Carmichael campaign has gone too far

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LAST week the SNP’s massive membership flexed its muscles. They pulled together and raised over £40,000 in just a few days for use in Alistair Carmichael’s Orkney and Shetland constituency.

The money is not for the food banks there or to support community projects. Instead, it will be used to fund a campaign to hound Mr Carmichael out of office for misleading the public (your report, 30 May).

Mr Carmichael’s error, which is non-trivial, was to claim he had no knowledge of the leaking of a document when in fact he did.

Just to be clear, he didn’t say Scotland was on the brink of a second oil boom or that there were massive secret oil fields off Shetland. Nor did he say the west coast had huge potential for oil finds. It was the Nationalists that claimed the igneous rocks there could bear oil. Nor did he wrongly claim he had legal advice relating to Scotland’s EU membership – again, that was the Nationalists. I could go on.

Although the document’s authenticity is not questioned and its publication was arguably in the public interest, the Nationalists have the right to explore the legal routes open to them to have Mr Carmichael’s election result overturned. What is not acceptable is the hate campaign being directed at him online.

Attempts have also been made by SNP members outside the Orkney and Shetland constituency to have Mr Carmichael removed as a Church of Scotland elder.

They should have looked in the mirror and read Luke 6:37 first: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

(Dr) Scott Arthur

Buckstone Gardens

Edinburgh

MARTIN Redfern (Letters, 1 June) says that during the general election campaign, Nicola Sturgeon stood on a manifesto which related to austerity alone. So it appears that politicians are not alone when it comes to being dishonest in order to score a point, he suggests. But Mr Redfern cannot be unaware the SNP manifesto contained a raft of policies; it was also the only major party which entered the election supporting proportional representation. However, the issue for him seems to be the SNP’s attitude to the devolving of more powers.

There was cross-party consensus at Holyrood that the proposed Scotland Bill did not fulfil the minimum set out by the Smith Commission in terms of devolved powers either in spirit or in fact. Nicola Sturgeon is, therefore, perfectly entitled to insist that the infamous “vow” is honoured in full and also has a mandate from the electorate to obtain the best deal possible for Scotland. Mr Redfern compares the discussions which have followed the election with the actions of Alistair Carmichael.

He should note that Mr Carmichael authorised the leak of a memo which turned out to be a work of fiction and says he did so without seeing it. Then during the election campaign, he told a lie saying that the first time he had heard of the memo was when he was contacted by the journalist his special adviser had had several briefing sessions with.

Mr Carmichael is irrevocably damaged.

Douglas Turner

Derby Street

Edinburgh