Thursday, July 15, 2010

Carrying on the fight after the bell.

Must admit that I'm feeling a bit naggy. Here I am, confined to Westminster at approaching 5.00 on a Thursday afternoon, subject to a 3-line whip on the Finance Bill. Been here since 2.00 Monday. And just been given a copy of an article written by the former MP for Montgomeryshire in my local County Times, accusing me of not 'pulling my weight' - at least of not being prepared to travel to a public meeting at Llanidloes last night. Normally, I try to ignore this sort of petty sniping, but this is just too sly and devious to ignore.

The truth of the matter is that when Lembit Opik was MP for Montgomeryshire, his actual presence in the House made little difference. He could come and go as he pleased. I well recall him just driving off and missing a hugely important vote on Post Office closures, while campaigning vociferously at a local level - ignoring the job he was elected to do. No-one at Westminster seemed to care. As a member of the governing party, I cannot leave the House without permission from the whips. A Government cannot lose it's business. The former MP knows this only too well. He will have known that I could not travel to Montgomeryshire last night. The whip was lifted at 7.00. His article is a disgrace. Truth is, I was very keen to travel to Llanidloes last night, and have maintained a close interest in what was said there - by telephone and email. Also I will be going home later tonight, so that I can speak at a Newtown School at 9.00 in the morning, and travelling back to Westminster at midday tomorrow. My commitment to the job is total.

The former MP was up to the same tricks in his County Times 'column' last week. He referred to his having a very late night conversation with me in a House of Commons bar. Reason I know about this is that several of my friends mentioned it to me, assuming that I was 'enjoying' myself in what they thought was an inappropriate way. That may well have been the underlying intention behind the article. Now lets look at what actually happened. The Opposition had decided to continue a debate on the Finance Bill into the middle of the night (entirely within its right), and all Government MPs had no choice but to stay for the votes. No MP was happy about it - but it was our job. Its the rough end of what we're paid for - hanging around until after 2.00 in the morning waiting for a vote to be called. Nothing wrong with a glass of wine while you wait, but so happens that I was not drinking at all - because I'm currently on a 6 week course of medication. Anyway, for some unexplained reason, Lembit Opik 'appeared' from somewhere at around 1.00 in the morning. I exchanged the briefest of pleasantries with him and his companion before moving off to 'hang around' somewhere else.

I fully accept that the former MP can adopt a policy of trying to undermine his successor - if he hasn't got anything better to do with his time. The one issue that does concern me is that my local weekly newspaper allows disingenuous comments about me to be made on a weekly basis, without giving me the opportunity to challenge what's written. If this carries on, we could be heading for a bit of a rumpus. Perhaps I should call a local press conference next week to get a few things straight.

20 comments:

Trowbridge/Lansbury Park ex-laddie said...

Legal rumpus? If so, don't ignore the jugular.

Anonymous said...

The County Lies was and remains a disgrace. They did all they could to get the MP for Hello re-elected. They continue to cover the Idiot's every move. It's a puzzle to everyone, especially since every other single paper in the land treats him like the joke he is. But just look at how poor their readership figures are nowdays. We need a website for Mid Wales asap so that we're not obliged to buy this pathetic excuse for a newspaper

ROMAN JONES Esq. said...

The County Times is burying what little credibility it had left by allowing him his weekly column. That is why my letters have dried up since they became a LimpDim rag.

Glyn - you have the backing of the people of Montgomeryshire, so give that idiot HELL!

Anonymous said...

as Anon previous says - its commonly called The County Liar.....and having had personal entanglements with them - for NOT prinitng the truth....they ran a pack of lies as front page some months ago....i no longer waste my money on it....do they not wonder why their circulation figures are/have dropped so significatly ?? Shroppie Star, up to date (within 24 hrs) with accurate, honest editorial seems to be more favoured.
As for Lembit, he's staying true to how he has behaved - i.e. jumping on others bandwaggons, claiming as his work done by others, and hoping to be seen with a halo....I have no idea why the CT is still half way up his backside ????

Anonymous said...

Opik drinking late at night in the HoC - what a surprise! And what a saddo for still lurking aorund there. His priority should be to address his own issues - his massive ego, his inability to accept the end of his political career, his penchant for lying and nastiness, and last but not least, his HUGE lifestyle problems.....

frankie said...

