19th November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Carmichael staying put as Northern Isles MP, he says

92 comments, , by , in Headlines, News

Alistair Carmichael has vowed to remain as MP for the isles despite widespread calls for him to step down after he admitted leaking a private memo in a bid to smear First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Just three weeks after narrowly retaining his seat by a massively reduced majority of just 817, Mr Carmichael has insisted he will not bow to pressure to give up his Orkney and Shetland seat, and will stand on his record within Westminster over the last 14 years.

However, local SNP convener Robbie McGregor has called on the Liberal Democrats to condemn the former Scottish Secretary’s behaviour.

Mr Carmichael’s political career has been hanging in the balance since news broke that he authorised the leak of a private memo from Ms Sturgeon to the French ambassador. The First Minister was said to have claimed she preferred David Cameron as Prime Minister over Ed Miliband.

Both she and the French ambassador have since insisted the conversation did not take place, despite claims in the national media that the memo leaked was an accurate reflection of the conversation which took place.

“I’ve said already I very much regret the position I am in but I have been member of parliament for Orkney and Shetland for the last 14 years,” Mr Carmichael said.

“I’ve worked hard for local people and believe that’s the record on which I am entitled to rely, and that’s the job I am now going to be getting on with. None of that has changed.”

Around 40 people marched through Lerwick on Saturday calling on Mr Carmichael to stand down. A similar demonstration was also staged in Kirkwall. Thousands have already signed petitions calling for him to leave office.

Many are angry that Mr Carmichael claimed he had no knowledge of the leak when questioned by reporters, responding with the now oft-quoted phrase “these things happen”.

In a letter to The Shetland Times, Mr McGregor stated that SNP members felt “very aggrieved” by the MP.

He wrote: “We spent a considerable amount of time and effort on the campaign and now feel that not only was a dirty trick  deployed but a lie was concocted to cover up responsibility for it. We feel cheated by methods that are totally non-Shetland or typical of the people who live here.”

Mr McGregor said an apology was due by the MP to the people of Shetland.

“I await comment from the Lib Dem MSPs and the local party and their condemnation of Mr Carmichael’s behaviour,” he added. “If nothing is forthcoming I will assume that they condone his actions.”

About Ryan Taylor

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

View other stories by »

92 comments

  1. iantinkler

    Now which Muppet started the story the inquiry cost £1.4 million, was that an SNP smear or a Tories issuing a leak. Someone tell me who made that figure up.

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      It started on social media and then the figure was taken up by the SNP leadership, Stewart Hosie being one of them on Radio Scotland. Alex Salmond then did an interview with the Press and Journal where he is calling for the blood of David Mundell, insinuating he is somehow involved. https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/589812/video-people-voted-carmichael-false-pretences-hes-deep-trouble-says-salmond/

      This is turning into a witch hunt and is being driven by the SNP and the Yes campaign who according to BBC Radio Orkney are starting a crowd funding appeal to raise £6000 to go to the court of session to try and get rid of Carmichael. This is not how democracy works this is mob rule.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Gordon,

        Are you saying senior SNP figures are baying for Carmichael’s downfall, while quoting false cost figures from the internet?

      • Robert Duncan

        Mundell was Carmichael’s Deputy as Scottish Secretary and they shared an office. It seems unlikely he didn’t know about all of this, regardless of ultimate responsibility resting with Carmichael.

      • Robert Duncan

        And crowdfunding money to take something to attempt legal recourse is a nice example of modern democracy in action, in my view… If the majority want Carmichael to remain he should win a by-election with ease.

      • Richard Holmes

        “The People Versus Carmichael” crowd funding appeal has now been launched to challenge the election result in Orkney and Shetland. £4000 raised so far.

        Please spread the word and contribute if you can.

      • George Pottinger

        Gordon – What we are defending is democratic rule by honest candidates winning an election. Mob rule is by physical force. We want honest democracy to win. Let Carmichael defend his position, if he is so sure of his popularity, by standing down and fighting a by-election.

      • John Tulloch

        Really, George? That rules out Skene and MacKenzie, then.

      • Gordon Harmer

        @Robert, “Mundell was Carmichael’s Deputy as Scottish Secretary and they shared an office. It seems unlikely he didn’t know about all of this”. This is as bad as the leaked memo at the center of this debate, what gives you the right to condemn Carmichael and say something equally as bad, with even less evidence than he had to say what he said?

        @George, Some nerve you have, I don’t hear you condemning Salmond for lying about our EU membership and Swinney lying about his meeting with the Bank of England about a currency union. Double standards all round, especially as the party leading this hunt for Carmichael’s blood were the most prolific liars all through the independence referendum.

