My Friend Alistair Carmichael 433

It is no secret that Alistair Carmichael is a friend of mine. Not least because he told parliament so in 2005:

“The Government’s signals to the Uzbek regime have not always been helpful. I am thinking especially of their treatment of my old friend, the former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who has done us all a great service in graphically highlighting the appalling human rights record of the Uzbekistan Government.”

Alistair was one of very few MPs who raised the dreadful human rights abuses in Uzbekistan even before I got there. He has a genuine interest in human rights worldwide, and had a much better motivation in going into politics than the large majority of politicians. He was never anything like a diehard unionist in personal conviction. I felt quite proud for him when he was asked during the campaign what would his role be in negotiating for the UK the conditions of separation after a Yes vote. He replied that he was Scottish, and he would be on the Scottish, not the UK side.

I have never chosen my friends by my politics, and I am not one of those people who is only happy in the company of those who agree with me. I am happiest with a few drinks and a good argument in intellectually challenging company. I also do know that all human beings are flawed, and I don’t expect perfection. So I have no intention of ending friendship with Alistair.

All of which makes it hard, but I have to say that I really do think he needs to resign as an MP, and to do so immediately.

It was not just a mistake to leak that memo, it was wrong. It was even more wrong because he himself believed it was written in error and did not give Nicola Sturgeon’s true opinion. But in an election in which the Scottish Lib Dems faced wipeout, he saw the advantage of playing this trick. That was wrong on many levels. I would add that I feel very confident that Alistair would never have done it without consulting Clegg first. Clegg should resign too. And instead of the usual Cabinet Office stitch-up, there needs to be a real inquiry into the whole history and production of that extraordinary minute, and whether Alistair was set up to do it. The Scottish Government needs to be an equal partner in constituting that inquiry.

Alistair has no alternative but to resign because he then repeatedly lied about what he had done. It is much better that he goes now with a full and frank apology to everyone, especially his constituents. When you have blatantly and repeatedly lied about something, you cannot expect people to give you their trust again. That it even seems a possibility is an example of the erosion of ethical standards, of which Tony Blair is of course the greatest example as liar, mass murderer and multi-millionaire.

But we should not lose sight of the real lesson. The corrupt and rotten structures of the UK state are so insidious that they can take a fundamentally decent man like Alistair and lead him to behave so badly. There is something within the rotting organisms of UK institutions in their decline from Imperial power and dependence on corrupt banking and corporate systems, that infects almost all who enter them. While I worked for the FCO I saw really nice colleagues, decent men and women I worked with, go along with organising what they knew to be illegal war in Iraq, and with facilitating the torture and extraordinary rendition programmes. Because that was what paid their mortgage, looked after their children, and above all gave them social status as high British diplomats.

Westminster gives untramelled executive power to a party with just 23% of the support of the registered electorate. The majority of parliamentarians are unelected Lords a great many of whom are themselves mired in corruption – and some much worse. The organs of state power are used to facilitate the flow of money from the poor to the very wealthy, which is the actual cause of the deficit in public finances. The rewards of being on the inside are sweet; those outside are measurably dispossessed of wealth, and measurably alienated in politics. The media is controlled by this corporate state.

Alistair Carmichael’s story is not the story of a bad man. It is the story of what happens to a good man who buys in to UK power structures. The real lesson of the sad story of this period in Alistair’s life is that the UK is evil, corrupt and corrupting, and that the UK state needs swiftly to be broken up.

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433 thoughts on “My Friend Alistair Carmichael

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  • Ba'al Zevul

    It’s an AP report: he’s apparently written his resignation. But:

    …Blair remains committed to the Quartet’s vision of a two-state solution and hopes to play an “informal” role in promoting peace. One area where he could help is developing relations between Israel and the wider Arab world, the official said.

    You betcha. Abu Dhabi’s longing to do more business with Israel, and he’s just the man to take the payments.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “The same Google searches that turned up those Daily Mail and London Times articles yesterday on the memorial service for Janner today yield no hits. Have the articles been disappeared? Has somebody monkeyed with Google?”

