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Stunt attack

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Peter Barron | 13:39 UK time, Monday, 3 July 2006

We've had a bit of heat from the Scottish papers for Friday night's piece by Tim Samuels in which he drove a car around Scotland bedecked in St George's flags ahead of England's big game with Portugal (watch it here).

Newsnight logoTim's experiment met with a gamut of reaction, ranging from good-natured banter, well-meaning foul language, even expressions of support for England, but when he left it unattended in the Gallowgate area of Glasgow it was attacked by a group of youths with bricks.

"The BBC was last night accused of staging a stunt to portray Scotland as a nation of English-hating thugs" raged Billy Paterson in the Sunday Mail. "There were concerns the youths involved in the attack may have even been encouraged by the Newsnight team."

Newsnight's car is attacked in GlasgowLet me allay those concerns. Newsnight categorically did not encourage anyone to attack the car. This was a legitimate experiment to test anti-English sentiment in Scotland during the World Cup, following reports of a number of violent incidents. Of course we thought the car might come under attack, that's why we bought - at very little expense - an elderly banger, but there was no pre-meditated intention to portray Scots as one thing or another.

Tony Parsons in the Mirror saw a very different picture: "[M]ostly the Newsnight experiment revealed a Scotland that was proud, confident and enlightened enough to be well above crass Sassenach-bashing."


Not to mention that that well-known anti-Scottish newspaper, the Scotland on Sunday, has already done a similar experiment.

  • 2.
  • At 04:13 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • David Gammie wrote:

Well, it is unsurprising the car was vandalised, leaving the car in Gallowgate which is a pretty deprived area, and also an area approaching the east end of Glasgow, which not terribly far from Celtic park. I don’t somehow think that that was a ‘fair’ test of the feeling amongst Scots towards the English.

  • 3.
  • At 04:18 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Brian wrote:

The blog was only half the story. The car was deliberately left in an area with a known problem with neds and hooligans and was not indicative of Scottish society as a whole. The same thing would probably have happened in an East London estate - irrespective of what flags were flying. Why not try the same there - this time with Portuguese flags - and see what happenes.

  • 4.
  • At 04:20 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Magyar Hettie wrote:

well, what about a car with a Portugal flag? Any car left in the Galloway area of Glasgow? A car with only one St George flag sticking out a window?

This entry did not work for me at all. News are to be reported, not made by the media. Second, the experiment failed in that it lacked at least two other "independent variable". Finally, it seems that someone's been trying to justify themselves here, is this the medium for that?

  • 5.
  • At 04:44 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Brian wrote:

Not even the locals park their cars on Gallowgate. It's such a deprived area that the cars that aren't perched up on bricks having had their wheels pinched are definitely the exception.

I think most of the supposed anti-English sentiment is just good-natured banter based on an ancient rivalry. Of course, the few shocking incidents of violence against England supporters, perpetrated by moronic thugs, are inexcusable and shocking and will always grab headlines. But I don't believe they are an accurate reflection of any real anti-English feelings on the part of most Scots.

  • 6.
  • At 04:52 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

Is this the sad reality of the BBC? Jumping on the bandwagon that the Daily Telegraph started a few weeks ago when it repeatedly gave lots of space to a few isolated events that were widely condemned by the majority of the Scottish population. A few idiots doesn't make as all the same.

I'll put money on it that if said car had been painted in Scottish colours it would have been trashed left in the same location. And you have the nerve to charge us to watch this so-called journalism? Obviously the temptataion to 'sex-up' the report was too tempting.

These poeple should be sacked - you get better quality journalism in a 6th form magazine.

  • 7.
  • At 05:00 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Moray Newlands wrote:

The Gallowgate area hardly represents the whole of Scotland being very deprived, large Catholic/Irish population. I suppose if England were not in the world cup and Scotland were and you drove a car around the rougher parts of East London say, I suspect you'd get a similar response.

Pointless "experiment"

  • 8.
  • At 05:12 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

I have to agree. Dumping an old banger in Gallowgate is likely to result in it being vandalised whether it had English flags all over it or not. It was just as likely to be vandalised if it has Saltires all over it.

  • 9.
  • At 05:16 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Bring your old heap with or without your flag to one of our more colorful neighborhoods in New York City and the youth among our good citizens will show your Scottish countrymen a lesson in the proper way to quickly strip a car of all its resellable parts WITHOUT damaging them. Bricks, how crude. Do they also perform surgery with a can opener in your country?

  • 10.
  • At 05:17 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • MrE wrote:

The same would have happened had the car been left where it was but decked out in Rangers flags.
These idiots don't know what they are fighting for half the time. As said before, not a fair test. Have you tried the same experiment with a car decked in Scottish flags in some of the deprived areas of England?

  • 11.
  • At 05:22 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • The Squire wrote:

What was the point of such a cheap tabloid stunt, what was to be expected by parking a car in the Gallowgate emblazoned with English paraphernalia, Would the BBC like to think that this act was high brow, challenging journalism. It was the equivalent of holding a red rag to a bull, all it did was to heighten anti English/ anti Scottish feelings- stop being so parochial.

  • 12.
  • At 05:24 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • graeme thomson wrote:

The Scottish Sun also did something similar. It was a tabloid stunt and I am surprised the BBC stooped to this kind of level.

Also, as the other guy said, parking the car in the Gallowgate is hardly representative of Scotland. It is an Irish Republican stronghold where any Union Flag, St George's Cross or Red Hand of Ulster flag is bound to antagonise the locals.

Someone at the BBC obviously knew this when they decided to park the car there but the viewers weren't told any background information that would have put what happened in its proper context.

  • 13.
  • At 05:29 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • David McElroy wrote:

To add to the comments above, The Gallowgate is a predominantly Celtic supporting area. Some Rangers fans have been wearing England shirts etc for a few years now. What this 'experiment' has uncovered is more about sectarianism within Glasgow ie 'loyalist' vs 'nationalist' - similar to that in Northern Ireland

  • 14.
  • At 05:30 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • DW MacLeod wrote:

So the car was vandalised in Gallowgate? Big Deal; as you pointed out, it's a Celtic supporting area. If you decked a car out in Saltires it might get the same treatment.

This just looked like fairly trashy journalism to me. To call it an experiment is ridiculous; a good experiment would have had a control to compare against, say a car covered in Portugal flags parked in a deprived part of Manchester.

Are you intending to waste more of my licence money on a control experiment to see how badly such a car would be treated in England?

  • 15.
  • At 05:42 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Sean wrote:

Just wanted to say that David McElroy got it absolutely right above. Does your programme team understand anything about this country outside the south east, Mr Barron? Or did you just want to annoy the Newsnight Scotland team?

  • 16.
  • At 05:56 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • ian hughes wrote:

I was pleasantly surprised by the Newsnight report and the Scots' attitudes reported. Being brought up in a small scottish town I've previously thought of Scotland as retarded when it came to racism, but i'm revising my own bigoted viewpoint. Newsnight could have explained that getting your car trashed in Glasgow is tiny tatties compared to the risk of being stabbed for wearing team colours. Perhaps park a Rangers vehicle on the same road and compare the damage to give a 'fairer' idea of the situation?

  • 17.
  • At 06:00 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Barrie Little wrote:

What is your point ? Are you seriously trying to insinuate that a bunch of neds are representative of everyone in Scotland ? What utter rubbish.

I'm sure if you covered a car in Scotland, German or now Portugese flags and left it in certain areas of Liverpool, Manchester, London etc then it would also be trashed.

  • 18.
  • At 06:07 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • graham wrote:

I was born in Parkhead and grew up in Shettleston (areas close to where the car was parked) now living in london. I have no hatred of england ,I love the country, people and climate ,but football is a different matter , England is our footballing enemy just like celtic's is rangers or arsenal's is spurs ,It is completely natural to want your team's biggest rival to lose every match they play in.
I am certain that the vast majority of Scots dont hate England or English people but sport is an different issue ,we don't want you to win and you enjoy seeing us losing and that's the way it is and should be ( its a myth that the english support Scotland at football, rugby etc ,Ive been in plenty of pubs in England watching Scotland lose with cheers of delight ringing out from the english supporters)Anyone who has read some of the anti-scottish drivel in the tabloids down here in the past few weeks would agree it has been touching on racist in its content, one childish article in particular gleefully stating that scottish people have a increasing mortality rate.It would have been interesting to see the reaction had word scottish been replaced by black,african or muslim . Ps I have a small scotland sticker on my rear bumper and I wouldnt park my car in the gallowgate.

