‘People of Shetland’ group suspends all activity

The campaign group “We the People of Shetland” has called a halt to its activities in light of the “increasingly polarising and vitriolic” nature of the debate over MP Alistair Carmichael’s future.

Formed in the aftermath of the MP’s apology and admission of responsibility over a controversial leaked memo, the group called for him to step down and stand in a by-election.

We the People of Shetland has been responsible for two demonstrations in Lerwick town centre and has gathered signatures for a petition supporting its aims.

But the group has decided now is the right time to suspend its activities.

Spokesman Logan Nicolson said: “It has been our aim to provide an open, balanced and approachable campaign for those who want to express their dissatisfaction with our MP. We believe we have been measured and welcoming to all regardless of political persuasion.

“We have encouraged tolerance and respect. This has been the manner in which most people in Orkney and Shetland have conducted themselves. However, the debate has become increasingly polarising and vitriolic. We wholeheartedly condemn any, and all, personal insults and threats levelled at Alistair Carmichael and his family. We also wholeheartedly condemn the abuse those calling for a by-election have been subject to.

“We have reached the decision that with the sad news of Charles Kennedy’s death, and the instigation of three processes of complaint, it is the appropriate time to suspend our campaign.

“Our thanks go to all the people who have supported us by attending the demonstrations and signing the open-letter or the petition. We would also like to thank those people who felt unable to take a public stance, or sign either document, but offered their personal support and encouragement to us.

“Thanks also to those who opposed us but did so respectfully.

“Finally, we would like to offer our sympathy to the family, friends and party of Charles Kennedy.”


Add Your Comment
  • Steven Jarmson

    • June 3rd, 2015 13:32

    “An open, balanced and approachable campaign for those wishing to express dissatisfaction with our MP.”
    That’s some statement.
    I’ll accept the open part, they have been open in expressing their views.
    But how can you be balanced and approachable?
    The aim was to try to bully Carmichael onto quitting and to bully everyone who disagrees into submission.
    No balance, no approachability.
    Just more bullying and attempts to shut die debate.
    As for the protests, hardly what you call protests, more like a bunch o folk out for a walk, like everyone else does every other day.
    I’m happy for people to disagree, but Carmichael should stay.

    • Robert Duncan

      • June 3rd, 2015 15:21

      Where was the bullying from those group? Where were the attempts to shut debate down?

      They conducted themselves peacefully and democratically, they wrote to media with full names of their signatories, they posted their events publicly on social media, and they engaged publicly with the people who criticised them (from what I saw with far better manners than they were afforded themselves).

      Disagree with them all you like – I do – but don’t do so by talking nonsense.

      • John Tulloch

        • June 4th, 2015 10:26


        They call themselves, very grandly, “We, the people of Shetland”.

        You are very quick to call others out in inaccuracies in minutiae however you seem to think that this gross misrepresentation of the Shetland electorate is ok? Why is that?

      • Robert Duncan

        • June 4th, 2015 15:03

        I don’t agree with it, but nor do I see it as the big issue others do.

        It is certainly not an example of them bullying others or attempting to shut down debate so not entirely sure why it is relevant to my post.

      • John Tulloch

        • June 4th, 2015 16:20

        It’s a falsehood. Isn’t it a bit rich trying to knock down someone for telling a lie when the first thing you do is tell one yourselves about who you are and whom you represent.

      • Robert Duncan

        • June 5th, 2015 11:30

        It is inaccurate certainly, but I don’t see it as intentionally lying.

        I suspect it was a hastily agreed name and had they had their time again they would have gone with something else. I don’t think it’s some big conspiracy to make any one think they have the full backing of the isles, and if it is it has not worked on any level.

        A poorly chosen name from a voluntary campaign group is certainly not on the level of a senior member of Government lying on national television.

      • Steven Jarmson

        • June 7th, 2015 17:14

        I absolutely agree Robin.
        When the “most senior” politician in Scotland lied about having legal evidence of Scotland’s standing in Europe, I think that type of lie is pretty despicable.
        As for your earlier comment about who was bullying, in normal day to day chat with supporters of this minority group, many people have said it wasn’t a chat, it was a barrage of their opinion and no reasoned argument against their minority views was received in an adult context.
        I have had similar talks directly with people associated to this group and the outcome was I listened they ranted.
        When SNP lies were pointed out they simply said “that’s irrelevant” almost like they’ve been given an SNP script and cant diverge from it.

