Congratulations to Lizzie Deane for a comprehensive victory in the St Peter’s and North Laine by-election. The scale of the victory, and the volume of votes secured, shows that the Greens are riding very high in Brighton and Hove.
- Lizzie Deane (Green) 1,816
- Tom French (Labour) 880
- Rob Buckwell (Conservative) 365
- Trefor Hunter (Lib Dem) 103
- Gerald O’Brien (Independent) 32
Labour’s Tom French put in an admirable performance. In may ways he had an excellent campaign, one that marks him out as one of Labour’s exceptional candidates for the future.
But even with the quality of Labour’s campaign, it did not make even the smallest dent in the Greens stranglehold on St Peter’s and North Laine. And before Labour dismisses the result as predictable in the Green heartland, it should see this as a warning for next May. The Greens will not just hold its current seats, it will effectively target a number of traditionally Labour areas and a few vulnerable Tory seats (and hopefully the 2 Lib Dem seats).
Some impressive young candidates will not be enough for Labour. The high visibility Labour Leadership campaign, together with Ed Milliband campaigning in the ward, is not doing it for Labour. While there will be a reaction locally against the Coalition Government’s cuts programme, that anger is likely to be channeled into protest votes locally for the Greens rather than Labour.
The conditions are perfect for the Greens to make a second historic breakthrough locally. With Caroline Lucas in parliament, the Greens should become the largest party on the Council and, who knows, could just get a majority if Tory seats can be effectively targeted.
Tom French will be hugely disappointed, but he should take heart from his personal performance. His reputation will have ben enhanced, and he will have learned a great deal from the campaign and result that will prepare him better for future campaigns.
But this morning belongs to Lizzie Deane. Enjoy the day, and have some time off ….. until Sunday. Then all Greens must get out on the streets, recruiting madly in St Peters and North Laine but, more importantly, in Labour and Tory heartlands. The campaign for the City Council in May 2011 begins here.
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