Tub-thumping piety (John Tulloch)

It’s a time for piety from the SNP and Robbie McGregor, “lawn sleeves billowing”, gives us the text.

“Thou shalt not lie!” he thunders. Thumping the “Good Book”, he demands atonement and warns of judgment to come:

“The most important consideration must be that an apology is due by the MP to the people of Shetland many of whom voted for Mr Carmichael under a false impression of his integrity.”

Finally, he offers to take “confession” from the local Lib Dems:

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

One suspects penance will involve more than “a few Hail Marys”.

However, Mr McGregor would do well to take on board our Lord’s famous admonition: “Physician, heal thyself.”

For his own candidate Danus Skene and his guide and mentor Mike MacKenzie spent the election campaign indulging in furtive and duplicitous behaviour over the under-funding of Shetland’s education system.

This under-funding is nothing whatsoever to do with Westminster cuts. It is systematic, stemming from the way funding is allocated and it amounts to £10 million a year, every year.

But Skene won’t touch local issues with a bargepole and Mackenzie has been going around, purporting to support rural parents against closures while knowing fine well that the closures crisis was precipitated by the under-funding.

May I suggest that in future Mr McGregor put his own house in order before jumping into the pulpit with such sanctimonious alacrity.

John Tulloch


Add Your Comment
  • Ryan Arthur

    • May 25th, 2015 20:13

    Thou Shalt Not Lie? Carmichael should be familiar with the term since he’s a church elder surely? Practise what you preach…

  • Gordon Harmer

    • May 27th, 2015 14:33

    Yes Shetland
    15 hrs ·
    The crowdfunder just reached £24,400 in its first day!
    The Cat has peerie tears of joy running down his fur.
    We are lost for words.

    Below this post on Yes Shetland is a photo of Danus Skene, I would like to know if Danus approves of this crowdfunder which hopes to reach £60.000 to take a man to court and ruin his life and career. I thought crowdfunder was there for charitable causes and for good causes, but it seems not.
    So Danus do you approve of of this appeal for funds or do you have other views?

    • Robert Duncan

      • May 27th, 2015 14:50

      Were the case to go to court, and were Alistair Carmichael forced to resign at the decision of that court, it would be his actions that “ruined his life and career” (a bit dramatic on the first count, I would suggest).

      But I’m not exactly sure what these people hope will be achieved with a court case, so it’s all a bit of a moot point. Your thirst for political points against the SNP and its opponents is clearly as unquenchable as ever though.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • May 27th, 2015 21:19

        Just you view Robert, just your view. My comment may be a bit dramatic but there is a reason behind it. Trying to compete with the nats whose ability to point out a speck in someones eye and then try to smack it with the plank in their own eye takes a lot of imagination.

      • John Tulloch

        • May 27th, 2015 21:58

        Robert D.,

        Surely, they expect to achieve the ousting of Alistair Carmichael and expose the conspiracy they suspect hatched the production of the memo which FM Sturgeon reportedly said was “100 percent untrue”.

        If Alistair Carmichael was involved in concocting such a memo, it would be a very serious matter, indeed, worthy of resignation. If there was a conspiracy and he was not involved in it, we need to find out who was.

        The nearest we’re likely to get to learning the whole truth will be if a trial actually takes place. Meanwhile, it would be very wrong to campaign in the media – as some are doing – as it might be construed as trying to influence the outcome of the trial.

      • Robert Duncan

        • May 28th, 2015 9:18

        John Tulloch, what I mean when I say, “I’m not sure what they hope will be achieved”, is that I don’t believe Carmichael would actually be at risk of a court decision going against him. I’m sure there are people who hope for and even expect that, I think they’re naive to do so.

        We have already seen the inquest, with its “line in the sand”, probably-just-an-honest-mistake conclusion. What more would a court case reveal?

        But my point was more that, if the case were to go against our MP, it would require strong evidence of wrongdoing, and so any “life ruining” consequences would be entirely of his own making. That Mr Harmer is trying to twist that as SNP supporters bullying some put upon vulnerable person therefore strikes me as a tad silly.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • May 28th, 2015 14:22

        Robert, some people are trying their hardest to ruin Mr Carmichael’s life, this link proves this.


        Comments in letters like this to the Shetland news do not help either so maybe my comments are not so dramatic after all.

