English ignorance of Scotland and the portrayal of Glaswegians as drunks is damaging the union, the Conservative leader David Cameron said last night in a speech aimed at defusing growing calls for an English Parliament.
Mr Cameron vowed to ensure that Scotland would remain part of the UK if he became Prime Minister, but he said "ignorant and inaccurate stereotypes" by comedians and commentators were threatening to undermine the union. "Whether it's Russ Abbott-style lampooning or the inevitable aggressive Glaswegian drunk in TV programmes, the cumulative effect can be depressing," he said.
Commentators who described Scottish sportsmen and women as British when they won but only as Scots when they lost were also singled out by Mr Cameron. "Instead of deriding Scots as chippy or difficult, isn't it time that English people of good will educated themselves?" he said. He said English commentators derided the Scots as "drunks and beggars" while protesting at the domination of Scots in the media.
Mr Cameron admitted that a series of "blunders" had been made by the Tories in Scotland, including the poll tax. "The decision to treat Scotland as a laboratory for experimentation in new methods of local government finance was clumsy and unjust," he said. "On devolution, we fought on against the idea of a Scottish Parliament after it became clear that it was the settled will of the people."
Mr Cameron set himself against calls for an English Parliament, and warned against exacerbating anti-English opinion in Scotland.Reuse content