7th April 2020
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Carmichael holds on to seat despite SNP surge

, by , in Headlines, News, Videos

Alistair Carmichael has been returned as Northern Isles MP and the only Lib Dem left in Scotland narrowly defeating the SNP’s Danus Skene.

The declaration just before 4am indicated 9,407 votes for Mr Carmichael, 8,590 for Danus Skene, 2,025 for Conservative Donald Cameron, 1,625 for Gerry McGarvey (Labour) and 1,082 for Robert Smith (UKIP).

Mr Carmichael said that it had been “quite a remarkable election campaign”. He congratulated the SNP on quite a remarkable political achievement. “We truly live in  remarkable political times in Scotland.

He said it was a tremendous privilege to retain the seat and thanked the voters of Orkney and Shetland.

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott said he was relieved and delighted that Mr Carmichael had retained his seat and held off “the Tsunami” of SNP support that had been shown on Mainland Scotland.

Mr Skene said: “We have achieved a lot. This will genuinely change Northern Isles politics, it will make people think much more than they’ve had to.”


About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

View other stories by »


  1. Steven Jarmson

    At least some people have some sense.
    This again shows the separation of attitudes and life between us in Orkney a Shetland and the Scottish.
    If things keep going like this Shetland and Orkney will very definitely need to look at moving for our own referendum.

    • Brian Smith

      Er, whit aboot?

    • Mike Grant

      Apparently Shetland actually voted SNP, and Mr Carmichael was only saved by the Orkney voters.

      • John Tulloch

        Any evidence for that, Mike? If so, I may have to withdraw my previous assertion that Shetlanders are not so dull as to vote against the interests of Shetland?

        “Yis, yis, deyl be vottin ta gyit da lairds back, nixt!”

      • Robin Stevenson

        Really Mike?…now THAT is interesting…lol…Looks like Mr Tulloch and friends “Doom and Gloom” comments have been deservedly ignored by the lovely people of Shetland? 🙂

        Psst….Beware people of Shetland you HAVE to listen and believe everything that John & Co say.

        [after all who want’s to be regarded as “Dull”?]

      • iantinkler

        Not a scrap of evidence, pure here-say. Both sides made the same claim!

  2. John Tulloch

    Yes, Steven, once again, Shetland and Orkney have repulsed the advance of the ‘Tartan Army’.

    No amount of ‘carpetbagging’ will ever legalise sovereignty over Shetland and Orkney, only a local referendum, in each location, can do that.

    • David Spence

      John, you know as well I do, that will never happen. Shetlander’s, by their very nature, let anybody rule them because they do not have the strength, courage or tenacity to challenge authority or those who, whether legal or illegal (as in proof Scotland has sovereign rights to the islands) are in power to walk all over them. All because Shetlander’s like the easy life…….not creating waves, rocking the boat….call it what you want.

      It is a shame this is the situation, and with the vile Tories back in for another 5 years, I can guarantee that life up here on the islands will become a lot harder and more expensive as the Tory B******* execute the 60% of cuts they are proposing. If Shetland is solely dependent on ‘ market forces ‘ then this will cripple the islands and, more than likely, force many people to leave.

      • joe johnson

        Oh no! Another 5 years of David Spence moaning about “vile tories” ! I’m not a tory voter myself but I’ve got better things to do my time then moan about a political party.

  3. Robin Stevenson

    Congratulations all those that voted Lib/Dems, Alistair Carmichael has been a fairly ineffectual Mp while being a member of the UK government, along with holding the position of Secretary of State for Scotland, you have now succeeded in electing an “utterly” ineffectual MP who now has absolutely no influence at all, well done… 😉

    • Johan Adamson

      The SNP will take him under their wing and stop him voting for things like privatising the PO in future

    • John Tulloch


      The ‘Smileycon’ doesn’t quite disguise the grimace. It’s transparent, like the SNP’s attempt to woo Shetland and Orkney voters.

