by Stephen Tall on October 19, 2009
Getting on for a year ago, Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik began writing a regular political column in the Daily Sport. Thanks to Lib Dem blogger James Graham – who set up the Prawn Free Lembit blog, so that those of us who don’t touch the Sport’s casually misogynistic pages can follow his writings – I’ve become a regular reader.
It’s a weird, dire mixture of straight news and forced comedy-innuendo. Commentary on Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace prize and the plight of British troops in Afghanistan jostle for space alongside groaning references to “Sport stunna Marlena Lewis from Cornwall” and her euphemistic “Cornish pasties”. Even – and especially – where I agree with Lembit, the sexed-up tabloid-speak style is excruciating.
Frankly I don’t care that this is fulfilling his own “stated objective to reach beyond the normal political limits to people who may not be particularly interested in Parliament, but will find it interesting if the info is presented in a non-pompous or technical way.” If my name appeared above the tat that Lembit (or the Sport’s ghost-writer) churn out I would curl up and die of embarrassment.
If Lembit has won over even one Sport reader to the party’s cause I’d be staggered. To be clear, I mean genuinely won them over, persuaded them that liberalism and the Lib Dems are the best solution to this nation’s ills – not just given Lembit a cheery thumbs-up in a pub somewhere, which he’s taken as approbation for associating his and the party’s name with the flippant, sexist filth that is the Sport’s hallmark.
Anyways … that’s what I think. But it seems I’m not alone, for the Welsh Lib Dems’ leader is also un-enamoured of Lembit’s, erm, column. WalesOnline reports in full:
Ms Williams, who is attending the party’s spring conference in Wrexham this weekend, told Wales on Sunday she would never read Mr Opik’s column and did not like his approach to politics. She said: “I don’t read the newspaper. Lembit is Lembit. His approach to politics is different to mine.”
Describing herself as a feminist, she added: “It’s not a publication I would read. There’s nothing in that newspaper that would be of interest to me. Lembit is free to write his column, I wouldn’t write in such a way. I’m not in the business of telling him to stop what he’s doing. Personally, it’s not an approach to politics that I find particularly attractive.”