What next for Lembit?

by Stephen Tall on November 8, 2008

That’s the question after Ros Scott’s landslide victory in the race to become party president. Lembit is, without doubt, one of the party’s stars: he has charisma, a sense of humour, a strong liberal streak, and is a terrific speaker.

And yet somehow all that talent, all that energy, seems to be channelled in an unfocused campaign to become … well, who knows what? Lembit resigned from the Lib Dem shadow cabinet to stand as President, and so, for the moment at least, he has no official role within the party. He said it was the role he had always coveted. Yet, despite Ros firing the starting gun well over a year ago, Lembit did not launch his campaign until six weeks ago. Was his heart really in it this time?

It’s a real shame that someone who has so much to contribute to the party, with a clear ideology and terrific communication skills, should have become tarred with the brush of being ‘a bit of a joker’. It’s a personal shame for him, and a real shame for the party. Now’s the time, I hope, for Lembit to take stock, and to work out how he can reclaim the respect within the party and the wider public which his abilities well merit.