Statement from Alistair Carmichael following leak inquiry

Following the Cabinet Office’s conclusions regarding the leaking of a Scotland Office memo to the Daily Telegraph, Alistair Carmichael issued the following statement:

The Cabinet Office has today published the conclusions of its inquiry, after an internal account of the First Minister’s discussions with the French Ambassador was published in the Daily Telegraph on 3rd April.

I had not seen the document before it was published in the Daily Telegraph, however I was aware of its content and agreed that my special adviser should make it public.

I should not have agreed this. It was an error of judgement which I regret.

I accept full responsibility for the publication of the document.

I have written today to the First Minister and to the French Ambassador to apologise to them both.

Had I still been a Government Minister I would have considered this to be a matter that required my resignation.  I have therefore informed the Cabinet Secretary that I will decline my ministerial severance payment.

 

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78 Comments

  • Enormously disappointing behaviour.

  • Lost for words.

  • Just out of interest, why did LDV delete comments from people stating that Carmichael was the likely culprit behind this leak at the time?

  • “I am truly shocked to discover I behaved in this way, and thank the inquiry for telling me I did so. If only there’d been some other way my actions could have come to light”

  • matt (Bristol) 22nd May '15 - 3:56pm

    B*gger.

  • Paul Walter

    g – not “people” – you. And the reason is because your statements were not supported by evidence at the time.

    Does that mean I have better sources than any of the LDV team?

    That’s quite remarkable given just how many people were aware of evidence strongly linking Carmichael to the leak.

  • I still cannot understand what it is about the animosity between Scottish Lib Dems and the SNP. I have had replies that refer to SNP authoritarianism, but it really is not enough to make sense. Do Scottish Lib Dems really believe that the way forward is full frontal attack on SNP?

    I can accept that it is not one sided and that SNP attacks on Lib Dems can have much of the bad blood. But even so, if true, is it really such a good idea to reciprocate?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 22nd May '15 - 4:32pm

    No, g, people were aware of lots of speculation linking Carmichael to the leak. There was no evidence.

  • Caron

    No, g, people were aware of lots of speculation linking Carmichael to the leak. There was no evidence

    Well clearly you weren’t aware of it. But lots of other people were. Hence Carmichael being accused of being behind it by journalists, bloggers and people who knew people who knew people.

  • Andy Connelly-Nimmo 22nd May '15 - 4:38pm

    Astonishing to see Lib Dem members here trying to deflect from this, saying ‘Oh, but you had no evidence at the time…’. I’m sure none of you were sharing the original fiction, despite having ‘no evidence’, of course.

    Carmichael’s position as an MP is now entirely untenable. He can’t possibly say that he would have resigned as Scottish Sec, yet maintain any notion that his position as an elected representative is in any way legitimate.

  • Disgraceful. No wonder he didn’t make a run for the leadership.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 22nd May '15 - 4:50pm

    @Andy CN Perhaps you should have checked your facts before you said that. Here is what I wrote at the time about the memo:

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/nicola-sturgeon-faces-similar-press-trashing-to-clegg-in-2010-but-with-added-misogyny-45322.html

    Summary: It never occurred to me that she had said it, because I think she has more sense.

  • We need this like a hole in the head

  • Eddie Sammon 22nd May '15 - 5:19pm

    Surely this should now be case closed?

    Most people think it was in the SNP’s interests for the Conservatives to win a majority. Alistair now isn’t accepting his severance payment.

    Alistair didn’t make it up. Just an error of judgement to leak what looks like a mistake. Case closed.

  • The question is did he know the content was incorrect when it was released ? If so it is even worse and he should step down as an MP. Whatever after an election where trust was such an issue for the Lib Dems I imagine he has just made regaining those Scottish seats a whole lot harder..

  • In any case, the result of Alistair’s clever ploy was to strengthen the SNP in Scotland, strengthen the Tories in England, and lose the Lib Dems ten out of eleven Scottish seats.

    As this was obviously a political, not a governmental move, he should have consulted Lib Dem HQ before doing anything. Did he? Didn’t he? Which would be worse?

