Will Orkney and Shetland re-elect a man who lied to win last time?
Alistair Carmichael has confirmed that he will stand for re-election in June.
In the General Election of 2015 Mr Carmichael won the Orkney and Shetland seat by a very small minority.
However, during that election campaign Mr Carmichael lied in order to gain an advantage.
At the time he was the Scottish Secretary and he leaked a false memo that was designed to hurt the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon. He was called by Channel 4 News to discuss the matter and he was recorded saying that he knew nothing about the memo.
After he was elected the truth emerged.
At that point he could have done the honorable thing and stood down in order for a bi-election to be held. Instead he just carried on as if nothing had happened. In a attempt at bringing about justice he was taken to court by some of his own constituents. The judges in the case agreed that Carmichael had lied for his own self-preservation.
He lied to the media in order to protect his reputation during the tight campaign which he may well have lost had the people of Orkney and Shetland known the truth about his behaviour.
In their judgement the judges said of Carmichael’s actions.
Such self-protection would avoid attracting critical comment, losing esteem in the public eye, and being the subject of any disciplinary consequences, all at a very inconvenient time during the lead-up to the election. Such self-protection would avoid his presenting as a less attractive electoral candidate for the voters in Orkney and Shetland.
He escaped punishment on a technicality although there was a smidgen of justice as the judges did rule he should have to pay his own legal fees.
However, a Trust Fund linked to the Lib Dem’s donated £50,000 to Carmichael against their own donation rules in order to help out one of their own. This is the kind of intervention that rarely happens to everyday people when they get into a spot of financial bother. Carmichael though, isn’t an everyday person. He is a fully fledged member of the liberal establishment. One who was only too happy to work hand in hand with the Tories, and with them was a cheerleader for the Bedroom Tax, the Benefits Cap and years of failed austerity measures.
Now at this time in Scotland many people are basing their voting decisions on the independence issue.
As we have highlighted recently, this is sad as this General Election has absolutely no bearing on that constitutional question. That said, many will no doubt conveniently forget about Carmichael’s indiscretion as they would be willing to elect anyone other than the SNP.
However, surely just on a matter of principle it is wrong to reward a man who is willing to lie to your face just to narrowly cling to power?
Some will see him as the lesser of two evils I suppose but I have faith that the majority of people in Orkney and Shetland will be guided by a sense of justice in June. I hope the Northern Islanders do to Carmichael what he would have done to himself in 2015 if he was a man of principle.
They should remove him from his seat as a punishment for so blatantly lying to them. He deserves this for shamelessly abusing his power, bringing democracy into disrepute and treating his constituents with a lack of respect.
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