold Coast - see also Ghana
Ionian Islands
Hong Kong
Lagos (Nigeria)
Leeward Islands
Liu Kung Tau - see China
Malaya - see Malaysia
Mosquito Coast - see Nicaragua
Nauru - see Western Pacific High Commission
New Hebrides - see Vanuatu
New South Wales
New Zealand
Niger Coast Protectorate - see British Nigeria
Niue - see Western Pacific High Commission
North Borneo - see Sabah
Northern Nigeria - see British Nigeria
Northern Rhodesia - see Zambia
Nyasaland - see Malawi
Orange River Colony
Rhodesia - see Zimbabwe
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
Saint Christopher, Nevis and Anguilla
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Sierra Leone
Solomon Islands
South Africa
South Australia
Southern Nigeria - see British Nigeria
Southern Rhodesia - see Zimbabwe
Straits Settlements
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
Unfederated Malay States
Victoria Colony
West African Settlements
West Indies Federation
West Pacific High Commissioner
Western Australia
Western Samoa - see Samoa
Windward Islands
Witu Protectorate

Try the USA when you've got through that lot.

  • 36.
  • At 04:09 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Dan wrote:

I have a friend who is welsh and displays a flag on his car in England and a neighbour who is scottish and does the same. Their cars in the years they have been parked in England have not met such treatment. This truly shows that the Scots in particular and from experience some of the Welsh are xenophobic. Next time I see a St Andrews give me one good reason why I shouldn't do the same. After all it offends me. What rubbish. Oppressed??? hardly try supported

  • 37.
  • At 04:13 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • S-McGiff wrote:

It doesn't appear to be the case that a flag of a ‘foreign country’ provoked the ire of passers by, but simply because it was English. Would a car with the Danish flag be readily vandalised?

Anyway, let us know if ye’d like to join an expanded Republic of Ireland. :¬)

  • 38.
  • At 04:15 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Bill wrote:

"...Saltire covered flags in England..."

Good idea. If the car with the Scottish flag sticker in the window that I pass every day is a guide there shouldn't be a problem - but it's worth giving it a go.

One question - if it were undamaged, what conclusions should we draw?

  • 39.
  • At 04:15 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Ben wrote:

As an Englishman in Scotland I found a great atmosphere down my local with scots cheering each country that came up against England. Wearing my England shirt was fine and it was all lighthearted Banter.
When England finally got knocked out most of the scots around me were quick to give me a pat on the back, and a 'better luck next time mate' remark.
South or North of the border I will always support England, Scotland and Wales if they qualify for tournaments.

  • 40.
  • At 04:15 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Scott McNair wrote:

I personally dislike how a number of things are being rolled into one, and always thought Newsnight was a quality programme not in the gutter with the Sunday Mail - a News of the World rival.

First: anyone is brave to park in the Gallowgate flag or no flag, and there are thugs in every country.

Second: I have supported Tim Henman because he is British and there is no Scottish/English rivalry in tennis.

Thirdly: I am not anti-english I am anti England football team. Scotland and England have the oldest international fotball rivalry in the world (we played the first international against each other) and the wee team always "hates" the big one more. So, I cannot bring myself to support our oldest rivals - in the same way a Spurs fan finds it very hard to support Arsenal. It is a matter of taking the mick between scots and english freinds of mine.

To say Scots should support England because SOME English fans would support Scotland is strange. Why can I not choose who to support or not?

  • 41.
  • At 04:21 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Russell wrote:

As a born and bred Scot sadly I have no defence to some of the comments posted here. I have a good few English friends and always go in for the pre match "friendly banter" with them which usually results in me coming off worse when the final whistle blows! All given and taken in good faith and always leads to a few beers after the game!

However some of the behaviour in Scotland during the World Cup has been shocking to say the least. We have witnessed thugs and (I'd like to think) a minority making a bad name for the rest of us. In one case a disabled man was pulled from his car and hit for displaying the England flag. I suppose my point is that not everyone is invlved in this. I for one supported England during the World Cup and I know a number of my (Scottish) friends did too. It makes me ashamed to hear that what should be no more than friendly rivalry is being used as an excuse for violence.

I read a good point in another discussion on the subject by a former soldier who said he had fought in wars side by side with Englishmen and he would support them through thick and thin.

  • 42.
  • At 04:22 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Paul T. wrote:

I was born in England but have lived in Edinburgh for 40 years. For football, I support Scotland first, then England next. Typically that means that for the World Cup I was an English supporter.

From bitter experience, I'm ashamed to admit that the average Scot will support Scotland first, and whoever plays England next. My opinion is that the average Scot has a sizeable 'chip on their shoulder'. Many folks will laugh the subject off as just a bit of fun, but there's a sizeable minority who are much more serious in their hatred of the English. To be fair, these bigots probably also hate blacks, Asians (they can't tell the difference between Indians & Pakistanis), Muslims, Chinese, catholics/protestants (as appropriate), etc., etc.

My impression over the last 20 years is that intolerance here is becoming increasingly worse, with open hostility or violence by no means unusual. I apologise for offending anyone, but it has to be said. If nothing else, this intolerance is beginning to have a bad effect with serious examples being well publicised in the media. A bad impression can take many years to eradicate from the minds of potential visitors. Currently Scotland has a declining population and we don't want to scare off anyone.

  • 43.
  • At 04:24 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Tony Hull wrote:

I was in Edinburgh the day that England lost to Portugal. The three pubs nearest the place I was staying (just off "Leith Walk") all erupted when the game ended with English defeat. I just put it down to pure jealousy that England had qualified and Scotland had not. A large minority of Scots appear to have extremely large “chips” on shoulders when it comes to English participation in world sports, something I have not seen in reverse.

  • 44.
  • At 04:28 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • David wrote:

Sorry, but having just read the Sunday Mail article it is clear they are not then ones screaming at the BBC.

I am not a fan of the Mail but if you are going to paint them as hypocrites you could at least read the article twice.

  • 45.
  • At 04:29 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Sue wrote:

Well that's news to me - I hadn't realised Scotland had a football team!

