The hounding of Alistair Carmichael

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.

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

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.

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 vociferous hate campaign being directed at Mr Carmichael online by “cybernats”.

However, of greater concern to me is the intrusion into Mr Carmichael’s private life. Attempts have been made by SNP party members outside the Orkney and Shetland constituency to have Mr Carmichael removed as a Church of Scotland Elder. They made efforts to contact both Mr Carmichael’s Presbytery and his Kirk Session.

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 forgive.”

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