26th September 2018
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No let-up in calls for Carmichael to quit

Pressure has remained on Alistair Carmichael to stand down following news he was embroiled in a controversial memo leak which claimed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wanted to see David Cameron returned to Downing Street.

A claimed 60-strong crowd gathered at the Market Cross in Lerwick on Saturday as pressure group We The People of Shetland garnered support for their calls for the embattled MP to seek re-election. Meanwhile, a campaign has seen more than £51,000 of the required £60,000 raised to mount a legal challenge, known as The People Versus Carmichael, against the election result.

Logan Nicolson.

Logan Nicolson: “Folk are feeling really unhappy”.

folk are feeling really unhappy

We The People spokesman, Logan Nicolson, said people from a mixture of political persuasions had attended Saturday’s silent protest.

“There were many Greens that turned out. There were ex-Lib Dems. There were people who weren’t aligned at all politically and – last week and this week – we had no voters who turned up.

“It wasn’t just a thing about the yes campaign, it’s a thing folk are feeling really unhappy with the way this is going.”
He added he was aware other people supported what they were doing, but felt unable to take a public stance on it because of the role they had in the community.

“It is divisive and folk do find politics a difficult thing to speak about in Shetland. I understand that. I think that’s the very reason that, if there is a by-election and Carmichael stands again, that can put this issue to bed without folk feeling they are not able to speak out.”

Last week a contrite Mr Carmichael apologised for his actions, but insisted the best way for him to make amends would be to serve in the job he was elected to do. He stood by his 14 year record as a constituency MP.

But Mr Nicolson said that was not a convincing excuse.

“He does have a very good constituency record for a long while. But that’s what we’d expect from our MP. That’s his job.

“Most folk have a good track record in their employment, but that doesn’t mean when they make grave errors of judgment, or lie about their conduct in their job, that they get away with it.

“Any of us, if we’d … lied about leaking information we’d lose our job.

“If he believes he has a really good track record as a constituency MP, let folk decide if they feel that that’s enough. I don’t think it’s up to the person who made the mistake to decide the level of apology, or whether they get a second chance. I don’t think it’s up to the person who made the mistake to decide how they are judged.”

Alistair Carmichael

Alistair Carmichael remains under pressure.

While last week’s news sparked calls for Mr Carmichael to stand down, criticism has equally been levelled at campaigners by supporters of the MP. Notably, his Holyrood counterpart, Tavish Scott, and local members of the Labour party who criticised the “excitable tub-thumping” carried out largely by SNP members.

Mr Nicolson said he believed debate here had been “more measured and respectful” than in Orkney.

“There were some folk who came with placards last week that we didn’t agree with, and we didn’t want them to march with, so they put that ones away.”

He said there was a need to strike a balance between encouraging people to run a positive campaign, while at the same time expressing their unhappiness.

His comments came as support for The People Versus Carmichael came close to the £60,000 target needed to challenge the election result in the courts.

So far more than 3,300 people have contributed to raise over £51,000 in a bid to hold Mr Carmichael accountable. They hope the Representation of People Act will help force a by-election.

Mr Nicolson said he had made it clear that was “not the way” he wanted to go about things, but he wished those raising the action good luck.

“It’s something I support in so far as it’s their right to take them to court about this issue. They are behaving totally openly and honestly and it’s their democratic right to do so. So in so far as they have got a right to do so I support it.”

He added: “I think if they succeed they will have broken new ground.”

Mr Nicolson added it was important Mr Carmichael, and Mr Scott, “set aside” their allegiances to the Liberal Democrats and think first and foremost about their constituents.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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25 comments

  1. Michael Garriock

    A polite request to those running this “We the people of Shetland” group. Kindly remove the “the” and replace it with a comma in your chosen name, to avoid being seen as misrepresenting whoever you do represent.

    You may well be “people of Shetland”, but you are not “the people of Shetland”, there is a massive difference between the two, and other “people of Shetland” object to being tarred with the same brush as you choose to tar yourselves with.

    Reply
    • James Soper

      and while you’re at it perhaps you’d consider changing the apolitcal sounding phrase in your open letter “we are a collection of individuals with different or no political affiliation” to the more accurate “the signatories of our open letter consist of one SNP delegate, one SNP member and three individuals who [a quick web search reveals] were enthusiastic “yes” voters”.

      I’m sure whilst trying to bring AC to task for lying you wouldn’t want to run the risk of misleading anyone?

      Reply
  2. Jimmur Phymp

    All these people objecting to Carmichael’s minor error are SNP voters and therefore their opinion doesn’t count.

    Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      Must try harder.

