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Tuesday, 20 August 2013 00:00

Scots racism is simply better reported

How unsurprising that London-based journalist Andrew Marr believes that Anglophobia is rising in Scotland.

It is not hard to imagine discussion at the table in the BBC canteen when David Dimbleby, Jeremy Paxman and Andy get on to the topic of Scotland.

It is fine for Scots to have an opinion on the topic of the referendum, but you should take care in what you say if you do not live in Scotland or engage in its politics.

I don't suppose there is much that can be done when highly paid freelance journalists shoot their mouths off in public.

There is no doubt that anti-English attitudes are a feature of Scotland. In recent years Scottish equality workers have made serious efforts to support victims of anti-English racism.

They have encouraged the reporting of complaints and keeping of records. This is a way of bringing the debate into the open and sending a signal to society that such behaviour, like other forms of racism and nationalism, is unacceptable.

Unfortunately one of the side effects is that journalists tend to report a rise in recorded incidents as though it is a rise in anti-English behaviour. In fact it is a record of awareness and process.

I welcome BBC Scotland's recent statement about devoting £5 million to referendum coverage in the next year.

It has promised to increase the number of journalists covering the issues - not unrelated I think to NUJ Scotland's recent campaign.

This is in contrast to Edinburgh Festival director Sir Jonathan Mills's announcement that he will not commission work about the referendum next year.

Author Alasdair Gray's latest broadside about "Scotophobic" cultural directors is not far off the target.

Maggie Chetty


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