        “Alistair Carmichael lied to the electorate.
        We must assume his expense claim for £210,000 in 2014 is fraudulent also.
        And that we are better together was also untrue.
        Douglas Young

      • Robert Duncan

        • May 28th, 2015 16:21

        Gordon, you said the crowdfunder “hoped to… take a man to court to ruin his life and career”. The other comments you flag up, however distasteful, are irrelevant to that claim.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • May 28th, 2015 19:32

        Don’t be so pedantic Robert, I was not talking about the crowd funder in my second comment I was enforcing my belief that some of the mob who are after Carmichael’s blood are having a go personally not politically therefore doing their best to ruin his life. If you cannot see that after reading the link and the letter please do not do a Robin on me and and spin it as irrelevant. It is very relevant and proves this has turned into a witch hunt, and his wrong doing was not so wicked as to draw this kind of hate from a pack of divisive and baying hounds.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • May 28th, 2015 20:45

        Well, I must say, it’s not very often I agree with you Gordon, but in this case I do.

        While I believe Alistair Carmichael to be utterly wrong, in both lying about the memo and then refusing to step down to allow the voters to decide his fate. I do NOT condone anyone actively seeking to interfere with his personal life. I’m quite sure that the church Alistair attends will be well aware of the situation he’s brought upon himself, and the matter now lies with them.

      • Robert Duncan

        • May 28th, 2015 22:48

        ” I was not talking about the crowd funder in my second comment”

        Well, exactly, you were rambling about irrelevant idiots on Twitter because you’d given up on defending your actual point. That there are idiots on Twitter who would like to cause Carmichael personal duress does not mean the move to raise money for a court case is illegitimate, bullying, or any other negative term you wish to throw at it. It has no bearing to your initial comment or my reply to that comment, ergo it is irrelevant.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • May 29th, 2015 13:21

        Robin, I also believe Carmichael was wrong in what he did but does not deserve the personal attacks or the digging into his personal life. It would be nice to hear you condemn the SNP, LBH, Branch who were responsible for the intrusion.

        Robert I have not a clue where you are coming from, normally your flamboyant vocabulary stitches together kind of colourfully, but your latest comments are coming out a kind of khaki colour.

      • John Tulloch

        • May 30th, 2015 11:04


        If the crowd-funding and associated legal petition are not followed through with an actual court hearing(s) the thought must, surely, occur to you that the whole thing is a PR stunt, designed, speculatively, to increase the psychological pressure on Mr Carmichael to resign.

        In which case it might, indeed, be construed as “bullying”?

        I’ve seen it suggested in a couple of places that the reason the SNP is focusing on Carmichael and the lie, rather than the damage done to Nicola Sturgeon by the memo itself is calculated to divert media attention away from what was really said at the meeting between FM Sturgeon and the French Ambassador?

        Of course, that’s nonsense, isn’t it, the SNP are truthful, it’s only the others who tell lies?

      • Robert Duncan

        • May 30th, 2015 13:41

        John, I’m not sure your point. I think the crowdfunders will pursue a court case, should they achieve their target. I just don’t see any point in doing so, as I don’t think Carmichael will be charged with anything or have any court decision go against him in the way these people clearly hope he will.

        They are, however, pursuing a point through legitimate means within a democratic society, unlike the Twitter posters and other assorted idiots Gordon Harmer attempts to associate with them.

    • James Watt

      • May 28th, 2015 14:07

      “I thought crowdfunder was there for charitable causes and for good causes, but it seems not.”

      I wonder if Christine Jardines campaign against Alex Salmond counts as a charitable cause?


      • Gordon Harmer

        • May 28th, 2015 20:42

        Considering, it was Salmond’s coffers that were filled by crowdfunding whats your point? It just proves fools and their money are easily parted.

        Christine Jardines cause was a good cause because if it had succeeded we would be rid of Salmond.

      • James Watt

        • May 29th, 2015 13:04

        “It just proves fools and their money are easily parted.”
        I think most neutrals would agree the smart money was on Salmond, only a fool would think backing Jardine was money well spent.