      Reply
    • Ian Greenhalgh

      There is the small matter of the diplomatic incident to explain away. I think that does count. You will find that the majority of people are now supporting the SNP. It is the majority that objecting.

      I personally joined the SNP because of the lies of the unionist parties and have remained as the policies of the SNP are developing along the lines I would expect of a party with the benefit of the country as a whole at its centre.

      Reply
      • iantinkler

        Ian, not only the Unionist parties lied., Alex Salmond lied, according to Sir David Bell, after a formal investigation, stated Salmond as First Minister, “stretched credulity” in his behavior, Bell’s words are on the public record. Alex Salmond, is no “Robert the Bruce”, rather more a deceitful “Séamus an Chaca” and now he speaks for Sturgeon, with her blessing and at her request in Westminster. That simple says it all, does it not? Sturgeons foreign affairs mouthpiece at Westminster, not honest.!!! Why did Nicola appoint someone of poor integrity, what does that say of Sturgeon?

      • Robert Duncan

        Ian Tinkler, it is a complete mistruth to say that Sir David Bell said that Alex Salmond lied.

        http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/jan/10/alex-salmond-eu-legal-advice

        Yes, “stretched credulity”, yes, could have answered more clearly, but Bell’s inquiry is very clear in stating that Salmond had not set out to deliberately mislead.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Ian

        What is the point of spending time correcting your wild assertions when you obviously don’t read a word?
        It’s getting to the point that no matter what you spout it has to be checked, only to find that most of it is utter nonsense, you’re doing your credibility and argument No good whatsoever?

        Did you ever hear about the “boy the cried wolf”?

  3. Gordon Harmer

    OK Logan, how many people are feeling really unhappy? How many folk signed your petition at the weekend? How many Greens, how many ex Lib Dems, how many non political or No voters?

    You say you would not wish to go about things the way that the money raisers have, but you wish them good luck anyway. What does that mean? To me it means I don’t agree with bullying and witch hunts but as I am not taking part its OK and as you are not doing it in my name good luck.

    You then say “Any of us, if we’d … lied about leaking information we’d lose our job”. I would not like you for an employer as the leaked information was not top secret, was not competitor sensitive it was erroneous (according to the French) information about someone who was not even a work colleague. Making your statement even more erroneous than Mr Carmichael’s.

    Reading this article you have struggled all the way through to justify your action or show that your support represents anything like a reasonable percentage of the Orkney and Shetland electorate.

    To me you are a bit like John Prescott who was renowned for not making speeches but to be heard he did joined up shouting.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Good point on employers, Gordon. The last company I worked for explicity protected whistleblowers in their rules for employees.

      Reply
  4. iantinkler

    Funny, I only saw 34 people there and that is the number Yes Shetland are claiming on Facebook. Perhaps someone is counting spectators as well as token children. Role on Court case, just love to see the full text of the memo. I wonder if the SNP will back peddle away from this, they are already trying to distance themselves, I just wonder why?

    Reply
    • Chris Brown

      Since we know the memo was not an accurate reflection of the meeting – not according to the people who were present – the full text is n’t really going to be much use as evidence is it? In any case, the leak was made to discredit a party during an election period. AC is a decent bloke – or at least he seems so to me – all the same he has made a very serious mistake and should resign his seat. That does not preclude him from standing again and he might be-re-elected on the strength of his performance over the last 14 years.

      Reply
      • Robert Duncan

        We have seen the full text of the memo anyway. I assume Ian Tinkler is in fact hoping for a transcript of the actual conversation, but such a thing does not exist.

      • Steven Jarmson

        The leak didn’t and wasnt aimed at discrediting a party, it was a person.
        Unless you think Sturgeon IS THE SNP.
        That sounds quite Hitlerish or Thatcherite to me.
        Hmmm…..

  5. iantinkler

    Chris Brown, Sturgeon states that the memo is “Categorically, 100% untrue”. Surely we need to know if that is a true statement. Or perhaps you would hold Nicola to a different standard of honesty than Carmichael. Your statement ” the full text is n’t really going to be much use as evidence is it?” could not be more wrong. Maybe Carmichael is not the only one being economic with the truth. That text would be most interesting and is highly relevant, maybe Sturgeon should be the one resigning, lets just see that text before making kangaroo judgements.

    Reply
  6. David Spence

    What political party would you say is the most likely to lie or deceive the electorate than any other party?

    On the basis of Capitalism, selfishness, in it for yourself, exploit the system for your own good, support other people of the same mentality as yourself (selfishness, greed and profits) lie or deceive the electorate of your real political agenda, do actions which reflect the opposite of what you have told the electorate (privatization) and remain quite on your behind closed door’s arrangements regarding the complete breakdown of the state based system.

