Fox Covert

It’s time to leave Alistair Carmichael alone or, to put it another way, let him swing in the breeze. The hot pursuit of terrified prey to the blast of the horn is exhilarating but never dignified. Time to call off the hounds.


To the claim that he can’t be allowed to get away with it, comes the reply: He hasn’t. Having smelled the breath of the pack and have the hair go up on the back of his neck, he is left bloodied and torn, gasping for life…wounded and chastened. The rest of his tenure will be shadowed by shame and there will be no shortage of willing reminders of his cunning and mendacity. He can no longer make righteous speeches at conference nor berate opponents’ opportunism under the studio lights. There will be those in the winding streets of Lerwick and Kirkwall who cannot meet his eye. He will know why.

This is not justification of a ham-fisted, dirty little wheeze accompanied by an abuse of office with a consequential contempt for constituents. His attempts at explanation have revealed him to be laughably inept at subterfuge or craft and the craven inaction of the party executive has confirmed to all how senile and remote Lib Dem leadership has become. Today’s error-strewn interview with Malcolm Bruce added incendiary fuel to his plight. To save Carmichael’s skin, we are informed that not only two-faced Al but all ministers – nay, all Members of the House – lie through their teeth. As endorsements go, it has the same effect as an invite to a patio party at Fred West’s.

Fox hunt

There is a process which looks likely to lead to suspension from the Commons – meaningless to any unfortunate sanctioned by the DWP perhaps, but humiliating in his own terms.

The Nationalist movement does not need another scalp – if they were war trophies the Westminster haul would already fill an Apache village. There is a point at which relentless hounding becomes unreasonable and loses wider support. The only people still justified in the hunt are the islanders themselves who can shame him into a re-run. The SNP is already occupying virtually the entire constituency land mass of Scotland and dissent is a small, still voice. Snuffing out one of the last remaining squeaks achieves nothing. And with too much central belt agitation behind it, a campaign to oust him might provoke a Lib Dem backlash. How would it look if Carmichael won again, on a reduced turnout?

I can’t see what harm his continued presence does tactically for the SNP. It is surely a perverse bonus having one each of the opposition as reminders of the election outcome – the fox’s brush momento.


The handling of Memogate has turned election gambit into slapstick and left Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur with a single major issue to contend with next May – the shadow of Carmichael whom they may both wish to body-swerve from now on.

The recollection of some BBC staff who had to deal with Carmichael is of a demanding and pompous individual and I’ve suffered myself from his scabrous tongue. But he’s done his bit for the islands, offered himself for public service and generally acquitted himself honourably. I fear he has undone much of it and will now carry the burden into the inevitable oblivion. Let him free to walk there alone.

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112 thoughts on “Fox Covert

    • Though the fundraiser, as far as I know, is for folks on Shetland to raise the case.

      • Uh, yes. And your point is? Some hours and £25,000 in small donations later, I think they will be going ahead with that.

    • dennis mclaughlin

      Aye, You’re right there Morag!.
      Scots are putting their money where it counts,into this attempt to get some justice for the islanders.
      imagine looking in his mirror and feeling the utter contempt and loathing his actions have caused.
      Derek, Carmichael should have done the “Honorable” thing and resigned immediately.

  1. Bugger (the Panda)

    I am of the opposite mind although I see your point. The blood is up and the people are on the virtual streets.

    The legal approach will get its funding and I hope win, pour décourager les autres.

  2. I can’t agree at all, Derek. It’s not only SNP people in the Central Belt who want Carmichael to face the electorate. Personally, I take exception to his standing by watching a farce of an investigation unfold which he could have stopped before it started. I don’t know how much it cost, and the actual figure is a side issue, but we are allegedly undergoing austerity and any public figure who allows public money to be squandered like Carmichael deserves censure in the strongest terms. Unemployed people are sanctioned for less.

  3. “The nationalist movement does not need another scalp….”
    This is nothing to do with nationalism.
    This is to do with lying. From someone who is meant to represent “the best” interests of his constituency.
    This is to do with someone in public office who is not suitable for the job.
    This is for us, the electorate, to decide.
    This is for the people who are sanctioned for no good reason. For the people who have no say in this country. For people who want to right injustice.

    Frankly your take on this is outrageous. Let him be, the “process” will sort him out. I don’t think so.

    We must stand up and be heard when they are taking the piss, excuse my language.

    Enough is enough. It matters not a jot which political party he represents. He should not be allowed to chose how he is deal with. An ordinary man in the street might attempt to apologise for his actions but he wouldn’t get away with deciding his own fate. Mr Carmichael needs to be dealt with in the same way as the rest of us.

  4. The way I see it this is no longer about Alistair Carmichael. This is now an expression of outrage in response to Malcolm Bruce’s comments this morning.

  5. Hmm…nope.

    The hounds of the MSM have not been called off the SNP or Sturgeon, despite non-story after non-story.

    They are desperate for anything (see Mhairi Black champagne or water story today) to taint the SNP surge, and the anti-SNP lot are just as desperate.

    This is a valid story, and if the MSM will not blow their trumpets on it, let the hounds feast.

  6. i can see your point in having him remain as the embodiment of unctuous lying but the trouble is this:

    1. He would remain for 4 more years
    2. He’s a ‘go to’ for the media and i personally dont want to hear or see him again (same as murphy) as he represents no one other than himself.
    3. He was just taking the pish out of the electorate
    4. Him and his ilk still believe they are above the laws that him and his class make for others.

    and when i add that lot up i think its overwhelming that he should be encouraged to go, either by his own volition, or by a second chance at the ballot box.

  7. We need to pursue this Derek, it is not only to hear him squeal, but to actually get to the bottom of it.
    ie, did Mundell know about it?, did Clegg?, were the Labour party prewarned?, did the Prime Minister Know?.

