Sunday, September 14, 2008

My afternoon with Lembit...

By now, everyone knows that I'm 4 Ros, so I was a mite surprised to receive an invitation from Millennium Elephant (you were robbed, my friend... again...) to meet Lembit as part of the series of blogger interviews.

I was even more surprised to be accepted... clearly, pachyderms have no sense of conflict of interest...

As others have already mentioned, I did ask some fairly searching questions. Not out of malice, but because they were the questions I would have asked anyway - I honestly believe that the stated view of Liberal Democrat Voice readers as to Lembit's effectiveness as our Housing spokesman is a legitimate subject to enquire into.

I thought that, in terms of his brief, he came across as initially shallow but, when pressed further by Mary, he was able to demonstrate that he has a grasp of his brief. His housing portfolio is a key one in terms of helping us to convince potential supporters, and I wish him well in his efforts to make our case.

I also raised the issue of the headline on the front of GQ Magazine where he was interviewed by Piers Morgan, on the basis that it was part of finding out why, or more saliently, how he ticks. My more dispassionate colleagues, Mary and Millennium, have already covered his response, and I feel that it would be fairer to a neutral reader to guide him/her towards their thoughts.

There are two policies that Lembit would go to the wall for. One is the right of medical professionals to prescribe hard drugs to addicts. You could argue about the politics of it, and I have more than enough colleagues who would do so, but it is a principled stance. The other is hunting with hounds...

Lembit has changed his mind. A leading advocate of a compromise between pro- and anti- lobbies, he has now come down in favour of hunting with dogs. He quoted evidence from multiple sources in support of the contention that hunting a fox with hounds, who then tear the fox to death, is less cruel than shooting. I beg to differ. However, I come from an urban constituency and he doesn't.

I'm told that this was the most 'edgy' of the blogger interviews so far. Perhaps I'm missing the point a bit, but shouldn't we be, albeit thoughtfully and constructively, challenging our senior figures? Praise where praise is due, yes. But kindly questioning designed to make everyone look good, regardless of merit? I think not...

1 comment:

Jennie said...

I'd happily add some (completely on message, obviously) edginess if I wasn't bloody stewarding all the time...