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.