      • Robin Stevenson

        “The People Versus Carmichael” crowd funding appeal £14,453 so far….Best Tenner I,ve spent in ages 🙂

      • Robert Duncan

        ” This is as bad as the leaked memo at the center of this debate, what gives you the right to condemn Carmichael and say something equally as bad, with even less evidence than he had to say what he said?”

        This makes little sense. I assume you mean Mundell rather than Carmichael, but even then I have “condemned” neither. To suggest that Mundell – Under-Secretary of State for Scotland – was aware of a memo that his superior granted permission to be issued to the press, is not a ludicrous suggestion. To not have been aware of said memo would frankly make him worse at his job that the alternative, but to suggest either case is not in any way to “condemn” him and is certainly not a smear.

        Might I suggest taking things down a few notches rather than constantly getting in such a fluster that you feel the need to exaggerate points like these?

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robert no one is in a fluster, you said, “Mundell was Carmichael’s Deputy as Scottish Secretary and they shared an office. It seems unlikely he didn’t know about all of this”. So what gives you the right to make assumptions about Mundell which cannot be proven, while you condemn Carmichael for his actions. Double standards if you ask me. You are basically accusing Mundell of being part of this affair, who are you to make such a judgement?

      • Duncan Fraser

        David Mundell, defending himself today:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcJWcjwYMfc

    • Neil Mackenzie

      That figure comes from Paul Flynn who is a Welsh Labour MP.

      Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      The first person I saw mention it was (English) Labour MP Paul Flynn. Dafties on all sides.

      Reply
    • David Bourbaki

      Not an SNP smear or a Tory leak. It started with a tweet from Paul Flynn Labour MP for Newport which apear now to have been deleted. Even if it only cost £140 it was still public money wasted because of Carmichael’s lies.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        @David Bourbaki,

        You seem to be telling us that the SNP have been using an unsubstantiated piece of gossip from Twitter to discredit Carmichael – wouldn’t that be itself a ‘dirty trick’?

        Get real, it couldn’t possibly have taken more than a couple of days of somebody’s time whose salary would be paid in any case to find out that a government phone was used to call the Daily Telegraph and whose phone it was. After that, we’re talking minutes.

        Even an outside investigator would have to be very highly paid, indeed, for his time not to have been amply covered by the severance payments foregone by Messrs Carmichael and Roddin.

    • Robert Duncan

      Gordon Harmer, might I ask you to point out where I have condemned Alistair Carmichael for allowing the memo to be leaked?

      My only criticism of him is that he actively denied knowledge or responsibility when asked in the aftermath. To my knowledge Mundell did not.

      However the assumption that Mundell knew about the memo is hardly an extraordinary one. As I said, to not have known would have been a worse indictment of his role, in my view.

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        Sorry Robert, my reply was in haste and I misunderstood the meaning of your comment.
        But I still do not think you have the right to make assumptions about Mr Mundell it is just as feasible Mr Carmichael kept it away from him, after all they are members of different parties even though they were in Coalition.

      • Robert Duncan

        This wasn’t a party political issue though, it happened while Mr Carmichael was a Secretary of the Government his party formed with Mr Mundell’s. As far as Scottish Office duties go, they were colleagues.

  2. tony zendle

    So the SNP called on Carmichael to resign. IN the words of the late great Mandy Rice Davies “Well they would say that wouldn’t they”. I don’t hear of any sackings their side for their bully boy tactics during the election

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      What “bully boy” tactics would those be Tony? Was it the Snp that conducted “project fear” then? Or do you mean like the terms used by some of the posters on this forum, like “SsNP, fascists, nazi’s”,?..Or do you mean the bullying way in which the wee girls in George sq were abused by our “better together”, orange walk order?…

      Reply
  3. Richard Holmes

    “The right to freedom of speech is a fundamental one but it does bring a responsibility with it to tell the truth. The right to smear an opponent is not one we should be defending.”

    Alistair Carmichael, Shetland Times, 12 Nov 2010.

    I think that your constituents deserve a ‘second chance’, Mr Carmichael.

    #CarmichaelMustGo

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      He did not smear an opponent he leaked a memo which has not been deemed untrue by the inquiry and Sturgeon was not an opponent as she is the First Minister of the Scottish parliament, she was not standing for Westminster.
      Twisting and spinning what someone said to suit your argument makes you as bad as Carmichael for lying.

      Reply
      • George Pottinger

        So, Gordon, you admit that Carmichael was lying.
        That is a start, at least.
        Now we need to know why you are supporting a self-confessed liar and why you wish him to remain as your representative in Westminster?

      • Gordon Harmer

        George you are about three days behind everyone else, yes he lied he admitted that, but the memo was true, the inquiry stated so, therefore it is possible Sturgeon lied, are you going to beat your chest about that. I am supporting a self confessed liar because he was man enough to confess to his lie. Unlike Salmond and Swinney who were both proven liars who you seem to support and are unwilling to admonish. Like I said to you before George, climb down from the moral high ground you do not have any right to be there.