  • Rory Macgregor

    • June 3rd, 2015 13:55

    Don’t they sound so abject and apologetic. It reminds me so much of the nationalists who have sown such discord in Scotland as a whole, and caused much heartache and anger between families, colleagues and friends. It is a disgrace and is what causes civil strife leading to war. Make no mistake, that is a fact and is borne out even now in our new Europe. We are so very lucky to live in a democracy, and whilst not all is roses, such wonderful politicians as Joe Grimond and Charles Kennedy kept the flame of decency alive. I hope certain people hold their heads in shame!

    • Robin Stevenson

      • June 3rd, 2015 16:45

      No they don’t Rory, they sound like moral and principled people that have decided to put people before politics, they have decided to put aside their particular grievance with Alistair Carmichael to one side in memory of Charles Kennedy, a rather noble thing to do [imo]

      Your post is a contradiction Rory, on one hand you tell us that “We are so very lucky to live in a democracy” and on the other hand you’re saying, “democracy is fine, but do as you’re told and don’t have an opinion, unless you agree with me”.

      Perhaps you could take a leaf out of Joe or Charles’s book, and keep the flame of decency alive?

      • iantinkler

        • June 3rd, 2015 20:44

        “, they have decided to put aside their particular grievance with Alistair Carmichael to one side in memory of Charles Kennedy, a rather noble thing to do [imo].” What blinding hypocrisy from you Robin Stevenson. The death of Charles Kennedy is very sad, but it has absolutely nothing to do with, “We the People of Shetland”, the SNP and the Yes people, The Carmichael must go brigade and assorted political ovines of all types. Why must you stoop so very low?. Will you people stop politically exploiting the memory of Charles Kennedy, the man is not even in his grave yet. Salmond leads and his sheep follow, now what a surprise.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • June 3rd, 2015 22:05

        Obviously you failed to read the entire post from the group Ian [what’s new?]

        However, just to remind you :

        “We have reached the decision that with the sad news of Charles Kennedy’s death, and the instigation of three processes of complaint, it is the appropriate time to suspend our campaign.
        Finally, we would like to offer our sympathy to the family, friends and party of Charles Kennedy.”

        No-one is exploiting anything Ian, just your kaleidoscopic slant on what is a considerate gesture.

    • David Howell

      • June 3rd, 2015 18:29

      And what would you call your comment if not inflammatory?

      Is that your idea of ameliorating the situation and offering the hand of friendship to those who don’t agree with you?

      The issue here is the acceptance (or not) of an MP lying to his constituents before an election in which he was standing.
      If you’re happy to accept an MP who lies to his constituents, then that’s fine . . . that is your prerogative, however, others do not accept such behaviour and should be afforded the opportunity to express their opinions about someone seeking to represent them in Westminster.
      Do please remember that this person will also be voting on legislation which effects everyone, not just his own constituents.

      Those who are content to hide malfeasance and corruption behind such platitudes as “we are so very lucky to live in a democracy” should be the ones “holding their heads in shame”.

  • David Colvin

    • June 3rd, 2015 15:31

    Where I personally haven’t seen any evidence of the kind of bullying mentioned in the above comments, I think some commenters are completely missing the fact that a campaign shouldn’t have even been required!
    A person proven to have lied, lied about lying, and clearly abused a position of power during and election campaign should not be an MP, especially considering the lies possibly affected the results, considering how extremely close that particular seats results were.
    A proven liar and power abuser does not deserve to be a representing member of parliament, it’s really quite a simple and surely understandable fact.
    Trying to bring the ‘People of Shetland’ campaign into disrepute is a clear deflection tactic.

    • John Tulloch

      • June 3rd, 2015 17:42

      David Colvin,

      The reason this crowd or, more accurately, “handful” of people have suspended their activity is out of respect for the court action against Mr Carmichael.

      That he told a lie is not in doubt. Whether it is of sufficient consequence to merit his resignation, you and I are unable to judge because wild allegations and lies – yes, “lies” – have been flying around, gathering force and supposed credibility with every circuit of the social media sites completed.

