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Mackenzie Attack Draws Scots Fire

A leading Scottish businessman has defended fellow countrymen against comments made by former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie on Question Time.

Mr MacKenzie, a columnist on the newspaper, said the reality was Scots enjoy spending money, not creating it.

Duncan Bannatyne, who stars in the BBC's Dragons' Den, said: "MacKenzie's comments were an attack on the character of the Scottish people."

The BBC has received hundreds of complaints about the remarks.

Mr MacKenzie made the comments during a discussion on Question Time, from Cheltenham, about the Conservative Party Leader David Cameron and the Shadow Chancellor George Osbourne.

He then turned his attention to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

"Brown is a Scot," he said.

"He is a socialist Scot who wants to spend every single penny you earn, never forget that.

"Scotland believes not in entrepreneurialism like London and the south east.

"He couldn't find anyone who would carry his bag better than another Scot so he grabbed (Alistair) Darling from wherever he was.

"The reality is that the Scots enjoy spending it, they don't enjoy creating it which is the opposite of down in the south."

The claim was met by jeers from the audience.

Mr Bannatyne said: "I think Kelvin MacKenzie is a raving lunatic, I think he's a complete idiot and a racist idiot at that.

"There are some phenomenal Scottish entrepreneurs, I could name so many.

"There's Sir Tom Hunter, Brian Souter, Sir Tom Farmer, you could go on and on, there are many of us."

He added: "It is plainly wrong for MacKenzie to assert that Scottish people do not understand business and enterprise."

Mr MacKenzie told BBC Scotland that the entrepreneurial spirit in Scotland had declined over the past three or four decades.

"There's no doubt that if it weren't for London and the South East, Scotland might well be heading towards being a third world nation now," he added.

Stewart Hosie, the Scottish National Party's home affairs spokesman, said: "Kelvin MacKenzie has made himself a figure of fun with this ridiculous attack on the Scottish people.

"I would draw Mr MacKenzie's attention to a report published by Local Government Futures and Oxford Economics this week that scotches the subsidy myth once and for all.

"The study shows that people living in Scotland are actually amongst those who get the least return for the cash they pump into Treasury coffers, a point emphasised by the tight spending settlement Scotland received in the Comprehensive Spending Review earlier this week."

John Anderson, chief executive of The Entrepreneurial Exchange, said that MacKenzie's vision of Scotland was "stuck in the past".

He said: "He has got his decades wrong. There is no doubt that Scotland did slip. It became dependent on large-scale nationalised industries.

"About 10 to 12 years ago that started to change. There has been a dramatic change in attitudes in Scotland and the mindset of people is now second to none.

"Ambitious and outward looking. That is modern Scotland."

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