      • John Tulloch

        Here’s why I would support Carmichael, George:

        As I’ve explained many times, the alternative, some combination of the ‘Dynamic Duo’, Skene and MacKenzie, would be no better where honesty is concerned and a damned sight worse where representing their constituents is concerned.

        Leaving aside the SNP’s present ‘rage du jour’, Carmichael’s record as a constituency MP is outstanding whereas the SNP Scottish government’s track record in Shetland is utterly abysmal.

        Do let me know if you want to debate these points (hint: better ask MacKenzie if it’s ok, first).

        As somebody once said: “Go on, make my day!”

      • Richard Holmes

        It was a blatant attempt to smear Sturgeon, Gordon, and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous, to say the least.

        Furthermore, Carmichael compounded his sins by lying about being behind the leak, and then, worst of all, by hiding the truth from his constituents whilst the election went ahead, safe in the knowledge that by the time the expensive enquiry had published their report, election day would be past and he would be home and dry for another 5 years.

        It is this last point that I, as one of the people that he represents, find particularly unacceptable. The people of Orkney and Shetland should be given a second chance.

      • Richard Holmes

        Gordon; the memo was not a true account of the conversation that took place between Nicola Sturgeon and Sylvie Bermann, the French ambassador to the United Kingdom; both say so.

        Even Carmichael admits this in his letter of apology to Sturgeon. Or was he lying about this, too?

      • Gordon Harmer

        Have a read at this Richard,

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/SNP/11515276/Revealed-Full-text-of-Nicola-Sturgeon-memo.html

        If the people of O&S should get a second chance, why should Carmichael ?
        I do not believe this was an attempt to smear Sturgeon because I believe she said what was claimed and the report backs me up. So what do we do now sack Sturgeon?

      • Richard Holmes

        Gordon

        The test of the memo is irrelevant as it is a 3rd hand account which Nicola Sturgeon and Sylvie Bermann state is inaccurate.

        Alistair Carmichael also now admits that the contents are not a true account; you can read his letter of apology on Sturgeon’s twitter account. Or is he lying about that as well?

      • Alec Macpherson

        ==> The test of the memo is irrelevant as it is a 3rd hand account

        No, at worst it was a second hand account which has explicitly not been said to be botched.

        ==> which Nicola Sturgeon [state is inaccurate]

        She said it was 100% false. It’s not. She also said she had legal advice on EU accession or being in technical discussions with the BofE about CU, which *was* 100% false.

        ==> and Sylvie Bermann state is inaccurate.

        No she didn’t. She didn’t comment.

        ~alec

      • Robert Duncan

        The memo was written by a civil servant based upon a conversation with the French General-Consul to Scotland, based upon his knowledge of a conversation between Nicola Sturgeon and Sylvia Bermann, the French ambassador to the UK. It is not a second hand account.

        The conclusions of the public inquiry do not “explicitly say it has not been botched”, they simply rule out any politically motivated deception, leaving plenty of room for, “honest mistakes”.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Alec

        The memo WAS a third hand account, Nicola 1st hand, the Consul 2nd hand, the civil servant 3rd hand. Ali Carmichael 4th hand, the Telegraph 5th hand.

        The part of the memo that Nicola was referring to being 100% wrong was what the civil servant “Thought” he heard, he heard wrong, as confirmed by Nicola, the Ambassador AND the consul.

        Sylvia Bermann, was interviewed and stated that she along with Nicola discussed No such thing.

        Where are you getting your information from Alec?…The Beano?…

  4. Chris Brown

    The price tag seems to have emanated from a Labour MSP who declined to identify the source but said it was from a ‘reliable’ person. The cost is irrelevant; the fact is Mr. Carmichael was caught out lying about his role in disseminating a dishonest document as if it were truthful. He was trying to sway an election through dishonest means and was abusing his position as a government minister – which he has now admitted.
    There has to be a question over Mr. Mundell’s role as well. If he did not know what was going on, why was he kept out of the loop? Equally, since Labour and Conservative were ready to comment as soon as the Telegraph issued the story, it seems very likely that they had already been tipped off so that they could get their comments in immediately.

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      Sheer conjecture on your part Chris, what gives you the right to condemn Carmichael and then assume with out any evidence someone else is guilty too. You are all good at making accusations with no evidence and hunting the blood of Carmichael for doing the same.

      Reply
  5. joe johnson

    Really don’t know why a big fuss is being made over this. All politicians lie. Seen it all before.

    Reply
  6. Johan Adamson

    Nah, gie up folk. His skin is too thick and we are too lowly to give him the heave ho he deserves. He knew that when he agreed to take the blame. Im trying to think of his 14 years and what he has done to deserve the second chance.

