17th December 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Things don’t just ‘happen’ (Judith Dumont)

I note the following regarding the leaked French memo in The Herald on Monday morning.

“[Alistair] Carmichael confirmed the memo was written at the Scotland Office.

” … Mr Carmichael replied: ‘No. Look, this is the middle of an election campaign; these things happen’.”

Oh well, that’s alright then. I suppose unsubstantiated smears from apparently reputable sources are simply to be expected during elections when people most need accurate information in order to make serious choices. That’s just democracy, is it?

Should a man in a position of responsibility take such a casual view of a breach of confidentiality in his own office? A breach of confidentiality, moreover, which draws foreign allies into our domestic election and which might bring those allies – or their diplomats – into disrepute, and which certainly indicates to the world that UK government offices cannot be trusted to maintain diplomatic confidentiality? But, you know, “these things happen”.

No. They don’t “happen”, Alistair. Somebody makes them happen. Somebody makes a conscious choice to take action. This was not a passive event or an Act of God. And you are ultimately responsible for what happens in your own office, in your own sphere of authority. That you don’t accept your responsibility suggests that you were never competent to hold that position.

I absolutely give up on this man, his cynicism and his complete refusal to take responsibility for the things that he himself (let alone his party) have done over the last five years.

When I wrote to him on an unrelated matter a couple of years ago, rather than addressing the issue I raised, he replied that if the Lib Dems were in government things would be different.

Newsflash, Alistair: the Lib Dems are in government. You’re the Scottish Secretary, for Pete’s sake! Just how stupid do you think I am? How stupid do you think your constituents are?

I voted for Alistair Carmichael at the last General Election, and I sincerely regret it. If my only options this time were to vote for him or eat my polling card, I’d reach for the marmalade.

His track record in this parliament has clearly demonstrated that he does not have the interests of his constituents at heart. (Voting to privatise the Royal Mail? Really, Alistair?  On what planet could this be construed as representing your constituents?).

This time, I hope we vote him out by a landslide. Whatever his performance before this coalition government, it has become abundantly clear that the man now has only his own interests at heart – anything to secure his personal advancement. As for his constituents, we’re merely a vehicle for him.

Well, he can step off my back and find himself another lift. I’m not carrying him a millimetre further.

Judith Dumont
Setters Hill Estate,
Unst.

79 comments

  1. Sheenagh Burns

    Agree completely – especially about privatising Royal Mail! And that comment “these things happen” about a deliberate, lying smear leaves a bad taste in the mouth. So does burglary, Mr Carmichael, but it doesn’t mean we should lightly dismiss it.

    Reply
  2. John Tulloch

    If it’s true that Ms Sturgeon told the French Ambassador she would prefer David Cameron to win the election while courting Labour then it is, surely, in the public interest for that to become known.

    Were it the case that the SNP are trying to lull Scottish Labour voters into a false sense of security that they would be siding with Labour, anyway, while knowing every seat they win would make it more likely the Conservatives will be returned to power, and that that is what they really want, then that, too, would fall into the ‘dirty tricks’ category, would it not?

    And if the SNP joined or supported Labour in government, they would lose their big debating point that “Scotland never gets the government it votes for.”

    It shouldn’t be too difficult, after all, to fail to agree a coalition/co-operation agreement with Labour, after the election, enabling some combination of Tories/UKIP/Liberals to get into power – “just what the doctor ordered”, cynics might think?

    So the truth needs to be established and in fairness, it needs to be established, quickly.

    Now that the memo is in the public domain, the meeting is no longer private so the confidentiality requirement can be lifted, enabling the truth to be quickly ascertained by, simply, asking the French Ambassador to divulge, publicly, what was said?

    Surely, the French government would not permit a false story, involving their ambassador, to be invented and circulated by Westminster without, at least, denying it?

    Reply
    • Dave McEwan Hill

      The truth has been established quickly. Have you been asleep?

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        No, but close, I’ve been meditating, in debate with Robin Stevenson – “Wrong again, Robin.”….”Wrong again, Robin, etc..

      • Robin Stevenson

        You just keep coming up with your “Brand new mantra”, John, who knows, maybe one day it’ll be right? 🙂

    • Robert Sim

      “Now that the memo is in the public domain, the meeting is no longer private so the confidentiality requirement can be lifted, enabling the truth to be quickly ascertained by, simply, asking the French Ambassador to divulge, publicly, what was said? Surely, the French government would not permit a false story, involving their ambassador, to be invented and circulated by Westminster without, at least, denying it?”

      John, both the French Ambassador and the French Consul-General have said clearly that Nicola Sturgeon’s purported remark is a fiction. They have confirmed that the ‘story’ is a lie. This has been reported in the media in the last few days.

      It is also palpably not the case that “every seat [the SNP] win would make it more likely the Conservatives will be returned to power”. If the anti-Tory parties vote together, there will be no Conservative government.

      Reply
    • Michael Shedden

      They have denied it! Have you not been reading the news?

