Wednesday, 9 December 2015


So Alistair Carmichael has won his court case. I'm sure that we will get a professional reading of this from Lallands Peat Worrier shortly. In the meantime, for what it's worth this is the opinion of a non-legal mind. It's probably worth remembering at this point that they bulk of the population has non-legal minds.

It has been ruled that Carmichael broke no laws in the course of his election campaign following the Frenchgate exploit.

That he is a cheat and a liar, no one, including him, disputed. 

Remember that having won his election in the Northern Isles, he admitted that he had lied and smeared Nicola Sturgeon, the French Ambassadress and the French Consul, and lied to the Press and to the people of his constituency. He had the decency, at least, to write to the First Minister apologising for doing so.

None of that was in dispute. What was in dispute was whether smearing an opponent with fabricated allegations in the course of an election broke any electoral law.

The ruling appears to have shown that it did not.

It  seems, then,  to this non-legal mind, that we must accept that UK electoral law allows for Right Honourable gentlemen or ladies to use their position and access to private information on meetings with elected politicians and diplomats to smear other parties and to lie to the press, about having done it.

It allows them to waste the time of the Cabinet Secretary carrying out an investigation into the source of the smear with all the waste of time and money that that involves whilst all the time the politician knows the truth and protests innocence to his/her constituents.  

It also allows them to further smear the integrity of ambassadors and consuls of other countries by implying that they too, are lying about reported conversations.

It accepts that despite the style "Right Honourable",  it is OK to lie to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Prime Minister and an underling in their department of state, to your prospective constituents and to the United Kingdom. (The assumption is that Clegg, Cameron and Mundel knew nothing of these lies.)

It seems to allow for a person having done all that, and having been elected, to keep that position and salary for the duration of the parliament, despite the possibility that, had they known that he was a lair and a cheat, his constituents might have been less inclined to vote for him.

So now we know.

Malcolm Bruce was correct when he pointed out that all politicians lie and if they lost their seats on account of that, the Commons would be empty.

We also know that no matter how "honourable" or "right honourable" an MP is, (s)he is legally allowed to lie her/his backside off.

OK, I guess we suspected that anyway. But it's nice to have it as a statement of legal fact.

Another Great British value.

Just let's remember that at the next election.

You could be excused for thinking that you should believe NOTHING and if you assumed that, as they are legally allowed to do it, they will be lying.


  1. If you think the verdict is bad, don't read the liar, Wullie Rennie's and Tim Farron's response to the judgement. It's been reported he intends to claim costs against the petitioners so here is a link to the crowdfund. If you can spare some money, and I know lot's of us can't, please donate.

    1. Yes, I read Craif Murry on that subject.

      Seriously I think it was ill-advised to smirk about being found not guilty, given his previous admission of being a liar and a cheat...not to mention a grossly incompetent cabinet minister, if he thinks it's a good idea to call a very senior ambassadress a liar.

      I gave a donation a couple of days ago, but if it turns out that cost are liable to these petitioners, I'll do it again.

      I can;t think that this will do him or the Liberal Democrats any good at all.

  2. Absolutely disgusted but not surprised, the Establishment, whether in Scotland or elsewhere, they look after their own. I feel he should not be allowed to claim one penny from the petitioners, they were found to be right, he got off on a technicality and as such is not innocent of this crime. I have no time for the likes of the Lib Dems, time for them to pick up their tents and go. They should have gone a long time ago but as with the Labour Party they have been propped up by the BUM's (British Unionist Media).

    1. I read somewhere that from now on, every time this man makes any statement to the press, the journalist should ask... is that the truth.

      I know that the readers will be asking it.

      Interesting that his boss Farron is supporting him, given that (unless Clegg was a co-conspirator, and therefore liar), he lied to Farron's predecessor, and the prime minister, not to mention the Cabinet Secretary and Muddle.

      Hardly a good advert for Liberal Democracy.

  3. Replies
    1. Unfortunately, it is all too believable.

      To be honest, it was what I expected.