    Reply
  7. iantinkler

    So the Carmichael inquiry did not cost the tax payer £1.4 million, perhaps nothing like that. Now are any of the Muppets whom so quoted such a figure going to apologies for their own defamatory false statements. I very much doubt that. Now Salmond wasted £200,000 of public funds fighting a freedom of information case which ultimately showed him to be an absolute liar, no apologies ever given from him!!. At least Carmichael admitted his actions and had the grace to apologies. Far more than Alex ever did, now let’s cut the hypocrisy and move on, that’s if the SNP ever can do such a thing.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      How much DID the enquiry cost then Ian?…Almost every paper I read, and chanel watched, radio station listened to, kept brandishing about this figure of £1.4 Million, were they ALL lying then?…

      Please link proof of the £200,000 of public funds used for fighting the FOI Ian?…OR was it a typo and should have read £20,000?…Or did you read it in the Telegraph, in which case the real figure was probably £20 or nothing at all?

      Let’s hear how Alex was supposedly lying: AN = Andrew Neil, AS = Alex Salmond

      AN – So we’ve established that it is unprecedented, though you’re trying to give a guarantee. Have you sought advice from your own Scottish law officers in this matter?
      AS – We have, Yes, in terms of the debate, and obviously…
      AN – …and what do they say?
      AS – …well, you can read that in the documents we’ve put forward, which argue the position that we’d be successor states…
      AN – interrupts again.

      So what this clearly shows – I repeat, clearly shows – is that when he first answered ‘Yes’ he was talking about already published legal advice, advice he had already gained permission to publish. He was not talking about any other advice as that would be against the ministerial code.

      Hardly criminal Ian, wouldn’t you admit?

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        But Robin you do not believe the papers you get your info from Wikilies.

      • Ali Inkster

        According to the folk that carried out the enquiry “A Cabinet Office spokeswoman told Shetland News the department would not “give a running commentary” and did not comment on “internal processes”, but claimed the inquiry was “done as quickly as possible”.

        The spokeswoman said assertions that the investigation had cost £1.4 million were inaccurate, and that the only cost had been the staff time for Cabinet Office employees.”
        So Wrobin now we have an idea of what it cost and that would be a hell of a lot less than the lawyers charged when Salmond and Sturgeon went to court to try and cover up their lies.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Well we don’t know the actual cost do we Ali?…We do know one paper suggested that the Alex Salmond cost was £12k, but then that paper [Telegraph] talks nonsense, so we don’t know the true cost of either??

        £1.4 Million was the figure being presented by the MSM, personally, I find that figure very hard to believe, but I’m still waiting for the true figure?

        I’d be far more interested to hear your condemnation of the Alex Salmond Interview with Andrew Neil [above] Where are the lies?…I’m serious, I don’t get what all the hullabaloo was about?…

  8. George Petrie

    If there is nothing to hide then let the court decide with all the evidence, if guilty then a by-election…. that way both legally and moraly the right decision is taken for the good of the constituents and the party.

    Reply
  9. Dan Huil

    I am not a resident of Orkney or Shetland but I believe his behaviour was and is beyond the pale. He lied to the people of Orkney and Shetland. He lied to us all. I wish the legal campaign well.

    Reply
  10. David Thomson

    Pots and kettles as usual from the SNP leadership, spin,spin spin!

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/oct/23/alex-salmond-eu-legal-advice-scotland

    Short memories I think.

    Reply
  11. Gordon Laurenson

    Joe Grimmond would be totally ashamed of his behaviour and now his current attitude.

    Reply
    • Richard Holmes

      I once held the LibDems in high regard, and voted for Carmichael in 2010. What would Jo Grimond make of it all?

      Reply
  12. iantinkler

    Here is a thought for you Robin Stevenson, actually based on fact, not some hearsay you may or may not have read in the papers. Salmond lied through his teeth about taking legal advice with regard to an Indy Scotland joining the European Union.
    Salmond also lied through his teeth about discussions he claimed to have held with European leaders about Scotlands proposed entry into the European Union if Scotland became independent. He fabricated areal tissue of deceit.
    Now what has Nicola Sturgeon just done? Alex Salmond MP, a man whom has a track record for dishonesty regarding Europe, has been appointed as the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman in Westminster. Now Robin how in the name of all honesty can you regard that appointment as not condoning Salmond’s dishonesty, does it not speak volumes about Sturgeon and the SNP? (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/10367759/Alex-Salmond-spent-20000-keeping-secret-non-existent-EU-legal-advice.html http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-alex-salmond-hid-legal-reality-of-an-independent-scotlands-eu-status-9026325.html http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/oct/23/alex-salmond-eu-legal-advice-scotland http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/10/10/snp-eu-legal-advice_n_4075966.html ) (http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2010927 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/11100406/Alex-Salmond-accused-of-lying-over-EU-talks.html )(http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/alex-salmond-appointed-as-snps-foreign-affairs-spokesman-in-westminster-10247018.html http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/alex-salmond-named-snp-s-foreign-affairs-spokesman-1-3771629 )
    Enough references Wrobin??

