Lembit Opik on the London Mayor selection result

Lembit Opik had a piece in today’s Evening Standard ahead of the results declaration in the London Mayor selection. In it he said he expected to lose and went on to say:

Ever since I was first enticed into entering the fray as a potential candidate, I’ve experienced a remarkable degree of antagonism and aggression from certain Lib Dems.

Most of it has occurred in the strange and self-styled environment of the ‘blogosphere’ – a parallel universe where some people who’ve never been elected to public office feel qualified to pronounce on those who have.

When one meets these people for real, their courage on the internet seems to desert them, replaced by excuses and a quick exit at the first opportunity…

There’ll be a time when a left wing, libertarian narrative returns to the Lib Dems.

When it does, I’ll be there. People haven’t heard the last of Lembit Öpik just yet. As somebody else said once, I’ll be back.

So watch out for the sequel: ‘Lembit Öpik Strikes Back’ – coming to a political platform near you in the not too distant future.

Lembit also wrote of Brian Haley:

His recent conversion to Liberal Democracy means he is unlikely to win this time round. But watch for Haley in the future – he’ll rise like a comet through the ranks and has a good chance of getting onto the GLA in future.

You can read the full article here.

Meanwhile, after the result Lembit told the BBC:

I think like every great politician you have to have some wilderness years. Nelson Mandela had them. Many other people had them.

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23 Comments

  • “People haven’t heard the last of Lembit Öpik just yet.” – Shame! Despite the fact I voted Lib Dem at the General Election, one of the highlights of the evening was hearing that Öpik had lost his seat. Has he ever been right about anything? What an arrogant and obnoxious prat he is – something I would dearly love to say directly to his face.

  • I agree with his view on Haley. The rest of it just looks like sour grapes and him being unable to accept that he’s no longer a significant figure in the party (if he ever was) – unlike Evan Harris or Susan Kramer I think that the party grassroots see his 2010 electoral defeat as largely being his own doing.

  • I think like every great politician you have to have some wilderness years. Nelson Mandela had them.

    Just when I thought his petulant rant couldn’t get any worse, he compares himself with Mandela.

    Tbh, I think even credible politicians should steer clear of comparing themselves to great historical leaders. However you word it, you invariably end up sounding like an arrogant tosser.

  • Jack Holroyde 2nd Sep '11 - 10:52pm

    “Most of it has occurred in the strange and self-styled environment of the ‘blogosphere’ – a parallel universe where some people who’ve never been elected to public office feel qualified to pronounce on those who have.”
    -It’s called scrutiny. Funny, that.

    2) When one meets these people for real, their courage on the internet seems to desert them, replaced by excuses and a quick exit at the first opportunity…
    -Sorry, we just can’t bear to be around arrogant, self-satisfied politicians. If we did, we’d join Labour.

  • David Allen 3rd Sep '11 - 12:05am

    “Wilderness years. Nelson Mandela had them.”

    Might someone make Robben Island available for the next 27 years, please?

  • “I’m sure he’ll be welcomed on whichever unstoppable bandwagon he now decides to fully commit to.
    Kilroy-Silk, anyone?”

    I’m as critical as anyone of Lembit but I don’t think that’s fair. He’s never shown any indication of doing anything outside the party or attempting (in his own view) to do things that help the party. He could after the 2010 election have wandered away from the party into C-list celeb land but has stayed to help fight our corner.

    His decisions and judgement are certainly flawed – but at their core I can’t say I think his inentions are.

  • David Pollard 3rd Sep '11 - 12:00pm

    I think Lembit Opik is GREAT. He is a character and politics needs characters. When you are down and the only way is up, you have to start at the bottom again. Lembit should find a constituency NOW and ‘do the business’. He will get elected next time.

  • paul barker 3rd Sep '11 - 12:07pm

    I was one of the 8% who put Lembit 1st but not because I am on The “Left” of The Party, in the rather odd sense that he means. I think we are making the same mistake as last time, sending a Chess player to a Rugby match. The Mayoral contest is a fight between ” Personalities”, Lembit & Simon both fit into that.

    Lembit does need to reconsider his politics but I still maintain that The Party should find some way to use him & the other runners-up, The HoL/Senate for example.

  • I’m not sure why Lembit decided to stand, when he must have known he was never going to win. I didn’t vote for him, but when I met him during the campaign I thought he talked a lot of sense. I hope he stays active within the party and I think we should make much more use of him, especially on television.

  • I must have been out of the country when Mandela appeared on Big Brother and dated a Cheeky Girl….

  • Paul Griffiths 3rd Sep '11 - 6:47pm

    I remember when LPs were falling over themselves to book Lembit as a guest speaker. He was passionate, funny and inspirational. In media interviews, he was often painfully but admirably honest, generous to his opponents but prepared to argue doggedly for some unpopular party policies that he believed were right. It is the recollection of those characteristics and his past service that prevents me being too critical of him now.

  • Paul McKeown 3rd Sep '11 - 8:36pm

    Surely someone cares enough about Lembit Opik to tell him that when you are in a hole you stop digging?

  • I ‘look forward’ to Paddick’s elimination with 13% of the first preferences. Why he stood again, after undergoing the pain he shared in his whiney, catty and self-pitying Mail account after his last trouncing, only he can know.

    I shan’t waste time leafletting etc for a bit-player in what is, like it or not, a contest for the charismatic.

  • @Oranjepan

    Many/most Lib Dem members bitterly resent the fact – fact – that the London mayoral election is as much about personality as policies. They desperately wish it was all about policy and touchingly think that if they put up some small-time player who talks about policy constantly then the electorate will have a Damascene conversion and vote for him/her. Hence Paddick/Tuffrey, not Lembit. The electorate haven’t voted and won’t vote for such a candidate. It’s hard enough for us to poll well in the London Mayoral without handicapping ourselves this way. We were foolish to pass over Lembit given his availability and willingness to stand.

  • Paul McKeown 5th Sep '11 - 11:37pm

    @David

    “We were foolish to pass over Lembit given his availability and willingness to stand.”

    I have never (in the mainland of the UK) voted for any political party apart from the Lib Dems or one of its predecessors. I have never neglected to vote, even voting whilst resident abroad. I have from time to time wasted boot leather on good and/or indifferent LD candidates. I can guarantee that that would have changed the day Lembit were foisted on me as London Mayoralty candidate. When I first heard of the man, I was hopeful and pleased, but my respect for him has dropped ever since, with every desperate attention grabbing antic. Lembit has a mountain to climb if he wishes to regain credibility with me. I am sure my feelings on this subject are not unique.

    This idea that a candidate has to be some sort of “personality” is fine in itself, but there has to be some semblance of self respect behind the media mask. There also has to be some sense of coherent policy.

    I suspect Paddick will poll better than he did before, as he has a much higher media profile than previously. I know Labour, Conservative and Green voters who have actually heard his name this time, that certainly wasn’t the case during his previous attempt. With Boris and Ken there is a strong “Marmite” effect too; their tribal vote will still turn out for them, but the undecided, unpolitical and untribal are perhaps less likely to plump for one or the other of them this time purely on the basis of candidate recognition, as their faults are much more widely known to London voters. Paddick will have to persuade them to his cause, rather than to cast no vote.

    Good luck, I say, to him.

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