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Saturday, March 17, 2007


I am indebted to Matt Withers for drawing my attention to this article in The Independent, based on the day reporter, Deborah Ross spent with Lembit Öpik in the House of Commons.

As you would expect with a tabloid newspaper like the Independent, Ms. Ross seeks to get to the bottom of some really weighty political issues:

I am interested in getting the measure of Lembit Öpik. What kind of a man is he, really? What does he believe in? What policies does he support (aside from being keen on getting the Government to spend millions deflecting asteroids)? Is he foolish? Or smart? Humble or self-aggrandising? Did Sian do those fluttery hands in bed and, if so, did they tickle or soothe? What if I was to invite him to Touch My Bum? Are he and Gabi engaged? She was, after all, recently pictured in a tabloid wearing an engagement ring, wasn't she?

Nevertheless, and only because I know that my own readership would much prefer the gossipy stuff to reading about Lembit's politics, there are some interesting insights in the article that may well come back to haunt our Welsh Leader in the months ahead. The problem is that they are not his words but that of the reporter.

Matt Withers has referred to the choicest one, namely "I don't know what's in it for Gabi, but I will say that his Westminster nickname is "Tripod". I think I'll leave that hanging, so to speak." but there is also the revelation that Gabi is a good cook - "She's great at stir fries", that they don't live together - he has a place in London and a house in his constituency - and that Lembit sends his mother copies of Hansard with his speeches in them.

That is the great thing about these pieces they always throw up useful present ideas. As it is Mothers' Day tomorrow I had better get to work looking through the Assembly Record of Proceedings for an appropriate speech to e-mail home.
It's obvious that elements of the press have got it in for Lembit. He's a real James Bond type, paragliding, flying his own aircraft and glamorous girlfriends.

I remember reading about him in the Western Mail shortly after he'd been elected. He promised a constituent that he'd get their road tarmaced. It turned out it was unadopted, so he did it himself !

What a refreshing change. I wish he was my MP rather than the pro-trident Mr Hain.

Lay off Lembit !
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