  • 19.
  • At 06:32 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Jordan wrote:

Don't be silly, of course a car embellished in english flags isn't going to go down well! That's just asking for trouble. It's a well known fact there has been long hate towards the english. The Scottish are proud with what they do against the english - maybe if the media didn't hype england up to be the greatest team we've ever seen the Scots would consider some sort of co-operation. As far as the Scottish and Welsh and Irish are concerned, there is no such unification with england and its completely biased ways.

  • 20.
  • At 06:51 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Graham Wright wrote:

Of course the experiment was going to produce such a reaction; Gallowgate is among the heartlands of Celtic football club, and Ireland/IRA aligned 'Scots'.

To leave a car draped in england flags in the area is obviously reminiscent of england/ulster/loyalist paramilitary flags fans from the gallowgate area associate with their hated rivals, Rangers, (such flags are constantly displayed by rangers fans, just as celtic fans fly the irish tricolour), so it was clear what would happen. Would an abandoned car flying Liverpool Flags not be vandalished by mischevious Manchester United fans in areas of Manchester? Come on.

To attribute the attack solely to anti-englishness and completely ignore local scottish factors, such as scottish football/religious divides, and the overspill from northern-irish sectarianism, is either a cheap stunt or complete idiocy. Surely Newnight would not be proud of either conclusion?

It is odd that BBC 'reporters' oft fail to acknowledge (for whatever reason) sectarianism - THE major scottish social issue (forget the usual racism, homophobia crap) - in documentaries and newsreports.

  • 21.
  • At 06:58 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Graeme Wilson wrote:

I used to work in this area and there's no way I'd have left my car parked there and expected to return to an undamaged vehicle with windows, tyres, radio still in place. One that stood out in any way whatsoever - even more so - no matter what.

Very good piece of publicity, but hardly representative of the whole of Scotland.

  • 23.
  • At 08:16 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Thomas Tengsted wrote:

Crass, tabloid journalism, at its worst.

Just par for the course from the EBC these days.

For an organisation that employs Ian Wright, its very difficult for them to take any moral high ground.

  • 24.
  • At 08:19 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Andy wrote:

What was the object of this exercise? Was it supposed to be some sort of scientific experiment? If so, where were the comparisons with other cars in that area of Glasgow, or similarly bedecked vehicles in other parts of the UK? The BBC is supposed to be objective. Intead, it went out with a thesis in mind and then tried to prove it. That is absolutely disgraceful, and those involved should be utterly ashamed. Why were our licence fees wasted on this stunt? And can I have my money back, please?

  • 25.
  • At 08:45 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • George McDonald wrote:

I've only had my car vandalized once and that was back in 1994 when I worked in London. I can only assume my wing electirc mirrors were broken-off because my car was displaying a small Scotland flag. There was no damage to any other cars.

  • 26.
  • At 09:23 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Alan Wilson wrote:

Why is it assumed that if someone wearing an England shirt is attcked, then it is anti-English behaviour? There may have been many reasons for the attack, quite unrelated to the England shirt.

Would people jump to an analogous conclusion if someone attacked was wearing a Brazil shirt?

Arguably, jumping to such uncertain conclusions
is creating a problem in itself.

Any genuine and proven anti-English or anti-Scottish behaviour deserves to be critisised.
The underlying reasons for such behaviour also need to be understood.

Perhaps it is time for the Scottish flag to be flown over all public buildings in Scotland. The
suppression of this national symbol in public life in Scotland is surely likely to cause resentment about the public display of other national flags in Scotland.

  • 27.
  • At 10:27 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • corneilius wrote:

that was a little embarrassing to watch, well done bbc
another nail in the coffin of journalism.

  • 28.
  • At 10:38 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

I hope you went back and put a bullet through its distributor to put it out of its misery. What did that car ever do to you? You really should be reported to the BSPCA (British Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Automobiles.)

  • 29.
  • At 10:48 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Russell wrote:

I work in London, come from Aberdeen and went to uni in Glasgow. A colleague of mine mentioned the Newsnight segment to me at work today and I've just watched it online.

I have to agree with comment 20 above. The experiment fails as a test of Scottish 'anti-Englishness' and can perhaps be better explained with the context given by Graham Wright above. However, I doubt we'll see a Newsnight 'addendum' any time soon.

  • 30.
  • At 11:34 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Lesley Boatwright wrote:

Have all Scottish people decided to use a lower-case initial for the words England and English?

  • 31.
  • At 11:52 PM on 03 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

This was not a 'legitimate experiment' there was no "control". My brother parked his van on Duke Street not far from this last saturday and had it broken into in broad daylight along with two other cars. What does that prove? nothing - just like this pointless exercise. I would like an apology as I really don't want the BBC wasting any more money on proving nothing. The are already wasting enough on paying salaries to "news" editors.

  • 32.
  • At 12:00 AM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • John M wrote:

What happened to intelligent, objective journalism? It moved to Channel 4 thankfully, or else we would have no choice but to watch the sort of dumbed down, poorly researched journalism that is becoming more predominant on the BBC. What's more, they then use their news pages on the website to try and defend it, and in so doing, reinforce the perception.

  • 33.
  • At 12:17 AM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • w f watson wrote:

you say you were trying to measure anti- english feeling? the bnp must be loving you guys now.
try the same experiment in east london or east leeds with scottish flags, i think you'll get the same response.

why don't you concentrate on REAL stories, continuing poverty in Africa, state of affairs in Iraq, the terrorism in East Timor, even child poverty & abuse in UK.
are you turning right-wing newsnight?

  • 34.
  • At 12:38 AM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

As an Englishman who has lived in Scotland for the past 15 years I can say that such attitudes and behaviour are absolutely not typical of the Scots, but are equally not that unusual. It is certainly true that anyone leaving a car with Rangers colours in that area would have received much the same reaction. Certainly this was very far from any sort of scientific experiment.

Incidentally, I spent much of the World Cup visiting family in England and flying a St. Andrew's Cross from my car (I noticed a few others and Welsh flags in the West Midlands) and only received positive comments and light-hearted jokes. The only negative comments and abuse I received were here in Scotland where two people maintained I do not have any right to fly the Saltire as I am not Scottish although I have lived all my working life here...

  • 35.
  • At 09:06 AM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • William King wrote:

The celtic fans who destroyed the st georges cross covered vehicle are more than like to destroy a vehicle covered with saltires would you believe, such is the ironic hate that these individuals have for scotland and england, however if you had an irish tricolore, well thats a different story ...

  • 36.
  • At 09:43 AM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Pete Wishart MP wrote:

Please find the Early Day Motion I submitted in the House of Commons on this issue.

Pete Wishart MP


Wishart, Pete
That this House deplores the Newsnight report on Friday night when the BBC, in a vain attempt to discover anti-English antagonism in Scotland, left a car bedecked in English flags in Glasgow's Gallowgate, one of the most socially deprived areas of the United Kingdom, where it was duly vandalised; notes that this desperate measure to provoke a response followed a journey round Scotland where the BBC car was met with either bemusement, banter or indifference; believes that the BBC were clearly aware that any vehicle parked in that area bedecked in an unusual manner, be it English flags or the flag of any nation in the world, could be a target for vandals; further notes that this was clearly a set-up by the BBC to encourage anti-social behaviour in its endeavour to besmirch and tarnish the reputation of Scottish sports fans; and hopes that instead of indulging in such acts of entrapment, which fail to reflect the true position and make massive generalisations, the BBC concentrates on delivering a proper news service to its Scottish viewers.

  • 37.
  • At 10:16 AM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Nick wrote:

Interested in SNP justice spokesman Kenny MacAskill's comment that: "The same thing could have happened if they had parked a car in areas of Salf ord or the east end of London."

There is a small cafe, proudly advertising how Portuguese it is, in East London - on Leytonstone High Road, not that far from where David Beckham was born and raised. When I passed it after England's World Cup exit on Saturday and Sunday it was untouched.

  • 38.
  • At 02:18 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Robbie wrote:

Peter Barron says (with a big wink of the eye) that "...there was no pre-meditated intention to portray Scots as one thing or another." Aye and I suppose he also considers 'Big Brother' to be a valid sociological experiment.

