The Trial of Alex Salmond by Kirsty Wark and the BBC

The impression that I am left with is that this was a programme which had been made in the full expectation of a Guilty verdict in the Alex Salmond trial in March of this year. It had obviously been edited after the verdict was announced but the anticipation of a guilty verdict permeated the whole programme.

Ms Wark, at various times during the programme commented on the demeanour and facial expression of Alex Salmond. If it is acceptable for Ms Wark to make such comments then it is presumably acceptable for me to do the same. Ms Wark’s demeanour and facial expression was sympathetic and encouraging when enquiring after material which she anticipated as being to the discredit of Mr Salmond e.g. when interviewing the anonymous accusers, whereas when considering contrary evidence which threw doubt on the accuracy of their statements neither her facial expression or demeanour showed anything except possibly some slight scepticism. Moreover, the scene with Ms Wark, Ms Smith and Ms Garavelli in a cafe showed a united front of eagerness which was disturbing in its hostility to Mr Salmond. Ms Wark has stated her opinion of how Mr Salmond looked during the trial; I have stated my opinion of how Ms Wark presented herself during this programme.

The snippet of Ms Wark talking to James Cook showed Ms Wark eagerly asking for details of something which had been told to James Cook by someone who had overheard shouting in a toilet. She looked disappointed when no further details were forthcoming. The implication was that someone from Mr Salmond’s team, or possibly Mr Salmond himself, was shouting. It was a cheap piece of innuendo which would be more at home on the pages of the gutter press rather than in a programme made for the national broadcaster. The linking of Mr Salmond’s name to that of Bill Clinton is in the same category. It was cheap and nasty television.

The linking of Mr Salmond’s name to H. Weinstein was unjustified. He was a convicted sexual predator; Mr Salmond was found Not Guilty in a Scottish Court of Law of 12 of the original charges, Not Proven on one, and the remaining charge was dropped by the prosecution before it went to the Jury.

The histrionics of the actors who spoke the words of the anonymous accusers was a transparent piece of theatre. Actors voices shaking with emotion did not carry any more conviction than if their words had simply been read out and the audience left to judge their sincerity. The fact that their version of events and non-events had been rejected by the Jury was not given the weight it should have been.

The attempt to depict a split in the SNP was pathetic. Ms Wark spoke to a few ‘leaders’ of the Independence movement. The worst that any of them had to say about Mr Salmond was ‘deplorable behaviour’. Why were no grass roots supporters spoken to?

There is much more that I could highlight about this unfortunate programme. It was shabby and one sided. It virtually ignored that fact that Alex Salmond was found innocent by a Scottish Court of Law in favour of pushing the agenda of a group of people who lodged complaints but who were proved to be unreliable by evidence given to and accepted by the court. Their anonymity has been guaranteed by law and they are sheltering behind that anonymity to continue to snipe at a man pronounced Not Guilty of their charges. This man has had to withstand the publicity circulated by the gutter press and now by the BBC.

Mr Salmond did not contribute to this programme. Why should Mr Salmond submit himself to trial by television? He has been pronounced Not Guilty by a Scottish Court. The arrogance of Ms Wark in expecting him to take part in this programme is astounding. This programme was a disgrace from start to finish.

By Sandra (Yes Pollok member)

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Mary

    Excellent piece Sandra. I agree with every word. I would add that the women in the Weinstein case had the courage to show themselves and not to cower behind the sheild of anonymity.

Leave a Reply