      The court is the proper place for the facts to be examined and they will decide whether a resignation is called for. It is, at best, bad form for “armchair judges” to pronounce verdicts, one way or the other, meanwhile.

    • Ali Inkster

      • June 3rd, 2015 21:45

      So you will be calling for Salmonds resignation then. Or are you yet another hypocrite?

  • Kathy Greaves

    • June 3rd, 2015 20:22

    This group of protesters have no right to call themselves ‘The People of Shetland’ as it represents only a tiny minority. For the sake of accuracy they should rename themselves as ‘Some of the People of Shetland’ or ‘A Tiny Minority of the People of Shetland’, seeing as the 34,000 or so people who have signed this petition are from mainland Scotland, from the Central Belt. As a ‘person of Shetland’ I object to this misuse of our islands’ name, and may have to organise a protest.

    • Martin Tregonning

      • June 4th, 2015 16:10

      I will come and join the protest – I thought we could call it “The people of Shetland who are people of Shetland but not part of We the People of Shetland” – and my children should be old enough to waive placards too.

      • iantinkler

        • June 4th, 2015 16:56

        Surely the public right to protest is not the sole right of one group of people or one person. It takes a rare arrogance for one person to believe he or she has the right to control a protest! Must be under central control, very SNP, to say only one placard only, mine. I will now call it if, tough if you want to continue, I am in control here. All a bit totalitarian bit like my old school teacher!!! Martin Tregonning, you protest if you want, your right, do not be dictated to.

  • David Spence

    • June 3rd, 2015 20:50

    If you want a political party which is good at (lying) deceiving the electorate, putting its own interests at the head of their political manifesto/agenda, a party which will say one thing but do the opposite (Cameron, saying the electorate ‘ The NHS will be safe in our hands ‘ – whilst at the same time privatizing the NHS via the backdoor, using Tax Payer’s money to keep private schools running, using Tax Payers money to build private schools………the list goes on and on.

    When it comes to a political party lying and deceiving the electorate, the vile Tories are the experts.

  • iatinkler

    • June 4th, 2015 12:10

    Robin Stevenson, I did actually read all the full post and would respectfully suggest, to yourself, “We the People of Shetland”, the SNP, et al, If you all would truly like to offer your sympathy to the family, friends and party of Charles Kennedy, just write to them, as most would do.. You do not need to post your pious platitudes in “The Times” or any paper for that mater. Otherwise many will see you as publicity seeking and little more. Maximizing your platitudes for public benefit is perhaps not a good nor very sincere move.

    • Robin Stevenson

      • June 5th, 2015 0:56

      Firstly Ian, I’m gobsmacked you just said: “and would respectfully suggest, to yourself”, that is polite. 🙂

      Respects have been sent Ian, I just didn’t think is was necessary to broadcast it.

  • Tim Morrison

    • June 4th, 2015 19:04

    I would like to make it clear to all, and there has been some confusion, that the People versus Carmichael legal action continues and is not affected by this decision in any way. More information about the campaing can be found here -/www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-people-versus-carmichael/
    and here http://www.theorkneyvole.com

    • John Tulloch

      • June 5th, 2015 8:28

      Here’s another SNP supporter, now “outed” as the anonymous author of “The Orkney Vole” Yes campaign social media website, misrepresenting himself as “The People”.

  • Anne Martin

    • June 4th, 2015 19:57

    My parents lived in Shetland for many years and were long-term active LibDem supporters. But they were totally opposed to lying, smearing and cheating in politicians – or anyone else for that matter. The stand against Alistair Carmichael is supported by many people throughout Scotland who feel that dishonesty in politicians has gone too far. That is something I would have thought everybody would back – regardless of party allegiances. To brand this as simply an SNP plot of some kind seems to me to be a way of avoiding the issue. He lied and lied and lied and cost the tax payer a very large amount of money. To me that is not acceptable. Nor is Malcolm Bruce’s defence that “they all do it, so it’s OK.” Unless taken to task they will continue to do it – and the people of Scotland should expect – and get – better than this from their elected representatives. 20 years ago he would have resigned instantly. Today politicians seem to think anything goes. This should not be allowed.