      • Robin Stevenson

        John, if you look carefully you’ll see it’s an expression of puzzlement, it is completely “puzzling” why anyone would be daft enough to vote for a dead party and an ineffectual MP? …Grimace?..lol…hardly, 56 seats out of 59 means it’s either full federalism or Indy 2…I couldn’t be happier, 🙂 I just feel sad for Danus and those Shetlanders that were clever enough to realize that the best way forward was voting SNP 🙁

      • John Tulloch

        I’m not puzzled at all, Robin, why they “voted for a dead party”.

        It’s simple, a “dead party” is far better than a live one with the SNP’s track record, especially, one that’s been instrumental in getting the Tories back into Downing Street.

        Of course, that’s what you wanted all along.

        As I say, the SNP Scottish Government might not be ‘open’ but they’re certainly ‘transparent’!

        I warned you a while back, ever since 1469, the islanders have learned to spot ‘carpetbaggers’ a mile off.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Good result for Orkney and Shetland, I think it would have been even closer but for the intervention of the hired help on this web site who inadvertently alerted us to the consequences of voting SNP. Nice try Robin, better luck next year.

        59 Scottish MPs in Westminster, just the same as the last government the only difference is Mhairi Black’s rope that the hung parliament was supposed to hang on, is now the rope the SNP will hang themselves on.

      • Robin Stevenson

        “It’s simple, a “dead party” is far better than a live one with the SNP’s track record, especially, one that’s been instrumental in getting the Tories back into Downing Street”.

        I was wondering who’d be the first clown to bring up that old chestnut John?….congrats 🙂

        With the Labour party on 232 seats and the SNP on 56 seats, how does that work again?…232 + 56 = 288
        Conservatives… 331 seats…hmm…So in what way was the SNP instrumental in getting the tories back to Downing street?…[Even if every SNP seat went to Labour, they STILL failed]

        I see you arithmetic isn’t getting any better John?…have you ever considered a calculator?

      • John Tulloch

        It was simple, Robin, and in a way, quite clever, I’ll give you that, however, you’ve been rumbled. Jim Murphy complained that the SNP had “stolen Labour’s clothes”, in the same way as Danus Skene tried to steal Jo Grimond’s clothes in Shetland and after that, more money and a well-organised campaign, it was easy.

        Here’s what today’s editorial in the blog ‘For Argyll’ said about it:

        “This Conservative government is in power directly because the SNP felled Labour in Scotland and damaged it in England by its ‘tar baby’ grasping of that party to its breast.”

        Succinctly put, in my book.

      • John Tulloch

        People aren’t so dull as to fall for that “arithmetic” nonsense that you’ve all been told to put about. I mean, how pathetic is that, three or four of you all saying exactly the same thing?

        In fact, Farage was moaning about that very “tar baby” gimmick referred to in my last comment. He said the thought of Labour ‘in hawk’ to the SNP scared the pants off English voters and drove them to the only safe haven available, the Tories.

        Neat little manouevre, you got everthing you really wanted all along, an SNP landslide in Scotland and the Tories back in – best of all – with an overall majority.

        As I say, “a neat little manouevre”, the downside is you’ve been rumbled.

      • Ali Inkster

        It’s quite simple Wrobin The electorate in the rest of the UK dropped labour like a hot potato The thought of the SSnp tail wagging the labour dog drove folk from voting labour and UKIP to voting Tory to prevent just that from happening, Never mind you will get another referendum and you may even win it this time, but one thing is for sure Shetland and Orkney wont be going down the Swannie with you. 🙂

  4. Robert Duncan

    Any truth in the reports that at the midway point, with Shetland votes counted and Orkney votes about to begin, Danus Skene and the SNP were leading? Is that something that we’ll ever know for sure?

  5. John Oakes Manchester England

    All hail RUK LONG LIVE RUK. The Scots have spoke and labour lost badly. In fact limpdems are now looking at the embers for crumbs. We in England can see where this will go with a independent nation on our doorstep.

