‘The first queerbasher McGillivray ever met was in the mirror.’
And here is the blurb
From the revivalist churches of Orkney in the 1970s, to the gay bars of London and Northern England in the 90s, via the divinity school at Aberdeen, this is the story of McGillivray, a self-centred, promiscuous hypocrite, failed Church of Scotland minister, and his own worst enemy.
Determined to live life on his own terms, McGillivray’s grasp on reality slides into psychosis and a sense of his own invulnerability, resulting in a brutal attack ending life as he knows it.
Raw and uncompromising, this is a viciously funny but ultimately moving account of one man’s desire to come to terms with himself and live his life as he sees fit.
This is how MPs are expected to behave- no comment!!!
“8. In carrying out their parliamentary and public duties, Members will be expected to observe the following general principles of conduct identified by the Committee on Standards in Public Life in its First Report as applying to holders of public office.
These principles will be taken into account when considering the investigation and determination of any allegations of breaches of the rules of conduct in Part V of the Code.”
Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.
In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.”
This is the official statement from the Courts on what happened today!!!
A petition challenging the election of Alistair Carmichael as Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland has been refused after judges ruled it had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt that he had committed an “illegal practice”.
Following an evidential hearing in proceedings brought by a number of constituents, the Election Court held that Mr Carmichael was duly elected and that his election was not void in terms of section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.
Lady Paton and Lord Matthews had previously ruled that “a false statement by a candidate about his own personal character or conduct made before or during an election for the purpose of affecting his return at the election has the effect of engaging section 106” of the 1983 Act, but ordered that evidence be led to assist in the resolution of the two remaining issues, namely: did the words complained of in the petition amount to “false statements of fact…in relation to the personal character or conduct” of the first respondent?; and were the words complained of uttered “for the purpose of affecting the return of any candidate at the election”?
On the first issue, the court observed that the first respondent [Mr Carmichael] had told a “blatant lie” when, in the course of a Channel 4 interview on Sunday 5 April 2015, he claimed that he had only become aware when contacted by a journalist of a memo leaked to the press by his special adviser Euan Roddin, which stated that First Minister and leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon had told the French ambassador that “she’d rather see David Cameron remain as PM”.
Lady Paton said: “There is no dispute that the words ‘I told you the first I became aware of this, and this is already on public record, was when I received a phone call on Friday afternoon [i.e. Friday 3 April 2015] from a journalist making me aware of it’ constituted a false statement of fact, in other words, a lie. Obviously the first respondent had been aware of the existence of the memo and its contents as described to him by Mr Roddin since the flight to the Faroe Islands in March 2015. Moreover he had authorised Mr Roddin to release the memo to the Daily Telegraph.”
However, on the matter of whether the lie could properly be characterised as a false statement of fact “in relation to [his] personal character or conduct”, the judges were left with a reasonable doubt.
“It is of the essence of section 106 that it does not apply to lies in general: it applies only to lies in relation to the personal character or conduct of a candidate made before or during an election for the purpose of affecting that candidate’s return,” Lady Paton said.
The judges gave some examples of what might be regarded as false statements of fact in relation to personal character or conduct.
They explained that if a candidate made a false statement that he would never leak an internal confidential memo, no matter how helpful that might be to his party, as he regarded the practice of leaking confidential information as dishonest and morally reprehensible, and he would not stoop to such tactics, when in fact that candidate had leaked an internal confidential memo containing material which was inaccurate and highly damaging to an opponent, they would be likely to conclude that the candidate had given a false statement “’in relation to [his] personal character or conduct” because he would be falsely holding himself out as being of such a standard of honesty, honour, trustworthiness and integrity that, in contrast with what others in Westminster might do, he would never be involved in such a leaking exercise.