        My point originally was a joke about Jardines chances of beating Salmond, but your reply has made me think a little deeper about your comment.
        You set up a hyperbolic comparison earlier between, what you think crowdfunding should be used for and what the crowdfund against Carmichael is being used for. The truth is you are happy for crowdfunding of political campaigns and will even deem it a good cause if it’s someone you support, if this crowdfund had the potential to end Salmonds career I doubt you’d give it the same condemnation, some might say that’s hypocritical, I’d say it maybe show that you are willing to over exaggerate if you think it will help your argument.
        It’s also worth mentioning that if this crowdfund did result in a court case and Carmichael is innocent of charges against him then he has nothing to fear and the mob you feel are responsible for a witch hunt will have wasted £60,000. On the other hand if the court case does result in Carmichaels life and career being ruined as you claim they hope to achieve, then Carmichael will have been guilty of the acts he is being accused and he will only have himself to blame if his career is in ruins.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • May 30th, 2015 13:55

        James, my remark about Salmond was a tongue in cheek or as you put it a joke, and crowdfunding to elevate someone is million miles away from crowdfunding to bring someone down. My remark about fools and their money did not refer to using crowdfunding, but to the beneficiary of the crowdfunding proving you looked far too deep at my comment blinkering your findings, thereby relegating them to the trash folder.
        People who donated to this vile crowdfunding event donated on average £15 per person compared to people who donate to charity where the median donation given in a typical month in 2011/12 was £10 per donor. Indicating the people who donated gave more to a cause to destroy someone than they normally do to help someone. In my book this says an awful lot about the people who donated to this vile cause and about those who defend it. There are a lot of charities out there who could use £60,000. Local Salvation Army food banks would be a worthy cause, especially as the same people who donated to this vile cause are the same people who blame someone else for the need of food banks. This whole fundraiser is tainted because those who donate are not all from Carmichael’s constituency and some will be donating because of their own conflicting agenda making it undemocratic and immoral.

      • James Watt

        • May 31st, 2015 19:53

        As I’m sure you are aware, any unused donations from this crowdfund will be distributed across various Scottish foodbank charities. If there isn’t a strong case against Carmichael then it won’t get very far through the court proceedings, the case will fall apart and there will be a sizeable donation made to good causes from the unspent donations, so except the £5000 already spent it may all go to good causes.

        Crowdfunds are a legitimate part of modern polotics, without this one it would be nearly impossible for his electorate to find out the truth about Carmichaels part in the release of the memo. Why should it be only people of this constituency who are allowed to help fund this process.
        You decry this cause as undemocratic, it’s the undemocratic nature of the British political system that has meant this court case is necessary. It would be undemocratic to say that the people of Orkney and Shetland had to raise up to £60,000 with less than a weeks notice if they want to hold their MP to account, Malcom Bruce telling us to accept our politicians lie is undemocratic.

        If this vile cause brings anyone down, as you put it, that will be entirely the fault of the person who is brought down. The only way this cause will succeed is if Carmichael is guilty of misconduct, but something tells me even if it did transpire that Carmichael had acted inappropriately, you would still rather shoot the messenger.

  • iatinkler

    • May 28th, 2015 10:40

    Robert Duncan, If you want to see tad silly try Yes Shetland Facebook page, tad malign also. True “Nationalism” with a touch of kindergarten. Just look back a few weeks and see whom uses this site, a real eye opener. All the usual NATs, now obscenities mostly edited thankfully, just the usual divisive and malignant comment..

    • John Tulloch

      • May 28th, 2015 11:51

      Yes, Ian. I went on there, briefly, and made a few polite points but was quickly blocked, on the basis that 🙂 “using the names of the people I was replying to” was “personalising” the issues and “aggressive”.

      Some people boldy miscalled me, too, after I lost my right of reply.

      That’s Douglas Young’s “positive debate” for you. Funny, it seems like only yesterday that he was calling David Cameron “a feartie”?

    • Robert Duncan

      • May 28th, 2015 11:59

      I know. I don’t and won’t defend that, however “CyberNats” being silly does not preclude the equally vociferous pro-Union types from being silly too.

    • Robin Stevenson

      • May 28th, 2015 12:57

      Ian, What “divisive and malignant comments” are you talking about??.. Most of the Obscenities I’ve witnessed seem to come from certain members of this forum [yourself included] who seem quite comfortable using such derogatory terms as “SSnp or fascists” etc,?..Perhaps you should sort your own house first before commenting on others?

