Friday, January 25, 2008

Snatched away at the last minute.

Had a coffee with Edna today when I was down in Cardiff Bay and she was sporting a rather sickly grin. She really can be quite vindictive at times. I remember how cross she was when she happened to overhear a group of Assembly Members celebrating big increases in salary they were expecting as a result of increases in MP's salaries, and extra money for new powers conferred by the current Government of Wales Bill. She was narked because she's paid peanuts for cleaning Assembly offices, and there was no talk of any of the extra coming her way. I remember her muttering something about "What's good for the goose...etc.."

Well she happened to be standing within hearing of some AMs who were bemoaning today's decision by MPs not to vote for their full recommended pay increase. And they were also reckoning that any extra responsibility money would go down like a lead balloon with their voters. She reckoned that she heard moans about paying for the mortgages that had been taken out on the anticipated increases - and really naggy comments like "If the stupid ***** had given the Police the full award, we could have got away with it. Don't know whether all this was true, but something had put that nasty little smile on Edna's face.


Dr. Christopher Wood said...

I think there should be an early morning motion in Parliament calling for Lembit's jaw to be wired up!

Glyn Davies said...

christopher - please don't - the curse is doing a great job.

bethan said...

Hope you enjoyed your day in the bay. At least it wasn't raining, although it defintely was a gloomy day for Peter Hain!

Glyn Davies said...

Bethan - Why din't you call in and say hello. Saw you passing. It was probably a relief to Peter Hain that the slow political death is over. Hope Paul Murphy has relented a bit in his low opinion of Plaid Cymru!!

bethan said...

I didn't want to disturb your lunch with your leader. I am sure you were talking tactics!!Next time!

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

"Just a thought, not a sermon."

I remember reading something by someone who knew some things about President Reagan. There were times when President Reagan was called various versions of 'stupido'. Often times one of Reagan's staffers would go to President Reagan and ask him to respond robustly to these insults. The President would smile and sit back in his chair whereupon a smile would appear on his face and sometimes he would reply: "Let them think I am stupid."

In the ‘now time’, President Reagan's legacy is revered by American's of all political shades and he is often times remembered as the "great communicator".

Now, as we look at Lembit and think “what a plonker”, “asteroid man”, “silly man”, “the man who made Sian Lloyd cry”, etc. This begs the question is Lembit doing a Reagan, albeit on a smaller scale?

Glyn Davies said...

bethan - Nick was my leader until I was ejected from the Assembly. We've both been very keen to cosy up to you and your Plaid colleagues. You were one of the four or five who rejected us out of hand - and we still want to be friendly. Could you find more reasonable people?

Christopher - I never thought Reagan was stupid. OK, so he might not have been a towering intellect, but he always talked a lot of common sense. And he definitely didn't set out to make himself look silly - and I think never did. Reagan knew his people, and what mattered to them. I really do not think there is any justification for your comparison.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn: no need to do a Jonathan Hemlock jump off the Eiger north face. It's a fact that Reagan was portrayed in much of the press/media as being a stupid President. I never thought he was stupid, in fact I thought he was very clever especially given the way he handled the Russians, and Reagan was smart. It is fact that slogan "Trust, but Verify" was a Ronald Reagan class act. President Reagan was a very rare kind of person, a person able to successfully mask his true thoughts and fool the world into thinking one way, while he strategized to defeat and bring about the military collapse of the Russian military system. President Reagan was, imho, a genius; when the timing was right, Reagan jumped out like a jack-in-a-box to convincingly outfox his political opponents, both foreign and domestic.

The point of my post? That Lembit might not be as stupid as the media often times like to portray him.

Playing devil's advocate here … see below (as Devil’s Advocate):

Doesn't Lembit deserve some fair press? Lembit has achieved many goals - he has held many senior positions in his party; he is a caring man who likes to give support to young females; he is inwardly shy, but pushes himself to appear on TV shows and in fashion magazines; he has dated at least one beautiful woman; and he has something that you covet.

Relax Glyn, I read the Guardian and several left wing papers including the Socialist Worker's organ, I listen/read their thesis-like articles, I listen to the Democratic party rumour machine, but doesn't mean I support any of them. Because of a fluke in some respects I am a “Chicago insider”, can see machinations at work before the press picks them up.