    There are probably even more, this is now, for me anyway, that we expose the people who want to keep us so close for their own reasons that they are prepared to break all the rules to try and do that. We need to know how deep this goes. Will he willingly tell us, aye right!

  8. Sorry Derek – I only partially agree – and that is to the bit where you say that it’s up to his constituents to go after him if that’s what they want to do.

    And it seems with the Indigo crowd funding thing that is exactly what some of them will be doing.

    But there should be no mercy, no second chance, no harking back to the “good deeds”. And I say that as someone who is not a member of the SNP and who does not live in the central belt as you know.

    What Carmichael did was a direct attack on democracy at a time when this country’s grip on democracy can seem quite fragile. To allow this one to go is just not on as far as I am concerned.

    Surely the ultimate sin an elected politician can make is to knowingly and deliberately undermine the very democratic process that put them where they are in the first place. For me that sin loses them the right to occupy that a democratic position any more – permanently. He should be removed from his seat and barred from politics for life.

    And it should be a clear message to all politicians of all colours – the deliberate undermining of the people and their democratic process will not be tolerated.

  9. I doubt if he’d stand in a by-election but it would not surprise me if another, more honest, Liberal took his place and won by a large margin. That would be justice enough.

  10. I like your reasoning Derek, but he has to go, he deliberately set himself on this course probably gambling that he wouldn’t be caught.

  11. What he committed was the political equivalent of malice aforethought from which he undoubtedly reaped the benefits.
    Now it’s time for him to pay.
    Bet he’s watching the indiegogo crowd funding total increasing by the hour and having to judge (again) whether he should jump or be pushed.

  12. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired of this constant tawdry political opportunism. This is not an orchestrated attack Derek, it’s a backlash – an explosion of frustration and anger that Jo Public are unworthy of any considered respect from their political masters. Carmichael needs to be exposed for the fraud that he is. This is not hounding, this is natural justice in action.

  13. I understand the reasoning Derek and its sound, but it feels wrong to walk away and let him enjoy a wage on the back of his actions.

  14. I suspect he thought he would be back in the Scotland Office after 2015 and able to cover up… No luck there, He took a gamble, it didn’t work, now he has to pay up. Who knows what other dirty tricks he got up to during the Indyref. We will never win if we let these people away with it. He and his LibDem cronies were not so forgiving for the rest of us when enabling the tories’ punitive cuts.

  15. katherine hamilton

    Whoa Derek, is he a pal of yours?

  16. Agree slightly with you Derek, but agree more with the other posters, he has to go, can you imagine a scenario if SNP leaked something similar about Lib Dems, they would be savaged by compliant media, we cannot have one rule for one and another for another, hope this makes sense

  17. He lied so he must pay the price …as well as any other involved …its too late for niceties …democracy is at stake

  18. Derek,
    A reasonable point of view you put. However, having just made a donation to the legal expenses fund to set about getting Carmichael’s election set aside, I take the view he is unfit for office and should either leave of his own accord or be forced to leave. It would be grand to witness the sanctimonious wee Wullie Rennie putting a brave face on the buffoon’s departure.

  19. I agree entirely, Derek.

    • Forbes Terris

      Totally agree. He will be far more valuable as a liability “in post” than as a dimly remembered character from an election spat. If he were chucked out things would “move on”.

      Let’s just keep his toxicity active.

  20. Well done Derek, I think you got the response you were aiming for!

  21. I think pursuing Carmichael is correct because it could uncover more people [Mundell, Rennie, etc?] who might be complicit in his lying.

  22. Gordon Jackson

    This is not about the SNP taking another scalp. It is about trust and respect. This man has lost both. The people of Orkney and Shetland need to revisit who they wish to represent them in Parliament and who will have their trust and respect. If that is another Lib Dem them so be it. Perhaps if Carmichael resigns a no contest by-elevtion could be held with just Lib Fems standing?

  23. So what you are suggesting is that it is OK for the MSM to pursue YES politicians day in and day out with mostly spurious stories up to including screaming headlines highlighting untruths, to slant coverage on every item from the NHS to the Economy, to falsely claim YES people are prone to violence while ignoring actual violence from the NO side and to demonise individuals on the YES side.


    Its not OK to Support YES Shetland and Yes Orkney to seek a re-run of their election – won by a ‘a decent person corrupted by the WM system’ though attempts to defame the FM though abuse of a public office?

    And lying about it on TV?

    And a a key point in the election campaign?

    Send what you can afford and copy to your friends

  24. Orkney and Shetland deserve an MP they can trust. Scotland deserves politicians we can trust. We’ve had enough of self-serving troughers and it’s time we fought back and demanded a better kind of politics.

    Aren’t you fed up with politicians treading all over the democratic process, Derek? Of course you are. I am. We are. If Carmichael won’t do the decent and moral thing, then we shall just have to force his hand. We employ these people. They answer to us. Time they started acknowledging that fact. 🙂

  25. Have to disagree Derek. This is the way they behave towards others so it’s very much “live by the sword, die by the sword” as far as I’m concerned.

  26. allan thomson

    I think as someone said the ship has sailed. Islanders must lead.Most importantly this lair is too deep for one fox and more needs unearthing!

  27. He did the crime now he must do the time! If he wants to walk away no one will stop him. However he ain’t walking away with the ill begotten MPs salary and expenses. It’s his call. Are the good people of the northern isles to be represented for the next 5 years by comical Ali, I don’t think so.

  28. Somehow, just somehow, i don’t think that if the boot were on the other foot, this is what the opposition and MSM would be saying. Now that in itself is no justification for him to go, but wilfully using his office to smear the FM and then lying about it is wholly patronising, condescending and insulting towards the electorate at large never mind his constituents.

