17th November 2018
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Carmichael comfortably sees off SNP challenge

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Alistair Carmichael has been returned as Shetland and Orkney MP in a landslide victory.

Mr Carmichael secured 11,312 votes, nearly half of all votes cast in the constituency, while the SNP’s Miriam Brett took second place with 6,749 votes.

The result comes as a blow to the SNP’s Miriam Brett who had hoped to cause an upset in the seat by ending over seven decades of Liberal Democrat dominance in the constituency.

But the SNP could not capitalise on a narrow victory of 817 votes in 2015, despite Mr Carmichael becoming embroiled in the “Frenchgate” scandal after his success that year. Instead Mr Carmichael nearly quadrupled his majority.

Nationally the SNP had a poor night. They remain the largest party in Scotland but lost key figures including former First Minister Alex Salmond and Westminster leader Angus Robertson. In his acceptance speech Mr Carmichael said that this showed there was no desire for a second independence referendum.

During the campaign Mr Carmichael had previously admitted that the Lib Dem and Tory coalition formed in 2010 had alienated many of the party’s “progressive” supporters.

Public opinion seems to have softened in the two years since, however, with the party regaining seats lost in 2015 poll. Sir Vince Cable reclaimed the Twickenham seat he lost two years ago as the party looked on course to double their total at Westminster.

Locally, the party increased its votes by around 2,000, while the SNP secured 2,000 fewer votes than they did in 2015. Labour’s Robina Barton came third, with 2,664 (around 1,000 more than in 2015) while the Conservatives’ Jamie Halcro Johnston gained 2,024 (just one less than the party received in 2015).

UKIP’s Robert Smith got just 283 votes and independent candidate Stuart Hill received 245.

In his acceptance speech Mr Carmichael, who has served as Orkney and Shetland MP for 16 years, thanked voters for embracing the “warm” and “outward looking values of liberalism.”

He said: “On a personal note can I thank all those across those islands who have demonstrated such tremendous friendship and support, not just to me but to my wife and family in recent years.”

Mr Carmichael added: “Across the United Kingdom, I think it’s fair to say that the people have spoken but it’s not yet clear what they have said.

“One thing I think is clear though, as we see seats changing hands across Scotland, there is no appetite now for a second independence referendum and that is an idea which should be taken off the table.

“We don’t yet have all the results but it is likely I believe that there will be a parliament where everybody is a minority and nobody will be able to get their own way in the years to come. That is going to require good faith working from all parties in the House of Commons as we face the challenges of the next few years.

“I pledge myself to be part of that good faith working. I believe my party will also be part of that good faith working because, at the end of the day, the security and prosperity of our future generations will depend on it.”

About Keegan Murray

Reporter for The Shetland Times. Interested in politics, literature and music. Born and bred Shetlander. Long suffering Newcastle United supporter.

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  1. Gordon Harmer

    Well done Shetland, well done Scotland, a clear message to the SNP, no second referendum. Stalwarts and young pretenders were all given the same message throughout Scotland, we voted NO and we meant NO.

    • Robert Sim

      That’ll be why the SNP has the most seats in Scotland and is the third-largest party in Westminster, is it, Gordon? Don’t worry – the SNP is going to be there fighting Scotland’s corner during brexit – and maybe the next general election before then – while the Tories implode and the LibDems watch from the sidelines as usual.

      • ian_tinkler

        A few sour grapes Robert Sim?. Out of 300 plus MPs, Tories down 15 and still in power. Out of 50 plus MPs, SNP down 20 plus including, Salmond!. All still obsessing about Indie2. Shetland further away from the SNP than ever and that is even with all the newly recruited SNP elder statesmen. The new Scotish Labour, Liberal and Torie MPs must be laughing all the way to Westminster. I can’t wait for the next Scotish Election, 20% plus swing away from the SNP in two years; I just wonder which party is about to implode over the next few years!

      • Gordon Harmer

        36.9% of the vote, a massive reduction from the 45% who wanted independence in 2014. Ruth’s 13 Tory MPs will have more say at the heart of government than any amount of SNP MPs. Not only that but the Scottish Tories have kept May in Downing St, so she owes Ruth big time and Ruth will call that in to benefit Scotland.

      • Robert Sim

        Why would I be experiencing sour grapes, Ian, when the SNP holds the balance of power at uk level?