Who is it that said, "Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer"? I’m not a professional politician and don’t aspire to be one, but even humble me realizes that it is sensible to understand the how the other side thinks, a talent that I think you have in obvious abundance. But then there is Lembit.

People often thought I was very stupid - particularly when I was a kid in a London school, even the teachers thought I was stupid c/o my very strong Welsh accent (which I never knew I had, one doesn’t know one has an accent). Often times I was spared having to use my fists – few big boys tried to beat me up, because it wasn't that cool to beat up the stupid funny kid from some foreign land (very few London boys guessed where I was from); the few times I was hit hard, I returned every punch and kept on punching and fighting back until it was clear to the boys watching that it was pointless to pick a fight with me, I kept on fighting even when covered in blood and needed sometime in the nurses office for my nose to stop bleeding; there was a gang leader in my third year at an Inner London Comprehensive School (in Tooting), everyone in his gang either wore “Doc Martins” (and steel toe-caps, if they could get away with it) or aspired to wear them and they followed him around the playground. They egged him on to beat me up, I bumped into him, but he refused to listen to his stooge hangers-on.

He put his face into my face and looked right into my eyes, our noses almost touching, the gang members saw a real fight coming, but to their surprise something else happened, I believe there was a dual-epiphany moment – I never looked at him the way I had before as a stupid gang leader, but as a very deep thinking boy, a natural leader of men; I think he saw a boy not too unlike himself, using a mask to hide his true thoughts and nature. He told his gang to leave me alone, “It’s not worth it” (translation: not cool to beat me up) – I knew now that he respected me but couldn’t show it to his gang so he used words to affect a result without giving away that he respected me, something that would not be cool for him to admit to his gang. This was a 100% boys school (London had single sex high schools; whereas where I came from in Cardiff the schools were all mixed). I don’t think I can relate just what it was like to attend a boys’ school in a tough area of London with a strong Welsh accent. I attracted unwanted attention (sometimes violent, most often derogatory foul mouthed comments) the moment I opened my mouth; stupid kids who couldn’t punch a bean bag would see an opportunity to climb up the respect ladder by having a go at me in front of other boys, I found a quick jab to their jaw put them back in their proper place, but I had the decency to do that away from their mates, so they didn’t loose face in front of their pals, and I did not want it to be a Welsh-English racist thing. I never saw any point in showing up any boy, not even one trying to pick a fight with me. It was all mental tactics, I think us boys (especially the second, third and forth years in that rough school) actually did more to exercise our brains during break times than the teachers ever could during school hours in that school at that time (the school is now a highly regarded school with big sports achievements, one boy has gone on to play a position in a major league American football team.

So this gang leader was actually a deep thinking intelligent boy who masked what he was. I believe Lembit is just that kind of person. As with Ronald Reagan, this kind of person is VERY RARE. The way Lembit appeared to lend support to Hain was quite something – Lembit did something that was just astonishing, he faced off (in Frank Herbert’s DUNE language, his own Gom Jabbar) – he instinctively knew he would take heat for his comments (even from his own party), but said them he did. Lembit showed true-grit, this kind of person who can give something away to make a point is a very rare kind of individual, and Lembit didn’t do this from a position of strength, so this might just mean he is, in Scottish, a ‘double-whammy” rare individual.

People have grossly underestimated Lembit. Lembit is that rare character that looks beyond petty party squabbles and sees the greater picture. Win or lose, I think we have not heard the last from Lembit Opik. He is a survivor with traits sufficient to achieve significant personal goals with minimum effort. Expect Lembit to quickly adjust to new tactics and still win when he looses. We will see Lembit again – his nature and true-grit can’t be kept down, “He’ll be back”. And what’s more he will be back in a position much higher than he has achieved hitherto.

Everyone needs somebody to look down on; the media uses that latent need and generates a LOT of inches of newsprint to satisfy that need. The media fills that need using ‘characters’ like Lembit. I think Glyn you are happy if the voters in Monty fall into that same trap. But a word of caution, Lembit is very smart and knows what he is doing, whereas Regan was "the great communicator"; Lembit might just turn out to be "the great manipulator".