    Most definitely a global conspiracy and/or the intervention of the world’s secret services, Lysias.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    His itinerary last week was Liberia> Nigeria> Sierra Leone (See ‘An Apology’ thread), and I permitted myself to hope he’d got ebola. But that would be too karmic, and rather too quick.

  • fedup

    Hardly anyone in mainstream media writes about this, most voters never think about it, and pols keep insisting it’s a figment of the imagination.

    What do you thing the oligarch owned media would be broadcasting?

    Cast you eyes in this blog and see the same agents of reaction busy spewing the same message, for the benefit of those whom have fallen through the cracks not tuning into the daily two minute hate rituals.

    Freedom of the media means you are free to own one, if can afford it!

    Then you can publish and or omit from broadcasting whatever you wish; it is entirely up to you to do as you wish with your own media. Hence the freedom of the press/media and not a world of lie about it.

  • Ishmael

    I imagine people will increasingly know where they stand with this emboldenment.

    Myself. I don’t necessarily mind more openly criminal gangs, between avoided the traps, there is more a feeling of freedom. More community solidarity. People know where they stand.

    The issue for me in the UK is not many people seem to know. In fact they believe the state is not out to get them. And I don’t know how much more I can take Clarksonville.

    Girl from Russia was saying how our landscape is nice, but you can’t go anywhere, she could just walk off into the land in many places, England all fenced in etc. I felt a lot more freedom in India. Place is off the hook in many ways, though massive issues (top gear reaches some places) they are not a totally blind conformist society, notable dignity. Creativity, spirituality.

    Theoretically free country, running one of the most concentrated monitoring systems anywhere, keep of the grass. Custodians of managed areas of dead habitat.

  • RobG

    I know this one’s too easy: the richest woman in the world, wearing a diamond tiara worth more than £1 million and sitting on a gold throne, telling her subjects that her government will continue inflicting austerity on them; this after the wealth of the richest people in the country has doubled over the last five years.


    What’s coming will make the 2011 riots look like a picnic.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    My word, Tony Blair has resigned as the Quartet’s Middle East Peace Envoy.

    What happened? Did it run out of money?

    He can still hope to head NATO, and do work which comes to him naturally.

    That would make it a simple Anglo-American war machine.

  • fedup

    Quartet’s Middle East Peace Envoy

    The oligarch owned media keep perpetuating the myth of “peace envoy”. That war criminal was put in charger of the EU funds allocated to Palestinians. ie fox was set to guard the hen house. Money should be running out, or the paltry sums are far less that what he is used to these days.

    The only piece he was in charge of a piece of the action.

  • fred

    “I have been out until now and have to dash off again, so would someone – preferably one of the Loonies – please make sure to indicate the salient points for my close reading before I get back.”

    Unfortunately what was in the Queen’s speech wasn’t too different from what was in the manifesto which makes it kind of difficult to criticise much as I’d like to.

  • Anon1


    It appears from your post that you are labouring under the impression that the 2011 riots were about osteriteee.

    To clarify, the 2011 riots were about nothing much other than an opportunity for the bruvvas to get out and do some looting .

    As regards any future riots making the 2011 riots look like a ‘picnic’, I can only predict that while the muggers, looters and arsonists are sent down to do some serious jail time, you will be toasting them from your gîte rural in Poitou-Charentes, burgundy in hand.

  • Muscleguy


    Our brains are obligate aerobic organs, they do not do anaerobic respiration. Your muscles can work just fine for quite some time without oxygen, your brain conks out in less than 3 minutes. The brain is also an obligate glucose user, it cannot burn fats, though if the liver can produce glucose from fats and stick it in the bloodstream fine, if there is enough oxygen to do that. In actuality the neurons burn lactate, the glial cells feed it to them, from the glucose.

    If you recall there was a study that found fit undergraduates had 5 IQ points higher on average than couch potato undergraduates. This is because the brain is aerobic and the more aerobically fit your body is the better your brain will work. Many disabled people are now exercising within their limits in part because of this. A healthy mind in a healthy body. It’s a bit late but I’m off for a run, I’ll eat later.