      • Robert Sim

        Gordon, you are wrong – it isn’t Scottish Tories who are keeping the egotistical, blundering, terrifyingly incompetent Mrs May in office when any politician with a shred of integrity should have resigned but a toxic alliance with the DUP, whose views are inimical to an inclusive, tolerant society. Happy? Wait until N Ireland lands the preferential brexit treatment Scotland was refused, then tell us how you feel.

      • Michael Garriock

        Robert Sim, your calculator needs new batteries. 262 + 35 equals considerably short of 319, and that 35 is completely cancelled out if the ‘other’ 35 MPs decide to vote with the government against a combined Labour/SNP opposition vote.

        The SNP MPs hold no ‘balance’ of any kind of power whatsoever, at best the SNP MPs hold part of a balance of power, which is something completely different entirely. Which relies on getting in to bed with enough of the ‘others’ to get the numbers to work, and with 10 already pledged to support the government, that only leaves 25 to work from, 7 of whom are Sinn Fein who typically boycott Westminster, of the 18 remaining 12 are LibDems, who being a Unionist party may have a ‘problem’ voting alongside a Scot’s independence one – and even if they don’t, it doesn’t matter, as you needed 22 in addition to the Labour/SNP vote to block the Tory vote, and with the Irish pledged to vote with the Tories/refuse to be there to vote, you’re already short.

        In a nutshell, far from holding the balance of power in Westminster, the SNP MPs have no power at all there.

      • ian tinkler

        A bit of a Volt Face Robert. I thought you and the SNP argued that Scotland held no power in Wicked Westminster! So just what has Nicola been moaning about?

      • Robert Sim

        Fair points, Michael. I acknowledge the accuracy of your number-crunching. The SNP is nevertheless the largest Scottish presence in Westminster and that’s held up well in the face of ‘project fear mk 2’ regarding independence.

        The really worrying thing for us all is the probable influence of the DUP on May’s government. We are now heading into brexit negotiations with one of the worst-led, weak and chaotic governments in living memory “in charge”. We have two years for that all to unravel – an independence referendum at the end of that period may seem a preferable option for many.

      • ROBERT SIM

        @Ian T – I have never to my recollection argued that the SNP had no influence in Westminster: before the election, I was texting here that we needed as many SNP MPs as possible to defend Scotland’s interests.

        Interestingly enough, this election has very obviously given the lie to the idea of ‘vote SNP, get the Tories’. In this case, some of Scotland anyway capitulated to Ruth’s smokescreen, project fear mk 2, deserted the SNP for the Tories and duly helped the hapless, bumbling Mrs May back into No 10, where she will, in her unholy alliance with the DUP, continue to wreak even more havoc on British society and have rings run round her by the EU negotiators.

    • Brian Smith

      When and why exactly did the garrulous four begin to obsess about the SNP? Did it come on suddenly, or was it an epiphany? Will it ever slacken? It would make a good short story, like those in Joyce’s Dubliners.

      • ian tinkler

        Brian, I take it you are referring to; Yourself, Wills, Hamilton and would the final one be Morton?. What a fun epiphany you all had and what a classic bit of timing. No wonder Labour did so much better after the dead wood cut itself free. Poor Miriam, with friends like that, no wonder she crashed so spectacularly.

      • Bill Hall

        Mr. Smith, you wicked man. You know perfectly well that the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse, aka the H.I.T.T. squad would rise to the bait that you expertly cast among them! Careful you don’t risk action from their legal representatives, Cutt, Paste, Carp & Moan.

      • ian tinkler

        Bill Hall, could you vote? It’s great to be on the side that won again! Are you ready to do private health insurance after Brexit or can we expect you back here? Do they still have 25% youth unemployment in Spain, my two Spanish pals (Dentists) now work with me!! I am in Budapest (wedding, Hungarian dentist) with another two EU dentists who now work in Shetland, one trained in Madrid and Argentina, better job prospects here after Spain went into recession. Thought you would like to know that and no cutting or pasting at all. (All in private practice)

  2. Brian Smith

    I started looking closely at general elections 51 years ago – but didn’t enjoy any of them as much as last night’s.

    • Gordon Harmer

      Only someone with no political nous would enjoy the country having a hung parliament with the start of Brexit talks approaching.
      Thank goodness for the common sense of a great number of Scottish voters who have averted a complete disaster. As well as silencing the independence brigade and their more senior flip flopping members who have been shown how democracy actually works.

