Andrew Tickell, who blogs as the Lallans Peat Worrier wrote in the National the other day – he puts the case succinctly and well –
IT was nothing personal.” That, in a nutshell, was Alistair Carmichael’s defence in court number one in Parliament House yesterday.The Orkney and Shetland MP is trying to persuade Lady Paton and Lord Matthews to dismiss the election petition that four of his constituents have brought against him under the Representation of the People Act 1983.They’re relying on section 106 – which makes it an illegal practice to make false statements about a candidate’s “personal character and conduct” for the purposes of winning election. If the petitioners prevailed, not only would Scotland’s last Liberal Democrat lose his seat, but Carmichael would be barred from elective office for three years. If the procurator-fiscal decided to institute proceedings, there would also be a risk of prosecution and a hefty fine. The personal consequences couldn’t be starker.
The BBC has been passed a file containing a large number of rude and even disrespectful comments pertaining to various Unionist politicians.
The dossier, which was compiled by the Labour Party in Scotlandshire, is under embargo until tomorrow (Sunday). However, as the BBC is well known for being ahead of its time, we have decided to publish it today.
In its 51 pages, the document chronicles some of the most vile and despicable statements ever made on social media. These were all penned by Yes supporting members of the SNP, under the personal direction of ex-leader Alex Salmond.
Incredibly and undeservingly, the abuse is mainly aimed at Scottish Labour politicians and their friends in other parties, such as the leaders of the Scottish Conservatives and UKIP.
This is what Alistair Carmichael’s friends are saying about him:
It is no secret that Alistair Carmichael is a friend of mine. Not least because he told parliament so in 2005:
“The Government’s signals to the Uzbek regime have not always been helpful. I am thinking especially of their treatment of my old friend, the former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who has done us all a great service in graphically highlighting the appalling human rights record of the Uzbekistan Government.”
Alistair was one of very few MPs who raised the dreadful human rights abuses in Uzbekistan even before I got there. He has a genuine interest in human rights worldwide, and had a much better motivation in going into politics than the large majority of politicians. He was never anything like a diehard unionist in personal conviction. I felt quite proud for him when he was asked during the campaign what would his role be in negotiating for the UK the conditions of separation after a Yes vote. He replied that he was Scottish, and he would be on the Scottish, not the UK side.
I have never chosen my friends by my politics, and I am not one of those people who is only happy in the company of those who agree with me. I am happiest with a few drinks and a good argument in intellectually challenging company. I also do know that all human beings are flawed, and I don’t expect perfection. So I have no intention of ending friendship with Alistair.
All of which makes it hard, but I have to say that I really do think he needs to resign as an MP, and to do so immediately.
Alistair Carmichael is still not answering the VOles questions about Cyril Smith. We invite him to post a response. Please email him and if you get a new reply let us know. If he knocks on your door, give him a warm welcome, a homebake and a grilling.
-When did you first learn about Cyril Smith’s criminal activities as an MP?
-What did you do to ascertain further information?
-What files has the party held on Cyril Smith? Where are they now? If they were destroyed, on whose orders?
-What advice did you give Nick Clegg on how to handle the situation?
-Did David Steel know about the system that was in place that enabled Smith to make one phone call to get out of trouble?
-David Steel’s unwillingness to act enabled Smith to continue his activities. Will you disassociate yourself from him?
– What practical support will the party offer the people Smith victimised as an MP?
And two new ones.
Did Liz Lynne ever tell you about the conversation she had with Martin Digan in 1996? The one she does not remember and is alleged to have burned the files over?
What is the difference between a cover-up and refusing to release the information?
“CyrilSmith cropped” by CyrilSmith.jpg: Rodhullandemuderivative work: Ukexpat – This file was derived from: CyrilSmith.jpg:. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –
“‘Liz Lynne MEP addressing a Liberal Democrat conference in the Bournemouth International Centre’ , Keith Edkins, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Liz_Lynne_MEP_at_Bournemouth.jpg Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Clearly our recent posts about Alistair Carmichael and the Official Secrets Act vote have caused enormous interest. We are a little blog run from a burrow at the back of Stromness that normally gets a few hits a day but over the last week it has been something like 10,000. We are all thrilled. Mrs Vole has put out the flags and the volets are bragging to all their children.
We are glad that Alistair Carmichael has responded with his rationale for the vote. Various people have been kind enough to send us what he said to them and we thought it appropriate to quote him in full. I can understand why he did not want to contact me himself, I am only a vole and so not entitled to parliamentary representation until ARS (additional rodent system) is adopted, a policy no party has yet suggested.
This is what Carmichael said,
“The vote concerned was a proposed amendment to the Official Secrets Act which would have created a defence for anyone charged with unlawful disclosure under that act. The defence was for the accused to show that the disclosure was made in relation to an official enquiry into child sex abuse. I voted against it because a disclosure of this sort is already permitted and therefore a defence is not necessary.
As the Solicitor General explained in the House of Commons, “The Official Secrets Act is intended to protect certain classes of particularly sensitive information such as security and intelligence matters, and it provides for a number of offences that prevent current or former Crown servants or government contractors from disclosing certain information without lawful authority. It does not prevent protected information from being disclosed to an officer of an official investigation or inquiry into historical child abuse.”
I understand that this issue will have come to your attention through an anonymous blog from a nationalist campaign group. The same story is being used by SNP activists in other parts of Scotland so it is obviously part of a concerted campaign of misinformation.
Having worked with the victims of child sex abuse, both as a lawyer and as an MP, I have seen for myself how it can ruin lives. I also know how difficult it can be to get victims to come forward and I am afraid that suggesting that there is a barrier to proper investigation where none exists will make that more difficult still.