  • 39.
  • At 03:27 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Ray wrote:

Can't say anymore than has already been posted. Just to add that this piece was simultaneously crass and sloppy! Not the kind of reporting(journalism is to complimentary a term) expected from the BBC and Newsnight in particular.

  • 40.
  • At 04:52 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Russell wrote:

Can we assume that the author of post 35 is not actually called "William King"?

  • 41.
  • At 04:56 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • DW MacLeod wrote:

Interesting to see the lack of a similar amount of coverage of the Portugese family in Carlisle who had their windows smashed on Saturday night.

Obviously Mr Barron is not going to change the attitude presented above. Hopefully he'll go where he belongs and start writing for the Sun very, very soon.

  • 42.
  • At 10:59 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Dave Neath wrote:

Come on Newsnight. This isn't the sort of attempted sensationalist dumbed down news we expect from you! NO more please.

  • 43.
  • At 11:13 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Stephen Bogle wrote:

RE: Anti-English Feeling in Scotland.

Why oh why did you take your little white astra to parkhead in glasgow? The sentiments you witnessed, through the vandalism of the car, was not Scottish-towards-English hatred but indeed Irish Republicianism.

Did your reporter not take time to notice that he had parked his car near Celtic football Park (Parkhead)? Here the car was trashed because the English flag is seen as being synomonous with Rangers supporters. The whole thing was related to sectarism - Scotlands real shame, not anti-English feeling.

Please can you not subject us to any Daily Mail hags again - I thought Newsnight had standards! Otherwise keep up the good work.


Stephen Bogle

  • 44.
  • At 11:21 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Ms Malcolm wrote:

I am shocked and disappointed in the discussion of this issue on Newsnight (Tuesday), where Jeremy Paxman and the second guest ridiculed, silenced and laughed in the face of the SNP MP being questioned on the matter. Surely it is this attitude to Scotland, it's issues and representatives, expressed widely in the English media, that serves to perpetuate the problem of anti-English sentiment in Scotland.

  • 45.
  • At 11:30 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • james anderson wrote:

This report was shameful. To try to imply, that the fact that this car was vandalised, has anything seriously to add to the issue of Englands relationship with Scotland was crass. As others have already said, you could repeat this experiment with the same result in any city in the UK. This problem has been blown all out of proportion by the English media who cannot accept that the whole of Britain was not behind their boys in Germany, and so want to portray the scots as racist. All I can say is grow up and accept a bit of football rivalry for god sake.

  • 46.
  • At 11:32 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • L Campbell wrote:

What concerns me most about the recent trend for media reports of this nature, is the blurring of anti-english football team, rivalry (prevalent and quite normal where a small country borders it's larger more prolific neighbour) with the notion of anti-englishness which is quite different and so rare as to be practically inconsequential.

  • 47.
  • At 11:33 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Alister wrote:

I am more than a little uncomfortable by the repeated reference to 'Celtic supporting' and 'IRA sympathising' individuals who have now been summarily found guilty of trashing the car. (One of the boys was wearing Rangers colurs). I agree that the incident is wholly unrepresentative of Scottish feeling towards England but let's not justify that by dumping it on the Irish.
PS My regards to an earlier contributor who may have an axe to grind Mr 'William King'

  • 48.
  • At 11:34 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • John Riddell wrote:

Most pointless piece of journalism I have ever stumbled upon. If anything all this story has achieved is to make certain tabloids and the BBC appear even more ignorant of Scotland than ever before.

What also has to be considered is whether this story is infact simply stirring up misgivings between England and Scotland.

Really the "story" itself was non-existant. Maybe I'll park my car with its Dunfermline Athletic sticker on the back window in the east end of Glasgow and if it's smashed up I'll have the local paper write a story about how all "Scots" hate Dunfermline!

  • 49.
  • At 11:36 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

In relation to the SNP motion piece, I am slightly surprised to have just watched Jeremy Paxman say "you can't be serious" about a viewer's opinion that the Newsnight team could not honestly have anticipated any reaction other than that which resulted from sending a car decked out in England flags into the east end of Glasgow.

That Jeremy Paxman seemed to be siding with the hideous caricature from the Daily Mail, who thought such complaints to be merely typical of Scottish paranoia, seemed odd, given that only a few months ago, when tracing his family history for a BBC documentary, he was visibly upset by the poverty of the area. One would expect Jeremy might therefore have anticipated the vandalising of the car to have been entirely predictable. I expect the Daily Mail caricature was probably half pickled in gin beating an anti-PC drum mugging up on slightly disguised racist jokes and might have missed the programme at the time. Regardless, her appearance on Newsnight illustrated her ignorance of the situation and nauseating gloating nature.

Whether the SNP motion is worth a moment of anyone's time is doubtful, but there is no doubt that this was a very shabby piece of tabloid journalism that made all concerned look a bit pathetic. The only thing that was worse was this follow-up report. That said, the otherwise regrettable and embarrassing event did at least serve to reveal the national arrogance that makes it quite impossible for many Scots to support their English neighbours when their overly-hyped football team take the field.

  • 50.
  • At 11:46 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Ms Malcolm wrote:

I am from Glasgow and have lived in Scotland for 21 years. My four flatmates (all of whom i am very close with) are English and have experienced slight anti-English sentiment whilst watching England play in pubs around Glasgow. One, however decided to react to this by quoting from the Daily Telegraphs report on the budget, stating that English people subsidise each and every Scottish person with £1,500 of taxes per year, implying that Scottish people should fall to their knees in thanks. This report has, quite rightly, been reassessed and and reported to be highly inaccurate by Alex Salmond. Such 'journalism' , implying that Scotland is unable to feasably stand alone, can only be replied to by challenging this attitude to Scotland. By this I do not mean to justify anti-English sentiment and behaviour, but do mean to point out the attitude in certain media that Scotland is somehow indebted to England.

  • 51.
  • At 11:48 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Geraint Rennie wrote:

This "experiment" was extremely flawed. The same thing would have happend had you parked that car in many deprived parts in England and also in Wales, the same thing can be spend if you parked a car with the Portugesse flag in some parts of England after England lost on Saturday, parked cars in Manchester with Liverpool FC stuff in it or in Liverpool with Manchester United FC stuff in it, or parked a car with any rival football team in any part of the UK, be it Scotland, Wales or England.

This was just a waste of air by the BBC Newsnight team when they could have been reporting about something worthwhile that is happening.

  • 52.
  • At 11:53 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Iain wrote:

An awful piece of intimidating anti-Scottish journalism that should be confined to the bin.

I can't believe we pay for news from this supposedly unbiased broadcaster. How can anyone take newsnight seriously after this...tabloid, yes...scrounging for ideas, yes...does it represent Scotland in it's views towards the English, absolutely not, it doesn't even represent a fair view of Glasgow people. Maybe it's a representation of a few neds, but that's it. As for an apology to the people of Scotland for misrepresentation, no chance.

Also I have noticed the lack of mentions on the BBC of the German woman who had her German flag set alight after a campaign of abuse from a few English (A futile search). Maybe you should try a German flag in that area and see what happens. But we all know that wont happen, brushed under the carpet I think.

  • 53.
  • At 11:56 PM on 04 Jul 2006,
  • Iain Bateman wrote:

Lets get one thing straight, here and now. We,the Scottish(as a whole) do not wish,or have any ill will towards the ENGERLUND. What we do despise is the pro English media and commentators. How much more must we stand European Compitotions sprayed with "1966". John Motson is the most biased commentators on tv. Yes you won the World Cup. Well done. If and when you win it again then you have a right to shout. Winning a competition once is good. Winning it 5 times is World Class. YOU ARE NOT WORLD CLASS. Get over it. For BBC read EBC. And deep down, YOU KNOW IT.

  • 54.
  • At 12:00 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Thomas Cochrane wrote:

The attack on the car parked by the Newsnight team was a moronic and thugish act, perpetrated by brutal idiots.

Unfortunately I can't help thinking that the Newsnight reprters were either ignorant of the significance of a St Georges flag in a strongly Irish Republican area (as mentioned previously) or set out with an agenda and did all they could to make the film footage they shot fit the story they had already written.

Northern Irish sectarianism in parts of Glasgow can be terrifying - and would perhaps have made a more worthy use of Newsnight's time and 'journalistic' effort. Alas this would require time, risk and real integrity.