“In the present case, when speaking to the Channel 4 interviewer, the first respondent did not make such an express statement about his personal character or conduct,” Lady Paton continued. “We are not persuaded that the false statement proved to have been made was in relation to anything other than the first respondent’s awareness (or lack of awareness) of a political machination. Accordingly we are not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the words used by the first respondent amounted to a ‘false statement of fact in relation to [his] personal character or conduct’. It follows that we are not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that an essential element of section 106 has been proved. Even if we were to apply a lesser standard of proof (i.e. the civil standard of ‘on a balance of probabilities’), we would not be satisfied that the first respondent has been proved to have made a ‘false statement of fact in relation to [his] personal character or conduct’ in the course of the Channel 4 news interview…”
That conclusion was sufficient for the resolution of the case, but for completeness the court gave its views on other matters.
On the second issue, the judges were satisfied that it had been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the first respondent made the false statement of fact “for the purpose of affecting (positively) his own return at the election”.
Lady Paton said: “As the first respondent said in evidence, he wanted public attention to remain focused on that important political message, rather than becoming side-tracked by revelations that it had been he and his special adviser Mr Roddin who had leaked the memo to the Daily Telegraph. In his view, if public attention remained focused on that political message, voters who had anxieties about Scottish independence might find voting for the SNP a less attractive prospect…The inescapable inference, in our opinion, is that if the SNP became a less attractive prospect, the first respondent’s chances of a comfortable majority in what had become a ‘two-horse race’ in Orkney and Shetland would be enhanced.”
Furthermore, the judges considered that the evidence established that there was another purpose underlying the false statement, namely a desire not to be identified as being involved in the leak.
“Thus on the basis of all the evidence led before us we are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that another purpose underlying the false statement was self-protection (a self-protection extending to Mr Roddin, provided that neither of them could be identified). Such self-protection would avoid attracting critical comment, losing esteem in the public eye, and being the subject of any disciplinary consequences, all at a very inconvenient time during the lead-up to the election. Such self-protection would avoid his presenting as a less attractive electoral candidate for the voters in Orkney and Shetland.”
The full determination can be accessed via the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service website (see link below) from 12 noon on 9 December 2015:
The persistent question we are being asked again and again is why we are not challenging other politicians who have told lies.
There are many obvious examples to choose from – ’no top down changes of the NHS’ Cameron springs to mind and of course, ‘I am so sorry’ Clegg.Much of this has been said in this blog before, and in other places, but it seems to need to be said again as Lord Foulkes campaigns against one of the judges in something that seems to be an attempt by a member of the legislature to intervene in what is an unusual judicial process but still a judicial process.
I need to stress in this post that this is me squeaking as the Vole. I am not speaking on behalf of the other petitioners who are more than capable of speaking up for themselves and, not being a lawyer, I am no Andrew Tickell. He has been by far the most accurate and astute commentator on the case so far, not because he is on our side but, because he has been shown to be right again and again.
The case is under legislation passed by the UK Parliament of which I am a member and have a share in responsibility https://t.co/0b4r2lzqVO
The most important reason for bringing this case against Mr. Carmichael alone is a matter of law.In the UK the only people who are allowed to challenge an election are constituents within 21 days of the result.The grounds on which this can be done are very specific and date from legislation that has roots older than universal suffrage. The four of us, the named petitioners, are able to do this because we are voters in the constituency who could raise the£5,000 necessary to start the process. We are not allowed to do this against anyone else. The only people who could have challenged Mr. Salmond were members of his constituency.
This is not double standards but the law.
Political lies are exempt and IndyRef2 is not relevant in law. Nor is it about the truth of the memo.
This case is not about anything that Nicola Sturgeon said or has done. The content of the memo is not at issue – what is important here is the leak and the subsequent lie.
No politician can say what is going to happen in the future, not even Ms. Sturgeon because she is not a prophet. She may not be in office next year or the year after, nor is it reasonable to expect her to have predicted how this last election would have run from the standpoint of 18 months ago. No incoming chancellor knows the full details of the economy before coming into office and so ‘no new taxes’ is one frequent promise that is nearly always broken – it is not so much a promise as an expectation.
We have already crossed the first big hurdle. The judgement of September 29th set the precedent that false self-laudatory language by candidates is not allowed. They must describe themselves clearly and honestly – think of this as rather like the legislation in place to regulate how estate agents talk about houses. In itself, this should help make elections cleaner.
