Lights. Camera. Outrage.

Like the sea level overwhelming Manhattan in a disaster movie, the torrent of hysteria over a television programme is sweeping away all before it – there goes context, journalistic honesty is bobbing about over here, balance drowning over there. Behind the wash of fury comes the bile and bitterness of those with scores to settle.

Former politician does telly programme – cue outrage. Ah, but not just any politician – the former First Minister. And not just any programme but one on a channel sponsored by an evil state.

Let’s take them in order. What is a retired First Minister supposed to do? There is after all no template since Dewar died, McLeish lectured academically and inquired on behalf of the government while McConnell (the self-declared socialist) went to the House of Lords. You may have missed the media outrage at this now typical Labour betrayal of the working class and of democratic values.

There seems to be a desire on the part of some that he fade from the scene to be forgotten, shuffling into the cloak of yesterday’s man. But why should he? Who lays down how any of us decide to fulfil our ambitions? Salmond is a showman used to living in the spotlight. He was comfortable in the studio environment and took pride in mastering it. Parading in public and operating under scrutiny – and relentless media ridicule – became a way of life. More to the point, he’s good at it. He’s a natural who can play either role of inquisitor or victim. He is profoundly well informed and has the knack of being controversial – gold dust in the media world.

He already has a programme on LBC radio. He has proved capable of sustaining it and hooking an audience. It keeps an energetic mind in gear and maintains his public profile which, as I say, has become important to him. It’s his schtick.

But Salmond divides opinion in Scotland, broadly between those who recognise the gifts of a political giant – in Scottish terms – and those to whom he represents their nemesis. The latter are the losers whose own trajectory was deflected by his rise, whose advance was blocked as he rewrote the narrative and turned elective politics upside down. This isn’t just a career wobble. For some, the Willie Rennies and the Iain Grays, it is an existential crisis from which they never recovered, an historic reverse from which their parties still suffer. Among the journalists too there are the wounded and humiliated. The best bell weather of hysteria is David Torrance, once a studied example of balance, now the shrill and predictable voice of old fashioned Tory Unionism. ‘The biographer of Alex Salmond’ was wounded by Salmond’s withering critique of him.

Salmond simply refuses to fit someone else’s template. He broke the mould in office by giving as good as he got from truculent interviewers and wrong-footing reporters and continues to do so now. The haughty sneering at his Fringe show faded when he sold out the venue. His engagement with the Scotsman newspaper is another sign that he isn’t going away. On the contrary, you can forget the claustrophobia of the academic cloister and artificial professorship. You’re going to hear a lot more from a man who’s driven to do more because he has more to offer. His desire is to transform Scotland and, in office or out, nothing will stop him.

But surely no one in their right minds would work with RT, the government-funded Russian television news channel pouring out nothing but propaganda? Ah, you mean no one like Willie Rennie, Ruth Davidson, Alex Cole Hamilton, Vince Cable or erm…David Torrance? They’ve all appeared on RT and by doing so have either taken the rouble or given credence to the Russian station.

But Salmond’s working for them! Well, he’s certainly becoming part of their output, it’s true but it appears he has sold them a format through his own production company which will make the shows and control the content. He didn’t get hired by RT (as an agent of the Kremlin) or even design the programme for RT. His company saw an opportunity to create a show based on him and offered it to other broadcasters. There were no takers except RT.

But they’re Russian! Indeed they are. And they are registered in the UK and licensed to broadcast by Ofcom who regulate their output. (Just like the BBC). It’s isn’t exactly treason, Lord Foulkes. It’s approved by the British authorities under British law. Ofcom has actually sanctioned RT for unbalanced coverage of Ukraine which indicates there is a bias in favour of Moscow and the British rules on balance work.

