20th September 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Sheepish climbdown (Allan Sutherland)

I have just read about the demonstrations by the SNP against your MP, Alistair Carmichael.

It should be the 9,407 people who voted for Mr Carmichael three weeks ago, assisted by the other 7,731 people who did not vote SNP (only 8,590 did vote SNP), who should be protesting against Mr Carmichael’s wimpy performance last week and the SNP’s hypocritical intimidation and distortion of democracy.

Sir Jeremy Heywood’s report on the enquiry into the “French Consulate” leak said: “Senior officials who have worked with him say that he (the civil servant who wrote the memo) is reliable and has no history of inaccurate reporting, impropriety or security lapses.

“The Cabinet Secretary has concluded that there is no reason to doubt that he recorded accurately what he thought he had heard. There is no evidence of any political motivation or ‘dirty tricks’.”

So Nicola Sturgeon did say she would prefer a Tory government, confirming rumours that had been circulating for several months.

Mr Carmichael’s “crime” was to leak this very important fact which was contrary to her public comments. The SNP hoped for a weak Tory-led coalition that would enable them to disrupt and force through independence.

It spectacularly backfired, convincing English people to vote Tory to avoid a weak, SNP infested, Labour coalition.

So now we have a bunch of powerless SNP lobby fodder zealots fighting over seats, taking selfies and no doubt outraged (sorry, squealing with delight) when their Scottish pounds are held up to the light in the pubs to check for authenticity. And for the first time in history, Scotland has no real, responsible, voice in parliament.

Nicola Sturgeon should be the one apologising for misleading the public, just as she did when claiming the SNP had assurances that an independent Scotland would easily gain EU entry, or that there was a huge oil bonanza just around the corner.

Any punishment for Mr Carmichael should be related for his sheepish climbdown without making the point that the information he leaked was true.

Allan Sutherland
1 Willow Row,
Stonehaven.

36 comments

  1. George Pottinger

    You base your comment on ” what he thought he had heard.” I would have ‘thought’ that he should have been sure of ” what he thought he had heard” before releasing a memo to the press. He did provide a caveat that ” what he thought he had heard” could have been “lost in translation” but you neglected to provide that part of his statement in your comment. I wonder why?

    Reply
  2. Gordon Harmer

    George, you just based your comment on another thread to me on “what he thought he heard” how come you can do that and Allan cannot?
    Oh I forgot you have claimed the moral high ground so you are allowed to do this. While you are up there why don’t you answer Allan’s query on Sturgeons attempt at misleading the public, or will you bypass that one like the rest of the nationalist commentators.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Gordon, I thought I heard someone say your comments were bordering on paranoid schizophrenia, does this make me wrong? or the person supposedly] telling me this? Or you wrong for denying it entirely?

      I suppose, regardless of whether you deny it or not, there will still be some who’ll say “There’s no smoke without fire”, much in the way you’re doing yourself.

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        Bordering on paranoid Robin, get it right and you should know, you were there when it was said! Maybe if you came clean the paranoia would go 😉

        You are right about no smoke without fire on two counts the first being, did sturgeon say what is claimed, second, and this is a fire you alone can extinguish, just who are you?

    • George Pottinger

      Gordon – Like you, Allan neglected to mention that the author of the memo did provide a caveat that ” what he thought he had heard” could have been “lost in translation”. That, combined with the admission by Alistair Carmichael, in his apologies to Nicola Sturgeon and the French Ambassador, that it was an error of judgement and he accepted “the details of the account are not correct”, should have been enough for Allan to conclude that his contention that it was true “was not correct”. This being the case, the remainder of his contribution is pure conjecture and deflection, as is your attempt to spin out by deflection.

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        Not at all George nothing was proven either way in the inquiry therefore no one can take the moral high ground. It is still very possible Sturgeon said what was claimed there is irrefutable proof to say she did or didn’t. One thing that is for sure she is and was capable of such a comment. Whatever Carmichael has said he has said to show his remorse it does not qualify you to make the claims you make, the actual incident is still unknown so, again I will say climb down from the moral high ground you have no right to be there.

