Monday, 22 August 2011

Lembit Öpik : an appology (of sorts)

I'm sure that I am not alone  amongst those bloggers who regard themselves to be on the left who gave a little cheer when the Consevative  candidate Glyn Davies unseated  Lembit Öpik  at Montgomery last year.
I saw Lembit as a poor excuse fior a constituency MP seemingly more interested in appearing on Television game shows  and courting publicity with his  love life.

Whereas Glyn Davies who had been a moderate  and pro devolution member of the Welsh assembly and who defeat due to the electoral system rather than his own popularity was seen as a loss even by political opponents.

His "View from Rural Wales " blog during the years before he was elected was a popular one which even when we disagreed with him was always a good read and whilst Iain Dale may gave been somewhat biased. his observation that  the Blog was....
"By common consensus the best politician blogger in Wales and he's a real character".

And  Glyn's"A View from Rural Wales " blog was voted the second most popular Welsh political blog in Iain Dale's Total Politics Guide to Blogging 2008-09,[9] a position he has maintained from the previous year.

However since his election I'm afraid Glyn has turned into just another Tory lapdog  the worst of which was his condemnation of the reopening of the Phone Hacking scandal as he seems to believe that they should have concentrated on the recent riots.
he claimed ....

.....But I really do hope that tomorrow's newspapers (that I buy) are not going to give us more wall-to-wall of it. I know its an important issue, but I'm bored. And I also know that not a single Montgomeryshire constituent has raised the issue with me for weeks. I used to have lots of letters, emails and cards, almost all of which had been prepared by lobbying groups which had it in for the Murdochs - but hardly a single unprompted approach from a constituent ever. Almost every constituent has a view on the riots, even in Montgomeryshire. My worst nightmare is that we have another six hours of moral outrage in the Commons when we go back in early September

Would he have blogged this if he was still in opposition.?

And his latest contribution has been a defence of the draconian sentences on those who took part in the riots or where some how recipients of looted goodsby saying that another former inhabitant of his seat  Lord Carlisle  was seemingly trying to interfere with the judiciary. Whilst his senior colleagues were doing thier best to encourage the sentences which have shocked some of us.

He does at least show some moderation unlike his leader when he writes

 "There is absolutely no doubt that the riot situation calls for severer sentences". There is a difference between stealing something, and 'looting' as part of a riot, even when the act, in isolation, is the same. Our magistrates and judges know this, and will sentence accordingly - which is why we've been seeing some harsh punishments handed down. No doubt some of these will be reduced on appeal. Nothing wrong with that, because the appeal system is part of the judicial process. Must add that I have been hugely impressed by how the court system has risen to the challenge of dealing with so many criminals at the same time. 

 But the right of his party have been cheering on these sentences its clear the magistrates have been responding accordingly . He can't pretend this is not the case.

and So from a entertaining and moderate figure who looked at Welsh Politics with an entertaining  eye that even those of us who generally hated the Tories would sometime sgive a nod of approval A View from Rural Wales has become AView from Metropolitan Westminster and is all the porer for it.

So did the people of Montgomery  make a mistake in voting out Lembit Öpik in May 2010 on balance No, but then perhaps they should have taken the chance to have elected Plaid 's Helydd Fychan  whose contribution through her Blog Pendroni is sadly missed.and who

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