The more I reflect on the election battle in Brighton Pavilion, the more excited I become. First, there is the certainty of have a woman elected to represent Brighton Pavilion for the first time in its history. Second, whoever wins, we will have a first-rate Member of Parliament. All three candidates, Nancy Platts, Caroline Lucas and Chuck Vere, are impressive in their own right, each achieving prominence in their particular field. But each has a handicap to overcome – the Leader of their Party.
Gordon Brown is on the one hand an extremely unlucky Prime Minister. Many of the woes that have befallen his government could not have been anticipated. One the other hand he has not handled himself well. He did not distance himself from Blair, and he has failed to engage with the electorate. Ironically, he has recovered when attached by the Sun over the letter to the mother of a dead soldier. For the first time people saw the humanity of the man, and learned about his own disability – blindness. There is still a chance that he will recover further, and this would help Nancy Platts.
David Cameron is everything that Gordon Brown is not. Smarmy, privileged, born to rule. No matter how hard he tries, he just lacks the common touch. As the election approaches, and as people see more of Diamond-Geezer Dave, they will realise that he comes across as an Old Etonian, Oxford toff. Why? Because he is an Old Etonian, Oxford toff! This image is magnified when he stands alongside that other Tory toff, George Osbourne. The challenge for Chuck Vere is to ensure she does not come across as a Tory toff herself. Is she able to talk to ordinary people on the Number 46 to Hollingbury without talking down to them?
But the biggest challenge posed to any of the three comes from the leader of the Green Party. Candidate Caroline Lucas will be hard-pressed to overcome the disadvantage she faces from the Leader Caroline Lucas. Don’t get me wrong, I have huge admiration for Caroline The Leader. She stands out head and shoulders above the leaders of any of the other main parties. She is bright, engaging, original, inspirational. The disadvantage to Caroline the Candidate is that as Caroline the Leader she is already being thinly spread, and that is without taking into account her duties as an MEP. Her profile as Leader will help her as Candidate, but it also might dilute the effort that will be necessary if she is to become the Green’s first ever Member of Parliament.
Who is brave enough to call this one?