  6. Kathy Greaves

    Perhaps Carmichael will have more time to listen to his constituents in these islands now, and not swan about empire building in Westminster. Time to get back to basics.

    • Robin Stevenson

      You’re right Kathy, Alistair “Will” have more time to listen to his constituents, and do exactly what he’s been doing for the last five years in power, which amounted to…erm….what exactly?

  7. Iantinkler

    Wrobin do not get too excited, with the Tories absolute majority in Westminster Alistair will have about as much influence as the entire SNP, unless Cameron wishes otherwise. Just spare a thought for UKIP, the other side of the “nationalist” coin, the SNP polled not quite half as many votes as UKIP, strange world is it not, with PR UKIP would have twice as many seats as the SNP at least.

    • Robert Duncan

      Not quite half as many votes having stood in not quite a tenth of the seats…

      I’m in favour of voting reform but comments coming out today regarding UKIP’s share of the vote on a national level strike me as completely misunderstanding how the House of Commons works. What relevance does national vote have to our local candidates?

    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian, that’s rather amusing I have to say, “Alistair will have about as much influence as the entire SNP”, And, pray tell, how will Ali C manage to do that Ian?….Lib/Dem seats = 8….SNP seats = 56?…Now, IF the Lib/Dems do not get their demands met from the Tory government, what are they going to do about it Ian?….erm….not one blind thing…..However, IF the SNP do not get their demands met by the Tory government, what are they going to do about it?…..lol…have you not worked it out yet Sherlock?

    • Robert Sim

      Ian, as the third party in the House of Commons, the SNP will have parliamentary opposition time and be able to put questions to the prime minister. The SNP is also in negotiation with the UK Government regarding further powers. That is an indication of the real pressure, both in practical and moral terms, which the SNP is now able to exert at Westminster. Pity that Orkney and Shetland will be outside of that.

  8. John Tulloch

    I winder quan da submarine cable fir Viking’ Energy’ll be comin’, hit’ll shorly no be lang noo?

    • David Spence

      Correct me if I am wrong, John……..but during the fibre-optic cable carry on, was it not the case Her Majesty’s Treasury were wanting £55,000 from Shetland a year for just a very thin cable lying on the seabed between Shetland and mainland Scotland?

      I dread to think, on the basis the VE Project gets up and running, what HMT will be wanting for the Interconnector Cable, and who exactly will be paying for this annual extortionate fee?

  9. john irvine

    Congratulations to all throughout Scotland who voted SNP.

    It is you who have made sure that the Conservatives now have the majority they need.

    • Bill Adams

      I think you will find that it was the electorate in England who voted in a Conservative Government.

      • Gordon Harmer

        You were told time and time again, vote SNP get a Tory government, thanks Bill I for one appreciate your help 😉

      • John Tulloch

        I think you will find it was fear of the SNP holding Labour to ransom that cost both Labour and Ukip to lose English votes to the Tories.

        Just like the SNP wrote it in the script, they wanted the Tories back so they could play their little game of “the Scottish electorate have sent a clear message that they want…X, Y, Z, …and e.g. an end to austerity..and…and..”

        And when the dog rebels against being ‘wagged by the tail’ they will trot out all the old tripe about “governments the Scots didn’t vote for” dictating in Scotland with “no mandate to govern”, etc.

        Too bad then, by the same token, that the SNP “doesn’t have a mandate to govern” in Shetland and Orkney!

        Come to think of it, they haven’t even the legal right to govern in Orkney and Shetland, far less, have a mandate!

      • Iantinkler

        Bill Adams, it was the awful thought of a minority Labour government in Westminster being reliant on Salmond and his pals which forced the vote in the Tories favor. Well done SNP wiped out labour and enables Cameron an absolute majority. Next thing full fiscal autonomy for Scotland, Sturgeon asked for that, poor Scotland will have to pay for ending austerity, free education and all. No Barnett formula money, times will be really tough, loads of benefits for all, loads of new Scottish taxes to pay for it and no one to blame but the SNP.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Aah!…So it was the fear of voters of the “potential” of the SNP that could “possibly” hold Labour to ransom? in other words could be, maybe, perhaps, or whitabootary?…What a load of utter guff John, desperately trying to blame the SNP for Labours inability to run a half decent campaign and failed miserably.