  • 46.
  • At 04:32 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Allen McLaughlin wrote:

To begin with I really have no interest either way in how England does in the world cup. I enjoy a good game of football as a neutral, and saw very little 'good football' from the England camp this time around...

To address the issue of the car being "trashed" well if you put a car like that, in that particular location you're asking for, if not indeed provoking trouble.

Speaking as someone who's been physically assaulted in the Gallowgate, I know it's a rough no go zone at night and a car bedecked in Mickey Mouse pictures would probably have been trashed as well ?

Sporting rivalry between Scotland and England has existed for centuries, I see no harm in it and a bit of 'banter' is normal between rival teams. Take Celtic/Rangers, Man Utd/Man City, Liverpool/Everton as examples of that. Do you expect those rivals to support each other in the domestic leagues and competitions ? Violence and vandalism are of course inexcusable, and not a form of 'expression' shared by the vast majority of decent Scottish sports fans.

I do object in the strongest terms to Newsnights attempt to provoke controversy and to tag a nation as xenophobic in this manner. Tabloid journalism it most certainly is and as someone else has pointed out, congratulations are required on lowering the tone of Newsnight to that of the toilet paper that is The Sunday Mail.

Allen McLaughlin, Paisley.

  • 47.
  • At 04:33 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Tom wrote:

It is sad to see that Newsnight now sees itself as the equivalent of a tabloid in staging a predictable stunt in the equivalent of, say Brixton, in order to get a sensational story. Their idiotic conclusion that it proved some kind of general point makes me question the validity of, the once respected, Newsnight's editorial slant on other matters.

We are talking about football fans for G**'s. Have a look at how much Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal supporters love each other. It is the incessant, hysterical, jingoist coverage by the EBC of the English team which makes us enjoy seeing the hubris deflated.

  • 48.
  • At 04:33 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Bad Horsey wrote:

The implication here would seem to be that the actions of a few mindless thugs represents the conduct of an entire nation. The initial article and indeed the Sunday Mail's follow-up were gutter journalism of the lowest order.

Since when did deliberate provocation become a news item?

Suppose the - and I am loathe to use the word - "experiment" - had been repeated on the Old Kent Road with a car bedecked in Portuguese livery following England's exit. Would you have been even mildly surprised to see a similar reaction?

You, sir, have sullied your own name and reputation, and that of your colleagues and your programme. Be very ashamed.

  • 49.
  • At 04:36 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • pete wrote:

Scottish people do not hate the English, they just dont support the English football team because there is a huge sporting rivalry between the two countries at footy. If you put a St G cross up during the World Cup obviously it will provoke a response because of the rivalry. It probably wouldnt cause a fuss any other time of the year. I am Scottish and happy to admit that I am jealous of the success England has in qualifying for tournaments, thats mainly why I dont want them to win. We have a inferiority complex, small-mans syndrome... call it what you want.... its a sporting rivalry. I like English people, I have family in England, at least half of my friends are English. I object strongly to being called a racist.

  • 50.
  • At 04:38 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • John Marrs wrote:

I inadvertently completed my own test. On Friday 30th June i bought a camper van in Telford with St. Georges flag mudflaps. I then had to drive the 300 miles from Telford to Falkirk in Central Scotland to my home. All through England i received waves from other camper drivers and other drivers flying the St Georges flag and curtiously waved back and we all smiled. Then i crossed the border in to Scotland and received a different type of attention. I got the one and two finger salute, people sticking out their tongue and the occasion white van man passenger showing me the moon. Everytime this was done i always acknowledged it and the people doing these acts always smiled back. It was all in good fun and never felt threatened ever. But being scottish as soon as i parked the camper up those mudflaps came off. I think the rivalry between the nations of the British Isles makes it the great place it is to stay, live and work in.

  • 51.
  • At 04:38 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

So you confirmed some Scots viscerally hate the English. What other deep dark nightmarish suspicions would you like to confirm? Why not try to find out what percentage and how intense their feelings actually are? As a disinterested outsider, I've observed informally talking with Scots that it may be considerable on both counts. When that's done, you can repeat the survey in all of the former colonies Britain exploited down through the centuries. That should keep you busy for a few decades or more.

  • 52.
  • At 04:41 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • JAS wrote:

I'm English, and having lived in Scotland for 17 years am not at all suprised by the flag trashing. Basically any excuse brings anti-english racism to the surface. I have seen flags flying here for just about every team apart from England. It is a shame - most english people are unaware of this and would cheer a scots team if they were playing. How would scots react if the tables were turned I wonder?

  • 53.
  • At 04:43 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Steven Tsoh wrote:

After finding out about the "experiment" it was of no surprise to me that the outcome was what it was, a minority being shadowed by the press to implicate the general Scottish public as being bigoted towards our southern neighbors. I think the real problem is the media on both sides of the border fueling the debate and playing each side (as the media would like to think of it) against each other.
Yes there is the few who would gladly denounce the English, but it remains a few, not the opinion of the nation as a whole.
On the point of the St James flag incident I’m sure if a Scottish news team replicated the same scenario in cities and towns in England then the reaction would be exactly the same, especially if those accused had been out with friends and already intoxicated.

  • 54.
  • At 04:45 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Mark Thompson wrote:

A saltire in England? It'd be cheered. What seems to upset the Scottish nationalists is that even the most xenophobic of the English will cheer Scotland on.

I'm impressed that the car was undamaged - could anti-English sentiment be dying out?

  • 55.
  • At 04:46 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Alan wrote:

Having lived in England for 2 years, I received abuse for being Scottish. But unlike scandal mongering news reporters I took it for what it was, a minority of small minded people who had never even visited Scotland.
The same can be said for the Scottish people who vandalise English cars.

Because a small percentage behave irresponsibly, does this mean the whole nation should be tarred with the same brush? If this is the case, then is the whole English race a bunch of football holligans, I think not.

But then if you showed pictures of Scottish people celebrating England scoring against Sweden, would that sell papers or provide a good headline?

  • 56.
  • At 04:46 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Peter Haldane wrote:

As an exile I find it painful to see how a once great nation has turned in upon itself. Young Scots used to sing "And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no; and whether the skin be black or white as the snow . . . . ".