  • @Steve Way
    “The question is did he know the content was incorrect when it was released ?”

    Why do you say that? The Inquiry questioned the person who wrote the memo, the conclusion was:
    “The Cabinet Secretary has concluded that there is no reason to doubt that he recorded accurately what he thought he had heard. There is no evidence of any political motivation or ‘dirty tricks’.”

  • Margo Gillan 22nd May '15 - 6:32pm

    What a mess. He didn’t have to leak this memo – a totally stupid decision that has come back to bite him.

  • why do this? unforgiveable behaviour and enormously damaging to the party. he really should think about whether he can control continue as an MP.

  • Chris Williams 22nd May '15 - 6:41pm

    Sturgeon has released the letter of apology. Carmichael seems to question the veracity of the leaked memo. now even worse.

  • Andy Connelly-Nimmo

    “Astonishing to see Lib Dem members here trying to deflect from this, saying ‘Oh, but you had no evidence at the time…’. I’m sure none of you were sharing the original fiction, despite having ‘no evidence’, of course.”

    No deflection, the mods are answering why they removed a post that contain a post, which misrepresented the article it claimed to be summarising. Their actions make sense given the Evidence at the time, speculation is not evidence. They have now posted this since there is evidence.

    I disagree with plenty of moderating decisions on here but this one is clearly was based upon the Evidence available and therefore right.

  • Back on topic , clearly a very stupid decision to take, I can’t imagine what he was thinking.

  • Psi:
    i> clearly a very stupid decision to take, I can’t imagine what he was thinking.

    It gives the strong impression that in Scotland, Lib Dems are blinded to rationality in relation to SNP.

  • Caron Lindsay 22nd May ’15 – 4:50pm
    “…. Here is what I wrote at the time about the memo:
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/nicola-sturgeon-faces-similar-press-trashing-to-clegg-in-2010-but-with-added-misogyny-45322.html
    …”

    I have just read though all the comments in the thread at the time following Caron’s article.

    Lots of people were very loyal and defended Alistair Carmichael. They could not believe that he would have done it.

    Just another example of the rot that had set in during the Clegg era. Laws and Huhne had to resign as ministers for inappropriate behaviour and now Carmichael says he have would resigned if he was still a minister. So why did he not resign when this first became pubic? He knew the truth all along, he did not have to wait for Sir Jeremy’s report.

    The ongoing problem is that Carmichael ‘s SpAd knew the truth all along and is said to have acted with Carmichael’s approval, which shows that Carmichael knew all along. This makes his statements at the time difficult to forgive.

  • John Minard 22nd May '15 - 7:34pm

    At least we made the news today!!

  • Minister leaks document is not the end of the world.

  • @Chris_sh
    I ask that because in his apology to the Firs Minister he states that the memo was incorrect, so it is a valid question as to when he knew this.

  • This is a storm in a teacup. The leak helped the SNP and the Tories, basically helped the Murdoch agenda, did LDs not one iota of help. So, inept leak. Labour and the Tories leak all day and all night long – at least an apology was issued which is rarer than a henstooth in UK politics

  • Gayle

    I think the whole situation would have harmed the Lib Dems in Scotland (before this confirmation, so it was not this news), leaking is betraying your responsibility to keep confidential information as that.

    I think one of the beneficiaries was the Tories in England at the LibDems expense, but that is the second order issue.

    It is such a shame as I”ve a lot of respect for him.

  • Alistair

    “at least an apology was issued which is rarer than a henstooth in UK politics”

    Actually the henstooth event is surely a leak enquiry finding a leak.

  • Denis Loretto 22nd May '15 - 11:32pm

    The latest BBC story includes this extract –
    “The Cabinet Office report said the civil servant who wrote the memo believed it to have been an accurate record of the conversation that took place between him and the French Consul-General, but pointed out that he had already highlighted that it could have been “lost in translation”.
    The Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Haywood concluded that there was no reason to doubt that the civil servant recorded accurately what he thought he had heard.
    The report said: “Senior officials who have worked with him say that he is reliable and has no history of inaccurate reporting, impropriety or security lapses.
    “The Cabinet Secretary has concluded that there is no reason to doubt that he recorded accurately what he thought he had heard. There is no evidence of any political motivation or ‘dirty tricks’.” ”

    This is a very sorry business from a senior Lib Dem for whom many of us had great respect. However, if Carmichael had no reason at the time of leaking to doubt the veracity of the unnamed civil servant’s memo then I do not think he needs to resign as an MP.

