Sunday, February 08, 2009

Lembit Opik & Those Nasty LibDem Bloggers

Lembit Opik has bared his soul in today's Mail on Sunday (not online). It's quite a touching article in many ways, but this paragraph caught my eye, regarding his ill fated campaign for the LibDem presidency...

When senior party bigwigs such as Vince Cable, Shirley Williams, Paddy Ashdown and Ming Campbell lined up to back my opponent, I felt embattled. Various party 'bloggers' took a rather pernicious approach towards me on the internet. A lot of what they said was desperately inaccurate. Though it seems comical now, I was downhearted by the lack of respect I believe should underpin how LibDems treat each other.
You know who you are.

Lembit's column hints that he has found God and has resolved to get his private life together. I suspect this is at least in part becaue he knows his seat is under threat from the very popular local Tory candidate (and blogger) Glyn Davies. Lembit's antics have not gone down well in Montgomeryshire. On a personal level, I really hope he conquers his demons but politically I wish Glyn Davies all the luck in the world!


James Manning said...

Jon said...

If he behaves like a loon then I'm afraid he must expect to be treated like one.

It's wonderful how the prospect of unemployment concentrates the mind.

Simon Gardner said...

“Lembit's column hints that he has found God...”

Oh streuth. That’s the last thing he needs. Yet another god-botherer in the Commons? I sincerely hope not. Maybe you misconstrued?

The atheist bus Canadian Atheist bus Atheist buses in Barcelona & Madrid

Plato said...

And Lib Dems are such nice, organic, socially caring... oh sorry...

On a side note - a very long time ago (err second term Tory election), I canvassed for the said party and it was the SDP/Liberals who were by far the most rude, confrontational and generally unattractive voters I could wish to avoid.

Guess some things don't change.

Savonarola said...

I suggest you dig a little into Lembit's own little cash for questions arrangements. His EDM promoting Sedgway snow scooters, possibly.

As to feeling sorry for this pillock you must be joking. He trousers £10k for his little kiss and tell and you get all weepy for him.

Glyn Davies has a chance to unseat him. Glyn is an outstanding local involved at every level. Montgomeryshire will be fortunate to have him as MP. But Glyn has a big majority(circa7000) to overturn. Perhaps there is method in Lembit's cry for help.

I will declare an interest. I will go down to Weshpool at election time to offer Mr Davies my help. Good men are hard to find.

Unknown said...

Sorry, who is Lembit Opik?

Jabba the Cat said...

Opik is a twerp of the first order. He and the LibDims are perfectly suited to each other. As for his ex, that highlights what happens when you exclusively think with you little head and ignore the common sense logic that the big head is screaming at you. UK passport anyone?

DespairingLiberal said...

Lembit is actually quite a clever, witty and nice person, as can be seen in his many appearances on Have I Got News.

His famous affair seems fairly harmless in reality, although it clearly amuses people. Why shouldn't the guy have a love life? I detect a note of jealousy in some remarks.

If he's found God, it will save the taxpayer money in the long run. After all, he will just lead prayers against meteorite strikes, instead of pushing for money to be spent on rockets and missiles.

Chucklenuts said...

I'd give that Alan Johnson one any day.

yellowbelly said...

I wasn't even aware that God was lost!

Anonymous said...

does god want him ?

Simon Gardner said...

DespairingLiberal said... “If he's found God, it will save the taxpayer money in the long run. After all, he will just lead prayers against meteorite strikes, instead of pushing for money to be spent on rockets and missiles.”

Oh jesus aitch christ. Leaving aside that the meteorite thing was scientifically valid, the god-bothery certainly isn’t. There are way, way too many unhinged religious nuts in the Commons already (cf Tony Blair late of that parish and religious war-monger cum creationism enabler). Some of them get dangerously close to the levers of power and then look what happens. (OK - improbable with Lemsip.)

No, I can only hope Iain picked up the wrong end of the stick else Lemsip is lost to the dark side.
[Various bits of religious hocus pocus nonsense allusions intentional.]

Atheist bus Canadian Atheist bus Atheist buses in Barcelona & Madrid

Old Holborn said...

Obama swearing his head off

"You ain't my bitch n*****, buy your own damn fries"

Nich Starling said...

"Popular Local Tory Candidate", a phrase you used repeatedly in North Norfolk Iain.

Does it have any truth this time when referring to Montgomeryshire ?

Dick the Prick said...

He's a tool. Can't really see the Welsh suffering idiots so readily.

Unknown said...

the welsh don't vote Tory, that doesnt mean lembits safe but change the record iain do some news reporting not repeating the crap that's printed in the mail

Chucklenuts said...

"Gareth said... some news reporting not repeating the crap that's printed in the mail

February 08, 2009 5:58 PM"

You mean that crap paper that has the temerity to report the Home Secretary playing fast and loose with her expenses?

Simon Gardner said...