I've read at least two comments saying that the Newsnight team ought to put a car with Portugese flags in London, and see what happens. Can someone explain to me how these two situations are comparable, because I can't see it.

I'm an Englishman who's lived in Wales for many years now, and I always support Wales, Scotland or NI (and Ireland for that matter) when they're playing, to do anything else just comes across as petty- so it's pretty depressing when so many do.

  • 58.
  • At 04:51 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • David wrote:

Maybe if English media producers like Peter Barron stopped treating the Scots like a bunch of lab rats in a so-called "BBC experiment" then the Scots might take to the English a bit better? As it is, the straw that broke the camel's back was the poll tax "experiment" that was forced onto the Scots one full year before it was introduced in England. When the English finally got the tax they rioted in the streets! So much for the "aggressive" Scots!

Has this blog turned into Private Eye's "Street of Shame" column? Nice little light-hearted piece by Newsnight I thought. But then maybe I'm just too laid back to get worked up about stuff like this.

  • 60.
  • At 04:59 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Graham Flett wrote:

Heres another view:

My friend was studying in England. One night, for a formal party, he and a few other Scots attended in kilts. On the way home, they were assaulted by a gang of Englishmen. Therefore I can conclude (based on the same "logic" this article is using) that all English are Scottish-hating violent thugs.

Oh, and the only nation whose fans go about German cities displaying SS Insignia and singing WW2 songs is hardly in a position to whine about racism.

  • 61.
  • At 05:03 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • LL wrote:

Some of the responses here are utter drivel. I suggest the English who think this "experiment" has shown what Scots are like should spend some time reading the comments attached to the other piece on this. The area the car was left in is one of the most deprived in Britain if not Europe, any car would likely to have been trashed. What the stunt shows is that leaving a car in a poor are will often result in it being vandalised, to extrapolate that to suggest that all Scots are racist and anti-English is absurd. RB (no. 8) needs to learn about experiments and proof.
I'm intelligent, tolerant and certainly not racist, however I didn't support England in the World Cup. Why not? Not because I hate the English, not because I hate the English football team but because the English dominated broadcasters drive me to support the opposition. Both the BBC and ITV are UK wide broadcasters, the sporting programmes go all over the UK. To refer to England as "we" is ignorant and offensive, to drivel on endlessly about how England are going to win the Cup is utterly tedious deluded garbage. If the broadcasters had some humility, didn't assume all viewers are English and didn't manage to bring some reference to 1966 into every game then we might be a bit more supportive. (By the way having Alan Hansen on doesn't make it better, he's desperate to be English!) The day Scotland gets independence (by the way Robert Bright I think it is our oil money that goes south not tax revenues coming north) and the BBC becomes the EBC then fine but till then they have a duty to be British.
Just because we don't support your football team doesn't mean we are racist, I wanted France to win last night, does that mean I hate the Portuguese? Why in fact should we support you? It's a game for goodness sake, I don't expect the English to support Scotland at any sport. If you do fine, if you don't then we can continue what should be a healthy rivalry. The gentleman Robert Bright saw in Jamaica may have been a bit of a idiot but there is no reason why he should feel obliged to support England.
Finally the attitude of THR also stinks, I have no problem with anyone waving an English flag in Scotland but would suggest it is done with tact (as I would suggest anyone waving a flag in a foreign country).

  • 62.
  • At 05:05 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

What a waste of the license fee. What will you do next? Drop a ball and see if it bounces? The result of the experiment was a foregone conclusion.

  • 63.
  • At 05:06 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

THR I have seen a number of England flags in Cardiff and even a welshman sat in a Welsh pub wearing an England shirt and cheering England against Portugal.

Are you sure 'we take affront to it'?

  • 64.
  • At 05:06 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Neil -S- wrote:

We do not ask for your support in sporting events that we are successful in. Why should we? we are our own nation. And if you want to stop the spending of English tax payers money across the border, then I say fine, it works both ways. I mean, I'm sure that the billions of pounds revenue that is generated from the North sea oil, wouldn't do much good to England anyway, and not to mention countless other exports.

Also funny how its the Irish and Scottish that have very successful days in New York, i.e. St Patrick’s day and Scottish day. Where exactly is English day? Oh, and when are we doing the Saltire flag experiment?

  • 65.
  • At 05:07 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Sandy Webster wrote:

I am a Scot who has lived in England for the past 5 years and have enjoyed my time hear immensely! However I have yet to see an Englishman (or Woman) ever support Scotland. Many claim they do but I think they are confusing being smug over how good England is (Debatable as we have seen) and general mockery at how bad the other nations are (Scotland and Wales), with genuine support.

Why should I support England again?

  • 66.
  • At 05:07 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Phil Cox wrote:

Could the experiment possibly be repeated in a month's time when memories of the World Cup have faded a little? This could act as the control experiment to see if the ill-will felt towards the St George's Cross by the Scottish is a product of, or exacerbated by, the football.

  • 67.
  • At 05:09 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

The only thing that the Scots will ever be successful at is hating the English. They have this almighty chip on there shoulders regarding the English based on rubbish like Braveheart and the mother of all inferiority complexes. I lived in Edinburgh for six years and encountered first hand the level of hatred and biterness towards the English. I would'nt of dared wear my England shirt in public for fear of abuse, where as the day after Englands first World Cup game I saw a guy in my local town wearing a Scotland shirt and nobody looked twice.

  • 68.
  • At 05:10 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • nimoloth wrote:

In reply to Paul above, I believe Scotland are the world champions at Elephant Polo.


  • 69.
  • At 05:11 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

My wife is Scottish and I am English. Most of her family were disappointed that England did not progress in the world cup. Generally the people of Scotland are friendly and not anti-English. A small minority think in this way and get good media attention for doing so. It is a similar situation to all those that perceive every English Football Supporter to be a hooligan or all muslims are terrorists!

  • 70.
  • At 05:23 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • John Parsons wrote:

I have many friends and family in Scotland (my wifes a jock) I can assure you I give them more stick than you can imagin.
I blame Adrien, should have built the wall twice the size with no doors.

