Author Archives: Lembit Öpik

Opinion: Wikileaks – Time for Liberal Democrats to act

Recent revelations from Wikileaks have revealed comments about Nick Clegg that I made at a private event. That might be a problem for some but I personally don’t want to see Assange end up in jail for what he has revealed about me or anyone else. To paraphrase a British diplomat talking to Hilary Clinton about other Wikileaks revelation “You should hear what he says about me in private!”

Disclosure is far more important than that in a democracy which seeks to keep its public servants accountable. Revelations may be awkward for some, but those who have most to fear …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 31 Comments

Lembit Öpik writes… Why I’m going on “I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here!”

As you may know, I’m hoping to be selected as the Lib Dem Mayoral candidate for London. For various reasons, the internal Party process has been postponed till around next summer, though I myself have been short-listed to be part of that selection process.

I’m concerned to ensure that, in the meantime, we don’t vanish off the face of the electoral earth as Boris and Ken forge ahead with their campaigns. For this reason, I’m doing my best to illustrate what “Lembit’s London” would look like, and the nature of the campaign itself.

Part of this will be sharing my policy positions. I’d summarise my campaign as “Freedom for the city, power to the people.” This motif centres on three key areas – Libertarianism, Localism and Labour (not the Party! I mean the workers who keep this city going).

But the best campaigning narrative in the world is pointless unless people are actually interested in it, and have some association with the people putting it forward. Being worthy is not empowering to the public if you’re anonymous and can’t generate the coverage to get the message across.

For this reason, I’ve decided to appear on the reality television show “I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out Of Here!” It’s a great opportunity to get direct to the viewing public, and show, in what I believe to be a generally fair programme, how I operate in a team, under pressure and in a competitive environment.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 48 Comments

Opinion: Power to the people, freedom for the city

I just wanted to update everyone on where we stand with the Lib Dem campaign for Mayor.

I’m pleased to confirm that, having passed the selection procedure to be eligible to be on the short list, I will be standing in the selection of Lib Dem candidate for Mayor. I’m doing this for two reasons: Firstly, I want to see liberal policies put into practice in the nation’s capital. Secondly, I believe that I can help maximise our mayoral and list vote and, ultimately, have the best chance of winning.

Many believe that we cannot win this Mayoral election. They …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Tagged | 25 Comments

How I’ll improve Lib Dem membership – Lembit Opik

I’ve made a specific manifesto commitment to use my Presidency to measurably increase the membership by 2010. Recruitment is one of my areas of specialist interest across the last 17 years. I made the first three recruitment training videos for the Lib Dems – one of them has even achieved a degree of cult status! I’ve just completed another one and it will be released at the end of the year.

I’ve also travelled the country training individuals in recruitment techniques, based on the famous Five Point Plan which we pioneered and promoted almost two decades ago. It still works today …

Posted in Party Presidency | Tagged | 6 Comments

The Presidential Platform (1): why you should pick Öpik

Liberal Democrat Voice has offered each of the three candidates for the post of Party President three platforms pieces on LDV during the contest to make their case to party members. How they choose to use these platforms is entirely up to them. Today it’s Lembit Öpik’s turn.

It’s intriguing to stand in an all member ballot. I’m grateful for the very large number of people supporting my campaign, apparently thanks to the work I’ve done countrywide across the last 17 years as an activist, trainer, public speaker and MP.

Then there are those people who appear to devote their time attacking the various candidates! They seem to forget that actually we’re all meant to be in the same Party, attempting to create a country which doesn’t enslave people through prejudice or conformity. So the negativity is up to them. But for me, this Party – and my Presidency – is about the politics of positive campaigning.

I’ve always been clear about my ambition for the Presidency. In 2001 I said I’d stand. In 2004 I did stand, coming second to Simon Hughes. I backed his Presidency and said I’d stand again in 2008. I’m keeping that promise now.

Nobody has more experience to be President. I’ve been on the Executive – the committee the President chairs – for 17 years. No candidate has spent longer travelling the country supporting the Party. My Vauxhall Cavalier has 381,000 miles on the clock – not because I like driving, but because that’s what it takes when you spend week in, week out, every year, supporting local groups and branches, just doing the hard graft. I hope I’ve inspired local activists, and helped motivate local parties to aim higher and bolder.

Nobody is better placed to take over the Presidency when Simon finishes. As Senior Federal Vice President and Deputy Chair of the Executive, I already run the committee when the current President is unavailable. I’ve been on all the major committees, apart from Federal Conference Committee. I’ve been on the inside of the structures and I know how this Party runs.

I’ve also got a national profile. Does this matter? I think so. We need to reach out beyond those who already know us. I do that, and I believe that this has been helpful in putting the Party on the map.

And I’ve got a political narrative for the job: to ensure the Lib Dems are organised and robust enough internally to make it to Government. My Presidency is not about policy making; that’s the Leader’s job. I’m about acting as Chief Engineer – to make sure the internal party structures work well, so we’re capable of making the journeys the Leader envisages. Specifically, I’ll increase the membership by May 2010, create faster policy making processes, represent members’ views to the leadership, and create a Party with the skills to promote our politics in “primary colours” – by which I mean clear, bold easy to understand messages. That way, everyone will know exactly what we stand for.

Posted in Party Presidency | 17 Comments
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