  3. Robert Duncan

    “The Cabinet Secretary has concluded that there is no reason to doubt that he recorded accurately what he thought he had heard…”

    “So Nicola Sturgeon did say she would prefer a Tory government”

    These do not necessarily follow. “Recorded accurately what he thought he had heard” is not the same as “recorded accurately what was said”, and with the accounts of both parties of the conversation contradicting the Scotland Office so definitively, there is little evidence that Ms Sturgeon did say it.

    Reply
  4. Thomas Robinson

    I would have thought that now that Willie Rennie has called for Alistair Carmichael to be given a “second chance”, Alistair Carmichael should submit himself for judgement by the electorate of Orkney and Shetland in a by-election.

    Their views on this issue should be decisive, and only a by-election will truly identify what those views are.

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      Tell me why Thomas, we are all wise and we all make mistakes, we are all honest and we all tell lies. Yet for these failings none of us are brought to account so why pick on this man for being human?

      Reply
      • Thomas Robinson

        I have no idea what you mean by suggesting that “none of us are brought to account”.

        That just seems meaningless or false to me.

        Why does my suggestion that the people of Orkney and Shetland should decide on Alistair Carmichael’s future not meet with your approval?

      • Gordon Harmer

        Mr Carmichael lied and was found out and he expressed regret and apologized, what gives us the right to decide his future when we ourselves have all made mistakes and lied at some time. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. We have the right to elect him to his present position but we have no right constitutionally or morally to remove him or let him stay, that is up to him and his conscience.
        So once again I ask you tell me why, why do we have the right to decide his future as you suggested?

    • Helen Ilitha

      So you want Carmichael to submit to a by-election because he leaked a real memo, the contents of which were at odds with the public utterances of Sturgeon. The whole memo, including the caveat George is so worried about, was in the public domain and was subjected to an enquiry and the results were published.

      Yet, the myriad of distortions and blatant falsehoods the SNP have promoted are what exactly? Fair politics? Lying that there was a Legal Opinion stating Scotland would be a member state of the EU post-Independence. No consequences. Claiming falsely that there were no car parking charges at Scottish Hospitals. No consequences. There were secret talks going on between the Scottish Government and the Bank of England over a currency union? Bogus, yet no consequences. Labour voted for £30billion worth of austerity cuts, proven to be a lie on live television! Yet, still no consequences. Must I continue?

      So sorry, I have no interest in the latest pumped up, full chested, alpha male led outrage over someone playing the SNP at their own game.

      I also believe that Sturgeon wanted a Tory Government by the excited way she welcomed Cameron to her Edinburgh offices! I saw real glee! I know I was not alone. Sell out of the worst order!

      Reply
  5. Chris Darroch

    Here is an excerpt from Carmichael’s signed admission of guilt, sent to Nicola Sturgeon

    I accept that the publication was a serious breach of protocol and that the details of the account are not correct.

    Everyone who witnessed the conversation said that these falsely reported comments were not uttered.

    So you have Carmichael stating that the memo was false in content and those in the actual conversation that the memo is purported to address, saying the same.

    What more could anyone need?

    Perhaps some still prefer the versions of the “truth” even now still being punted by the main stream media.

    Reply
  6. Gordon Harmer

    Looking at photos on social media of the mob outside the constituency office on Saturday I notice among the crowd a church minister and his trainee along with some regular church going people. I would like to remind the minister, his trainee and the church goers of a part of the Lords Prayer which they recite every Sunday. “And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us”. Those who are baying for Carmichael’s blood should read this line too and remember the long list of good thinks Carmichael has done for Shetland before they over inflate one little mistake.

    Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      A false argument based on the premise that to consider somebody unsuited to a public position is to hold a grudge against them as a human being.

      One can simultaneously forgive Carmichael for his wrongs and still believe he is no longer suited to the represent the people of Shetland.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Fair point, Robert, as it stands. However, it seems to me that isn’t how it is with Mr Carmichael. There seems to be a a lot of personal animosity there with a goodly dollop of “Holy Willie-ism” thrown in – one rule for the Liberal, another for the SNP,mdon’t you agree?