Why’s he working for a foreign station anyway? Well, many countries have overseas television news channels sponsored by their governments fundamentally in order to promote their worldview. It doesn’t mean they are always biased or inaccurate or poor journalistically, just that they want their national interests presented to the world. They’re all at it. Including us. The world’s first international broadcast service was the BBC World Service which until 2014 was paid for by the British Foreign Office – a direct state subsidy to a news channel. If you were Russian you might deduce from that the merest hint that the BBC was an arm of government. (It is testament to generations of first class journalists that across the world the reputation for fairness and accuracy of the World Service has been maintained. I have personal testimony to that from fellow writers from a score of developing countries many of whom were confronted by propaganda from their own government.)

Russia kills journalists. That’s true. It may not be actually true in the sense of a court conviction but, still, it’s true. The Russian state under Putin is an uncompromising, corrupt, murderous regime that we should do nothing to promote. Except…one of the first calls Theresa May made on becoming PM was to the Kremlin seeking closer and friendlier ties with Putin. Russian money keeps afloat parts of the financial sector. £80b was moved out of Russia between 2000 and 2004, much of it laundered through London. Behind it were criminals linked to the Kremlin.

If the state can normalise relations with Putin and if we accept his cohorts’ cash in buying up London property and their children in posh schools as well as licensing their TV station, is it now up to Alex Salmond to make a stand?

It shows he has no standards by not making a stand.

Well, in that case we can’t stop there. Because if the benchmark is state behaviour, it means no dealings with Central China Television which you can see on your Sky listings. China has and appalling human rights record from Tibet to political prisoners and record executions of its own people.

What about al Jazeera? State owned by Qatar, it is accused of supporting the jihadist Moslem Brotherhood and aired videos made by Osama Bin Laden while he was responsible for carrying out atrocities.

Oh come on. Russia does violence against journalists.

So does France. They have France24 – run by a government-backed company – giving English language news in the UK. Reporters without Borders reported that the ombudsman is being asked to investigate 10 cases where journalists were beaten during demonstrations in France. An identifying armband no longer protects journalists from assault by security forces, some of it clearly deliberate.

It’s all a matter of degree. If you’re Iraqi you might think the illegal invasion of your country and the deaths of untold thousands aided by British forces was a reason not to trust the BBC coverage.

Indeed, you may also look at the corporate and political activities of Rupert Murdoch and decide he is too vile to deal with.

It’s revealing that the outrage at Salmond’s chosen platform doesn’t seem to transfer to Spanish TV where the state is carrying out an openly oppressive regime against Catalans, covered with curious disdain by the brave Scottish media.

I’ve had dealings with RT myself and trust their Scottish editor Mark Hirst. There is no doubt that Russia has a state interest in destabilising the UK and Scotland is a means to achieving that but it’s a huge assumption to say Mark Hirst or Alex Salmond would actively contrive in that. You can keep in mind the deep background in what dealings you have and only the naïve would do otherwise. Against that, it’s refreshing to know that the lazy assumptions and deferential crawling so evident is much British journalism is being challenged.

Here’s the thing. If Mark Hirst is asked to produce material that is blatantly untrue or partial for a political purpose he is likely to walk. And can you imagine a producer telling Alex Salmond what to say? The fall out from either walking out and spilling the beans would be damaging to RT and Russia.

At least their journalism is asking questions.

I have no actual view on Alex Salmond having a show on RT. I won’t watch. It may be a misjudgement his reputation will pay for but the rush of outrage tells us more about pygmy politics in Scotland than the morality of Salmond. I don’t believe for a minute he is supporting death squads in Moscow but I do think he has discombobulated some of his erstwhile support. But then he is his own man making his own way. He isn’t going quietly into the night.



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61 thoughts on “Lights. Camera. Outrage.

  1. The BBC is an arm of the UK state IMO, and there a few things resurfacing which support the view that the BBC is institutionally biased – that interview of Putin by Marr is telling, almost as bad as the ancient footage which includes the hirsute Andrew Neil.

    I’m not aware of anything Putin has done (yet) to destabilise the Union, and it seems unlikely that broadcasting a chat show will help with that.