    • John Tulloch

      You don’t mind having egg on your face then?

  3. Brian smith

    Onlty the shetland Times would publish a photo of thed candidates with the two women obscured!

    • Ali Inkster

      I have spoken to 2 former SNP voters this morning that put their change of heart entirely at your door brian. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank you in these pages for helping ensure a resounding SNP defeat.

      • Brian Smith

        Chuckle! 😉

      • Gordon Harmer

        Is that the noise of you choking on your own words Brian. 😉

      • ian tinkler

        Well, we all know who the laugh is on! Brian, 26% swing against. Good time to change your party.

  4. James Sinclair

    SNP repudiated,May repudiated,Brexit,Trump-anyone else sense a common theme? Maybe when politicians are willfully deaf and blind to the concerns of the demos,too busy pursuing their blinkered political objectives in their soundproofed echo chambers ,they waken up one morning to find that they are out on their ear. Oh dear,what a shame,never mind.

  5. ian tinkler

    I have heard of the three stooges; now Shetland has five! It was with some amazement I watched the spectacle of Wills, Hamilton. Malcomson, Morton and Brian Smith, with maximal publicity “turncoat” on their former political parties to the Nationalists and Miriam Brett. Reading and watching their fawning praise and sycophantic laudation of Miriam truly promoted a touch of nausea! I wonder, now the SNP were all but destroyed in Shetland and lacking any credibility, they will U-turn back to their former parties.
    Miriam sadly appears to have learnt nothing from her dismal performance. If you wish to see just what Shetland folk rejected, have a look at her unpleasant and negative Twitter comments. Just the usual harsh and prejudiced commentary about The Tories and the nasty DUP. I think good riddance is the appropriate comment; I truly expected more! Well done Shetland voters, your choice was sound.

    • Brian Smith

      It’s amusing to see Mr Tinkler regret ‘harsh and prejudiced commentary’ about Mrs Me and the DUP, at a time when the Tories and their unionist pals are struggling to keep their noses above water. Miriam Brett was the best candidate in the recent contest, and, if elected, would have played a good part in the opposition to the Tories and their unpleasant allies. I am less hopeful that Mr Carmichael will do the same, given his recent dalliances. But that’s life.

    • Robert Sim

      “Just the usual harsh and prejudiced commentary about The Tories and the nasty DUP.” Care to tell us what is good about the DUP, Ian?

      • ian tinkler

        They are human beings, Robert Sim. I am sure contrary to your prejudiced nastiness, there is good in all. What an old blinkered cynic you are becoming. How “Nationalism” brings out the nastiness in people, are you Robert inferring the DUP are evil or some such thing?

      • Robert Sim

        Oh dear, Ian. For an intelligent man who is usually forensic in your analysis when it comes to the SNP, you appear to have lost your investigative abilities. Let me help you. If you search on Wikipedia, you will see there that the DUP is socially regressive, sectarian and homophobic.

        More worryingly: “The DUP has historically been associated with loyalist paramilitarism and in recent years has been supported by loyalist paramilitary groups such as the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), which are proscribed terrorist organisations.”

        In fact, as I am sure you can’t help having read or seen, Theresa May’s egotism has now potentially put the Northern Ireland peace process at risk, as Enda Kenny, the Irish Prime Minister, has now publicly stated. The UK and Irish governments both play the role of impartial “honest brokers” in that process; and it is now clearly not possible for the UK government to do that.

        Certainly something to reflect on when you and others are crowing about how Ruth Davidson’s project fear scared enough people across Scotland with the bogeyman of the next independence referendum and kept the hopeless Mrs May in office.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robert, if the DUP are so bad how come the SNP said they could work with them as well as Sinn Fein who we all know are or were terrorists.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robert needs to be educated on what the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) really are. They are a legal Political Party who, along with the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Traditional Unionist Party (TUV) have, for decades, been a voice for mainly (but not solely) the Unionist/British people of Northern Ireland. These are not paramilitary groups or like Sinn Fein who are the political wing and voice of the terrorist IRA. The DUP are British. It’s ironic how because they are now supporting the Conservative Party to form the Party that Robert wants to complain, even though the DUP etc. have had sitting MP’s in Parliament for decades supporting the Conservative Party. It’s a pity those who are now complaining didn’t know their history much better, or had shown even a little interest in this small corner of the United Kingdom years ago when for 40 years the IRA and other republican terrorists were trying to bomb us off the face of the earth on a daily basis.

