The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Lembit For London

Posted by The Futility Monster on June 4, 2010 @ 12:00

Have I Got News For Him...

Being the Lib Dem candidate for mayor is not a job for those who have an aspiration on actually winning it. The main reason for that is London is stuck in a Labour/Tory battle of the beasts, and they absorb all the coverage to the detriment of everyone else.

This is helped by the fact that the election uses a ludicrous system, called Supplementary Vote, which doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world other than Britain. It ensures that, realistically, there can only ever be one of two winners. And yes, I know Ken Livingstone’s first win was as an independent, but, again, it was a two-headed battle between “left” and “right”, with only two candidates that could win.

Consequently, the Liberal Democrat nomination for London mayor is hardly a prize they fall over each for in the Party. It’s a hiding to nothing, which will drain two years of a candidate’s life, and which might cost them financially too.

This time, the Liberal Democrats will probably battle it out between non-entities on the London Assembly, or other London Lib Dems no one’s ever heard of. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If, somehow, the Lib Dems can prise Lembit Opik away from his attraction to a career as a stand-up comedian, and I know that will be difficult, they have themselves the right candidate.

Lembit is a man desperate to prove himself after his general election defeat. A man who has the personality and the charisma to keep the Liberal Democrats right at the centre of the London campaign; a campaign that is going to require sharp elbows if it’s going to match the big beasts of Ken and Boris once more. He certainly passes the Mike Smithson test of being such a well-known figure that you can be known just by your first name.

Futhermore, despite most people not realising it, he is actually pretty damn smart. Whenever he’s been on TV in a Question Time style programme, he always resonates well with the public by making sensible, decent and honestly liberal argument. If only he was more organised, and more disciplined, he would not be in his current, rather embarrassing, position.

I know Lembit is another of these political Marmite figures. People within and without the Lib Dems either hate or love him. OK, maybe love is too strong a word. But he is certainly recognisable, and has the presence to make it a very good battle. And I know he would relish the limelight.

Here’s hoping…

6 Responses to “Lembit For London”

  1. James King said

    Hello? Anybody there? Lembit is a laughing stock! Not a Boris, loveable-fool type, but a real laughing stock! And if that doesn’t automatically rule him out, the fact that he has virtually no real connection with London should.

  2. Lembit is not just a clown, but he’s ballot-box poison as the good people of Montgomeryshire proved last month. It’s galling that underneath the buffoonery there are the seeds of a thoroughly decent and liberal politician, but as long as he continues to prat about on Segways, cavort with Z-list slebs, and submit ghosted and not very Lembit-like columns to the Daily Sport, he won’t be thought of as anything other than a political joke, and it will rub off on the party. Keep him at arm’s length, Cowley Street folks!

    • I’m not denying that the man hasn’t made political misjudgements in his career. As I said in the article, I am certain that had he been better advised, and more disciplined, he would not have headed down the path he seems to be on. But I don’t think we should write him off in the way you and James have. The man has a lot to offer the party if he can be put on the right track. The right campaign, rigorous and focused, over two years could transform his image and be a real boost to the party during these difficult years ahead.

      • James King said

        Don’t get me wrong – I have seen the man speak in close quarters, and I don’t doubt that he’s a liberal, and that he can be serious. Unfortunately, I do think that he’s damaged his reputation too far for it to be restored, politically, at least for a good while. Perhaps he can go back to what he apparently did very well, and doing training within the party.

        And my point that he doesn’t live in London still stands – is the mayoralty the consolation prize we give to well-known Lib Dems, whether they live in the city or not? I’m not a Londoner, but for their sake I hope not.

  3. Ed Joyce said

    As a Londoner and a Lib Dem member I believe that Lembit would be a good choice for Lib Dem candidate for mayor. As James says “I don’t doubt that he’s a liberal, and that he can be serious”. Lembit is an asset to the party and is the best person to secure a strong vote for us. If I was Boris or Ken I would fear Lembit entering the race more than any other candidate because he has such a high recognition level. I checked on Ladbrokes and he is the bookies favourite amongst Lib Dems, so someone is viewing him as a serious option.

  4. I always find debates about me interesting, especially when the assumptions appear to reflect fashionanble misapprehensions.

    James King, I was interested in your response which was obviously thought through but I’m wondering what you think of my political philosophy, both good and bad? How do you stand on my well reported views on drugs law reform, withdrawal from afghanistan, negotiaiton with terrorist groups and energy policy? You never seem to comment on my poiltical narrative, which is a slightly unusual way to judge a politician.

    I’d invite you, now, to share what you support/oppose in terms of my stated policy areas. It won’t take to long to research all this – it’s all on the internet.

    Why not come for a beer with me on the South Bank? I’ve lived in Kennington for 13 years, which is in London. Want a pint? You’ve taken the time to comment so why not come on over.


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