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Monday, June 28, 1999 Published at 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK


Scots 'anti-English' - survey

The Scottish Parliament: "A joke", says Connolly

A survey says many people in Scotland believe that an anti-English feeling exists north of the border.

The opinion poll for the Daily Record newspaper found that 66% of those questioned agreed with the statement: "Many people in Scotland are anti-English."

The findings were published a day after comedian Billy Connolly accused the Scottish National Party of stirring up "new racism" in Scotland.

In an interview with the Sunday Herald newspaper, Glasgow-born Connolly described the new Scottish Parliament as "a joke".

"It's entirely their fault (the SNP), this new racism in Scotland, this anti-Englishness," he said.

Racist problem

Of those surveyed by the Daily Record, 25% disagreed that many people in Scotland were anti-English and the remainder said they were unsure.

Asked whether they believe Scotland has a racist problem, 49% of non-ethnic minority agreed - 44% of ethnic minority respondents said the same thing.

Scottish Opinion questioned 800 people from across Scotland by telephone for the survey.

[ image: Billy Connolly: Blames SNP]
Billy Connolly: Blames SNP
Speaking of the SNP, Connolly said: "They know damn fine where I'm coming from.

"I'm an internationalist. It's entirely their fault, this new racism in Scotland, this anti-Englishness.

"It was a music hall joke before - you know, like Yorkshire v Lancashire or Glasgow v Edinburgh. But there's a viciousness to it now that I really loathe and it is their fault entirely."

Asked if he endorsed the changes taking place in Scottish political life, he added: "There's absolutely no good coming out of the changes now.

"There are a lot of people talking about things like self-determination, but they are abstracts.

"What you've actually got is another layer of government and they've sneaked in proportional representation, a third of whom you didn't vote for. It's an enormous joke."

Comments dismissed

An SNP spokesman rejected the comedian's comments, saying they were "absurd" and "off-the-wall".

He said: "Billy Connolly rivals Tories like Michael Forsyth in his antagonism to Scottish self-government.

"He calls the Scottish Parliament and proportional representation 'an enormous joke'.

"He is undoubtedly a fine comedian but when it comes to politics, I'm afraid the joke's on him.

"Billy Connolly says in the interview that he is a stranger to Glasgow nowadays.

"On the basis of these off-the-wall remarks, he is also a stranger to the views of the vast majority of Scots who are enthusiastic about the parliament and will dismiss his absurd remarks about the SNP for the nonsense they are."

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