      • Robert Sim

        Gordon and Ian, Alex Salmond’s comments were from 2014, so hardly relevant now; and in any case the most pathetic and transparent deflection on your part(s): it’s the present arrangement we are talking about.

        On that topic, I see that Sir John Major (according to today’s Herald) has now added his voice to those who are concerned about the deal his party is making, saying that any deal between the Conservative Government and the Democratic Unionist Party could have a negative impact on the Northern Ireland peace process. He said that “…the peace process was still “under stress” and “fragile” and cautioned the pact could mean the Government would no longer be seen as impartial.”

        Lord Hain, the former Northern Ireland Minister, echoed those concerns saying that a Con-DUP alliance could “derail” the peace process.

        Do you think these folk don’t know their history, Gordon?

        The point is that we have been saddled with an inept and desperate Prime Minister who is going to lead the country down the path of even more destabilisation. In her weakened position, she is hardly likely to be able to strike the best brexit deal either. Never mind – the SNP got a bloody nose and that’s all that matters.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robert Sim, how is 2014 different to now, the DUP are the DUP now as in 2014. What about Sinn Fein, you cannot just dismiss the fact that Salmond was willing to work with them as well especially as you are a vociferous supporter of Salmond and the SNP.
        Unlike Sinn Fein the DUP have nothing to do with terrorism as I have said above, no direct links, no financing, no MPs who are or were terrorists.
        A coalition would compromise the peace process but we are not talking about a coalition.
        I am sure you do not know your history, your spin proves it, spin you have used for the past years and been proved wrong time and time again.
        And yes I am glad the SNP have been given a bloody nose, I am not afraid to admit that, its just a pity that some SNP followers do not know when they are well and truly beaten. Defending the indefensible and spinning history does not give you the moral high ground, so climb down to where you belong.

      • Ali Inkster

        “Gordon and Ian, Alex Salmond’s comments were from 2014, so hardly relevant now; ”

        Yes because we all know that 2014 was a generation ago. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Robert Sim

        @Gordon, personal insults mean that you know you have lost the argument.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robert you must be a bit of a snowflake if you see an insult in my comment, I do apologise if I insulted you I had no idea you were so sensitive.

  6. ian tinkler

    Whoops, Robert Sim, Alex Salmond and the SNP would work with the DUP. Perhaps he/they dos not have your grand and overblown scruples! For an intelligent man, I thought you would have known that? It rather makes your mock moral outrage look a little silly does it not?
    “Mr Salmond said he would refuse to work with the Conservatives, but the Scottish Nationalists could work with Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein, if they took up seats or the DUP.” (BBC News; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-30424810/alex-salmond-snp-could-work-with-sinn-fein-or-dup )

  7. Andrew Hepburn

    Labour gained a thousand votes on 2015 👍

    Onwards and upwards!

    • Gordon Harmer

      1979 – Callaghan 269 seats = resigned.
      1992 – Kinnock 271 seats = resigned.
      2017 – Corbyn 262 seats = a claim of victory & demands the leading opposition leader to resign, you could not make it up.

      • ian tinkler

        This has to be put into correct perspective. Corbyn won his 262 seats when the Torie campaign was an utter disaster. Sturgeon with the SNP were pushing their collective heads into dark, dark places with Indieref2 and Brian Smith and pals had gone Natty! Even Peter Malcomson had turned somewhere (Miriam charmed). Corbyn should have walked it, let us face it, not much opposition! All were losers, perhaps Shetland folk spoke well, and only the DUP won, anyway I am in Budapest and glad to be away. Wedding pending (sassy young EU dentist).

      • Andrew Hepburn

        I was only commenting on the result for Orkney & Shetland constituency rather than the UK in general. However, I’ll bite…

        Despite winning less seats than in either of the polls you mention(1979 and 1992) Labour’s share of the vote in the recent election was significantly greater:

        1979 – 36.9%

        1992 – 34.4%

        2017 – 40.0%

        Herein lies the principal anomaly of the first past the post electoral system. That parliamentary representation doesn’t accurately reflect the proportion of votes cast for each party. But this is perhaps another discussion altogether….

