Saturday, April 14, 2012

Grappling with Lembit Opik

Yesterday's Daily Mail told us that Lembit Opik would be making his debut as a wrestler at Welshpool Town Hall last night. I had a search on the net, but as the only mentions I could find suggested he would merely be attending the event I did not blog about it.

But look what happened last night. Lembit did attend the wresting, and the County Times, the Mid Wales newspaper, reports that he was "unable to keep his mouth shut and managed to talk himself into a grudge match with Welsh bad boy Kade Callous at the same venue on June 2".

The story goes on:
Annoyed that Kade Callous used foul play to defeat his opponent Iestyn Rees, Lembit joined the rest of the packed out audience in calling the Welsh Wresting star a cheat! 
Later in the evening, Lembit again rubbed Kade Callous up the wrong way by costing him the chance of victory in the Rumble by grabbing his arm and distracting him. 
Angered by Lembit's actions, Kade Callous grabbed the County Times columnist by the throat, launched him into the ring and challenged him to a fight at Welshpool Town Hall on the evening of the Queen's Jubilee. 
"You're in my world now Lembit," shouted Kade Callous. 
"The last time you were in this town hall you lost, on that very stage they stood up and announced to the world that you are no longer the MP of your constituency. 
"Now you are going to lose again. Do you really think you can beat me? Do you think you can knock me out? Who do you think you are, John Prescott? 
"I will beat you from rope to rope, from corner to corner all over this ring. 
"The last person to stick their nose in my business had it bitten off!" 
At first a petrified Lembit Opik seemed reluctant to get involved, that was until Kade Callous added: "You're not a man, you're a coward!" 
The word 'coward' - combined with the encouragement of the sell-out arena - triggered something off in Lembit's mind that saw him agree to a fight, before being saved from further humiliation when 'goody' Iestyn Rees came to his rescue.
All very silly and all very contrived - like everything else in wrestling, this was obviously arranged in advance.

My words from 2008:
Lembit has tested to destruction the proposition that there is no such thing as bad publicity. He now needs to take himself more seriously in order to persuade others to take him more seriously. He has a Westminster seat to retain and will no doubt return to the Lib Dem front bench soon. Otherwise... 
As I write this, Neil and Christine Hamilton, as if in dreadful warning to him, are appearing on Hole in the Wall.
now seem less prophetic that hopelessly inadequate.

The serious point is that Lembit's antics will do nothing to help whoever stands in Mid Wales for the Liberal Democrats at the next Westminster and Welsh Assembly elections. He might even have got away with his determination to be a media personality if he had sat for a different constituency, but the people of Montgomeryshire - polite, staid, a little old fashioned - were never going to be attracted by it.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail's parallel with the Rector of Stiffkey seems ever more apt. Far away on the breezy Lincolnshire coast, a lion licks its lips.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone think that Lembit would be doing worse than Brian Paddick right now?

He needs an occupation and a wise Party would find him one.

Iain Sharpe said...

Yes. Despite being faced with a difficult challenged Paddick has conducted himself with dignity and won some praise from independent commentators. It is very hard to imagine Lembit achieving either of these things.