'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Sunday, 24 May 2015

So. Alistair Carmichael. Time for me to bite the blogging bullet

I feel very sorry for Alistair. He is an incredibly hard working MP and a lovely man who has been nothing but polite to me.

No doubt that sways my judgement. But...

Here’s my two pennies worth

1.     If MPs resign every time they are proved to have told untruths we’ll have none left. Which is a pretty depressing state of affairs but a fact. So Alistair shouldn’t need to resign. Unless everyone who's ever told a journalist a great big porkie is going to do the same (more of that anon).

2.     That isn’t to say Alistair shouldn’t be reprimanded (punished is a crap word in this context). The decision of the party to take no action is quite wrong and leaves a very bad impression

3.     The argument that Alistair has been punished because he gave up his severance pay is not really accurate (even though it is a good gesture and the right thing to do). You shouldn’t get to choose your own punishment. I would rather he had kept the money until someone else had decided what an appropriate reprimand would be.

4.     Ditto the ‘he would have resigned’ argument. He didn’t. So that’s not a reprimand either.

5.     The main victim here is not Nicola Sturgeon. It’s the poor civil servant who wrote the original memo who got dropped right in it and could have got in all sorts of trouble. The stress they will no doubt have been placed under should not be overlooked

6.     The SNP have set a very high bar. Every time we catch one of their MPs telling great big fibs they can expect a whole load of folk calling for their resignations. As Michael White says –

7.     8 Lib Dems served in the cabinet in the last government. 3 of them did things worthy of resignations. That’s not a great record for the party of the new politics. This makes me sad. 


  1. I believe the party should withdraw the whip. If they don't they could lose the islands seats in Holyrood in 2016 and 2020. They could restore the whip after a certain amount of time, but to be seen doing nothing from a party that pledged to clean up politics is beyond pathetic. It also makes me wonder if the reasons they did nothing is because some of them knew what he was up to and privately supported his actions (but this is just speculation on my part).

    1. its always dangerous when English folk like me speculate on whats going to happen in Scottish politics but I do worry about the longer term effect on all this in Scotland

  2. Actually the real victims are the people of Orkney and Shetland who rightly expect their MPs to have the level of integrity they were accustomed to from Jo Grimond. This isn't just telling a lie to a random reporter. This isn't just a Zinoviev letter type smear. This is allowing a leak enquiry to take place that allegedly cost £1.4million when all along he knew it was him.

    If he doesn't go, this will be dragged up every time lib dems complain about wasting public money or call on anyone to resign. It greatly degrades their ability to do their job as an opposition at a time they are trying to win back trust.

    1. yes, it will damage us of that i have no doubt. Though I suspect the SNP reaction will make their position rather harder if they end up in the same boat

    2. We are the real victims of course - in Orkney and Shetland - an MP who has admitted being untrustworthy in a partisan cause. That is why we want the Courts to remove him if he won't stand down. If he does resign he can fight a by-election and then we can forgive him if we chose - that is our democratic right. You can help us achieve that right by contributing to our cloud funder, https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-people-versus-carmichael/x/10726364#/story

  3. Of course you're right. Most politicians tell lies, including Lib Dem politicians.