THE Iraq War was such a vote loser for Labour in the 2005 General Election and the 2006 council elections that there must be some disappointment among the opposing parties that the issue is not having the same damaging effect this time around. There remains a sense of anger about it on the doorstep, but it isn’t the issue that will most influence people’s vote on Thursday. The economy and the recession is higher up the agenda.
So, are the Lib Dems trying to stir up some of the old anger over Iraq? One of the weakest points of their campaign in Camden over the last few weeks has been to question Frank Dobson over his stance on the war. Weak, because anybody who has heard Frank’s speeches on this over the years and read his letters can come away with no other view that he was opposed to the invasion. He clearly rebelled against the war – and it helped him keep his seat in 2005.
Yet, the Lib Dems have spent the last few weeks implying that all of our past knowledge about Frank and Iraq might in some way be wrong, flagging up that on one of the many votes over the war he is marked as absent on the voters list. It’s a stretch for the voters in Holborn and St Pancras.
Are the Lib Dems seriously saying Frank secretly wanted Britain to help the invasion? It will be too hard for most to believe that he would go to so much trouble to speak out against it, when somehow he was privately in favour. Unsurprisingly, noth local newspapers have questioned this line of attack. The Lib Dems, deep down, probably realise they have landed better blows than this.