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian, please see my above post, watch the interview, then come back and try to explain where the deceit lies? Frankly, it’s rather pointless with all you pro-union press links they all just copy and paste each other anyway? Maybe one of these days you might manage to work out that each and every paper you’ve linked has it in for Alex Salmond and the SNP, therefore tainted and pointless.

      Reply
  13. Sandy McMillan

    Alistair Carmichael, Has to pay for his own stupidy, A By Election is the only way forward, without Carmichael he does not deserve a second chance he has let both Orkney and Shetland down badly.

    Reply
  14. George Pottinger

    John – Re. “Really, George? That rules out Skene and MacKenzie, then.”
    Why don’t you set down here the specific lies you accuse Skene and MacKenzie of?
    I bet you don’t!
    Scared of defamation I bet!
    Go on, be a devil and try it.
    I would guess that you lack the cojones!

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      George,

      I have detailed their dishonest behaviour towards the electorate many times.

      1. Danus Skene thinks “missiles on the Clyde” are so much more important than anything to do with Shetland that he speaks about such issues to the exclusion of vital ones like under-funding of Shetland’s education system, etc.

      2. Mike MacKenzie burst on to the Shetland scene, ostensibly, picking up cudgels on behalf of rural parents fighting school closures, in full knowledge of the fact that Shetland’s education is being “systematially” (nothing to do with Westminster cuts) under-funded by, at least, £10Mpa. He never once mentioned that or did anything to improve funding, choosing instead to challenge Gary Robinson’s statements about government funding.

      Now, you may point out that neither of these examples, is, technically, “telling a lie”‘however they certainly both amount to “living a lie”; a lie which, unlike Alistair Carmichael, they won’t even discuss, far less, own up to.

      Reply
  15. Leslie Lowes

    I thought those who were pursuing Alistair Carmichael were just self-righteous critics, or perhaps were simply bad losers after a closely contested election.

    I was wrong. They are bullies trying to drive him out of the office he was elected to as Member of Parliament for Orkney and Shetland. Parliamentary democracy prevails in this country, not bullying.
    The man has apologised. Many others in this type of predicament have not. Stop trying to bully a duly elected MP into resigning.

    Alistair, who saved our coastguard station, our emergency tugs and many other targets of Tory cuts aand more…. Alistair, stand by your constituents who appreciate what you have done and above all, stand up to these bullies!

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Hear, hear!

      Reply
    • Johan Adamson

      Off with his head!

      Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Leslie, I think you’re forgetting that it was Alistair Carmichael and the Lib/Dems who voted along with the tories for the £30 Billion cuts, So how can he now save us from them???

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Robin Stevenson,

        Just as well Scotland wasn’t independent in 2008, we’d have joined the “Arc of Bankruptcy” with the rest of Alex’s economic heroes.

        As for your much-lamented £30 billion of cuts, please remind us about the size of the current UK government deficit, AFTER those cuts?

        Time to end the “Ally’s Army” approach to economics.

    • Richard Holmes

      Carmichael treated us with contempt by hiding the truth from us whilst the election went ahead. We deserve a second chance; Carmichael should stand down, and if he so desires, seek a mandate from us now that we know the extent of his involvement in this sorry affair.

      Reply
  16. Gareth Fair

    Politicians leak things to the press all the time. The whole point of leaking something (rather than putting it on Twitter etc) is that they can deny having anything to do with it.
    It’s often in our interest that they do this.
    We now see Carmichael had no reason to believe this was inaccurate and as such it would have been in the public interest to leak this.
    He just made a bit of a hash of it.
    I personally don’t see this as a big deal.

    Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      “We now see Carmichael had no reason to believe this was inaccurate”

      Not the case at all. The spinning of those enquiry findings has been extraordinary and as over-the-top as the calls for Carmichael to resign.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch
      • George Pottinger

        Robert – there has always been room for doubt as the final sentence of the memo states.

        “I have to admit that I’m not sure that the FM’s tongue would be quite so loose on that kind of thing in a meeting like that, so it might well be a case of something being lost in translation.”

      • Robert Duncan

        Yes, I had John.

        “I have to admit that I’m not sure that the FM’s tongue would be quite so loose on that kind of thing in a meeting like that, so it might well be a case of something being lost in translation.”

        I’d suggest there is plenty “reason to believe this was inaccurate”, given the memo-taker himself is far from convinced that it is accurate.