As for football rivalry between Scotland fans and displays of England support - is this news? This is as old as the bloddy hills.

  • 55.
  • At 12:07 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • G Kerins wrote:

This is another tiresome rerun of the reverse racism that has been peddled by the English media throughout the world cup. This particular piece is another more extreme example where an outdated racial stereotype of the anti English Scots is shabilliy manipulated. This piece did not portray anti English sentiment but rather the reverse. The sadness of it was the depths the BBC went to show their own anti Scottish prejudice. Not what I expected from Newsnight.

  • 56.
  • At 12:19 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • John Fraser wrote:

Shocked and dismayed at this excuse for a report. I hope the so called journalist and producer are now looking for a new job.

Can the producer please explain what conclusions we are supposed to be left with at the end of this report? Your lack of a conclusion at the end of the report betrays your guilt from producing such a contemptable piece of tabloid bilge.

  • 57.
  • At 12:27 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Dylan wrote:

I have to agree with much of the sentiment shown on the comments page, this was hardly an 'experiment', if it was known that the car would likely come under attack in the area then why do it as an example of 'Scottish' feelings. As the report showed many Scots seemed indifferent to the car, even a little bemused. The finale to the report seemed reminiscint of the big 'climax' that most action films employ, and was little more than exploitative entertainment.

try doing a simlar 'experiment' with a car decked in Scottish colours parked in a deprived area of a big English city and see what happens.

  • 58.
  • At 12:27 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Graeme Hampton wrote:

As a Scot and long term Newsnight viewer I was disappointed by the cheap stunt (even down to the price of the car) that was last Friday nights piece on anti English feeling in Scotland.

Tonight’s follow up was no better, a studio discussion along adversarial lines between an SNP MP and some right wing loony from an English tabloid.

I choose to watch Newsnight on Sky channel 989 to get the proper full version. This does not mean that I am unaware of the different Political model now operating in Scotland where proportional representation has created an altogether more mature way of doing business, are you?

Perhaps you could have delivered a better service to the viewers with an enlightened discussion of what National identity means for the two largest countries within the United Kingdom by having a discussion between some cultural and political commentators.

I would suggest some of my own heroes:

Billy Bragg: writer of some intelligent songs about old Albion

Craig or Charlie Reid: for performing the same service to the Scots.

Ian Hamilton QC: as someone who has lived many lives in many countries and may know something of National feelings

And finally...
The man who wrote the best book about the English that I ever read (bar a few chapters near the middle where he lost the thread a bit) your own Jeremy Paxman.

As a starting point for the discussion could I suggest the following question:

Why before an international football match featuring England do they play the British National anthem?

Thanks for reading - I can now tell my English wife and Anglo Scottish children that I tried to make people see sense.


  • 59.
  • At 12:36 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Andy wrote:

I'm disapointed in the comments for this. It seems to have turned into a anti Celtic rant. Perhaps the people who have commented on the Gallowgate being "an Ireland/IRA aligned place" could explain to me why the vandals were all decked out in blue? and also why when the reporter drove past the shops one of the youths was wearing a Rangers strip? This has nothing to do with sectarianism or Celtic or Rangers for that matter. The Gallowgate is an area where hardly anyone would be safe walking through. If you make something stand out as much as that car did your asking for trouble.

  • 60.
  • At 12:46 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • W. Lawrie wrote:

'Newsnight' and BBC, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and the so-called journalist who perpetrated this stunt should be on the carpet. It is exactly the kind of thing which inflames anti-English sentiment in Scotland - the arrogant, ill-informed and unfeeling intrusion into sensitive local issues of sectarianism and social deprivation in order to make a cheap, negative point about the Scots as a whole. I write this as a Scot who has lived in London, worked in England for 30 years, but now resides in a favoured part of Scotland where many English migrants are happily settled. It has dismayed me to see how, during the World Cup, the tabloid media have tried to provoke ill-feeling between Scots and English (and,of course, expressed outrage when their efforts have been rewarded by violent acts by stupid, but impressionable Scots against supporters of the English foootbal team), but it offends me almost beyond words to see the BBC joining in this tabloid Scot-baiting. But perhaps we shouldn't expect anything else from an organisation capable of the distortions inherent in the current UK weather maps. It's high time the whole of the BBC was moved to Manchester, or Glasgow, or even Inverness - then you might get a true perspective on this nation, to the whole of which you have a duty of impartiality. Lord Reith, of revered memory, and Stonehaven origin, would give you short shrift.

  • 61.
  • At 01:02 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Gordon wrote:

Did the disabled England fan who was beaten up in Aberdeen deserve it? And the young boy under 10 (I think)who wore his England football shirt, deserve to be hit on the head? And again in Aberdeen, another football fan bearing his nations football shirt, was kicked senseless on Saturday night after watching the teams defeat,did he also deserve it? Windows have also been smashed throughout Scotland, English people who now live here and hang there nations flag proudly from there homes have been the victims. These have been reported in the papers here in Scotland, but, how many more unreported incidents have there been? I myself was born in Scotland but I love to see England do well in all sports, particuarly football. A lot of my friends feel the same too. In Glasgow particuarly, the young element of my team Rangers support, about 40% support England and the rest Scotland. Cross over the city and about the same, although it may seem like more to us that stay here, support Republic of Ireland, and the rest Scotland. It was a poor destination to portray the hatred of English people in my city. It does exist, unfortunatly. Dont tar all of us with the same brush. If a car decked out in the colours of the Republic of Ireland had been left in the Paisley Road area of the city, near Rangers ground, the same would have happened. Its more do do with the religeous background, then Britain's relationship with the ROI through the troubles in Northern Ireland. Rangers fly the Union flag, St Georges flag, St Andrews flag also Northern Irelands Red Hand of Ulster flag. This gets a reaction from Celtic fans the same way we react to Celtic fans flying the Irish Tricolour.
The answer to the above questions are : No !
Nobody deserves that sort of treatment. Ther are people in Scotland particuarly Glasgow and surrounding areas that do have a lot of pro English feeling. Dont let this put your thoughts of us down in the gutter.

  • 62.
  • At 01:31 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Alex wrote:

Having seen the sneering dismissive tone of J. Paxman and a Daily Mail columnist (Jesus wept), the SNP MP was roundly ridiculed for daring to suggest that this was Newsnight attempting to represent Scotland in its entirety.

However, given the paucity of coverage of Scotland generally by 'UK' Newsnight, this was not an unfounded allegation. When was the last time Newsnight attempted to even show a Scottish news story that didn't involve shots of a pub? If that is how Scotland is represented by programme makers in England, do you wonder about the frustration felt here towards broadcasters, the BBC in particular? Scotland pays the BBC hundreds of millions per annum in licence fees, receiving virtually no investment in return and forced to view the world through a London eye, yet when Scots suggest devolving broadcasting the BBC squeals about how well served we are by the current arrangement. How exactly? Trebles all round, no doubt...

  • 63.
  • At 03:02 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Molly Gates wrote:

Seriously the BBC is outsourcing the wrong departments they should be sourcing journalists and researchers.

Impartial, fair, honest? An experiment? As the editor of this piece I think this piece reflects poorly on your jugement. And incredibly I believe this was aired on newsnight ( slow news day was it)!?

From the start the reporter in Edinburgh went to a public house where the england flag was missing (pouges music in the backgroung) thus I guess an 'Irish' bar, the theme is set. The reporter goes around Glasgow getting comments mostly light hearted so onto the experiment. Parks the car in the "most virantly anti english street" in glasgow to see if the tolerance stretches towards celtic park!? Some celtic youths damaged the car within minutes.

Case closed me'lud its all those Irish/scot celtic supporters that are anti english and to blame. Was this the point of the report or has editing for a time slot made it come across as such?

Whilst we are using the power of association, here is an observation based on association. Those neds in the footage were clothed in some royal blue clothing. I can safely! say not many celtic supporters in Glasgow walk about clothed in those colours.

Why didnt the reporter park the car near Ibrox, or near the orange walk that was nearby on saturday? And anyhow why is the reporting blatanly being sectarian?

The sad thing is you dont even realise your doing it and believe that this is a rational reported piece. My Cynical side in this world of spin says it a nice piece to deflect attentions from the minority of stupid English fans spoiling the world cup for thier countrymen and the rest of us.


