The Right Honourable Alistair Carmichael MP will probably have to testify about his personal honesty on live television. The judges have spoken and want evidence as to the motive or reason for giving the false statement.”
Crowdfunding has made this possible. By 12.40 pm, 5,458 people had contributed £94,780 – an average donation of £17.23 each. We initially asked for £60,000 and had raised that within three or four weeks. We were told that this would cover the costs for both sides if we lost. Then the hearing took two days and our estimates effectively doubled. Now, the case is allowed to continue, we face an additional four or five days of hearings and pre-trial preparation. We are not afraid at all because the sheer volume of giving from a huge number of people shows that we are not alone. Please, contribute here.
Carmichael’s failed attempt to crowd fund
We assumed Mr. Carmichael’s wealthy chums would bail him out. No way. One long-standing friend, Sheila Ritchie, set up a crowd fund too and chipped in £100 herself. When she did a sponsored sobriety challenge she raised over £6,000 for a worthy cause – but not this time. The failure of the fund is shown in the graph. Raising £7,485 from 177 people shows that he is abandoned by his own. As in a crowd fund, anonymity has to be opted into, we can see all the people who are not supporting him. The only large donation was an anonymous one for £1,000 thought by some cynics to be given by Carmichael himself. None of the big names apart from Lords Rennard and Wallace have contributed, nothing from Tim Farron or Willie Rennie or from the Orkney and Shetland MSPs or his other Westminster colleagues. Perhaps they all hide when he comes round the corner or say they are waiting till pay day. Perhaps the party conference passed round the bucket. One can only hope so.
No more public statements of support
On the day that the judgement was released there were no statements of support from his party leadership at all. A meaningless comment from an unnamed spokesman (sic) was circulated to the press. It did not even mention the crowd fund.
“Alistair Carmichael will continue to play a full role in the new stages of the legal process that are ongoing, confident of a positive outcome. Alistair’s focus will remain working hard for his constituents and doing his job as MP for Orkney and Shetland.”
This bizzare statement seems not to acknowledge that Mr Carmichael’s role now is to answer questions under cross examination and on oath. We are not lunatics or cranks, no matter what his spin doctors said, and now he will have to answer all our questions through our QC.
No more delusions
Mr. Carmichael must be in shock. The realisation that most of the political commentators were mistaken would be hard enough but to accept that his QC has just got it wrong must be terrible. The judges allowed none of Mr. Dunlop’s points. He was wrong, and our side’s interpretation of the law has been correct. We may win.
Already, he must face the witness box. The questions will be humiliating. No adult with self respect wants to have to be questioned about their integrity. It could well be televised without editing and so all his hesitations will be in front of the cameras. If he wins, his reputation is still gone and there is every chance he will still have to pay some or all of his own costs. He will also be able to stand again for office and work in the law.
If he loses, If there is a by-election because of the hearings, he will not only be forbidden to stand but will not be eligible for any elected office including the parish council. If that would not be humiliating enough, the Electoral Court also has the option to refer the case to the Procurator Fiscal for criminal prosecution. He will probably not be allowed to practice as a solicitor. He will also have to pay his own costs and perhaps a proportion of ours too. He will not have been elected properly and perhaps Parliament will want his salary back, which itself will be tens of thousands. These are not threats, these are real possibilities under law that he must now consider as he makes a decision to continue.
When will you resign Mr. Carmichael?
The only way for him to get out of this is for him to stand down. We are not his enemies and do not want to persecute him. We just want a by-election. If that happened and the legal process stopped now then the uncertainty would be over, and perhaps, his party would have some chance of surviving in Orkney and Shetland. If he stays, they are finished. That will be his legacy, that, and his name on a legal precedent. Surely, he wants a better epitaph that that.