I have been delighted by the debate recent posts have provoked. Clearly the local elections have begun to catch the imagination of activists. This is understandable since interesting results are likely in individual wards and for the City Council as a whole. But I have to say some predictions are well off the mark.
For example, Christopher Hawtree deserves an award for Hopeless Romantic of the Year in thinking he has a chance of unseating Mary Mears in Rottingdean. Hell will freeze over before the Tories lose Rottingdean, and Mary is well respected amongst many voters. I know that is hard for Labour and Green activists to swallow, but it is the reality. She has not been guilty of the arrogance that epitomised the defeated Labour leaders last time out.
Allie Cannell says that the Tories should not be complacent. They haven’t been which is why they will do reasonably well in May. They will lose seats and control of the Council. While councillor Mears and her colleagues will be making some unpopular decisions in the budget, she has ensured that her core support is in place and the Tories will retain all their seats in their safe wards, and have a very good chance of beating Labour in its heartland of Moulsecoomb and Bevendean.
The keen fight between Labour and the Greens shows no sign of cooling. I have called on both parties to focus on the Tories when they seem to regard each other as the real enemy. However, when it comes to the election itself, I disagree with Steampunk who questions why Dan Wilson and Tom French are standing against the Greens in Regency and Queen’s Park wards respectively. Elections are elections and each party must be free to field candidates against each other. In spite of Dan’s regular criticism of my blog, I am an admirer of him, as well as of Tom French. I am sorry that they are standing in Regency and Queen’s Park, not because they are standing against the Greens, but because neither are likely to be elected. I would have preferred to see both these very able activists to stand where they will be elected. Both have an outside chance of being elected, but the smart money is on the Greens in both wards.
Finally, AJM predicts the Greens will lose Queen’s Park, Preston Park, Hollingdean and Stanmer, and Goldsmid. These are four of the most interesting wards, it has to be said, but to point to the Green’s performance in Oldham and Saddleworth is not relevant. Brighton (and Hove) is not Oldham. Caroline Lucas’s election continues the momentum, the Big Mo, for the Greens locally. The mobilisation last weekend shows the Greens still have it. I am still of the view that the Greens will do best in May, but will not form a majority. Labour is showing signs of life, but the question remains whether it can mobilise sufficient numbers and offer a credible vision for the City. They might do better than I have previously predicted, but they will still be the big losers in May.
Filed under: Council Elections 2011, Politics Tagged: | Bevendean, Big Mo, Brighton, Caroline Lucas, Christopher Hawtree, Dan Wilson, Goldsmid, Hollingdean, Hove, Mary Mears, Moulsecoomb, Oldham, Preston Park, Queens Park, Regency, Rottingdean, Saddleworth, Stanmer, Steampunk, Tom French