Gareth said... “...The Welsh don't vote Tory...”

Fair point but I used to be familiar with Brecon which has been a three and even four-way marginal.

However, if Iain wants a wager over Lemsip, I’m up for that.

DespairingLiberal said...

When Lembit is re-elected at the next General, as I'm quite sure he will be, I will revisit this blog to ask if Iain still considers him to have no hope against the "popular" Tory candidate.

Simon - I was joking about the praying bit. I doubt, knowing Lembit, that he has "got God" in quite the fundamentalist way you seem to be suggesting.

Simon Gardner said...

DespairingLiberal said... “I doubt, knowing Lembit, that he has "got God" in quite the fundamentalist way you seem to be suggesting.”

I don’t really recognize any degrees of it. Either you are a deluded idiot or you aren’t. How much of a deluded idiot you are is of marginal interest - unless one happens to live under the Ayatollahs or the Inquisition or god(!) forbid - in America. (Or you have the misfortune to go to one of Blair’s new fundie schools.)

Atheist bus Canadian Atheist bus Atheist buses in Barcelona & Madrid

DespairingLiberal said...

Savonarola, can you say more about what you mean by Lembit Opik's EDM on Sedgway snow scooters? Are you implying some sort of corrupt behaviour by him and if so, can you prove it in any way?

Iain Dale said...

Norfolk Blogger 5.12. I certainly would never have been so crass as to use that phrase about myself.

Glyn has lived there all his life, and he is indeed popular. I am sure Lembit is too.

Gareth, the article was by Lembit, not about Lembit.

Despiairing Liberal 6.42. Yet again you seek to twist my words. I did not say Lembit had 'no hope', as you well know.

DespairingLiberal said...

Iain, I quoted you as saying he was "popular" - happy to clarify that the words "no hope" were mine, which is why I put popular in quotes.

DespairingLiberal said...

To quote you Iain, you actually say that "he knows his seat is under threat from the very popular local Tory candidate" - of course, he "knows" no such thing!

Nice try though.

Iain Dale said...

Actually, he knows exactly that. His antics have not gone down well in the more traditional parts of his constituency, as he would be the first to acknowledge.

Savonarola said...

@DespairingLiberal 744

Sorry I cannot get you the link. Please see County Times article of 5 February. The newspapers attention to the EDM was drawn by Plaid Cymru candidate.

...'However, what Mr Opik did not mention in his EDM, or in previous speeches and EDMs about the vehicle, is that he has personally received a discount vehicle from the company for his own personal use.

In the House of Commons register of members' interests it clearly states that he was given the loan of a Segway Personal Transporter from Segway, and subsequent purchase at a preferential rate (Registered on November 19 2008).

Plaid Cymru's prospective parliamentary candidate for Lembit's seat of Montgomeryshire, Heledd Fychan, said: "Mr Opik is becoming a total farce of an MP and is letting down those who voted for him.

"Over the last few months he has tabled two EDMs on the Segway and has made a speech in the House of Commons advertising its uses. Is this really the biggest issue that is important for the people of Montgomeryshire? He should ask them!

"I have spoken to many people in Montgomeryshire about the problems they are facing. We have seen numerous job cuts and everyone is concerned about the state of the local economy.

"It is beyond belief that our local MP spends all his time advertising an impractical and foolish looking electric bike which he received a discount to purchase. It is one thing to 'bring some humour into politics' it is another to make your constituency a laughing stock."

Mr Opik said: "Heledd Fychan seems to have slightly missed the point. The Segway is not about me, it is about the environment.

"I would have thought that a serious party would be supportive of any green alternative to car usage.

"I am stunned that the nationalists are turning their backs against electric transport but that is a matter for them.

"I hope people in other parties will take a more progressive view on the need for alternatives to fossil fuel usage."

I wonder if it was wise of Mr Opik not to declare upfront his relationship with Sedgway at the time of making his comments to the House. What do you think?

I hope that I have not done him an injustice.

That apart have you any view on his judgements and press articles?

Glyn Davies said...

Iain - Just caught up with this discussion. Whenever any of us who work within the Montgomeryshire Conservatives are asked about the local result at the next General Election, we respond by saying that we reckon to be 'in with a chance'. Montgomeryshire has long been regarded as a 'safe' Lib Dem seat, but last year's local election results were stunning. Having never won a seat on the Council before, we won 6 of the 9 we contested in Montgomeryshire(all by big margins), while the Lib dems were reduced to 2. And we also won the 'regional vote' at the National Assembly election in 2007 by a wide margin as well. So I think its reasonable to claim a chance of winning.

JPT said...

He's my MP and to be honest not thought well of in this area.
Good luck to Glyn I say.

DespairingLiberal said...

Totally co-incidental blog-in from Mr Davies there. Oh yes.

Do Tory HQ provide you with the full list of candidate phone numbers Iain? Or are the candidate alerts centrally co-ordinated?