    • Ali Inkster

      • June 5th, 2015 10:42

      He lied over whether or not he knew about the leak. salmond lied on numerous occasions and spent public funds on court action to cover up his lies yet I hear none of the above shouting for his resignation. I shall add your name to the long list of hypocrites.

      • David Howell

        • June 5th, 2015 14:02

        Salmond however, was cleared of any wrongdoing by an independent commission – I see you forgot to mention that when stating that he used public funds . . . to prove a point of law . . . which he won!

        Alastair Carmicheal used public funds to initiate an investigation for which he already knew the answer; that’s called “malfeasance”.

        Perhaps you should be adding your own name to that “long list of hypocrites” you seem to have dreamt up in your head.

    • John Tulloch

      • June 5th, 2015 11:46

      Anne Martin,

      Mr Carmichael did not “cost the taxpayer a lot of money”, the £1.4 million figure put about was false, a “LIE”. That’s why we need the two investigations to proceed – so that we can learn the whole truth.

      Perhaps, you and the SNP would prefer an alternative arrangement however justice in the UK is not dispensed by media “kangaroo court” or Colosseum-esque “thumbs down” from Internet social media sites.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • June 5th, 2015 18:26

        I think we can all safely say that the Carmichael debacle will “Cost the taxpayer a lot of money” when we consider the ongoing investigations into his admitted “LIE”, anyone stating otherwise is either naive or foolish? The £1.4 Million figure came about from a Welsh Labour MP who first tweeted this figure, which was picked up on by the entire mainstream media and made public. As to the true figure, nobody knows the exact amount, however, had Carmichael done the honourable thing in the first place, they’d be no need for further investigations and no further expense.

        There seems to be a bit of a double standard here John, you accuse the SNP of having some kind of “Kangaroo court” having him already guilty? And yet we have the other “Kangaroo court” that insist on his innocence, despite admitting himself, that he lied?

      • Anne Martin

        • June 5th, 2015 20:20

        If Ali Inskter and John Tullochs’s comments are anything to go by, then I think I’m glad my mother is no longer alive to hear Shetlanders talk about others like this. It wasn’t like this when I was young. People treated others with a great deal more respect. And expected honesty and decency from neighbours, friends and politicians. I wouldn’t expect my children to lie and defame others and I don’t believe politicians – of whatever party – should be allowed to do so either. Without decency, honesty, morality or respect we’re not much of a country. And how can we expect our children to be honest if they see dishonesty being condoned by politicians and their supporters. What a sad state to be in.

      • John Tulloch

        • June 5th, 2015 22:31

        Ann & Robin,

        Let’s wait and learn from the investigations whether anyone was “defamed” and who else has been telling lies apart from Mr Carmichael.

        The court will decide whether there are grounds for declaring the election “null and void”, that’s how justice operates in the UK – BTW, that’s the place that 55 percent of Scots voted to remain part of. 🙂

        Once you get your independent Scotland you can administer justice any way you like but, until then, alas, you’ll just have to live with what the people of Scotland said they wanted – Union!

      • Ali Inkster

        • June 6th, 2015 0:59

        @ Anne Martin, ” People treated others with a great deal more respect. And expected honesty and decency from neighbours, friends and politicians. I wouldn’t expect my children to lie and defame others and I don’t believe politicians – of whatever party – should be allowed to do so either.”

        I await your call for Salmond, Sturgeon, Swinney etc resignations, otherwise I will reaffirm my opinion that you’re a hypocrite and advise you to grow a thicker skin.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 6th, 2015 6:00

        Anne Martin, I lodged with a wonderful Shetland woman in Yell in the seventies when I was in my early twenties and she held the same values your mother held. But she always looked for the good in a person before she made a judgement and it was the good in that person which she saw and acted on and that is the Shetland way of treating people. Not picking one mistake and then hounding that person and their family until they go or give in. I am glad that wonderful woman is not here to hear your double standards when it comes to quoting Shetland ways and treating people.

  • iantinkler

    • June 5th, 2015 23:14

    Anne Martin, you are so right. “Nationalism”, your comments highlight just what it does, divides, sets people on people, ferments division and hatred. SNP, the clue is in the name. Unionism? people joining together. Not a bad option.