Many legal experts thought that this first stage would have finished us but then some of those people said Mr. Carmichael would never have to appear in Court.
Personal or political?
There is no question that Mr. Carmichael lied. The questions that remain are about the context and purpose of the ‘mis-truth.’
The best defence that Mr. Carmichael can use is that he told a political lie to influence the outcome of a national election. That is perfectly legal. The case we are making is that he made false statements about himself to influence the outcome of a local election and this we have to establish to a criminal standard of proof.
The judges decide
The Court, in its own time, will send a certificate to the Speaker of Commons that will declare whether the election is to be upheld or not.
The decision is not for the House of Commons to make or for the Speaker.
Lord Foulkes is simply wrong when he thinks that the Speaker has any existing power to challenge the decision of the Court or to intervene in any way. There is no mechanism for this in the legislation nor is there any appeal from the Court. The Woolas case established that a decision can be judicially reviewed if something has gone wrong with the procedure. I think that the only way that the process can be stopped by the House of Commons is by immediate and retrospective legislation – an unusual process that would smack of maladministration and seems impossible politically.
We need a new system
Clearly this system is not perfect. It is cumbersome, antiquated and expensive. The length of time it takes and the very narrow grounds on which it can be implemented are huge causes for concern. The cost of the process is astonishing both to bring and defend. Consultation is currently taking place about how the situation can be brought up to date and in line with international standards. No doubt our experience, and I mean of both sides, will become part of this.
No other mechanism exists in the United Kingdom to challenge a sitting MP. Legislation was passed by the last Parliament to enable their recall but is not yet in force. That dishonest, corrupt or abusive behaviour by our elected representatives cannot be challenged by voters is dreadful- we need mechanisms in all our elected bodies to make sure this process of accountability can happen in a fair and efficient way.
Has the process been fair?
There is a great deal of Twitter anxiety about the impartiality of the process due to the background of one of the judges. From my experience, as one of the petitioners, the Court has been scrupulous and taken great care to ensure that both sides agreed the process that took place. This has been necessary because of the novel situation we find ourselves in and the sheer lack of precedent. The Liberal Democrats made it very clear to Tom Gordon of the Herald that they accept the impartiality so far. I agree. I believe that we have had as fair a hearing as possible. The results will come soon – we all have to wait – and there is nothing anyone, including members of the House of Lords, should try and do to influence the judges now.
This has nothing to do with the SNP.
When Tavish Scott MSP on TV called this process a show-trial, he was disrespectful and wronged the victims of the real show trials where verdict was pre-ordained and the purpose was to demonstrate guilt.
We have no idea what the outcome will be and, now, nor does anyone else. Mr Scott did not stay to hear the rest of the evidence, but then, he seems to think this is a plot to unseat him.
Our motivation is not at issue and we are carrying out this case within our legal rights. If it had no merit at all, it would have already been dismissed.
I know that none of our opponents believe us but this has nothing to do with the SNP. We have had no guidance from the Party or any cash. Many of its members support us but then so do many Liberal Democrats. It is clear from comments in LibDem Voice that some of them wish that Mr. Carmichael had just gone away. This is also born out by the failure of his attempt to crowd fund his defence, notable only for its lack of contributions from many political heavy weights or anyone much outside the party.
Immediately after initially posting this Lord Foulkes got in touch and asked me to confirm that I am a member of the SNP. I am. I pay my subs each month but I am not an office holder and have never been to a meeting. Indeed, I have attended more Liberal Democrat meetings in my life (but long ago and to support a flatmate). Oh, and I have never met Ms. Sturgeon let alone taken an instruction from her.
If we win…
I am not trying to predict the case – that is for the judges – but there is no doubt that we are closer than we were. Closer is not winning by any stretch of the imagination.
The outcome, if successful, is a by-election. If that happens, if, if, if, both the SNP and the LibDems will put a lot of resources in to win the seat. That is not our concern at the moment – it is only since the Referendum that this seat could be considered marginal in any way.
As one of his constituents, I want a new vote now that we know how our MP has behaved. He will not be a candidate in any by-election because, if Mr. Carmichael loses, he could be debarred from public life for a number of years. In that case, the Liberal Democrats will be able to put forward a new person and we can all make a fresh start. They may even win and then, perhaps, even, keep their seats in the Scottish Parliament.
There have been lots of concern about how this debate is being carried out by both sides.
I gather Alistair Carmichael’s Facebook page has been experiencing problems and we are being called all sorts of names. Of most concern are stories that Mr. Carmichael’s children are experiencing cyber bullying. This is disgraceful. We hope that this stops and people are prosecuted. We urge people who are our supporters to avoid feeding the Trows. It can be fun to do so sometimes, but there is no need to respond to their accusations that we are traitors, cybernats or harassing the poor man. There is no need to attack every numptie who comments on the Radio Orkney page.
Satire, comedy and humour is welcome. YESNP Brigadoon and Shortbread did a fantastic spoof on this very site. That was funny, intelligent and deeply flattering. We know that lots of people have had fun with all sorts of memes. Please keep them factual, avoiding name calling and decent. In particular, imagine how your kids would feel if they saw that about you.
Granny Vole gives the Voleling good advice about social media. Out of the mouths of rodents…
“When I was a little girl,” Granny Vole was a peedie lass long ago.”there were no computers or even telly.”
“What did you do to pass the time, Granny?” asked Sveyn.
“None of your business,”Granny replied tucking into a fine bit of mouldy cheddar.
” The black phone in the near in the hallway of the burrow was the only thing that linked us with the big far away outside world.
So when other baby voles started calling your granny names because great granddad vole was trying to stop people making really horrible things called nuclear bombs which could blow up the entire world it made me feel sad and hurt because I was thought was a good thing not a bad thing. I was only little then and didn’t undertand how nasty other voles could be.
But everyone said my daddy was bad. He told me not to worry and that it was very ok. He said that I should just ignore the name calling, but I still went away and cried in a a very secret part of the burrow so that no-one would see me.
It was unfair that others were attacking and being so nasty. That was long ago and that hurt and nastiness was bad enough – I think that kind of bullying and nasitness affected my whole life.
‘Yes, Sveyn darling. It is one of the reasons I care so much about justice now. You must promise me that you won’t do that to anyone else. Today everything is much worse because of the internet and this thing called social media. Nasty kids can be an awful lot more worse than when I was a little vole. In my day nasty kids got a good talking which would make even a vole feel sheepish and used to stop it. The message here is do not call anyone names or say hurtful things on social media or anywhere else for that matter. We have to be better than our enemies.’
Sveyn hugged his old granny and said, ‘I promise.’
Granny Vole kissed Sveyn and said, ‘I know you are a good vole and won’t do any of those Trow things.’
Day one of the campaign to raise funds to take Carmichael to court #carmichaelmustgo
First point is that £26,353 was raised by 1627 people. There have been a few donations of more than £100, the biggest has been £1000 – nearly all the others have been in the £5 – £30 range. This is a real campaign of the people, ordinary folk, Carmichael’s constituents.
It is all astonishing. The campaign team hoped that enough cash would have been raised by the end of the week to ensure that the first part of the action could begin – that was about £5,600 – rather than that we have raised 43% of our final target.All excess funds will go to food banks in Scotland. This is a fitting memorial for Carmichael who said at the Orkney hustings that they were in place because people did not plan for debt, not because of benefit sanctions. Maybe he will stand down and all the money can be handed over as soon as Indiegogo releases it. A lot of people will be thankful.
This has been a colossal team effort – from the petitioners, the Orkney voters who are signing the action to enable it to take place; the solicitors who are working so hard in Edinburgh and all the people who are retweeting, sharing links and making this a general resurgence campaign.
We have got the full attention of the media. And of course the media has been unbiased as we would expect. On the STV voxpop that was done in Kirkwall (and it was an excellent programme – Lesley Riddoch was fantastic) one of ‘the ordinary voters’ interviewed was the ‘chairman’ of the remaining Orkney LibDems.
Columnists like Michael White of the Guardian has called the #carmichaelmostgo campaign an SNP lynch mob and takes comfort from the idea that its supporters will tire before Carmichael does. Fat chance.