  • 71.
  • At 05:25 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • John wrote:

What a complete waste of resource & license payers money, Newsnight ! - You've now reached the same depths as the tabloids - it's not even worthy of the name 'journalism'. I wish I had had the luxury of having a BBC cameraman with me when the thousands of English fans rioted in Glasgow last time they we're up here, smashing cars, shops & frightening the lives out of Saturday shoppers in Union St, Glasgow - these were the worst riots in living memory up here & only a few years ago - so, the media now reports that England have now at last shaken off their 'hooligan' 383 arrests in Germany & making locals & visting fans feel uncomfortable in their own backyard is acceptable, then ? Plus there's the fact, that, on my numerous business trips to London over the last 20 years, I've had to endure jibes about 'Monopoly money', warm flat beer, & 'jock' this & that etc -I think if you did something constructive such as, asking the majority of English people living in Scotland how they were received, they would say, 'warmly' & that they prefer it here for a variety of reasons.

  • 72.
  • At 05:26 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Rob Mawer wrote:

I would gladly trash and "Victory-V" a St. Georges myself, I am English born, and I would do this not because of Football, the St. Georges flag couldn't have anything less to do with football, but just on the principle that I'm ashamed of my country, and the football and the hooliganism just tops it off as it's just making a rose tinted distraction from how things really are. It's not all World Cup and happy times, far from it. This whole football "thing" is given far too much credit than it's worth, after these players are bought and sold like the Calvin Kline briefs they wear, it's a glorified cattle market.
Try doing an experiment putting the St. Andrews flag around England and watch how many get destroyed in much more violent ways. I'm glad were out of the World Cup, we don't deserve it. It's also amusing to hear the England fans being sore losers and just generally being racist towards the remaining teams.
I take no responsibility for the behaviour of the football fans in general, I may be English, but I care not for football, and I won't be stereotyped for what they do, NOT IN MY NAME!
Shame on England!

  • 73.
  • At 05:27 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • mac wrote:

To all those who say stick a Scotland flag in England and see how the English react well my house often does have a Scottish and English flag on display and ive received no trouble

  • 74.
  • At 05:30 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Duncan McKenna wrote:

As has been posted before, well done to reduce a supposed quality news programme to that of a Sunday tabloid. You must be SO proud.

Also, did the Sunday Mail park in some of the most deprived areas in the country? No, they parked in City Centre locations. Where did Newsnight park up? In an area renowned for social problems.

Well done also for comparing Apples, with Oranges.

  • 75.
  • At 05:32 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Neil Campbell wrote:

I think you have missed the point, Newsnight. Having lived here my entire life, I am certain that "The Scots" as a rule do not hate the English, or even English sports teams, and we are happy to see English competitors succeeding in Athletics, rowing, swimming etc. I enjoyed the success of Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell, Steve Redgrave etc. during the country's golden athletics period of the 90's, just as much as any patriotic Englishman. (the fact they were representing Great Britain is irrelevant here).
The problem comes with the unbelievably over-hyped and shamefully arrogant portrayal of your national Football and Rugby teams every time they walk on the park. An arrogance which becomes absorbed and magnified by the respective players and fans.
And as the British media is dominated by English journalism, this can become tiresome to say the least. So while I don't deny I love watching Rooney, Gerrard et al. displaying their talent in an England shirt, and quietly support them in nearly every game they play, I will also admit I hope they never win the World Cup because I couldn't bear the "of course we're the greatest team /squad /country on the planet" nonsense that would permeate every form of British media for the next fifty odd years.
I do however support any English football club involved in European action, long after Scotland's teams have gone by the way-side. And I also, for example, hope the English cricket team, which is made up of some wonderful sportsmen and real gentlemen, and generally reported on and supported by reasonable, level-headed members of your country, regain their form to retain the Ashes and win the World Cup.
I had always rated your programme as the "england cricket team" of english t.v. journalism, but after the facetious, almost racist manner of your report, I am afraid you have been relegated to the "english footie/rugger" arrogance, shallow-ness and blatant mis-representation of your tabloid colleagues.
Please remember Scottish T.V. licence payers money contributed to that report.

  • 76.
  • At 05:37 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • omar salam wrote:

As an English man in Scotland for the past 16 yrs, all I can say is the only people to make money out of Scotland failing to qualify as a football team are the sports shops. This is because they are happy to sell and the number of Scots willing to pay silly prices for the top or flag, for whatever team is playing England. I had to laugh as the flag of Portugal was flying across Irvine on Saturday and my mate missed the beginning of the match looking for a top in the local shops

  • 77.
  • At 05:38 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Bill wrote:

"P.S. Newsnight, if you go deliberately trying to provoke trouble, then you generally will succeed" says Robert Mckay

It speaks volumes for the Scots that parking a car with a cross of St. George flag on it is deemed 'deliberately trying to provoke trouble' without any trace of irony.

  • 78.
  • At 05:39 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • AJ wrote:

My god the once great BBC news team is now stealing ideas from a down-market
Scottish tabloid.

Luckily I can pick at choose what newspapers I buy but am forced to pay for a silly programme like Newsnight, cant you just ripoff Channel 4 News instead?

What next the BBC relaunches the News Bunny, come to think of it would be
more entertaining than Paxman continually gurning at the camera.

  • 79.
  • At 05:43 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Dick White wrote:

I can't understand why the English are so surprised that Scots don't support England in the World Cup.
Would a Tottenham Hotspur fan support Arsenal in the Champion's League? The answer is that some of them wouldn't and some of them would. Hardly any would go around waving Arsenal flags.
It's not hatred (except in a few), it's just rivalry.

  • 80.
  • At 05:48 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Adam wrote:

All this makes me wonder which is worse. the Sunday Mail's hypocrisy or Newsnight's theft of a decent idea. Either way nothing to brag about.

  • 81.
  • At 05:48 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • John wrote:

The whole incident smacks of something that Jeremy Beadle would have been proud of and marks the sad decline of a once great news programme to the level of the gutter press.

