---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lembit Opik (Liberal Democrats)
Date: Tue, Nov 4, 2008 at 1:53 PM
Subject: Home Truths
To: My snout
A few home truths…
This is the last official e-mail you'll receive from me during this Presidential campaign. So it's time for some home truths. It's probably the most honest and open letter you'll ever have received from a candidate during an election. Actually, my team are worried it's too personal and maybe not political enough, but I wanted to say some things here because I feel it's important you know them. I hope you'll appreciate my candidness in the spirit in which it's intended.
A very difficult year
2008 has been a very difficult year for me. Personal matters have challenged me greatly. And on 6th August, I was confronted with the death of my closest friend and confidant, David Hamer, without warning, aged 46. It nearly "brought my house down." It almost stalled my life and caused me to look inside and consider who I am and what I do. It even had an impact upon my spiritual faith.
What came out of this colossal emotional and psychological challenge was insight. Insight into me, insight into others, and a better insight into how others see me.
It delayed my Presidential campaign preparations too – my energy was temporarily directed at surviving the storm of events around me. And yet the things I've learned this year were priceless.
What I've learned
When all the pretence of normal life is stripped away by hard times, you get to know yourself better. I've learned why I want to do the job of President. I know I can reach people in a special way, to make them listen and feel listened too. I know it comes from a motivation from deep inside me. I don't do it perfectly by any means, but I do have a good heart, and any errors are usually sins of omission, not sins of intent. And the drive to serve the Party is rooted in what I feel I can do best – organising and motivating our Party to achieve great results.
I also realised that nobody else has the years of experience I've got of working inside the Party doing all those "committee type things" which don't make the news but do make the Lib Dems more effective. I know, too, that a lot of people recognise me, inside and outside the Party. It seems to me this is a great advantage, because I can bring politics to people who don't normally relate to politicians. And in so doing, I can bring people who don't normally do party politics towards the Lib Dems in an accessible way.And I know that sometimes I can inspire people. It's a great feeling to help people find the energy to achieve more than they ever imagined possible.
And with some humility, I can tell you I've learned to see why some folk are concerned about my Presidency. Some fear I'll be unpredictable, a wild one, or too involved in a profile outside politics. Or they think I'm too much of a joker, or a political lightweight. Or they believe I want to be President for my own self-promotion.
To tell you the truth, I've been frustrated and angry with people for thinking these things about me. But looking at it now, I realise that the right response is not to be angry, but to be a bit more empathic to these concerns… to appreciate WHY some feel this way, and try to accommodate that very natural caution within my equally natural enthusiasm and effusive optimism about the human race.
What I do is different for sure. But I sense that it can also be an enormous asset and force for change in how we do politics, and how far out we can reach. And that's what I'd like to say now – to Vince, Ming, Navnit, John Shipley, and others who I've spoken to and thought about recently. I respect those concerns. If I win the election, I'll work with you to get the best out of all of us, and to value the differences between us for the common goal and vision we share. For me, it's the vision of a Lib Dem Government. It's a journey we can only make successfully if we make it together. But it's also a journey we can only complete if we're a bit braver, and embrace each other's unique contributions.
Heart and soul
So here's the point. If you elect me, I'll really put my heart and soul into this, so we can all share in our victory of ideas in this political arena around us. And I'll do my best to be sensitive to when I'm pushing too hard, or running too fast. I'll be listening to what you're saying.
Nick's perfectly capable of leading our Party towards Government. And I've got the ability to make our Party ready and capable of making that voyage across a stormy sea. It's a great partnership. Inspiration, flamboyance, courage, teamwork, warmth and action. I can see that working very well and I hope you can too.
A vision in Primary Colurs
So what's it going to be? What do YOU want to do next?
In a way, I can't help regarding this election as a test. It's a test of our collective courage. A test of whether we really do value different styles and approaches, or whether conformity is a primary limitation. I say it's time to grasp the ambition of Government. I say it's time to paint our vision in primary colours so everyone can see and understand it. If you're up for that, so am I. I'll do my 100% best to deliver a Party which can paint a vivid picture of the future, and then make it happen.
It's up to you now
I'm not going to get everything right, and never pretended I could. But I've got a passion for this role, just as I have a passion for life. If you feel like joining me on an exciting adventure for a few years, go and get your ballot paper and sign up by voting for it. It'll be a heck of a ride. And afterwards, I'm sure you'll look back and be amazed how far we got, and be glad we made the journey.
All the best,
Well that should get the votes flooding in! I like Lembit but I think this email is a mistake of gigantic proportions. You raely gain votes by encouraging people to feel sorry for you.