Alex Folkes has taken exception to me calling Lembit out on this:
First – the questions aren’t exactly neutrally phrased. And Lembit could probably expect that the answers would be brutally fisked. Solution – don’t offer up ammunition.
Second – you have shown you’re not entirely pro Lembit. You don’t have to be, of course, but I can think of far better things for Team Lembit to do with their time than spend it answering your questions.
Team Lembit has far better things to do than to answer hostile questions from people who are highly unlikely to ever support him. If the questions were more open and came from someone who at least appeared not to have made up their mind already (at least as regards Lembit) then there would be a better chance of getting them answered.
These are reasonable points, and of course Lembit should feel under no duty to answer these questions. But just as Lembit is free to not answer these questions, I am free to ask them.
And I ask them because, regardless of which way I am voting in this election, I think they raise serious issues that ought to concern everyone, whether they support him or not. Unlike some people, I have never dismissed Lembit’s chances of winning this election. But his claims don’t add up for me, and these questions sum up my anxieties (actually, I have others, but these will do for now).
I’m not expecting Lembit to answer; I am however allowing him a right to reply. If the questions are biased, they are not so biased that any politician worth his or her salt could not answer them on their own terms. If he doesn’t answer them however, I will spend the rest of the campaign mentioning them. Maybe that will make no difference to the election, maybe it will. What do I have to lose finding out?
As a reminder, these are the questions which remain unanswered:
a) Since Lembit claims to have such great campaigning and communications skills, why have the Liberal Democrats in Wales stagnated in the last two assembly elections (sticking with six AMs in 1999, 2003 and 2007)?
b) Given the deep problems at the heart of the Kennedy leadership, wasnâ€™t it an error of judgment to stand by him? Loyalty is easy â€“ a nodding dog at the back of a car can do it. Donâ€™t the â€œrebelsâ€ â€“ including Nick Clegg and Vince Cable â€“ deserve credit for taking a difficult decision that Lembit lacked the resolve to take?
c) Why didnâ€™t Lembit stand against Simon Hughes in 2006? Hughes presided over a string of failures, most notoriously watching the partyâ€™s membership fall by 10,000 members despite having pledged to treble the membership in two years. Again, doesnâ€™t that suggest a lack of resolve?
d) Why wasnâ€™t Lembitâ€™s campaign ready in Bournemouth? Frankly, it was a total mess. Ros Scott launched her campaign exactly 12 months before, so it isnâ€™t as if Lembit didnâ€™t know she was serious. Is this the level of professionalism we can expect from him? Donâ€™t actions speak louder than words?