The Carmichael Case 28


I have been dipping in to the coverage of the Carmichael recall case. His lawyer is basing his argument heavily on a precedent that, while a candidate may adopt a political position that shows him to be a hypocrite, the law only applies to personal conduct and not political conduct. He then quotes a Channel 4 interview which says it is plain that Carmichael was answering questions in his capacity as Secretary of State for Scotland. “He did not say anything about his personal character or conduct.”

The fundamental flaw in this argument is that Carmichael cannot say that leaking the document was a function of his office of Secretary of State. It was a personal act, with a crooked political motive. Leaking the document, and then lying about doing it, is undoubtedly a matter of “personal character and conduct.” Carmichael’s lawyer is arguing that the fact Carmichael lied does not in itself make it a matter of personal character. But that is an Aunt Sally. Nobody said that it does. But it happens that it was a matter of personal character.

The whole very unedifying argument on Carmichael’s side boils down to “it is fine to lie if it is political”. How a decent man puts himself into this totally dishonourable position, instead of just resigning, is beyond me.

The court will find in Carmichael’s favour. The Scottish legal establishment is no more of the people now than it was in the days of Thomas Muir of Huntershill. That is something which will have to be vigorously addressed after Independence.


28 thoughts on “The Carmichael Case

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    “The Scottish legal establishment is no more of the people now than it was in the days of Thomas Muir of Huntershill. That is something which will have to be vigorously addressed after Independence.”

    _____________________

    Surprised and intrigued that you should write that, Craig.

    Do the names Freisler, Ulrikh, Vysinskiy (to take just a couple of examples) mean anything to you?

  • Peter Beswick

    The public accepts that it is OK for politicians and those in authority to lie under certain circumstances but not in others although I can’t find the written rules but here is an example.

    Acceptable lies

    A British scientist is targeted by the CIA for blabbing their secrets and plan to kill him. The British secret services find out about the plot but are powerless to stand up to the US so they decide to put in place a witness style protection programme and remove the scientist under the guide of his suicide.
    Everyone involved lies but it is OK.

    Unacceptable lies

    The CIA kill a British scientist because he is blabbing their secrets and the British government who are powerless to stand up to the US cover up the killing with lies.
    Everyone involved lies but it is not OK.

    However in both examples the liars are never brought to account.

  • Graham Harris Graham

    Thomas Muir (of Huntershill) was the name bestowed upon the secondary school in Bishopbriggs I attended but never once, was this person’s name or indeed the man’s important historic account ever explained by any of the teachers during my time there.

    Perhaps the history teacher especially was too keen to impress upon me & my fellow pupils the overwhelming importance of Anglo Saxon Britain. We may never know now because the old girl is probably 6 ft under. And I don’t care anymore.

    But ever since then, it is abundantly clear that the maintenance of the apparent moral superiority of the British Establishment remains paramount, even when faced with overwhelming evidence that it is corrupt, self serving & wholly unrepresentative of the vast majority who are sadly forced to fund it.

    Carmichael is but one more sorry looking character with a reputation tarnished all by himself in an attempt to inflate hi sown importance in system that couldn’t care less for him.

    The only outcome that matters is that voters will be put off from any future attempts to question the outcome of a broken electoral system, designed solely to preserve the status quo.

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    Graham Harris Graham

    Completely O/T.

    I’ve seen some of your photos on your website and was impressed by their artistry and beauty.

    But don’t you think you’re pushing things price-wise….just a wee bit over-expensive? A tad neo-con from the moolah angle?

    You probably had a good economics teacher at school 🙂

  • Mary

    Old boys’ network MBC?

    ‘He returned to education at the University of Aberdeen, where he gained an LLB in 1992, qualifying as a solicitor in 1993.[2] From 1993 to 1996, he was a Procurator Fiscal Depute for Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and from 1996 to 2001 he was a solicitor with Aberdeen and Macduff.[2]’

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alistair_Carmichael

    His QC
    Roddy Dunlop QC is the only Scottish silk to be ranked in seven separate practice areas by Chambers UK, who place him as a Band 1 Silk in the areas of media law, professional discipline, professional negligence, and clinical negligence.
    http://www.axiomadvocates.com/advocate/17/roddy_dunlop_qc

  • fred

    It’s sad that people refuse to accept the outcome of a democratic vote and will stoop to such depths to try and overthrow it.

    What sort of Scotland do they want? One where every election is followed by litigation in every constituency? Where our representatives are chosen by the judiciary not the people?

    In a cricket match the umpire’s decision is final and in an election, or referendum, the people’s decision should be final.

  • Bob Smith

    Fred, the people’s decision is final unless the people feel they have been cheated. The challenge to Carmichael is being made by some of the voters in Orkney/Shetland who have used crowd funding to challenge the election. The challenge is part of the democratic system but unfortunately not a challenge that can be used against the many corrupt and venal Peers who have such an influence. Craig may well be right and Alistair will Winn the case but the strength of feeling I have heard expressed against him in Orkney will mean he will have an uphill struggle to retain his seat at the next election. He should have resigned.

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    Graham Harris Graham

    “You’re not one of my many customers. Thus, your opinion regarding my prices is completely worthless.

    That’s how your “neo-con” market works.”
    _______________

    But I could have been if I’d been prepared to pay your prices – which I find steep.

    So my opinion is certainly worth something – namely, the rather large sums of money I have declined to send in your direction.