    For interest Derek, why would you not watch the Salmond show?

  2. EBC? Sic.

  3. That’s a pretty awesome critique and dissection right there Derek. Well said. Y’know, the rage among particularly the unionist political and meeja set is the biggest pile of hypocritical horses wossiname.

    I mean, think about it critically for just a moment. Representatives of every major establishment party, recent past and present, have felt perfectly comfy appearing on RT. I also believe some of our punditry have appeared on the odd RT couch. Now setting the utter hypocrisy of that factual situation aside, just what does Alex Salmond owe either the UK political parties or the UK media? Bear in mind these are parties and a media who have spent the past three decades systematically attempting to destroy Mr Salmond’s political career.

    They’ve generally done their level best to break the fella. Fair to say that their narrative has literally put the man in harms way amongst some of their more extreme support. Yet through it all, and so far as I know, Mr Salmond has only ever promoted peaceful and democratic positive argument. (Even when many among the independence support argued for more negative and argumentative strategy.)

    Well? They got their dearest wish. Mr Salmond is no longer an MP or MSP. He’s a private individual and an individual with a particular skill set, knowledge base, connections and most importantly, an opinion. It appears folk from his old arena are more afraid of Alex Salmond the private individual, than Alex Salmond the politician.

    • From the reaction of Unionist politicians and journalists, which obviously comprises the vast majority of the MSM, I get the distinct impression that what they fear the most is that Alex Salmond makes a success of his new media company, because the former of course are so used to an overwhelmingly unionist media.

      I think that is the crux of the matter and their hypocrisy has been highlighted all too well for them. I don’t for one second, let alone a minute, think that the usual suspects are driven by principles of any kind. They grew up and entered their professions in an overwhelmingly unionist dominated Scotland and the UK, and they will never ever forgive Salmond in particular (but also the SNP, and now the wider independence movement) for breaking the mould.

      They are actually against pluralism, they hanker for the old Conservative-Labour-Liberal unionist dominated Scotland that has probably gone for good. Their bitterness tells you that. They look on people who have aspirations for Scotland with absolute contempt and hatred, and the events of the last 10 years bear this out. They clearly do not want to loss their privileges, perks, status etc and they clearly hold Salmond to be most responsible for putting that at risk. Their political hegemony in Scotland has come crashing down on top of them and they detest it. That is why we see these visceral reactions for them towards Salmond time after time.

      • Seriously, I reckon they see and fear what most folk are only now becoming aware of regarding Mr Salmond’s post politics career path. He’s merely writing his own narrative and some don’t like it one little bit.

        Here’s the bottom line though, Alex Salmond is indeed a private citizen with a wealth of political insider knowledge on both parliaments and the UK political scene in general. His grasp of a great wealth of subject matter is superb, he’s charismatic, an erudite and compelling speaker, not to mention somewhat well connected and thought of nationally and internationally. Right now he’s actively engaged in making in-roads to the media world in general, which as a private citizen with a particular skill set, he’s perfectly entitled to do. RT saw the potential and picked up what the UK media would not, and THAT scares them shitless. As I said above, seems they’re having some bother dealing with an Alex Salmond not bound by the strictures of the old day job. (shrugs)

        Personally I’m not big on most broadcasters news/political commentary output across the board as you might know. Most media have their angle, their biases, personal interests and such. They all put their socks on one foot at a time like the rest of us and have absolutely zero moral high ground to talk down from. Near as I can see, NONE of them do what they do from the goodness of their wee hearts or for any particular care for the public good. My tuppence worth? They are merely a platform, a tool which can be used for good or ill and I reckon should all be viewed as such.

      • Alasdair Macdonald

        Muttley79, I think you have hit the nail on the head: “I get the distinct impression that what they fear the most is that Alex Salmond makes a success of his new media company, because the former of course are so used to an overwhelmingly unionist media.”

        For the first time, we have a distinctly pro-Scotland programme.

