Last night, to the huge excitement of the organisers of the ‘People against Carmichael campaign’ we crossed the £50,000 mark. No one has funded this kind of case by a public appeal before, but then no one has brought this kind of case in 50 years. It is all new ground.
The money matters hugely because it enables us, as individuals to challenge Mr. Carmichael. But if we had got all the money from a political party it would mean a lot less. What matters is the sheer number of people who have signed up, 3,361 people of them. People have been giving what they can and this means that the campaign belongs to everyone who has contributed.
The money gives us the power; the number of people here gives us the strength.
A week ago, none of us could have dreamed that we would be here, but we are. 80% of the money we have initially asked for has been raised in a short time. Our first aim of making Mr. Carmichael account for himself properly has been achieved because the petition has been lodged in the Court of Session. If Mr. Carmichael choses not to resign, his fate is in the hands of judges who then have the power to make him face the people of Orkney and Shetland again.
If I had known what this would involve I am sure I would not have dared but you have supported us each step of the wave and the sheer strength of your support makes us strong. I would not have been human if I had not been afraid. I know some of my colleagues say the same but when you are commenting with things saying that you are standing beside us, that you will not let the bulliies hurt us, makes me well up with tears.
Our lawyers have been incredible. They do not belong to a fashionable profession but their dedication and professionalism is humbling. They are passionate, caring people who want to achieve justice for all of us, their clients. They worked through the night twice answering our questions, making sure that we knew what we were doing. They have a noble calling. I salute them.
I have never felt less alone and less exposed in my life. The other three petitioners have been wonderful as has Fiona McInnes. She deserves the most credit but will want to shout at me for saying it because she is a very modest woman indeed. She has pulled this whole business together and helped us believe it was possible from the very beginning. Her response will be to remind me that this is not about individuals. She is right. We are many. This is not about any individual, human or vole.
This solidarity makes us strong and means that however this pans out in the courts, politicians are going to be more careful in the future, they are going to take us a little less for granted than they did. They will know that as Fiona Grahame, another petitioner has said, we demand higher standards of our politicians than they seem prepared to offer.
Because of you, Mr. Carmichael must come to court unless he resigns. That is the only choice left open to him, there is no other. That is what we wanted, to hold him accountable. That itself is a huge achievement.
Now, we have to stay grounded, all four paws firmly on the ground, breathe deeply and stay focused. This debate is about Mr. Carmichael, no one else. No matter how much people try to make it about the characters of Salmond or Sturgeon, they are not parties to the case.
Our motivation is not relevant either. It has been rather strange to see the names we have been called. To brand people as fascists and witch hunters who are ordinary voters who want to exercise their democratic and constitutional rights is strange. The fb page is being invaded by people saying the vilest things about us but attacking us changes nothing. The petition is lodged. We are not allowed to withdraw it by law without the permission of the courts. What is begun is begun. It will work through. Please do not retaliate against the trows in kind. We will win this fairly, and in a democratic way, not through using intimidation and bullying.
Our friends at the 38 degrees petition are very close to the 20,000 mark – would it not be fantastic to get it up to 25,000 today. This will help Mr. Carmichael stay very clear about exactly what many people want him to do no matter how much support he claims he has left and the sooner we reach our target the better too. Donate here.
Image by Smirk and lifted from the Yes Orkney page.