        The claimed certainty from all sides is as daft as can be. We don’t know what was said. Carmichael was wrong to lie about things after the memo had been leaked, but other than that element the entire thing is a storm in a teacup and I long for the day people on both sides step trying to score petty points from it.

      • Gareth Fair

        Robert,
        I take your point but the enquiry has access to all the people concerned in this and more than likely access to all voice and email communications.
        The memo itself would form just a part of it.
        Taking any one component of the enquiry and saying the conclusions are wrong is not right in my opinion.
        Maybe someone will leak all of it then we wil know 🙂

      • John Tulloch

        Robert,

        Why would you say Consul General Coffinier was “keen to fill me (a representative of the FM’s political opponents) in on some of the conversations his Ambassador had during her visit to Scotland last week”?

        It was quite extraordinary that the French CG would be “keen” to divulge such an explosive piece of information from the FM’s meeting with the French Ambassador which it must have been reasonable for the FM to think would remain in confidence – “between us girls” – don’t you agree?

      • Robert Duncan

        Gareth, the memo relates to a spoken, unrecorded conversation. There is no email trail of relevance.

        John, I struggle to believe Sturgeon would say something like that openly, and certainly not to an ambassador she was meeting for the first time. The person to whom the General Consul was divulging information is not “one of the FM’s key opponents”, he was a civil servant working in the Scottish Office. I’d expect the General Consul to be “keen to divulge” the actual details and actions of the meeting to ensure progress, given that would be a sign of people doing their jobs.

      • John Tulloch

        Robert D,

        Surely the French Ambassador would have been sufficiently interested to enquire as to the Scottish government’s, if not the FM’s personal, preferences for the outcome of the UK election? She would wish to gain an appreciation of the political context within which she would be operating as Ambassador, would she not?

        Given that the FM was reportedly late and the meeting “truncated”, surely it would be necessary to exchange information very quickly before she dashed off to another “more important” meeting. If she was, indeed, having “a busy Thursday” (Please!), she might be concentrating on getting the Ambassador processed and out of the way so that she could “get on”, as opposed to focusing on exactly what she was saying to this distinguished foreign diplomat whom she had clearly affronted with her ignorant behaviour.

        We need to know how much of the memo contents, if any, is true which is why I look forward to the forthcoming legal challenge to Mr Carmichael.

      • Robert Duncan

        “We need to know how much of the memo contents, if any, is true”

        We never will.

  17. Gordon Harmer

    To put the SNP, the main protagonists in this witch hunt into context, this is a very useful list of SNP lies:

    Politicians can lie…it’s not nice but they do, and maybe they should resign. You can judge:

    The Scottish government had legal advice on the EU. Lie

    There are no car parking charges at hospitals in Scotland. Lie

    The Scottish government had begun secret talks with the Bank of England on a currency union. Lie.

    Prestwick Airport has cost the tax payer £18 million. Lie. In reality it has cost £40 million.

    Student bursaries have not been cut in Scotland. Lie. They have been cut by £40 million.

    The NHS in Scotland is better funded than in England. Lie. There has been a 4% rise in funding in England and a 1% cut in Scotland.

    There is no problem with the education system in Scotland. Lie

    Oil will trade at $113 a barrel. Lie.

    Start up costs for an independent Scotland would be a mere £200 million. Yet a leaked document from John Swinney showed it would cost £575 million just to set up a tax office. Lie.

    It’s Westminster’s fault that the police and fire services in Scotland have to pay VAT. Lie. In reality it is down to the SNP for merging them in to one force knowing this would ensure they have to pay VAT.

    Reply
    • Stan BROWN

      Have you read Page 4 of the Sunday Express 24th May 2015 If not I suggest you do.

      Reply
  18. Mark Ryan Smith

    It’s amusing to see the SNP being accused of running a witch hunt, when the hatred directed their way on this website day after day has become pathological. They are, remember, the wronged party in this case. Contributors like to complain about what they see as the SNP’s failure over minor local issues, but their opposition to the Iraq war, their wish to get rid of unnecessary nuclear weapons of mass destruction, and their generally socially progressive outlook are all major points in their favour.

    But, despite the usual anti-SNP hysteria, critics are being uncharacteristically magnanimous and forgiving towards Alistair Carmichael. These aren’t things too often seen on these pages. Whether he stands down is, of course, a matter for him and his own conscience. If he thinks that a tiny majority won just after his shenanigans with the Telegraph gives him legitimacy, then I suppose he should stay. But, following his own logic – he says that he would have resigned as Scottish Secretary if his smear had come to light when he was still doing that job – shouldn’t he be thinking seriously about contesting the election again? After all, being an MP doesn’t require a lower moral standard than being a minister. Maybe he’d win a by-election? Who knows? But if he didn’t think the story would make a difference to the result, why didn’t he admit what he’d done in the first place and let voters know exactly what they were voting for?