      Reply
    • Helen Armet

      Mr Tulloch, I think you will find that the French Embassy did most strongly deny that the First Minister gave any indication as to her preference for Prime Minister come May. This denial came almost immediately after the allegations hit the news/press reviews late on Friday evening and have been repeated many many since.

      Reply
    • Rab McLaughlin

      Both the French Ambassador, and her Consul General, have stated categorically that the alleged part of the conversation did not take place.

      That should end any speculation, and I’m quite surprised it hasn’t.

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        THE FRENCH DIPLOMAT WHO IS AT THE CENTER OF THE STURGEON VOTE TORY ROW REFUSES TO DENY SHE SAID MILIBAND WASN’T PRIME MINISTER MATERIAL
        The SNP-supporting Sunday Herald reported that the French consul-general, Pierre-Alain Coffinier, on whose testimony the account of Ms Sturgeon’s meeting was based, refused to deny that she had said she did not consider Mr Miliband to be Prime Minister material. REFUSED TO DENY!

      • Robin Stevenson

        You’re categorically wrong Gordon, scroll up and stop reading the “torygraph”

      • John Tulloch

        “Erm”…Robin,

        Gordon was quoting the “SNP -supporting Sunday Herald, recently singled out for praise for its balanced reporting by none other than Douglas Young, Shetland’s ‘Guardian of Debating Propriety’. 🙂

    • Robin Stevenson

      I have to say John, I thought most of your posts were/are a bit of a troll, [devils advocate and all that] but if you seriously think that Nicola is in anyway associated with piece of “Gutter smear” compliments of Ali Car, then I’m afraid your credibility has just completely evaporated…dear o dear!

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        @Robin MacLeod/Stevenson/Howell,

        For YOU to call ME a “troll” is a bit rich, my identity os no secret.

        I have given great credit to the SNP for their positive actions, like ending the scandalous hospital parking charges, ending the iniquitous – and irritating – bridge tolls, putting in place restrictions on the closure of rural schools by councils and only two days ago, I “congratulated Mike MacKenzie on his valuable contribution to preserving rural schools in Shetland”.

        And I see you’ve roped in “Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all” to have a go at me for asking to learn the truth, quickly.

        More hunbug, Robin, in spades, as usual.

    • Lynsey Stuart

      Hi John Just to say that the ‘memo’ is not in the public domain, it has only been reported on. I too would like to see this memo, the key content of which, incidentally, both the French Ambassador and the Consul General have publicly dismissed as untrue.

      Reply
    • James Fleming

      I know you’re away up in the Shetlands, but how can you possibly have missed the fact that the French did not wait to be asked and dismissed the allegations as false within hours of their release?

      Reply
    • Alex Waugh

      The French HAVE denied it, categorically.

      Reply
    • Kenny Reddington

      John tulloch. It has been proved undeniably that nicola never said such a thing. The SNP do not want another Tory goverment. FACT. Are you really so blind you cannot see this or are you really Carmichael in disguise. Trying to fool the people of Scotland with unsubstantiated spin used to work. But it will not work now. You have cried wolf once too often.

      Reply
    • Colin Dunn

      John, you seem to have missed the fact that everyone at the actual meeting denies this topic was discussed, including the French consul and ambassador.

      Admittedly the BBC and other media have been suspiciously quiet about mentioning this awkward fact, as they were about actually interviewing anyone from the SNP about the issue until 14 hours after the story broke. (Though they immeditely, for some reason – Carmichael link? – interviewed Willie Rennie about it)

      What we have instead is a fabricated memo written a week later by someone at the Scottish Office who wasn’t at the meeting, based on what someone else was told by somebody else who thought Nicola Sturgeon had said it.

      I suggest you may want to reconsider which is the most reliable.

      Reply
  3. Dr JM Mackintosh

    Thank you for your letter Judith.

    I agree with you completely.

    It is disgraceful episode in the history of the Lib-Dem Party where a Cabinet minister makes light of a very serious issue involving his own Ministry and does not take responsibility for his own department

    If Sir Jeremy Heywood finds his Department responsible then it would be decent thing for Alistair Carmicheal to stand down and not seek re-election.

    However, I fully expect that will not happen in the timescales so it will come down to the electorate of Orkney and Shetland to remove this man from office on the 7th of May.

    I trust that they will do the right thing.

    Reply
  4. clare green

    I agree with Judith these leaks don’t just happen. The truth is that the SNP can no longer be dismissed by Westminster. the actions of the person or persons behind this leak must be really desperate to sink so low. And quite clearly have never listened to any of Nicola stergeons speeches! If anything this behaviour has almost certainly boosted the SNP vote.

    Reply
  5. iantinkler

    Here is another thing that has just happened. Nicola Sturgeon has agreed that NATO Nuclear weapons carriers (ships, submarines and aircraft) can be deployed to all Scottish military facilities, without question, if Scotland gains Independence. That includes armed British Trident Nuclear Submarines, formally deployed to Faslane base (source Robin Stevenson, SNP spokesperson). In my ignorance I was unaware that this was public knowledge. Apparently, Ms Sturgeon has made public statements to that effect. I was a bit surprised to hear that information as, as a member of CND (campaign for nuclear disarmament) Nicola appears to hold and publicize another view. Strange old world is it not. I invite comments from CND and SNP supporters, especially both CND, SNP advocates as both views held together, appear somewhat contradictory and mutually exclusive.

