A tale of two campaigns?

Members of the Labour and Conservative parties are getting increasingly irritated with the Lib Dem approach to politics in the Middle East as the elections draw closer.
You can’t really blame them for pointing out the obvious contrast in the positions of two candidates – sorry, ‘Shadow MPs’ – from the same borough.

In the north of Camden, Ed Fordham has been said to be ‘courting’ Jewish voters in Hampstead. He’s actually just back from Israel, a trip which Labour unkindly called a “publicity tour” during last week’s council meeting.

And in the south, Jo Shaw has signed her name to leaflets demanding that Britain no longer helps to arm Israel and denouncing a ‘lacklustre’ response to last year’s air strikes in Gaza.

Shaw’s position matches that of Syed Hoque, the defecting councillor who joined the Lib Dems from Labour last year with an attack on Labour’s foreign policy. (Yes, that’s the same Syed Hoque who sought election as a Labour councillor in Haverstock ward with the most infamous Iraq War remained fresh in voters minds).

Syed may be impressed with Shaw’s angry words about Israel, even if they are telegraphed by her critics as a cynical call out to Muslim voters in the south of the borough. But you wonder whether Syed has found that, just like in the Labour Party he left behind, there are wide differences of opinions on the issue.

That seems to be the picture being painted by some of his colleagues who tell me the issue is up for debate within the Lib Dems and it’s up to individuals to come to their own conclusions about what would be the best way forward for that part of the world. That’s fair enough, all very democratic… with the proviso, of course, that those views come from the heart and are not tailored to match the most amount of voters.

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