    As you say, that’s how the market works. And you appear to be working it rather well. 🙂

  • Muscleguy

    I’m not convinced Carmichael will get off. The appellants QC did a good job of demolishing both that parliament had intended a narrow interpretation and on the political vs personal question. I look forward to his continuation on the morrow. Carmichael’s QC is not doing his client’s reputation any good with these arguments either. Basicall he is saying his guy is a blaggard, bounder and a thoroughgoing cad but because he is a politician who was holding office at the time none of this is relevant. It is an odious argument. I did not get the impression that either her ladyship or his lordship were sympathetic to it, his lordship in particular. Mitchell QC otoh is the better legal scholar and historian and is puncturing that argument nicely, thus far.

    That point about the respondents not having followed the rules will likely be significant. They have been caught with their legal pants down. Call Paddy Ashdown, stat!

  • Julian

    This is the only time I have started laughing at one of Habby’s comments. Yet another area he knows zilch about: fine art photographic prints. I saw some landscape work recently in the Kings Place building next to the Guardian that were priced at £20K each. Graham’s work is lovely, but I would say on the low side price wise. Given how much work it is to create one, the least you could do is buy a print, or are you tight as well? He he.

  • Republicofscotland

    “What sort of Scotland do they want? One where every election is followed by litigation in every constituency? Where our representatives are chosen by the judiciary not the people?”
    __________________

    I’d love you to spout that nonsense up in Orkney and Shetland….see how far you’d get.

    I hope you’re a good swimmer.

  • fred

    “Fred, the people’s decision is final unless the people feel they have been cheated.”

    So how about after every election all the losers decide they have been cheated and take the winner to court?

  • fred

    “I’d love you to spout that nonsense up in Orkney and Shetland….see how far you’d get.

    I hope you’re a good swimmer.”

    Sounds like you are saying your Nationalist black shirt thug mates would use violence against someone who stood up for democracy.

  • Bob Smith

    Fred, your response to my comment is disproportionate and seems to suggest that you have no appreciation of the strong feelings about Alistair’s conduct. In order to bring a case you need reasonable cause which would not be the case in most if not all parliamentary elections. This is a rather unique case.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    Julian

    I’m happy to admit that my expertise is not in fine art photographic prints and their prices.

    So to help me to possibly revise what I wrote, would you mind telling me if what is being sold (both Graham’s work and the £20.000 photos you mentioned) is just a single and unique photo (the negative then being destroyed) or as many copies as buyers can be found for?

    Thank you.

  • fred

    “Fred, your response to my comment is disproportionate and seems to suggest that you have no appreciation of the strong feelings about Alistair’s conduct. In order to bring a case you need reasonable cause which would not be the case in most if not all parliamentary elections. This is a rather unique case.”

    I’m well aware of the strong feeling among the nationalists in the central belt about losing a seat. Haven’t noticed too much strong feeling about Carmichael, hasn’t been mentioned at all on the local community forum, plenty of talk about what an arsehole Monaghan turned out to be though.

  • orri

    The thing is the actual law also includes the actions of the Press. Definitely includes the Telegraph and their attempt to malign the character of the entire SNP including all 59 candidates. By authorising the leak Carmichael consented to whatever actions the press took with it.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2 , section 106 if your interested.

  • fred

    ” section 106 if your interested.”

    Section 106 is headed “False statements as to Candidates”

    Firstly no false statements were published, the memo was real, nobody made it up, it was a genuine memo.

    Secondly Nicola Sturgeon wasn’t a candidate.

  • Diplomatic Baggage

    Craig,in your opinion, should Carmichael win and I suspect he will, would Blair be able to use the precedent that his argument for war in Iraq was a political lie and not a personal one, in order to avoid potential legal consequences?

    It seems OK for Carmichael’s barrister to argue that the consequences of a defeat for his client would mean politicians would have to avoid telling untruths or face potential court action (which he presents as a bad thing) but the alternative consequences should be investigated also.

  • Diplomatic Baggage

    Fred, in reply to your post of 4.09pm, 08 Sept, I would say that Carmichael’s claim of not leaking the document was a false statement. Also he was a candidate. I think it is his actions that are being questioned, not the memo’s claims or Nicola Sturgeon’s position.

  • Bob Smith

    I followed the Carmichael election court proceedings quite closely and I find it irksome that the decision of the Court is pending without an indication of when that decision might be made. It did seem to me that both sides could have made their cases much more quickly and had I been on the bench I think I would have said on more than one occasion, ” get to the point!”. Had Jonathan Mitchell QC spoken any slower he would have gone backwards.

    Televising such proceedings only serves to show how ridiculously arcane our legal system is. Perhaps the electors of Orkney should have crowd funded a drone attack. Much quicker and apparently legal.

  • orri

    The falseness was in the way the Telegraph chose to report the memo. They most definitely put arms and legs on it to not only impune Sturgeon but made it clear that they considered the SNP to have a secret agenda or desire for a Conservative victory. The present version of that story might mention the obvious caveat at the end of the memo but that wasn’t highlighted at the time. Even so they as much as say they don’t believe it to be false.

    In other words the “agent” who lied in order to affect the outcome of a election was the Telegraph who had every reason to doubt what they were accusing every single member of the SNP of. Carmichael’s guilt in that case was in that he both consented to that action and materially assisted in authorising the leak.

    I’ve seen mention elsewhere that when in the days after the leak the SNP asked to see a copy of the memo they were rebuffed with a description of it’s contents that are almost word for word those used to describe government documents within the remit of the Official Secrets Act. The fun part about the OSA is that it’s up to the government, or in the case of the Trident whistle blower the Navy, to decide whether to prosecute or not. I guess causing a minor international incident in order to secure your re-election is a mere trifle.

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