Sorry Glyn, but you and many others might just be outclassed by the class act himself, Lembit Opik. I think you will win the oncoming battle with Lembit, but Lembit is not going away, far from it. Lembit will write history, but not yours Glyn, so I think you will win, but you don’t have, imho, Lembit’s innate ‘God given’ talent; like him, hate him, think him stupid, but anyone with that kind of talent will ultimately get around any barrier, made-up, actual or media manufactured.

Anonymous said...

Christopher, you couldn't be more wrong if you tried. Lembit Opik is the biggest idiot in Westminster. He's a deeply flawed man who puts on an act of being something he's not. He knows the game is up and so goes out there, prepared to say all sorts of things he knows will give him media coverage. The man's an addict. He's also thus far a very lucky man, because the media haven't reported the extent of what they know about him. He's dangerous, and, yes, as you claim,a manipulative person. What he's not, is a great person. He dislikes Wales and the Welsh. He's in politics for personal glory. He has no moral standards whatsoever. Far from bouncing back, he'll go under. And not before time.

Glyn Davies said...

Christopher - much of what you say may be right - or not. Most of it is subjective. As it happens, I give almost ne thought at all to the what the local MP or AM say or do. We just try to do our job as well as we can. But, I cannot fathom how you can equate the approach to politics of the current Montg. MP and Ronald Reagan, who was an outstanding President. But you are also right, and I do keep on telling my supporters this, name recognition ha sbecome an increasingly important factor in British elections.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn: I think we are talking at cross-purposes. We both admire Ronald Reagan, just that I now seem something in Lembit Opik.

Glyn, you speak so highly of Ronald Reagan - did you attend his funeral march along The Mall in Washington, DC? I did (factually true), and I shed a few tears when the military jets did a missing man maneuver over our heads (factually true even though the tears had an emotional rather than a cold logic edge). I saw the horse with Ronald Reagan’s boots set backwards in the stirrups (factually true). The horse was not steady or comfortable (my interpretation, someone else might say different).

It took years for the voters in America to actually vote Ronald Reagan into the White House – years. Lembit is quite young relative to Reagan’s entry into the Oval Office. I suppose I live and breathe DC politics. I live ten minutes from “DC Airport”, actually Ronald Reagan Airport, and I worked on the street where previously an airliner flew down (Columbia Pike, Arlington) and did a turn to avoid hitting a corner of the Pentagon and then flew almost straight on into one side of the Pentagon (it wasn’t a missile). A Pentagon essentially re-tooled and re-armed by President Ronald Reagan.

I have a prediction, Lembit Opik is going to write history – he has something that is very rare, Reagan had it and I realize now that Opik has it. It is for that reason I compared Lembit Opik to Ronald Reagan. But I would be the first to admit it is a counter-intuitive realization, not one I expect you or many others to fathom or accept. But the only issue here is whether I support him to win Monty? The answer is no, I don’t support him, because I still can’t support the Lib-Dems given what the Cardiff Lib-Dem Party did at Iowerth Jones Home, Llanishen Cardiff. So I am not a natural supporter of Lembit Opik and want Glyn Davies to win Monty for the Conservative Party. But whatever I think, whatever anyone else thinks, no matter whether Lembit looses Monty for the Lib-Dems, Lembit is on the road to greatness. Subjective to you and others – undoubtedly yes, and counter intuitive yes. But then “truth is often stranger than fiction”, but yes, history/time will tell who is right and who was wrong.

I don’t think anyone can seriously write that I have previously spoken admirably about the man – I have had letters published in the Echo/Western Mail making fun of him (and also at times Mike German and Lib-Dems in Cardiff Council). But I now have a deep down gut feeling about Lembit Opik, that he will turn out to be something quite special.

But there was something very deep and rare about Lembit – it showed its face when he spoke about Hain’s political problems. Perhaps you are unable to understand what Opik did there Glyn. I saw a similar thing in a boy-gang leader in a playground of an Inner London Comprehensive, Ronald Reagan had it (I believe President Truman had it, also Harold Washington (former Mayor of Chicago), and I realize it is also in Lembit Opik. Maybe Obama has it; I think Donald Trump has a similar gift. Whatever, such God given talents will win through despite the media or whatever you or anyone else thinks.

