So, Alistair Carmichael admitted that he was responsible for the leak of the memo regarding Nicola Sturgeon’s preference of Cameron as Prime Minister. And, as you can imagine, the SNP horde have been going mental about it. To them, it’s proof once again that their great leader is infallible, and that the dirty unionists lied.
But can we just go over this whole thing in a little more detail?
Carmichael admitted that he leaked the memo, and accepted responsibility for the leak. He lied to Channel 4 when he said he had never seen the memo before it’s publication in The Telegraph. However, The Telegraph also reported that an inquiry into the memo leak shows that the memo was real, not a fake produced by Carmichael or one of his underlings. Carmichael leaked it, but he didn’t create it – however misunderstood they may have been, someone had genuinely believed the contents of the memo enough to write it down as fact.
Carmichael has admitted responsibility, and has refused his severance pay as a previous minister. He also said he would have resigned a ministerial post had he still got one. So is there any need for him to resign his post?
He did lie in the Channel 4 interview, when he claimed he hadn’t seen the memo before it’s publication in the Telegraph. However, the leak itself was pretty typical of things politicians do to try and get one over on one another. He didn’t create a fake memo.
Unlike Alex Salmond, whose White Paper and numerous speeches during the Scottish referendum referred to a letter from the EU commission regarding Scotland’s continuing EU membership, which, after several Freedom of Information requests, Nicola Sturgeon eventually admitted did not exist. And it wasn’t the first time Salmond had admitted to lying about official letter.
So, the SNP are being hypocritical, yet again. It doesn’t excuse Carmichael from lying, but calling for his head (or, more realistically, his seat) is just a power play – they’ve carried on regardless themselves often enough after lying.
Whilst I agree politicians who lie should feel the wrath of the electorate (like Nick Clegg and his pals have during the election), I don’t think Carmichael should be forced to resign. He has lost a lot of money in penance (the best way to hurt a politician IMO), and I think that is enough for the crime he actually committed.
Next time (because let’s face it, there will be a next time) the SNP get caught blatantly lying, let’s remind them of this, ok?