NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
The quotes below are from an article written five years ago in a local newspaper. The Commentator is remarking on the debate within the corridors of Westminster following the decision of an election court that a Labour MP, Phil Woolas, had breached section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983. The judges ruled that there should be a fresh election for the seat held.
Some in the House of Commons (particularly on the Labour side) were unhappy about the Court’s decision.
However, the writer of the quotes below was emphatic it was the correct decision saying;
“A politician, the argument seems to go, should be allowed to make whatever outrageous and untruthful claim that he or she wants about an opponent.
It is a thoroughly depressing argument to listen to. Everyone knows that politics is a robust trade, especially in an election campaign. No-one would expect candidates to spend their time highlighting their opponents’ virtues, but to suggest any smear is justifiable must be wrong.
Most worryingly it betrays an attitude that I had hoped would have been eradicated by the expenses scandals of the last parliament – namely that different rules should apply to MPs than apply to the rest of the population. If Tesco tried to smear the Co-op in the same way it would soon be in trouble. Why should politics be different?”
He concluded the article on a high note saying
“The right to freedom of speech is a fundamental one but it does bring a responsibility with it to tell the truth. The right to smear an opponent is not one we should be defending.”
The writer was, of course, Alistair Carmichael and the publication, The Shetland Times.
Ironically, Carmichael is likely to go down in Scottish history as ‘The Secretary of State for Smears’ following his admission that he not only knew of but actively connived in the smear campaign against SNP Leader, Nicola Sturgeon, during the UK general election.
Despite being exposed as a duplicitous liar Carmichael seems determined to try and cling on to his MPs £67,000 salary + expenses by defying calls for him to stand down from the Orkney and Shetland Westminster seat.
Obviously the criteria he applied to Phil Woolas do not apply to him.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
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