  29. It’s not really about Carmichael, the man. It is about honesty and decency in public office. If he won’t go he should be removed, as a warning and deterrent to the other habitual liars and cheats Malcolm Bruce has told us about today. He has crossed a line beyond what is acceptable and is bringing WM into even more disrepute than we normally hold it. If we want decent politicians and clean politics, we must make a stand.

    As for those who complain that the LibDems may get a new MP elected with an increased majority, so be it. The people of the Northern Isles are free to choose whoever they want to represent them. It would be nice if it is someone who will take a stand against the rest of the unprincipled troughers in the party.

  30. Refreshing to read another perspective, regardless of being different to mine. Where do you want to draw the line of just being nice and letting people away with unacceptable behaviour? He has not yet been punished and he will not be punished if he is allowed to remain an MP. I’m afraid punishment is not someone looking at you the wrong way Derek.

    He should be hounded out of office by whichever means he forces us into. It’s absolutely not just the Islanders he let down. He created an ambassadorial incident, he smeared the FIrst Minister, he lied to the country, he continued lying and has wasted a substantial amount of taxpayers money.

    Also, it is not a “bonus having one each of the opposition as reminders of the election outcome” although I understand the premise. In the wider context, it is these unionists that are holding the country back and no momento of their tenure is required.

    In some ways, I get where you are coming from, you want to distance yourself from a mass demand for Carmichael’s head as it can come across as unseemly, even bullying. I on the other hand, believe whole-heartedly that the electorate is doing the right thing. This is not a pack of opportunist wolves, moving in for the kill of an already lame prey. This is about right and wrong, about how this system protects itself, about democracy itself, about the right to fair representation, about accountability.

    It’s about a society that’s had enough and is refusing to take any more of this systematic torturous oppression. Look around; look at the bloody state of our nation, rich on paper and poor in daily lives. Carmichael like all unionists is responsible for this. I could not give a hoot if he takes credit for a boat in Orkney, there’s something called the bigger picture and it’s becoming clearer to all of us with every passing day.

    He is no longer fit for office or purpose, despite any past highlights and the people of O&S should have the final decision on that one. He has not had the good grace or guts to do the right thing.

    Further, it is not bad grace on the part of the wider public to pursue the only paths left open by fair and legal means to remove him from office.

    Let him not be free to walk alone if he walks all over us.

  31. Sorry, Derek, this arsehole, Carmichael, knew precisely what he was doing and in no way was it “an error of judgement” – as he claims, nor was it “an aberration” as his “leader” and partner in crime, Willie Rennie, maintains but, perhaps, it WAS “lost in ‘fabrication’”? “Memogate” was nothing less than a conspiracy that goes to the heart of the British establishment which is terrified that the era of never-ending Tory governments is a risk from an anti-austerity movement led by the SNP. Neither, was it mere chance that this memo was leaked just after “The Wee Yin” did so well on the “Leaders’ Debate”, or that it was leaked just before the Easter holidays. This is a well trodden path – as “fellow liar”, Sir Malcolm Bruce would “testify” – to release a damaging report or make serious accusations about opponents just as everyone is in holiday mode. The aggrieved party is then forced into desperate, damage limitation measures – meaning an instant recall of all necessary staff from their holidays – to deal with the rabid onslaught from the media who were clearly given a “heads-up” about the story from “an undisclosed source”. Of course, the other side of the coin is that a bank-holiday is also a very good time to “bury” bad news – as Carmichael undoubtedly did before pissing-off on holiday to Germany – leaving the SNP with no means to question their lying accuser and, conveniently, no editions of “Scotland Tonight” or “Scotland 2015” to “searingly challenge” and “forensically investigate” (aye, right) the whole “Memogate” issue. And, with no Sunday Politics, “Brillo-pad” Neil; or Gordon “but, but, but” Brewer to contend with, it was left to “Luggy” Marr on Sunday – and a complete news blackout was seamlessly achieved!
    As Carmichael could, at any time, have admitted his guilt over the lying leak AND saved the public purse of £1.4m; it is clear that he was more concerned that the civil-service inquiry would last, at least, until after the General Election, in order to save his skin as an MP – getting to the truth, as HE claimed, had bugger all to do with it! I’m against blood-sports as well, Derek – but, I’d happily rip this lying scum-bag’s throat out myself. He’s got to go – no merci?

    • John, couldn’t have put it better myself. Sorry Derek you are too forgiving on this one. Carmichael is a self-serving , sanctimonious toe rag. His insufferable self aggrandizement and the supercilious contempt he displays towards the electorate and Scotland is infuriating. If we turn our back on this we open the door and set a precedent for acceptance of future bad behavior by politicians. The fact that ‘thick Willie Rennie, ‘senile’ Malcolm Bruce, ‘self-serving’ Tim Farron and the odious Michael White all see fit to defend him tells me all i need to know. He needs to go and if he is arrogant enough and dishonorable enough to refuse to go, he should be hounded out. Remove his position and his salary and let him fend for himself in the same manner his government forced on the weakest in our society. .

  32. I’m surprised and wonder if you’re piece was sincere;you must surely be thinking that Carmichael wasn’t really the architect of all this – I think he was persuaded to have this memo leaked and I think it goes to the door of the leadership and not just of the LibDems and you suspect this too. It’s time they were called out and taken to task – we’re all heartsick of their dirty tricks?

  33. Euan Rodden leads to Carmichael.(with a Willie Rennie cameo on Telegraph)

    Carmichael leads to his ‘staff’ which is Mundell.

    Mundell leads to Cameron and Osbourne.


    • You omitted Heywood who conducted the report and issued a craftily written ‘synopsis’ that left more questions than it answered. This is no longer just about politicians, but also the impartiality or otherwise of the civil service. The Scottish Office now looks more like a spying and black ops department of the UK government than a department that delivers anything useful for Scotland.