    Reply
  19. Stuart Hannay

    People shouting about how much the inquiry costs seems to me a bit like shouting, “Look! A squirrel!”

    I watched Alistair Carmichael lie on television. To be honest, I was more shocked about his apparent indifference to the leak at the time.

    As for the supposed ‘bully boy’ tactics of the SNP, there’s some pretty vitriolic and spiteful comments from anti-SNP people on display here. Still, it’s not sticks and stones is it? It’s votes.

    Reply
  20. Brian Smith

    There was an interesting discussion about all this on Radio 4 last night. Someone suggested that the reason for all the flak that Carmichael has received isn’t the fact that he leaked and lied, but the fact that he confessed and apologised. I have noticed this syndrome before in British politics: apology and confession are regarded as weak and contemptible. In such circumstances political opponents smell blood. Meanwhile, I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but there is a majority Tory government now in power, and they are promulgating an extremist Queen’s speech – as we speak. There is plenty to complain about.

    Reply
  21. Mark Jamieson

    He should call for a by-election and let the voters, the people of Shetland and Orkney decide if they wish for the flickering light of the Lib Dems in scotland to continue or be blown out, it is for them to decide if they want to be represented by the Lib Dems in the UK Parliament. This is not for anyone else to try and decide or influence.

    Interestingly enough:
    Reasons for by-elections

    ‘A seat becomes vacant during the lifetime of a Parliament either when an MP resigns from Parliament, for example to take up a job which by law cannot be done by an MP, or because an MP has died. The law also allows a seat to be declared vacant because of a Member’s bankruptcy, mental illness or conviction for a serious criminal offence.
    A by-election does not automatically take place if an MP changes political party.
    Until a new MP is elected, constituency matters are handled by an MP of the same party in a neighbouring constituency.’

    Could be classed as intellectual bankruptcy instead of financial?

    Also in the event he does step down, Shetland and Orkney matters will be handled by the Lib Dem MP of Westmorland and Lonsdale – in the Lake District, until a new MP is elected……..wonder how much Tim Farron knows about Shetland and Orkney!!!!

    Reply
  22. Tim Parkinson

    Strange; the party should back their last remaining MP in Scotland when the odds of them winning a by -election instead now are pretty poor….

    What would you have to have done NOT to get your party’s backing in that scenario?

    Reply
  23. George Pottinger

    So, now we know where we stand. The Lib-Dem party condones lying and supports self-confessed liars. That is a great example to set our younger generation. It says it is OK to lie and cheat to achieve your aims – providing you do not get caught. If you do get caught, just say “I’m sorry” and everything will be forgiven. I am ashamed that Lib-Dem supporters in Orkney and Shetland have been condemned, by their own party, to apparently, have to support this position. I do not believe that everyone who voted Lib-Dem at the election think like this. I am sure that many of them condemn Carmichael’s lying and would relish the opportunity to say so.

    Gordon Harmer and John Tulloch seem content to support this liar, which says more about their moral rectitude than the reams of spin and false accusation they present as debate. Why don’t they stop their deflection and explain why they are supporting a self-confessed liar to represent the people of Orkney and Shetland as their Westminster representative.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      George,

      Alistair Carmichael has made – for himself – a disastrous, out of character, mistake and you claim he has lied about it, too. However, I’m not at all sure we yet know enough about the full circumstances to pass judgment on whether Alistair should step down as MP.

      I expect the forthcoming court case will look into all relevant aspects of the affair, including whether the contents of the meeting between FM Sturgeon and the French Ambassador were accurately reflected in the memo and how that memo came to be produced.

      As we are expecting a court case, it would be inappropriate to try to influence the outcome, one way or the other – which if I may say, is what you are doing – by trial in the media.

      Should the court case not transpire, I will be delighted to discuss whether and to what extent I support Alistair, however, justice is not dispensed in this country “by food fight” so I’ll decline your offer on Alistair but will, meanwhile, be pleased to discuss the performances of Danus Skene and Mike MacKenzie during and since the run-up to the election or the SNP’s track record in Shetland over the last 7 years.

      Do let me know if you want to debate that.

      Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      George just turn every thing you have said around and ask yourself the self same questions about Salmond and Swinneys lies. You are pretty good at dodging the issue how about a straight answer.

      Reply
  24. iatinkler

    George Pottinger, no one here condones lying and supports self-confessed liars. That is except Sturgeon. To err is human, especially under the intense pressure of live media questioning. However what has Nicola Sturgeon just done? Alex Salmond MP, a man whom has a track record for dishonesty regarding Europe, has been appointed as the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman in Westminster. Now George Pottinger how in the name of all honesty can you regard that appointment as not condoning Salmond’s dishonesty, does it not speak volumes about Sturgeon and the SNP? A cold deliberate political decision taken with no pressure whatsoever.

