Confessions of a Justified Singer

cloudmapBy Mike Cullen

You’re driving along the motorway in a line of cars in the outside lane and everyone is doing 80 mph. Unfortunately, you’re the last car in a line of twenty, and like the slowest pheasant out of the grass, you get bagged by the twin barrels of a speed cop. You might try bleating about everybody else doing it, but that’s getting you nowhere. You are the one who got caught. Where’s the justice in that, you might ask? Surely, if everyone’s doing it, then there must be some kind of general fairness clause that gets you off?

So goes Malcolm Bruce’s defence of the liar, Carmichael. “…it is not unprecedented for politicians to lie”. Right, neither is it unprecedented for murderers to kill people. Does that mean that all current murderers should be treated as if all they’ve done is eaten the last Malteser?

This is the moment where, as a defence of corrupt behaviour, a leading politician has claimed that virtually all politicians are corrupt. That’s not news. He has done so not in any gallant effort to finally come clean and seek public absolution for the doings of his or his colleague’s dark souls, nor is this some kind of Vaderesque plot to legitimise general indecency. What it is, is yet more corruption. Sleight of hand, designed to direct our eyes towards the little lie in the left hand while the right hand pulls down the magic blind on the heart of the matter.

Of course politicians tell lies, but how many break the neighbour’s windows then run into their house, out the other door, around the block to appear on the street as if just arriving home? To make it look as though they couldn’t be guilty because they were never there in the first place? At the heart of all of this lies something much bigger than a simple mischievous election lie. Look beyond the lie itself and you find the compounding of the lie with a performance of dishonesty so infantile in its nature, you’d be embarrassed for any child that tried it on.

Speaking of which, as a child, around 10 years old, I once lied to my parents. Me and my brother had this game, using a couch and a boxing glove…hang on, the idea was one of us would be goalie, and the other would throw the glove to try to hit the back of the couch. Unsurprisingly, this led to the glove barreling into my mum’s treasured ornate three piece glass lampshade on the ceiling, which, of course, smashed.

I could have told the truth and took the consequences.

Instead, I wrote a letter, in which I invented an elaborate tale that involved me “practicing to be a singer in front of the mirror and pretending to have a microphone and jumping up and hitting the lampshade by mistake”, a thing I knew might tug on my mother’s heartstrings. It did. I got away with it. But not really, because every time I remember it, my face actually goes red with embarrassment. My mum kept the letter like it was a holy relic. She used to bring the letter out to show to complete strangers as an example of what a fine son she had. It makes me feel terrible, remembering this. As I type this, my face is burning and I feel slightly nauseous, even though I ultimately owned up to my lie. The moment is forever stamped on my psyche. There is an emotional cost, that will always be a part of me.

Carmichael’s lie wasn’t just a lie, it was a performance lie. I know, I’ve been there. And that leads me to the question, how does Carmichael actually feel about that? Does it embarrass him like my letter, does it physically affect him in any way? Will he actually learn from it, as I did, that honesty brings far fewer emotional scars over the course of a lifetime? Or are our politicians now more than simple liars, Mister Bruce? Have they now mutated into creatures incapable of basic, decent human emotions? Carmichael clinging limpet-like to his career while looking to shrug this off as if it has no consequence, other than a few quid he can easily spare, would suggest he has learned nothing. He is still that child, immature and capable of emotional manipulation that nudges on the dangerous, jumping up and down before his imaginary mirror, while his mates write you a letter to get your sympathy for his song of disdain.


If you like Bella Caledonia and want us to continue and develop we need you support – please donate to our appeal fund here – and if you can share the link on Facebook. Thank You.

Comments (19)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published.

  1. MBC says:

    Looking back on it, his lie seems more inept than anything else. What if, in answer to the Channel 4 interviewer, he had said something like: ‘Astonishing, isn’t it? No doubt the investigation will get to the bottom of this leak and I intend to co-operate fully.’

    I.e., take the right tone, the moral high ground, but be evasive and refuse to answer directly.