  34. kendomacaroonbar

    Derek, why was my last post deleted ?

  35. Tsk tsk Bateman – I dont think the Apache took scalps ..

  36. Gavin C Barrie

    Carmichael’s, and the Libdems’ dilemma and options:

    1. Resign soonest, apologise, and take the hit on career and earnings.Or,

    2. He stand his ground, and the people of Orkney and Shetlands submit their case to the courts and spend £6000, raised by public subscription. If he then loses his nerve and yields before court proceedings commence, then £6000 of public raised money, that otherwise would be destined to foodbank charities is lost by his actions. Or,

    3. He fights the case, win or lose he has caused £60,000 raised by public subscription, to be lost to food bank charities.

    option1 is the least damaging for the LibDems.

    And now, Mr Mundell…

    • Not strictly true! If an action is raised then expenses against him will be sought. He would need to defend the action and win it to avoid being found for expenses. So, some, although not all, of the cost of raising the action could well end up being paid for Carmichael. himself. Revenge is sweet – he would be wise to step down before this gets to court.

  37. OK, Derek, I hear you and I accept your ‘reasonable person’ position but the facts of the matter at hand (as best we can tell) still mean we are dealing with a man who has put the two-fingered salute up to his constituents and our democratic process. We cannot let this stand. I guess your blog is probably garnering the responses you expected by now.

    As far as ‘scalps’ are concerned (bit uncomfortable with that metaphor), this isn’t about some nationalist crusade (sorry, another cringe-worthy metaphor) to realise some sort of ideological cleansing of the 59 Scottish seats. I am an SNP member living in West Dunbartonshire and I want Carmichael out on his arse not because he is a Lib Dem, not because he is a unionist, not because he is as fully wired into the Westminster machine as you could hope to be but because he deliberately and maliciously attempted to smear the democratically elected First Minister of Scotland.

    I agree with the others commenting on this blog that if an SNP (or Green or SSP) activist or elected rep had been caught with just a toe over the line, the whole weight of the MSM and social media arsenal would’ve been brought to bear – the reaction to the Neil Hay ‘revelation’ being an example.

    His behaviour, to my mind, evidenced just how desperate he and his colleagues were at that time in the face of an expected SNP landslide. He is a patently smug prig of a man promoted beyond his limited capabilities who was not as clever as he thought he was. He has to go.

    • Yes and let us not forget the idiotic and unjustified furore about the three SNP msp’s who burned their copies of the Smith Commission. Something they were perfectly entitled to do and which pleased every right minded Scot who saw that document to be the farcical piece of nonsense that it was. Talk about double standards!!

  38. If these are the type of people we are supposed to look up to WHAT A SHABBY LOT THEY ARE . But I think now the truth about some of our honourable gentlemen is now starting to come out ..

  39. Respectfully disagree. ‘Noblesse oblige’ is not in Carmichael’s lexicon. We played ‘too nice’ during the Indy Ref whilst they laughed.

    I for one refuse to ‘play nice’ anymore, as, by God, they do not.

    I’ve contributed to the Northern islanders Court of Session petition tonight, as soon as I heard about it. So did my 81 year old mum. Money is tight but there are some things you can’t put a price on; like the desire to live in a country which respects its people and which we, in turn, can be proud to call ours! Not ‘theirs’ Ours.

  40. I have no emnity to upstanding LibDems. Should the Northern Isles elect a new LibDem mp Im sure they would be sure to pick an competant honest one, and the message from the people? remember this isnt an snp movment, its a peoples movement.
    He cheated the people, all the people, like many polititions before him, and in future, always thinking of voters as punters, only important every five years, then snout back in trough, but this time he has to answer to us. Not the media, bloggers, or political peers. Sometimes you have to finnish what you start!
    We have had enough of this type of coruption of the term Honorablr Member!
    Like many of his ilk; hes a liar and a self serving cheat.
    Second chance, a By-Election, and lucky hes not chinese, and shot!

  41. “To the claim that he can’t be allowed to get away with it, comes the reply: He hasn’t. Having smelled the breath of the pack and have the hair go up on the back of his neck, he is left bloodied and torn, gasping for life…wounded and chastened. The rest of his tenure will be shadowed by shame and there will be no shortage of willing reminders of his cunning and mendacity. He can no longer make righteous speeches at conference nor berate opponents’ opportunism under the studio lights. There will be those in the winding streets of Lerwick and Kirkwall who cannot meet his eye. He will know why.”

    Alistair Carmichael is not a fox, an innocent creature being hounded to a cruel and sadistic death: he is a man caught in the act of wrongdoing and fleeing responsibility. Would you let off a thief, because he spent two weeks on the run from the police? Would you let off a tax-dodging businessman, because his company shares have plummeted as a result of his behaviour? The only difference is the mechanisms to hold thieves and tax-dodgers are in place – in politics, they’re deliberately obfuscated.

    This isn’t about punishing Mr Carmichael, adding another trophy to the SNP’s cabinet, or turning the map of Scotland gold: this is about bringing accountability to someone in a profession which is historically and chronically reluctant to bring their people to justice. In any other job, Mr Carmichael’s actions could well have gotten him the sack, and even sued for defamation – the fact that he hasn’t shows you the problem with politics in this place. I don’t particularly care if he’s shamed or wounded – going by recent interviews it seems he is characteristically oblivious to it all – but I do care that we continue to legitimise a system where such incredible behaviour is tolerated.

    If the people of Orkney & Shetland do not act now, then they are are stuck with him for another 5 years, because of the nature of the system. They’re the ones with the power, and it looks like they’re using it.

  42. If the DWP were his Judge & Jury he would be stripped of all finances
    (not to mention dignity) and be walking to the foodbank as we speak.

