27th September 2016
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Unpleasant attack (Catherine Moorehead)

, by , in Readers' Views

I was a recent, first-time visitor to the Lerwick Up-Helly-A’. I thought it a most impressive, enjoyable, well-organised and exemplary, community-minded occasion.

One aspect, however, jarred, and that was the unpleasant personal attack on MP Alistair Carmichael in the Guizer Jarl’s Proclamation.

This personal attack seemed to me quite out of keeping with the otherwise happy tone of the occasion. It used strong language where none was required and in saying Mr Carmichael was “not welcome” contradicted the rules of Highland hospitality (I was brought up in Nairn) in an abrasive, distasteful way. (I should add here that I am not a Lib Dem voter or supporter.)

Mr Carmichael misbehaved, and I condemn that, but he has apologised and shown contrition as well as penalising himself financially; that should have been the end of the matter and an opportunity for forgiveness.

We have endured quite enough divisiveness in recent years in Scotland for it not to spread to this otherwise festive event.

I would like to ask the organising committee for next year’s Up-Helly-A’ to ensure that such kinds of personal attack and the distasteful sentiments expressed are avoided in future.

This piece left a bad taste in an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable visit. I should not like to recommend to my friends that they should be wary of visiting Shetland when it has otherwise so much to offer.

Catherine Moorehead

63 Addison Road, Guildford, Surrey.

44 comments

  1. Frances Taylor

    In reply to your letter, Mr Carmichael has shown little, if any, contrition for his “misbehaviour” or “blatantly lying” and “illegal practice” as the Court put it. He is also now after making the petitioners (The Orkney Four) cover his £150,000 + legal fees. Hardly an end to the matter and, dare I say it, any opportunity for forgiveness by those he represents in the Northern Isles.

    As for the Guizer Jarl’s Proclamation in this year’s Up-Helly-Aa, it is a long-held tradition that nothing is politically incorrect, insensitive or considered out of bounds.

    • Catherine Moorehead

      I saw him make a proper and contrite apology. He also fined himself a hefty part of his pension to atone. These seem to me the actions of a decent man who knows he has done wrong and is facing up to it. Yet you cannot face up to that and are unable to forgive him. No decent Scot would take such a harsh and unwelcoming attitude. I hope that you can learn forgiveness, without which no society can continue to function, and thereby learn to behave in a way which would encourage people to come to Shetland instead of the contrary.

  2. Richard Gibson

    I would suggest you lighten up. In my opinion Carmichael got off easy. He was caught out lying and should be publicly shamed forevermore – Daily. “I should not like to recommend to my friends that they should be wary of visiting Shetland when it has otherwise so much to offer.” ! What!? Over someones personal opinion you would advise friends not to travel or be “wary”. LMFAO.
    Get a grip.

    • Alvin Leong

      Richard, do not underestimate the power of personal opinions passed onto friends, family and acquaintances. Through the power of personal connections, I had torpedoed at least 2 potential export deals for Shetland products. Also through the power of social networking and internet, my personal opinions had successfully discouraged a number of people from visiting Shetland. So go on laughing.

    • Catherine Moorehead

      If Shetland has got the kind of people who can write such nasty stuffy – wholly out of keeping with the tone of the rest of the Proclamation – and who are incapable of forgiving a transgression when compared to the colossal mendacity of a Sturgeon or Salmond – then Shetland is a place to be wary of.
      The SNP clearly intent on wrecking Scotland, just as they’ve done in so many other ways.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Catherine

        I can clearly see how forgiving others “transgressions” comes easy to you? With terms such as “colossal mendacity” “spitefulness” and “they are wrecking our country”, I think we know where you really stand.

        You have magically managed to turn, what initially seemed like a reasonable comment, into the bog standard “SNP BaaaD” vacuous nonsense.

        But hey!…I’m not complaining, the more bitter gibberish we are subjected to by our main stream media, yourself and your ilk, the stronger the SNP are becoming each week, so please, keep up the good work. 🙂

      • James Watt

        “when compared to the colossal mendacity of a Sturgeon or Salmond ”

        When the judgement was given in the case against Carmichael Lady Paton used some less than complimentary terms to describe your “honest man” here’s some of the highlights for you.

        A teller of “blatant” lies. “Unimpressive,” his behaviour demonstrating “a lack of candour”, “at best disingenuous, at worst evasive and self-serving” in his actions.

