TV presenter Neil Oliver has been criticised by Scots academics after suggesting Black Lives Matter activists are anarchists and communists who want to “bring down British society” during a BBC interview last night.

Speaking to The Nine, the Coast host expressed concerns over the removal and vandalism of statues with links to slavery and colonialism across the UK in recent days.

Since protesters toppled the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol last weekend, a number of UK monuments have been identified by activists who want to see them removed – and several statues have been vandalised with graffiti.

READ MORE: Neil Oliver claims removing racist statues is 'road to the guillotine'

Yesterday the Robert the Bruce statue at Bannockburn – a site operated by the National Trust for Scotland, which Oliver is the president of – was spray painted with graffiti calling the historic figure a racist, despite him having no links to slavery. Scotland was not involved in the trade until centuries after his death.

Oliver spoke to The Nine about the issue last night and, echoing views from his TALKradio rant earlier this week, said those concerned with statues of slave traders should be more worried about “slaves who are alive today”.

During the interview Oliver argued that those filming vandalism of statues are using mobile phones, which have batteries made from cobalt which is often mined by child slaves in the DRC, and wearing clothes from sweatshops where living slaves are forced to work.

He said: “If this is to be a coming to terms with slavery then I would deal with the plight of slaves who are alive today and worry about dealing with representations of slavers from the past, slavers who lived in other contexts – the word racism didn’t exist and certainly not as we understand it.

“If we’re already making token gestures like taking down Fawlty Towers and Gone With The Wind then I do worry and wonder and I am equally anxious about the genuine motivation – is this about addressing racism and the existence of slavery in our world community, or is it simply an attempt by anarchists, communists, to eat into the built fabric of Britain and thereby to bring down British society.”

A handful of Scots academics have criticised The Nine’s decision to invite Oliver, who is an archaeologist rather than a historian, onto the programme to discuss the matter.

Economic and social history lecturer at Glasgow University Ewan Gibbs shared a clip from the programme to Twitter and added: “Why did @BBCScotNine choose Oliver for this interview when there are a host of professional historians who are developing cutting edge world-class research on slavery at Scottish universities?

“It’s apparent from the interview he is not qualified to discuss the subject.”

Matt McDowell, another history lecturer at Edinburgh University, replied with similar concerns. He posted: “I was remembering his spat with Tam Devine from about a decade ago. To some journalists, Oliver and Devine represent the sum total of knowledge and perspectives on Scottish history.

“The difference being we've all cited work by Devine; Oliver's an archaeologist and TV presenter.”

And Dundee University history lecturer added his voice to the conversation, tweeting: “Few topics in Scottish history can compare with slavery for the number of genuine scholars doing world-leading work. And yet the BBC turns to an underqualified and apparently clueless TV presenter.”

READ MORE: Why Neil Oliver is talking malicious nonsense about racist statues

Other Scots historians stressed that modern slavery is very different from “chattel slavery” which activists are currently focused on. They explained there is current legislation attempting to deal with modern forced labour – and that there are no statues or celebrations of those involved in modern-day slavery.

Oliver’s claim earlier in the week that removing statues of slave traders was the first step to bringing back the “guillotine” also drew criticism.

Hearing that TALKradio interview, Kennedy posted: “What was the process by which we decided that Neil Oliver is *the* public face of Scottish History? Was it the same one that made Dan Snow the BBC's omniscient historian of everything?”