  43. I find the comparison of Carmichael being taken to task by the people of Scotland a and a foxhunt slightly disturbing. The poor fox is an innocent creature which has no comprehension of why there is a baying pack chasing him. When the pack catches the fox he will be torn to shreds for no good reason other than the gratification of the huntsmen who are generally of the “upper classes”.

    Carmichael knows exactly why there is a baying pack after him. He lied. He has succeeded in covering his lies long enough to subvert the election process and hang on to his MPs seat and salary. The ‘inquiry’ delayed until after the election and its ‘findings’ released over a bank holiday to try and avoid scrutiny. Utterly cynical politically motivated actions. And you can bet the costs will be deducted from the Scottish block grant.

    His ‘inquiry’ into the affair has left more questions than it has answered. Who actually wote the report? Was the original report altered in any way before it was leaked? Was David Mundell involved in the leak? Did the tory labour and libdem HQ’s have prior knowledge of the leak? Who knew and how did they come to know? We need to at least try to get these answers.

    There is a stench of westminster corruption and black operations hanging over this incident and I feel that is should be pursued to the end. Democracy is threatened by behaviour like this and every effort should be made to expose all the wrongdoers and their part in the smear.

    There is no room for compassion here. Carmichael brought all of this upon himself, he is no innocent fox. He is a corrupt and lying politician. Carmichael and his team’s blundering attempt to smear the First Minister of Scotland will not be swept under the carpet.

    They knew exactly what they were doing. This baying hound will not give up until this fox is brought down.

  44. Derek I think you are wrong here and way off the mark.

    The truth is that this has little now to do with Carmichael or Memogate. It is purely about principle. Do we really want liars representing us in parliament? The HoC is bad enough as it is now, it is time for a clean sweep.

    I believe we may have went a great deal of the way in achieving that as far as the GE15 results in Scotland shows, but there is still a long, long way to go.

    No liars speaking for ordinary people, no troughers eating their fill at the Westminster bucket, no cover ups for pedophiles. Simply the elected representatives need to understand just why they were elected.

    Their only job is to represent the people that elected them. Simple eh!

  45. There is one wider aspect of the vote returning Carmichael at the GE. The voters on O&S had no way of knowing that the LibDems would do so badly across the UK, so they would have expected the Libems to continue in coalition.
    The coalition policies were for austerity cuts. Were they so comfortably off that they weren’t bothered about it affecting them?

  46. That the snp have enough scalps, as you suggest, is cold comfort to, not only the deceived electorate but the other candidates. .most notably the potential 57th snp MP who has now been left out in the cold with the other 2. Just what if they had been the best thing to happen to the northern Isles. Lets prove the lib dem dinosaurs wrong…they’re not all liars and cheats. Imagine if most of us behaved like that in our places of work. . Bums rush I think.

  47. Derek, there is a saying among old lags; If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

    Also, this cause celebre is being driven by the street who seek to have their own form of justice.

  48. I think you are wrong here Derek. It’s not about getting a scalp or about another SNP MP. It’s about justice for an arrogant deceitful man who scoffed at the public and thought he was above the law. Who tried to smear an opponent then lied that he was the source of the leak during an election campaign. I would have no problem if he was re-elected if his constituents decide to forgive him. But they should be given that choice. This man mis-represented himself to them and therefore he cheated them. He also abused power and scoffed at the public. I find him totally odious and a hateful figure. Why on earth do you think he has not got away with it? He has.

  49. I am glad it was you Derek that mentioned his pomposity. He does indeed look and act pompously. His performance in debate against Nicola was woeful, indeed inept.

    But I do agree that it is wholly the responsibility of his constituents to bring him down. The SNP MPs should facilitate but not lead in that endeavour.

    • I think there is a wider public interest in the standards of public life. Context is everything. If a candidate can be allowed to get away with telling bare-faced lies about a smear campaign he has orchestrated during an election campaign – one of the most momentous and seismic elections in Scottish electoral history – and expect to be forgiven as if that’s a minor lie – then that’s of concern to us all.

  50. I tend to agree with Derek. Carmichael staying in post will do far more damage to his party than him leaving. Revenge will be taken by the Scottish electorate next May when hopefully all MSP Lib Dems will be wiped out. Just think no more Willie Rennie, Tavish Scott, Liam McArthur et al. Can’t wait.

  51. lastchancetoshine

    I’m all for leaving him there, he’s a liability now, no-one even his supporters can believe ANYTHING he says even the true bits.

    BUT… “and generally acquitted himself honourably. ” get a grip!

  52. Ronald Henderson.

    Oh for goodness sake Derek get a grip of your thoughts. The man is a proven liar. Why should we continue to have him as an MP when there are any number of men and women out there who would be perfectly capable of doing his job and who are honest and upright citizens?

  53. lastchancetoshine

    what’s more , If he carries on as MP even the staunchest fan can see how rotten the whole system is.

  54. sandra schlegel

    You have gone all soft. Used to enjoy your blog. Have you forgotten all the injustiices and underhanded plots and subplots by Westminster, to undermine Scotland and her people. I stopped reading Newsnet Scotland. as well. Actually gave donations too at one time. No More.

  55. Gavin C Barrie

    Carmichael insulted a perfectly respectable woman, our First Minister. Insulted the French Ambassador. Deceived the electorate of Orkney and Shetland.

    This has nothing to do with political rivalry and a potential Westminster seat for the SNP. This is to do with integrity of the person in question.

  56. Susan Maclean

    Sorry Derek, can’t agree with this. I think if he does not go, after blatantly smearing and then lying to cover his ‘error of judgement’, the public opinion of parliamentarians will be even more severely damaged and possibly never recover. He is not a defenceless creature, he has the whole of the MSM and establishment behind him.

  57. I contributed to the fundraiser.

    Yet this is a brave and probably unpopular article to write. I agree with this section

    “There is a point at which relentless hounding becomes unreasonable and loses wider support. The only people still justified in the hunt are the islanders themselves who can shame him into a re-run.”

