YOU’LL know Samira Ahmed, the presenter of BBC’s Newswatch programme, the little jewel which flits in and out the weekend news offerings.

Last year, she won an employment tribunal over equal pay. This was after it emerged that she received £440 per episode of Newswatch while her predecessor, Jeremy Vine was paid up to £3000. Yet, anyone who watches this programme will know that Ms Ahmed is a proper journalist.

It may last just 15 minutes, but Newswatch is a different class. It provides a weekly snapshot of the mood and manners of middle England. Certainly, some of the correspondents will hail from all over the UK but the majority are from England. It paints a picture of England that’s both appealing and fascinating. It should be required viewing for anyone seeking to understand what makes England, well … England.

Even if, like me, you favour an independent Scotland, Newswatch shows how similar in mood and temper we are to our great southern neighbours. It’s basically a 15-minute guide to English manners and prejudices. England is eccentric; disputatious and quarrelsome. And it cares.

Those ties won’t be severed just because Scotland decides to sign all its own cheques.

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