        By the way, you’re obviously oblivious to the fact that Shetland and Orkney govern themselves through their democratically elected councils, the beauty of your argument, is when it all goes pear-shaped, you simply blame the Scottish government, that you never voted for or helped in any way in the first place?

    • George Pottinger

      Arithmetic not one of your strong subjects, John? Do the math. I think you’ll find that the result in Scotland had no impact at all on the Tory win!

      • iantinkler

        Arithmetic not one of your strong subjects, John? Do the math. I think you’ll find that the result in Scotland had no impact at all on the Tory win! Relay “Arithmetic not one of your strong subjects!! George!! ?

      • George Oottinger

        In response to Ian Tinkler’s response, “Relay “Arithmetic not one of your strong subjects!! George!! ?” – Whit?
        Try English Ian, it is much more understandable in a debate, unless,of course, it is as poor as your Arithmetic.

    • John Jamieson

      Correct my arithmetic if I am wrong but do you think that if we substitute 56 Labour MPs for the 56 SNP MPs elected on Thursday it would give us a Labour Government ?

    • Robin Stevenson

      Brilliant deduction John, now let’s imagine that every one of the 59 seats in Scotland went to Labour, how would that have stopped the 100 seat more Conservative government?….

      • Gordon Harmer

        That is simple Robin, with the 59 Scottish seats going to Labour there would not have been the threat of the SNP tail wagging the Westminster Labour dog so the English Labour vote would have been greater giving Labour a working majority.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Aah..So it was our “Mere presence” was it Gordon? the evil socially democratic party on offer, anything to keep out the Scots? remember them, remember the UK telling us how much they lurved us, we’d miss you, we’re a family of nations, we’re equals?….Ooh!..So you’re staying are you? Then STAND over there and keep quiet, and DON’T ever imagine you’re allowed an opinion on important matters like being a fair member of a Westminster system, you can stay, but ONLY if you behave yourself….lol…you couldn’t make it up….[Now where did I leave those English votes for English laws?]

      • Gordon Harmer

        English votes for English laws, nothing wrong with that when we are talking about devolved powers that the rest of the UK have no right to vote on, goose and gander come to mind.
        Cut the spin Robin no one is falling for your trademark patter, nothing to with Scots per se, it is the 5% of the Scottish MPs wagging the 95% of the rest of the UKs MPs dog that was the problem. But that plan has been foiled thank goodness. The majority of Scots are not interested in wagging the UK dog just the inward looking minority, we do not want to separate from the UK, get used to it.
        Oh and if you reply try and be original instead of repeating Sturgeon’s rhetorical diktats.

      • Robin Stevenson

        You’re right of course Gordon, there’s nothing wrong with English votes for English laws, unless those votes and laws affect Scotland, directly or indirectly? Scottish MPs, in the past, have never voted on English matters incidentally, the main difference being, Scottish Parliament votes do not affect English matters, whereas Westminster [UK] votes may affect Scottish matters. and as such it is a nonsense to disallow Scottish MPs to vote on matters that may concern Scotland.
        Once again Gordon, this isn’t a referendum on independence, however, the Scottish electorate have spoken, and as such, we look forward to see what our “Good friends and neighbours”, are going to offer?

        [Just out of interest Gordon, do you think Scotland would have got less or more out of a Labour Government?]

  10. David Spence

    Joe Johnson ‘ Oh no! Another 5 years of David Spence moaning about “vile tories” ! I’m not a tory voter myself but I’ve got better things to do my time then moan about a political party. ‘

    Joe, you obviously lack the knowledge of what a democracy is…………and I am pretty sure you have moaned, complained, criticized many a political party.

