WITH a dab of gloom about Labour and Conservative foreign policy, Dame Joan Bakewell explains today why her cross will end up in Labour MP Frank Dobson’s box in Holborn and St Pancras. She told The Observer:
It’s hard to pick a party on a single issue: which will keep resident wardens in care homes? Which will value the arts? But some issues are of overriding importance. I disagree with the foreign policies of both the main parties, so I shall vote for an individual: Frank Dobson voted against the war in Iraq. He fights to stop NHS privatisation. He happens to be Labour.
So, Frank can add another vote to his private polling, which should still have him down as a LAB HOLD. Yet Dame Joan’s reasons for offering him her support must irritate his opponents. After all, surely Jo Shaw (Lib Dem) and George Lee (Con) would have voted against the war in Iraq as well had they been in the Commons back then. And both of them – particularly Jo – have also positioned themselves as a Dobson heir by joining campaigns to hamper private influence in local health services in Camden.
It’s just an indication how hard unseating an MP like Frank, who has been around for so long and is well known in Camden and beyond, can be. As the incumbent, Frank has had the stage to show he is the kind of individual that Dame Joan is happy to vote for. His opponents have to run much harder to lay that headstart.