Why should Scotland support England, why should England support Scotland they are rivals both historically, culturally and in the scope of what is partially been reported as football nations.

Yes the genteel middle classes (whose passing interest is hightened because of national patriotism in the fashionable world cup) bleet that we are all British, we should support each other, how quaint, how nieve. Is the mighty English nation so desperate for freinds and reassurance? (I think that says more about the Englands insecurity and identity crisis)

I am pretty sure an area could be found in England that this same "experiment" would yeild the same results if It was only Scotland in the worldcup and every BBC nationally broadcast program was equally as pathetic in its sickly overly patriotic flag waiving, supporting and reporting.

There was no broadcasting of the Scotish people who were attacked by English fans whilst on holiday. The media plays down the fact the English fans have again discraced themselves abroad (not all I may add) And this reporting does no service to the real background issue that a few persons have been attacked by mindless thugs because they were wearing England tops whilst in Scotland throughout the world cup.

Mindless thugs are easy to provoke and it is not unheard of that they become violent in times of hightened nationalism. (just ask the plastic chairs in Germany taking a beating)!

I think It could be said that most Scots & Irish, celtic & rangers people condem such actions, that they do not hate english people. but cant tolerate some of the above comment I have made.

In years gone by certain langauges and histories were suppresed by an English nation, we moved on we found respect for our cultural differences we came together under a banner of convenience and mutual benefit but thats all it is. Let Englishmen be English, Scots be Scots Irish Be Irish, Welsh be welsh and let anyone support each other if they wish to do so, but please dont try and force people to. Respect and undertand our differences. (whats the BBC term for that again?)

I hope this is not thought of as an anti BBC rant as it truly saddens my heart to see a once bastion of journalistic integrity reduced to this.

Thanks for the bandwidth


Interesting, if stupid, stunt.
Why not leave the England flags at home next time and just leave a car prominently displaying BBC logos? If that gets vandalised, will it mean everyone in Scotland hates the BBC?

  • 65.
  • At 08:35 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • alasdair aitken wrote:

I'm dismayed to read the comments here from so many of my fellow Scots. To argue that Newsnight acted provocatively, or that leaving this car in a deprived area somehow invalidates the conclusion is to miss the point to a staggering degree.
Several English PEOPLE in Scotland - including a child and an invalid for heavens sake - were beaten up for wearing England shirts. It really says something that elected MSP's actually took more time and trouble condemning Newsnight than they did the racism in their midst. If Mr McConnel can so breezily air his own prejudices (and why does he CARE to support anyone but England?)it's hardly a surprise that others of the more yobbish persuasion feel encouraged to express their own.

  • 66.
  • At 08:54 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • L Jones wrote:

To be fair, the journalist did point out that Gallowgate wasn't the safest street in Glasgow but other cars were parked there and did not get attacked.

I think the most prejudicial aspect of this report was the assumption that genteel Edinburgh was less likely to be anti-English than Glasgow. Not so. I'm English and have spent most of my adult life in Scotland, currently Glasgow. I found Edinburgh to be far worse in terms of anti-English sentiment than Glasgow. I suspect this is mainly due to the fact that there is a larger English presence in Edinburgh and the fact that bigoted Glaswegians are too wrapped up in the sectarian issue to bother with hating the English.

That said, my Scottish boyfriend left our football-watching pub on Saturday night more depressed than me, not because England lost but because of the bigoted attitudes of a few of his fellow countrymen who ruined the match with their pointless sneering and jeering.

Instead of moaning about the prejudiced media, wouldn't it be better to have a look at what is really going on and try to avoid passing it on to yet another generation?

  • 67.
  • At 09:08 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Jeanette wrote:

I was stunned to see what I interpreted as an "Attack Dog" interview from Mr Paxman he makes out we are all friends and family then when he teams up with Ann Leslie they just gang up on us and we are lathe to sya anything now
Scot's are becoming the Underdog of the Nation soon we will be "extinct "
"It's Not Fair "

Shame on all here who excuse the thuggery of those who live in impoverished areas. Vandalism is not justified by a perpetrator's economic standing. It is definitely not okay to defend hooligans on the grounds that they are poor. I travel frequently to West Africa and do not expect my possessions to be smashed up just because others have less money than I do. The people there are better than that. They know that the law is for everyone. Allowing vandalism and crime in deprived areas to go unreported, uncriticised and unpunished harms most the good citizens of those boroughs - the very people on whom the area's salvation rests.

  • 69.
  • At 10:01 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Peter Dunn wrote:

No doubt it was provocative, and it appears that it was intended to provoke, or to see how far provocation would go. Having said that, there is also no doubt that English children have been bullied when attending Scottish schools, as my son was fifty years ago, and the situation has only grown worse with time. A survey a few years ago in schools in the south of Scotland found that the worst racial discrimination was not against Asians or other "coloured" pupils, but against the English.

  • 70.
  • At 10:46 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Martin McNeill wrote:

An interesting experiment. The results without doubt show that a certain percentage of the natives of Scotland are savage, uncultured demons.
To be fair though, it should be added that the same demoniac mentality can be found in more or less quantities everywhere. At this point in time.

  • 71.
  • At 10:57 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Gareth Smith wrote:

Newsnight were right to test the example of the car in england flags.
It has to be noted that it was only when the left it in one of the most deprived areas of Glasgow did it get vandalised, up to then it was good natured banter.

The serious point to note is the gradual shift of sentiment in detaching England from Scotland whereas it was just the other way round. The West Lothian question has brought this about. The whole of England got behind "Ally's Army" in 78, i don't think that would happen now.

  • 72.
  • At 11:02 AM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • C wrote:

The report on Scottish racists bashing up a car had a major failing which has yet to be acknowledged. The car was left in the east end of the city. This is a traditionaly a predominantly Catholic area of the city as Irish immigrants settled here in the 19th and 20th centuries. The report was made a couple of days before a major Orange walk would parade that part of the city. The program makers must have realised that the symbols being used could be interpreted in the context of this tension.

The BBC cleary used the ethno-religous tension which exists in Glasgow (and is being battled by many agencies and community groups here) to make a point about a completely different issue - Anti-English feeling in Scotland.

There are deprived areas of Glasgow where the car would have been applauded, but the BBC chose not to go there.

  • 73.
  • At 12:03 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Tig wrote:

As a resident of Glasgow I wouldn't have left my car in Gallowgate!

Im worried about the motives of the media and im shocked to see a publicly funded organisation attempt something like this!

  • 74.
  • At 12:32 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Myles wrote:

In reply to Ross Parker (68), the point people are making on the majority of posts before your own ISN'T excusing the violence. It is simply questioning the validity of the experiment itself.

The violence ISN'T acceptable or excusable but it is also not entirely unexpected. To park any car in an area with high crime rates isn't the smartest move. To deck it out in a way that would draw attention to it pretty much guarantees an attack of some description.

However, I believe that a similar experiement was carried out in various towns and cities across England in the summer of 1996. After England's exit at the hands of those pesky Germans, German manufactured cars were vandalised and it didn't even need the presence of the German flag!!

Newsnight might also want to feature the Portuguese family attacked in Carlisle at 6.50pm on Saturday. That didn't take long did it? Just minutes after Ronaldo's winning penalty and a crowd arrive outside the house of a Portuguese family and someone throws a brick through their window.

If you will excuse the pun, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!!

  • 75.
  • At 01:56 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • David McCloy wrote:

Your report portrayed an aspect of behaviour which is by no means typical of the Scots. Wherever you go there is a section of society who will behave despicably, but to equate this behaviour with all who do not support England is just stupid. I did not support England this WC, but felt for the players on their exit. I was disturbed by the recent reports of racist violence, by a small number of idiot Scots, against English supporters. I know I share my view with many other Scots.
This is a very poor peice of journalism. No sound conclusions can be drawn from it, and it probably littered the street with debris, the cleanup costs of which would have been met by locals.
In the interests of balance and impartiality, when will you be reporting, in a similar vein, on anti-scots feeling amongst Englanders, involving a parked car displaying Saltires in an isolated part of an English inner city? Or similar 'experiments', involving Wales/England or Northern Ireland/England? The report was partial, amateur and wholly unscientific. Nothing of value was learned.