Iain Dale said...

Despairing Liberal, you really are being paranoid. Glyn Davies has his own blog and I know has been a regualr reader here for years. Do you think I am so desperate I would seriously ring him up and ask him to post a comment. My life is not yet that sad.

You are also being very illiberal in your views on who I should allow to post here. I welcome all commenters. I don't care which political viewpoint they come from. You clearly would like this to be a very vanilla site which only had posters who agreed with you or had rather soppy views. I, on the other hand, have no objection to strongly worded comments as long as they do not degenerate into offensive swearing.

This is not a Conservative Party propaganda site, either in the main posts or in the comments. The comment area is meant for debate. Get used to it, sister.

DespairingLiberal said...

I'm afraid it's a little difficult (only at times - not all the time) to take completely seriously your claim that "this is not a Conservative Party propaganda site, either in the main posts or in the comments" - you are very often on-message and on-campaign. I do find it hard to accept that there isn't at least a measure of co-ordination, tacit or otherwise. I guess my scepticism is at least partly due to your position as Leading Tory Blogger, which I do think you deserve by the way.

I will take your word however that Mr Davies just dropped by and that this little slot this evening wasn't pre-planned with him.

I don't want a bland vanilla blog but do get fed up with the lack of intelligent debate here and just like to point out sometimes that I assume you must too.

Iain Dale said...

Despairing, I am a Conservative. When they do things I agree with of course I will say so. But you, like many others seem to indulge in collective amnesia when it comes to the many instances when I have expressed disagreement with the party line (climate change, tax, Israel, Heathrow to name but four in recent weeks).

I have given up saying that I do not coordinate with CCHQ because it is impossible to prove a negative. I have met Andy Coulson on two occasions since his appointment and one phone conversation when he rang after I had slagged off the party's new website. I do get Tory press releases, just like all lobby journalists, but I rarely ever use them. I can't persuade you against something you clearly are all too ready to believe.

I may owe my position in the blogging world to the fact that I do not just regurgitate Tory propaganda. I can't imagine anything worse than reading a blog which did that.

I do indeed get fed up when comment threads are hijacked, but it was infinitely worse before I introduced user registration, believe me. I am afraid the only alternative would be to impose heavy censorship, something I am not going to do.

Dick the Prick said...

Who you calling paranoid???

Simon Gardner said...

Iain Dale said... “I am a Conservative...”

Said with the tone of voice of someone about to embark on a 12-step programme.

“...It has been 16 days since I last Conservatived.”

rob's uncle said...

Re 'despairingliberal' 9.43 pm. I also am a Lib Dem activist [Twickenham & Richmond]. It is obvious to me that in this matter Iain is in the right and you are in the wrong.

I hope Lembit hangs on next time, repents of his foolish ways and applies himself to becoming a good constituency MP. But I won't grieve much if he doesn't.

He has had his moments of fame and it's time for others to take centre stage; he has entertained us long enough.

Manfarang said...

Nice to see Lembit is seeing the light.I shall have to offer him some spiritual advice from the the Unitarian Church and the Temperance League.

Savonarola said...

Despairing Liberal 1044

"I don't want a bland vanilla blog but do get fed up with the lack of intelligent debate here and just like to point out sometimes that I assume you must too."

Visitor heal thyself.

Intelligent? I don't think so.
Sense of Humour? Defnitley Not
Self Obsessed? Probably

Start your own blog is the answer to your problem.

Your snide remarks re Davies/Dale are quite revealing. Not in the sense you think.

cassandra said...

Lets remember that Opik lied to the media about Kennedy and his drink problem, he knew full well there was a problem and he denied it to the media and knowingly lied to the media, we all saw him do it didnt we?
The honest thing to do is either say nothing or tell the truth, Lembit did neither.
The backstabbing and dirty tricks, the back briefing and cover ups, the utter disregard for truth and honour has to mark out the libDems for what they really are, a say anything but their prayers opportunist greasy pole climbing club with the moral stature of a street spiv.

Unsworth said...

Desperate says: "I don't want a bland vanilla blog but do get fed up with the lack of intelligent debate here"

a) Who on earth is he to decide what does or does not go into this blog? Who and what on earth does he think is?

b) How does he define 'vanilla'. How about Pistachio? Tutti Frutti? Or Cassata, maybe?

c) 'Intelligent debate'? In whose view? His? What does he think 'intelligent debate' really constitutes? Does he really wish to insult every reader of this blog by calling their views unintelligent - unless they happen to coincide with his own? Or is it that he wants to determine what may or may not be said here?

Liberal? I don't think so. Perhaps he's just some sort of closet Draper, constantly seeking to control.

d) He doesn't like it? Too bad. With all of his fantastic Usenet experience he could easily start his own blog where he can have as much 'intelligent debate' as he wishes - with himself.