Scotland didn’t fly flags at half mast for dead Saudi king
The Scottish government did not fly flags at half mast as a tribute to the late Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz – despite the practice in England.
The 90-year-old monarch died after suffering from a lung infection, and is succeeded by his half-brother Salman.
Despite floods of tributes from British figures, including claims that the King modernised or “reformed” Saudi Arabia, LGBT people and women still face barbaric treatment in Saudi Arabia.
Flags were flown at half mast across England and Wales yesterday, after UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) circulated a memo that read: “In line with long-standing arrangements… It is requested that all flags be half-masted from 8am today until 8pm this evening.”
However, the DCMS noted that “devolved administrations are responsible for issuing instructions for the flying of the Union Flag on buildings in their estate and others as necessary” – but the Scottish government gave no such instructions.
A Scottish government spokesman said: “We offer the people of Saudi Arabia our condolences following the passing of King Abdullah.
“Flags are not routinely flown at half-mast from Scottish government buildings to mark the deaths of foreign heads of government or state.”
The snub comes after the leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson condemned the practise, writing: “Flying flags at half mast on gov buildings for the death of Saudi king is a steaming pile of nonsense. That is all.”
Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy told the BBC: “I know there are all sorts of issues of protocol here. But when the sorts of things that happen in Saudi Arabia – a thousand lashes, the recent beheading of a woman.
“I think, all across Scotland – all across the UK – there will be a sense of bewilderment about it.”