        Before the RT stushie, we had a similar fluttering in the unionist doo’cot regarding Mr Salmond becoming Chairman of Johnstone Press and thus of ‘The Scotsman’. Amongst the apoplectic meeja splutterings was; “This will upset the balance of the Scottish media”. Too true, pal, an no afore time. Just imagine, a newspaper called ‘The Scotsman’ actually publishing constructive articles about Scotland – surely an idea too ridiculous to contemplate in a country that’s too wee an no very good.

        I watch RT (and Al Jazeera and the many others that are now available) pretty regularly to get alternative view to those being promulgated by BBC, ITN and Sky, for example. These stations, plus various websites and more rigorous journals enable me to form a more balanced view of the nuanced and fluid complexity of international affairs. I might well come to the wrong conclusions, and I have on several occasions, but, at least, they are MY conclusions.

        I am disappointed about the somewhat haughty sniffiness of some on the pro-independence side. Russia and the predecessor Soviet Union and Russian Empire, has pretty unsavoury aspects to it as had the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire. However, it was the Soviet Union and its 26 million dead which substantially won the second World War. The US, Uk, France, Germany etc all have appalling aspects to their histories and, currently, the conduct of their agents of state is not always of the best. The response that Russia’s atrocities were on a much greater scale than ours or other countries smacks to me of the moral relativism, the apologists of these states usually deplore in people who speak on behalf of Russia or indeed seek to present a more honest view.

        I welcome Mr Salmond’s intention to air programmes on RT in the same way that I hope I will be able to start buying The Scotsman again after a hiatus of more than 30 years, when it had real journalists like Neal Ascherson, Ian Bell and others of that calibre.

  4. Great analysis and a good read thank you.

    However, was there a typo in this sentence? “David Torrance, once a studied example of balance, now the shrill and predictable voice of old fashioned Tory Unionism.” Should “shrill” not be “shill”?

  5. Why will you not be watching Derek? I intend to. Does the format not interest you or are you too sniffy to watch RT? I was watching and during their news segment they examined the Saudi-Iran conflict wrt Lebanon and Yemen and the risks of a greater conflagration.

    Instead of talking head correspondents they had local commentators giving us their insights from inside their bubbles. When was the last time a British news outfit which did that. Even C4 puts John, Krishnan or Kathy on a plane to stand on exotic ground.

  6. Brexit makes strange bed fellows.
    I find myself in an alliance with the French, Dutch, Germans, against the English, and bizarrely the Welsh.
    Engwaland is my enemy, and is threatening my health wealth and security by attempting to drag me out of the EU against the democratic will of Scots, which include me.
    I shall resist.
    Russia has always been ‘the enemy’ because that is what we were taught post WW2.
    Detente, German Reunification, the collapse of the USSR, the collapse of the Soviet Union, Burger Bars in Moscow, but they are still the enemy.
    It’s all very confusing.
    Salmond may become the Tartan Murdoch, hiring lots of pro independence journos and broadcasters as his media empire expands.
    That will never do.
    The Brit Establishment will not allow it.
    TR will have its licence revoked if Salmond TV takes off.
    AS I observed before Herald Britland started its current rightsizing’ of staff, there are only so many vacancies on the Findo Gask Advertiser.
    At last, we may have a strident ‘discombobulating’ riposte to the rubbish churned out by Massie Cochrane Torrance and Clegg.
    Salmond marches on regardless.
    I doubt that there has ben a politician who has had to endure the relentless monstering that those named above, and scores more outed by WoS today.
    I look forward to RT lampooning Yoon scribes, and their fevered SNP BAD nonsense.

  7. As ever a well thought out and balanced article Derek. I would only disagree on one thing. I think you should watch. At the very least Alex will be provoking more debate and your comments on that would be most welcome.

  8. If all these media folk are so horrified at Alex Salmond airing his programme on RT, perhaps one of the UK broadcasters might like to make him an offer?

