Tag Archives: Alistair Carmichael

When the Minister didn’t quite get Alistair Carmichael’s sarcasm…

This week, Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael  put down an Urgent Question to the Home Secretary after she all too casually said that the UK should leave the European Convention on Human Rights. It’s clear that ,whatever the result of the Referendum, the Tories are desperate to have a big bonfire of all of our most basic rights. What they could object to about things like the right to privacy and freedom of expression is beyond me.

Anyway, Theresa May didn’t bother to turn up to face Alistair. She sent Attorney General Jeremy Wright instead. He didn’t really answer her question, prompting Alistair to say:

I am grateful to the Attorney General for that answer. I should make it clear that I hold him in the very highest regard; I enjoyed working with him as a Minister in the previous Government. But he is not the Home Secretary, and he should not be responding to the urgent question today. The Home Secretary was the one who could make the speech yesterday and she can, apparently, come and make a statement tomorrow. She should be here today. Yesterday she went rogue; today she has gone missing.

There is total confusion at the heart of Government policy. What the Attorney General has just said at the Dispatch Box contradicts clearly what has been said previously. Yesterday the Home Secretary said:

The ECHR can bind the hands of parliament, adds nothing to our prosperity, makes us less secure by preventing the deportation of dangerous foreign nationals – and does nothing to change the attitudes of governments like Russia’s when it comes to human rights. So regardless of the EU referendum, my view is this: if we want to reform human rights laws in this country, it isn’t the EU we should leave but the ECHR and the jurisdiction of its court.”

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LibLink: Alistair Carmichael: The child refugee vote brought shame on the government

Alistair Carmichael has written a coldly furious article for the New Statesman about the vote last night when the Government defeated the Lords’ Amendment to the Immigration Bill which would have seen this country do its duty and take a relatively small number of child refugees.

Just last week, we saw the Government feign compassion to draw away attention from the calls for accepting 3,000 children, through their own announcement which completely sidestepped the issue of child refugees in danger within Europe, where Europol has estimated that as many as 10,000 unaccompanied children on the continent have disappeared, and will be spread out over four years to water down an already disappointing figure. They then went one step further by implanting a clause meaning that this will be the last time the amendment to accept 3,000 child refugees can be debated. It’s pretty hard to look away from the simple truth that the Government simply doesn’t care about these children.

We can get disappointed by the many wrong decisions the Conservatives are making, be they selfish, misguided or unproductive, but it’s the decisions like the one taken yesterday which really show the Government at its worst and really make me and so many others across our country downright angry. Like cuts to tax credits or employment support allowance, failing to help these refugees is directly putting lives in grave danger.

Providing a safe home for these children, separated from their families and in desperate circumstances, was easily achievable, he said:

However it’s imperative that, as politicians, we do care and when this year alone approximately 171,000 refugees decided water was safer than land and made the treacherous crossing across the Mediterranean, it’s our duty to provide a sustainable solution to deliver help for the most vulnerable. The amendment which was voted on last night would have allowed a small number of child refugees into the UK, a number which our country could have easily handled. The Liberal Democrats carried out a consultation with experts and charities to provide a blueprint for resettling Europe’s child refugees and the clear evidence showed that it was possible. Members from across the House united to try to save these children, having been profoundly moved by their terrifying ordeal.

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Willie Rennie: I want Scotland to be the best

In today’s Sunday Herald, Willie Rennie talks to political editor Tom Gordon about the Scottish Liberal Democrat campaign. He sets out the key Liberal Democrat themes:

I want to get Scotland back up there, with an ambitious programme for investing in education with a penny on income tax.

Protecting our civil liberties, getting our police force to be the best again so that it’s got the confidence of the public but also police officers themselves.

On the environment, making sure we have a very strong programme on fracking and not cutting Air Passenger Duty . And on the health service, making sure mental health services get the support they need and recruiting more GPs. You couldn’t be more positive than that.

As Holyrood gains new tax powers, Lib Dem plans to increase income tax by a penny to invest in education is the most radical in a set of fairly modest measures put forward by all the parties. The SNP have always talked a good fight, but when they are actually given significant power, it’s like they’ve been given a Ferrari that they won’t take out of second gear. Willie talked about the SNP’s timidity:

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Carmichael on crime figures: Preventing violent and sexual crime needs to be the priority

Remember the incredulity of many women when George Osborne announced in the Autumn Statement that the “Tampon Tax” was a bad thing, and he was very sad that he couldn’t do anything about it, but he’d put the money it raised to women’s charities, like refuges Holly Baxter summed it all up very nicely in a piece in the Independent at the time. 