    Reply
    • Aaron Smith

      This is not a story about SNP policy on nuclear weapons / NATO or the independence referendum of last year. This story relates to a UK government minister using the diplomatic representatives of a foreign country in an attempt to spread misinformation about about an opposition UK political party. Or at least I assume the SNP is a UK political party, any information to the contrary should be presented before the election.
      Please stick to the point.

      Reply
      • Ian tinkle

        “This is not a story about SNP policy on nuclear weapons / NATO”. Aaron Smith, that story is so relevant here..This post relates to the integrity of Nicola Sturgeon and “[Alistair] Carmichael. What Nicola Sturgeon did or did not say regarding Cameron and Miliband and Carmichaels part in the leak is just supposition at this time . With reference to Sturgeon’s membership of CND, what she says publicly, and the policy she actually follows is are entirely different . I personally see her actions here as duplicitous, dishonorable and not honest, with regard to CND and NATO nukes. Just how can a CND member since 16 years old support nuclear weapon deployment on Scottish territory, and at the same time advocate unilateral disarmament. A bit like hoping for a Tory victory privately whilst stating the opposite in public.

  6. Tim Bennett

    But Sturgeon hasn’t denied saying Miliband isn’t Prime Ministerial material, and drawing an unfavourable contrast with Cameron. In that respect, the memo stands.

    Reply
    • Dave McEwan Hill

      The notion that Sturgeon would make any such remark in a minuted meeting is absurd. Milliband is of course not Prime Minister material however

      Reply
    • Dr JM Mackintosh

      Please supply your justification with references for this.

      Nicola Sturgeon has never said such a thing and has repeated stated she will never back the Tories.

      Evidence please – not just a random opinion.

      Reply
    • Gerry Hastie

      Dear Tim, the memo cannot ‘stand’. The French ambassador said she expressed no preference about who should be prime minister. It is a fictitious account that even doubts it’s own content with the ‘something lost in translation’ phrase. The timing of the leak and the fact that it ended up in the Telegraph is entirely strategic. Nicola Sturgeon openly put forward areas of co-operation with a Labour government on television last week. I think her views on the basis of any deal with Labour are the subject of much public comment by many SNP representatives. The Labour Party members deleting tweets from their accounts about this is an embarrassment for them.

      Reply
    • Craig Lewis

      Why should Nicola “deny” she thinks Miliband is unsuitable PM material? The issue is the memo. All parties to it have denied she ever expressed a preference. Even the anonymous author expressed doubts about its veracity. The fact that the mainstream media persist with the story shows how rattled the British establishment are that an anti austerity party may have a serious voice in Westminster. This is a classic example of how the establishment will use every trick in the book to preserve its control over the political narrative in this country. Nicola can expect more of it and she should simply treat it with disdain and focus on policies.

      Reply
  7. Dave Ball

    I hope this travesty will help the people of Shetland think twice before supporting a party who have shown themselves to be devoid of any principals at all.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Which party are you referring to that is “devoid of principals”? Answer with evidence, please.

      We need to know the truth first, only then can we judge which party is the less principled.

      Reply
  8. Steve Wallace

    So this is in the middle of an election campaign and these things happen.So that is how we got stuck with you?…Lies and the blame game?…Thought better of you….only joking.

    Reply
  9. Kathryn Duffus

    It wasn’t just the Royal Mail he voted to privatise, Judith. He also supported and voted for the privatisation of the NHS in England through the Health and Social Care Act. Even the diehards must see he crossed a line there from which there should be no comeback.

    Reply
  10. Laurence McHale

    Nicola Sturgeon, French Consul and French Ambassador…i.e all parties with 1st hand knowledge have denied the veracity of the claim. Someone wrote up the 3rd hand account to smear deliberately, someone then released the document (Confidential even if inaccurate). Someone in authority is presumably behind it. Can A Carmichael deny he knew in advance?

    Reply
  11. Julia Gibb

    We have people posting “…if Nicola did say…” and “…she didn’t deny saying…Miliband weak leader..”

    The French Ambassador has stated that no such comments were made. The French Consul has made it clear that no such remarks were made. Nicola has refuted the content of the alleged memo.

    The memo was written a week after the meeting by someone who did not attend the meeting. It was leaked to the Telegraph several weeks later on the day a series of positive polls were issued on Nicolas standing.

    The Scotland Office acted in a shameful manner. Alistair Carmichael and David Mundell have to accept responsibility for either allowing or enabling the promotion of gutter politics

    Reply
  12. Jennie Macfie

    It appears some of the commenters haven’t read the French Ambassador’s official response which backs up Nicola Sturgeon’s denial that she said the things the memo accused her of.
    The Scotland Office, which I believe is staffed by civil servants who are supposed to be politically neutral, has been caught out. It created a memo whose content was untruthful, with intent to sway the results of an election.

