Alistair Carmichael – when will the skulduggery end?
This week the Alistair Carmichael debacle hit new heights of skulduggery as we saw him being awarded first £34,000, rising to £50,000, in the form of a grant to help cover his legal fees in the recent “Frenchgate” case. The funds were awarded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (JRRT).
On their website it states that the purpose of the organisation is to “fund political campaigns in the UK to promote democratic reform, civil liberties and social justice“. I am sure many of us will be wondering exactly how giving money to a proven liar, and waster of taxpayers money, meets any of these criteria?
It also states on the website that they do not fund “legal fees” which makes this decision even stranger.
But the most jaw-dropping aspect of this sorry tale, when you take into account the fact that four of the board directors are Lib Dems, is the statement that the JRRT have seen fit to issue regarding this award, which reads thus:
Thanks to the perversities of the UK’s electoral system the 50% of Scottish voters who supported unionist parties at the General Election are represented by only three MPs. Had nationalists succeeded in their case against Alistair Carmichael, they would have worsened further the current misrepresentation of Scottish voters’ views in Parliament. Worse still, the effect on case law would have been to subject many more legitimately elected Members of Parliament to the risk of personal bankruptcy in defending themselves in court against vexatious and highly political claims.
Where to begin (aside from overlooking the fact that that is how our democratic system works, a system which, ironically, the SNP would like to change…)?
Nobody in their right minds can assert that Scotland has not been entirely brutalised by the “perversities of the UK’s electoral system”: we are currently governed by the Tories, who received less than 15% of the vote in Scotland (let’s not even get on to the subject of the House of Lords). And historically this has been the case:
Nationalists would agree on the system being undemocratic but I’m not sure how this links to the Carmichael court case which was about challenging people who try to subvert the already dodgy system. Which is the essence of democracy.
Since when was the case against Alistair Carmichael solely the concern of Nationalists? This MP gained, and then retained his seat, under false pretences, thereby “misrepresenting” himself to his constituents regardless of whether they be Nationalist or Unionist. Also, if he was so sure he still had the backing of the people of Orkney and Shetland he could have stepped down and fought a by-election. The crowdfunding campaign for “the Orkney Four” has 10,194 backers – how does the JRRT know that all these individuals are Nationalists? And in what way does it even matter?
The final sentence leaves a very bad taste in your mouth: “legitimately elected”, “vexatious and highly political claims”. Did they miss the fact that Carmichael lied, caused a costly public enquiry by trying to hide his actions and then, following his disgrace, attempted to get those bringing him to justice to pay his legal fees. The only thing that is “vexatious” about the situation is that Carmichael got away with it.
Alistair Carmichael, and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust it seems, want us to believe that he has been the victim of some miscarriage of justice. I want world peace, a pet Wookiee and someone to invent a nutritionally balanced half pizza supper but that doesn’t mean it is going to happen or that I somehow deserve these things. Let us get this straight – Alistair Carmichael HAS SUFFERED NO POLITICAL INJUSTICE. He has been the perpetrator of several injustices and absolutely does not deserve a penny from any organisation that professes to be concerned with public and political good.
Sadly, the actions of JRRT have only served to further highlight the fact that in the UK today the establishment will look after their own no matter how blatant or significant their misdemeanours.
At the end of his tenure let us just hope that Alistair Carmichael disappears into obscurity and that there is no more establishment back-patting to get irked about like in the case of the wily Mr, sorry, “Sir” Alexander…
Image taken from The National.
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