Now Paxman rails against the 'Scottish Raj'

He was born in a Lanarkshire pit village where his father was a postman and his mother a factory worker, yet he rose through the ranks of local politics to become a Cabinet minister.

But John Reid, the Secretary of State for Health, who has long been considered the "authentic son of Glasgow's Labour heartland", has now been accusedof being an elite member of the Scottish Raj.

Jeremy Paxman, the Newsnight anchorman, who clashed with Mr Reid last week, compared the prominent position of Scottish politicians in Westminster to imperial Britain'srulers in India.

His remarks came after an on-screen argument whenPaxman introduced Mr Reid as an "all-purpose attack dog for the Government".

Mr Reidaccused Paxman of being patronising because of his Scottish accent.

Paxman looked bewildered as Mr Reid said: "If you have a PhD and a posh accent from a school like yours, you are regarded as a sophisticate. You called me an attack dog because I've got a Glasgow accent."

The war of words spilled out of the studio when Mr Reid's camp branded Paxman a "west London wanker", after the Newsnight confrontation.

Yesterday, Paxman said in an interview with The Sunday Times that he could not understand why some Scots had a "chip on their shoulder", when they exerted considerable influence in Westminster. "Down here we live under a sort of Scottish Raj. I don't see why there is any reason for them to feel chippy.

"Do we complain about it? No we don't. I think it's absurd. I don't understand wherein lies this angst. I yield to none in my admiration for [John Reid's] knowledge and for his strength of character on all sorts of issues so I have no idea why he went so doolally," said Paxman.

The BBC said it was not responsible for Paxman's comments and that he was "giving his own personal remarks".

While Mr Reid is thought to have enjoyed his encounters with the media, he is believed to have been wary, saying privately of Paxman and the Newsnight team that "one day they're going to catch me out".

Although Paxman was brought up in Leeds and Worcestershire, not west London, he had a privileged education at Malvern College, in Worcestershire, and Cambridge University. He began his career as a journalist covering Northern Ireland and became the frontman for Newsnight in 1989.

He lives in Oxfordshire, but has been noted for his presence on the west London social and literary scene.

With the BBC Today programme's John Humphrys, he is known as the attack dog of news presenting for his aggressive style, which has left a number of politicians flustered.

SCOTTISH RAJ V W LONDON 'W*****S'

MEDIA

Kirsty Wark v Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman is often seen in Notting Hill. His reputation is rivalled by that of Kirsty Wark, who owns a production company and numbers Jack McConnell, First Minister, among her friends.

Scots: Andrew Marr, BBC's political editor; James Naughtie, Today presenter

West Londoners: Jeremy Vine, Radio 2 presenter; Rosie Boycott, former newspaper editor; John Witherow, The Sunday Times editor

POLITICIANS

Gordon Brown v Ruth Kelly

The Chancellor Gordon Brown, who was educated in Edinburgh, is among many Scottish politicians who have risen to power in the Blair Government. Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, forms part of a London coterie.

Scots: Robin Cook, former foreign secretary; Alistair Darling, Transport Secretary

West Londoners: Harriet Harman, Solicitor General (educated in west London)

ARTS AND BUSINESS

Hamish McAlpine v Richard Curtis

Richard Curtis, the film director, made Notting Hill famous with his film of the same name(he even featured his own front door in the movie). Over the border, Hamish McAlpine, the Scottish chairman of the distribution company Tartan, made his money snapping up the video rights to classic films.

Scots: J K Rowling, multimillionaire novelist

West Londoners: Charles Saatchi, advertising and art guru; Richard Branson, Virgin chief

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Resourcer

£18000 - £22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Recruitment Resour...

HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Account Manager (Junior)

Negotiable: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Account Manager (Junior) Account ...

Javascript Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried