Tactical Voting in Brighton Pavilion: Where have the Greens gone?

Just when I was about to advocate that a tactical vote in Brighton Pavilion should be a Green vote, the Greens disappear.  Yes August is a quiet month, but not when you are a candidate in a key marginal seat.  And let’s face it, the Greens have just one key target, Brighton Pavilion.

Labour’s Nancy Platts has been high profile and coinfident.  Where has Caroline Lucas been? “Caroline who?”, you may well ask! While the European Parliament has been on its summer holidays, it would have been an ideal time for Caroline to be seen and get known in Brighton Pavilion. The only press reference I have seen regarding her is a statement from her to do with the latest climate camp in London.

The Greens, generally, since the Goldsmid by-election, when you couldn’t move for Greens, have gone deathly quiet (other than Jason Kitcat who has gone on and on about internal Green Party politics – hasn’t he learned from Labour’s mistakes?).

We have heard not a peep from the Greens. Has Alex Phillips left town? Are the Greens still serious about Brighton Pavilion. Has it all become too much for you?

Unless the Greens really get their act together, then this blog may yet call Brighton Pavilion for Nancy Platts and Labour.

A Tactical Vote in Crawley is a Labour Vote

This should be a “no brainer”. Labour’s majority at the last general election was just 37 over the Tories with the Lib Dems 10,000 behind on just 15.5%.

There is no excuse for anyone who wants to limit the Tory majority in Parliament voting anything but Labour in Crawley.  Laura Moffatt is a hard-working constituency MP, made a stand on the expenses scandal (by sleeping in her office on a camp bed rather than incur London rents/hotel rates).

So, rally round Laura. She needs your support.

The 2005 general election result:

Labour: 16411 (39.1%)
Conservative: 16374 (39%)
Liberal Democrat: 6503 (15.5%)
Other: 2685 (6.4%)
Majority: 37 (0.1%)

Tactical Voting Campaign: Brighton Kemptown

With Des Turner standing down at the General Election, Simon Burgess, former leader of the City Council, is hoping to succeed him as just the third ever Labour MP for this seat. Simon had a huge set-back when defeated in the last local elections by, amongst others, the Green parliamentry candidate, Ben Duncan.

The Tory candidate, Simon Kirby, has a background in local government but failed to make any real impact. He has extensive business interests but lacks the flair necessary to run an interesting campaign.

The Lib Dem candidate is, allegedly, Juliet Williamson, a complete unknown who has failed to increase her profile since being selection. Her challenge will be to retain her deposit and avoid being beaten into 4th place by UKIP.

So the challenge for non-Conservatives is to decide between Simon Burgess and Ben Duncan.

Simon is probably the more popular and better known of the two, highly thought of by Labour and non-Labour alike, having been effective as a concensus builder. Simon is very much a party man, a hard working organisaer and communicator. But as a loyal servant of the party he can lack the independence to offset some of the negative aspects of being a Labour candidate in 2010.

Ben is the more political of the two, able to articulate clear political views and able to campaign on local issues. Ben has the advantage of not being Labour, but may struggle as the Green’s commit all their resources into Brighton Pavilion. His other weakness is his limited appeal beyong the muesli-belt of south west Kemptown.  Simon,on the other hand is known and respected well beyond Queens Park ward, not least in Whitehawk, Saltdean, Moulsecoomb and similar areas.

It is on the basis of Smon’s wider support base that this blog is urging non-Conservatives to vote Labour and Simon Burgess at the general election.

The 2005 general election result:

Conservative: 13121 (33%)
Labour: 15858 (39.9%)
Liberal Democrat: 6560 (16.5%)
Green: 2800 (7%)
UKIP: 758 (1.9%)
Other: 622 (1.6%)
Majority: 2737 (6.9%)

A tactical vote in Worthing East and Shoreham is a Lib Dem vote

Worthing East and Shoreham is an interesting seat.  The sitting Tory MP, Tim Loughton, has a good public image and is a hard-working constituency MP.  Labour and the Lib Dems were neck and neck last time, with Labour coming out marginally in front in second place.

However, with the national decline in the Labour vote, their inability to make any breakthrough in Worthing itself (surely an area where Labour could thrive), and the effectiveness of the Lib Dems in pavement politics, the recommendation of this blog is for tactical votes for the Liberal Democrats.

The Lib Dems need to get their acttogether, however, and get a decent candidate in place quickly.  Labour have had young Emily Benn, probably to be the youngest at the general election, in place for the past year. Her youth will probably count against her. The grand-daughter of Tony Benn and neice of Hilary Benn, she comes from a more Blairite tradition, reflecting the politics of her mother, Nita Clarke (who worked for Tony Blair)  more than those of  Tony or Hilary. For example, she supported the war in Iraq, and this will surely count against her.

The 2005 result:

Conservative: 19,548 (43.9%)
Labour: 11,365 (25.5%)
Liberal Democrat: 10,844 (24.3%)
UKIP: 2,109 (4.7%)
Other: 677 (1.5%)
Majority: 8,183 (18.4%)

A Tactical Vote in Hastings and Rye is a Labour Vote

Until 1992, the Lib Dems seemed best placed to challenge the Tories in Hastings and Rye, but swept up in the Labour landslide, it went Labour in 1997.  Michael Jabez Foster, a local employment law solicitor and former councillor has been the Labour MP ever since.  Much respected by supporters of all parties, Foster has a large personal vote that could just save him at the General Election. That and tactical voting by Lib Dems and Greens.

