Steerpike Steerpike

The National’s Anglo-bashing hypocrisy

Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

Given the Scottish political establishment’s misty-eyed myth-making about Scottish nationalism — it’s civic! Joyous! Inclusive! — Mr Steerpike admires the commitment of the grassroots to saying the quiet part out loud.

The National has published a missive on its letters page this morning that calls for the English to be banned from owning land in an independent Scotland. The correspondent, replying to an article about transparency in land ownership, writes:

Foreign nationals should be banned from buying large areas of the Scottish lands and countryside. We must be about the only country in Europe where this is allowed. I would seriously consider adding buyers from England to this list in an independent Scotland.

Far from slipping it into the letters page and hoping no one notices, the paper is promoting the letter:

It’s not even the best bit of anglo-baiting on the National’s letters page this morning. Another correspondent writes to complain about the Commonwealth Games coverage from the BBC (‘the state broadcaster’). Not that there’s too much of it or too little but that it’s too English. He has compiled a list, you see, of all the identifiably English people presenting and commentating on the events:

What did we get? Clare Balding, the (English) lead presenter, with her team of Rebecca Adlington (English Olympian swimmer), Mark Foster (English Olympian swimmer) and Ellie Simmonds (English Para-Olympian swimmer), and poolside commentary led by Adrian Moorhouse (English Olympian swimmer).

A bit much, you might think, but benign enough in the context. Usually when nationalists draw up lists, it doesn’t end well.

The National is often dismissed as a deep-fried Pravda, a cringe-making comic built around Nicola Sturgeon’s cult of personality, but its true value is in recording what Scottish nationalists really think. Not the progressive spin to be heard from Sturgeon when she pops up on network telly, gulling mush-headed London liberals into thinking she’s Scotland’s answer to Jacinda Ardern, but the authentic voice of Scottish nationalism.

Well, mostly authentic. Just glance at the copyright notice at the bottom of the website:

Unlock unlimited access, free for a month

then subscribe from as little as £1 a week after that

So much for foreign ownership eh?

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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