    He has exposed the Lib Dems as a party with no integrity or discipline. That will cause them grief in future.

    Yes if the boot was on the other foot, the MSM would hound Nicola forever. We need to rise above that. He has no credibility left in politics. I find his behaviour despicable, but I think there is room for compassion for the person. And I think it’s an important distinction.

  58. I have to agree with many on here, it’s time to show we will no longer bow to the inevitable low behaviour of our supposed superiors. We have to draw the line and show that we have the will and the resources to say enough is enough.

  59. there has to be a very strong message to every mp and civil servant, stick to your brief, or have your arse kicked that applies to the bbc. one of your many employers.

  60. Aside from issues of revenge and schadenfreude there are real reasons to pursue this. Even setting aside abuse of office his own constituents must be considered.

    An MP, who as a former Secretary of State for Scotland, could have wielded much influence and done great things for his constituency, now has no influence, he’s a laughing stock who can’t be trusted to make any public pronouncements or speeches. They deserve better and another LibDem MP would be better than the one they’ve got.

    • Speak for yourself, I’m not interested in revenge or schadenfreude, I’m interested in probity and accountability and he is giving two fingers to both. That’s what’s making me furious.

  61. Talented footballers are expected to lead by example, let alone our elected representetives. Think of the next generation and what kind of signals are given off if this kind if deception is left to hang in the air like an old sock.

  62. Almost everything to be said has been said above. Just one more thing. I want him gone pour encourager les autres

    And the autres in this case very much include the new SNP intake. Forty-nine inexperienced brand-new MPs. What’s the betting there might be one or two in there for whom the whole Westminster thing will go to their heads?

    I want Carmichael’s head on a gibbet right there in front of them as a permanent warning that if you behave as badly as he did, you will not get to keep your new job with its salary and expenses for five years.

  63. An uncharacteristically badly-judged point of view, Derek. There has been no calling off of the hounds of the UK MSM from the SNP since the Referendum, and it has intensified to a degree often bordering on the racist since the GE. Did you read Michael White’s article in the Guardian today, or watch him on Scotland Tonight? And what about ‘impartial’ civil servant Jeremy Heywood choosing to release the extraordinarily delayed result of his enquiry on the afternoon of a bank holiday Friday, with the story disappearing off the BBC News site’s main page by Saturday? What you call ‘hounding’ is actually no more than a redress by the Scottish electorate of another Westminster stitch up. No, Carmichael must be held to the full consequences of his attempt to pervert the democratic process, and for the lies by which he attempted to gain himself electoral advantage by keeping his constituents in the dark about his actions until after the GE. He must resign or be forced from office.

    • The issue I have with that pov Quarmby is that do we really want to take up where the Westminster establishment left off? no matter how hard it is for us to continuously turn the other cheek unless we can prove categorically we ARE better than them we just perpetuate the “their all the same” perception many people have, no matter the provocation Ghandi stuck resolutely to peaceful disobedience and showed he was the bigger man, whats the saying , don’t wrestle a pig he just enjoys it,” first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they come to fight you, then you win”.

      • You are likening holding someone in public office to account for an admitted attempt to pervert the democratic process during a GE with the offense they are being held accountable for. Following that logic, any holding to account for a crime is the same as the crime itself. No, I don’t buy that. If we ‘turn the other cheek’ as you advocate, the next slap from the Establishment to the face of the Scottish electorate will justify itself on the precedent of Carmichael having been allowed to simply carry on in office. I think many people feel that the Carmichael case is the line where we show in practice as well as words that Scotland is another country – we do things differently here. And by that I mean that politicians who behave like Carmichael has are obliged, whether they want to or not, to resign.

  64. Ive been running back and forth between the camps still unable to decide whom I agree with,( I agree with both) I can see there would be a distinct advantage to the SNP in that clown remaining right where he is, and we can hold him up as an example of all the bad things Westminster represents, but on the other hand I totally get the reasoning that he shouldn’t be able to live off the public purse after his actions, noone would shed any tears for a benefits dodger being caught bang to rights just because they really do have a case but not quite a good enough case for the criteria in place to justify his/her claim, even though it could be argued that the criteria are inhumane in the first place,

    I’m still caught between two stools here.

    • You’ve pretty much summed up my own thoughts on the matter at this point. I can see much merit in both arguments. Right now the man is a high visibility liability to both the Lib Dems and Westminster as a system of government. A walking talking reminder of everything that’s wrong with the system. On the other its galling to think that through his own lack moral compass, he’ll get to enjoy five years at public expense when we know he’s a wrong un’ caught dead to rights.

      Two stools is about right.

      • It’s not just winning that counts, it’s also how you win. There are things above party politics. Probity is one. I wouldn’t want an independent Scotland built on lies, pomposity, or deceit. I don’t want to be in a union built on that either. If we in Scotland were to obtain power by corruption then we would destroy the thing we love. What would be the point of an independent but twisted and corrupted Scotland? Britain has died because in many Scots minds it has become corrupt and is no longer the Britain that we once respected and honoured enough to be willing to die for 1939-45.

        Political culture (the standards of public life) is actually far more important than policy. It is about the health of the body politic. Corruption is a poison which destroys the heart and soul. That is why Carmichael must go.

        If you achieve a victory based on corruption you pollute the body politic.

        For me it has absolutely nothing to do with political advantage. It is fundamentally a moral issue. If he were to be re-elected on the basis of the electorate knowing the truth but ‘giving him a second chance’ I would accept that.

        What I can’t accept is him getting away with what he’s done. It’s not acceptable.

        I can see some people see this is a witch hunt, motivated by political advantage, but it’s not. It’s righteous anger.