        Perhaps you should read some of the key paragraphs of the determination and then decide how honest Carmichael really is.

        http://lallandspeatworrier.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/no-vindication-here-only-survival.html?m=1

        I can’t recall any judge using such terms to describe Sturgeon or Salmond, but I suppose Carmichaels colossal mendacity is acceptable because it was against someone you disapprove of.

  3. Alvin Leong

    Dear oh dear. That is Shetland for you and this is known as the freedom of speech and they love it and defend it dearly. I once spoke up about xenophobic speech and was told to “man up” and it was all just “a little banter”. If you went to a hall and watched some of the acts, you will be well and truly disgusted.

    • Beth Gerrard

      Try not to take yourselves so seriously. As was mentioned, if you make an ass of yourself publicly, this is bound to feature in the Proclamation.

      • Catherine Moorehead

        Yes, but not with the nasty tone – unlike the rest – and language used.

      • Alvin Leong

        Beth, after getting unwarranted insults and abuses from a number of Shetlanders claiming that it was “light hearted banter” or “just a wind up” and I should not take them so seriously, I had learned the same. I just go on my own way to tell others the truth about Shetland. Along the way, I had successfully put off people from doing business with or visiting Shetland. After all, it is just a little money and Shetland should too not take it so seriously.

  4. Alvin Leong

    Dear Catherine, suggest you Google “Shetland golliwog” for more unpleasantness.

    • Catherine Moorehead

      I presume these splenetic & unbalanced replies are from SNP supporters. Pity. They are wrecking Shetland’s reputation as a friendly & welcoming place. This will have a detrimental effect on Shetland tourism, business and industry.

      They also seem to evince the kind of spitefulness we’ve come to expect from the SNP. Carmichael did show contrition; the tone of the Guizer Jarl’s piece was wholly out of keeping with the rest.

      We never had divisiveness of this kind in Scotland before the rise of the SNP. They are wrecking our country.

  5. David Spence

    I totally agree with Francis, the Up Helly Aa Proclamation is meant to pour ridicule on local issues or persons. It is meant in good and humerous taste. I am pretty sure Mr Carmichael may have predicted his name being on the proclamation, and for the reasons behind it.

    However, as mentioned, Mr Carmichael lied, and in doing so, tainted the name of another politician.

    It does not surprise me that after being in bed with the Tories, Mr Carmichael (money, greed and profits being the main principle of the Tories) is now seeking to punish further those people who, quite rightly, brought this to the fore.

    Catherine, the people of Orkney and Shetland has every right to question their MP, and whether or not the issue at hand goes onto the Proclamation is always considered before hand.

    Excuse the punn, but don’t judge everybody in Shetland with the same brush…………it is light humour.

    Take it with a pinch of salt………or vinegar……..or even chips. lol

    • Catherine Moorehead

      Sorry, I can’t take your reply seriously. ‘Judge…with a brush’? Is this a spoof reply?

  6. Michael Garriock

    I’m no particular fan of Up Helly Aa, but to my understanding of the event it seems the OP and some of the previous respondents have either completely missed the point, do not understand or are unaware of the role of “The Proclamation” and to a lesser and varying degree some squads play within the event.

    These are, and always have been outlets through which local public figures, local organisations and selected stalwarts of the event itself are lampooned, ridiculed, derided or outrightly made fun of on account of some perceived shortcoming on their part during the previous year.

    Yes, some of it may come off as harsh, and not all of it may be fully “appreciated” by the general public who aren’t privy to some “in” joke or personal knowledge of the individual/organistion concerned. Its purpose however is purely for entertainment, and its virtually always taken by the “victim” in that spirit.

    Its very localised satire, and no different in its place than a show like ‘Spitting Image’ is on a national scale. Undoubtedly its not to everyone taste, but it works just fine where it is how it is.

  7. iantinkler

    Just a good example of divisive and unpleasant nature of nationalism, “the unpleasant personal attack on MP Alistair Carmichael in the Guizer Jarl’s Proclamation.” Was that necessary, a bit difficult to decide whom is the most unpleasant, a politician caught lying or a man in a fancy dress giving just “a little banter”.

    • Robert Duncan

      What tells you the author was in any way a nationalist? Might he not have been in the 63% of us who voted No? Or more still, the 41% of us who voted for Mr Carmichael himself?

    • Robert SIm

      A politican caught lying.