  4. What concerns me is that,clearly the law as it stands is insufficiently robust and needs to be revisited by Westminster (fat chance).
    The cost in bringing a civil action against your MP is also clearly prohibitive and money should never be a barrier to democratic accountability.
    If we had a robust legal process of recall for MPs deemed to have misled their constituents (i.e. one that stands the test of democratic accountability by being demanded by say a minimum of 10% of his constituents) we could have avoided all the court costs and the claims that it was a witch hunt by a small group of nationalist supporting people.
    Without a doubt many nationalists put their hands in their pockets to support this case but the real issue was not one of party politics but that of whether lying is an acceptable attribute for your MP to demonstrate (openly).
    We will find out in May whether the people of the Northern Isles accept that liars are OK people to elect to represent you (Malcolm Bruce is on record as saying that it is common practice for his party).
    Technically he may not have broken any of Westminster's laws on electioneering but all that shows us what sort of laws we get from them in the first place.
    The ultimate verdict,however,is with the electorate of the Northern Isles and what they view as acceptable behaviour from their public servants.

    1. Yes. I agree. You'll remember that prior to the 2010 UK election all the main parties agreed that there should be a recall system. However, once they had their fat arses firmly on the benches, they decided that it would be a bit risky to do that. Presumably because they were still on the fiddle.

      There should be no cost to people who want to bring an action against a proven liar. I'm not saying that we should be able to take MPs to court for nothing... but ones who knew that they were liars throughout the campaign, and only admitted to it after they had secured their seat on the gravy train should certainly not cost the petitioners any money.

      As you say, the test of how well this has gone down in the islands will be in May, when we shall see how they like being represented by a party which, as you say, admits that its MPs lie as a matter of course.

      There is an irony in his criticism of the trial as a nationalist plot. After all didn't he lie to the Cabinet, and the people of the country in a desperate unionist attempt to hold on to some Liberal Democrat seats. Was this not a unionist plot?

      Is he saying that Liberal Democrat MPs, especially cabinet secretaries, should be allowed to lie with impunity?

      No, technically under the law... and I have no issues with the judges; they interpreted the law as they understood it... it is acceptable to lie as a Cabinet whomsoever you wish, including the Cabinet, and to still retain your right honourable status.

      Carte Blanche for the future. So never believe a cabinet minister from now on.

      Maybe we need to write into electoral law that lying to procure favour with the candidates and impugning the character of political opponents and foreign diplomats is now illegal.

    2. If the recall law is formed properly,there should be no need for the courts to get involved.
      If sufficient (not sure exactly what number would be required) constituents feel that their MP no longer represents their view then they should have the right to call a by-election.
      In a democracy,that decision MUST remain with constituents and not party machinery or other vested political interests.
      The Westminster "system" depends on sufficient numbers of people being disengaged with politics and not taking much interest beyond putting a cross in the box every 4/5 years.
      Let's see how the people of the Northern Isles react.

    3. Absolutely, but remember how fast they ditched recall once they were back in power in 2010 and the chance of letting out flats previously bought, and finding news ways of fiddling expenses were worked out.

      Sna' aff a dyke.

      We need to change electoral law, but I don;t see them doing anything to hurt their chances of getting their hands on wodges of cash for 5 years regardless of their crapness.

      They HATE that people might actually get involved in politics.

  5. Tris

    I hope you don't mind but can I reproduce my blog on this issue as a Lib Dem member.

    Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland, will keep his seat as an MP. While he has been found to have lied there was insufficient evidence to prove that this fitted in with the legislation around his personal character or conduct.

    Now millions of words will be written about this, and far better and more eloquent than my own, but I have a few points to make.

    The process of recalling an MP is a joke, it will have cost the petitioners over a hundred thousand pounds, it may break them, and the burden of evidence required is weighed against them and the legislation is totally designed to protect the MP. Corrupt and wrong, simple as that. It’s bad enough in this country that we don’t actually live in a democracy but this system is just wrong in every way.

    Alistair Carmichael MP is a liar, how do we know this, well he admitted he was a liar. His conduct in releasing and then lying about the Nicola Sturgeon French Ambassador meeting memo was designed to slur the First Minister of Scotland and to gain an electoral advantage through gutter politics. The defence that this is just politics is shameful and does every single one of us a serious dis-service. That is politics of the gutter and no longer welcome or acceptable in Scotland any more.

    Now as a member of the Liberal Democrats I take no pleasure in saying that Alistair Carmichael should resign his seat as a Liberal MP. He may have been a hard working MP, he may have served the party well over the years but if he can’t bring himself to do the decent thing then party should consider removing the whip and he no longer be allowed to sit as a Liberal Democrat. He has not only brought politics into disrepute, he has damaged the integrity of all MPs, he has put the party into a very difficult position. Now I have no doubt the party will defend him, the party will justify his actions, the party will blame the SNP as Alistair does, but the party will be wrong and they will suffer at the ballot box for it.

