I’ve always fancied that if one is to draw conclusions from history, one ought at least to make the effort to get the very basics right. What a shame it is, then, that our bold journalists — who are ever eager to turn their pens to almost anything, even should they know almost nothing — are rarely bothered by such concerns! A specimen:
The Scots have always been fiercely independent. Ask the Romans. While they rolled their franchise out across Asia and middle Europe, they never quite managed to tame the Scots. Not even the Romans, with their military brilliance, smart, coordinated uniforms and innovative tortoise fighting strategy, could extend their sphere of influence much beyond Selkirk. And if you’ve been to Selkirk, you’d understand why. So fearful were they of the Scots that they had a chap called Hadrian build a wall to keep us out. I ask the Geordies and Mancs to review their historical ‘hardness’ in the light of such compelling evidence — the peoples of Newcastle and Manchester were conquered and to this day remain wall-free. 
It staggers me that someone could be paid to write such piffle. If the author had made the slightest effort to understand that neither Scotland, nor England, nor Manchester, nor Newcastle existed at the time of the Roman invasion of Britain, and that the Scots and the Anglo-Saxons came to Britain in significant numbers only after the Romans had left, then perhaps he would have been aided in his journalistic efforts. No doubt we all have our blind-spots of ignorance, and we all make mistakes, but is it too much to ask that a journalist make at least some effort to know something about which he writes, instead of boldly spreading his ignorance? And is it too much to ask that the editors of our “quality” newspapers be discriminating enough to exclude that which would not have found its way into a school-magazine a hundred years ago? I suspect it is.
 Hardeep Singh Kohli, “Forget the boost for Scotland – it’s the English who would really benefit from a disbanded Union”, Comment is Free (The Guardian’s weblog), 8th February 2007.