    • How stands the offer from our Norwegian friend Re: The Scotsman? There might be a trend forming of Scotland being sliced open and seen for all its inherent worth. Instead of the wholly negative views we have enjoyed for a decade or two.

  9. Watch RT judge for yourself it’s that simple,

    Watch the slant our media put on all stories, a simple exercise being the current EU negotiations,The EU provide information about what is going on , compare this to the output from our media, according to our media things are progressing nicely if a bit slowly, On the other hand the word directly from the EU is the UK negotiators are taking the piss and nothing significant has been agreed, this while the clock is ticking any expected progress has not been made in order to proceed further .

    The frothing by our usual suspects is Laughable, treason spouts the Express, and that mostly drunk Foukes ,remember that incident when one of the metropolitan police officers came into contact with the noble inebriated lords fist .

    As I said previously judge for yourself I have yet to come across any subversive material or propaganda meant to overthrow the government , what are the media afraid of ? , possibly people finally finding out the stuff our media leave out .
    Now that would be tantamount to heresy , and the promotion of the flat earth society,

    The implication of tampering in the US elections appears to have come from inside America , not RT or the Russian government , Clinton has never said anything released was a lie or indeed false.

    What was released allowed the public to see what Clinton had been up to ,it wasn’t fiddling the votes just presenting Clinton for what she was , oh terrible eh ? . Knowing the truth .

    • Agree fully with your comment. The west f*cks up and needs a bogeyman to blame, which is Russia at the moment. Scots have been used in this way for generations so we should be the last ones pointing the finger at others!

  10. The best laugh I got from all this was wee Wullie offering Mark Hirst his mobile phone number, so desperate he was to get called for an interview, unfortunately for him he wasn’t required

    Wullie obviously was below the standard required

  11. Your thoughts are exactly what I’ve been thinking about all the stramash it’s been causing even amongst Yes voices. I just don’t get what their problem is.

  12. And you’ll not be reading this in any MSM tax avoider owned paper or on the BBC anytime soon. Scotland desreves so much better from our MSM. But he who pishes and shits in his own water well has no-one drinking from it.Which is why scottsih papers are all nose diving. No-one likes drinking in pish & shit.

  13. The problem for the establishment/ msm is that Scotland might be given an international profile. As if she were a country like anywhere else.

  14. Anyone or or anything that is condemned by George ( hic ! ) Foulkes , David ( Tory ) Torrance , Ruth ( Rape Clause ) Davidson , Willie ( here’s my mobile number , remember to ring me ) Rennie , etc… is worth supporting .
    I look forward to the guest list for Alex’s shows . I wonder how many of those who criticised his deal with RT will be falling over themselves to get a little air time to boost their egos ?

  15. “….I won’t watch!”

    Mmm a pretty sad approach which says a lot about your willingness to remain open regardless of the attacks.

    Your continued defence of the BBC and so called respected journalists is becoming quite depressing.

  16. Thanks for pointing out the plight of Catalonia, where the “state is carrying out an openly oppressive regime against Catalans”, as you say.

    Sadly journalists are now under threat in this increasingly polarised environment. Not just outside but particularly inside Catalonia, journalists, especially of Catalan-media and/or Catalan regional channels, are now regular targets for unionists and hangers-on, among them fascist groups, demonstrating against Catalan independence. A German correspondent was also recently attacked. Journalists for the first time have to have police protection, the armband just serves to identify them as targets for mob attention, and some have taken to hiding the company logo on their microphones.

    On the other side, Spanish journalists reporting from Catalonia are sometimes jeered by independentist crowds, reacting to pretty uniform anti-Catalan bias in the mainstream Spanish press and media. No, journalists don’t have it easy over here.

  17. Bellwether no, as in the leading sheep?

    The principled rejection of the House of Lords, does pose problems for the top tier SNP politicians. The lower ranks can go into corporate lobbying – though it’s interesting that SNP dominance doesn’t yet extend into the third sector which has been a traditional retreat for lower level Labour. For the glib, there is broadcasting, and if you don’t mind working for the regime there is RT. George Galloway has taken that route.