  • Anon1

    Walt imagines:

    “Theresa May’s nasty xenophobic refusal to welcome any of the Mediterranean boat people to Britain, insisting they should all be sent back.”

    Nonsense, Walt. I know you just love to ooze compassion, but for those tasked with making tough decisions, the choice is stark. Either you adopt a strict no entry policy and stop the illegal smuggling in its tracks, or you welcome them all in, thereby worsening the situation and causing many more deaths by drowning, until it is decided that the first option was the only rational one.

    Nothing nasty or xenophobic about it, Walt.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    What a fool I am. I’ve been puzzling all day, trying to figure out what was behind the high-profile arrests of FIFA officials. When the USA gets on its high horse about corruption, you can be sure that you’re not getting the full story. Corruption in world football is hardly news. They could have done this any time in the last thirty years, so why now?

    Russia, of course, duh. Russia has been awarded the 2018 world cup, a situation that fits the Western narrative about as well as the heir to the British throne having a Muslim step-brother. What to do? Eureka! Have a very public court case where it is demonstrated that the FIFA officials who voted for Russia took bribes. The decision is declared invalid and another country is awarded the money-spinning event. Russia will be tainted with corruption, Putin will be denied the opportunity to present a showcase spectacular through the world’s television sets, and the West will be spared the embarrassment of sharing a sporting brotherhood with the commie devils.

    Bet ya.

  • lysias

    There’s also been talk of expelling Israel from FIFA. Preventing that is another quite plausible motive for the U.S. government.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    A betting double then.

    I bet Israel isn’t expelled from FIFA and that hosting the World Cup is taken away from Russia.

  • fedup

    I bet Israel isn’t expelled from FIFA and that hosting the World Cup is taken away from Russia.

    Almost tediously predictable, yet these unimaginative crooks run the show unbated taking us all for fools and idiots, all the while still insisting on “Human rights” which is basically homer Simpson style of bitching and griping passed as “freedumb of speech”.

    The right to Food
    The right to Shelter
    The right to Water
    The right to free Health care
    The right to free Education
    the right to free Trade

    Well these are obviously commie thoughts and have nothing to do with human rights pardner

  • lysias

    Russia to the U.S.: Hands off FIFA:

    Russia fired back at the Justice Department’s announcement of 47 charges against officials of FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, with its foreign ministry condemning it as another case of illegal extraterritorial application of U.S. laws.

    “Once again, we urge Washington to stop trying to judge far beyond its borders for its legal standards and follow the generally accepted international legal procedures,” Russian ministry spokesman A.K. Lukashevich said in a statement Wednesday, according to an English translation.

    I write this as I am listening to the interview of Julian Assange on this morning’s Democracy Now!. I have long been troubled by the evident intention of the U.S. government to prosecute Assange for acts that he, an Australian citizen, committed outside the territory of the U.S. Why is he under any obligation not to reveal things that are classified secrets only under U.S. law?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    What happened? Did it run out of money?

    He and it ran out of credibility. The Pals have long had him down as a shyster, the Israelis find him a nuisance as anything he tries to do to make himself look engaged involves asking them to treat the Pals as citizens, the EU has appointed its own rep, and the Quartet includes Russia. Oh, and Obama’s got better taste than Clinton or Bush Jr.

    What else? Mr.Tony no longer needs the introductions the QR post handed him for free, he’s in with the UAE investment fund, hobnobbing with the hedges, and has a slew of more-or-less corrupt African leaders hanging on his every bathetic word. To say nothing of his three or four highly undemanding day jobs, and the sale of the bleeding obvious to the world’s bad hats via his ‘good governance’ and ‘deliverology’ scams.

    Why would he keep banging his head against a brick wall? Even his monumental self-belief must have crumbled in the face of the evidence.

  • fedup

    Can somebody explain why the U.S. has jurisdiction in this case?

    Good question.

    Evidently the biggest mega tonnage of weapons of mass destruction is the only prerequisite credential needed to own the planet.

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