THE middle classes have rounded on Trainspotting not because of its description of drug culture but because of the class divide, author Irvine Welsh claimed yesterday.

He says middle-class critics have attacked his novel and its dramatisation because they can only have a voyeuristic relationship with it.

In an article for the Big Issue, he says: ``Where the shock has come from for the middle classes, be they of liberal or conservative hue, is in `these people' talking and interacting in ways they cannot immediately recognise.

``The attitude of the middle classes to any piece of art from a working-class culture has to be one of the outsider looking in, an essentially voyeuristuc relationship.''

Welsh says critics have a limited and culturally biased view of his work and claims working-class people are allowed to speak, but not think, in middle-class fiction.

``The classic assumption of such fiction holds true: working-class people speak funny so are in fiction only for the purposes of humour. They do not have an internal life, therefore you traditionally do not have a Renton or a Begbie or a Spud expressing themselves in the narrative of a book.''

Welsh accuses liberals rather than the right of most often attacking working-class art and expression and singles out the Observer for its ``childish'' criticism of him.

He rounds on those who accuse him of voyeurism, saying: ``The only place they can recognise voyeurism is in themselves. The simple answer is: `F... off and don't read/watch it then'.''

He says the book and film provide an accurate portrayal of working-class life without the patronising accompaniment of a middle-class voice.

He confesses to being ``totally scoobied'' at Trainspotting's success and also blames this success for backlash against the book and the film, saying that it received an unrealistically positive reception and that some critics are condemning the success of the book rather than the book itself.

Welsh denies that Trainspotting glamourises drugs use and calls these allegations ``general hysteria''.