    I am sick of how politics is done in this country and I really believe that the Liberal Democrats are on a suicide mission of some kind. Voting to bomb Syria (mistake), supporting Carmichael after he admitted he lied (mistake), calling for enquiries into the Fourth Road Bridge closure therefor looking to blame someone (mistake), the coalition (mistake) seats in the House of Lords (mistake) and everything to do with Nick Clegg(mistake).

    This blog may upset some in the party but I am at the point where I am wondering what the point of the party actually is. The Liberal Democrats in Scotland opposed armed Police on the streets of Scotland and stop and search, but vote to bomb innocent people in Syria, the Liberal Democrats talk about reform of the Lords but fill it with Lords, we talk about clean politics yet back a self confessed lying MP who has brought both the party and politics into disrepute. Politics by it’s very nature is a compromise but when the compromise confuses your own principles and what you actually stand for then you are in trouble.

    The Liberal Democrats are in trouble.

    I have some serious thinking to do about not only long term membership of the party, but how if I stay a member do I get my disgust across because there are many excellent members of the party, whether the party deserves them is a different matter. Today is a bad day for democracy in this country, one that I doubt can ever be repaired.


    1. NO, I've no problem with that at all Bruce. I can;t see the post in my side bar at the moment, but I'm sure it will arrive there soon, so people can get to it direct to answer it there.

      As I understand it, the judgement that Carmichael, Rennie and Farron are bragging about, said that he was a liar and a cheat and he only got away with it because he didn;t defame an actual candidate...just the party.

      He disgusts me. His leader disgusts me and his Scottish leader disgusts me.

      If they are proud of the fact that their only Scottish MP got where he got by lying, good for them. If Farron and Rennie are happy that, either he lied to Rennie and Clegg, or he told them the truth and they lied for him, then good luck to them. If they think that the judges' verdicts are indeed vindication, then good luck to them again.

      There's a great deal that could be said about the Liberal-Dems, and some of it good. Lord knows we thought the coalition government was cruel and unfeeling and incompetent, but the Tories alone make it look like a children's tea party.

      But now is not the time/place for it.

      Suffice to say that every time Carmichael opens his mouth we should all just close our ears. He can't be trusted.


      Bruce's post.

  6. He may have won the case on a technicality Tris but the war is far from over. The Parliamentary Standards enquiry that was stopped until the Election Court was completed will now, I assume re-start.

    Not only that but do not be surprised to see a NEW fund raiser appearing shortly.

    A certain friend of this site (nudge! nudge! wink! wink!) may be looking to instigate a NEW court case against Mr. Liar Liar pants on fire Carmichael!

    1. No, it's not over Arbroath, and I've seen that Carmichael has broken the law in what is a much more serious crime, but the parliamentary standards officer found Rifkind not guilt when he admitted on camera touting for paid work and pointing out that he only had a part time job, on which he couldn't be expected to live, and the odious Straw man was found not guilty when he admitted using his influence on behalf of another client to have soemthing changed in his favour.

      I think to be found guilty of anything you either have to be one of the unloved (like the hapless idiots that were jailed for stealing in the expenses scandal) or you have to try to choke the prince of Whales.

  7. Alistair Carmichael still has to face the result of the inquiry into Frenchgate, which we should remember has cost a considerable amount of money and which would not have been necessary had he owned up earlier. He may have not been an MP during the period but he was a Government Minister and did not stand down until after the election.

    1. If he expects the Orkney petitioners to pay his costs, I think we should demand that the lying sack of sh** pays for the cost of this inquiry.

      I also think he should have his Privy Council position rescinded. Surely the Queen doesn't want to be advised by a proven liar.

  8. I feel sorry for him. He has been stressed for months, months I tell you ! I have been worried sick about him. I cannae sleep , cannae sleep I tell you ! That poor man. What he has been through . What a shame . Poor wee soul. My heart bleeds, bleeds I tell you ! Victim, Victim , Victim and I say victim. Can the people no just gae him a break , a break I tell you. You can forget charity I am giving my wages and life savings tae help him get ower his suffering. Willie got it right , gae him a second chance, and a third and just for luck a fourth chance should it be required, probably will. Feel better now . Got it off my chest . What a shame , what a shame and once again what a shame.

    1. I'm rolling about on teh floor laughing at that one.

      I notice how thin and gaunt he was looking, right enough. I suppose it must have been the worry.

      You've convinced me that Munguin's Republic should put the hat round for him.

      All donations gratefully received.



  9. Powerful stuff Bruce, and I agree with what you say. I've never been and never will be a member of a political party. I'd probably get thrown out as I tend to speak my mind too often. Saying that, you have the opportunity to try and change things. You may upset some people but they need to accept some hard facts.

    I don't think another attempt at legal action is wise. He's had to admit in court that he lied, and the Lib Dems will pay for this next May. With the idiot that now leads the party (someone even worse than Clegg) they may get wiped out. I dread to think of the legal costs of another case. (how much does a QC charge?).

    Power of recall is a tricky one. I don't think it would work if the basis was on a politician misleading their constituents. Unsure of the legalities but I can't see how it would work. However, there should be recall where behaviour is concerned - Joyce for example. MPs and MSPs are supposed to set an example.

    Carmichael is not fit to hold any political role, never mind an MP. His behaviour was disgraceful and more so given he was a minister. If the Lib Dems had any sense of responsibility they would expel him from the party.


    1. Apparently he got the job from Clegg becasue he was/is one of Clegg's mates. Michael Moore was dumped becasue he wasn't in the clique. It had been hoped that Michael would do the decent thing and stand down to let Carmichael have the job. Mr Moore, however, was having none of it, and made Clegg sack him.

      As a result, some journalists asked why this had happened. (A resignation would have needed no such questions.) Someone on the spur of the moment said that Carmichael was a big beast; a formidable debater and that they needed him to take on the nationalists.

      A few weeks later he went head to head with Nicola Sturgeon and was used as a floor cloth, even having to appeal to the chair at one point that she was being unfair to him.

      His reputation as a bruiser was in tatters, and the seeming reason for appointing him and sacking Michael Moore was in tatters with it.

      He was allowed virtually no further role in the Better Together campaign.

      And Michael Moore, a decent bloke albeit not really a secretary of state, but who had done good and well researched work on the Edinburgh Agreement, and worked well with Nicola, was kicked out to make way for an embarrassment of a man. Clegg has very poor judgement, and Rennie virtually none, it would seem.

      I agree he should have the whip withdrawn... but they only have eight people. And neither Farron nor Rennie seems to be anything like leader material.

  10. While you may be right Zog about another legal case, particularly at his time ... Christmas approaching and all. However, you may like to have a look at these two pages and see what alternative options there may be sitting purring away ready to pounce at a second's notice!

    1. Yes, it may be the police that have to take action against him, I think.

    2. I only think it is unwise for another legal attempt led by constituents. That would look like an SNP sponsored witch hunt which could and probably would backfire.


    3. Agreed, But a police prosecution for misconduct would be fine.

  11. tris and the other saddo nats

    Its a joy to see your reaction /responses to dear old Alistair
    getting off Scot free.he he he he he
    Im rolling about rubbing me tummy and laffing me silly head off.

    Get over it you serial losers

    1. Aye OK Niko. I knew you'd enjoy this.

  12. tris

    Was at the Gym tonight working out.( I do have a life )
    and overheard to young girls/Women about late twentysish
    saying how they do not need boyfriends as they prefer to live
    there own way....

    But one said yeah but i do need one for THAT ! the other said
    oh yeah i have em for THAT i need THAT yep they both agreed
    Boy friends can be used for THAT but afterwards dump em,,,,

    Had to laff...more power to them ladys i say.....if only i was
    young still i had my time..

    we who were strong in love!
    Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
    But to be young was very heaven!

    1. Well, that's about what you've always heard from guys in their 20s... Who wants a girl friend? Much rather live their own way... except for that.

      So Saturday night, pub, club, pick up, that, dump.

      It's fine that girls feel the same way. Noone gets hurt that way.

      If only you were young, I suspect the Edinburgh women would be running after you... with that gym body and that devil may care unionist streak.

      Anyway. Get your cocoa and off to bed now Niko. Sweet dreams matey.

  13. Tris,

    As I understand it our hero was tried under legisation that is up for tightening, rather than that new, propective, legislation.

    The law is being offensivee, as usual, to common reason. (Perhaps that is why it is being tightened?)

    I will do what I can, financialy, to ensure that the Orkney 4 are not ruined as a result of this.

