Sunday, 7 February 2010

Lib Dems turn drama into a story

Spend 48 hours with the Liberal Democrats, as I have just done, and you learn why they bang on about 'fairness' so much.

A guessing game to identify the Welsh Assembly Member to make it onto the front page of today's Wales on Sunday would be unlikely to throw up the name of Mick Bates.

But the Montgomeryshire AM awoke today to find himself accused by someone anonymous of doing
something he could not remember doing.

What's not disputed is that Mick Bates was taken by ambulance to hospital on January 19 after a night out in Cardiff during which liquid refreshment was taken.

He had a serious head wound which required treatment. He cannot remember anything else, particularly whether in a concussed state he was verbally abusive to hospital staff.

Colleagues say he behaved oddly during the following 48 hours but, more than two weeks later no-one has contacted him about any alleged complaint.

He did turn up at the Welsh Lib Dem conference today, despite a spokesman insisting he would not. He was there long enough to raise sponsorship for his wife's Inca Trail charity trek and promise us a statement on camera along the lines of he was sorry if he'd done something wrong.

Then he was hugged by Kirsty Williams and disappeared into a meeting with her and senior party officials.

He then left the Grand Theatre by a rear exit without talking to hacks - always a bad move - and we were told he would not take part in a fringe meeting on fuel poverty.

You don't need to be Woodward & Bernstein to sense a potential story here, particularly in the absence of obvious alternatives.

It might not be fair to someone widely viewed as a gentle giant but life's not fair, as Nick Clegg told his troops yesterday. The Lib Dems' crisis management had helped turn a drama into something worse than a crisis - a story.


Anonymous said...

"Colleagues say he behaved oddly during the following 48 hours"

I'm not surprised nobody noticed a difference. It's only the sane ones that stand out in the Fib dems

Anonymous said...

What is it about Mick Bates and Lembit Opik, the Montgomeryshire mad men? In vino veritas, eh?