  8. iantinkler

    Robert Duncan, I was referencing the bloggers, not the proclamation. If you did a little research the “Yes” man and crowdfunding nationalist donor will become apparent. Facebook sites will tell you quite a bit about narrow minded nationalists. Also previous blogs about leaning yes and subsequent denials lol.

    • Robert Duncan

      I don’t follow Ian. How would the Up Helly Aa proclamation be “a good example of divisive and unpleasant nature of nationalism” were it not written by a “divisive and unpleasant” nationalist?

    • Gordon Harmer

      Ian I would ignore Robert he is in a pedantic type of mood again, he will have you believing you are a nationalist next.

      • Robert Duncan

        It’s hardly a pedantic point. Either Ian wishes to declare the authors of the bill are personally responsible for “divisive and unpleasant” nationalism, or he is making yet another politicised point with no relevance to the matter at hand.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Wise up Robert, Ian was calling some of those who have commentated on this thread divisive etc, not the proclamation.

      • Ray Purchase

        The thing is though, nobody brought up nationalism on this thread into Ian did. Also, he aimed an insult at the guiser Jarl. So it’s easy to think that the bill writers were the subject of his comment and not, in fact, imaginary comments by nationalists.

      • Robert Duncan

        Gordon, is is entirely clear that Ian was referring to the proclamation. Read it again if you are unsure.

        Or perhaps Ian and you have divised some secret code, impenetrable to the outside eye, in which words do not mean what they actually mean and in fact what you wish they might mean once called out on what they appear to mean. Is it that?

      • Gordon Harmer

        Really Robert, how about an apology 🙂

  9. iantinkler

    Robert Duncan, have you lost the ability to read? I quote myself, (February 8th, 2016 14:42) “I was referencing the bloggers, not the proclamation. If you did a little research the “Yes” man and crowdfunding nationalist donor will become apparent.”. Read it slowly and you may understand.

    • Robert Duncan

      Ian, the post I responded to said:

      “Just a good example of divisive and unpleasant nature of nationalism, “the unpleasant personal attack on MP Alistair Carmichael in the Guizer Jarl’s Proclamation.” Was that necessary, a bit difficult to decide whom is the most unpleasant, a politician caught lying or a man in a fancy dress giving just “a little banter”.”

      This has nothing to do with bloggers. You very clearly mean the proclamation – unless as I ask Gordon you have taken up yourself to redefine the English language – not a blog, and “man in fancy dress” is presumably the Jarl. Why the backtracking?

      • Ian Tinkler

        No Backtracking Robert, just, as usual you misinterpreted yet again, no surprise there then. Now look up, LMFAO. The comment of a true nationalist, divisive and unpleasant (PS you will need The Urban slang dictionary to define it in the English language)

  10. Robert Duncan

    Well, I guess there we have it. Messrs Harmer and Tinkler have redefined English and are now speaking in code, intelligible only to themselves. Handy tool to have for when you say something offensive and don’t want to own up to it, if you can just claim you meant something in no way connected to what you actually said. I suppose when regularly posting inflammatory remarks online one needs a safety net in case of rebuke.

    • Ian Tinkler

      Robert Duncan, I thought the entire blog was started by “the Proclamation being offensive”, remember, Catherine Moorehead’s original letter. I so love your pedantic “Nit Picking” in suport of the SNP, now be a good lad and look up the meaning of LMFAO, then you may see what is truly offensive. Whilst you at at it check out the World top Universities, surprising how ignorant you were about that. http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2016/02/02/forcing-gaelic-on-our-schools-is-wrong-says-msp

      • Robert Duncan

        So it was Catherine Moorhead who was being divisive and unpleasant? It seems unlikely you mean that. Her “blog” (and a letter to a newspaper really isn’t a “blog”) mentioning the the Proclamation as offensive doesn’t really explain why you said:

        “Just a good example of divisive and unpleasant nature of nationalism, “the unpleasant personal attack on MP Alistair Carmichael in the Guizer Jarl’s Proclamation.”

        For the Proclamation to be a good example of “divisive and unpleasant nature of nationalism”, it would have to be divisively and unpleasantly nationalist. Now, is it your view that it was, and is it therefore your view that its authors were themselves divisive and unpleasant nationalists?

        That is, after all, the only logical conclusion to what you have said, not withstanding the possibility that words may have different meanings to yourself and Mr Harmer.

        And I know what your acronym means, of course. I’m rather younger than you and I expect rather more up to speed on internet slang. That said, I’ve no idea what it would have to do with offensiveness.