  • Craig Morrison 23rd May '15 - 12:11am

    I was wondering if anyone could answer a question? I was reading that by leaking the memo Alastair Carmichael had broken Westminster protocol and can’t seem to find any further information on this. What is the protocol around memos and why would Alastair want to try to hide that he had leaked the memo when it was in fact a genuine memo? Really would appreciate some clarification on this.

  • Peter Watson 23rd May '15 - 12:35am

    The full memo was published at the time (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/SNP/11515276/Revealed-Full-text-of-Nicola-Sturgeon-memo.html)
    The author wrote

    All of this was given on a confidential basis, so please limit any onward circulation.

    so leaking this was a blatant breach of confidentiality and a pretty shameful way to treat a civil servant who “is reliable and has no history of inaccurate reporting, impropriety or security lapses”.
    It is also important to note that the reliability of the civil servant is not reflected by the way that the memo was leaked and the story reported since he himself doubted the opinion that was ascribed to Nicola Sturgeon when he wrote about a conversation at which he was not present:

    Discussion appears to have focused mainly on the political situation, with the FM stating that she wouldn’t want a formal coalition with Labour; that the SNP would almost certainly have a large number of seats; that she had no idea ‘what kind of mischief’ Alex Salmond would get up to; and confessed that she’d rather see David Cameron remain as PM (and didn’t see Ed Miliband as PM material). I have to admit that I’m not sure that the FM’s tongue would be quite so loose on that kind of thing in a meeting like that, so it might well be a case of something being lost in translation.

  • The leak itself is bad. But what is worse is the cover-up. Sturgeon has honed in on this, and (God I hate to say it) she is right. At the time this leak hit the news, Alastair did say in public that the first he knew of it was when the journalist phoned him. Now he has admitted that he knew about it before it was leaked. So he is not only someone who leaks government documents, but someone who blatantly and repeatedly lies to cover it up – and only comes clean when he was about to be exposed. I’m afraid it stinks. There’s no good playing it down. 8(

  • What truly bothers me is that we have part of the UK government essentially spying on the Scottish government (via the French!), and everyone seems to accept this as something that’s appropriate and normal. I don’t think it is.

  • I remember the outrage expressed by posters on the pre-election threads ……”Norman Baker’s genius response to David Cameron: David, I need you to stop sending dishonest and patronising letters” and the “Lynne Featherstone on Labour’s “lies and desperate smears”…

    Perhaps, now, a little ‘humility’ would not be out of place

  • Keith Sharp 23rd May '15 - 7:55am

    When the leak was revealed, just after N Sturgeon’s successful leadership debate appearance, it reminded me of the attempts to smear and character-assassinate Nick after his first 2010 debate showing. Dirty politics again and it never occurred to me that we would have done this. For decades as a member, I have clung to the belief that we are different/not like the other parties and here we are, Giving Politics a Bad Name, just like everyone else. And just when we are trying to return to a values-based liberalism.

    I see Mr Carmichael has forgone his ministerial severance. Fair enough, but I — sadly — take the SNPs point that not only was the leak wrong, so was the denial and cover up. I don’t suppose he will, but I would prefer him to resign/restand for election. I realise we’d risk being reduced to seven MPs, but there is something bigger at stake here.

  • I fear that there may be worse to come in the Scottish Sunday papers. What is the old adage, “power corrupts”. If I am right again we should now be looking for a suitable by election candidate. The seat will be very difficult to hold, especially bearing in mind the SNP’s huge advance at the General.
    This seems yet another eason why the party has to make a totally fresh start with a leader who is not so tainted by being in government.

