THE thought of Tories being urged to vote tactically for the Liberal Democrats in Islington South – a strategic operation to remove Labour’s Emily Thornberry has been suggested by blogger Guido Fawkes – has got me wondering whether Conservatives may now be thinking of pulling a similar trick in Holborn and St Pancras. Call me crazy, but the fluid nature of this election forces you to think of all the angles.
Tory candidate George Lee is facing a huge task to overtake both Labour MP Frank Dobson and Lib Dem challenger Jo Shaw. The party has improved its campaigning and is stronger due to the simultaneous push for the council elections, but the fact it fell short by around 8,000 votes last time cannot be ignored. The stats hurt for the Tories, however inspirational Lee’s life story is (NB: If you haven’t heard it then you’ve been living on another planet).
When Dobbo seemed unbeatable, it seemed fair enough to simply squabble over second place. But you just wonder, however, whether the Tories in the south of the borough are this week sizing up Shaw’s outside chance. The odds of her pulling off what once looked an impossible shock (even the Lib Dems class the constituency as only a ‘moving forward’ seat) have shortened in the wake of the boondoggle that was Nick Clegg’s leaders debate performance. Labour in reply insist Cleggmania has not scratched he surface down there and that there is no reason for its supporters to feel unduly concerned.
So the questions are: has the Clegg bounce brought Shaw close enough to cause genuine worry for Labour or not, and is the main priority for Tory voters in Holborn and St Pancras to: a) Do the best you can on a tricky patch or b) Unseat Dobson at any cost. The Conservatives, of course, can’t afford a humiliating third place and how would they feel if they tactically voted Lib Dem and Frank won regardless. Still, it would be interesting to know if the idea of a strategic vote had crossed their minds.