        “Lord, in Thy day o’ vengeance try him,
        Lord, visit them wha did employ him,
        And pass not in Thy mercy by them,
        Nor hear their pray’r,
        But for Thy people’s sake destroy them,
        An’ dinna spare.

        But, Lord, remember me an’ mine
        Wi’ mercies temporal and divine,
        That I for grace an’ gear may shine,
        Excell’d by nane,
        And a’ the glory shall be Thine,
        Amen, Amen!”

        http://www.robertburns.org.uk/Assets/Poems_Songs/holy_willie.htm

      • Gordon Harmer

        That is having your cake and eating it, to forgive is to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve. To give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).

    • George Pottinger

      My God, Gordon. Talk about being holier than thou – you have the gall to chastise a minister of the kirk. and then support Carmichael, a self -confessed liar? You accuse ME of standing on the moral high ground? The mind boggles!

      Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Absolutely, Gordon, there’s a strong element of “holywillie-ism” about this campaign of vengeance against Carmichael. The SNP like Burns, here’s his take on it:

      “Lord, in Thy day o’ vengeance try him, 

      Lord, visit them wha did employ him, 

      And pass not in Thy mercy by them, 

      Nor hear their pray’r, 

      But for Thy people’s sake destroy them, 

      An’ dinna spare.

      But, Lord, remember me an’ mine 

      Wi’ mercies temporal and divine, 

      That I for grace an’ gear may shine, 

      Excell’d by nane,
      And a’ the glory shall be Thine,
      Amen, Amen!”

      http://www.robertburns.org.uk/Assets/Poems_Songs/holy_willie.htm

      Reply
  7. Scott Borthwick

    Mr.Carmichael’s crime was not that he allowed the memo to be leaked, but that he lied about it. He has proven himself to be untrustworthy and unfit to be an MP.

    Mr.Carmichael has now publicly admitted his lie and has confirmed that the content of the memo was also factually inaccurate. He is left with no credibility.

    Reply
    • Allan Sutherland

      My new pal Gordon! What I don’t understand is why Alistair Carmichael is actually disagreeing with the report. As ever with the SNP it is one rule for them and another for the rest if us. We still haven’t had an answer on how Alex Salmond was allowed to lie about having had talks with the EU when he hadn’t.

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        Allan, Carmichael’s biggest mistake was to state the memo was not correct because, the leaked civil service memo which alleged the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wanted David Cameron to win the general election was an “accurate” record of a conversation with a French official, an investigation has concluded.

        The former Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael admitted he had agreed to leak the memo to a newspaper during the election campaign after his involvement was exposed by a Cabinet Office inquiry. But, significantly, the inquiry concluded that the memo itself was genuine and “an accurate record of the conversation that took place between him (the civil servant) and the French Consul General”.
        The note claimed that Ms Sturgeon told French ambassador Sylvie Bermann that she would prefer to see the Conservatives remain in power and that Ed Miliband was not “prime minister material”.

        It does not make sense that Alistair disagreed with this unless he thought that by apologizing for the leak and letting Sturgeon off the hook she was dangling on, he would gain favour with the nats. Not a good move as a politician and an ex lawyer, he should have known better. Salmond and Swinney lied but it does not seem to bother those who are baying like hounds after Carmichael, like you say one rule for them and another for the rest of us.

    • Richard Drew

      Isn’t it odd how animated the SNP have become over this, yet were profoundly deaf when questions were raised over Alex Salmond’s claims about getting legal advice. The same advice which he later admitted never existed, but for which public money was spent.

      If telling lies is a barrier to being a credible MP, there are quite a few in the SNP who seriously need to consider their own positions.

      Reply
    • James Devine

      Scott, Alex Salmond said he had legal advice that an independent Scotland would encounter no issues with EU membership. No such advice existed. He has acknowledged he lied. Ergo he has revealed himself to be untrustworthy, has no credibility and is not fit to be an pm or msp.

      Reply
      • James Devine

        *mp

  8. steve harper

    Its like the Salem Witch Hunt. Anyone who dates criticise SNP must be hounded until they resign

    Reply
    • Helen Ilitha

      And the other non-SNP MPs must know that this circus is coming to their constituency offices before long.

