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
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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
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

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition