The people vs. Carmichael

Congratulations are due to the Orkney people who have started a fundraiser to get the ruinously expensive funds together to take Aliestair Carmichael, Lib Dem MP for Oh-Are-You-Still-Here-Then, to court and to challenge his election. The fundraiser has now reached its target of £60,000, but it’s still possible that legal costs could exceed that amount and there are still two weeks to run on the fundraising period. So if you can, dip into your pocket and give a wee bit. We don’t want the four Orkney petitioners to risk their homes and financial security for bravely challenging the supposed right of our political masters to lie, cheat and smear and to treat us like voting sheep they can take for granted. They’re not just doing this in order to hold their own MP to account, they’re doing it to hold all MPs to account. And Westminster MPs have a long and inglorious track record in unaccountability.

Aliestair has now submitted his legal defence for the case being started against him by a group of pissed off constituents. The shameless MP for Still-Hasn’t-Resigned is going for the Andy Coulson defence – Yes I lied, but it was a lie about something else so nyah nyah nyah. In legal parlance this is known as the defensa colli orichalci or the brass neck defence. It’s a taunting defence, a defence that’s not really a defence, more a statement that you can do what you like and are beyond mere trifles like telling the truth to your electorate. So you can see why it’s the kind of defence that a lying politician would be drawn to like a Labour MP to a John Lewis list.

The politicians who write our laws have in their wisdom decided not to make it an offence for a politician to lie to the people who elect them. Isn’t that convenient? You could almost believe that they’d set things up that way on purpose. But they wouldn’t do that would they? Instead what they’ve done is to frame the law in such a way that only certain types of lie under certain circumstances are a breach of electoral law. The challenge for the Orkney Four’s legal team will be to show that Aliestair’s lie falls into these narrowly defined grounds.

The former Scotland Secretary’s legal defence is a bit like saying that you are not guilty of a charge of bank robbery because you were out of your tree on heroin and out dogging in the bushes in the park and cheating on your partner at the time, and so were unavailable to drive the getaway car even if you were capable of doing so. This might get you off the charge you’re facing, but it’s not going to do a whole lot to portray you as a pillar of moral rectitude and a stalwart of community standards. But then Aliestair isn’t a pillar of moral rectitude, he’s a Lib Dem MP who’s only managed to cling on as an MP because he smeared and lied.

Aliestair has previously stated in his defence that he doesn’t think he should be judged on the lie and the smear, he should be judged on his record as a constituency MP. He wants us all to draw a discreet veil over his career as a cabinet minister on account of it being an unmitigated disaster. Before getting the Scotland Secretary gig, Aliestair was best known for his pomposity and the bicycle pump up his backside which inflated his ego. He briefed against Michael Moore, the previous Scotland Secretary, and angled for Mikey’s job claiming that a bruiser was needed to take on the SNP, and then he was slaughtered by Nicola Sturgeon in the famous debate where he had to beg Rona Dougall to intervene and protect him. And that was the highlight of his ministerial career. That was what he was going to be remembered for before now, when he’ll be remembered for the lie and the smear.

He’s toxic now. During the recent debate in the Commons on the Scotland Bill he did actually make an intervention. No one responded to it, no one commented on it. Instead he was avoided like a plague carrier. Even those who defended him don’t want to be associated with him. Normally you’d feel sad at the poor little party balloon, wafting all alone in the corner. But no one feels sorry for Aliestair, he’s brought it all on himself.

The other plank in the strategy to keep Aliestair in his job is for him to keep out of the public eye in the hope that the little people, the wee electoral sheep like you and me, will get fed up and wander off. Being evil cybernats we have short attention spans and will soon go and do something else, like kicking bins over or sending nasty tweets to JK Rowling. After a month or so we’ll have forgotten entirely who Aliestair is, and he can return to the pompous obscurity which defined his parliamentary career before he humiliated himself with Rona Dougall.

