Well folks, due to the overwhelming support of all of you, I was able to travel down to Edinburgh yesterday and lodge the petition to hold the electoral court at the Court of Session – it was a hair raising day – the papers had to be accepted by close of business or we would not have been in time – so I was on the early flight and it was delayed by two hours. Talk about timing!
Whilst I was in the airport, a certain MP of this parish walked past but did not recognise me – I don’t think he will be doing that again.
A word in praise of the legal team
Nothing could have happened without the sheer courage of our legal team. I met them all yesterday for the first time – and they were brilliant – they had been working around the clock for days – asking us questions really late at night – and under huge pressure. I do not see how we could have better.
Events over the next few weeks
Now the papers have been lodged this is what happens.
- I must pay £5,000 into the court on Monday morning.
- The papers must be formally served on Alistair Carmichael this week.
- From being served, Mr Carmichael has a week to respond if he choses to and must give the grounds of his objection and he must
- Then there is a period of ‘adaptation’ where what is agreed is agreed – and here the basis of his conduct is not in doubt. He has admitted it after all.
- The Court of Session officials set a date for the trial – that is the word being used – that could take place in Edinburgh, Lerwick or Kirkwall.
- Then it all happens. Witnesses can be called and two judges will take the decision and then of course, there could be an appeal.
We cannot show you the grounds of the petition yet (and here a petition is a formal document going to the Court rather that the 38 Degrees kind of thing) because it has not been served – and now it belongs to the Court rather than us.
Two big things stand out.
- It is going to take a long time – we have no idea how long – the Woolas case that took place in England lasted 7 months –
- and it could cost anything at all.
So our focus has now to shift towards planning for the length of the campaign.
Fiona McInnes who has been the inspiration behind this keeps saying to me ‘don’t get carried away, stay grounded.’ This is fantastic advice that could serve as our moto as we move into the next phase. There is time to do local events that can themselves be part of the story – and we had some fun generating ideas – the #carmichaelmustgo beetle drive, the Alistair Cake Bake, and so on. Anything we do must be consistent with the aims of the campaign – so please be careful not to give our opponents ammo for the myths that they are spreading about us being a nationalist lynch mob.
There is a blog associated with the campaign tho not part of it – theorkneyvole.com – it is posting regularly on what is happening as well. Please use it too.
When it comes to this next stage, we are not the people in control – you are – we are voters trying to clean up politics – so we have to stay honest, keep kind and organise our socks off.