  • iatinkler

    • May 28th, 2015 14:06

    Robin Stevenson, use your eyes and look, “Yes” Shetland Facebook, two of today’s many charmers, referring to Carmichael, nice people NATs.
    Stephen McGregor £38,588 Good stuff guys smile emoticon let’s get shot of this lying quisling Once and for all !!
    Ali Ross People power will get ye out smug faced f/^*ker
    Amended slightly for decency!!

    • Gareth Fair

      • May 28th, 2015 17:44

      Couple more Jems from “Yes” Shetland Facebook

      Murray Mc Cubbin
      ‘We need a by election. Im sure a few volunteers will head north for that. ;-)’

      Hmmm, not sure what to make of that one, maybe they think we need some help as we obviously got confused last time!

      Miranda MacDonald
      ‘Lets not forget that the said Mr Carmichael qualified as a solicitor in 1993 and was depute Procurator Fiscal for Edinburgh and Aberdeen from 1993 to 1996. From 1996 to 2001 he practiced as a solicitor. He above all people knows the importance of telling the truth ! Why dont you petition the Law Society of Scotland, Yes Shetland, to have his name struck off from the register of solicitors ? Is he a fit person to be in such a position of trust ( as a Depute PF no less ! ) when he has been proven to lack honesty and integrity ? Maybe if the Law Society struck him off it might strengthen the case to remove him as an MP. Other professionals get struck off for much less. There was a teacher struck off last week for swearing at a pupil !’

      What a nice person!

  • David Spence

    • May 28th, 2015 22:21

    I would find it very hard to believe that our politicians think the majority of people believe in what they say, what legislation they pass through for the better of the people, everything within Westminster is squeaky clean and all above board.

    There is, however, one major fact which would most definitely tarnish such a reputation, this being the vile Tories, and their obsession to better themselves and their business and political associates for the greater good of themselves regardless to the consequences to the majority of the people within the country.

    The vile Tories have proven that they do not represent the people of the country in any way, shape or form. It is clear they are in it for themselves, the complete breakdown of all state run services to the private sector, and the complete rebuilding a society of the rich and powerful subjugating the people for their own gain.

    As part of this capitalist social system, lying, cheating, deceiving, dishonesty, coning, ripping off etc etc are part and parcel of the commercial world of business, even if it does greater harm than good.

    Mr Alistair Carmichael, has obviously spent too much time in bed with the vile Tories, and has very much lowered his standards to their level in order to discredit another politician no matter what the consequences may be. It is an insult (just like the expenses exposure) to expect politicians to get off with outrageous behaviour on the basis, once they have been exposed, they can be forgiven if they publically apologize for any wrong doing they may have done. The public are not that stupid or fooled any more by such pathetic behaviour to try and get off by the simple means of ‘ If I apologize ………. ‘ excuse.

    In a capitalist political social system, all the traits of the negatives aspects of human behaviour are very much brought to the fore, and totally control and dictate behaviour on the basis of gaining from the man-made concept of money, which is equal to greed, profits, wealth but above all, selfishness.

    Why do you think that the equally corrupt (banking system) legal system is so prevalent within a country where power, dominance, the promotion of violence (trait of dominance and intimidation) political dominance, the brainwashing of the population and a strong emphasis on war and conflict to keep those in power, in power by fear…….not only within the country, but outwith as well.

    • Gordon Harmer

      • May 30th, 2015 21:44

      David, I think the way this hate campaign is being organised you can now safely remove the word vile from the Tories and attach it to a more deserving political party. 😉

  • iantinkler

    • May 30th, 2015 18:10

    Food for thought. Carmichael must know the full text of sweet Nicola’s chat with the French ambassador. Now how to put that decisively in the public domain with maximum publicity and maximum damage. Manipulate others to start a court case which will result in full disclosure of the said text without any chance of you or anyone being accused of spinning. Set yourself up as the fall guy and then claim public interest after a load of vindictive hassle. Public sympathy and maximal damage to your antagonists. No wonder the SNP are distancing themselves from this nasty little vendetta. “We the People,” not SNP backed? Court case not SNP backed? Pull the other on, it has a haggis on it!!! Just maybe Carmichael is a lot more devious and clever than people give him credit for, and not as stupid as he looks!! By hanging in he loses nothing, the SNP are starting to look even nastier than usual.

