Martin Hannan: Politicians take the Carmichael!

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What do Councillor Lesley Hinds and disgraced MP Alistair Carmichael have in common? They are both “victims” of a new age in which we do not trust a word that politicians tells us.

In the case of city transport convener Lesley Hinds, last week she was completely exonerated by the KPMG inquiry into the governance issues surround the long-running saga of Lothian Buses’ management.

You might not agree with what she did – basically, she preferred to keep chief executive Ian Craig and dispense with the services of LB chairman Ann Faulds – but she was entirely within her rights to initiate the action that led to the outcome which, don’t forget, was also approved by council leader Andrew Burns, chief executive Dame Sue Bruce and given at least the tacit approval of the other political groups.

It did not matter a damn to the trade union Unite that Hinds did the right thing as she saw it on behalf of the council, which owns 91 per cent of the company. Rab Fraser came to last week’s governance committee and demanded that she should still stand down as transport convener.

They just didn’t believe Hinds, you see. There is no evidence that Hinds did anything other than what she thought was best for the main shareholder, and the KPMG report suggests that she was right and others were deeply at fault, but who believed her?

It remains to be seen what “revenge” Unite might extract – you may recall the threat of funding being withdrawn. As an SNP member, I would caution the union very strongly not to be seen to interfere in her campaign to become the MSP for Edinburgh North and Leith, because union bullying is everything that is seen to be wrong with the Labour Party.

She will probably lose anyway in these much-changed days, but that should not be because she is being punished for something she didn’t do. Far better to accept the verdict of KPMG and the council and allow the new board members to work with Hinds and move LB forward.

Lesley Hinds is no stranger to the wrestling ring of Edinburgh politics. She has taken a few blows over the years, but I daresay has handed out many more. This time she should be believed about what happened with LB, because the evidence supports her account.

A bigger, nastier and somewhat less intelligent bruiser is the former Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael. How he and his special adviser, Euan Roddin, have escaped so lightly for the “Frenchgate” leak about Nicola Sturgeon is beyond me.

As Carmichael is still an MP, there must now be a full House of Commons ethics inquiry into what happened. Someone should also look at the Official Secrets Act and inquire how it is that information concerning a foreign power was leaked to the press by a civil servant.

Carmichael told lies, fair and simple, when he said that the first thing he knew about the leak was when he was told by The Telegraph newspaper. He lied and cheated and should be further punished – and yes, he should resign.

For what he did outraged the public and brought further dishonour on the body politic. And if you don’t think that’s corrosive, ask Lesley Hinds.


Just a word of thanks to Howies, that excellent restaurant, for hosting a family get-together last week. My American relatives loved the haggis, and everything was just dandy.

It Wood be nice to have parking remedy like Ian

I see Sir Ian Wood has offered £10 million to the Scottish NHS to build a car park at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where, I can assure from personal experience, the parking facilities were out of date 20 years ago.

Aberdeen is lucky that it has a billionaire prepared to make such a gesture, but there is no shortage of very rich individuals and companies in and around Edinburgh, so could one of them not make a similar offer to correct the disgraceful situation with parking at our Royal Infirmary. And while we’re at it, when will such parking be free?

Godsend NHS needs defending

Once again I had to pay a visit to the medical day case centre at the Royal Infirmary and once again I had

nothing but the best of care and

attention from the excellent staff.

It was not their fault the procedure didn’t work but at least they tried, and I now know for certain that I face a long haul to full health and fitness.

So be it. I’ll get the work done to be healthy again, but for those who need its facilities and expertise to stay alive, the Scottish NHS is a godsend. That’s why we must all defend the service in the weeks and months ahead when it is threatened by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.