By Dan Judelson
April 20, 2010
I've got a big "Vote Labour" poster in my window, so when I saw a Lib Dem leaflet pop through the letter box the other day, I opened my front door and said to the deliverer "I admire your optimism". She smiled and said "Well, I thought you would at least like the chance to read it."
It's one of the less frequent pleasures of modern electioneering to meet people who think that information could actually change one's mind. Normally we rely on headlines, polls and organisation to actually turn out the vote - all mightily important, but not terribly idealistic, I think we can agree. So I read it.
I live in Hampstead and Kilburn constituency. It's a potential three way marginal between Glenda Jackson -yay!- Chris Philp -boo!- and Ed Fordham (yay! I mean boo! I mean.. well, maybe... um ... let's see... nope, I'm flummoxed).
The election is being fought on a number of issues, domestic more than foreign, but this leaflet was all about Israel and the Palestinians.
I say "all about", but that's an awfully generous interpretation. There's nothing in it that is clear. He went on a "revealing" visit to Gaza, but it didn't tell him much: "I don't have a set of solutions, no one does." His three week trip to Israel showed him that there was a "desire of people on all sides of that conflict to speak to and with UK politicians." No? Really? Who 'da thunk it?
Ambition drips from every sentence: "I felt I gained access precisely because I am seeking to be the new MP for Hampstead & Kilburn." Not if you are bereft of any ideas to move it forward Mr Fordham.
I've since read his blog entry here and I'm none the wiser. (From the comments I don't think anyone else is either.)
I know what Glenda Jackson thinks. I know what Chris Philp thinks. They've both said so, many times. Since Nick Clegg won the first TV debate, the press has been full of articles about Lib Dem policies coming under greater scrutiny. Fine. But in Hampstead & Kilburn, the Lib Dem candidate offers nothing whatsoever to scrutinise.
Hoffman-ish disclaimer: This article in no way reflects the views of JfJfP, of which I am currently a executive member. But neither am I exhorting people to vote for a particular candidate.