With Des Turner standing down at the General Election, Simon Burgess, former leader of the City Council, is hoping to succeed him as just the third ever Labour MP for this seat. Simon had a huge set-back when defeated in the last local elections by, amongst others, the Green parliamentry candidate, Ben Duncan.
The Tory candidate, Simon Kirby, has a background in local government but failed to make any real impact. He has extensive business interests but lacks the flair necessary to run an interesting campaign.
The Lib Dem candidate is, allegedly, Juliet Williamson, a complete unknown who has failed to increase her profile since being selection. Her challenge will be to retain her deposit and avoid being beaten into 4th place by UKIP.
So the challenge for non-Conservatives is to decide between Simon Burgess and Ben Duncan.
Simon is probably the more popular and better known of the two, highly thought of by Labour and non-Labour alike, having been effective as a concensus builder. Simon is very much a party man, a hard working organisaer and communicator. But as a loyal servant of the party he can lack the independence to offset some of the negative aspects of being a Labour candidate in 2010.
Ben is the more political of the two, able to articulate clear political views and able to campaign on local issues. Ben has the advantage of not being Labour, but may struggle as the Green’s commit all their resources into Brighton Pavilion. His other weakness is his limited appeal beyong the muesli-belt of south west Kemptown. Simon,on the other hand is known and respected well beyond Queens Park ward, not least in Whitehawk, Saltdean, Moulsecoomb and similar areas.
It is on the basis of Smon’s wider support base that this blog is urging non-Conservatives to vote Labour and Simon Burgess at the general election.
The 2005 general election result:
Conservative: 13121 (33%)
Labour: 15858 (39.9%)
Liberal Democrat: 6560 (16.5%)
Green: 2800 (7%)
UKIP: 758 (1.9%)
Other: 622 (1.6%)
Majority: 2737 (6.9%)