    Reply
  25. Dave Ballard

    The truth behind the lie, accurate reporting of the leaked memo, AC told a lie about NS lying about not wanting a Tory government. Honours even I’d say, call it draw, unless you are a hypocrite on many levels such as the EU, oil etc.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/scotland-office-memorandum-leak-cabinet-office-inquiry-statement

    Reply
  26. iantinkler

    In a strange way Carmichael’s mistake is doing Shetland and Orkney a great favor. It , if nothing else, shows us all just how divisive, obnoxious and and hypercritical the SNP and many of its followers are. If anyone is in any doubt go to the YES Shetland Facebook page. You will need a strong stomach but it makes a good job at showing the real “Nationalist” mentality at work.

    Reply
  27. Stuart Hannay

    It’s interesting to see, isn’t it, that the Liberal democrats have clearly decided that the way to support Alistair Campbell is by resorting, in every interview to denigrate the SNP. Tavish Scott was doing it last night on Radio Shetland, Malcolm Bruce did it in his rather unfortunate interview on Radio 4. It’s a dodgy strategy. The line “Yeh, he did it but look how nasty some of the SNP have been about it” is weak and doesn’t reflect well on them.

    Reply
    • Gareth Fair

      It’s also interesting to see Gordon Thomson from the Shetland Labour Party does the same.

      Local Labour members “deplore the nature of the current SNP campaign against him”, describing the street demonstration and organised petitions as “akin to the reinvention of the fine old Scottish tradition of a witch-hunt”.

      “We only wish that their zeal for truth and honesty was matched when they considered the words and actions of their own representatives, some of whom have been a shade less than truthful in the past.

      There are also a few on the Shetland forums that seem to agree.

      It has to be a conspiracy rather than what people genuinely think doesn’t it?

      Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      To be honest Stuart, the very same tactic is being used on this very forum, the “Anti -SNP brigade”, have obviously learned nothing? deflection and whtabootary, instead of level headed discussion.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Robin,

        Alistair Carmichael has said he’s staying so, presumably, there will be a court action. Let’s wait till we know the full circumstances at the end of the hearing(s), then we can make an informed judgment about who, if anybody, should resign.

        You are attempting to pre-empt the judgment of the court.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Strange comment John?

        It would seem that there are a great many posters discussing the Ali Carmichael issue, in which way do you see me, as somehow, “Pre-empting the judgement of the court”?

      • Robert Sim

        @John – rather than everyone not discussing this matter until the outcome of a possible court action – which I am not at all certain will happen – it’s very important that the views of Shetland voters are heard on here and elsewhere. It’s one of the ways that Alastair Carmichael can be made aware of the views of his constituents. And it’s clear from the views of Shetland voters on here that there is a strong feeling that they have lost faith in their newly-elected MP. That should not be silenced.

      • John Tulloch

        Robert Sim,

        I’m surprised by your attitude to what I wrote.

        If memory serves me well, three weeks are allowed for the initiation of legal proceedings so we should know very soon whether the “crowd-funding” effort was serious or simply a PR stunt to ratchet up psychological pressure on Mr Carmichael to resign.

        He has stated clearly that he will stay and as the purported reason for the crowd-funding was to oust him by legal means, then, surely, that’s the right course to take.

        Too many groundless accusations are being flung around e.g. the damaging claim that Mr Carmichael had wasted £1.4 million of taxpayers money was found to be concocted, a “lie”.

        The much vaunted complaint to the police was rejected. How many more accusations are false we shall never know unless the circumstances are thoroughly examined and the proposed court hearing is the best means available.

        Once the court hearing(s) are over and the full circumstances known, voters will be able to express well-informed opinions, as opposed to the current polemic “food fight”. The court itself will decide whether there are grounds for him to resign.

        Justice is not dispensed in the UK by media “kangaroo court” or Colusseum-like “thumbs down” from internet forums and it ill behoves us to campaign for or against Mr Carmichael while the possibility of imminent legal action exists.

        Without the legal action we are unlikely, ever, to know the whole truth, so let’s have it, bring it on.

    • Stuart Hannay

      I suppose it might hav helped help if I called him Alistair Carmichael instead of Alistair Campbell………..duh?

      Reply
  28. iatinkler

    Stuart, Let us call Alistair Campbell for trial also, let us make a real comedy out of a tragic farce!!

    Reply
  29. Haydn Gear

    Just to briefly return to Robert Duncan’s comment on 26th May, Paul Flynn MP for Newport would probably prefer to be called a liar (which he is not) than an “English” MP. Newport is in south Wales!!!!

    Reply

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.