    Incidentally, given the number of Lawyers that claim to be on the independence side of the debate, quite why were none willing to fight this case on a 'pro bono' basis? I think Terry Pratchet, RIP, had lawyers drawn very well as vampires.

    My defence fund will probably require litres of blood, rather than actual cash.....

    Given the actual judgement, which is pretty scathing about our chum, I would have doubted that the Judges would give the defence their costs, against the prosecution. That, at least, would send a fussilade against the proponents of lies as the method of political debate.

    I must have put around £50 into the people side of this campaign.

    I will do my best to ensure that the Orkney 4 do not suffer financially for acting on my behalf.

    1. I'm very much hoping given the scathing judgement on Carmichael that the judges will find it reasonable that he pay his own costs.

      In that matter of course there may be very strict legal rules, but of course there is always leeway for interpretation. I can't imagine that his bragging, and that of his colleagues about how he has been vindicated, when he has not, will have done him any favours.

  14. Quite like offensivee, it sounds Latin, but you know what I meant. An edit, after you have posted, button would be extremely useful to this idiot.

  15. Compelely off topic It is 'interesting' that you have this person in your sidebar:

    You are open to comments. I shall never take anyone whose comments are always closed to be either a democrat or a person of interest. If you write stuff on the internet it should be subject to legitimate criticism, not macwhirter's blowhard idea that what he wrote was 'the truth'.

    it is the utter arrogance of journalists that they attempt to subvert the media they are using with an 'old rules' ignorance of where media has gone.

    Hell mend them.

    New rules.

    If you write an aticle on the internet, you must be willing to engage with you critics, not have 'comments closed' otherwise you are being a hypocrite. Especially if you adopt that ridicuous, elitist policy, before anyone has even had a thought in reply to your stuff.

    Thanks for being open to discusion, it ought to be the way t'internet is run.

    (This is not to say that post post comments are always reasoned or reasonable. It is to say that controversial articles that don't allow a response fail one test of credibility.

    1. I suppose Douglas, that the joy of the internet is that it is a free platform.

      Iain used to allow comments on his old blog. Given the fact that he is a "name", I suspect he was unable to read them, or reply to them.

      I certainly understand what you are saying, but I think people use blogs for different reasons.

      Iain just reproduces his Herald articles, his professional work.

      We are amateurs here, and I kinda like the community that we have built up...just mates expressing opinions.

      To be honest, I'd not like to see rules about how you have to engage on a blog...

  16. tris,

    Sorry if I carried that too far for you. But the point about the internet is not about the opinion of the author. It is about the debate that follows.

    So, an author that restricts comments, beyond the obvious trolls, etc, hasn't actually grasped the point of the internet. Which is to enable everyone, not just blog authors.

    We disagree about why I support your right to publish, which is a precious right, and your thought that the right to comment is a subsidiary right. You are not alone in that, but it is not going to win any long term battle, for it fundamentally disenfranchises the reader from the writer and that is no longer an acceptable mode of interaction between reader and author. at least on t'internet. Folk won't accept it. Their opinions are now out there, red in tooth and claw, and have to be engaged with. Hiding behind a barrier just don't work no more.

    1. No, you did't go too far. I do agree that people should have the right of reply. I think that the internet as a whole gives them that right.

      I have the time and the inclination to engage with everyone who posts here. Fortunately we get very little in the way of abusive posts, and on the very rare occasions when someone has posted offensive language, or been gratuitously offensive about another reader, I've taken down thier post.

      They have the right to say whatever they want... and they have the means... it the internet where they can start a blog if they wish... They just don;t necessarily have the right to say whatever they want on my blog.

      If I rememebr correctly I've taken down maybe 3 or 4 posts in the 6 years that this blog has been going.

      I think that the reason was gratuitously bad language.

      Nothing wrong with people occasionally swearing for effect. Some may find even the occasional use of that language annoying, but in my view they need to get over themselves. On the other hand a post full of Fs and Cs is abusing my hospitality, and quite likely offending some of the readers. As I've said, there are kids reading this blog.

      It's quite an important point that I agree with you. Everyone has their right to an opinion, and on my blog they will always be given it (within the conditions above).

      In teh cases where someone like Mr McWhirter doesn't have the time to police the comments, I think he is right to close them down.

      If for no other reason that blog authors may be held responsible for comments that are displayed on their blog. On the advice of BSJAlba, I added a rider that the comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the blog.