    That is a very serious offence against democracy – against all the people of the United Kingdom – and for Carmichael to dismiss it so lightly shows breathtaking arrogance. I too hope the voters of the Northern Isles will show him the door.

    Reply
  13. David Spence

    It is just another example of modern society, under the control of market forces, where nobody is to blame for anything at all. Pass the buck mentality is the usual response we get these days when it comes to making a company or person responsible for their actions.

    How often do we hear companies making umpteen excuses in not paying compensation or giving back money to their customers if they are in the wrong? However, it is a completely different ball game when the same company is pretty damn quick to highlight on whether or not you owe them money.

    The so-called blame game is designed, primarily, for one profession to thrive in such circumstances, this being the Legal Profession. This so-called profession is more than likely responsible for introducing hundreds if not thousands of laws, regulations and legislation into our lives to make it so much more difficult to get proper justice, in the free market world of trade, without having to pay a ridiculous fee’s to a profession totally devoid of any morality and justice as long as it gets its reward financially.

    It seems rather ironic, unfortunately, that the biggest industry which is expanding, as we become more like the USA, is the Legal Profession. Is there a direct connect between market forces, corruption and the Legal Profession? It seems that the negative aspects of our society (in terms of legal and illegal acts) go hand-in-hand with the Legal Profession in many ways. As demonstrated by our so-called friends across the pond, lets say.

    Why is such a profession so prolific in a Capitalist Society? Corruption, Legal, Corruption.

    Reply
  14. ian mcewan

    “If it’s true”. Well no Mr Tulloch, it isn’t true. No doubts. No buts. No maybes. It is not true. Both Mrs Sturgeon has said it. The French ambassador has said it. The French Consul has said it and even the person who relayed news of the meeting basically said it.

    This new tactic where guilt (if that is what you call it) is implied is straight out of the propoganda playbook. Say it enough and it becomes true but no matter how you look at this it is not true. Isn’t is funny how this leak comes hours after Sturgeon is praised for her forthright performance in the leader’s debate.

    As for what is alledged well, let’s face it Milliband is not PM material. I know that. Most of the Labour Party knows it. Much of the public know it. Such an opinion is hardly unusual. Indeed the waying in of Miliband into Sturgeon on this illustrates perfectly why this man, who said he would enforces border posts to keep us out should Yes win the referendum remember, is not fit for the job. He lacks political nous. He lacks class. What a direct contrast to Nicola and Salmond who refused to wade into the stooshie when Miliband was attacked when his father was called ” the man who hated the UK”.

    Now all the Labour ministers who tweeted this lie are deleting these lies. No appologies. No acknowledgement of their gullibility and wrongdoing in particpating in a smear campaign. They just delete and the insinuate as Mr Tulloch does here.

    Carmichael was clearly instrumental in all of this. The man’s ethics clearly need questioned as does his competancy but lets not forget, this could be a criminal investigation and Labour were into this immediately, having clearly been tipped off and if so may find themselves accessories to a crime. It is almost certain that the Official Secrets Act was breached.

    The islands have a history of Liberals represebting them but lets be frank, Scott, Carmichael or Wallace have all been kind of meh! Men of little real passion. Careerists. Jumping on bandwagons on when they become visible. Maybe it is time for someone else. If only to break the assumption that the islands are “theirs”.

    Reply
  15. Gordon Harmer

    If there is any truth in what is alleged we need to know about it, as little snippets emerge I am beginning to think she doth protest to much, especially when the guy below talks of senior SNP members and not just Sturgeon.
    Nicola Sturgeon’s election campaign has suffered a setback after Asians for Independence organiser Muhammad Shoaib resigned from her party in disgust that so many nationalist activists are secretly backing the Tories to win.
    Shoaib – who worked closely with SNP leaders during the referendum campaign – today defected to Labour in a sensational move.
    He said he was “shocked” at the way senior SNP members in Nicola Sturgeon’s Glasgow constituency are secretly backing another five years of David Cameron.
    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/…/key-snp-figure-defects-labou…

    Before you say anything Robin Stevenson, yes this is from the Record and I actually doubt what it says but we still need to know.

    Reply
  16. iantinkler

    Can you really trust Sturgeon, as a member of CND and an highly vocal advocate of unilateral disarmament. how come she and her party advocate membership of NATO, with nuclear weapons deployed on Scottish soil?
    Statement: Robin Stevenson (SNP spokesperson)
    April 6th, 2015 16:52
    “Nicola Sturgeon has laid out quite plainly and publicly that she is against nuclear weapons, but also realizes that [until] we have world disarmament we would remain a part of NATO. She would abide by the rules and regulations of NATO?…Yes.” (that includes deployment of nuclear weapons!)
    Statement
    The Scottish Government (archived as of 20th October 2014 )
    “While they are both strong advocates for nuclear disarmament, both Norway and Denmark allow NATO vessels to visit their ports without confirming or denying whether they carry nuclear weapons. We intend that Scotland will adopt a similar approach as Denmark and Norway in this respect.”