    • Richard Holmes

      • May 31st, 2015 10:36

      How can Carmichael know “the full text of sweet Nicola’s chat with the French ambassador” when he wasn’t present?

      Let’s review the facts about the memo:

      FACT 1 – a meeting took place between Nicola Sturgeon and Sylvie Bermann, French Ambassador to the UK. Present at that meeting was Pierre-Alain Coffinier, French Consul General.

      FACT 2 – a conversation subsequently took place between Pierre-Alain Coffinier and the Civil Servant who was the author of the memo (but was not present at the meeting).

      FACT 3 – the memo was written. In it the author admits “it might well be a case of something being lost in translation.” The memo enters the public domain on the instructions of the then Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael.

      FACT 4 – Sturgeon states that the memo’s reference to her preference is “Categorically, 100% untrue”.

      FACT 5 – Sylvie Bermann describes the report as “erroneous” and her spokesman stated that Sturgeon had not expressed an opinion on who she would prefer as prime minister.

      FACT 6 – Pierre-Alain Coffinier states “at no stage did anyone comment on their preferences regarding the election”.

      FACT 7 – Alistair Carmichael, in his letter of apology, writes “I accept that its publication was a serious breach of protocol and that the details of that account are not correct”.

      • iantinkler

        • May 31st, 2015 12:34

        FACT 8, – Times have moved on and much more knowledge is available now. Richard Holmes do you really believe Allister Carmichael and all those concerned have not discussed in great detail all that transpired. Do you not see it as distinctly probable that “Sturgeon states that the memo’s reference to her preference is “Categorically, 100% untrue” does not lie easy with “ Sylvie Bermann describes the report as “erroneous” and memo was “ “recorded accurately” . The court case will open up all facts regarded at present as “diplomatically private“ to full public scrutiny. I just wonder if “Categorically, 100% untrue” may just return to haunt Nicola, rather like Salmond’s lies about fictitious legal advice and fictional discussions with EU leaders. Let’s just wait and see. Perhaps St. Nicola’s halo may slip a little bit lower.

      • Richard Holmes

        • May 31st, 2015 15:44

        @ ian

        If you have any facts to back up your fact 8; then please share them.

        The facts 1-7 above are in the public domain, and Ms Bermann’s description of the report as “erroneous” is entirely consistent with Sturgeon’s comment; and Bermann’s spokesman also said that Sturgeon had not expressed an opinion on who she would prefer as prime minister; as did the French Consul General. Note that Sturgeon, Bermann and Coffinier were actually at the meeting; the memo’s author was not and neither was Carmichael.

  • iantinkler

    • May 30th, 2015 22:04

    60 people including children!, some protest. Ali sleep well, o dear Nicola, sow the wind !!!

  • John Tulloch

    • May 31st, 2015 11:58

    Richard Holmes,

    You wrote:

    “FACT 4 – Sturgeon states that the memo’s reference to her preference is “Categorically, 100% untrue”.

    FACT 5 – Sylvie Bermann describes the report as “erroneous” and her spokesman stated that Sturgeon had not expressed an opinion on who she would prefer as prime minister.”

    “Categorically, 100% untrue” and “erroneous” have entirely different meanings.

    Sturgeon, it seems, did not express an opinion on who SHE would prefer as PM. Did she express one on who the SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT would prefer – or the SNP?

    There’s more to being dishonest than being caught, technically, “telling a lie”.

  • iantinkler

    • May 31st, 2015 15:04

    Slight error, actually 34 people attended the protest!! Joe public really does not seem that upset after all. Talk about much ado about sweet Fanny Adams, 34 people., some protest!!!

  • iantinkler

    • May 31st, 2015 17:03

    Richard Holmes, Fact 8- It should be manifestly obvious that all all whom compiled this report, Allister Carmichael and all those concerned would have discussed this in great detail. The forthcoming court case should disclose the full texts and actual facts in minute detail. If you had read what I wrote and understood the discussion, that should have been self evident to you. We await the Court for full details, that should be most interesting, especially memo was “ “recorded accurately”, that text will then be in the public domain, word for word. Carmichael stands to lose no more credibility, as for Nicola, she just could ““Categorically, 100% untrue”.?? lets just wait and see.


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