    But for a First Minister to do so? One who was in
    touching distance of leading a new country in the northern reaches of a contested Europe? That gives the unfortunate impression that he had hitherto unsuspected shallows or that he was available for hire. Writing/speaking, as per Cameron or Brown would have been a more dignified route.

    The actual details of who proposed what to who haven’t been published but it is probably too late to convince anyway, probably better just to sell the programme/performer to some other broadcasters to prove the point.

    The role of Tasmina hasn’t been mentioned much, but the RT debacle now means that the Kremlin, at one remove, has a contractor on the National Executive Committee. That’s poor optics.

  18. A potential example of how one-sided the MSM is in Scotland may be to see how many journalists oppose Big Eck’s independent show being broadcast by RT and how many have defended it.

    In a balance media it’d be roughly 50:50 but my guess is that it’s almost 100% against.

  19. Thanks for this Derek. You debunked so much of the negative propoganda that’s been swirling about. He really has them on the run, hasn’t he? Time for us to have an even louder voice out there to go with you, Wings, Wee Ginger etc. I saw AS at the Fringe and he was great. I definitely will watch him on RT.

  20. Excellent debunking Derek, except for your last paragraph. Of course you’ll watch the programme, as will all of us who believe in real journalism and balanced reporting. We won’t be able to resist it.

  21. Journalists and politicians have no moral high ground when it comes to Alex Salmond being broadcast on RT because their own country imprison people for not paying for a state enforced TV licence.

    If they are going to continue with the moral outrage then they need to be consistent and be morally outraged when their own government or media step over the morality line because anything else makes them look like hypocrites on a grand scale.

  22. Hi Derek, would be interested to know if you were asked would you consider appearing on the show as I regard you as a very strong voice for articulating ideas and actions for Scottish Independence. If you wouldn’t like to appear who do you think would do a good job on such a show?

  23. “I have no actual view on Alex Salmond having a show on RT. I won’t watch.”

    Says he after writing a two page piece about it ! Why? Seems incredible that a journalist would not want to watch a decisive moment in Scottish media. And if you don’t watch you won’t know if it is or isn’t an excellent programme which an intelligent politically interested person would not want to miss. Surely you are not still tarred with a bit of the old huffy BBC mentality, ie “better not show the plebs this really good piece of Scottish news. It might give them ideas.”

  24. And a well deserved “wee slur” too ! Ffoulkesy in his defence of drunkeness and assault of a policeman claimed that “the policeman’s face came into contact with his fist”

  25. “If the BBC’s coverage of Scotland and its independence movement had been the very epitome of fair handed neutrality,” we would be independent now.

  26. I think their reaction is one to do with their waning influence – particularly with those who are independently minded. They thought they had seen of forever the specter of a Scottish programme free to pursue Scottish issues. Now here comes a channel which not British. Owes nothing to the UK. One whose audience can’t be stacked to the rafters with No voters and yoons. A show were Scottish issues and Independence can be spoken about freely without badgering. A show were the unionist argument will be scrutinised in a fashion its not used to and doesn’t much like.

    Hence the spectacle of them coughing up their spleens in impotent fury.

  27. When I am interested in any news story that is reported internationally I like to watch a variety of sources to see if I can read between the lines. Even in google’s (sometimes faltering) translations of national newspapers it is still apparent what elements are consistent across the pieces.

    That however is an aside. I will definitely be having a look at our former PM’s show with interest.

  28. Perhaps Alex can invite 3 pro-indy types and one unionist per episode in the name of balance?

  29. I don’t have TV but I certainly want to watch the RT programme – wouldn’t miss it for the world!
    Thanks, Derrick. I thoroughly enjoyed your article.