    That would enable the deployment and use of any NATO nuclear devise from any port, airport or military facility, in Scotland or in the territorial waters of Scotland. Without any question asked whatsoever. That includes fully armed Trident and Vanguard SSBN,s.
    References: The Scottish Government, S Robin Stevenson (Shetland Times, NATO protocols and treaties.
    https://www.scotreferendum.com/questions/will-nato-members-with-nuclear-armed-vessels-be-allowed-to-enter-scottish-waters-or-dock-at-scottish-ports/
    https://www.google.ca/search?as_q=NATO+treatties&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&lr=&cr=&as_qdr=all&as_sitesearch=&as_occt=any&safe=images&tbs=&as_filetype=&as_rights=&gws_rd=ssl
    https://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2015/04/05/dont-vote-snp-graham-johnston

    Reply
    • Aaron Smith

      So you are saying that since Nicola Sturgeon would like Scotland to be a member of NATO that has no nuclear weapons of it’s own (i.e. like all other NATO countries except UK, USA and France), this would make her “duplicitous, dishonourable and not honest” (as you previously said). Why do you not criticise the other members of NATO who do not have a nuclear arsenal of their own? Why focus all your anger on Nicola Sturgeon and a country which does not even exist (Scotland)? Nicola Sturgeon’s personal membership of the CND really has nothing to do with SNP policy as I’m sure one person cannot set the policy for an entire political party without some sort of democratic process, but I may be wrong.

      It has already been established by many other people on this thread that nobody can locate any French diplomats who heard Nicola Sturgeon stating her preference of a Tory Westminster government. I think it has to be more than supposition that the author/s of the memo are at fault and that the comments were never actually said.

      But I don’t know, you are maybe right in what you say. Falsifying memo’s, implicating a foreign country’s diplomats in the deception then releasing the fabricated documents to the press in an assumed attempt to sway pubic opinion away from a legitimate UK political party (since Scotland is a part of the UK after all) maybe is less serious than having personal opinions (CND membership) that are slightly different from the policy of your political party. Perhaps her personal opinions means she deserves to have these attacks levelled at her, I don’t know.

      Reply
  17. David Spence

    The huge support the Lib Dems got by going into bed with the vile Tories is a lesson the SNP have learned quickly (and probably many other parties which may have considered going out with the vile Tories will do you or your party any good at all) by the massive backlash the Lib Dems are getting now…….. political suicide would be a better description.

    Mind you, it could end up being the vile UKIP and the vile Tories snuggling up to each other in bed, both wondering who is going to shaft who in this relationship of two equal halves, lets say. lol David Cameron or Nigel Farage………..such a difficult choice in which to make………any advice folks? lol

    Reply
  18. Malcolm MACLEAN

    If he knows publish and shame or admit it was a tissue of lies, he is not fit to be in public office.

    Reply
  19. Johan Adamson

    Wow. It is great to see so many comments on this. Carmichael did himself no favours in the referendum campaign either.

    Reply
  20. Jim Fraser

    You have to admire John Tulloch’s plucky defence of the indefensible in your letter’s page.

    It’s driven, I suppose, by a sort of unquestioning loyalty to a party that many years ago may have been worthy of it.

    No doubt Mr. Carmichael will get the democratic judgement from his local electorate in May.

    I will certainly be looking out for his result.

    Until then I can only hug myself with barely suppressed joy over what may be the quote of the campaign so far: “Surely, the French government would not permit a false story, involving their ambassador, to be invented and circulated by Westminster without, at least, denying it?”

    Reply
  21. laura jamieson

    Totally agree with David Spence’s points and the original letter.i have voted for Alastair in the past..though I am not a natural lib dem…never again. Not after he voted for the bedroom tax..and other career votes. The lib dems have proved to be weak. We finally have some alternative candidates..so even if my vote is “wasted” by the usual liberal vote here I ddon’t care. I am not impressed by his actions.

    Reply
  22. Gordon Benton

    A wee message from your pal, Barny Rubble – “You are on the rocky road downhill, mate!”. Yabba Dabba Doo.

    Reply
  23. John Tulloch

    Bairns! Dis is a most horrid lock of uncan fokk ats come apo wis – hit’s aafil fine!

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      John I think this must be MacKenzie’s army who come to drown us out.

      Reply
  24. Harry Dent

    The timing of this made-up memo was telling; just hours afer Ms Sturgeon wiped the floor with the four pro-austerity party leaders.

    It’s extraordinary that some people are still assuming it’s true, and implying that Ms Sturgeon is proving her “guilt” by daring to challenge the veracity of the concocted document. If she didn’t challenge it, I daresay her silence would be talked of as “speaking volumes”.

    Mr Carmichael’s disgraceful comment doesn’t actually surprise me. I left the Liberal Party in 1984 after realising belatedly that it’s the Tories’ second XI, so it’s fairly obvious that such jiggery-pokery will be second nature to its leadership.

    I’ve never been even tempted to vote SNP before but, my goodness, this disgraceful incident could turn me into a tactical voter.