        • No its not a witch hunt by any means and I agree people should be angry and not just at the simple lie of denying all knowledge, but at the abuse of position and power itself.

          As I say, it doesn’t sit well simply to walk away and turn the other cheek even though to do so may have certain highly visible advantages. This man attempted to manipulate public opinion with a suspect document, compliant media aid and the powers and access of his office. He then compounded these actions with a lie and we’re told its all in the game. Its how things are done… no, I don’t think so either.

          The good news is that the crowd fund will allow the people of his own constituency the chance to make the relevant response.

    • kailyard rules

      I think it’s clear it was Lesley Riddoch who was caught between two stools.
      Big shit Carmichael and Wee shit White of the Guardian.

  65. I wonder what would be happening if the ‘leak’ was about Cameron?

  66. johnny come lately

    Totaly agree with the above article. I’ve been thinking the same myself over the last 24 hrs. Carmichael should have resigned but he hasn’t. Let that be to his eternal shame. This will only serve to diminish the Libdems even further in Scotland. Hounding a person looks like bullying and could do the wider SNP and yes movment harm over the longer term. It is beginning to look a little vindictive.
    As for the memo itself. There are serious questions which have to be answered and I am sure that the proper and various avenues will be exploited. One minister from the Welsh parliament has vowed to pursue this matter to the bitter end with regards to the role of the civilservice in this matter and the SNP in Westminster will make sure that the matter, with regards to Carmichael is pursued in Westminster.

    • NO NO NO – we should not be paying Carmichael a salary and keeping him in situ simply to be a constant reminder of the rotten core at the heart of Westminster and in the LibDems in particular. We could never forget his actions, but he certainly could move on very quickly. As someone above said, the arrogance and complete denial of the seriousness of his own actions was patently obvious in his interviews. But those close to him too are impervious to the fall out. Rennie, Clegg, Bruce, Farron, all of them, but especially Carmichael, will be back to business as usual within a heartbeat if we stop now and even worse, will feel vindicated that we were all ‘wrong’. Not a hope in hell am I going to back that scenario.

    • Now ye see there we go again I’m sitting here nodding I cant get my head round the rights and wrongs of this because as soon as someone puts up a counter argument to have him hanged drawn and quartered, I find myself nodding in agreement at that as well, I really don’t think there is actually a right answer, only history can judge

      • Bugger (the Panda)

        I am coming round to thinking that Carmichael was set up by Mundell, who was acting on behalf of HM Treasury (Osborne). His “mistake” was in allowing the publication to go ahead when pressured by his SPAD and Mundell.

        Mundell, in an interview said he was very involved in the investigation. He failed to say hunting or being hunted.

        If we can get it into Court we might have our only chance of stripping the layers of wallpaper back to the plaster.

        So I am for not letting this drop.

        • Context is everything. It’s not the smear so much as the bare faced lie when he was seeking re-election that does it for me. He cheated the good honest people of Orkney and Shetland who voted for him believing he had nothing to do with the leak.

          If he had not told the lie… just evaded the question… that might have been different. But he didn’t just lie to the Channel 4 journalist, he lied to the voters.

          • Bugger (the Panda)

            For me, he knew it was doctored, allowed it to be leaked, although he didn’t read it and then said he had.t been involved.

  67. I don’t do psy ops. I don’t like public figures that lie and then lie about lying. And I don’t like public resources being wasted on investigations. This episode smacked of black propaganda from the start. Reopen nominations!

  68. Heidstaethefire

    Completely disagree, Derek. He cynically tried to smear another politician at a crucial time in a campaign, and then lied about it. If we accept this, standards fall a little further; who or what next? How can this guy stand up in parliament and represent his constituency or his country?

  69. To continue your hunt analogy. If the thrill is in the chase, then yes, lets keep him just one step ahead of the pack and harry him all the way to the next GE. What fun! Personally, I’m against fox hunting. Put the poor man out of his misery with a quick and clean end now. Better for everyone all round, including the LibDem Party.

  70. I think Derek’s point is a warning that we could be over-playing our hand here, and risk being viewed as vindictive. There’s also the hostage to fortune argument.

    But that is all the more reason to get really clear about why this is being pursued – not for political advantage, or for revenge, but because of probity and accountability – about standards in public life. Because it is the right thing to do – political advantage should be secondary.

    Context is everything. Dishonesty is a spectrum. There are white lies, half-truths, evasions, ‘being economical with the truth’, mis-representations, etc., all of which are to an extent forgiveable in context. Dishonesty is also either proactive or reactive. Which of us hasn’t wriggled when suddenly put on the spot about something we didn’t orchestrate. For instance, when asked our opinion of a friend’s dreadful new hairdo. But Carmichael told a blatent bare-faced lie claiming to know nothing about a smear he had orchestrated using his ministerial powers and access to civil service information during an election campaign purely for political advantage and to falsely undermine an opponent.

    And whilst he now says he accepts the memo was inaccurate, there remains the puzzling issue of how an apparently trusted civil servant under his watch could come to produce such a seriously inaccurate memo containing pure fabrications.

  71. I think there should be a rerun of the election in this constituency. Carmichael should not stand and another candidate be put forward by the LibDems.
    It actually doesn’t matter which party wins, it’s the message sent that is important.
    If a LibDem won then so be it but at least fair play, democracy and the electorate are seen to be the actual winners.

  72. This man is beneath contempt and I do not understand your attitude. For heaven’s sake, we give these people power over us and trust them to use it. If they aren’t trustworthy, they shouldn’t have power. It can’t be much simpler than that.

  73. Carmicheal may have lied, interesting how it distracts from Ms Sturgeon saying she wanted David Cameron in Downing Street!

    However if politicians are to be sacked for lying, then what of the SNP?

    Those that live in glass houses should not be running around throwing stones.

