The local Liberal Democrats’ predictable support for Alistair Carmichael shows admirable loyalty in adversity. Most folk would endorse Tavish Scott’s tribute to Mr Carmichael’s excellent record as a constituency MP. I certainly do. But that is not the point, surely?
It seems that if constituents ask justifiable questions about an MP who has admitted telling a lie for electoral gain, and then suggest that he might like to fight a by-election to confirm that he still enjoys the people’s trust, then in the view of the Nat-haters this is somehow “fox hunting”, “witch hunting”, “nationalist bullying” or “mobbing”. No it’s not. It’s democracy.
The critics keep saying Alex Salmond lied about his legal advice on independence, as if this justified Mr Carmichael’s lapse. If Mr Salmond did lie then it would be equally reprehensible, but I don’t think this is what happened and in any case it wasn’t during a general election campaign so the allegation is not relevant to the present case.
What I would like to know about that infamous memo, reporting, third-hand, an alleged conversation between the First Minister and the French ambassador, is this: as a public prosecutor in his previous career, would Mr Carmichael not have subjected such a potentially explosive piece of evidence to some basic forensic examination, rather than agreeing to pass on to the Tories’ media mouthpiece a scrap of inaccurate and very damaging gossip?
And what, if anything, did his Tory deputy at the time, David Mundell MP, know about it? I think we should be told.
“I keep six honest working men; they taught me all I knew. Their names are What and Why and When, and How and Where and Who?” (Kipling, from memory)…