I may be wrong, but isn't incitement to racial hatred a crime?

  • 82.
  • At 05:51 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Paul C, Glasgow wrote:

You parked a car in Glasgow with a St George's cross on it, near a largely Celtic supporting, deprived area of the city. Why not spend some more time and effort understanding the issues of deprivation and sectarianism in Glasgow? That would be a better use of your money rather than coming up north to poke a bit of fun at us in (as the Sunday Mail article demonstrates)a manner suited ideally to a tabloid medium. Is this where you are pitching yourself, competing with the Sunday Mail? Did you know it is often called the "Sunday Mason" by people in the Gallowgate? What do you know about the Gallowgate?

  • 83.
  • At 05:55 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Derek wrote:

I'm not sure what your point is exactly. Are you happy that Newsnight, on your watch, has been reduced to copying the antics of a trashy red-top?

Lets not forget however that the Sunday Mail's main accusation was not that you had conducted this "experiment" but that the attack on the car had been deliberatly staged for the camera.

Perhaps there is a perfectly innocent explanation for the fact that the youths who attacked the car took the trouble to cover their faces. If there is then perhaps you'd care to share it with us.

  • 84.
  • At 05:57 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

C'mon - all you've done is show that there are idiots wherever you go.
I suspect if you performed a similar experiment leaving a car draped in Arsenal colours in Manchester it wouldn't be long till the same thing happened. It's called rivalry. Of course there are a few idiots who take that too far, and don't realise that such things should be done in humour, and taken with a pinch of salt - but the vast majority of their compatriots or peers will generally feel pretty embarassed if not downright ashamed by their behaviour. Don't extrapolate that to mean that those extreme views are held by everyone... sheesh, that's called stereotyping....

  • 85.
  • At 05:58 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Dolly Kingham wrote:

I live in Devon, where the English flag always flies from the spire of our parish church. A few weeks ago, I was returning home on the bus when we passed the church. There were three Scottish persons sitting in front of me; one of them pointed at the flag and said loudly "What the f*** is that?!". So you see, you don't need to go all the way to Scotland to prove your point.

  • 86.
  • At 06:01 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • John Askew wrote:

I am not sure that the BBC should be engaging in this type of "tabloid" stunt. This is not a sensible or appropriate use of the licence fee.
However I am certain that as first minister for Scotland Jack McConnell should be asked to apologise for his anti english sentiments during the world cup. If Tony Blair had made similar comments he would have been forced to apologise. And as regards how the ordinary scot feels about the english - can we have the Wembley turf back ?

  • 87.
  • At 06:01 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Angus Powles wrote:

Here here Robert McKay and there's nothing wrong with a spot of healthy competitive spirit from nations with such a history! I have just added a george cross next to the saltire on my girlfriend's car as a safety measure whilst she parks in london, just common sense methinks. It's encouraging that the beebs cars were not burnt out and only a couple of penny flags were stolen! ;-)

  • 88.
  • At 06:06 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • David Riley wrote:

Seriously, no, seriously... who cares? Teenagers will be teenagers, loyal football supporters will be football supporters. A few students or bored people have a laugh and you's broaden the debate into racism, hypocrisy and "jingoistic nationalism". Who's to say there wasnt a steady strema of hundreds passing this car before someone finally took the flag off. This isnt an experiment, its old, pointless news and bad television, if even that.

  • 89.
  • At 06:08 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Andy Page wrote:

Great stunt with obvious results! Great countries with obvious views! However, has any one observed the case of the "Sun" Newspaper?
In England the newspaper dishes out a mindless form of Englishness: not so in Scotland! in fact quite the reverse...which is odd considering it's public? I always thought the Sun appealed to the thump now think later brigade, the very people who would riot if they found out the anti English sentiment published by the "Sun" north of the boarder! ops, it just slipped out :s

  • 90.
  • At 06:11 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Angus Powles wrote:

I think the Sunday Mail is awful.

  • 91.
  • At 06:31 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

First off, and this may come as a surprise to many of you, English people (and Scots) do not constitute a race. The problem you are trying to identify is Xenophobia and not racism.
Secondly, football is a sport. Now what percentage of sports fans will cheer on their rivals in a competition? Man U fans cheered on Arsenal in the CL final did they? Germany is probably seen as more of a rival to England than Scotland because you play them more often in the big tournaments. How many English were cheering on the Germans after you were knocked out. Or were you still singing "2 world wars and 1 world cup"?
Finally, calling all Scots English hating thugs is a rather ignorant stance to take. Using this method you must then agree that ALL English are violent drunken xenophobic football hooligans?
Yes there are idiots in Scotland who are an embarrasment to the country but there just as many, if not more due to the size of the population, English who are an embarrassment to their own country.
Lets all try and keep some perspective in what really was just a football tournement that one of us went to and the other one didn't.

  • 92.
  • At 06:35 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • David wrote:

Wondered how long it would be before some English idiot trotted out the tired old "chip on the shoulder" and "inferiority complex" labels for the Scots. The English want to lose the chip on their shoulder about other football teams "cheating" and their "inferiority complex" about taking penalties at the world cup before they start projecting their psychological flaws onto the Scots!

  • 93.
  • At 07:28 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Keith Darlington wrote:

The BBC and English Newspapers expect the Scottish and Welsh to get behind the England team by using subtle moral pressure, such as reminding us that we are all British?

Yet, there is little evidence of reciprocation from the English. For example, I can recall getting congratulatory messages from my friends of all nationalities (especially my Scottish and Welsh friends) when Wales reached the semi-finals of the 1987 Rugby World Cup. Not so for my English friends, for many of them could hardly bring themselves round to acknowledging that Wales had a good team then, let alone show any goodwill to the teams achievement.

So come on BBC, lets have a little honesty: the banter that exists between some Celts and Anglo Saxons is a two way process, and you have no grounds for complaint when the jingoistic hysteria which the nation has endured for the last month fails to catch on in Scotland and Wales.

  • 94.
  • At 07:52 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Karen wrote:

Very disappointing. Newsnight should be of a higher quality than the Sunday Mail, and the fact that you both pull the same sort of stunt speaks volumes.

