Friday, 24 June 2011

Dear Lembit Opik, With All Due Respect, Your Opinion Doesn't Matter Here Anymore.

I've been away for a few days at the WLGA conference in Swansea. On my return, I found to my consternation this BBC Wales website article in which Lembit Opik stuck his oar into the 'Lib Dem Assembly 2' debate.

With the news yesterday that the police have found no reason to continue with their investigation, it is now hoped that AMs will vote on the issue of revoking Aled Roberts and John Dixon's expulsion from the Assembly next Wednesday.

It has been a frought number of weeks for the party in Wales and undoubtedly so for Aled and John as their political careers have hung in the balance due to the technicalities that has seen their elections questioned.

Lembit Wades In
The Welsh Liberal Democrat party and its leader Kirsty Williams has in my mind, responded well under what has been immense pressure since the news broke. It is quite right in my mind that they concentrate their efforts on ensuring that Aled and John are given every opportunity to resume their seats in Cardiff Bay.

As the Welsh Liberals Democrats have said: "...her priority was to make sure that Aled Roberts and John Dixon were treated fairly and justly".

It doesn't help when fallen names like Lembit decide to give their tup'pence worth of opinion on the matter.

How much political stock does he think he still has within the Welsh Liberal Democrats let alone within the Welsh political arena more generally? After the way he threw away one of the safest of liberal constituencies when he lost his Montgomeryshire seat last year, his words need to be taken with a great pinch of salt.

This remember is a seat that elected a Liberal / Liberal Democrat MP between 1880-1979 and between 1983-2010 - that's for 126 of the last 130 years. Although I'm sure Lembit wouldn't accept this himself and indeed I gather he doesn't, there is no doubt in my mind that the seat was lost because of his antics. The residents of Montgomeryshire, like here in Ceredigion, like hard-working grounded Members of Parliament who put the constituency first. That's why Mark Williams increased a 219 majority in 2005 to an astounding 8,324 in 2010. Lembit in latter years, was more likely to be seen on the TV or in the glossy magazines - giving the impression that his own stardom was of greater importance than serving his constituents.

So it grates to see him embroil himself in this unfortunate predicament.

What really grates is the fact that he states "I'm asking Kirsty now through your programme..."

No, Lembit. If you've got something to say, say it to Kirsty yourself instead of pandering to the press for more attention.

As the Welsh Liberal Democrat response read: "It's odd that Lembit's helpful advice has been offered through the media rather than directly".

"The Liberal Democrats are focused on making sure that Aled Roberts and John Dixon are able to take up their seats as quickly as possible and this strategy is widely endorsed by party members active in Wales."

Oh and whilst you're at it Lembit, if you're serious about being the Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate for London, maybe you should concentrate on that?

On which matter, I've heard that Mike Tuffrey is a very good candidate. I wish him well.


  1. I have always thought that Lembit was a total p*ick and that in any election, regardless of the result, you must accept that the electorate know what they are doing.

    You summed it up 101% and showed why you increased Mark's vote whilst Lembit lost one of our safest seats.

    If no one else will call Lembit a self seeking p*ick, I guess I will have to do it and his comments on events in the Welsh Liberal Democrats is as welcome as King Herod's views on bringing up a child.

    I have nothing personal against him, I like him, but he is a walking disaster as an MP so if he wants to redeem himself with the party, go away and win the London Mayoral election.

    Another well written article, Mark and I am glad you share the same views on Lembit as well as I do. He should not have lost Montgomeryshire, if he had been doing his job as an MP, instead of pursuing the the Cheeky Girl and his attempts at TV comedy.

    I wish Lembit well, preferably in a career outside the Liberal Democrats.

  2. I understand that the photo used here was at a charity event for Macmillian Cancer Research. Could the author please explain why it is being used to attack Lembit. If this is done it makes it difficult for politicians to attend charity events.

    Was the author aware of the origin of this photo when using it ?

  3. Hi Ed,

    I was unaware of the origins of the photo but I am happy to change it and shall do so.



  4. Hi Mark,
    I would appreciate this as it makes it difficult for me to argue for his attendance at charity events when the photos from them are used in this way.
    Ed Joyce

  5. Hi Ed,

    Changed as promised.


  6. Ed,
    As a campaigner for Lembit, are you really sure that you want to be making petty quibbles over the photos used on a blog that is well read by Lib Dems? The issue raised is one of putting image before of political judgement. I'd say you had just done it again. I personally wish Lembit well in the forthcoming Mayoral selection process, but his intervention here was ill advised and unhelpful to the party.