  30. Having met Alex Salmond, had a few words, I doubt that he is concerned about his reputation. He may be doing this simply because he is enjoying a new activity in his life, or perhaps, hopefully he will, with his intelligence and wit, subtlety promote Scotland’s case for independence. Time will tell.

    Is Russia really the bad guy? A few years back Putin on a state visit to the UK, broke off the itinerary to visit Edinburgh to acknowledge the support that Scotland had given to Russia over the centuries.

    A country intent on selling GM food,chlorine – washed chicken, and leases trident missiles to the UK yet they hold the firing code, is a best friend?

  31. simply brilliant, Derek ….. excellent analysis !!

  32. I had to look up the meaning of “discombobulated”
    Now that I understand the meaning, I’m not “discombobulated”!
    I’m very chuffed.
    The anger from the MSM and Unionist politicians tells you all you need to know.
    Actually, I need not have seperated out “the MSM and Unionist politicians” – they are both the same entity.
    They are The Union and that union is scared.

  33. Thanks for the analysis Derek. I’m really enjoying the frothing bile from the yoons – Alex has a fabulous knack of winding them up. Any anti-dote to the output from the vile BBC is to be welcomed. I don’t see any difference between a station owned by Russians as against one owned by Britnats or Yanks. Hopefully Alex will go on the become Chairman of Johnston Press, fire all the yoon editors and journos, and make a start to redress the MSM anti Scottish bias. OK, he made mistakes with Indyref1, particularly over the English Pound, and he is not everyone’s cup of tea, but without his vision, drive and determination these past 30 years the indy movement would be nowhere. In my book he is brilliant.

  34. Alex Salmond is the greatest advocate for Scotland in my short life. I’m 55. I look forward to watching him on RT and witnessing his transforming of the Hootsmon. Which I may then buy.

  35. Salmond ranks just behind Wendy’s Wood, Winnie Ewing and Margo Macdonald in my list o’ “bonny fechters”. Anything that annoys Massie , Torrance and the rest of the ignorati is fine by me.

  36. Thanks, Derek, for an excellent post.

    In common with thousands of others, I like haddock and have eaten it very regularly throughout my life, irrespective of which boat brought it ashore.

  37. I’m a nationalist. I recognise the stature of Alex Salmond in Scottish politics. This just makes what he has done all the worse.

    Russia is a mafia state, the enemy of democracy, the rule of law and of course of self-determination for stateless nations – of everything we would want for Scotland. RT is the tool of a state that has set out to destroy these good things.

    Any victory for the Scottish cause won with the help of the Russian government is tainted – what excuse could Scots give to the chechens? What would a Scottish democracy be worth if it relied on Russian assistance for its establishment? Russia is a direct threat to countries like Estonia, who we would want to be our allies once Scotland was independent – what would we say to them? Would they trust us?

    Any television programme run on RT is infected by the Russian state’s corruption. If you don’t believe me, consider suggesting some guests for Mr Salmond’s programme:

    – chechens to talk about the principle of self-determination
    – relations of Anna Politovskaya to talk about press freedom
    – Syrians who want to talk about their aspirations for democracy, freedom and the rule of law in Syria
    – Pussy Riot to talk about women’s rights, freedom of religion and freedom of speech
    – Mikhail Khordokovsky to talk about the risks of doing business in Russia
    – a Crimean Tatar to talk about minority rights
    – Alexei Navalny to talk about Russia’s next election
    – Marina Litvinenko on who murdered her husband

    If Mr Salmond invites any of these guests on to his programme, and is allowed to do so, I might consider revising my opinion.

    Otherwise, it is my view that Mr Salmond has so besmirched his own reputation such that he should always in future be regarded with suspicion. Not only that, he has also done great harm to the Scottish cause, and to the reputation of Scotland and the seriousness of its government institutions generally.

  38. I think we all know that Salmond has a large and needy ego, and Tasmina will work for anyone. Them putting on a program for an obscure Russian State 24-hour news channel because they offered them the most amount of money to appear before a small audience of dweebs isn’t particularly interesting, but RT, and Salmond have certainly succeeded in getting a lot of publicity (although most of it is bad). Meanwhile, everyone has forgotten Tasmina, and the fact she is on the executive that runs the SNP.

