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Sunday, 27 June 2010

Why Lembit Öpik should not be the Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London

Yesterday afternoon I was sat in Starbucks enjoying a coffee (triple shot venti skinny latte) and sandwich when I read the story on page 5 of The Guardian "Being London mayor would suit me: Öpik" and nearly choked on my coffee.

Well Lembit it may suit you, but will it suit Londoners?

Deep down no, I really, really don't think so.

Lembit, you really must learn that just because you think something is a great idea, not everyone will be with you as over recent years in various roles and things you have done within the Party.

I was the Agent and Campaign Manager for Brian Paddick during the 2008 Mayoral campaign so I know what I am talking about when I say that London does not need a stand up comedian, chat show contestant, known for dating TV weather girl Sian Lloyd and then one of the Cheeky Girls with appearances in Hello magazine.

Yes, I know you could argue they got a similar breed with Boris Johnson, but actually it was very interesting on the night of the last Mayoral count when Boris turned to Ken and me and said "Have I really won?".

Boris went very serious and then just got on with the job, I just don't see Lembit Öpik doing the same nor being able to do the job.

The job of Mayor of London requires a serious attitude, something I have yet to see in Lembit.

You cannot clown around forever and not expect people to treat you as a joke all the time.

I've also beaten Lembit before in an election before when I ran Simon Hughes campaign to become the President of the Liberal Democrats back in 2004, Lembit just assumed that parading around local party events with Sian Lloyd draped on his arm would win him the election.

I think Sian would have beaten Lembit if she had stood against him.  In the end Lembit didn't even manage to get 20% of the vote.

Lembit was a great joke teller (not comedian), after dinner speaker and worked hard for his constituents in his Montgomeryshire constituency.

I don't see the CBI or Unions taking a blind bit of notice of him if he was Mayor of London, he has been a joke character for such a long time both in and outside of the Party and as the saying goes after a while the mud sticks.

Lembit, if you want to make a difference then do so, but being the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London is a serious role, just look at the three previous candidates - Susan Kramer, Simon Hughes and Brian Paddick - they are in a different mould to you I'm afraid.

I actually hope that Susan Kramer will consider standing again.


Highwaylass said...

An unusually mean-spirited post from you, Andrew. I find Lib Dem MPs split into two groups - those who only spoke to me when I was standing beside my husband, and those who recognised me when I was on my own and still took time to speak to me. Guess how large that second group is? Population one. Lembit Opik. I hope he does stand for Mayor, and I hope that if he does, I'll have a London address again so that I can vote for him. There are plenty of bad jokes in the party, but Lembit isn't one of them.

MatGB said...

"worked hard for his constituents in his Montgomeryshire constituency"

So hard that he turned a very safe seat into a loss at the last GE.

But, apart from that minor quibble, absolutely agree. Susan'd be good, I think Caroline'd be better.

Unknown said...

I second Susan Kramer for Mayor of London. I still can't understand how an intellectual lightweight like Zac Goldsmith could beat her in Richmond Park.

@MatGB: Who's Caroline?

Re. Highwaylass' comment, I do think you (Andrew) are underestimating Öpik a bit, but he isn't (AFAIK) a Londoner (unlike Boris, whose main home was in London and represented a commuter belt constituency, though not one within Greater London). Since we have a number of strong candidates who are also Londoners it seems unnecessary to try and parachute anyone else.

edjoyce said...

Lembit has worked hard for the party, making training videos and doing fund raising events. He is a good liberal and can be serious as he was working behind the scenes in the Northern Ireland peace process. He wants to do it and has a chance of winning. Lets fashion the talent that we have into something that works for London.

Ed Joyce

Anonymous said...

Yes, he would make a great Mayor and I will personally vote for him.

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