I’M not sure what I think of all this. Interesting bit of work by Ben Rich in the Jewish News last week suggests that Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Ed Fordham chooses his holiday destinations specifically to “court” Hampstead’s Jewish voters.
No sunny breaks in the Canary Islands or time outs on the French Riviera for Ed, he has travelled to the former concentration camps at Belsen-Bergen on a previous trip and is now in Israel, tweeting and blogging reports of everything he has seen.
Maybe Rich’s suggestion is incorrect, maybe Ed would have gone to these places even if he wasn’t running in an election. But let’s say the columnist is right. It’s a tricky call: is such holiday planning all a bit cynical and ultimately patronising to the Jewish voters he wants to cultivate ahead of the election? Or will the history lessons and first hand experiences he learns in these destinations make him an better MP should he beat Glenda Jackson in May?
Surely nobody gives away their vote on the basis of whether their candidates have been to the Wailing Wall or not. But maybe the Lib Dem will argue that it shows he is a 24/7 politician for the area, understanding the constituency’s concerns and entrenched heritage.
But where does it all end? Should, in her pursuit of votes in the south of the borough, Holborn and St Pancras Lib Dem candidate Jo Shaw be travelling to India and Bangladesh for her summer holidays?
Or maybe she should go to Somalia, a visit there is said to be the only true way of understanding what a large share of her potential constituents have been through, the horrors they have seen and the difficulties they face integrating into Camden life.