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by Margaret Taylor
14 September 2022
Alex Salmond accuses BBC of 'bias' over coverage of Queen's cortege

Alex Salmond accuses BBC of 'bias' over coverage of Queen's cortege

Former first minister and current Alba Party leader Alex Salmond has hit out at the BBC’s coverage of the Queen’s death, accusing the broadcaster of bias and “historical ignorance”.

In a series of posts made to his Twitter account, Salmond – who previously hosted a show on Russian state-backed broadcaster RT – said the UK’s public-service broadcaster had “badly let people down in their coverage of the Queen’s passing”.

“The ongoing attempt to appropriate a display of Scottish respect and affection for our late monarch to peddle a state political line, shows the extent of BBC departure from broadcasting standards,” he said.

The BBC, along with most other media outlets, broadcast widespread coverage of the crowds that gathered to pay their respects to the late monarch at Balmoral Castle, where she passed away last week, and as her cortege made its way to Edinburgh so her coffin could lie in rest at St Giles’ Cathedral.

Salmond said Scotland had “done the Queen proud” during the “remarkable three days” in which members of the public were able to pay their respects to the monarch.

“I am in no doubt that she planned the whole thing exactly as it transpired and the solemnity, without flummery, is what she would have wanted. It was as it should be,” he continued.

“In the case of the BBC, journalists and contributors queue up to parade their historical ignorance but apparent certainty of the late Queen’s opinions without the benefit, for the most part, of ever having a serious personal conversation with her.

“BBC bias and the needless, and completely pointless, arrest of a handful of protesters have been the only jarring notes in an otherwise fitting and positive Scottish contribution and appreciation for this truly remarkable lady.”

Though he did not expand on what he believed BBC journalists had got wrong, Salmond posted at the weekend that the corporation should have kept the historian Sir Tom Devine on its commentary team “for the full cortege procession” as there is “no substitute for his level of knowledge of Scottish history”.

Sir Tom, who told the weekend’s edition of The Herald on Sunday that he did not think the succession of King Charles III posed a threat to the monarchy or the Union, was part of the BBC’s coverage as the cortege left Balmoral on Sunday morning.

As a member of the Privy Council, Salmond was part of the accession council that formally proclaimed King Charles as the new monarch. He was also present in the Scottish Parliament when the King and Queen Consort attended to hear a motion of condolence on Monday afternoon.

While the SNP, which Salmond led until 2014, has stated that it would retain the monarch in an independent Scotland, the Alba Party’s position is that an independent Scotland should abolish the monarchy.

Since the Queen’s death, Alba general secretary Chris McEleny has posted a series of tweets outlining his opposition to the monarchy in general and King Charles in particular.

“I’m sad the Queen has passed. I thought she was a lovely lady when I met her in 2012 in Greenock. I shall pray for her,” he posted on the day the Queen died.

“However, I will never ever swear allegiance to Charles Windsor, nor will I bow to him or call him King. He is not my King and he should not be King of Scotland.”

The BBC has been contacted for comment on Salmond’s tweets.

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