Alistair Carmichael attacks dishonest politicians – says the right to smear an opponent is not worth defending.

o-STURGEON-LETTER-CARMICHAEL-APOLOGY-570 (1)Mrs. Vole and myself were visiting friends on Sanday over the weekend. The burrow we were we in had no internet and no TV so we avoided the worst of Mendacious Carmichael’s attempts to cling onto his job.

So we were shocked, shocked to hear him try to argue that black was white on Radio Orkney this morning.

The great Hogboon tried to maintain his dignity and integrity but not very well. He says that he has to get on with doing the job he was elected to and will not resign. You can hear his squirming here.

He gave up money that he was entitled to as an ex minister  as  he would have “considered this to be a matter that required my resignation”. He says this but believes  that he is entitled to stay on as our MP – that MPs don’t have to be as honest as ministers. Interesting.

We have news for him,  its not his decision.

Moves are under foot for complaints against him to be made under  the Representation of the People Act 1983.  This legislation allows for an election to declared void if a candidate engages in “corrupt or illegal practices”. Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman today said that  “Lying about his own role in the leak could be construed as a false statement made “for the purpose of affecting the return of a candidate” – namely himself. But it would be a novel and risky application of a law designed to stop candidates blackening the names of others.” Many of us think that this is a risk worth taking.

His own side are not thrilled.

The Herald quoted Hugh Halcro-Johnston, vice chair of the Orkney LibDems and former convener of Orkney Islands Council, saying he was “unhappy about the involvement of civil servants in what was basically an electoral ploy” and admitted that Carmichael’s reputation had taken a “dent”. Well spotted Hugh!

Halcro-Johnston went on to say,

“It would be an absolute tragedy if our last Liberal Democrat MP in Scotland was to lose his seat through something like this.”

No it would not be an absolute tragedy.  If a Northlink ferry went down with all passengers onboard, that would be an absolute tragedy. If Dounby Primary School blew up, that would be an absolute tragedy. The public shaming of an MP who turned out to dishonest is called justice. What he did to the rights of people to go to an employment tribunal, how he shafted voters by supporting a Tory Government, those are tragedies. Real people suffer far more than a damaged reputation because of his ‘liberal values.’

Some of the comments on his fb page were amusing.  Even his friends are calling him  ‘a silleeeee bileeeee’ and ‘a numpty.’    This was more than a mistake, it was leaking a diplomatic memo that caused embarrassment to the French Government and the First Minister of Scotland. both who have denied the content of what was said. He did this as Secretary of State for Scotland. When challenged about it,  Carmichael lied.He

He knew exactly what he was doing. He lied about it and now he has been caught. He ackn

MSPs not backing him up

A politician is doomed as soon as his leader is seen to plead for his life. The best that Wee Willie Rennie could say was that

“It is clear to me that recent events are an aberration and that people deserve a second chance”

They do. But not in office. Normal people would be sacked if they did this. ‘Gross misconduct’ or ‘behaviour likely to being the organisation into disrepute’ would be the  kind of phrases used. No final warning, just pick up your cards and report to the dole office.

The web sites of Liam McArthur and Tavish Scott make no mention of the scandal at all! Perhaps they are trying to distance themselves from someone who is now poisonous. Will they defend a proven liar to the hilt and put their own reputations at risk? We wait and see. Google searching this morning found no supportive comments from either of them at all – the atmosphere in his office must be rather frosty, not even damning him with faint praise.

There are precedents for dishonest MPs being forced to stand down.

In 2010, Phil Woolas was forced to stand down from Parliament. He slandered another candidate. It was not a diplomatic incident. It did not involve leaking information and destroying his researcher, no, but it was unforgivable all the same. A certain Alistair Carmichael wrote to the Shetland Times. He said,

“We have had some vigorous debates in the isles over the years but by and large they have focused on the issues and not been personal­ised. It is a political tradition that we should be careful to preserve.

It is, I am told, the first time in 99 years that a court has returned a ver­dict of this sort. That in itself should give you some idea of how extrava­gant (and damaging) some of the claims made by Mr Woolas were.

The buzz in the tearoom, how­ever, is that this judgment is an unjusti­fiable interference in the political process by the courts. A politician, the argument seems to go, should be allowed to make whatever outrageous and untruthful claim that he or she wants about an opponent.

It is a thoroughly depressing argu­­ment to listen to. Everyone knows that politics is a robust trade, especially in an election campaign. No-one would expect candi­dates to spend their time highlighting their opponents’ virtues but to suggest any smear is justifiable must be wrong.

Most worryingly it betrays an attitude that I had hoped would have been eradicated by the expenses scandals of the last parliament – namely that different rules should apply to MPs than apply to the rest of the population. If Tesco tried to smear the Co-op in the same way it would soon be in trouble. Why should politics be different?”

He concluded his article thus;

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

Go now, before your own colleagues kick you out.

One thought on “Alistair Carmichael attacks dishonest politicians – says the right to smear an opponent is not worth defending.

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