This car was parked in the East End the day before the largest Orange Walk of the year. Of course if was going to be attacked, though I find it suspicious that you can clearly hear some neds shout about being 'on the telly' when you drove past the pub. It reeks of a set up, and a poorly executed one at that.

  • 95.
  • At 08:20 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Magyar Hettie wrote:

This is your third post on the issue and you have not answered any of the viewers' concerns in previous posts.

  • 96.
  • At 08:24 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Anonymous wrote:

fed up of scotland
they need to grow up
they are very immature,
oh well Glasgow is the most violent city in Scotland.
Shows really doesn't it.

  • 97.
  • At 08:27 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Tetujin wrote:

I am sick and fed up of the media prattling on about how the Scots are so anti-English and everyone hates the English and my response would be - no, thats not true but could you blame us if we did.
Constantly we hear about the English and English success at this and that while the rest of the country is left as a side note and any notable success is a British success. The fact is that this sort of thing is just as common in England and the media is once again spinning webs to make small problems seem worse than they are and making another side look angelic.
Come on, you may say that the same experiemnt repeated in england would result in the flags being left but that is just lies. Why should we have to get behind the English? What is your obsession that everybody has to like the English?
Some English are just as anti-Scottish just as some Scottish are anti-English yet the media preys on the scottish side to whip up a frenzy. The fact is that this experiment was set up to provoke such a reaction and well done it worked.

  • 98.
  • At 08:46 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Ed wrote:

I must say that I have found the response to this article from north of the border to be utterly baffling - if only the contentious segment of the youths attacking the car had been shown, and had been presented as a representation of the Scottish attitude as a whole, then I could easily understand why such a stream of vitrol would be flowing to this thread - but it was only one of a whole set of responses from scottish people to the car, the rest of which were pretty well-adjusted, and mostly mature, with a bit of light-hearted banter thrown in, understandably. I, an Englishman, did not leave with the impression that all Scots are mindless thugs, and neither can I conceive that it was the programme's intent for me to do so.

Sunday Mail?

I once saw it in a chip shop being handed over to Mrs Ethel 'chirpy' Winterbottom of Huddersfield. She refused to accept her chips in such a rag and promptly handed the offending piece back to the chip fryer. Minus the chips of course.


Scotland and Wales flags? Can they afford one?

  • 100.
  • At 08:50 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Fraser Gray wrote:

It seems Mr Barron has missed the point here. The Sunday Mail took issue with the way Newsnight conducted their 'experiment' in order to give them the result they desired.

Why exactly did you choose to abandon your lovely little car on the Gallowgate of all places?

Why (if it were not staged) did this racially motivated vandalism not get reported to Strathclyde Police?

I notice the vandals had their faces covered and skipped away sideways with their backs to the camera-car across the street. Fancy that!

  • 101.
  • At 08:57 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Joanna wrote:

Ok - this whole thing is ridiculous.

Yes, there are people in Scotland who act like complete fools, and let's remember that there are those in England who are the same! I'm Scottish and I was cheering England on during the World Cup - LIKE MANY OTHER SCOTS WERE.

I wouldn't walk around England wearing a Scottish rugby, football or anything else top - it's just plain rude. The newspaper knew what was going to happen didn't they - it's them who should be blamed for doing something that quite frankly sparks off stupid debates that get us NOWHERE

Can we stop all this and move on now?

  • 102.
  • At 10:13 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Craig McIlveney wrote:

Right - can we stop this nonsense now. The simple fact of the matter is that Scotland and England are rivals when it comes to football - the same way Celtic and Rangers are north of the border, as are the likes of Liverpool and Everton south of the border etc.

You are always going to get the idiots that take it too far. However, for people to say that the English would support Scotland in the World Cup is utter rubbish.

At the opening ceremony of Euro '96 @ Wembley, just about the entire stadium booed the Saltire when it was dropped into the stadium, so we're all as bad as each other.

Very nice of the Tories to try and make political capital out of it all though, don't you think?

  • 103.
  • At 10:17 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Calum wrote:

Eh? And what, do you think, would happen if the same expirement were played out in similar areas of England - replace the St. George's Cross with St. Andrew's? I am sure that too is a foregone conclusion.

Quote heard often on the train south: "I'm glad we're out of that ******* country". Fortunately I know that that attitude, too, is only shared by a minority of our southern neighbours.

  • 104.
  • At 10:43 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • pat wrote:

Oh the nasty Scottish people don't like you. Booo hooo. Grow up. Live with it or change it.

If you haven't been paying attention nobody likes you much. Maybe some of your effort should go into finding out why instead of whining, moaning and ramming your sense of superiority down our necks. There's a hint in there btw.

  • 105.
  • At 12:52 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Tipu wrote:

Could we have a picture of the car and flag? They probably put a ridiculously large flag on the bonnet to provoke people. Before people start to complain - I know, still no excuse for racism.

After searching around the web on this story, I find it intriguing that Jeremy Paxman recently took part in The BBC's 'Who Do You Think You Are' genealogy series.

It seems Mr. Paxman's ancestors lived extremely close to the location of the 'experiment'(Gallowgate).

From The Sunday Times :

"McKay chose to keep her family together in her room in Glasgow’s east end. They lived in Ardenlea Street in the red sandstone tenement where Paxman goes and wonders at his great-grandmother’s hardship."

If the desired conclusion of Newsnight's experiment is to be believed, then I suggest you get extra security at Television Centre's car park and, if Jeremy Paxman ever visited The BBC when he was younger, then I suggest you may have found one of the culprits who vandalised The Blue Peter garden.

  • 107.
  • At 02:55 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

I watched Tim's car parking piece (seems you've moved on since editing The Saint) and I would interpret it differently to most others thus far.

We must assume that Tim set out to get responses by playing England songs and beeping his horn outside a pub to drunk people and shouting "do you like my car?" The reponses he got were very positive; some people said they were supporting England; some people said they were not (I'm sure this freedom of choice is something in a democracy that we all cherish) - all of the responses were pleasant enough, in fact one group invited him (as a total stranger) in to the pub for a chat.