  • Peter Watson

    It is also important to note that the reliability of the civil servant is not reflected by the way that the memo was leaked and the story reported since he himself doubted the opinion that was ascribed to Nicola Sturgeon when he wrote about a conversation at which he was not present:

    The thing being forgotten in some quarters is that nothing in the first minister’s reported comments is contradicted by reality. We know there was no formal coalition with Labour planned, the SNP would get a large number of seats, that Alex Salmond is ‘mischievous’ and that Miliband was widely perceived as not PM material, the only question is if, given all these other observations are correct, is it true she wanted Cameron as PM?

    She has conveniently forgotten what she did say.

    So yes, Carmichael was daft to leak, or rather get caught, even dafter to lie about it but Sturgeon appears to have a gap between public rhetoric and private beliefs.

  • Toby Fenwick 23rd May '15 - 9:42am

    Alistair has in effect admitted lying for political advantage; this is very serious, and I can’t see how his position is tenable, though I doubt he’ll resign. LDs claim the moral high ground for a better politics and thus have to deliver on it.

    The SNP is spectacularly hypocritical on this, of course: Alex Salmond as First Minister not only lied about the existence of legal advice suggesting that an independent Scotland would be automatically in the EU, he knowingly wasted £20k of public money fighting an FOI. Has he apologised let alone paid this money back?

    For me, the SNP’s completely cynical brand if politics (“any tactic that brings indy closer is ok”), combined with their lies (eg White Paper), & smears (Clare to begin with….) pushes them beyond the pale.

  • John Barrett 23rd May '15 - 9:52am

    It was a stupid mistake and Alistair has taken responsibility for it and apologised.

    We should put all this in some sort of perspective…..it was not like invading Iraq.

    Nicola Sturgeon might not have said it, but a Conservative majority is exactly what many SNP supporters believe will help push forward their reason for existence – Independence.

    The SNP are also not immune to having made a series of bogus claims regarding Scotland’s economy in the run up to the election, so they are not witer than white and many more voted for them after having been misled on that much more important issue. How many, if any, made up their mind on the basis of the memo would probably be a handful., if any.

    The election campaign from all sides was one of the most dishonest (on all sides) I can remember in over 30 years of campaigning for the party.

    The SNP are now claiming that the Institute of Fiscal Studies is completely wrong about the many billion pound shortfall an independent or fiscally autonomous Scotland would have to fill. It is no wonder Nicola Stuteon etc. want to talk about a leaked memo rather than Scotland’s finances. If anyone is guilty of misleading the country it is the SNP.

    Watch out for the massive SNP membership trying to influence polls on this issue and while Alistair made a mistake this time, hir record as the MP for Orkney and Shetland stands up to scrutiny and is why the voters there still have the best MP in Scotland.

    I should declare an interest in that Alistair is a friend……….. but what I have said is still true.

  • For leaking the memo he would have resigned and since he can’t now resign he has not accepted his severance pay. Fair enough. But then when he was asked whether he was the source of the leak he did not owe up to it. Surely action should be taken against him for that as well?
    Really what I hate about all this is the cynicism behind the leak. Yes there are some people in the SNP who say they prefer a Tory government elected mostly by England as it make independence in Scotland more likely. But I am sure they are greatly outnumbered by others in the SNP who are left wing and who strongly disapprove of the policies of the Tory party, many of which affects them in Scotland. So the whole thing was preposterous. More generally the whole strategy of the Unionist parties in Scotland to try and demonise the SNP has totally failed. We often complain about Labour’s sectarian attitudes towards us, but it only mirrors our attitude towards the SNP.

  • No-one from the party was prepared to answer questions on this from the BBC this morning. Instead a bland statement saying the party would be taking no disciplinary action. Currently nothing on the party web site. How to welcome 13k+ new members?

  • robert eggleston 23rd May '15 - 10:27am

    Everyone will have forgotten about this in a couple of weeks at the most. The story has nowhere to run.

