Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kirsty Williams disowns Lembit Opik

In Montgomeryshire, I rarely meet anyone who knows that the Liberal Democrat leader in Wales is Kirsty Williams. Its often reported that there is not much public awareness of any Assembly Members beyond Rhodri Morgan, but the problem for Kirsty goes further than that. The problem for her is that in Montgomeryshire (and beyond - much further beyond), its our local MP who defines what the Lib Dems are. Well it looks as if Kirsty's had enough, and she's, in effect, disowned him. Kirsty Williams has decided that it's time to stamp her authority on the Lib Dems in Wales. In a quite remarkable interview she's given to Matt Withers, published today in the Wales on Sunday, she tries to put as much distance as possible between Lembit Opik and the Welsh Liberal Democrats. The whole front page, and all of page 5 as well. She's clearly tamping mad about something, and its seems obvious that she would just like him to go away. She must believe that "his approach to politics" is undermining her efforts to lead her party to better ground. This interests me because I will be challenging Lembit at the General Election.

The main plank of Ms Williams' attack on the Montgomeryshire MP is the column he writes for the Daily Sport. In my opinion, she's fully justified. Perhaps unusually for a parliamentary candidate, I try not make personal attacks on my opponents - except when I believe they are inflicting damage on Montgomeryshire. There's been just one issue during the last two and a half years when I have departed from this principle. Its the only issue about which I have been publicly critical of any of my political opponents. As far as I'm concerned, Lembit Opik's personal life is entirely his own business, but he should not be using his position as our MP to write such puerile garbage, for what I reckon is a newspaper verging on pornography. And doing it just for money - which I see is reported as being £6,000. Its an insult to the intelligence of Montgomeryshire citizens to claim that in some way, there's a higher purpose. There's an old saying in farming circles - "Where there's muck, there's money". Often true, but 'muck' and 'money' are not the same thing. This is an example of 'writing muck for money'.

Apologists will try to claim that my criticism is an attack on the Daily Sport, or on those who read it. I've nothing against the Daily Sport, or against anyone buying it, reading it, or just ogling at the pictures in it. As long as its legal, its OK with me. And just as long as I don't have to read it. What I object to is the utter pre-pubescent rubbish that Montgomeryshire's MP writes for it. Its no surprise that Kirsty Williams does not want this stuff to be the face of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.


Alun Williams said...

Yes,up to now I've kind of understood Lembit's line that politicians need to engage with everyone, even Daily Star readers. Being more of a Guardian man myself I've never actually read the column in question but, reading about the pathetic innuendo-laden comments that he seems to be regularly making (even though they look like they're inserted by a Daily Star editor), I'm afraid he's lost his case now.

Glyn Davies said...

Alun - Its not the Daily Star. Its the Daily Sport. I've not read the columns in the newspaper itself, but Vaughan Roderick used to keep us all informed by publishing them on his blog. Matt's report gives an idea of the sort of stuff we are talking about. No wonder Kirsty is exasperated.

Alun Williams said...

Well, I did say I didn't read it!

alanindyfed said...

It is difficult to take a politician of this nature seriously as he adopts a strange approach to achieving high-profile publicity, but in a democracy I suppose he appeals to those of a salacious and puerile mind and unfortunately electors such as these will vote for him. Hopefully they are in the minority.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

"She's clearly tamping mad about something, and its seems obvious that she would just like him to go away."

(1) If the Leader of the Welsh Democrats wants clear yellow or orange-yellow water (or maybe an orange-yellow water) between her and the MP for Montgomeryshire ... can only help you Glyn.

(2) If the Leader of the Welsh Democrats is openly critical of the MP for Montgomeryshire ... can only help you Glyn.

could go on, but leave it there

What do I know ... said...

"She's (Kirsty Williams) clearly tamping mad about something, and it seems obvious that she would just like him (Lembit) to go away."

One explanation that fits the facts, but this explanation might not be true:

Kirsty Williams is putting on something of an act of being unhappy at Lembit to help offset mocking of her party that Kirsty Williams feels might come up later (i.e., when "ET" "comes a knockin {sic}" - Election Time, "He come knockin when you least expect it"; Predator 2 movie line, but from memory, so might not be an exact quote).

Kirsty Williams knows ("Has Always Known", line from some other movie) that there are certain things that might erupt - Mark Oaten (rent boy scandal, but now stale) comes to mind, Lembit (less stale) another ... and there might be someone or a former insider with “awkward stuff” (fresher stuff) that will come out when "ET comes knockin".

So, playing the “distancing card” is part of current Welsh Lib-Dem tactical thinking … pity they don’t know what ‘fresher stuff’ might come up later; a certain former disgruntled Welsh Lib-Dem insider might come to the fore when "ET comes knockin".

Glyn Davies said...

Sorry anons but I've rejected two comments which were too disrepectful to former companions of the Sport columnist. No reason why they should suffer!

Christopher - I'm not at all sure that it will make any difference to voting intentions in Montgomeryshire. I don't think that the WoS has much of a circulation here - and I would be surprised to see this reported in our local papers.

What do I know - I have heard it suggested that the new-ish leader of the Lib Dems could be preparing a fall guy in preparation for poor election results. Maybe. Who knows. Personally, I think she is just appalled by what this column does to the reputation of a once great party.

alanindyfed said...

A once great party that has lost its way through not seeing the way ahead,
as the Scottish Liberals are beginning to realise. They are now considering support for Scottish independence but are far from that position in Wales. A lost opportunity to make a name for themselves bu coming out against the Union. Pity, Vince would have made a good Chancellor! (but I know you think the world of George!)

Anonymous said...

Funny then that in her speach and in Roger Williams speach they were both highly supportive of Lembit (and not in the lets all follow the party line way), talking about Lembit having a re-birth on the back benches as a true Liberal who'll fight and stand up for Montgomeryhsire.

StickyVicky said...

Clear orange yellow water? You mean Kirsty pissed all over Lemsip?

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

SV> I couldn't possibly comment - except on "The Spoof".

Anonymous said...

Ha! The fact they talk of him as a backbencher doing his best for Montgomeryshiere says it all!!
They know the game's up. He knows the game's up. What a sham. The sooner Mont votes him out the better