  • 76.
  • At 01:59 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Fraser Gray wrote:

Newsnight - The television wing of the Daily Mail. Well done guys! ;-)

  • 77.
  • At 02:21 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Iain McLean wrote:

A ligitimate experiment? Dont make me laugh! It was done for cheap anti Scottish publicity and nothing else. As if, leaving a car covered in England flags in one of the poorest areas of Scotland, where it gets vandalised has any reflection on the country as a whole. BBC? More like EBC.

Of course, the rabib right wing press like The Daily Mail will love this and use this sad episode in their continuing assualt on all things Scottish.

Would it have been a worthwhile experiment for the BBC to leave a car, covered in 'rights for whites' and BNP flags outside an asian area in Bradford?

Hopefully cheap taboid stunts like this will lead the nation to wake up and vote for our independence that wee bit quicker.

  • 78.
  • At 02:53 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Ian Scott wrote:

One of the good things about "Newsnight Scotland" is it gives the SNP a forum without allowing them to embarrass the rest of Scotland by appearing on the main Newsnight programme. Scots are familiar with the SNPs gripes and chippiness. Those less familiar with them might think they represent Scottish opinions. Instead of Ann Leslie could you not have one of the thousands of fine Scots media folk who live down in London to represent the other side of the argument? You have plenty to choose from.

  • 79.
  • At 03:32 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Stevie wrote:

This "story" has left me convinced more than ever that the union is finished, and Scotland should now look to a mature debate about independence. Is this how the English media want to portray us? Fine, but don't expect Scots to laugh this type of thing off. If you want an example of real xenophobia, look no further than the BBC. Disgraceful.

Looking forward to renewing my licence fee.... not!

  • 80.
  • At 04:42 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • John wrote:

I have to agree that as a piece of journalism this was terrible and the follow up piece was even worse and the choice of Anne Leslie as an English representative was toe curlingly awful. However, as an Englishman who has lived in Scotland for ten years I am bemused as to why the Scots as a nation are in complete denial about the level of anti-English feeling that is endemic in Scottish society. It seems to cross all social, political and economic boundaries, everybody in Scotland knows about it, in fact you definately get the feeling that it is part of being a true Scot. However no one seems to be prepared to acknowledge it.

Granted it is not usually that severe and the number of times I have felt physically in danger of attack because of my national origins are very few (but not zero). However, there is a constant and all pervading anti English attitude. The word English is used like a term of abuse and no matter what company you may be in it is probably better not to mention that you are English. When you do there is at best a palpable sense of 'Oh, I don't suppose you can help it'.

I also believe that the recent spate of attacks have nothing to do with football. If one walked around with some non football related identifying mark letting the population at large know that you were English then I am sure this would happen all the time. I am amazed that any English living here for any period of time would be so stupid as to wear an England shirt or to fly an English flag. They really should have known better. I have witnessed a car bearing an English flag driving through the borders a few years ago and I was amazed at the level of abuse thrown at it. I have known of cases where people have prematurely left college courses in Scotland because of the level of anti-English abuse and instances where male/female relationships could never be considered because someone was English.

The strange thing is that untill very recently I don't think people south of the border were aware of the anti-English feeling. I know when I first moved here I was completely naive and the whole thing was quite an awakening. Since living here I have become a father and seriously worry how this will affect my children (bullying etc) and wonder whether we will ultimately have to move away. So why don't you get on with it and move now I can hear Scotland cry. Don't get me wrong I am not saying England is bigot free (obvioulsy not with the rise of the BNP etc), and I really love Scotland and its people most of the time, but I think it is a terrible shame that anti English bigotry seems to be such an inherent part of the national psyche. Without such a negative psychology at its heart Scotland could be an even better place than it is now!

  • 81.
  • At 04:51 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Ruth wrote:

"There was no pre-meditated intention to portray Scots as one thing or another." Would you have run the piece if the car had been met with complete indifference then?

  • 82.
  • At 06:29 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Graeme Hodgens wrote:

This piece of "journalism" Newsnight decided to cover must be questioned by a higher authority. Does it not amount to inciting racial tensions?
We have all heard about what is described as "racial attacks" on the BBC News, so why are Newsnight not being charged with what can only be categorised as inciting these feelings, however wrong they may be?
If something was done in say the centre of Bradford to "wind up" a heavily populated ethnic area, to see what kind of reaction they would get, the whole country would be up in arms and I firmly believe legal action would be taken.
I was also dismayed to hear Jeremy Paxman try and justify Newsnight's article last night. I am therefore calling on Newsnight to either apologise for this gross misjudgement in what qualifies as journalism or take their "experiment" to other areas of Britain and conduct similar trials.

  • 83.
  • At 10:21 PM on 05 Jul 2006,
  • Derek wrote:

A legitimate experiment? I doubt that anyone from Glasgow, or indeed the west of Scotland, would have been at all surprised at the outcome of parking a flag of St George in the Gallowgate. Either the Newsnight team were fully aware of what would happen and were activly looking for a money-shot, or they were blissfully ignorant of what would happen. One way or the other serious questions about this "experiment" are raised.

Odd that the youths concerned took the trouble to cover their faces. All the more so if, as you imply, they didnt know that they were being filmed.

No, this was neither legitimate nor an experiment. It was a pathetic stunt and tabloid TV journalism at its worst. Such reports fall way short of what we licence payers have a right to expect from the BBC's current affairs programming. Sadly though it was only too typical of what we have come to expect.

  • 84.
  • At 10:50 PM on 05 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.

  • 85.
  • At 10:21 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Gordon wrote:

Yes the SNP are nationalist party, and some anti-English sentiment exists in Scotland, especially when we are expected to meekly follow the "old enemy" in the World Cup.
But this doesn't excuse people (mostly Scots) having a go at the SNP, who have done more than any party to change these attitudes.

However, there are similar attitudes to be found in England towards the Scots, Welsh and Irish, the French and Germans, the Spanish, and more recently the Portuguese. Lets have a programme exploring these, if it's such a big issue. Or is just Scotland you were trying to smear?
Anyone would think the SNP were currently riding high in the opinion polls!

  • 86.
  • At 11:32 AM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

I give credit where it is due, but this really was a crap piece of journalism. All this told us was that if one left a car in a high crime part of the country, it might be vandalised. This might be the case whether or not it carried flags and whether it was in Scotland, NI, Wales or England. What did it prove?

  • 87.
  • At 03:53 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Charles wrote:

Congratulations BBC for the insightful experiment.
Perhaps next week you'll test what happens when you drop a piano from a helicopter? Whatever you decide, I really can't wait for further installments of 'Investigations into the bleeding obvious'

  • 88.
  • At 04:17 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • simon castleman wrote:

Is this just a cynical, if oblique attempt to raise anti-Scottish feeling amongst the English. If not, what was the purpose of the exercise? It proves nothing, other than if one places symbols of one tribe (football or nationality) on the home patch of another, it is likely to receive adverse attention from a weak minded minority - hardly a revelation.

  • 89.
  • At 04:25 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Ka wrote:

It seems to me that everyone who has commented has good points, and they're probably all right. It seems reasonable to me to take into account the poverty of a place (not an excuse, no) and local ethnic/religious divisions, while also recognising that there might be anti-English sentiment, and that most people are actually quite sane and reasonable. Simultaneously. People are complex and messy, and we don't fit in pigeon-holes.

What really concerns me is that Scots tend to automatically assume that the English look down on them, and the English tend to automatically assume that the Scots hate them; these assumptions colour our attitudes towards one another, and we filter our experiences through them. What I see is two sets of people who allow their hot-buttons to get pushed and lash out immediately without taking a deep breath and even admitting the possibility that they might be wrong, or just partially correct, or that the truth might be a complicated thing.

When at college in Wales, taking Welsh History and Welsh Language in preparation for a Celtic Studies course, I was relentlessly bullied and verbally abused for being English. I had to move out after my second term because the abuse actually made me so ill that the thought of returning to my hall of residence truly terrified me. Luckily, I realised that I had two choices: become embittered by my experience (quite a few English students who went there with high hopes, bags of respect, and an enthusiasm for learning the language did leave and become very anti-Welsh), or assume that the students involved were desperately immature and displaying the same idiot tendencies as English kids who joined the BNP. I chose the latter, on the grounds that we are all humans, and we all have the potential for positive change. It wasn't that hard to do. And if I can manage it, just about anyone can. I'd prefer to see more exploration and encouragement of inter-ethnic/inter-faith dialogue - it can be done, and, clearly, it's desperately necessary.