    Reply
  25. Gordon Harmer

    Of course the SNP want a Tory government in Westminster, then they can repeat their old tired mantra, “we didn’t get the government we voted for”. All part of the big push for independence which is not possible by the front door so its going to be by the back door, all tactics, smoke and mirrors. Even one of their own has said so, a prominent independence campaigner has defected to Labour because he is “furious” that SNP figures are secretly hoping for a Tory victory in the general election.
    Muhammad Shoaib, the organiser of Asians for Independence, has resigned from the party claiming that senior nationalists in Nicola Sturgeon’s Glasgow constituency are privately backing David Cameron.
    The former Pollokshields SNP branch convener shared a platform with Ms Sturgeon and the former first minister Alex Salmond during the referendum campaign and said that “nobody campaigner harder for a Yes vote”.
    But he said he would now campaign for Labour in a bid to ensure that Ed Miliband is Prime Minister.

    Reply
    • David Munro

      Mr Shoaib has only claimed that they secretly wish this … in which case, how does he know? Tittle tattle.

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        Probably the same way the commentators above claim to know what Sturgeon said or didn’t say, tittle tattle.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Gordon give me ONE example of the SNP making false accusations based on a “Made up” lie? Who have the SNP accused falsely of defecting to any other party?
        Please don’t try to tar the SNP with the same stick, and pretend they’re using vile tactics of smear and gutter politics used by EVERY pro-union party and their press.

        IF you chose to believe in the latest lie, then fine, but in the words of Kezia Dugdales father:

        “Check facts before opening mouth”.

      • Gordon Harmer

        How about the existence of a document that said Scotland would stay in the EU after a yes vote, a made up lie with a made up email purported to be the real thing.
        Robin the SNP used vile tactics of smear and gutter politics all the way through the referendum campaign.

        If instead of going off half cocked you took time to read all my comments you will see I have only reported what the press are saying and my own view is that I believe Sturgeon was capable of saying what is claimed. I also said that it is a fact that Sturgeon and the SNP do want a Tory government in Westminster to assist with their undemocratic push for independence.

        Robin do not claim to be the resident of the high ground on this or any other thread as you are notorious for getting hold of the wrong end of the stick and making gaffs because you do not read what is in front of you. Examples, erm, erm commenting on a commentators comments from over a year ago, using Wikileaks as facts and then having the gall to criticise someone who quotes a national news paper while praising the Sunday Herald.

        Unlike you, I in my last post about a defector used the caveat, (allegedly) because unlike you I am not always right or sure the information I use is always kosher. But I am right about one thing and that is Sturgeon is capable of such a comment and she would use it for political gain. if this is a little difficult for you to understand I am not saying she actually said it. So please climb down from your high horse or ivory tower (wherever that is) and read before you write.

  26. Brian Powell

    If anyone is interested in hearing what the French Consul said, see the video link here.

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/la-verite/

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      WINGS OVER SCOTLAND ARE DENYING THE HEAD OF ASIANS FOR INDEPENDENCE HAS DEFECTED.
      Here is Mr Shoaib’s own words on his own FB account: (allegedly)
      “Muhammad Shoaib: “I have decided to support the Labour Party in Westminister election. We can only keep Tories out of the government by voting labour. I have voted and supported for independence of Scotland. Every nation has right to choose its destiny. This election is about Westminister government. I hate to see another five years of Tories austerity and cuts in public services. These 12 Billions cuts will be inflicted on poor’ unemployed and disabled persons. The Labour Party can reverse this injustice and inequalities.”

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        And tell me Gordon, where did this “Alleged” story come from? [please don’t say the Daily Record]

        Is it much the same as the “Alleged” memo that no-one wants to admit writing?

        A tiny bit like your post here, with GIANT HEADLINES hoping no one will read the detail?
        Someone should tell Mr Shoaib he’d better cancel his membership to the SNP because it would seem he’s forgotten to?

      • Gordon Harmer

        The story Robin, came from an anti SNP Facebook page, hence the “alleged” inserted by me.
        Sorry Robin, another fail on your behalf, it was my fat fingers hitting the Caps Lock key which produced the capitals and I neither had the time nor inclination to change it.
        Your next fail; SNP Membership. of course he is still a member, under SNP rules his membership can only end when it lapses, (allegedly) that “could” be why you have such an inflated membership.
        Oh I encased the “could” in inverted commas just so you get the gist of what I am alleging.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Aah.. and there was me thinking it was a sneaky tabloid trick to grab attention with giant headlines?

        And you seriously think that by quoting an “anti-SNP facebook page is adding any credibility to what has turned out to be “Another” false statement?
        And now you imply that the 103,000 members have all left the SNP but their memberships haven’t lapsed yet?
        In your eyes you see this, [for some obscure reason] as a block of “fails” on my part?

        Your comments are ludicrous Gordon, that can only be summed up as one BIG epic “Fail”.[inverted commas]

      • Gordon Harmer

        Does not alter the fact that you cannot cancel your SNP membership, even by phoning membership services as you are told your membership will run on until it expires.
        Copying my block of fails even with a capital F is not exactly original Robin, but hey what is original from you, same old spin, same old rhetoric, same old Robin, whoever Robin is.

