IN Britain now, it seems simply being quietly supportive of the royal family no longer butters the parsnips. You have to be a fanatical monarchist with all the bunting and cheap trinkets that go with it to cut the mustard.

The Queen was regarded by her admirers as a unifying force in the UK, a figure who was respected even by those who would dismantle the monarchy. Perversely, though, much of the regal fetishism we’ve endured over the last two weeks or so has been divisive.

There’s also been an undercurrent of malevolence with much of this. Several groups representing the British establishment and those who want to seek favour with it have orchestrated it and wrung every ounce of leverage from it. And though it was done in the Queen’s name, I doubt she would have been comfortable with much of it.

The BBC – north and south of the Border – has been the worst perpetrator in this pathetic little circus. I spent the last two days in London speaking to normal people about the significance of the Queen’s death. It soon became evident that many Londoners were embarrassed by the BBC’s lickspittle and asinine coverage of the funeral. And that this embarrassment had begun to turn to resentfulness.

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They were keen to explain that the Queen had been part of their lives through good times and bad for several generations of their families’ shared experiences. They might not now have any truck with the institution of monarchy, but the Queen meant something to them and their families and so a measure of quiet respect and reflection was in order.

What the BBC produced was a wretched spectacle of maudlin, sentimental infantilism, much of it fake and contrived. Kirsty Young’s concluding monologue on Monday night was truly awful, taking us to new depths of forelock-tugging drivel.

Little of the BBC’s output could be considered journalism. And look, I know you can’t always be in a position to speak truth to power. Most of us who do this for a living will be required to make some tawdry deals with the devil along the way in the interests of getting there in the end. But this was bedding down with power and raising a family with it.

Last week, the coverage took a buffoonish turn when, during the Queen’s coffin’s journey from Balmoral to Edinburgh, a senior BBC commentator and a historian openly mocked Scotland’s Catholic community on live television. I don’t think this stemmed from anti-Catholic prejudice. It was plain ignorance and an alarming lack of professionalism.

Later that week, I was emailed by a BBC editorial manager who informed me I was being dropped from an upcoming appearance on one of their political discussion shows because she’d taken umbrage at my previous criticism of the BBC. “You’re very much entitled to your point of view,” she said, “But I don’t think it’s fair to expect our team to overlook those opinions.”

After I’d got sought some counselling for this cruel and heartless intervention I hadn’t the heart to inform her that she works for a public-sector organisation and that we pay her wages. And that if her daft attempt at seeking favour within Pacific Quay was to be extended to other public-sector organisations then journalists would be getting barred from accessing the NHS and their children excluded from a state education.

So, if you’re a journalist and want to be invited on to their Scottish political programmes make sure you’re a good little royalist and that you can tip your hat slavishly to the BBC. They’re sensitive souls at Pacific Quay and hurt easily.

At several points in their coverage, I was convinced that Paul Burrell, the oleaginous and grasping former butler of Princess Diana, had assumed commentating duties. The BBC had become fawning and obsequious flunkeys of the House of Windsor.

This house is now headed by a King who has completed the not insubstantial feat of reaching his 73rd birthday without ever having said or done anything of significance about anything meaningful.

His brother paid millions of pounds to body-swerve a child sex trafficking investigation and his two sons are reduced to feuding over royal titles and who gets to wear the most medals and the brightest uniforms on state occasions.

The Queen’s quiet charisma and acute intelligence protected this dysfunctional family of losers. Now that she is gone, they can no longer be protected from themselves.

Much of what occurred last week was characterised by witch-hunts and firing squads to hunt down and then mete out due punishment for not abasing themselves sufficiently.

Celtic supporters and fans of several other Scottish clubs with Irish links have been getting the North Korean treatment simply for deploying a profanity in expressing their opposition to the monarchy. How much of this is genuine outrage at the sight of a four-letter word and how much of it is about anti-Irishism is open to question.

In London, some of those I spoke with also expressed derision at the queue to see the Queen’s coffin (it could be seen from outer space, you know). One witty chap from Southwark told me something good might come out of it, though. “They could make an attempt at the world record for the Mexican Wave,” he said.

By the end of the week, I’d fully expected “The Queue” to have taken on a supernatural aspect to accompany all those other signs and wonders which had appeared in the heavens above Britain. Was that a ghostly glow coming off it as it snaked towards Westminster?

There must have been a wee vendor somewhere along the way selling loaves and fishes and wondering why his supplies were being replenished every time his back was turned.

It’s easy to laugh aloud at aspects of the week they buried the Queen. But some of these people knew what they were doing. They chose to insult the memory of a decent woman by using her death as a means of chivvying those who aren’t “one of us”, the non-conformists and those who refuse to bend the knee.

And so out of touch were they, and lacking in any self-awareness, that they failed to see the consequences of their contrived, narcissistic antics. By exploiting the Queen’s funeral and demanding freakish displays of loyalty, they’ve made this country a more divided place than it was when the Queen was alive.

And then they took to Twitter to target the dissenters or to congratulate people for reading autocue scripts or for successfully walking in a straight line.