    He would have avoided incriminating himself by lying. He would still have been guilty of the leak, but he could have justified it by saying he believed it was in the public interest and was glad to have discovered it was inaccurate, which he could never have done otherwise than by leaking it…

    He would have been equally bad, but he would have presented himself in a far better light and I doubt his voters would feel nearly half as aggrieved.

    1. Gordon bradley says:

      ” too wee to make any difference ” ?
      Its not numbers ! Its the message ! Its the narrative ! Its the paradigm that must be fought !
      Nowt to do with numbers !
      Noise and conviction will prevail !

    2. Alan says:

      Well, I think we are still a long way from the truth. So far we’ve been told Memogate was all Carmichael and Roddin’s doing. Then you get this wonderful bit from Mundell. Why can’t he bring himself to plainly state “I knew nothing about it”? Instead he gives us a performance in which he looks and sounds like a lawyer using weasel words to feign the truth. If he’s being evasive and he’s found to have been involved at a later date, I doubt he’ll be seen as someone who took the moral high ground.

    3. Redgauntlet says:

      Correct MBS, Carmichael´s crime is the crime of stupidity, for which he deserves to go…for being a clunk and a bungler and a bit of an all round thickie….

  2. Dougie Blackwood says:

    This post is exactly right. WE, in Scotland, are to few in numbers and MPs to make any difference in England. There are more MPs in the South East corner of England that the rest of the UK and their priority is the South East of England. The “provinces” of England are in a worse position than we are; they are just ignored and have no Parliament to stand up for their interests.

    What is the Solution? We need to engage that progressive voters of all the regions of England; we need to communicate with them outside the medium of the discredited Labour party which will not agree with anything proposed by the SNP.

    How do we do that? In all probability there are radical elements throughout England that see what we are doing and are saying “I want some of that”. Perhaps we should set up an alliance party, based on the SNP platform of using growth rather than austerity, and invite our English friends to join. The SNP should play a full part in helping organise these people into a force for regional autonomy in England on the understanding that while we are within the UK we will work with them but our aim is still very much independence. When that is achieved we will wish them well and leave them to carry on the fight for their own best interests.

    1. Becka says:

      This may have glitched onto the wrong article, but speaking as an English person I completely agree with this.

  3. Dougie Blackwood says:

    I wrote the post above as a comment on “A Square Go” article but it now appears under the “Confessions of a Justified Singer” piece. Something gone astray within Bella setup.

    1. mike cullen says:

      Yes, there was just a small mix up where an earlier article I’d written during the election was posted instead of the new one which is here now. Sorry about that.

      1. Nicola McKay says:

        Thank god, I thought I was in the twilight zone for a minute there.

  4. Monty says:

    Ease up a little. I was thinking Carmichael was a fool and should never have been Secretary of State in the first place but as the onslaught goes on I am almost beginning to feel sorry for him. This is beginning to get a little unsavoury and while Carmichael has behaved very badly it feels a little like he being hunted by a pack.

    1. Alan says:

      Carmichael, whatever his sins, may be playing scapegoat for Mundell, the Scottish Office and the Tories. See my earlier post above.

    2. John Mooney says:

      “Beginning to feel sorry for Him”Complete and utter pish!This mendacious buffoon is an insult to the body politic,he should remember that it was the attempted cover up that did for Nixon as it should also do for this creep.The Lie/dems the party of Thorpe,the Rochdale abuser Cyril Smith,Clegg the liar and the coterie of Uriah Heep’s in the mould of ridiculous Rennie!Roll on the Scottish Elections when we can get rid of this motley crew.

  5. Walter Baxter says:

    Politicians tell “brazen lies”, senior Lib Dem Sir Malcolm Bruce has claimed as he defended the actions of ex-Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael.
    Need we say any more.