      • Gordon Harmer

        So Robin, the Mr Shoaib’s defection turns out to be true, I will not hold my breath for an apology but what I will say is, now whose comments are ludicrous Robin. And just think this is in the public domain even if no one knows just who you are. Was it you who concocted the spin which says he defected because he was not picked as an SNP candidate making his defection sour grapes?

    • Gordon Harmer

      So the cat is out the bag, SNP might hold another referendum post 2016
      During the Scottish Leaders’ debate Sturgeon let slip that she may well run another indy referendum post 2016. Obviously two years is a generation in her mind, exactly what I have been saying all along and every little step she takes is a step nearer to what she hopes will be independence.
      The audience rightly booed…

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        If you read the SNP constitution, you’ll notice that they have two aims:
        Independence for Scotland
        Furtherance of Scottish Interests
        http://www.snp.org/…/constitutionofthescottishnationalparty…
        In their constitution, they order them in that order which just shows that independence will always be at the front of their mind, regardless of any referendum.
        You’ll also notice that they’ve written an entire paragraph on independence, whereas Scottish interests merely get a sentence.
        Does this seem like a party that is ever willing to put Scottish interests before party politics?

  27. clive munro

    Iain MacWhirter, writing in today’s Herald, manages to introduce some much needed perspective, and balance, to this tawdry tale of political opportunism.
    http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/news-just-in-old-fashioned-reporting-works.122505214

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Steady Clive, The Herald is a bit too close to reality for a vast number of the “usual suspects”?…can you not just link the Daily record, telegraph, Mail, Spectator, etc..instead?…fiction is SO much less painful, after all who needs silly facts?

      Reply
  28. Colin McKerron

    The old Divide and Rule policy seems to be chugging along quite nicely.
    Well! They have had hundreds of years of practice to perfect it!

    Reply
  29. iantinkler

    Firstly Aaron Smith, until the inquiry into the leaked memo is finished, any comment about duplicity and dirty tricks is premature and speculative (about Sturgeon or Carmichael). Now Sturgeon has been a lifelong member of CND. She has made major Election pledges about freeing Scotland of Trident and nuclear weapons. Only last weekend she attended a CND rally in George Square and pontificated about the SNP and her pledges to remove Trident from Scotland (Bairns not Bombs). She was simply playing a lie, and fooling many people, no more no less. She with Salmond has already agreed to an Independent Scotland being part of NATO that would enable the very nuclear armed Trident fleet, she so vilifies, to use any Scottish port, including Lerwick, at any time for any purpose, without question. That is duplicitous, dishonorable and not honest. If she cannot be honest about her repeated commitments to a nuclear free Scotland, what else may she be being dishonest about?

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      “She with Salmond has already agreed to an Independent Scotland being part of NATO that would enable the very nuclear armed Trident fleet, she so vilifies, to use any Scottish port, including Lerwick, at any time for any purpose…”. I understand your point, Ian, and you are entitled to your view. But your argument belongs to the next independence debate. The debate at the moment is about the Westminster election and independence is absolutely not part of the SNP agenda for May. Your posts on this topic are a red herring.

      Reply
  30. iantinkler

    Further to the above, Aaron Smith, if Sturgeon had an ounce of principle, rather than accepting the SNPs commitment to allowing nuclear weapons on Scottish soil, she should do as Jean Urquhart MSP did and resign from the SNP. She in fact sought votes and popularity by toadying to CND and the left wing whist keeping her support for nuclear NATO as quiet as practicable. A true woman of straw just another manipulative and disingenuous politician.

    Reply
  31. iantinkler

    Robert Sim, My argument is not about Trident, it is about the integrity of Nicola Sturgeon. How can she possibly use CND rallies to promote her persona, speak eloquently about her lifelong belief in unilateral nuclear disarmament, in fact make removal of Trident “a red Line issue”, her words, yet discretely, being in favour of a Nuclear NATO deploying weapons, all weapons including nuclear Trident being deployed in Scotland. Just how many CND and SNP supporters at”Bairns not Bombs “rally knew that fact? I know as a fact from the Debate we both attended, many SNP and independence supporters had no idea that the SNP was actually backing the deployment of NATO nukes in Scotland. That is a matter of actual fact, verified by the Scottish Government. If Sturgeon had an ounce of principle, rather than accepting the SNPs commitment to allowing nuclear weapons on Scottish soil, she should do as Jean Urquhart MSP and resign from the SNP. She in fact sought votes and popularity by toadying to CND and the left wing whist keeping her support for nuclear NATO as quiet as practicable. A true woman of straw just another manipulative and disingenuous politician, and that is very sad. (sorry to repeat myself)

    Reply
  32. John Tulloch

    Notice the SNP Scottish government were quick to howl ther protests of innocence about this issue, yet have never officially denied the claim by Gary Robinson that they “under-fund Shetland’s education system by £19.3Mpa or the claim by Alistair Carmichael that Westminster is still paying the SIC’s £2.3Mpa oil boom housing loan interest money to Holyrood?

    Funny that, when these issues are so damaging for Danus Skene’s campaign in the isles?

    Unless the claims are true, of course?