I will join in with the rest of the comments in condemning the CT for the nasty little tabloid it has become. Why has it given space to that awful Opik is beyond me, I for one have no interest whatsoever in anything he has to say, he is an irrelevance. But I do think you should defend yourself in the way you have here and write to the CT and put them straight on a few facts.

Mr Opik quite obviously has not got over the rejection by the Montgomeryshire voter. What does it take to make the man see he is not wanted here and there is nothing we would like more than not to see his stupid grinning face in our local rag. As far as we are concerned, and we would just like him to curl up and ---GO AWAY!!!

Glyn Davies said...

Having to reject quite a lot of comments on this post. Admit I was angry when I published it. Personally, I have no criticism of the County Times for granting a column to the former MP. That's a commercial decision for them. Its a free world, and as far as I'm concerned a newspaper can be as politically partisan as it likes - and readers can decide whether to buy it. What I do object to is allowing a column which sets out to mislead readers about how I do my job, without making any effort to establish the truth. It reflects very badly on standards of accuracy and fairness.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glyn. If what you are saying is true then I'm appauled and you should speak to Lembit or his party about it. However I think your blog raises some interesting points about the County Times and the media in general.

Why would any newspaper agree to give a disgraced and former MP colmn inches AFTER he's been thrown out of office. When he was MP that would have been interesting and maybe insightful for some constituents. Perhaps this says more about the newspaper's judgement than anything. Perhaps if the Editor reads this blog some feedback could be given?

Another point your blog raises is the issue of comment pieces in newspapers. In my view they are used too often as a newspaper's way of publishing things without having to legally balance the argument through a proper story. A lazy way to fill column inches perhaps!

On a closing note, if politicians would be more honest, accurate and not muddy the water in the media perhaps apathy among voters wouldn't be such a problem. But then again, idology is a wonderful thing!

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - I don't have any criticism of the CT for using LO as a columnist. Its the newspaper's commercial judgement that he will sell newspapers.

Again, I accept LO has an agenda that he wants to push. What I do think is that when a columnist uses his column two weeks in succession to criticise the MP, some effort might be made to establish the justification. In both cases I've referred to, there was none.

On your final point - I try to be straight and up front with everyone, through this blog, where I write stuff that I wouldn't give to journalists. Readers can disagree, challenge me or comment. And I should add that I think the CT is a good local weekly, with good journalists and that in general, I have no complaints about my treatment. .

Anonymous said...

LO is telling the press that you could have paired with a labour mp if you really wanted to go to the meeting in montwhich is a good point glyn

Glyn Davies said...

anon - Unfortunately it is not accurate. There may have been a 'pairing' arrangement during the last Parliament, but there has not been since the General Election. 'Pairing' is sensible and I'd like there to be such an arrangement - but there isn't. Bearing in mind how much time he seems tp spend in Westminster, I'm very surprised that he didn't know that. Its easy to lose touch very quickly.

Anonymous said...

I think Opik is making an arse of himself

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - that's just a matter of opinion. I wish him well in whatever career he now pursues - but you will not be surprised to learn that I do not think he should go around making inaccurate and misleading statements about his successor.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Glyn Davies said...

Anon - After some thought, I decided to delete your comment, and reject others, because they referred to the former MP's private life. That's his business.

Roman Jones Esq. said...

I can understand your reserve in not attacking the local media, but when lies about you are published, you must take appropriate measures.

Anonymous said...

Did ever a more anachronistic paper than the County Times ever exist! Smart money says the editor is not from this area......Perhaps he should wander around the streets of Newtown and pick up on what's being said about Lembit Opik. Or venture down to Crystal's....

Ex-Welsh council house laddie said...

Any comment you care to proffer on David Cameron's trip/visit to Washington DC?

For some strange reason he won't meet me. Might sound like a fallacious comment, but I met the first Labour PM to visit Chicago.

David Cameron too public school to meet with me?

It is notable that the British Embassy in Washington has become very public school boy since David Cameron became PM. Very officious, snooty and ‘high and almighty’.

What’s up?

Ex-council house laddie not cool enough for the new PM?

Anonymous said...

Incredible that the County Times would want to be asociated with such a failure as Lembit. Seems to me that they're both on their way down......

Anonymous said...

Some news from across the water - but some of you probably know already, but Rhodri Morgan's spiel on 'green jobs' in Wales based on predicted massive moves on cap and trade in the USA is DEAD. The new Senator of WV (democrat) said he won't vote for it and he was the 60th vote needed to push it through the Senate.