    And yes, I hate the vile Tories immensely, as they DO NOT represent the people of the country by any stretch of the imagination…………surely you have enough wit to realize this?………they only, as their past performance proves, look after their own interests and nothing else. As said previously, Capitalism (Conservatism) is selfish to the core, and highly destructive towards the ordinary the majority of people……….but alas, if your political allegiance is with the vile Tories (selfishness) then role on the revolution to annihilate such a political, selfish ideology.

    • joe johnson

      David spence, I’m not a tory voter, never have been. May I ask who you voted for in the election.

  11. iantinkler

    Wrobin, to have influence in Westminster, during a crucial vote you need a minimum of 326ish votes, a majority, no-more no less. 8 votes or 300, nether will do, elementary to most, simples for some. erm, hmmm! What other influence the SNP may have is entirely Cameron’s choice, scarey!!

    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian, based on that [naive] theory, would defeat the purpose on any kind of opposition, Labour, SNP and the rest would be as well to pack up and just go home….simples?…so it would seem in your wee world.

  12. iantinkler

    For the benefit of the really, really stupid, erm, hmm!, it was the awful thought of a minority Labour government in Westminster being reliant on Salmond and his pals which forced the English, and Welsh to vote in the Tories favour not the kindergarten maths being quoted. Salmond’s unpleasant and unnecessary jibes and sneers during the “Indie” campaign stirred up a real and profound dislike south of the border for all things SNP. That utter disdained made many a liberal minded Sothern voter, vote for the Tories. Sadly many of my Sothern friends would happily cast Scotland adrift with a jibe of good riddance that is how divisive and unpleasant “nationalism” can and has been. Achievements so far of the SNP, lost the referendum, stirred up elitists and xenophobic sentiments, north and South of the border, split communities and enabled thugs and idiots to run riot, anonymous death threats and assorted insults to be thrown almost as the norm. Probably the most important and profound result of Scottish Nationalism is to have alienated many English and the Scottish peoples, creating real resentment and dislike, finally it has vastly empowered the Tories with an absolute majority. That will in itself create more real resentment and dislike, I fear that was Salmond’s real initial aim, to create division and dislike, and break the Union that way, nothing as yet has convinced me otherwise.

    • peter thomas

      “Alex Salmond told supporters he will be writing Labour’s first budget.” There is a reason why……

      • Ali Inkster

        He’s going to have to wait at least 5 years

    • Robin Stevenson

      A rather interesting take on things Ian. So, basically it should just have continued with, we don’t really mind our Scots, as long as they know their place and don’t expect an opinion on important matters, in fact, let’s have “English votes for English laws”, that way Scots will be regarded as second class MPs and so long as they don’t rock our safe two party establishment then we’ll allow them to play braveheart.

      Brilliant Ian, “Get up aff yer knees man”.

  13. Ali Inkster

    Every county involved in the allied effort in WWII celebrated the 70th anniversary of VE day except Scotland and the government of Scotland the SSnp. Could it be because for them it is DE day.

  14. iantinkler

    Wrobin, just what is your point here, explain what you are blathering about. I have a bit of news for you, I am just as Scottish as you. I just regard the UK as something a little bigger than just Scotland alone and I do not carry the Nationalist chip on my shoulder like so many within the SNP.

    • Robin Stevenson

      I have no issue with you choosing to be a part of the UK Ian, in fact, that was voted upon and you won, however, I’m not particularly happy watching my fellow Scots being told little fibs, mistruths and down right lies, whether it’s through our MSM, politicians or forums like these, thus, moi…Ta da. 🙂

      As we’ve seen with the referendum and now the GE, Scots are now one of the most politically engaged countries on our planet, there has been a tidal wave, an awakening of our electorate, a real thirst for wanting what’s best for our nation, it just so happens that my priority is Scotland, and I want what’s best for my fellow Scot and my country, it’s NOT a chip [as you like to call it] it is about redistribution of wealth and fairness Ian….. What’s your excuse?