  8. Christopher Johnston

    Looking from a distance, SNP made a major error in offering a 25 years old candidate with little experience to an Orkney and Shetland electorate older than the Scotland average. Miriam Brett fared much worse than Danus Skene, who was more senior and experienced. Perhaps SNP will learn from this experience, but my guess is that they will not.

    • Graham Fleming

      It’s the ‘ aye beens that won it’ and when the young, the brightest and the future,move on,to pastures new, dinnae complain when all you can see is the stoor o’ the fields blawing in the wind ahin them!

    • Brian Smith

      Is this the Mr Johnston who was patiently plainer how competent Donald Trump is?

    • Brian Smith

      who patiently explained 😉

      • Christopher Johnston

        I voted for and support most things President Trump has done since taking office. The US is better off with him as President than we would have been had Hillary Clinton won.

      • Brian Smith


      • Ian Tinkler

        Chuckle! or Choke! For once I agree with Brian!!! Trump is WW3 waiting to happen.

      • Ian Tinkler

        With Putin and Trump, we have the Worlds two greatest egomaniacs waiting to face off. Not a good outlook for humanityst

    • ian tinkler

      The mistake that the SNP made was regarding Miriam was the laudation heaped on her by such a discredited bunch as the Shetland newly turned SNP. If that group could not stay true to one party, who could believe the simpering praise and promotion they gave Miriam at every imaginable opportunity. Let us face, Ali C was not that hardest to discredit and to beat; the SNP blew it spectacularly. Our sympathies should be with Miriam, with the backers she had, it is no wonder she lost popularity as the campaign progressed.

      • Christopher Johnston

        Miriam may have a bright future once she realises that, with friends like the SNP, she will not need enemies.

      • Robert Sim

        @Ian Tinkler – “The mistake that the SNP made was regarding Miriam was the laudation heaped on her by such a discredited bunch as the Shetland newly turned SNP.” You are saying this is what lost the SNP the election, Ian? Hard, statistical evidence to back up your assertion? Numbers will do, thanks, without too much commentary. After all, we all know how much more important STEM subjects are than wooly verbiage.

      • Ian Tinkler

        Subjects you never learnt or understood, Robert Sim, hence my use of the word “simpering”.
        You are the definitive case in point.

      • Ian Tinkler

        General election 2017: SNP lose a third of seats amid Tory surge.
        Carmichael comfortably sees off SNP challenge.
        Enough said? now simper away, Q.E.D.

    • Graham Fleming

      The SNP may have a few problems,like winning an election in Scotland with fewer votes and seen as losers, because they didn’t win all the seats,a bit oxymoron but hey – that’s British politics for you.To their great credit they have always been consistent in abiding by international law when it comes to illegal wars; unlike America or England as with everything else it is brushed under the carpet for their convenience.The bill for their destructive mess, is never picked up by the culprits only the victims pays, after the party is over,Pax Anglia Americana indeed.

      • Ian Tinkler

        America or England, Fleming, perchance, do you mean the USA and UK, or are you so ignorant as to not know the difference?

  9. John Irvine

    I don`t think it would have mattered who the SNP had put forward as a candidate, the general public have come to see what a false political party they are and those with “midder wit” quite rightly voted against them.

    • Robert Sim

      Is that why the SNP won most of the Scottish Westminster seats?

    • Ian Tinkler

      I just feel sorry for Miriam, she deserved better! Hopefully, as she matures she will see the parcel of worms she has as her exploiters.

  10. Haydn Gear

    Just to add a bit to Ian’s comment on Graham Fleming’s reference to “”England and America”” the inability to make national distinctions can present some people with difficulties. Someone from the USA once asked me” which part of England is Wales in ?” My daughter, who is in New Jersey at this very moment on a business trip sent me an email yesterday to tell me she’d had a conversation with a fella who confidently asked why is it that all the men in Wales wear red shirts and red fleeces ?Obviously a rugby fan of a mixed up kind !! Maybe their version of Ofsted should take a close look at the teaching of geography. Trump would never make such a mistake or any at all for that matter. Let’s hope he’s colourblind and doesn’t see red buttons as red buttons. ( WW3? )

  11. John Irvine

    Robert, unless my maths is wrong that is why they lost so many seats.

    • Robert Sim

      Still ending up with more Scottish Westminster seats than the other parties combined, John.