    Sooner or later the smug, self righteous, sanctimony of some of the posters on here, and Mr Bateman, will come back to bite the SNP on the arse.

    • Ahhh! BritNat consistency. Consistently perverse, consistently missing the point and consistently wrong.

    • Interesting that you persist with the Sturgeon thing even after Carmichael himself admitted it wasn’t true. The person that wrote the memo challenged the veracity of the account suggesting possibility if something lost in translation, Sturgeon herself denied it and the French Ambassador denied it. The latter’s denial would seem to be the most substantial given. I suspect that Carmichael’s expectation was that the diplomat would have avoided commenting. Given that the 2 main parties in the room denied it, you are left with the doubtful evidence of someone who wasn’t present at the meeting.

      The public have just elected the SNP MPs on the basis of the most extreme scrutiny possible including months of smears and muckraking. If SNP MPs have lied, the public would appear to have come to live with it (and it’s a big IF). The difference here is Carmichael lied and the evidence of that lie was not available until after the election had taken place. There is a belief, that I share, that the Civil Service colluded in the timing of the report and that the British establishment has done its best to give Carmichael a fighting chance of remaining in office.

  74. Ok Derek.

    You are allowed your opinion and it is a gentle approach . You are a forgiving guy, i get that. Credit to you for voicing it openly. Respect ! YES.

    This time i cannot agree tho.

    Points above speak volumes and nothing more to add other than ask “if this was SNP MP’s would they be left in peace ?” i doubt it.

    It’s the hypocritical way he went about things Derek. He’s nothing more than a sneaky shit. How can he be trusted ?

    Check the number of comments already Derek… says it all buddy 🙁

    • It’s all been said, but I don’t agree with you on this occasion, Derek. Asking for Carmichael to resign or rerun the election, with full facts this time, is what the O & S electorate deserve. If they vote him back in, then so be it. They will have a proven liar representing them.

      This is not about his party. As a SNP member, and we had identical circs, I would be demanding that MP stand down, and I’m pretty sure SNP would make sure it happened quickly.

      What about the issue of his dragging the French into this lie? I think that is also disgusting behaviour from a man of his experience and qualifications, he had no conscience on that score!

      His continued presence is a sign of his arrogance, and the electorate are supposed to be grateful that he did the job he was paid well for, for 14 years. On that basis, we can excuse any criminal, because they obeyed the law up to that point!

      We have to make a stand, set standards, and ensure they are maintained for public life, or should we be like Westminster?

  75. Derek, leave the house, go down the stairs, step out into the street and look up. That big pink thing hinging oot the windae is your arse. You’ll be telling us next that the BBC isn’t biased, just a wee bit short of resources.

  76. Vronsky…LOL.

    I can see the reasoning Derek, but I think this whole thing has a momentum of its own now which will run its course whatever we say or do. And whatever happens to Carmichael et al. I’m sure is richly deserved.

  77. Disappointed to see my contribution not permitted

  78. I advocated for somone in O/Shetland to come forward, to make a case for Carmichael to face a Court of Law , they did & are financialy supported for legal Fees , what your advocating that Carmichael should continue on his merry way trousering Tax Payers Money. NO way should he be allowed any respite for his criminal actions against the very People & Country he,s supposed to represent. I dont care what it looks like to the SNP, as I belong to no political party.

    This action might make the People of Britain wake up to how their Elected representatives behave,& more especially if he,s convicted. Our money our call.

  79. smilingvulture

    # frenchgate broke and the First Minister tweeted 100% denial within minutes

    Every unionist bayed for blood,via MSM,Twitter ,Facebook

    An organised full frontal attack (looking more serious,mundell non denial)

    I did what I felt best to do in a quiet calm manner,joined the SNP

    I’m sure it’s a decent figure who joined SNP that week

    It tells me the unionists have Jack Shate respect for the office of First Minister of Scotland.

    before you go soft on Alistair Carmichael

    remember this,he was out to destroy Nicola Sturgeon and the office of First Minister

  80. Like a lot of politicians,who are promoted beyond their talents,they fail to see their own limitations,maybe a lack of self awareness,perhaps power corrupts.

    Think back to his colleague standing there holding up his yellow briefcase,he failed to see it,oh how we mocked him,a right eeejit

    Now this failure,to almost cause an International Scandal,trouble is,this was not a failure to see it,this was premeditated,perhaps in cahoots with others,we shall find out in the fullness of time.

    If you can spare the time to visit The Old Man of Hoy this week you might see a lonely reflective figure,reading the carving in the stoneface.

    ‘Whit’s fur ye’ll no go past ye’

    A lesson for us all,in my opinion he’s toast,though,only he,can choose the timer setting of the toaster.

  81. Derek,

    You stored up a hornets nest there – but lots of great and interesting comments. So all good.

    I posted last week that I thought is was fine that Carmichael stayed as it would finish the Lib-Dems off forever in Scotland.

    However, I contributed to the O&S appeal and the following quote stuck a chord with me…

    “This campaign is not supported by any political party but by residents of Orkney and Shetland who are disappointed in the behaviour of their MP and want our politics conducted honestly and without smears”.

    Ultimately, this is up to the O&S electorate. Why should they not be represented by an honest MP?

  82. It seems to me that the people of his constituency have a right to put their case to the court. What comes of it is up to the court and (if his election should be overturned which is somewhat iffy) to decide in by election. It isn’t a matter for the SNP to drop or not drop. If his constituents want to take it to court with financial help from a fundraiser, that is surly their right.

  83. johnny come lately


    “Ive been running back and forth between the camps still unable to decide whom I agree with,( I agree with both) ”


    Stay or resign his political career is finished, although I can’t for the life of me imagine why he is hang on. He is doing more damage to himself and his party than any lie or smear could ever acheive. What is he hoping to acheive by hanging on? I think there larger forces at work in the background.

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