Give a woman a tampon and she’ll use it for free; teach a woman to pay tampon tax and she won’t even cost anything extra to the state when she gets raped, attacked or laid off at work.

So if you’re a woman escaping from an abusive relationship in the Chancellor’s Britain, you can now pay for your own counselling through the redistribution of an unfair tax on your sanitary products. Isn’t that just perfect? It has a beautiful circularity, kind of like the menstrual cycle itself.

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Do you know your other half’s National Insurance Number?

I am a bit of a swot, but I do actually know my husband’s NiNo, but that’s because, for many years, the form-filling in our house has been my job, not least because his writing would make most doctors look like great calligraphers. Similarly, I am fairly well acquainted with his clothing and its size because I do most of the washing.

Why, I can hear you asking, is this even relevant? Well, the Daily Mirror covered Alistair Carmichael’s reaction to a particular paragraph in Stephen Shaw’s review into the treatment of vulnerable people in immigration detention.

Shaw visited Dungavel House, in Scotland, where he was told by detainees of some of the ridiculous questions they were asked (page 52, paragraph 3.71) in order to prove that their marriages were genuine:

The questions they said they had been asked by caseworkers to ascertain whether their marriage was a sham included their knowledge of their wife’s National Insurance number, the colour of her underwear, and her bra size. If this was indeed the case, it is questionable whether such questions were either appropriate or useful.

Of course, the Mirror used this as an excuse to print a photo of women in underwear. That’s so 20th century.

Our Home Affairs spokesperson’s response was vintage Alistair:

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Two Liberal Democrat interventions on Freedom of Information (and what Tim said about Alex Carlile)

Leading Liberal Democrats have made two recent interventions on freedom of information legislation.

Today, Alistair Carmichael called for all private contractors doing public work to also be subject to FOI requests and promised strong opposition to any attempts from the Conservatives to water down the FOI system.

The call comes amidst reports that ministers may extend FOI requests to charities. From the Press Gazette:

The Government is considering strengthening the ministerial veto on Freedom of Information disclosures but dropping other proposed changes to the act, according to a report in The Times.

It is also considering extending the act to cover charities and private sector companies which work on public sector projects, the paper reports.

The Goverment’s Independent Commission on Freedom of Information was set up to review the act last year in the wake a Supreme Court decision which over-rode a ministerial veto and ordered the disclosure of letters sent by Prince Charles to ministers.

The commission has faced a huge backlash from media groups, charities, trade unions and  civil society bodies because its consultation document suggested it was only looking at ways to reduce the “burden” which FoI places on the public sector.

Alistair Carmichael said:

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Alistair Carmichael receives death threat over Syria vote

The Courier reports today that the Police are investigating a death threat sent to Alistair Carmichael that is believed to be related to his vote in favour of airstrikes on Syria. The threat was received at his constituency office last Thursday.

The “abhorrent” threat is believed to relate to Mr Carmichael’s backing for air strikes in Syria and officers have deemed it serious enough to offer safety advice to the former Scottish Secretary.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “Officers in Kirkwall are making inquiries following correspondence received at the constituency office of Alistair Carmichael. Safety advice has been given.”

Police are understood to have ruled out any link to terrorism in connection with the letter. Mr Carmichael said he could not comment while the police investigation was ongoing.

A Scottish Liberal Democrat spokeswoman said they hoped police would catch the person behind the letter, which was received by Mr Carmichael’s office on Thursday.

She said: “A threatening letter related to the recent vote on Syrian air strikes was sent to one of the constituency offices and was reported to police. These kind of comments are abhorrent and it’s only right that the police investigate who is behind them.”

While this is a serious actual threat, you do have to wonder about the sense of perspective of some cybernats. In a Facebook conversation about the failure of the election petition against Alistair, the Yes Shetland Facebook account and another poster are debating the merits of arranging a “hit.” I don’t think they were talking about going for the Christmas number one.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 2nd May - 2:14am
    We shall miss this man as a measured and attractive man and personality , a man of intelligence and good humour , and the best...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 2nd May - 1:47am
    Very positive this , deserves to translate in votes at the ballot box ! Willie and the Labour and Conservative Leaders are all correct on...
  • User AvatarCllr Mark Wright 2nd May - 12:27am
    Good stuff, thanks Caron. Down here the Scottish coverage has been overshadowed by Labour self-destructing, again. I'm actually not complaining, lol.
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