    • Aye who cares what a obviously rabid unionist thinks , back to the scotsman Laddie . they probably appreciate yer bile it’s common on that rags pages .But for how long ha ha alex has them in his sights .

    • Grandpaw Ponsonby

      Also forgotten: amongst the critics of RT is Nicola Sturgeon. And the idea that Salmond is simply pursuing a career after politics is disingenous. he is a millionaire thanks to the public purse and contributions to his pensions Shouldn’t the public expect him to ignore a channel funded by the Russian State.
      I don’t approve of any politicians legitimising Russia Today, and I have less faith than you in Mark Hirst, whose record when an SNP researcher is less than stellar and is now reduced to peddling work as a shill for Putin. Trust his judgement? No tanks
      And you can try to fiddle the concept of Salmond’s company making programmes for RT as a long spoon for the devil, but its now clear he’s using RT staff beind the camera. And maybe don’t hold your breath for Salmond offering some unRussian thoughts on the Ukraine, LBGT rights in Russia and the poisoning of Litvinenko.
      There’s more than a little Salmond about you, Derek. That’s disappointing

      • Putinesque bitterness here. Sadly missing the point of the article too.It doesn’t ‘approve of’ RT or Salmond’s decision, it attempts to show 1) what motivations there might be behind it and 2) the utter hypocrisy of the critics, most of whom would denigrate the man if got the Nobel Peace Prize. I actually write that I have no view on it (personally I would have advised against it) but it’s hard to stop some people’s stream of bile when it starts. Read it calmly and you’ll see it raises questions about other stations and nations. And what’s the answer to the point that this evil, Putin-promoting propaganda machine is licensed in the UK? Anyone who feels this way presumably will also boycott the world Cup in Russia which is Putin’s latest publicity coup. (By the way, I’d be proud to be a little like Salmond)

  39. Control the media and you control the people. You get to direct the narrative that will become absorbed into their minds as fact. That so many people will go on to become angry, maybe even violent in the defense of that narrative (yarn) without ever questioning it or the motives behind it is what depresses me.

    I noticed the J Bird slipped up last night and referred to Scotland as a nation, that and a surprising lack of SNP bad “newspeak” in their latest output makes me wonder if the anti bbc banners have made an impression.

  40. Great fun to see British nationalists getting their butcher’s apron knickers in a twist. The vast majority of the media in Scotland is British nationalist in outlook, especially the bbc. Alex Salmond’s RT programme will go some way in rectifying British nationalist propaganda. More power to him.

  41. Excellent article DB.

  42. Come on old fella ,Wakey Wakey yer public needs input ,we need you views on current events , believe it or not people actually value your opinion while some might occasionally disagree on your stance on the beeb scottish branch for instance , its interesting to get a different perspective of current events .

  43. These ‘excuses for Salmond’s judgement’ articles are weird. It sounds like even when Salmond is wrong, he is right. The director of RT said that RT is a weapon for the Russian government and doesn’t do objective reporting, that wasn’t someone in Ofcom, that was someone running RT. It’s obvious international purposes are to promote Russian military invasions (various), undermine the UK (indyref), undermine the EU (brexit), promote an isolationist USA (Trump), and undermine NATO (Trump). That’s who Tasmina OBE who is unelected, and is responsible for running the governing party in Scotland is producing programs for.

    Back to the ‘excuses for Salmond’s judgement’ articles – they are really weird, and like RT they are not objective. All I can say is we know what the purposes of RT are, they are very good at it, and a lot of bloggers copy their style (or vice versa – political blogs are rarely objective, and this one certainly isn’t).

    • Six days now Nelson and no support of your twisted view , Feeling Lonely ? .

      or were you just out for the day , care in the community possibly ?

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