Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Veni, vidi, errrr...

So the case against Alastair Carmichael came to an end yesterday, with the judges ruling that each side should pay their own costs, much to the chagrin of Mr Carmichael, who is now telling everyone that he is not a rich man and that the costs should be awarded to the winner of the case, clearly himself in his mind.  But was he?

I don't think we can say that Mr Carmichael was vindicated, since he was found against in two of the points and was essentially found not proven on the third.  Indeed, since the judge said that he had 'told a blatant lie', it can now be fairly said that he is a proven liar.

As for costs, he had asked that costs be awarded against the Orkney 4, and that he also hoped that a punitive element would be included.  But what exactly did he want punished?  Did he want punishment for calling him a liar?  Clearly that wasn't going to happen, since he is a proven liar as the result of this case.  Did he want his opponents punished for daring to question the validity of his election, 'pour encourager les autres'?  That would be a very dangerous path to go down.  Everyone is supposed to be equal before the law, MPs and constituents alike, so to discourage people from taking recourse to the law for fear of punitive damages if they were found against strikes at the very foundations of society.

All of this could have been avoided if either Mr Carmichael had chosen to come clean about his involvement in the 'Frenchgate' memo in the first place or if he had resigned as MP and run as the Lib Dem candidate in the resulting by-election, thus allowing his constituents to either show their confidence in him or to select someone else to represent them.  That, however, would have taken courage.

Mr Carmichael is an educated man, so you'd think he'd be aware that 'vindicate' and 'vindictive' may be near-neighbours in the dictionary, but they are not the same thing.  He certainly wasn't vindicated and has shown himself to be vindictive.  Not a good outcome for him.

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