Dear Orkney News,
Voters in Orkney and Shetland have, since news emerged at the weekend, been dismayed – if not entirely surprised – to hear that their recently re-elected MP, Alistair Carmichael, has accepted a donation of £10,000 from Indian billionaire Sudhir Choudhrie.
The businessman and his son Bhanu were arrested in 2014 during an investigation into allegations of bribery at Rolls Royce.
While both men were released without charge, it seems odd that Mr Carmichael, who claims to be serious about cracking down on arms exports to war zones like the Ukraine, would take handouts from a man who could well have links to any kind of arms trade.
Such a donation at least helps explain the volume of Lib Dem leaflets able to be delivered to households in the Northern Isles in comparison to that from any other party or candidate.
As their elected representative at Westminster, I would suggest to Mr Carmichael that he owes the folk in Orkney and Shetland a full and honest explanation as to why he is happy to accept cash from someone who has been investigated in these circumstances.
Robert Leslie, Orkney
I’m pretty sure the get-around will be “head office accepted it on my behalf, I didn’t know anything about it”. That doesn’t work though. You can devolve responsibility but never accountablity.
There’s a phrase I once learned on a management course: you can devolve responsibility, but not accountability”. Ultimately it’s like an athlete blaming his doctor for a failed drugs test – ultimately it’s up to the individual to check. That’s the analogy I’d use here – this is financial doping.
I am surprised, and dismayed. I am gob-smacked. I’m not trivializing it, saying that – it’s a good description of the effect that news like this has – something like the equivalent of being pushed, suddenly, into cold water.
Anyway – I have sent the following email to Alistair Carmichael and Liam MacArthur, and await a response.
I wasn’t sure whether to post this comment, but, despite many experiences to the contrary, I still believe that honesty is best, whether by people in public office, or not.
Just who is there to vote for, these days? Who is there to trust? WHO?
Here’s what I sent………..
“You might not have seen this…………..
I don’t know what to make of it – and I imagine that quite a lot of people don’t know what to make of it, either.
Even if it doesn’t involve arms dealing – it still looks dodgy.
Over to you?
I feel it’s only fair that I add that, today (4th March), I received a response from Alistair Carmichael.
I don’t think it would be right to place it here, as it is a personal email. I will, however, say that……..
His response doesn’t improve my opinion of him or his actions, either in regard to links with potentially dodgy people, or in regard to his response to a constituent who was asking for information, ‘from the horse’s mouth’ as it were, to try to assess the situation, as clearly as possible.
As far as I’m concerned – end of.