But we’re not going to go away. This is not about vindictiveness, this is not the unjustified mob pursuit of a poor blameless soul. This is about holding the powerful to account, about ensuring that our political masters adhere to the same standards of honesty and integrity that they expect of the rest of us. If a person cannot do their job without lying, cheating, and smearing, then they cannot do their job at all. And when their job entails setting the rules and determining the codes of conduct for everyone else, then there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for the kind of underhand and duplicitous behaviour evinced by certain politicians.

We have a moral obligation to hold them to account. Because if our legislators have no morals, neither do our laws or our society. That’s not the kind of country we should aspire to live in, and it’s not the kind of country we will tolerate. That’s why what the Orkney Four are doing on all our behalf is so important, and why they deserve our wholehearted support.

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33 comments on “The people vs. Carmichael

  1. […] The people vs. Carmichael […]

  2. Excellant as ever, I cannot get my head round how folk vote for the proven liars and their meaningless promises of Eutopia. The whole system is outdated in today’s modern world. The pomp and circumstance of Westminster and the Monarchy has no place in Democracy.
    Enjoy your holiday oer the pond. Your writing has lifted my and many others spirits more than you realise. Thanks.

  3. The Vole says:

    Reblogged this on The Orkney Vole and commented:
    solidarity amongst the metaphorical animals of Scotland

  4. macart763 says:

    You said it all Paul.

    Your average jock and Jeannie public lies to their employer, they kinda expect to get canned if found out. No one should be above that, not MPs, not ministers, not Prime Ministers. They are employees too, our employees. Yet these employees get to determine their own wage structure, when they can get away with crimes committed in office, even when they can lie to their employers.

    A great job if you can get it, eh?

    I’d say its way past time for the employers to lay down the law.

  5. punklin says:

    Aw right – I grant you cheatin’ on yer partner = morally indefensible but out yer tree on heroin and doggin’ in the park? Don’t go all pursed lips on us, dug! ( – :

    And even then, as I think B Brecht wrote – what’s robbing a bank compared to owning one?

  6. Carmichael is proof of the double standards in public life. Witness the case of the policeman who tried to cover for a colleague who’d been suspected of drink driving. Bu saying he couldn’t get an answer at tge door. Wrong? Yes, but the guy lost his career and got seven months at HM sore bum centre for his pains.
    Then compare that with Carmichael’s conduct where he has blatantly been found out but is allowed to carry on regardless.
    Tells its own story.
    I suspect the Orkney petitioners may now find themselves targets for all sort of nastiness now but hopefully it will be worth it in the end. It is no mean task taking on the malevolence of the British Establishment.

  7. Steve Asaneilean says:

    As Macart says you’ve said it all Paul.

    We must not let this lie. This is perhaps the most fundamental issue of the whole Westminster election.

    This man simply has to go. He has betryed not just his constituents but also the entire electorate and the whole democratic process.

    If he gets off with this and we do nothing to fight then we become equally culpable and democracy is stuffed and it will be no more than we deserve.

    • Jan Cowan says:

      Extremely well put, Steve. You’re right. This man simply must go or the situation reflects badly on democracy within Scotland.
      Great to see you giving our Orkney friends so much support, Paul. Thank you.

  8. Sue de Nymme says:

    Can we please have a copy of Aliester’s legal defence? Since the petition is freely available, we must assume that the response is also freely available.

    For those of you who who haven’t seen the petition, here is a link.

  9. Dougie Brawls says:

    Is there an address to send a cheque to, I don’t work with pay pal or giving my card number out…help…xxx

  10. Andrew Brown says:

    Spot on. I get fed up being seen as a stuffy old fart just because I think morals and integrity are important. These things are essential for any sort of society to function properly. If we can’t trust or believe one another we’ll just end up with anarchy.

  11. Alastair says:

    Another interesting article on Carmichael.

    07:33, 21 August 2014

    THE Secretary of State for Scotland said it’s unfair of politicians to use their position to mislead people ahead of next month’s momentous vote.

  12. PRJ says:

    If he wins and it doesn’t matter how he wins it will open the door for blatant lying by any politician. This will reinforce the minds of the people that politicians can not be trusted and we will be back to stale politics, just what Westminster wants.