      • Ian Tinkler

        Robert Duncan., the offensive and vulgar comments were “, LMFAO, get a grip”. They were not written by Catherine Moorhead. That was by the divisive little nationalist whom commented so.. If you actually read the above comments you would be aware of that. Your comment “I’m rather younger than you and I expect rather more up to speed on internet slang. That said, I’ve no idea what it would have to do with offensiveness.” really shows your ignorance. Now look up LMFAO on the Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=LMFAO).

    • Frances Taylor

      I wish they hadn’t hi-jacked this post for their own political purposes.

      Shoddy, very shoddy.

      • Richard Moir

        I read an interesting piece by the editor of the Guardian online comments section recently. He said that they close comments on every article after three days as they’ve found that by then anything of any relevance to the article has been said and commenters then take over the thread to argue about their political views and insult each other. He made the point that there’s plenty places on social media / message boards where people can have dull and nasty arguments that go nowhere. Perhaps the Shetland Times should consider doing the same?

    • ROBERT SIM

      Gosh – you have staying power, Robert! But now that you have identified the syndrome maybe we can call it the “Humpty Dumpty” syndrome, after that character’s comment in Alice in Wonderland:

      ‘”I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
      Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
      “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
      “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”‘

      • Ian Tinkler

        Humpty dumpty, that sounds a bit like big Alex in profile, too many Ryder Cup dinners perhaps ( cost£100,000) day)! He had his fall, 45%, I wonder if he can be put back together? lol Tick Tock splat. as RS would say.

  11. iantinkler

    “divisive and unpleasant nature of nationalism,” Only someone with a pretty thin skin, or the very puerile, pedantic or silly, could take offense at those words. Now as for ” LMFAO.” from the blogger I was referring too, that is not only offensive but common and vulgar, yes and the author, of LMFAO, Get a grip, he is a self professed avid nationalist!? All too hard for Robert and Ray to understand, or are their “Yes boy” blinkers on a bit tight ?

    • Robert Duncan

      Ian, you’re really rambling now. There was absolutely no indication your initial reply referred to that comment, and even your immediate follow ups did not clarify. It seems again that you’re looking for anything remotely offensive on the page that you can use to deflect from our comments.

      As for LMFAO, as I’ve said, I know precisely what it stands for and what it means. I’m not so prudish as to be offended by a naughty word and don’t think naughty words are anything like as unpleasant as personal attacks.

      It is as clear as day that you called the ‘attack’ on Mr Carmichael in the proclamation, “Just a good example of divisive and unpleasant nature of nationalism”. Why you don’t feel placed to stand by your comment I am not sure, but it is right there for all to see.

      • iantinkler

        Robert Duncan, we agree at last!! “and don’t think naughty words are anything like as unpleasant as personal attacks.” Now just what was the proclamation by the Jarl but a personal attack?? You seem to object to the use of the words “divisive and unpleasant nature of nationalism,” as you appear a bit obsessive and compulsively phased about this, I will rephrase my original comment to, “the unpleasant personal attack on MP Alistair Carmichael in the Guizer Jarl’s Proclamation sounded to me and many others just like the typical attack of divisive and unpleasant nature of nationalist attacks, so often used in the anti-Carmichael SNP vendetta.” Now, Robert Duncan, perhaps you can let the matter drop? I for one will say no more about this unpleasant piece of banter by a man in a fancy dress.

      • Robert Duncan

        That is not a rephrasing, but a completely different meaning. If you didn’t mean what you originally said, fine, there’s not much of an issue. I’d just ask that if you are going to struggle so badly to articulate your meaning that you do not react aggressively to those who pick up on it or imply failure to comprehend from those who take your words at their meaning as opposed to whatever was in your head at the time.

      • Robert SIm

        ” I for one will say no more about this unpleasant piece of banter by a man in a fancy dress.” Promise?

  12. Haydn Gear

    Not for the first time I have read a series of letters from start to finish and I’m not sure whether to feel frustrated, amused, saddened,disappointed or disgusted. Can it be considered a really useful and beneficial use of time to spend so much of it bickering, snarling and generally giving vent to so many unpleasant points of view in such extreme and unforgiving ways ? These banal exchanges seem to go on and on and no attempts are made to compromise or heal rifts. Is the quality of life so dire that such tiresome exchanges are considered to be normal and acceptable? How long is a piece of string in Shetland and does anyone know when it’s time to tie a knot in it ? I do hope that nobody will say that it’s better to not have knots and that unending aggro is preferable.