It appears that to get some sort of an unacceptable response Tim had to drive around Glasgow; find one of the most deprived areas of the city that has a large Scots/Irish mix and a problem with sectarian issues; and then leave it in a prominent place where it clearly looks like it shouldn't be there. Isn't that great - doesn't this show that Scotland is a friendly welcoming country; even to our biggest footballing rivals.

I would ask that politics and football are kept apart - all this has nothing to do with the Barnett formula; the West Lothian Question and Gordon Brown's chances of being the next PM.

As a Scot living in England wearing a Scotland top during the world cup I received significant abuse - some friendly banter; but some not. I don't think all the English are racist. I didn't want England to win the world cup - I'm not racist. It's sport!

The reciprocal test isn't a saltire/portugese flag in England. It's what happened the last time Scotland and England played each other in a high level contest - the Calcutta Cup this year in Murrayfield. Great game - all sporting rivalry; enemies for 80 minutes - drinking buddies the rest of the night.

  • 108.
  • At 04:31 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Simon Morris wrote:

The is an awful reek of hypocrisy coming from the English media. Last years Ashes win was leading item on all national news reports, as if many Scots, Welsh and Irish cared so much about it - yet we were supposed to get behind the time of 'national celebration'.
Then when N. Ireland beat England in the football, no lead articles for them, no national celebration that a country in the UK had pulled of a great result, no - what do we get?, endless reports about how bad England are.
The majority of Scots do not hate England or the English (I'm quarter English myself), but will not support their biggest footballing and traditional sporting rivals.
It seems the English, with their new found patriotism that has evolved since devolution require validation of this patriotism from the other 'home' nations.
There seems to have been a rather noisy and vindictive anti-Scots campaign during this world cup by many of the English media, which has been only broken by the recent Portugal bashing, because we Scots refuse to drap ourselves in the St Georges Cross.

  • 109.
  • At 07:51 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Dom wrote:

I've seen Portuguese, Italian, German, Brazilian, Trinidad & Tobagan, Ghanaian, French and Australian flags on cars in London: not a problem for them or the English.

An experiment the other way using any Scottish flag (remember that there are some who won't even use the "Saltire" because it has become part of the Union flag) cannot be carried out fairly for two reasons; firstly, the outcome is tainted by the effects of the first experiment, and secondly, for proper comparison we would have to wait until Scotland was in the World Cup and England wasn't.

Forget about the casual racism - all this proves only one thing: that football brings out the worst in almost everyone involved in it.

  • 110.
  • At 08:01 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Davie C wrote:

Scots are being piloried for their refusal to get wholeheartedly behind the flag of another country.
As a Scot, I find it difficult to understand why.
Is being proud of your national identity to the point of exclusion of all others in sport a crime?
I would agree that a minority of Scots would rather see any team win against England, but before we put this down to Nationalistic jingoism, let me state that the majority are driven by the English bias of our 'BRITISH' Broadcasting Corporation.
Listening to the commentary during the World Cup was so frustrating that I eventually started turning the volume off and listening to my 18 month old son babble about towers and mummy.
As far as the comment relating to a United Kingdom. What about the British reluctance to join our European neighbours in the acceptance of the Euro. Or to back the majority of our European neighbours in their stance against America prior to the invasion of Iraq?
It's about time we stopped focussing on the fringes of a sporting rivalry and looked towards the bigger picture.
The whole 'experiment' incident has only succeeded in highlighting a very small social problem and providing those who want it to grow, the air time they were wishing for. Not what the BBC should be getting involved in.
Tabloid journalism, Gutter press, Sleazy rags. All terms that were, in the past, saved for the tabloid press but now equally applicable to the BBC. JOB WELL DONE Peter Baron!

Why dont you try the same in England with a Scottish Flag on the car.....then try different combinations in Wales and Northern Ireland.

  • 112.
  • At 08:37 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Martin wrote:

Seems desperately hypocritical to me, when English hooligans ran amok for years all I heard was that it was a tiny hardcore minority spoiling the reputation of the rest of you. Now apparently the feelings of the entire Scottish nation can be summed up by this?

  • 113.
  • At 08:44 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Neil-S- wrote:

England? More like big headed, loud mouthed, hooligan land! As the once great sCOT ricky Fulton said "I'd rebuild Hadrians wall - AND ELECTRIFY IT"!!!

  • 114.
  • At 09:04 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • James Cardwell wrote:

This is funny because if the flag was Scottish and the car was parked in English towns I bet the flag would last a heck of a lot longer before it was, if ever, trashed!
You see this in Scottish Football how prolific racism is in Scotland, their devolved government needs to do something about it!!

  • 115.
  • At 09:52 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Andy L wrote:

As an Englishman with Scottish friends I welcome the Scots' dislike for our national team because that passion of rivalry is what makes football the exciting game it is.

What does frustrate is when the odd Scott brings up history and all the countries we've colonised and exploited. History is exactly what it is. Those responsible are all long gone and present generations need to leave it in the past. I know there is a few English meatheads who still bang on about glories of the empire and wars but if no one tries to be the bigger man and stop the cycle then resentment will linger on for further generations.

As for the football, keep up the good work. As long as the vitriol doesn't exceed verbal banter it's all for the good.

  • 116.
  • At 10:09 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Rob wrote:

hmmm...this is an intersting issue.

Since I was knee high to a grasshopper I have seen and heard anti-Welsh, Scottish and Irish sentiments from most English people I know; The Sottish are all fat and unhealthy, the Irish are a pack of drunk wasters who beat their wives and the Welsh seem to love the company of a sheep!

Intersting as well that the very second you cross the borders into either Scotland or Wales you come accross some of the most wild and wonderful contryside in Britain. Mountains being the most obvious...Somewhat more profound than England's roundest hills!

Not to bash the English, but I find the the Scots a wonderful group of people, often smiling and cheerful more of the time than any Englishman.

Their culture too. They seem to be far more in contact with their roots and still have a real contempt for the English...Not very hard to see why.