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      I’ll give you this John, your consistent, SIC’s £2.3Mpa interest payments for 44 years = £101.2 Million, has been paid in interest since 1971 according you?… Would that be right then? …Not only that but that’s just the interest, Shetland still owes the original £40 Million, so basically, when we deduct off the lifetime of the SNP gov of 7 years, then for 37 years EVERY UK and Scottish government that have failed to pay off this historic debt has paid £85.1 Million on interest and the bill of £40 Million remains?

      I believe that Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles education system have all been hit with block grant cuts, [as have the Scottish Gov] but the figure of £19.3 underfunding is entirely up to the council to distribute their grant as they see fit? …I thought you knew this John?

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        I know that you claim it to be the case and that Gary Robinson and other SIC councillors have stated that Shetland education is under-funded by £19.3Mpa.

        I also know that the Scottish government has immediately denied that Nicola Sturgeon belittled Ed Miliband’s prime ministerial potential and that they have yet to deny, long afterwards, these statements by Robinson and Carmichael, immensely damaging as they are for poor old Danus Skene’s campaign.

        If they’re not true, it would surely be a simple matter to deny them?

      • James Watt

        Robin, I was under the impression that the SICs budget was agreed between the SIC and COSLA, is this incorrect? My understanding was that the Scottish Government allocates a set amount for local councils then COSLA splits this between the the different councils.

      • Robin Stevenson

        John, Chart 1.1 – Net Revenue Expenditure per Capita by Local Authority, 2013-14 (£)

        http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/02/3131/2#chart1.1

        As I’m sure you’re aware, the Northern Isles are the highest paid councils [per capita] in Scotland. Perhaps the education budget has to be looked at again by SIC, is see little point in the SG throwing more money at an ongoing problem, the education budget IS decided by the council, [de facto] it is their responsibility to budget. I’m sure it would be great to have a school every square mile, but the practicalities and the expense would be astronomical, what is that wee quote you come out with again? “a toffee or a ha’penny” or something like that? either way, you can’t have both.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        Here’s what Gary Robinson said:

        “Gary Robinson
        March 17th, 2015 10:36
        I’m happy to answer John Tulloch’s questions.

        Q1. The grant that the council receives isn’t based on the Scottish average cost per pupil. What is often referred to as the cost per pupil doesn’t include all education expenditure in any council. It merely represents a basket of expenditure that’s benchmarked across local authorities.

        Q2. Orkney receives £22.1M from the Scottish Government against expenditure of £28.6M while the Western Isles gets £27.9M against expenditure of £45.9M. This compares to Shetland receiving £29M against expenditure of £48.3M; these figures are like-for-like costs across all of education from pre-school to HE/FE.”

        How does Mr Robinson know these amounts if SIC, simply, receives a single large sum of money which they must decide how to allocate, themselves, or has he just sat down and “made it all up” like the author of the notes for Sturgeon’s meeting with French diplomats?

        We’re just country folk, so you’ll have to talk us through how the information in your linked document forms any kind of denial of Mr Robinson’s claim?

        Why doesn’t the SNP Scottish Government just deny his claim if it isn’t true?

        And Alistair Carmichael’s claim that the SIC’s housing support grant money is still being paid to Holyrood, why don’t they deny that, too, if it isn’t true?

        It seems odd as they’ve been so quick to deny the Sturgeon claims.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Hey James, you may well be right? I know there were a few councils that decided to quit COSLA and I’m not too sure IF the Northern Isles are still members? on a piece I was reading, it stipulated that councils have the final say in how their particular budget is split up, but I didn’t realise that COSLA actually splits the amount in the first place between the different councils? so thanks for that.
        So IF that’s the case, that COSLA decide which council gets what, then this £19.3 million under-funded education system than John keeps harking on about, would you say that was the SG, COSLA, or SICs responsibility?

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        The SIC has to set its education budget and the result is £48.3Mpa expenditure, against £29Mpa funding received from the SNP Scottish Government.

        The education budget has been looked at many times and the SIC’s ideas for rationalising the rural schools have been doggedly opposed by the communities concerned, with the full support of SNP MSP Mike MacKenzie who has done a splendid job on their behalf.

        The 2010 Education Act outlaws closure of schools for financial reasons, alone, insisting schools may only be closed on educational grounds, so you’ve painted the councils into a corner.

        Westminster has recognised the extraordinarily high relative cost of living and providing services in remote rural areas in their report in response to discussions with the ‘Our Islands, Our Future’ group. However, the SNP Scottish Government has not recognised it, as evidenced by the seizure of the SIC’s housing support grant and the under-funding of Shetland’s education by £19.3 Mpa.

        Meanwhile, you expect islanders to vote for Danus Skene because he’s a decent fellow and a former Liberal and because you spin a wonderful yarn about how Shetland will join a ‘land of milk and honey’ – the ‘Promised Land’ of an independent Scotland.

        Seizure of assets and wheedling have been the hallmarks of every Scottish administration of the northern isles since 1468/9 and the islanders recognise it a mile off.

        The more you try to con your way into winning sovereignty over the isles without proper negotiations and local referenda, the more you will alienate Shetland voters and increase the likelihood of losing the isles, for ever.

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.