    • David Howell

      • June 6th, 2015 11:48

      “…Unionism? people joining together. Not a bad option…”

      Until you see it in action in Northern Ireland and on the streets of Glasgow, as drunken louts scream and shout their hatred of anything and anyone who doesn’t wish to follow their mantra.

      It isn’t the Scottish “Nationalist” Party . . . it’s the Scottish National Party.

      Perhaps your tunnel vision precludes you from noticing the difference or from understanding what it represents.

      • iantinkler

        • June 7th, 2015 20:15

        David Howell, Please get a dictionary so you understand a big words. An encyclopedia may help also.
        Unionism: Unionism in the United Kingdom, also referred to as British unionism, is a political ideology favouring the continued union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
        Scottish National Party: The Scottish National Party (SNP; Scottish Gaelic: Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba, Scots: Scots Naitional Pairtie) is a Scottish nationalist and social-democratic political party in Scotland

      • Robin Stevenson

        • June 8th, 2015 0:00

        Hmm…So we have, “Scottish”…Check….”National”…Check….”Party”….Check

        Looks to me that the definition of each has to be checked by yourself Ian?

        Scottish:…. Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland.

        National:….. Nation or country

        Party:…… is an organization of people which seeks to achieve goals common to its members through the acquisition and exercise of political power.

        Nationalist :….. A nationalist is someone who tries to obtain political independence for his or her country.

  • David Spence

    • June 6th, 2015 17:10

    When it comes to nationalism, patriotism, call it what you want, our so-called ally across the loch are obsessed with self riotous praise for themselves and nobody else.

    A country where the national anthem, is compulsory, is sung every day whilst you are at school or on every game, public event or other events which may be taking place.

    A country obsessed with power, violence, selfishness and domination no matter the consequences are to other countries or people.

    A country where the population see’s no fault at all with its Government, and they are totally obedient to their Government’s cause and actions which may be execute, even if it is morally, socially and unjust.

    I am intrigued why they always say ‘ God Bless America ‘ or ‘ In God we Trust ‘ when Capitalism is the very pinnacle which brings out the worst in human nature and behaviour in terms of ‘ evil ‘………a rather large contradiction I would say.

    This is the form of Government and social structures the vile Tories would like the UK to emulate, and for them (the vile Tories) to do as they please, when they please and how they please in front of a pre-programmed psychological doctrine of total patriotism, admiration for their leaders and the world is there for this country to exploit no matter what damage this may cause to other countries or peoples outwith their own country.

    • Ali Inkster

      • June 8th, 2015 11:19

      Please explain what it was that caused 30 million + deaths in the Soviet Union at the hands of the communist government. Are you saying that Stalin was a secret capitalist when he murderred so many of his own.

  • Steven Jarmson

    • June 7th, 2015 17:18

    I was wondering, how many signatures did this group get before they packed it in?

  • iantinkler

    • June 8th, 2015 6:18

    Steven, I counted all of 34 people standing around, protesting, on the second Saturday, a figure backed up by “Yes Shetland” on Facebook. Hardly the protest of the century!! That embarrassing turnout is probable why the protest was called off by its SNP organizer. I have no idea how many Shetland signatures were collected, perhaps the number of SNP card carriers in Shetland, if that. All in all a bit of an embarrassment of a protest, the usual subjects making the usual noise, actually rather less than I expected.

    • Steven Jarmson

      • June 8th, 2015 10:38

      So probably around 1% of the local population in total actually signed the petition?
      My guess is that’s probably the real reason they have suspended their protest, and like true nationalists are using the death of a good man for political mileage.
      It’s quite sick really.

  • iantinkler

    • June 8th, 2015 11:54

    Steven Jarmeson, that was all a bit sad. Posting pseudo “sympathy to the family, friends and party of Charles Kennedy”, in the Shetland Times. Surely, “We the people of Shetland” have the intelligence, and knew full well that the circulation of Shetland Times is hardly likely to the family of the late Charles Kennedy. Call me a cynic if you wish but this looks to me no more than a crass PR stunt, just like Salmond’s opportunist statement and Danus Skene’s posturing on Jo Grimond.


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