IT was an English political magazine's idea of satire.

But a poem which brands Scots as ''tartan dwarves'' and calls for the refortification of Hadrian's Wall provoked anger among those working to promote racial equality.

The poem, published in The Spectator, which is edited by Boris Johnson, shadow culture minister and Tory MP for Henley, chastises Scots for ''polluting our stock, undermining our economy'' and says ''the nation deserves not merely isolation but comprehensive extermination''.

Written by James Michie, Friendly Fire also calls the ''Scotch'' a ''verminous race''.

Michie, a staff writer for the London-based title and an esteemed editor and translator of poetry, was unavailable to comment on the piece last night.

However, Maureen Fraser, director of the Commission for Racial Equality in Scotland, said Michie's use of language was a step too far, even if the poem was intended as satire.

She 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.''

''Some of the language, such as 'comprehensive extermination' and 'polluting our stock', is completely and utterly

unacceptable. It cannot be


On The Spectator's website, the ideological focus of the magazine is made clear.

''The Spectator's taste for controversy . . . remains undiminished,'' it states. ''There

is no party line to which our

writers are bound - originality of thought and elegance of expression are the sole

editorial constraints.''


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


But comprehensive


We must not flinch from a solution.

(I await legal prosecution.)