  13. mealer says:

    Who is paying for Mr Carmichaels defence?

  14. Brian Fleming says:

    “… he’s a Lib Dem MP who’s only managed to cling on as an MP because he smeared and lied.”

    I don’t think it was smearing AND lying that allowed him to hold on as an MP, rather it was successfully covering up his smearing until after the election, i.e. it was lying alone that allowed him to hold on.

    D’you think I could get a job on Aliestair’s defence team?

  15. IanH says:

    I have a serious problem with the way that the role of an MP is portrayed. In a true democracy an MP is a representative of a constituency, duly elected by the members of that constituency as the best person to speak for those people.

    The current system has failed and needs to replaced, there should be no such thing as a safe seat, career politicians to become a thing of the past and proportional representation is required.

    A government decided by proportional representation.
    MP’s decided by the constituency vote.
    I would propose an MP can only represent a constituency for one term of a government i.e. 5 years at this time
    A prospective MP candidate for a constituency should be selected from a pool by the local party.

    If an MP decides they would like to represent another constituency for the following 5 years they then put themselves forward as a prospective candidate.The local party decide whether or not to put that person forward.
    Then the people of the constituency can decide whether to elect that person based on previous performance or the policies they stand for.

    Its the beginning of an idea and a pipe dream no doubt.

    • benmadigan says:

      @IanH about Fixed-term MPs. the 5 star movement has been proposing that for years in Italy (another safe haven for career politicians and friends of friends). So far they’ve got nowhere, even though they have 20-25% seats in the italian parliament and Senate. It’s an idea whose time has definitely come

  16. leavergirl says:

    Saw a piece in the Guardian that said his defense was this: I lied about it, therefore my constituents did not know it happened, and therefore it did not influence their vote.

    Ha! Are ya serious, man? Clearly, he is either grabbing for straws, or hopes that the judges will rule for his side no matter what… after all, he knows the system is rigged! Bah humbug.

  17. Well said as always. I really enjoy your blog posts. I have made a donation to the campiagn and retweeted it too.

  18. jcd says:

    I know his majority was drastically reduced but a lot of them up there still voted for him in the first place. What did they honestly expect to get from another unionist trougher?

  19. brewsed says:

    I have difficulty getting my head round the implications of the case not being proven. The decision would have words in obfuscating legalese trying to imply a narrow focus of the ruling which would, nevertheless, be interpreted that politicians can lie with impunity. And, should this happen, is there an appeals process? If so, my hand will dip into my pocket to assist.

  20. Marian says:

    Well said WeeGingerDug.

    Even if nothing comes of taking Carmichael to court on this occasion, this action demonstrates to other Politicians who would be smearers and liars, that the voters of Scotland will come after them if they ever try a stunt like this again.

  21. barpe4 says:

    Unfortunately the establishment tentacles will always be able to protect their own. Motion likely to be thrown out at the first hurdle by our colonial masters.

    It will be a travesty if the LibDems are not wiped out, have they no shame? (Rhetorical question!!).

  22. jester1970 says:

    Unfortunately I have to agree with barpe4, it will fall at the first hurdle. It is against electoral law to lie about a candidate. Unfortunately Nicola Sturgeon was never a candidate. Coulson’s Law.

    • Roibert a Briuis says:

      BUT Ed Miliband WAS and AC was smearing EM,

      AC was doing the dirty work for the Conservatives.

      I really don’t understand why this has not been picked up more.

      Forget the NS smear it was all about making sure EM never was going to be PM.

      Wake up and smell the coffee.

    • Helen Armet says:

      I think in this instance the candidate was actually himself as in he lied about himself knowing, I think I have got that right anyway.

  23. dennis mclaughlin says:

    Paul,the Fund to fight Carmichael is a sure sign that the Scottish electorate have woken up and said enough is enough!.
    I believe this action is a watershed moment in our politics.
    My small contribution along with the thousands of others is showing Westminster that May 2105 was no fluke.

    p.s.Enjoy your hols laddie, you’ve earned them!.

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