In recent posts I have offered comradely advice to Labour about what it needs to do to re-establish itself locally. In this post I offer some advice to the Greens (also comradely, but I’m not sure whether Greens use such language!).
I expect the Greens to do well next May. In September last year I did a review of how I saw things going in each ward, the key wards between Labour and the Greens being Regency, Preston Park, and Queen’s Park. The Greens are optimistic about Hollingdean and Stanmer, although I think that it might win one, possibly two seats, but certainly not all three.
The danger for the Greens in approaching thses local elections is complacency. They underestimate Party loyalty and personal votes at their peril. In Hollingdean and Stanmer, the Greens have made Jeane Lepper into something of a hate figure. She clearly has got up the noses of Green councillors, but she has a substantial personal vote. Performance in the Council Chamber and years of case work on the estates are very different things. To a lesser extent, Pat Hawkes has something of a personal vote but nothing to match that of Jeane Lepper.
To their credit, the Greens are replicating its successful formula from the general election campaign. The day of action on Saturday demonstrates what the Greens are capable of. If local organisers can convince Green activists from across the south, London and beyond that a day trip to Brighton and Hove will help them gain control of the City Council.
In the three key wards, the Greens certainly don’t have it wrapped up. The Labour candidates in Queen’s Park are keen, energetic and very active. But so too are the Greens (I almost described the candidates as ‘young’, keen, etc. until I remembered that the Sussex Square, the ever youthful Geoffrey Bowden, is standing!). More than half of the Greens sitting councillors are defending their seats, either standing down or in the case of Sven Rufus, moving wards from Regency to Hollingdean and Stanmer. The Greens will lose the advantage of the individual personal votes.
Labour have been wise not to field several of the former councillors defeated last time, although several of their less impressive councillors are standing again, which makes areas such as Moulsecoomb and Bevendean vulnerable to a Tory clean sweep, something that should really be unthinkable.
Having given comradely advice to Labour, my comradely advice to the Greens is to avoid complacency. Build your base (not your greatest strength) and recruit, recruit, recruit. Don’t underestimate loyalty votes, and chase each and every vote. The results in several wards will be close.
Filed under: Council Elections 2011, General Election 2010, Politics Tagged: | Bevendean, Brighton, Geoffrey Bowden, Hollingdean, Hove, Jeane Lepper, local elections, Moulsecoomb, Pat Hawkes, Preston Park, Queens Park, Regency, Stanmer, Sussex Square, Sven Rufus