  • 90.
  • At 04:42 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • James Mackay wrote:

Ok in the interest of scientific accuracy why don’t you carry out the same type of experiment in England using the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Flag in exactly the same manner? I think you will find very similar results (if not a bit more extreme).

It is all too easy to resort to this form of phobic racism which is all too often the norm for those south of the Watford gap.

Journalism is supposed to be a professional occupation but it seems to have descended into the pit of sensationalism in order to achieve sales/ ratings.

If you wish to be taken as a credible profession then you should try and report in an unbiased and non-racist way.

  • 91.
  • At 04:42 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Martin wrote:

To get a true reflection on this 'experiment' a car decked out with Scotland flags should have been driven round England to see what the reaction would be. Also by driving a car decked out in St George flags in an area of Glasgow with a large celtic following would get the desired response that your 'reporter' was looking for. Mainly because Union flags and St George flags are flown at Ibrox. This report is a farce and should never have been conducted, the same goes for a similar stunt carried out by the Sunday Mail before the world cup. I dare say that if a few Potuguese flags were draped over a car in England it would not last long - just like the poor defenseless German family whose window in house was bricked in England.

  • 92.
  • At 05:02 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Kevin wrote:

How this piece of journalistic rubbish can be justified by the producer of newsnight is beyond me. Did he have a paricularly nasty time in Scotland and feel that by allowing this piece he was getting some sort of revenge? How ironic that a public broadcasting organisation set up by a Scot shoud become so Anti-Scottish.

  • 93.
  • At 05:08 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Jay wrote:

Oh dear Newsnight, what depths have you sunk to? Surely with the events of todays world, there are better things to be spending time on than planning a stunt of this nature.

Bad idea, dreadfully executed.

  • 94.
  • At 05:13 PM on 06 Jul 2006,
  • Daren wrote:

I was interested to read many comments from Scotland arguing that a car decorated with Scottish flags would have received a similar reception in England. I have to say that in my experience this is not the case.

I live in a deprived area of the West Midlands and people wearing the colours of Scotland Wales and Ireland, not to mention India and Pakistan are an extremely common sight and I have never witnessed any associated trouble.

I think most English people are actually fairly indifferent about Scotland and I feel that the hatred really is largely one sided. In football terms for example most England fans would reserve their hatred for Germany (or perhaps now Portugal)rather than Scotland.

There is certainly a rather nasty anti German feeling in some quarters in England, but anti Scottish feeling is virtually non existent.

  • 95.
  • At 07:55 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Ted wrote:

The response to this is far more interesting - and telling - than the piece itself which only highlighted something which was already there.

  • 96.
  • At 11:23 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Stephen wrote:

Well, well, well.

As an Englishman who has tripped over this partly by accident, I can only say that the endless buckets of anti-English feeling above from Scottish poster after Scottish poster are evidence in themselves that there is strong anti-English feeling noth of the border

They go well beyond complaints of misrepresentation into complaints about "EBC" "despising pro English commentators and media" into claims of "reverse racism", and motions in Parliament

What the exercise does show is the existance of pockets of vicious sectarian (and anti English-symbol) feeling in Scotland , linked to football. Given that Scots seem to base their sense of moral superiority as a people to the English on the basis of the superiority of Scots football supporters to English football hooligans, Newsnight have made a valid point.

It seems Scots football supporters are not morally superior to English supporters , and the Scots are not justified in claiming they are a better nation than the English on the basis of football hooligans. Just because Scottish football violence attaches itself to domestic clubs and sectarian movements with very ugly links to terrorism not the national team , doesn't mean it "doesn't count"

I don't support the England team or have anything to do with English football , which I regard as the sump for the worst elements in our society. In my mind it was irrevocably tainted in 1986. But even I have to admit that this World Cup has been essentially peaceful , there has been no serious trouble at tournament from any country, and English fans have not been significantly worse than any other countries' fans - in sharp contrast to previous tournaments

I also find it offensive to equate the English flag with displaying racist slogans or the symbols of a racist party as some Scots posters have done. I'm sure a car displaying Scottish flags in a tournament where England weren't even playing , would not be singled out in England.

There will certainly have been plenty of English flags on cars in Bradford - there are plenty of council flats in Tower Hamlets (with a large Bangladeshi community) displaying England flags . It's not the swastika.

And as 80%+ of licence payers are English, perhaps the 10% of British people who are Scottish could stop objecting to the BBC being positive about the achievements of sporting teams from the British Isles supported by 80-90% of its population - like the cricket team , with its Welsh bowler (and board run by someone from a Welsh county)

  • 97.
  • At 09:36 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • fake idee hahaha wrote:

how American, trashy not what youd call newsnight.step back and book it down to a mad moment, we all have them hahahah

  • 98.
  • At 11:05 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • George Andes wrote:

As an American of Scots, ScotsIrish, Irish, English, and German descent I was amazed to read the number of e-mails which tended to represent all Scots, all Irish, all English as stereo-types. This is one of the more simple minded sorts of racism. Value variety. Embrace differences.
My wife and I are anglophiles. (She is a 2nd generation Scot,) It pains me to see the national sports teams in the UK, usually known for its tolerance, waste its time on such pettiness. Sports are best when they unite, worst when they divide. The other team may be a rival, but that doesn't make them an enemy.
The Boston Red Sox' and the New York Yankees' historic rivalry is one of the most enduring in baseball. Fans of the one are well asdvised to keep their sentiments to themselves when in the other's ballpark lest they become an object of derision. But violence is out of the question and New Yorkers and Bostonians get along in all other respects.

  • 99.
  • At 11:26 PM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Robert White wrote:

Far from being a piece of cheap tabloid journalism, Tim Samuels' experiment has proved that there is a deep vain of xenophobia in Scotland which is largely missing in multicultural England. As I write this, there is an Argentine flag hanging out of a top- floor window five doors away from me. Nobody has any problem with it.

I was reminded - when reading some of the more defensive and boorish contributions from outraged Scottish contributors to these boards - of a remark that Andrew Marr once made, that Scotland is a more divided country than England will ever be.

  • 100.
  • At 01:11 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • iain wrote:

In reply to Stephen (post 96)

English fans haven't been worse than anyone else? really?

as far as i can see, that's far more than any other country

and I have seen as much anti-Scottish attitudes as there are's blinkered to think otherwise...also i'm not sure where that terrorist comment came from ...i find it massively deluded...maybe you should seek a more balanced opinion elsewhere

and as for the 80% of license fee payers are English, you are aware that the BBC is supposed to be impartial?...London gets far more network programming than Scotland yet they have similar populations, I bet you that if you live in South England you are exposed to virtually no Scottish media. I'm afraid, for me, the opposite isn't true.

  • 101.
  • At 05:24 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Paul Baron wrote:

I wonder if there is a place in England where a blue Astra with the cross of St Andrew on the bonnet would have been trashed? In the interest of journalistic objectivity, perhaps Newsnight should investigate...

  • 102.
  • At 11:01 AM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Neil Young wrote:

I live in a deprived part of England and have a Scottish father, so am always resolutely silent whenever England and Scotland play each other in any sport.

I have seen, during this World Cup, one Iranian flag hung up in the estate, attracting little comment other than a "f**king Iranians" from some idiot, a Scottish Saltire flying from a flat - window still intact (now would that have happened in Glasgow?) and of course several England flags.

I actually doubt that if a car was left on a street round here bedecked in Scottish saltires, or even Portugese flags that much would happen to it (although the CCTV might have something to do with that) I certainly doubt that, should a team of Scottish journalists have tried the same experiment and got the same results that we'd have floods of upset Sassenachs making excuses for it.

Scottish hatred of the English is sad and pathetic and all the denials in the world on the part of Scotland won't change that.

  • 103.
  • At 07:47 PM on 08 Jul 2006,
  • Bruce wrote:

I think many, if I may use the term 'on both sides' are missing a point or two. Yes there really is string anti-English sentiment in Scotland - but it is against the English establishment, not the English themselves. The BBC and other TV companies are probably doing more to fuel backlashes against Englishness because Scotland has to endure wall to wall English dominated media and perspective. We do not have our own Scottish Broadcasting Corporation, we don't even have our own main news programmes. Our news is bolted on, which rather makes Scotland look like a region rather than a nation. And the English often think British means English.

