Sun ed and MacKenzie clash in “tartan tosspots” row

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Scottish Sun editor David Dinsmore has clashed with Sun columnist
Kelvin MacKenzie after the latter branded Scottish people "tartan
tosspots". MacKenzie courted controversy north of the border with a Sun
column on June 22, which in response to apparently World Cup-related
attacks on English people in Scotland, said: "I have some good news and
bad news about the English-hating Scots. The good news is that they are
dying sooner than the rest of us."

He added that Hadrian's Wall
should be built "another hundred foot higher and start airlifting in
Red Cross parcels of Mars bars". The following week he referred to
Scots as "tartan tosspots". MacKenzie told the Sunday Herald that it
was curious that his column was kept out of The Scottish Sun. "The
editor in Scotland doesn't feel the same way as me. He feels very
sensitive and uneasy about has happened. You would have thought that
the Scots would have been smart enough and clever enough to join in
with it, but they are not.

"If a columnist in the Sunday Herald
described the English as tosspots, nobody would give a damn. Scots are
extremely sensitive about the position they find themselves in, which
is having to take money from London. Perhaps they are too proud to take
it."

Scottish Sun editor David Dinsmore, who is English, told
the Sunday Herald: "Kelvin's views have as much relevance to Scotland
as a Morris dancing festival, which is why we have never run his
column. "Frankly, our readers are not interested in the ramblings of a
man who enjoys a pint of flat beer and plates of jellied eels."

In
the House of Commons, Scottish Labour MP Jim Sheridan has labelled
MacKenzie as "irresponsible and dangerous" and asked Deputy Leader of
the House Nigel Griffiths for a debate on this style of journalism –
claiming there would be a public outcry if the same things were said
about any other race or religion. Griffiths declined to comment on
individual newspapers but pointed out: "I do deplore any such
statements just as I deplore the tone which was set, the anti-English
tone, in recent weeks by much of the Scottish media.

"It is
important that all newspaper editors know the perils of picking on any
one group and you did mention a group (newspaper) that I am sure has
not recovered its circulation in Liverpool for comments it made about
that." Griffiths was referring to The Sun's coverage of the 1989
Hillsborough disaster for which it subsequently apologised. The Deputy
Commons leader added: "I urge newsaper editors and all members to be
cautious in their use of language when they talk about any group,
whether it's a minority group like the Scots or a majority group like
the English."

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