I was brought up in a highly political household. My parents joined the SNP in 1968 after Winnie Ewing’s famous Hamilton By-Election win. They became very active members of the SNP, dad even signed up for membership a young lad of the name, John Swinney. My brother having had a brief spell as a Scottish Patriot was very active in the Labour Party. During one General Election when the house in Clermiston was bedecked in SNP posters, my brother arrived with a fanfare from loud speakers and introduced my parents to the Labour candidate, George Foulkes. Mum was polite but was not impressed.
We knew politicians from many different political backgrounds. When Lord James Douglas Hamilton (Conservative) was the MP for Edinburgh West my parents went to him for help. When I lived in Linlithgow as a young mother I was helped by Tam Dalyell MP (Labour) when the local Health Board closed down our baby clinic without consulting us.
I have always believed that most of our political representatives are decent people who are in politics because they want to change things for the better. I may not agree with what they consider to be ‘better’ but I have always been able to deal with them with mutual respect and we have a shared interest in politics.
Today, living in Orkney, I am represented by Alistair Carmichael MP (Liberal Democrat). After an investigation which cost lots of money he has admitted that he knew about and authorised a leak which smeared the First Minister of Scotland. At the time he was the Secretary of State for Scotland holding a ministerial post in the cabinet of the UK Government. We now know this smear to be lies
What has shocked me more than even this is that some people, including the Liberal Democratic Party who is taking no disciplinary action against Alistair Carmichael, seem to think that perpetrating falsehoods and bringing the Scottish Office into disrepute is perfectly fine in politics today. Newsflash: it is not perfectly fine either today, in the past, or in the future. Scotland and its people expect and demand the highest standards from its political representatives. There is no place for political ‘dirty tricks’ in Orkney, in Shetland or indeed in Scotland. It is time Mr Carmichael to go.