Dignity, always dignity
February 21, 2012 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Lembit Opik MP lost his seat at the last election. Already a colourful figure, (not least because of his past relationships with a weather girl, Cheeky Girl, and underwear model*) has since taken an interesting subsequent career route via stand-up comedy to recently entering the music business himself by starring in a video for a new indie band) (*Relationship may only be for PR purposes, allegedly)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (11 comments total)
He has a confusing face.

And he is also a rare example of an Anglo-Estonian politician!
posted by mippy at 10:06 AM on February 21, 2012

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when a man who has done nothing productive for years and been paid for it needs money: faced with the difficult choice between trying to do nothing productive more productively and trying to do something productive, he has chosen the former.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:16 AM on February 21, 2012

I know nothing about Lembit Opik other than having seen him a few times on Have I Got News For You. Mostly on HGNIFY he was the butt, not the instigator, of most of the humor but he did get a few good lines in (and some semi proficient harmonica playing). Given that the show was filmed right after he lost his re-election bid, he came off pretty well. I could see him making it as a comedian.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:18 AM on February 21, 2012

His face is confusing because In 1998 he had a "near fatal paragliding accident."

He was more impressive politically than his career suggests, and having met him a few times, can say he had that vital quality for a politician of supreme self confidence to the point of arrogance. If he had been born with common sense and some strategic thinking I suspect he would have gone far. unfortunatley, the self-confidence that made him such a good HGNFY contestant makes him a terrible comedian, stripped of his political role, he just came across as slimy.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 10:22 AM on February 21, 2012

Lembit Öpik

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:25 AM on February 21, 2012

*Relationship may only be for PR purposes

That's what I keep telling the underwear models to get them to date me too!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:34 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know nothing about Lembit Öpik except that his grandfather was a great astronomer.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:39 AM on February 21, 2012

He always seems so desperate for approval, and so oblivious to the fact he's just dripping with anti-charisma - the Lib Dem Colin Hunt, essentially.
posted by jack_mo at 11:37 AM on February 21, 2012

I met Lembit at the National Union of Students conference in 1988, when he was running for the Presidency of NUS. At the time NUS's senior roles were sewn up between two groups, the leftist National Organisation of Labour Students and the further-left... I forget its name. NUS operated a single transferable vote system for its elections, and inevitably the NOLS and further-left voters would put their candidate as #1 and the other left-wing group's as #2. So they'd come in first and second, and that would be that.

Lembit was running as an independent, with no existing political organisation or machine behind him. I met him, talked to him, heard his ideas, dropped what I was doing and spent the rest of the conference campaigning for him.

He came second.

There was no way he was going to win, and he knew it. But coming second was still an extraordinary victory. Nothing like it had happened in a long time, and it was a major shock to the established order. But Lembit in 1988 was charming and inspirational: he had interesting, clever ideas and, one sensed, the wherewithal to make them work. I often wished I'd stayed in contact with him.
posted by Hogshead at 1:41 PM on February 21, 2012

Yeah, my family were pretty close to Lib Dem politics at one point (to the point of having Paddy Ashdown round for tea during the 1994 European elections, my dad made quiche, which seemed fitting). Öpik was regarded by a lot of people who should know, before he got elected in 1997, as having significant potential. He's bright, adaptable and plausible. In many ways an ideal post Blair politician. We lost touch with that set around the time Öpik was starting to figure on the public radar, but it seemed to me that his fatal flaw was a desire for attention for its own sake. The first time he showed up for most people was that ridiculous anti-asteroid campaign in 1999, and that seemed to set the tone. He has always sought too hard for attention and it has always bitten him on the arse.

Why change the habit of a lifetime?
posted by howfar at 6:12 AM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

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