Glen Discovery in GlenLyon
About us

The Scotch - a verminous race, published by Boris Johnson

Although I have been a supporter of an Independent Scotland for more than fifty years, I usually try to refrain from commenting on contemporary politics through my website. However, the following lines, originally written by James Michie (1927-2007) a staff writer for the Spectator, were published in a 2004 edition of the Spectator by Boris Johnson. Some English Tories may find these words amusing and not to be taken seriously. I do not find them in the least bit amusing. They tell us a great deal about the character of Boris Johnson and his suitability to lead the so-called United Kingdom.

The attitude of the English elite towards Scotland over the centuries has usually been patronising if not derogatory. Their belief in their supposed superiority over the Jocks created an environment in which talented Scots seeking to advance their careers in the South often found it necessary to become more English than the English. The leaders of Scottish society therefore were encouraged to send their sons to Eton and Oxbridge and ape the attitudes of their "betters". Indeed, the author's name - Michie - indicates that he was of Scots descent.

In the light of Johnson's quest to become Tory Party leader and Prime Minister, his attitude to Scotland, as exemplified by the publication of this disgusting diatribe, needs to be more widely known. I am not aware of when these hateful lines were penned, but it may well be that it was at the behest of Johnson at the time of publication in 2004.

The Scotch – what a verminous race!

Canny, pushy, chippy, they’re all over the place,

Battening off us with false bonhomie,

Polluting our stock, undermining our economy.

Down with sandy hair and knobbly knees!

Suppress the tartan dwarves and the Wee Frees!

Ban the kilt, the skean-dhu and the sporran

As provocatively, offensively foreign!

It’s time Hadrian’s Wall was refortified

To pen them in a ghetto on the other side.

I would go further. The nation

Deserves not merely isolation

But comprehensive extermination.

We must not flinch from a solution.

(I await legal prosecution.)

When originally published in 2004, the Director of the Commission for Racial Equality in Scotland, Maureen Fraser, said:
”We find this poem very offensive and the language is deeply inflammatory. It does nothing to promote race relations and undermines relations between Scotland and the rest of Britain, and our relationship with other countries.”. Ms Fraser continued, ”Some of the language, such as ‘comprehensive extermination’ and ‘polluting our stock’, is completely and utterly unacceptable. It cannot be tolerated.”

In my view, the final line "I await legal prosecution" makes it clear that Michie knew that his words could result in criminal prosecution. Had the target of his venom been the Jews or Muslims rather than the Scots, they most certainly would. But Johnson as publisher, and still living, is also criminally liable.

Johnson’s apparent dislike of the Scottish people appears to be entirely mutual, with just one in ten Scots believing he would make a good PM and a staggering 70% saying he would be bad.

Johnson is also considered so toxic in Scotland that he was barred from appearing at his own party’s 2019 Scottish Conference, and Scottish Tory MPs even launched a bid, ironically code-named “Operation Arse”, to stop him from becoming Prime Minister. [But, of course, when he succeeded in becoming Prime Minister, apart from the resignation of Ruth Davidson, the rest of the Scottish Tories just rolled over, frantic to have their tummies tickled by Johnson]

Paul Kavanagh (Wee Ginger Dug) wrote about Johnson's ditty in his February 2020 blogpost entitled "The double standards of British nationalism"
"This poem was an overt call for the cultural and physical genocide of Scottish people. Apparently it was satire. Who knew? Johnson has never apologised for this, because when English people are racist about the Scots it’s just a bit of banter, and the real offensiveness is when a dour Jock with no sense of humour and a chip on their shoulder has the temerity to complain about it. But can you imagine the outrage if an SNP politician had allowed the publication of a ditty calling for the extermination of the English? There would be a special show on BBC Scotland devoted to the evil cancer that lurks at the very heart of Scottish nationalism. Newspapers would constantly drag up the incident every time someone expressed support for Scottish independence. We’d never hear the end of it."