We are many people who are looking after each other and sharing the work. We are not SNP in any sense. We have no idea of the politics of our supporters. The SNP leadership has not contacted the team in anyway and are not welcome to do so unless they want to cough up a fiver. If any of them as individuals want to be involved they are of course very welcome, as are the LibDems that are involved.
Many local LibDems realise that the only chance of survival that their island MSPs have is of Carmichael standing down. Liam McArthur issued a statement supporting Carmichael but Tavish Scott has been silent. Indeed, if Carmichael does not stand in the by-election that may come, they may well hold the seat. If they do, that is a fantastic result for them and the people of Orkney and Shetland.
Scottish print media has been much more balanced largely restricting itself to reporting facts. Bloggers have been enthusiastic and are making all the difference to the campaign- particular thanks to wingsoverscotland and the wee ginger dug. At the time of writing, 452 people from wings have raised over £9,000.
So, it is all exciting but the huge shame is that this campaign is necessary. Alistair Carmichael has disappointed us. His apology is not enough. Once he has stood down and normal politics here is resumed, then perhaps he can be trusted and forgiven but not before.
Humans who want to see Carmichael accountable in court have been almost as busy as us Voles. Me and the goodwife are speachless to see what has been achieved so far.
Their campaign has managed to raise £21,00 just over 11 hours – that is an average of over£31.00 every minute!!! You can donate to the campaign here. That’s not bad for half a dozen people in Orkney and Shetland who, with excellent lawyers, have organised themselves and are not seeking any support from the political parties.
The petition has to be lodged within 21 days of the General Election, meaning by this Friday (the 29th of May). That process will cost in the region of £5,000 for each party. That only gets the process started.
The case is extremely unusual and the organisers may find themselves facing three teams of barristers. Their lawyers have said, that if costs are found against them, they could be liable for something like £40-50,000 in addition to the original deposit. Indiegogo also takes a cut of any funds received – hence the figure of needing to raise something like £60,000.
People are making this possible.
This action could not be considered without the support of people throughout the country. The 1315have contributed so far are true democrats who want to see everyone subject to the law irrespective of their power or possessions.
If Carmichael does the decent thing and steps down or if exceess money is raised, all available funds will be distributed to food banks in Scotland. This way, there may be some tangible result from this sad business.
The campaigners are trying to keep a low profile because this is not about them as individuals, nor about their politics, it is about bread and butter democracy, keeping our politicians honest and accountable. The issue is Carmichael and he must go!!!
‘I was branded a Traitor and victim of SNP spin. It is time to tell the truth.’
After being attacked by Orkney LibDems for voting SNP, Sweyn spoke to the Intrepid Vole. This is his story, in his own words. We were glad to offer him sanctuary in the Burrow and a little fortification.
The Vole: I know this is painful for you to remember but can you tell us about your LibDem past?
Sweyn: The first election I was eligible to vote in was the election of 1979. Both parents were ardent conservatives but I had other thoughts. I voted Liberal for a number of reasons.
The main reason was, despite my being, at the time a member of the armed forces, was the Liberal commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament.
The commitment to the environment was my second reason, long before it became the “Thing” to believe in. They had a commitment to the sick, the disabled, the disadvantaged. The Liberals cared, they gave the only true alternative to the far left and the far right of British politics.
What about the SDP?
Even with the joining of the party with the Social Democrats in 1988 sat well with me as they supported these ideals as well. My interest in politics grew over the years, and I became more involved in helping my party by delivering leaflets and campaigning for my local LibDem MP after his election in the South of England in 1993. He was a great help to me personally after a motorbike accident in 2002 robbed me of a portion of my left leg.
So what has happened that could drive a devoted supporter away? What could have turned you from a path you had been on for 985 years?
Less and less of liberal policy since the mid nineties has reflected true liberalism.
Gone was the commitment to unilateral disarmament.
Gone was the unwavering commitment to de-centralisation.
Gone was the unwavering commitment to the environment.
The very soul of the party was evaporating slowly but surely.