The flag issue is just one of many, and there is no way that a Scottish flag wouldn't be abused in some way in England if the sporting and historical tables were turned. To be honest I think the Welsh get it the worst, after all, the Scots got their own parliament and built the most 'in your face', two fingers up to the English, building I have ever seen to house their MP's.

Independence for all, and no more high horses for English People!

  • 117.
  • At 10:32 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Phil wrote:

Regarding the general Scottish attitude to the English. I have Belgium friends who went for a holiday in Scotland a few years ago. They speak perfect English with no discernable accent, and on more than one occasion they were treated dreadfully by hotel staff, waiters and other people, until they pointed out they were from Belgium. They were so appauled by this ridiculous anti-english attitude that they won't be going back - and neither will any of their friends.

Let me ask the Scottish - what has the average English person ever done to you?

  • 118.
  • At 01:05 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Emily Jane wrote:

For Phil, since he posted last:)
Not so very long ago one of my relations was managing a pub in Sunderland, England. Nicest man you could hope to meet, whom everybody liked. One night he happened to mention he supported Newcastle United. Next day, he had the windows of his pub smashed. Now what does that imply to you - have 2 options:

1. An average English person is so incredibly "racist"/narrow-minded/messed-up in the brain they can't stomach anyone who supports another team even if it's from the next town up the road.

2. There are some people everywhere that are proud of being arseholes and will go out of their way to make you feel shite, no matter what excuse they can think of.

Something tells me you would be more inclined to opt for 2. If your friends judge a country by a few eejits they had the misfortune to meet, then how can you really mind the Scots thinking all English xenophobic thugs because they had met one or two that match this description? Or are you saying that all English people you know/know of are lovely, tolerant, wonderful people?

Bravo BBC - you can now wear the badge of taking xenophobia to new heights, with pride.

  • 119.
  • At 01:30 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • vlad wrote:

Re: post 35.
"I think the Merry Olde Englanders should cast their flag a bit further afield to canvas opinion as to how well loved it is. Try the list of former colonies your once great country plundered and now patronizes. Let's see how you fare by supplanting their proud flags with your wee red and white one."

Good idea! Let's ignore the fact that it was actually a British Empire rather than an English one (and as my Scots friends like to remind me, an Empire which was built in no small part on the interpidness of the Scots) - why let facts get in the way of some English-bashing?

But all's fair in love and war, so let's turn it around and canvas opinion as to how well loved the Scottish flag is. Try this list of former Scottish colonies once plundered and now patronised. Let's see how you Scots fare by supplanting their proud flags with your wee blue and white one:


P.S. Your list made a few references to "See British Nigeria." But British Nigeria isn't in your list. You really don't have a clue what you're talking about, do you?

  • 120.
  • At 02:58 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Jim wrote:

The Sunday Mail is a rag and buying it only encourages them. The fact that I can (and do) refuse to buy it gives me some personal satisfaction.
On the other hand, I have no option but to pay my licence fee and contribute to an organisation who has just carried out the same idiotic exercise.
Rather than sensationalise a group of morons, who are very much in the minority, why didn't you speak with majority of Scots (and Irish & Welsh) and seek their views. Or, would that get in the way of a good story?
I look to the BBC for honest reporting - not joining the ranks of the gutter press!

  • 121.
  • At 06:50 AM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • mcbamm wrote:

As a proud scotsman i dont hate 'the english', i hate listening to them!
Generally we are force fed english news, which we are really not interested in hearing, i.e. wayne roonie's feet and girlfiend.

Like any family, we argue among our selfs as to who is the best, but when it comes to the crunch we will stand together to defeat a common enemy, as hitler found out.

The media and political correctness have eroded away peoples sense of rivalry and competition and made it sound like a bad thing. Its not, it keeps us going!

I would like to have seen england win the world cup, i just wouldnt have bought a newspaper or watched T.V. for a few months afterward!

  • 122.
  • At 11:51 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Graeme Bell wrote:

This was a ridiculous stunt unworthy of the BBC. As has been noted already, the East end of Glasgow is a stronghold of Celtic, where fans fly the Irish Tricolour, in opposition to Rangers fans flying the Union Jack. How ludicrous to suggest that some 'neds' attacking it was symptomatic of Scottish attitudes towards England! Having lived in North London for many years, I can tell you what would have happened to a car bedecked with Arsenal flags left parked in Tottenham High Road just before the Champions League Final! Grow up Newsnight, this is what happens when a programme produced by the West London middle classes meddles in a subject it knows nothing about.

  • 123.
  • At 12:13 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • colin taylor wrote:

Ok, let's settle this.

Most Scots don't support England because, well, it's just not our team. Obviously any anti-Englishness (or indeed any nation) isn't to be encouraged, but we get mightily annoyed at the assumption that us Scots should automatically someone else.

If Britain was represented in the World Cup - we'd support Britain v Portugal, but it's not.

In not supporting England us Scots aren't anti-English in the same way we aren't anti-Ukraine if we don't support Ukraine.

We're just as British as you lot down south, but it seems we're not English enough for you.

Oh yeah, and get an anthem.

Colin Taylor

  • 124.
  • At 07:42 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Mr England wrote:

Jeeze... what do I care what a load of Scots, Welsh or NI's think of us English. We make up 85% of the population of the UK, we bring in the most profit and if it wasn't for us I would expect the British isles to be akin to the Balkans right now.

  • 125.
  • At 02:13 PM on 01 Oct 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

I've displayed a magnetic St George's cross on every car I've owned over the last 15 years or so; I've been living in Scotland (Shetland) for the last 6 years and had no problems at all.
Incidently I also fly a large flag EVERY April 23rd from home, and during the world cup this year until England got knocked out .... and I've had no problem with that either, despite the house being in a prominent position, about 500 feet back off a main road.

Folk should have a choice without suffering the ignorance of others. Personally I'm proud to be English... always have been and always will be.

  • 126.
  • At 02:18 PM on 01 Oct 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

I don't think the "support" issue is about Scotland not supporting England particularly, it's the "we don't care who we support, in fact anyone will do other than England" attitude. E.g. pick one team and support it, don't change your minds with the wind! It smacks of desperation!!! :)

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.