  • John Barrett – Alastair is a friend of mine too. But I’m afraid, in this case, it just doesn’t do to point to the hypocrisy and nastiness of other parties. That’s a very cynical and reductive type of politics, which we should rise above. Alastair (and Euan Roddin) made a huge misjudgement here, and as they were senior LibDems, it reflects on all of us in the party. We should say that – without the ifs, buts or ‘Hey Look what the SNP did though’.
    Its such a shame, given that the vibe of the last 2 weeks (amazingly) has been one of hope. You have to wonder what the 13,000 new members are thinking right now.

  • I think he might have to resign. The attempted cover up shows a culture of covering up in the party. Have they learned nothing from the harm done by previous scandals ? If Clegg goes we will soon be down to 6 MPs like 1970. Do the SNP really need another MP ? A majority of just over 800 is too small to ensure a Liberal win in any by election but it would be better to risk it than keep on trying to cover up mistakes

  • The aspect I don’t think anyone has touched upon yet is that it’s nearly equivalent to the party losing another MP. I can’t see that he has to resign, I’m pleased he apologised before he was outed but I can’t see that he’ll be very effective in a room with 56 Scots that he’s angered; would anyone want to be in that position? Plus, of course, the SNP ultimately want his seat – there will be plenty of local SNP bringing this up for the next 5 years. If he resigns, we’d expect to lose on the current 3.6% majority & huge prior swing.

    “Everyone” may of forgotten in a fortnight, but Alistair won’t and neither will the SNP. I understand that it was a highly pressurised and unusual situation, but it’s grim reading for anyone hoping to restore public trust in a party that’s become defined by mistrust and broken promises.

  • TonyJ- Some of them will not be members for long.

  • The only way back from the wilderness for the lib dems is to become again the party of honour and principle. It has lost half the membership by acting like other political parties and accepting lying, cheating, leaking, expense fiddling and bottom groping as part of grown up politics. To regain the trust of the lost members and voters the party needs to truly clean ship and set out a fresh clean approach to lib dem politics.

  • Pete Salmond 23rd May '15 - 1:08pm

    Storm in a teacup. If we ever need to advance as a party then a little less navel gazing and self pity would help.

    Politics is a dodgy business, we all know that. What party doesn’t leak information? If you spend all your life demanding people to resign or apologise over such trivia what hope do we have of solving the real issues? No one is whiter than white, we all do bad stuff and lie, but try to keep things in perspective!

  • The people of his constituency need a by-election, not five years of this man.

  • @Robert eggleston

    “Everyone will have forgotten about this in a couple of weeks at the most. The story has nowhere to run.”

    The only Holyrood constituency seats held by the Lib Dems are Orkney and Shetland. I expect this will run there next year.

    And a formal.complaint about Carmichael has now been made to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.

  • Pete Salmond expresses some of the most cynical no-standards for politics yet:
    “Politics is a dodgy business, we all know that. What party doesn’t leak information? If you spend all your life demanding people to resign or apologise over such trivia what hope do we have of solving the real issues? No one is whiter than white, we all do bad stuff and lie, but try to keep things in perspective!”

    When you expect politicians to “do bad stuff and lie,” when your “perspective” is that everybody does it, when you treat official malfeasance as “trivia,” then of course the politicians will happily oblige and live down to your expectations of them.

    I thought the Liberal Democrats had higher standards and expectations of their own. “Everybody does it” is no excuse; even if true, we should be better. Lying and “bad stuff” is not “trivia,” but a sign of the arrogance of power and a disregard for the well-being of ordinary people. Internal party discipline should be willing to take a more severe stance on ethical misconduct than the law or parliamentary protocols do.

  • @jbt: “No. The devolved scottish government has no brief for foreign affairs.”

    No to you. If the UK government are keen on knowing what the First Minister had to say to the French ambassador they have an easy way of finding out: ask her. This sort of snooping and spying behind the scenes is offensive and degrading to the people who demand it and the people who are asked to do it.

  • Peter Watson 23rd May '15 - 6:46pm

    @ChrisB “I’m pleased he apologised before he was outed”
    I thought he apologised because he was outed.

