I am going to be rather critical of Lembit Opik MP later, but because it is not personal, I happen to like Lembit, I thought I’d “big him up” a bit first. Praising Caesar before burying him if you like.
Lembit is often criticised within the Party, mainly over his celebrity profile. An awful lot of that criticism is unfair. He is one of the few Liberal Democrats, lets face it one of the few politicians from any Party, that most people have heard of. And generally people like him.
For a “wonky faced bloke from Northern Ireland”, as a friend of mine once memorably called him, he is extraordinarily charismatic. He can be an inspirational public speaker. Late in the conference hotel bar last night a colleague was praising his undoubted abilities as a trainer. When he does do “serious” he can be highly effective.
I have said before that the quality I most look for in a politician is empathy. Lembit is a gifted empathic politician.
For me Lembit has a place in the top three or four most naturally talented politicians within the Liberal Democrats.
It is just a crying shame that so often that talent seems to be misdirected.
This content was originally posted on my old Process Guy blog.