    In short, if you base your actions on the necessity of yourself and this of personal wealth, greed and money, then the vile Tories would win 1st prize to the above mentioned question.

    They truly are a political party which puts itself first more than any other.

    Reply
  7. Michael Grant

    To all the experts who comment on every subject on this pages,all they are asking for is a by-election, then we will know how many want a lying MP to be there voice for the next 5 years or not.If he wins fair play,he had a majority so whats he scared from,I know the same as most of the you above,that he won’t get back in.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Michael Grant,

      There will be a by-election if the court hearing initiated by the SNP supporters determines that Mr Carmichael should resign. Surely that is the correct body to decide?

      Now that the legal action has started, the defendant is unable to defend himself from attacks such as the one you have just made.

      SNP supporters have initiated the legal action and appear not to be confident of the outcome, otherwise, why continue campaigning for Mr Carmichaelmto resign?

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        “SNP supporters have initiated the legal action and appear not to be confident of the outcome, otherwise, why continue campaigning for Mr Carmichael to resign?”

        If Ali C does the honourable thing and resign, then it will save time, money and effort for those having to go through the legal process to oust him?

        IF [as it would appear] that the dishonourable not-so-gentleman, refuses to give his electorate the opportunity to re-elect him, then Mr Carmichael will have succeeded in costing Shetlands food bank the possibility of receiving £54,000 +…Thus it would be far better for all, if he jumped rather than having to be pushed?

        The confidence of the outcome is [imo] fairly irrelevant, in comparison to highlighting what is an utterly self interested, self serving individual that those which have defended his position are forcing others to pay for the next five years.

      • John Tulloch

        Robin,

        You’re the ones who brought the legal action on to Mr Carmichael. If you had decided not to use the money for that purpose but to donate it, instead, to food banks then that would have had the same effect.

        You’re not confident in the outcome, are you? That’s why you’re scraping the barrel with this pathetic moral blackmail – my God, what’s coming next?

        Perhaps, you should have read Prof Chalmers analysis more carefully before plunging in, head first?

  8. Connor MacLeod

    I think the people of Shetland and Orkney should continue with the leader they voted for, You don’t deserve a second chance, you voted for Carmichael he won, made a fool of himself, but at the end of the day he’s your fool and your welcome to him, look up Gumph…! In the urban dictionary, that’s what Carmichael has done to you all and you get’s what you votes for. p.s RIP Charles Kennedy

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Connor MacLeod,

      Here’s a few examples of what Alistair Carmichael never voted for:

      1. Under-funding of Shetland’s education by £10 million a year.
      2. Stopping the SIC’s £2.3 million a year housing support grant.
      3. Excluding Shetland and Orkney from the Road Equivalent Tariff scheme for ferry transport both within and to/from the isles.

      The SNP is responsible for all of these which affect Shetlanders’ daily lives and which are extremely damaging.

      Reply
  9. Michael Bilton

    Allow a frequent visitor with a very great fondness Shetland to try and place this matter in some perspective. The Cabinet Office leak inquiry report suggests the memo was an accurate account of what the civil servant was told by the French Consul General. That it was leaked to the Press made absolutely no difference to the outcome of the election in Scotland. Mrs Sturgeon denied she wanted a Conservative victory – and clearly, the people of Scotland overwhelmingly believed her. Had the SNP made a poor showing against expectations, one might have sympathy for their current cause in trying to unseat Mr. Carmichael. But no. The SNP had a landslide. They cleaned-up in Scotland but now, incredibly, they want to spend £50,000 trying to grab Shetland’s seat in Westminster. Why so? Is this part of a relentless SNP campaign to brook NO opposition? A majority of voters in Shetland clearly voted NO in the Referendum. Surely to goodness there need to be some MPs from Scotland in Westminster from parties other than the SNP – to challenge the statements of Alex Salmond and Co? Overturning an election is a serious business and judges are usually very reluctant to do it. Frankly, the folk funding this legal campaign are probably chucking their money away. Wouldn’t they be better doing something more positive for Shetland with the money?

    Reply
    • Brian Smith

      M. Bilton sums it up very well. The campaigners against Carmichael think that they can elect a new MP without politics. They think that judges can do it for them. It is not very surprising that this is happening in a community where politics is dead.

      Reply
  10. john irvine

    Better the devil you know I say, lying is what politics is about and Carmichael was only doing his part to try and save his job as any other would have done.

    What we are seeing in Scotland as akin to what happened in Germany in the 1930`s with the rise of a dark force.

    Reply

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