THE journalist and independence campaigner Lesley Riddoch has described Andrew Neil’s analysis of Scotland’s politics as “a load of rubbish” during a heated exchange on LBC.

During an appearance on Nick Ferrari’s radio programme, Neil alleged that Westminster had “poured buckets of gold” down Scotland’s throat and claimed there was an “anti-English strain” within the Scottish Government.

When Ferrari asked what made Scotland into a “basket case,” Neil went on a lengthy tirade about why Scotland was a “country in serious decline”.

He said: “They’ve done it for two reasons or because of two reasons.

“One, because of their obsessions with constitutional change rather than the good government of Scotland. Their purpose was always independence.

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“It was always a grievance machine. Whatever went wrong it was always Westminster’s fault.

“And, by the way, Westminster is a euphemism for English. Be in no doubt about [it], there’s an anti-English strain in all of this.

“It was never their fault, they never did anything wrong, it was always Westminster’s fault, even though Westminster pours buckets of gold down their throat every year and public spending in Scotland is far, far higher per person than it is in England.

“And the other reason is they’re dominated by the collectivist consensus in Scotland.

"A left-wing consensus, far more left than England, in which there was no reform of the health service whatsoever, no reform of education whatsoever, spending more on welfare payments rather than building up the infrastructure of Scotland to fit it for the 21st century.

“You add all that together and you have, I’m afraid, north of the Border a country in serious decline”.

After the interview with Neil ended, Riddoch was next to appear on the programme and swiftly dismantled Neil’s arguments.

“Honestly, if we just played that last five minutes to the whole of Scotland we’d have 80% independence," she said. "What a load of absolute rubbish!

“First of all, let’s just work through the claims there. I mean amazingly although I live in the sticks in North Fife, I’m connecting to you via digital media. How on earth am I doing that?”

Ferrari then attempted to interrupt Riddoch.

However, the broadcaster asked to continue since Neil was not interrupted during his lengthy contribution.

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She said: “We have water in public ownership in Scotland unlike the disaster south of Border where 19 water companies, most owned by foreign companies, have reduced your rivers to a slew of sewage.

“We have the best performing A&E departments in the whole of the UK. We have less privatisation in health and glory be for that. We have had no strikes in the health sector.

“No strikes last year in the sphere of transport and rail. So, of course things are not going beautifully.

"But there’s plenty of progress that the people of Scotland – and here’s a small point, if Andrew cared to come and live here, he might realise people actually like this so called collectivist agenda because solidarity between people and having a public realm is what makes life worth living for most people."

It comes after a deal which would have seen The Spectator magazine – of which Neil is chairman – sold to a company backed by the vice-president of the United Arab Emirates fell through.

The deal was scrapped after concerns were raised by the UK Government about UK-based media organisations being owned by foreign states, with the company RedBird IMI saying the deal was “no longer feasible”.