Was being LibDem part of your reason for coming to Orkney and settling in Gairsay?
Yes, When I moved here in 1127 I truly believed I was moving to the heartland of Liberal values. Whilst the population still have those values, I was to find out the party did not. The end for me with the party started the day they jumped into coalition with the Tories. When I voted in 2010 for Alistair Carmichael, it was because I wanted the LibDems to represent me in Westminster. What they did was take my vote and hand it on a silver platter to the Conservatives without a care for my choice or opinion. I did from that point onward feel disenfranchised. I had nowhere to go. Then along came the independence referendum, I chance at last for redemption. Support for the Yes campaign would have been support for liberal values, but no, the party I once had faith in, instead supported a vile campaign against freedom and justice for the people of Scotland. They joined with disseminating lies and spin, making out that all north of the border were scroungers, miscreants and troublemakers. They assisted in the sham of promises they had no intention of keeping. Liberal values no longer.I did the only thing I could, I withdrew my support.
How have they responded to your crossing the great divide?
Since then, I have been accused of many things, ‘Traitor’. being a sheep following SNP spin, even being selfish and caring only about myself. In truth I am still a Liberal person, I still have the very same ideals I had back in 1979. I did not desert the LibDems … The LibDems deserted me. I am now SNP.
We all gathered in the burrow to watch the results come in except for Auld Grimmers who was doing some spinning in his grave. Mrs. Vole will help him issue new shrouds to the vanished hopes of the Liberal Democrat Party later today. Both the Trow and Hoboon have been admitted to St. Mungo’s Hospital, London for urgent treatment. We hope they recover soon.
Carmichael achieved the nearly impossible feat of keeping his seat whilst losing 27.8% of his vote to Wir Danus, the Skene of Skenes. Indeed, if our wee consituency had gone yellow, Hampshire, Hereford and Hartlepool would also have returned the SNP. In the Scottish election next year McArthur and Scott will have two chances, slim and none.
UKIP and Labour saved Carmichael’s scalp
Turnout out was bigger than last time with all new votes going to the SNP. The Great Hogboon himself, survived only by what looks like tactical voting from UKIP and Labour both of whom lost ground. Unionism, or what is left of it, is a continuum that extends all the way from Farage to Murphy. Robert Smith did well at the hustings and has been a great sport, we wish the others had spoken to us the way he did. Democracy only works when those who have no chance are prepared to argue their case with other non-entities. Us Voles agree with almost nothing you said but are glad you were prepared to descend into the depths of social media to say it to us.
On the subject of no hopers, the Tory vote appears to have already been at rock bottom and so went down by only 7 votes. Sources tell us that they will be thrilled to have kept their deposit.
In foreign news, The English National Party has cleverly used fears of the Scots invading Newcastle and Derby to dominate Southland. It has successfully used the stupidity of its coalition partners to do what was feared in 2010 as left wing tactical voters had no where to go with realistic prospects of election. The perversities of first past the post means that UKIP got 12% of the vote whilst the Slippery Dems with Nick Clegg lived up to his name and kept his seat. He said,
“I will be seeking to make further remarks about the implications of this election both for the country and for the party that I lead and my position in the Liberal Democrats when I make remarks to my colleagues later this morning when I return to Westminster.”
When Clegg resigns perhaps the Great Hogboon may stand. It has been done before. When Grimmers led the party he was its only Scottish MP. We wish him all the luck in the world – then we will watch his testimony to the Goddard Inquiry even more closely. Every time we look at the internet we get more shocked by what his party will have to explain.
George Galloway was gubbed and will soon appear on Big Sister Get Us Out of Here on ITV 4.
“I am not going to have a Labour government if it means deals or coalitions with the Scottish National Party,” he said, ruling out a so-called confidence and supply arrangement. ”
“The man is daft as a box of bonxies”
In latest news, the Hogboon is still swithering, ‘My vote is all to play for, I know Alistair Carmichael has done things to hurt real people, that farmers are worse off, expanding and that he wants to deal with the Tories. I am sure that there is no truth in the cover up stories really, honestly, definitely. But I just don’t like change. Things might happen