I was talking to some decent chaps from Tyneside about this not so long ago, they said they felt Northern England was the loser in the UK as it had no strong political clout. I suggested they go for devolution like the Scots, the reply? "Oh well, our alternatives aren't exactly palatable - all we have is the BNP and UKIP"

Think about what that implies, and then understand why Scots go ballistic!

  • 104.
  • At 09:52 AM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Ka wrote:

I'm genuinely curious about the Scots reactions to the very similar experiment carried out by, I think, The Scotsman (I hope I got the newspaper right), in which Scottish reporters donned England tops and reported on the results, which ranged from joky to intimidating and scary (the same range as seen in this Newsnight experiment). Was that OK because the people doing it were Scots? Is it the nationality of the people involved that's important, or their perceived nationality, or is it their perceived motivations? Are the perceived motivations inextricably tied to perceived nationality? I'd be really interested in how these two recent experiments are seen by Scots, and what questions they feel are raised by the fact that a Scottish newspaper considered this a valid experiment.

"London gets far more network programming than Scotland yet they have similar populations, I bet you that if you live in South England you are exposed to virtually no Scottish media. I'm afraid, for me, the opposite isn't true."

London has always had far more than its fair share of funding and programming - remember that most of us in England do not live in the capital. It has become a common joke that headlines talking about how "the nation freezes/boils", it means London, not the rest of us :)

  • 105.
  • At 06:51 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Tara wrote:

well done newsnight for shining a light on something that most of us knew anyway...
1. a lot of Scottish people hate the English
2. scallies love to smash up cars
3. Politicians love to get their knickers in a twist and sound off against the BBC.

I watched the item when it was first shown and the resulting furore has been entertaining.

I love Newsnight even more!

  • 106.
  • At 07:31 PM on 09 Jul 2006,
  • Jeff wrote:

It's not surprising to witness racist thuggery in downtown Glasgow. What is astounding, however, is that the SNP should choose to condemn an impartial piece of journalism as sensationalist, suggesting that it should not be broadcast in Scotland, and even raising the matter in the House of Commons. As an organization that inevitably attracts and inspires those who despise the English, they should have the character to tackle the issue head on and show zero tolerance for this kind of behavior, instead of brushing it under the carpet, and, bizarrely, accusing the BBC of stirring up racial hatred.

  • 107.
  • At 04:08 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • English expat wrote:

Whilst the car experiment does not really prove anything new, it is quite extraordinary what a massive chip many Scots have on their shoulders.

  • 108.
  • At 10:03 AM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • Neil wrote:

Very poor journalism and a flawed experiment. This kind of sloppy tabloid stunt only encourages the kind of behaviour you were reporting.

As a Scot I found this report and the bi-annual debate about how we are supposed to support England (do these people actually understand football rivarly) totally depressing.

Scotland is sick of being called a racist for wanting the Auld Enemy to lose, thats not what its about at all.

Newsnight should stop defending itself and admit that on this occasion it got things very very wrong.

  • 109.
  • At 01:00 PM on 10 Jul 2006,
  • DavidE wrote:

I am Scottish and have lived in Glasgow all my life (32 years). During this World Cup I have witnessed the most vile anti-English behaviour I have ever seen and it has left me disgusted and ashamed that we would stoop so low.

I have seen English fans in bars during they World Cup and they have been threatened and verbally or physically assaulted - indeed not one of England's games passed without incident. Imagine the reaction if we treasted Asians this way - but with the English it just seems to be swept under the carpet.

MP's talk about Protestant/Catholic sectarianism as Scotland's secret shame - I would challenge that and say our hatred of the English is our secret shame. We try to give off the impression we are a friendly nation but but the anti English feeling during the World Cup ruins that impression.

The SNP guy who demanded England flags be removed from a school in his area really made me sick - what a moron this guy is when we are trying to promote the one Scotland many cultures line.

As for the BBC stunt - a car with Scottish flags would have been wrecked in that area. The neds control the streets in Glasgow and this stunt highlights this more than any anti English feeling - you just had to go round the pubs for that.

  • 110.
  • At 05:49 PM on 11 Jul 2006,
  • JJ wrote:

Having lived in London during Euro '96 and experiencing less than friendly comments while wearing Scottish colours in the run-up and aftermath of the Scotland-England game, and after reading stories about incidents between English and Portuguese people, this is very much a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Interestingly my car (which had a very small St Andrews cross on it) in London had its windows smashed. I don.t remember putting that down to ant-Scottishness, rather living in a dodgy area.

I live in Edinburgh which has a massive English student population, not to mention many English people contributing to the financial services boom up here - you see English rugby and football tops all over the place.

Let's have some persepective in this debate. Or at least balance - something you'd expect from the BBC.

  • 111.
  • At 10:49 PM on 14 Jul 2006,
  • LJ Badenoch wrote:

The Beeb say Newsnight didn't encourage it? How come the kids are all hiding their faces then? They knew the car was being filmed. Add that to the location chosen (as others have pointed out) and it was a clear set up by the crew to get a particular reaction. Certainly not in anyway a balanced news report or even investigative journalism.

How ironic that I saw this on Youtube first - it's no more worthy of "news"night that any of the other self serving videos that people film to post there!

  • 112.
  • At 10:57 AM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • Victoria wrote:

Silly season, schmilly season!

  • 113.
  • At 12:46 AM on 20 Jul 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

I've visited family who now live in England and I've had my car vandalised three times because I have a Scotland flag on the number plate.

1st time the number plate was torn off.

2nd time "Scotish C***" was scrathed into the front right hand door.

3rd time a window wiper was torn off and a almost legible scrawl on paper was put under the other wiper blade which stated "Fuck off back to jockland you scotch tw**."

Maybe someone should contact Newnight eh?

  • 114.
  • At 11:07 AM on 20 Jul 2006,
  • Alistair Livingstone wrote:

Was this some bizarre test in patriotism? Surely to make it a balanced test, a number of cars should have been left in various areas of the UK.


What about Leeds?

What about leaving one where the London Suicide bombers came from?

Let’s face it the “Auld Enemy” issue is going to be played on forever and a day and at present it is nothing more that a political tool to beat Gordon Brown with.

The true issue is could the UK handle a Scottish born Prime Minister? That in its self is a ridiculous issue, where does it stop?

Would someone from Yorkshire have too much political bias for that area of the UK and not enough bias toward London?

Or would a Christian have too much bias toward their religion instead of the religious needs of others?

Is there a specific make-up a person has to be to qualify as a potential PM?

Is it another way-ward step toward the US way of doing things? Let’s remember Arnie can be a Governor all he wants, but he will never be President – that will left to Sly.

I really don’t think the car is the issue. It seems more like an exercise in discrediting the future PM to me.

  • 115.
  • At 01:45 AM on 21 Jul 2006,
  • Jonathan wrote:

I can't honestly believe people are still discussing this issue!

  • 116.
  • At 12:02 AM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • joey wrote:

this jst shows how sad the english can be

  • 117.
  • At 02:23 PM on 22 Jul 2006,
  • David M wrote:

England's World Cup campaign is long over and it's time now to bring this high-brow debate to a close with a traditional observation from a bitter, chip-on-the-shoulder, inferiority complexed, Scot: "He who laughs last, laughs longest."

  • 118.
  • At 06:44 PM on 15 Aug 2006,
  • Ian Downing wrote:

Please sent the Scot's back to Scotland, along with their right to vote on English matters - The midloathian question deserves to be ratified.

They might speak clearer, and are ready to be a dummy to any political ventriloquist - of the current Mp's watch those who just spout the party line - irrespective of the question asked. Spot your favourite!

  • 119.
  • At 02:29 PM on 15 Feb 2007,
  • Verity Trueman wrote:

One point that seems to have been overlooked.
Did Newsnight go further than place the vehicle there hopeful of a 'result'?
The initial allegation, denied by the slippery Newsnight apologist, was that the youths may have been put up by the Beeb team who had obviously failed to unearth the anticipated anti-Englishness.
Placing the car there hoping for a result if cheap and sloppy.
Placing a car there and then creating the vandalism is fraudulent?
If it was not a put-up job, please explain why were the youths' faces all hidden?
'm assuming the camera would have been hidden - were it in view is that possibly another reason for the attack?

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