9 February 2016

Carmichael: The Saga Ends

And that, as they say, is that. Barring any unexpected developments, yesterday decision by Lady Paton and Lord Matthews on liabilities for legal expenses brings the Alistair Carmichael election petition saga to its conclusion. In the National this morning, I have a wee reflection on the whole enterprise, and its various twists and turns. An excerpt:

"IT seems apt that the last act in the long-running Carmichael election court drama should take you by surprise. 
The ordinary position in law is that “expenses follow success”: the loser pays. But during its many twists and unexpected turns, the fate of this election petition has been anything but ordinary. Starting from a small, improbable place, it has been quite the saga. Expectations, upended. Outcomes, surprising everyone. New precedents – legal and political – set. 
On the May 23 last year, in the aftermath of the General Election, a confession finally having been coaxed out of the former Secretary of State, I sat down to write what I thought would be a mischievous, hypothetical blog. “Is Carmichael vulnerable to an election petition?”, I asked. Having alighted on this little-known and little-understood corner of election law, I concluded that it might – just might – be worth a punt. 
But I didn’t expect anyone to play Don Quixote, and to brave the costs and the uncertainties of litigation to put Carmichael in the witness box and this speculative legal theory to the test."

You can read the whole piece here.


  1. "No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar."

    Abraham Lincoln

  2. £150k probably is not enough to bankrupt Carmichael.

  3. Given the somewhat bumptious description of Mr Carmichaels legal "win" in much of the media, it gives a warming glow to find his victory rendered as of the Pirrhic variety.
    Almost as good as a guid malt, slipping down.
    But, given their ill-gotten gains out of this shabby affair, should the Torygraph not cough up some "readies" to help the poor man out.

  4. A Pyrrhic victory indeed. Can't say I have much sympathy for him.

    Pleasingly, his crowdfunder has only got about 7% of what the Orkney 4 got, covering about 1% of the cost of the public enquiry made necessary by his deceit.

    It is full of funders expressing rage that the nasty separatists made poor Alistair go through all this (and some describing the 4 and supporters as 'scum').

  5. Oh dear oh dear, I think it was worth £5 for whoever left this on his crowd fund:

    Pyrrhus Epirus
    18 hours ago
    Well done, sir. A victory worthy of my name! I admire your courage in the face of such stern judgement from Lady Paton and Lord Matthews. I have sold my tiniest violin to pay for this donation, so I shan't play you its sad tune."