This was not an amendment to “allow investigation of historic child abuse cases” as the headline in the article states. There is nothing in law that prevents such investigations taking place.”
And Peter Kennedy has commented on the previous post, kindly providing us with part of Carmichael’s text and saying that as a family lawyer, he believes that he is right. We respect this and accept that our statement saying that Carmichael blocked the investigation was rather crude. Indeed, there is nothing to block an investigation from taking place and one has now been created. The question is about what would stop potential witnesses giving evidence to it. Under normal circumstances, I am sure Peter Kennedy is right, it is widely understood that there is no duty of confidentiality more important than the protection of the child. These are not usual circumstances.
The need for a specific defence
This vote was about creating a particular defence for government employees who may have been involved in cover ups who now what to speak up – people who want to give evidence to the Inquiry but are nervous about doing so in case of getting prosecuted or persecuted. . Some of them clearly feel that this specific defence is needed even after the assurances have been made by the Home Secretary. When questioned by Keith Vaz on 17th March 2015, she said that she ‘hopes and expects’ that those who contravene the Official Secrets Act will not be prosecuted, but it must be for Justice Goddard and the Attorney General to decide.” It is clear from her reply, that if people did speak to the inquiry without due authority or if that had been refused, they may actually break the law and so be at risk. They would be dependent on assurances being made not to prosecute. That would not make this vole feel safe. Nor indeed does it work for many Special Branch officers, watch what John Mann said in the House of Commons as he supported the amendment.
Alistair Carmichael voted against the amendment on April 6th this year. [mistake – the vote took place on 23/2/2015 at 9 pm.] We know that a serious offender was Cyril Smith, an MP from his party now dead and so beyond prosecution. We know that he was allowed to get away with it. . Police investigations were blocked and officers made to hand over all evidence which was presumably destroyed, He was not alone.
It is surely in the interests of everybody for there to be no appearance of secrets being kept and decisions being made behind closed doors by unaccountable people. We know the pain of this in Orkney perhaps more than most. We know that practitioners need to be accountable and honest. We know that decision makers should not be able to hide under the Official Secrets Act. It has long been a principle that there is no principle of confidentiality more important than the protection of children.
This post has been amended to remove an image of Alistair Carmichael that was copyright to the Sheltand Times. We apologise to them for this inadvertant breach of copyright. This image is from WIKI.
“Conservatives consider whether to reduce or withhold payments worth about £100 a week for those they consider could do more to help themselves.”
The Vole supports the idea that certain obese people should have their benefits withdrawn. We are not going to comment on the weight of certain politicians we all know and love, suffice to say that diet books should fly through certain doors. I myself am proud of my svelte figure.
A scurrilous image of beloved political leaders posted on FaceBook
The VOLE is shocked, shocked, shocked. I coughed over my breakfast cereals and had to get the attention of the beloved Vet.
As a fine and upstanding Vole, I am proud, let me say that again PROUD, to stand for traditional values of respect, decency, honour and common sense. It has come to my attention that some young people, fortunately not known to me, have been making fun of some of our most beloved political leaders for cheap laughs. I have forbidden the Vole-lets, all 17 of them. from looking at FaceBook until this image of the Right Honourable Alistair Morrison Carmichael MP, Secretary of Sate for Scotland and Deputy Leader of all the Scottish Liberal Democrats in Scotland Left is removed. The sacrament of marriage is being defiled. It suggests that Mr Carmichael has willingly joined in coalition with the Conservatives because he likes it. We know this is not true. I include the image here so that you will now better how to avoid it and can share with me in deploring the impudence, and cheek of its makers.
After unsuccessfully standing for Parliament in Paisley South in 1987, Mr Carmichael found happiness here in Orkney and Shetland where he has represented us since 2001. Mr Carmichael deserves our respect for the way he has managed to lay down his principles for the coalition. We feel compassion for any Scottish politician who has done deals with David Cameron and we hope he has a long holiday abroad from May 8th when he is between jobs. We trust that everyone in Orkney will wish him well as he considers his future career in another role.
DO NOT SHARE THIS IMAGE WITH ANYONE. DO NOT LIKE IT. MAKE SURE THAT NO ONE SEES IT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES SEES IT. SPEAK OUT AGAINST MOCKERY. START PETITIONS. NOW. SQUEAK OPENLY AND WITHOUT FEAR.
I was in my burrow and I saw this on the Orkney Throttledband. We have been quiet in the last week but my squeak is back. Iloved this headline in the Dundeed Courier and I wanted to share it with you. They must think stupids are stupid.
“Willie Rennie emphasised his party’s record on higher education in Scotland as he sought to win back student support.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has reached out to students, pledging to rebuild a relationship tarnished by the broken pledge on tuition fees.
Mr Rennie emphasised his party’s record on higher education in Scotland as he sought to win back student support.
He is calling for the Scottish Government to raise the threshold for student loan repayment in Scotland to match that in England.”
This Vole, looking out over the view, knows that by far the most important questions for any country is how the land is used. My neighbours here on the farm are impressive folk who do well.
But look what is happening in the rest of the country. The best achievements of the Scottish Parliament have been how land has been opened up to us the Voles, Moles and assorted creatures (including humans) of Scotland. The sooner we sort out the big estates down South in the Highlands and so on, the better.
The great property swindle
“Modern British history, excluding world wars and the loss of empire, is a record of two countervailing changes, one partly understood, one not understood at all. The partly understood change is the urbanisation of society to the point where 90 per cent of us in the United Kingdom live in urban areas. Hidden inside that transformation is the shift from a society in which, less than a century and a half ago, all land was owned by 4.5 per cent of the population and the rest owned nothing at all. Now, 70 per cent of the population has a stake in land, and collectively owns most of the 5 per cent of the UK that is urban. But this is a mere three million out of 60 million acres”