  • Bad news. I figure Mr Carmichael ought now to resign and hand over the candidacy in Orkney and Shetland to someone who can, if not hold the seat then remain in contention as a strong second place, ripe for retaking it in 2020.

    We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard than that to which the three main parties are held. It is only by being better than the rest that we’ll begin to shed the image of being more untrustworthy than they are, and then begin to recover from the past few years.

  • David-1

    I thought the Liberal Democrats had higher standards and expectations of their own. “Everybody does it” is no excuse; even if true, we should be better. Lying and “bad stuff” is not “trivia,” but a sign of the arrogance of power and a disregard for the well-being of ordinary people. Internal party discipline should be willing to take a more severe stance on ethical misconduct than the law or parliamentary protocols do.

    I assume you’re not a Lib Dem and are troublemaking.

    The Lib Dems have long had a reputation for pushing the boundaries of truth when it comes to local campaigns, and indeed, of late, have a reputation for promising one thing before entering government, and doing the exact opposite while in power.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think Carmichael should stand down as an MP, far worse crimes have been committed by current and previous ministers in all parties. However, he’s embarrassed Nicola Sturgeon, so expect the SNP, whether MPs, MSPs, members or supporters to make life a living hell for him until he goes.

    That’s the brutal reality of politics in modern Scotland, cross the SNP and they will attempt to destroy you.

  • Denis Mollison 24th May '15 - 9:34am

    Can someone explain what the options are for an internal party inquiry – either at Scottish or federal party level? It really does not look good that the only party statement on the affair so far is to the effect that there will be no further action.

  • Pete Salmon: “No one is whiter than white, we all do bad stuff and lie,…”
    I don’t think everybody does do bad stuff and lie. I know plenty of people who don’t.
    Maybe honest people like that are the ones who should be MP’s…

  • David Evershed 24th May '15 - 11:55am

    Whether Alistair Carmichael remains as an MP or not, he should be expelled from the Liberal Democrats.

    Lib Dems should set an example of integrity amongst their membership. We should not put political expediency above truth.

  • David Evershed, are you serious? Aside from the fact that the Lib Dems have hardly any MPs left, and that Carmichael is Scotland’s only Lib Dem MP, so is incredibly important in terms of Union representation. Carmichael is foolish, and shouldn’t have lied about what he knew and when, and if he were a Minister he should have resigned, but as an MP? What he has done is nothing like going into an election promising no tuition fees and promptly raising them to £9,000, this is mere dirty tricks against a political opponent, and is pretty common across politics.. Why kick him out, and not every Lib Dem who lied about the tuition fees pledge which was a betrayal of the electorate?

  • “Carmichael is Scotland’s only Lib Dem MP, ”

    And despite being an outstanding local MP who has been a champion for the Northern Isles his actions in this matter aren’t exactly a ringing endorsement for himself or the Scottish Lib-Dems.

    Perhaps he should stand down exactly because he is the only Lib-Dem MP in Scotland?

    What message does it send to the people of Scotland? More importantly what message does it allow the SNP to send to the people of Scotland?

    If he does stand down, the SNP will no doubt run the entire election campaign on this one issue with little regard to what the people of Orkney and Shetland actually need from an MP. Perhaps this is the fight that should be getting fought rather than was he an MP or not when he leaked the document.

  • Michele, the majority of the people of Scotland oppose the SNP, unfortunately due to FPTP we barely have any representation in Westminster.

    The SNP have gamed the system and can run on any platform they like, they’ll still win, and the majority of the people of Scotland will lose.

  • Yes g as part of the 50% I am aware that the SNP now hold more than 95% of the seats in Scotland. That situation is only going to continue into 2020 unless the other parties either learn to play the SNP at their own game or they change the game. As someone that is becoming more and more concerned by the slight of hand tactics of the SNP and their disregard for any issue apart from independence I personally vote for changing the game.

    Adrian, my sympathies do lie with Alistair Carmichael and his aide for what they have had to endure over the past couple of days. The SNP have turned this into a witch hunt and the level of hysteria is actually quite scary. But it does not change the fact that an attempt was made to cover the leak up and that there is no way to prove that the cover up did not have an impact on the constituency results. As liberals should we not also be defending the right of the people in Orkney and Shetland to a fair election?

