Last night, I came to the same conclusion. However, I realised that one person's version of fair-mindedness might not be a the same as another person's.
In the run up to the general election, a memo was leaked to the press. It was about a conversation which supposedly took place between Scotland's First Minister and the French Ambassador. It suggested that Nicola Sturgeon would rather have a Conservative government in power at Westminster. Nicola Sturgeon immediately denied saying that, and the French Ambassador denied she'd said it. Nicola Sturgeon had been campaigning against austerity, campaigning that the country couldn't take another five years of Tory cuts. She wanted Labour in power and she would have backed Labour in the event of a minority government. There is no way she would have said that she would rather have a Tory Government.
But, as is the way in politics, the leaked memo was used against her. Mainstream media made a huge deal of the story. They were not prepared to accept that the memo could actually contain a complete and utter lie. Politicians from the other main parties also ran with the story, telling the people of Scotland that the First Minister was deceiving them. Saying one thing, but wants something else. They had been trying to find something, anything at all, to tarnish Nicola Sturgeon, but had been unsuccessful in doing so....until this leaked memo appeared.
As well as denying that she had said that, Nicola Sturgeon wanted an inquiry to be held to find out who actually leaked that memo. It was obviously a government meeting with the French Ambassador, a meeting in which conversations recorded should have remained private, rather than put into the public domain. But here was a memo, detailing a conversation which didn't even take place, being shared to media.
At the time, Alistair Carmichael was the Secretary of State for Scotland. He was asked about the memo and denied he knew anything about it. Fast-forward a few weeks, and the inquiry discovered that it was in fact Alistair Carmichael himself who had leaked the memo.
He leaked a memo, which he admitted he knew was untrue, in order to smear Nicola Sturgeon. He watched as other politicians bad mouthed her. He watched as the mainstream media had a field day with the story. He lied about knowing anything about it. And he allowed an inquiry to take place which cost about £1.4 million. He confessed last Friday, and sent Nicola Sturgeon an apology. He admitted he had been wrong in leaking the memo and acknowledged that the contents of the memo were untrue. His reason for confessing was simply because he had been found out and the inquiry was about to be made public.
As a very senior politician, he should have known better. Even had he put his hands up and confessed to it before the election, it might not have seemed so bad. But his constituents voted in the belief they had a trustworthy MP. He won his seat by less than 900 votes.
Alistair Carmichael is still the MP for Shetland and Orkney, despite a growing demand that he resigns. He is trying to hang on to that seat. He is only one of eight Lib Dem MPs in whole of the UK. He goes, and they lose one eighth of their MPs. Lib Dems have been quiet, but have giving him their support to stay. Yesterday, Scottish Lib Dem leader, Willie Rennie, made a statement about Alistair Carmichael and the leaked memo. He said it was an aberration and that he thinks people deserve a second chance. He hopes that fair-minded people will give Carmichael that second chance.
Now this is when I realised last night that my version of fair-mindedness is different from that of some other people. In my view, we vote and hope for politicians who are honest and trustworthy. Alistair Carmichael has lost that. Can he be trusted again? I wouldn't want him as my MP.
I also wouldn't want a party leader who classes leaking a memo in order to smear another politician as just an aberration, then asks people to be fair-minded and give the MP a second chance. That is surely condoning what Carmichael did.
In this case, Alistair Carmichael may well be the fall guy. Being Secretary of State for Scotland, meant he was working close with Tory Cabinet MPs as well as MPs in his own party. I would imagine some of them played a part in this too or at least knew about it.
It is time for change surely. Time for politicians to earn trust and respect. We should not just accept what they tell us. We should not just accept that MPs can be a bit unscrupulous at times. Give us the truth and then we might trust them. But election campaigns based on lies to smear other parties need to be a thing of the past. It's time for politicians to clean up their acts and stop the dirty politics.
I still reckon I am fair-minded. Just not Willie Rennie's version of fair-minded. His version seems a watered down version, with no principles. I expect MPs to be fair-minded too. Respect the electorate. Be honest. No more dirty politics. Then perhaps they will earn my fair-mindedness.