      Reply
  9. Sean McNeil

    It is clear that the frustrations of those within private political arenas have allowed their frustrations to get the better of them.

    Many people who have become engaged into politics, due to the SNP’s divisive nature can see straight through the agenda of the SNP. Their party lines are built on grievance and desire to create divisions, which they have achieved on unprecedented scale.

    I don’t see the same people asking for Mr Salmond to disclose where the £54k of our money went at the US Golf tournament! What about the thousands of jobs promised on the back of the deal with Trump! Maybe the EU legal advise that never took place! How they arrived at $113 a barrel for their one page on finance within the white paper!

    Maybe some of the supporters of the SNP can advise why they are happy to have failing public services, which is at a time when the rUK is out performing Scotland. We have higher unemployment, worse education standards, a failing police force, a fire service without enough funds, NHS targets being missed after they were reduced by the SNP!

    The list is as long as your arm, yet nationalism has clearly clouded peoples judgement to treat matters equally!

    I have far greater issue with a politician misleading the UK electorate, whilst representing a political party within debates to gain seats within a Government of a country they wish to divide! That is a far greater crime.

    Reply
  10. Nick Smith

    Well done Mr Carmichael for highlighting the big fat lie (one of many) that Nicola Sturgeon has told the Scottish (and British) people. She told us all she hated the Tories and would do anything to get rid of them, while hoping they would win the election.
    She has let the Scottish people down very very badly and what Mr Carmichael has done is very much in the public interest and should be praised for his actions. He has shown that Scotland is being run by an overpaid (equality and fairness my back-side!) hypocrite and liar.
    Well done Mr Carmichael and more the fool you people who supported Sturgeon.

    Reply
    • Thomas Robinson

      Complete nonsense. Even Alistair Carmichael has accepted (in the letter to Ms Sturgeon “the details of that account are not correct”) that the contents of the memo, however honestly created, were in fact untrue.

      So on one side we have Nicola Sturgeon, the French Ambassador and Alistair Carmichael. On the other side we have Nick Smith.

      Perhaps it isn’t too difficult to work out who is correct.

      Reply
  11. Susan Middler

    Most interesting is the bit in Sir Jeremy Heywood’s report which says “Senior officials who have worked with him say that he (the civil servant who wrote the memo) is reliable and has no history of inaccurate reporting, impropriety or security lapses.”

    “The Cabinet Secretary has concluded that there is no reason to doubt that he recorded accurately what he thought he had heard. There is no evidence of any political motivation or ‘dirty tricks’.”

    Reply
    • George Pottinger

      Susan Middler – You seem to have omitted this section from your quoted report.

      “The Cabinet Office report said the civil servant who wrote the memo believed it to have been an accurate record of the conversation that took place between him and the French Consul-General, but pointed out that he had already highlighted that it could have been “lost in translation”.”

      In other words he could have been wrong.

      Interesting, eh?

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        George,

        George,

        Put yourself in the position of the luckless civil servant whose humdrum daily job has exploded in his face and whose reputation and future career are now both at stake.

        The guy has, at least, had the wit to “smell a rat” from the start.

        Caught in the cross-fire between factions of politicians and media, would you not hedge your bets, too? I would.

        Funny how it’s all turned out so well for the SNP, though, these ‘dirty tricks’ usually benefit the ones who hatched them? Lucky, that, isn’t it?

  12. iantinkler

    Now what has Nicola Sturgeon just done? Alex Salmond MP, a man whom has a track record for dishonesty regarding Europe, has been appointed as the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman in Westminster. You could not make that up!!

    Reply
  13. Moira Ferguson

    I think the SNP are looking at all of this with the idea they can win back the seat. They should stop hounding this man and look to their own numerous lies which they conveniently airbrush. The official statement that the information was accurate, should put a stop to the matter. Mr. Carmichael shoiuld be allowed to get on with the work he was elected for and the SNP vultures should be silenced.

    Reply
    • Helen Ilitha

      As with the Referendum result, the only electoral result the SNP will honour is one which favours themselves.

      Reply

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