Lembit Opik might well loose the battle (as Reagan did many times) but ultimately will win the war. Time will tell of course. Lembit Opik will one day be compared favourably with currently recognized political giants. His current antics will be largely forgotten. Just one caveat - so long as Opik doesn’t meet with an untimely end he is “set” (as Americans sometimes like to say) to do great things. As others sometimes say, “Timing is everything in politics”.

Glyn Davies said...

Only time can tell us whether you were the man who was right.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Anonymous> and on the road to Damascus ... what happened? Something about me, if I spot I am wrong on something I am inclined to fess up even at the expense/risk of burning some bridges. I was wrong on Lembit. But like I said, I support Glyn Davies in winning the Monty seat for the Conservative Party. Like I wrote, I don't think it makes a ‘Kyoto bit of difference’ in the big scheme of things if Lembit Opik looses his MP seat in Parliament. Glyn will, I hope, win it. Perhaps Lembit loosing his seat and perhaps a later failure in the media world will be the making of him. Who knows, but time will tell. I can't help but admire a rare gift/talent inside a person when I see it. Opik has it. As others sometimes say, "Get over it".

If there is something special in a man (or woman) who am I to argue about that, it is pointless as predicting which way the wind will blow next week in the stock markets around the world.

Strange things are happening on our wee planetary surface. Take McCain (and I'm sure the regular folks in the GOP want somebody to take him ... 'out'), he just might win the nomination of the GOP - and boy do the conservatives in the GOP hate McCain. (GOP stands for "Grand Old Party"; it's the other name for the American Republican Party). Like his mum said, the Republicans are going to have to hold their nose if her son (McCain, currently Senator for AZ) wins the White House.

This seems to be a funny turn of events. I met Lembit's ex-fiancĂ©e Sian Lloyd through Mark Cavendish in Cardiff University. Now I write that folks have got it wrong on Sian’s ex bf, Lembit Opik - and guess what, as much as I respect Sian Lloyd, her book is going to have no affect on Lembit Opik in the big scheme of things. Contra, if Lembit looses his seat, fails in the media world, is dumped by his latest gf, and appears to be damaged by Sian’s upcoming book release, alone or in combination, might well be the hot furnace he needs. Lembit Opik has a very rare gift of the kind one does not earn.

Lembit Opik is going to write history. Yes, a prediction, but some predictions seem to have the habit of coming right.

I hope Glyn wins Monty, but Glyn is not, imho, going to write history, that belongs to a man with a totally different class of gift - Lembit Opik.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Btw Glyn, given that you are such a strong fan of Ronald Reagan ... if you ever pay Washington DC a visit, I will introduce you to someone who was a White House photographer in President Reagan's White House ... and since I am such a fan of Bumble Bee in Transformers, we can eat at "Bumble Bee" Vietnamese restaurant that my photographer buddy took me in DC metro land (Clarendon, an "urban village" close to DC). He has MANY fascinated stories about the Reagan White House years. If you visit, he will tell you them in a casual weary style that some Americans are very good at. I kid you not, come and dine with us! He's into real estate now, I tried to hire him, but my wee law firm was only just getting off the ground at the time and he had a son "at school" (translation: at college; translation: at university) so needed more $$$ than we could pay him.

Glyn Davies said...

Christopher - I have no plans to visit the US this year - but if I do, I would be up for such a meeting.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Excellent, the cheapest time to visit DC is from late October through to maybe mid February. It is very expensive to come during the tourist season or during large conventions (at any time). My business partner (New York lawyer) is very good at getting good deals on top end DC hotels via Priceline. My mother’s friends came over in October and had a whale of a time. Got into the Capitol Hilton for under $70 per night! Just a stone’s throw from The Mall and the Capitol! You would likely fly into Dulles airport (National Reagan is very close to the Pentagon and the White House – and flights post ‘911’ into Reagan are restricted). Dulles is about 20 miles north west of DC – I could pick you up at the airport and run you to your hotel – I dare say you would be with your other half. There’s currently no train service to/from Dulles – it is a very strange airport, one of the first built to handle airliners so it was somewhat experimental and ground breaking – but it broke ground in many strange ways! I hate flying into/out of Dulles. DC is a great city – there are so many historic sites – also around DC. Union Station is one of my favourites, and it’s free to wander around!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Glyn Davies said...

sorry anon but I've had to delete. Your comment could be libellous.