  6. Redgauntlet says:

    What was that line in that Woody Allen film again? Oh aye…

    “He has the opposite of paranoia. He lives under the delusion that people actually like him”…

    Pretty much sums up Alistair “the bruiser” Carmichael, a puff-pasty headmaster type whose ego must have taken a real bruising when he saw a fund set up to oust him clock up 30 grand in 24 hours. Money talks!!!

    I guess for even the most thick-skinned mammal, possibly even Gordon Brown, the penny must eventually drop….or maybe not, there´s always Tony Blair (though almost certainly a reptile rather than a mammal)….

  7. bringiton says:

    If you or I had sent a memo to the Torygraph claiming knowledge of a conversation between our FM and the French ambassador,would they have published it?
    Most certainly not.
    It was only published because it came from a government minister’s office (as it now appears with his “authorisation”).
    He may claim that technically he wasn’t a minister at the time but he used that office for political skulduggery and in any case,his conduct was the same as someone accused of reset.
    Failing to determine the veracity of the document before placing it in the public domain is no excuse and he must be held responsible for both the content and lying about his involvement afterwards.

  8. MBC says:

    I’m at this stage reflecting on the fact that a more Machiavellian and practiced deceiver than Carmichael appears to be would not have dug the hole for himself that Carmichael has.

    He would have evaded the Channel 4 interviewer’s questions much more skillfully and avoided the bear trap of telling an outright denial lie which could easily be discovered.

    Would that be better, do you think?

    Carmichael’s malice (in smearing an opponent) and dishonesty (in denying involvement) are not as great as his hubris and ineptitude (in feeling entitled to his seat, and being so stupid as to tell a blatant lie that would be easily found out).

    I agree with the comments above that this hubris and sense of entitlement may have been bouyed up by his having assurances that the establishment would circle the wagons to protect him in any unmasking. So more fool him then.

    Touch pitch, and ye will be defiled. As an elder he should have known that!

  9. Valerie says:

    Monty, what a lot of garbage! A public servant paid handsomely who knowingly leaked, lied and cost the public purse with a bogus enquiry, whilst causing a diplomatic incident for Scotland!!???
    Whether he is the perp or the patsy, this man embarked on ripping the p**s out of his electorate, and was voted in without the full facts to O& S constituents. Do they not deserve to vote on all the facts? If this man had any decency or humility, he would resign, and stand again, and let those voters make their decision.
    Are we to mimic Westminster, and forget all about this?

    I’m very annoyed that some people do not think us plebs deserve the very best candidates, making laws, and spending our taxes.

    Let’s remember that the only reason this came to light was the enquiry, and Heywood throwing Carmichael to the wind.

  10. john young says:

    Everyone knew/or should have known that they the politicians are vile/self seeking liars,we have to move on and bringforth policies that are far seeing/radical in their content,policies that will fire up the population young and old.Lets get the free thinkers the visionaries out,we have to put forward an alternate view to the failed system and not just drudge on moaning about memogate/and the rest of the dis-credited parties,we have to convince the doubters that whatever policies do emerge they are for the whole of our country,we inmo have to get away from the thump the wealth creators we have to harness their ability to create,there is no point in tellingsomeone that has worked their a–es off that we are going to take your money and support those that will not contribute.We have to make the business fertile for investment whereby they can grow and employ more workers,we should be encouraging business to take on those with disabilities physical/learning thereby giving them pride in and respect for themselves giving them a life,we have to bring in a better less expensive housing programme therefore not burdening our young with the millstone of hugely expensive mortgages/rent this would free up cash that will feed into the retail/business sectors.How can this be achieved? for starters bring back public ownership of the utilities by doing so you can reduce the cost on business,I don,t know if what I have posted is rubbish but we have to make the effort to change a world that has been most peoples lot forever and a day,people shouldn,t have to struggle through life there has to be room for some small comforts/luxuries,it can be done it most certainly can be done.

  11. maxi kerr says:

    It may sound a wee bit naive,but the understanding of right and wrong are the basic blocks of human decency that we need to survive and prosper as the dominent species on this bloody planet.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.