We woke up to find the new total of the crowd fund to be £36,310. This is fantastic news and we are far further ahead than we ever dreamed possible. We thought that we would have just raised enough for the petition to be lodged at the Court of Session but 2,315 have people contributed. Our thanks to all of them – and of course this being an island community – we know who many of them are – and there are people of all parties and none who have given.
A lot of the mainstream media are saying that this matter should be resolved by the voters of Orkney and Shetland. They don’t seem to grasp that is exactly who we are. They also seem to be implying that we are a conspiracy to drive the LibDems out of Scotland. That is nonsense. If there is a by-election, Carmichael can stand again. That is his opportunity to be given a second chance.
We have problems though. The only system we can use is one that is cumbersome and not tested. The legislation is designed for the 19th century elections before ordinary people even had the vote. It is clearly not fit for purpose. We have had three clear working days betwen Alistair Carmichael confession to organise the petition having to be presented. It needs to get to us, be signed and then taken down in person to Edinburgh to be handed in.
Being politically active does not discredit us. Being a Nat is nothing to be ashamed of.
A strange phenomenon is also clear in much of the press that if we have political views or a past, that is seen in some way to discredit the campaign. One of us has had her name mentioned a lot coupled with the fact that she is an SNP voter as if that is something to be ashamed of. 50% of the Scots population are. Being SNP is mainstream, not extremist. Our personal politics are irrelevant of course. We do not matter much in this. It is Carmichael who has had to hand back his severance pay. He is the issue. Not us.
This is going to be a tough battle – and it is the solidarity across the whole of the UK, not just Scotland that gives us the courage to try it. The trust being placed in us by a great number of strangers is humbling and a huge responsibility. We will do everything we can to make sure that no one is let down, irrespective of the decision of the courts.