I have a good deal of respect for Tavish Scott on a personal basis. We have always got on well but that, of course, does not mean I agree with everything he says (Tavish backs embattled MP; SN, 27/05/15).
I would not normally comment so publicly when we do differ in opinion, however I feel compelled to do so on the issue of Alistair Carmichael.
Firstly I would agree with Tavish that Mr Carmichael has worked hard for this constituency over the years and has been at the forefront of some pretty high profile success stories. For that he should be commended.
This, however, is exactly what you would expect of our local MP. If he had not taken the stance he did on all of the issues on Tavish’s list we would all have been pretty disappointed wouldn’t we, but he did so credit where credit is due.
Where I disagree profoundly with Tavish is that Alistair’s conduct over the memo leak cannot be simply brushed under the carpet and conveniently forgotten about (which the timing of the apology and the virtual silence thereafter was designed to do).
It must be addressed as the charges are very, very serious. His conduct has been exactly what you do not expect from our local MP: underhandedness from a man who preaches “fairness”; dishonesty almost to the point of criminality (to be determined) and thereafter a worrying disregard to owning up to his responsibilities as our elected representative.
I don’t think anyone would wish to see Alistair in this position and my thoughts do go out to him and his family at this time, but here we are and the situation must be addressed.
He has lied very publicly about a very serious matter, which has had a bearing on the democratic process; the very essence of our country’s existence.
It is my belief, along with many others, that to restore faith in this process a fresh election must be held where Alistair can be judged by his electorate and forgiven for his misdemeanours if this is what they decide.
The most worrying aspect of Tavish’s statement is where he goes on to say that if Alistair resigns the “SNP would have won”.
Is he seriously saying that he would disregard the democratic process to keep out a political party that he disagrees with?
This is indeed a strange comment from a man who is our MSP and whose own job depends on the people that vote for him. It also strikes me that he has conceded that the SNP would win in any by-election. This is both defeatist and premature.
It also presupposes that his constituents agree to keep the SNP out at all costs however the recent election result would say otherwise.
The one line I really object to however is “the second option is that he listens to his constituents, real Shetland folk who will give him a fair hearing.”
This infers that if you do not vote LibDem then you are not a real Shetlander. I find this, and I presume others will too, incredibly offensive.
Tavish really needs to wake up to the fact that things have changed in Shetland. I was a LibDem voter, I now vote SNP, along with thousands of other Shetlanders who deeply care about where they live.
It seems to me that the Liberal Democrats are falling into the same trap as Labour in the central belt and taking their constituents for granted. Do this at your peril.
“Alistair has a long road to recovery with many people. But he should walk that road” … by standing down and fighting a by-election.
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