I have been overwhelmed by the reaction that this blog is having of late, not least the volume of comments, emails and direct messages received. Apologies to those who I have been unable to respond to or include in subsequent posts. A feature of the responses that amuses/interests me is the number of Tories who are reacting including comments from Adam Campbell (Brunswick and Adelaide, Maria Caulfield (Moulsecoomb and Bevendean), Peter Booth (East Brighton), Momma Grizzly (Rachael Bates, Hollingdean and Stanmer) and Rob Buckwell (Estate Agents, Seven Dials, sorry Goldsmid Ward). But they are equalled by Labour and Green activists, and the occasional sad Lib Dem. I am aware my posts are getting longer and longer. It is, in fact, your fault, Dear Readers. I will try to make them briefer, but it may take longer to comment and respond to you, let alone post something original of my own.
Regarding the Mary Mears budget, Serenus Zeitblom makes a very interesting observation regarding the text of the letter to the Times sent by 88 Liberal Democrat council group leaders last week. “It’s arguing that local government cuts should not be front-loaded but spread more evenly over the next four years. In effect, that’s exactly what Mary Mears and co appear to have done, drawing on reserves to cover funding for next year while keeping the big cuts in reserve. (The Lib Dem letter looks rather Micawberish to me, founded on a pious hope that future cuts will be softened because something will turn up). Strange – we all know that the Liberal Democrats are irrelevant in Brighton and Hove, but here are Brighton Tories implementing Liberal Democrat policies in apparent defiance of Eric Pickles. If Mary Mears brings this one off it may be testimony as much to her bare-faced cheek as to her strategic sense!”
Andy Richards (do read his blog People’s Republic of Hove - stuck a bit in the 1980′s but nevertheless providing an important Unison/Left perspective) takes issue with Rachael Bates: “What a joke. The council tax cut is being financed by a central government grant. I’m presuming that Rachael knows where the government’s money comes from? We’re paying for our own tax cut!” And in reply to a comment from Rob Buckwell who had said he hoped that opposition councillors would not block the cut in Council Tax, Andy writes: “I am sure you DO hope the opposition parties block it. If it goes through, people will be able to reflect at leisure about what a meaningless gimmick it is. If the opposition blocks it, this will provide you with some short-term ammo for the election campaign. The Tories don’t actually believe that this measure brings any real benefit any more than anyone else does.” You are absolutely correct, Andy. It is why I believe Mary Mears to be a cunning political operator.
I recently asked whether I should lay off those absolutely dreadful Lib Dems, you know who I mean: the Party that betrayed the electorate over student tuition fees, the ones that have enabled the Tories to form a government, the ones who deserve to be at 8% in the opinion polls, the ones destined to be wiped out in Brighton and Hove come May’s local elections. It has been suggested I might, on occasions, show my bias against that party. Michael Taggart writes: “They were amusing when they wore long beards, chewed dung and danced around Stone Henge in their shoes made of lettuce. And that was just the women. The nasty Lib Dems of 2011 are just annoying. I think it’s time to send them to Room 101 where they can be afforded space to come up with a big plan for a return to relevance.” ‘DAP’ concurs: “They deserves all they get; belonging to a party who have lied and mislead their voters (especially Students on tuition fees) and who are now carrying the Tory cuts through Parliament (however recognition here to Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd who voted against the Tuition fee rise)… A disgrace to what used to be thought of as a principled party… and as your analysis shows; i wouldnt be surprised (in fact; slightly pleased) to see no LibDems in the Council come May.”
DAP also makes a compelling statement regarding LGBT candidates being named by political parties: “Im glad parties have candidates who are openly LGBT. Im not naive enough to think that LGBT people in Brighton & Hove will vote for the candidates with the same sexuality as them (and i dont think thats why the Greens/any other party announce it), but openly showing than LGBT people can hold office and achieve great things is an inspiration to the younger LGBT community. Having more ‘out’ LGBT role models can be nothing but a bad thing.” I agree.
Following my identity being ‘outed’ as Roy Pennington, Dan Wilson isn’t convinced. He asks: “People from all parties are asking me who you are Bappy. I have no shame in asking a simple question: Do you reside in the city of Brighton and Hove?”. Perhaps the Ghost of Nobby Clarke is closing in: “Hove resident I think…councillor maybe.” Maybe Hove, maybe a councillor. But there again, maybe not. Who knows. In fact, who cares? But a straight answer to Desperate Dan: Yes, I live in Brighton … or Hove.
A Hove councillor (who will remain nameless) recently told me that her campaign for re-election was going well (I predicted she would hold her seat in a marginal fight) but said that she wondered what my ward predictions are based on. A bit of knowledge, an understanding of electoral politics, a bit of feedback, a lot of guess work. My track record isn’t too bad. For example, I predicted the result in the Goldsmid by-election well before polling day.
More tomorrow ….
Filed under: Council Elections 2011, Politics | Tagged: Adam Campbell, Adelaide, Andy Richards, Bevendean, Brunswick, Council Tax, Dan Wilson, East Brighton, Eastbourne, Eric Pickles, Goldsmid, Hollingdean, LGBT, Maria Caulfield, Mary Mears, Michael Taggart, Momma Grizzly, Moulsecoomb, Nobby Clarke, Peter Booth, Rachael Bates, Rob Buckwell, Roy Pennington, Serenus Zeitblom, Stanmer, Stephen Lloyd | 4 Comments »