    In the long run I don’t think trying to hold onto this seat will help Alistair Carmichael or the Scottish Lib-Dems or even the 50% of Scots who didn’t vote for the SNP.

  • nvelope2003 24th May '15 - 6:29pm

    Ian Lowe: The SNP have a small majority of the seats in Holyrood, not all but 3 of them. That is the difference. There are about 60 MSPs of other parties because of Proportional Representation. The other parties do need to up their game but it must be very hard for them with the level of online abuse hurled at anyone who does not support the SNP. I cannot recall anything like it in politics before. It is time to calm down.

    In time this will probably fade away but it is not fading yet.

  • ishmael smith 24th May '15 - 10:54pm

    Why can’t we just decide on a specific night and smash-up the shops and schools of, well, not just LibDems but anyone who didn’t vote for the Tribesmen, and maybe make them wear a symbol, perhaps the hated Union Jack, so we could recognise them, and remind them of their wicked inferiority. I mean, Alastair Carmichael, in offending the Great Tribeswoman, well, he really doesn’t deserve to live, does he?

  • Ian Lowe,

    . If the non-SNP parties would actually attempt to participate in politics honestly, rather than making every single thing they say about “stopping the SNP”, then they might experience a growth in support!

    Sadly, ‘stopping the SNP’ as you put it has to be the primary objective of every Unionist party in Scotland given that the SNP want an endless series of referendums until they get the result they want, and some of their activists and supporters, and even parliamentarians are openly harassing and intimidating anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

    An SNP Minister likened Labour voters in Edinburgh to people who opposed equal marriage in Ireland. He was not sanctioned for this. In terms of disrespect for opponents, this is far worse than what Carmichael did, yet SNP leadership are silent on this. There is a nasty, thuggish element to the SNP and many of its senior politicians are willing to stoke it.

    The SNP, unless their leadership clamps down quickly, risk riding the wave of nationalism they’ve created to a very dark place indeed.

  • nvelope2003 25th May '15 - 3:03pm

    Maybe Alistair Carmichael could make another statement saying he had now understood that this sort of mischief making was something which should be relegated to the past, that he would never get involved in anything like this again and that he would not be standing at the next election. There has been a culture of dirty tricks amongst all parties and it is time that a halt was called to this distasteful activity as it offends most people.

  • I posted a comment here over the weekend about Carmichael needing to go – I see it hasn’t been put up, hopefully just due to it having been a bank holiday or something. While I wait for it to appear, I’d like to add that not only should he go but Sir Malcolm Bruce should be ashamed of saying, essentially, that it is OK to lie as a politician. Not only of course is this harmful to the LDs, but it harms politics and politicians more widely – cynicism and despair that “they are all the same” is not what is required and if Sir Bruce thinks this is OK then he should have no more to do with politics from here on in. Of course people lie, of course people manipulate – it doesn’t make it right and it certainly doesn’t make for an edifying sight.

  • Of course no Tory minister would EVER consider leaking something like this would they !! And if they were so stupid as to be caught they would automatically resign obviously ! I agree that it is a sad, sad case , and he had to aplogise profusely. But the over-reaction on here is unbelievable – we live in the real world of British politics for god’s sake – the SNP are certainly nowhere near whiter than white either – and our naive reactions here are just playing into the hands of the 2 nasty parties. GET REAL or we are in for another 100 years out of government as the nicer than nice party !!

  • Ian Lowe. You are wasting your time with that line of argument. I know because I’ve tried to make it on several occasions and it simply results in being on the receiving end of abusive comments. Leaking a memo was wrong. A resignation matter, as AM himself has conceded. Lying about it until you are caught, and then trying to make a merit out of holding your hands up after being caught, simply amplifies the dishonesty and introduces cynicism. In effect AC is sorry because he was caught. Obscurity beckons for the Libdems and from the level of deflection, denial and downright cynicism revealed in some of the comments, the Libdems are running towards it with open arms.

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