Against Foster are Amber Rudd (Conservative) and Nick Perry (Lib Dem).  Amber is working hard and is gaining some local respect. She is the managing director of a recruitment and consultancy firm and contested Liverpool Garston in 2005. Nick Perry is a social worker and a graduate of Cambridge University.

The 2005 result:

Conservative: 16081 (37.4%)
Labour: 18107 (42.1%)
Liberal Democrat: 6479 (15.1%)
Green: 1032 (2.4%)
UKIP: 1098 (2.6%)
Other: 207 (0.5%)
Majority: 2026 (4.7%)

Boundary changes give a slight advantage to the Conservatives.  The UK Polling Report  has adjusted the 2005 result to reflect the boundary changes and reports a notional 2005 result as follows:
Labour: 18528 (40.7%)
Conservative: 17323 (38.1%)
Liberal Democrat: 7229 (15.9%)
Other: 2418 (5.3%)
Majority: 1205 (2.6%)

This is definitely a seat that can return a non-Conservative IF Lib Dems and Greens do the sensible thing.

A Tactical Vote in Lewes is a Lib Dem Vote

The first call for the Tactical Voting Campaign is for Labour and Greens to support Stormin’ Norman at the General Election.  Norman Baker MP was elected to Parliament in 1997. A former local councillor he has gained a huge reputation at Westminster for his campaigning from the back benches for a public enquiry into the death of David Kelly.

There should be no difficulty in Labour and Greens voting for Norman, unless of course you are a huge fan of Peter Mandelson.  Baker is probably the MP hated most by Mandelson.  All the more reason for voting for him!

Up against him are Jason Sugarman (Conservative) and Hratche Koundarjian (Labour).  Sugarman was educated at Brighton College and Durham University. He is a barrister specialising in criminal law. Having contested Dudley South in 2001, he appears to be a Tory in search of a seat. Koundarjian was educated at Sussex University and works in public affairs. Unfortunately for him, Labour doesn’t stand a hope in hell of winning in Lewes, so Labour voters should have no hesitation in voting Lib Dem.

The result in 2005 was:

Conservative: 15902 (34.2%)
Labour: 4169 (9%)
Liberal Democrat: 24376 (52.4%)
Green: 1071 (2.3%)
UKIP: 1034 (2.2%)
Majority: 8474 (18.2%)

Since then there have been boundary changes.  The UK Polling Report has adjusted the 2005 result to reflect the boundary changes and reports a notional 2005 result as follows:

Liberal Democrat: 26140 (51.6%)
Conservative: 17212 (34%)
Labour: 4943 (9.8%)
Other: 2359 (4.7%)
Majority: 8928 (17.6%)

Tactical Voting Campaign

On June 14th I called for tactical voting across Sussex in order to return eight non-Conservatives Members of Parliament at the next General Election. Today this blog is launching the Tactical Voting Campaign that aims to link voters in different consituencies who will ‘trade’ votes with others in order to elect the strongest non-Conservative candidate.

For example, if you are a Lib Dem supporter living in Brighton Kemptown (where your candidate has no chance of even coming third) you can agree to cast your vote for the Labour candidate in exchange for a Labour supporter in Lewes voting for the Lib Dem candidate (Norman Baker who will be defending his seat).

If enough agreement is reached, we can defeat the Conservatives across Sussex rather than see them achieve a clean sweep.  There are 4 recommendations for Labour votes (Brighton Kemptown, Crawley, Hove and Hastings), 3 for the Lib Dems (Lewes, Eastbourne and Shoreham & Worthing East), and 1 for the Greens (Brighton Pavilion).

Further details will be posted later in the week. In the meantime, comments are welcomed on the Tactical Voting Campaign.

It will be open season on local government workers

On 5th July I wrote that the public sector could expect severe pay restraint. Today it has been forecast that hundreds of jobs will be axed across East and West Sussex.

The scale of projected budget deficits is staggering. Between 2011 and 2014 one in ten jobs will go. There will be pay restraint, compulsory redundancies, huge cuts in programmes, and further funding reductions to voluntary organisations, many of which will go out of business.

Local government workers have lost the confidence of the community at large, if comments on the Argus website are anything to go by. Local government unions such as Unite and Unison are perceived as protecting already over protected workers. That is all about to change. Come the next general election it will be open season on local government workers.

What worries me is that important serrvices to the elderly and the young will suffer while local government unions will only be interested in defending 15% pensions.

Peter Mandelson: A Poltician who scares me

In his 1996 publication, ‘The Blair Revolution’, Peter Mandelson (and co-author Roger Liddle) wrote: “Throughout society, there is a feeling that Britain is in moral, social and economic decline.

“In previous generations, parents felt certain that their children would go on to do better than them. Many (now) worry about whether their newly graduated son or daughter will even get a job”.

So what will the legacy of the New Labour be?They will leave government with record national debt, deep recession, rocketing unemployment. Community relations are fractured with the BNP gaining ground in White working class areas and Islamic extremist rife. Confidence in the political process is at the lowest point in my lifetime.

As a direct resul of it’s libertarian policies we have unprecedented gambing-related debt, alcohol consumption and abuse at record levels, with a 25% rise in alcohol-related cases of mouth cancers, drug use at levels never seen before. The list is endless.

Parents wonder if their recently graduated sons and daughters will ever get a job. Or ever afford to leave home.

The prison population has just topped 84,000 for the first time ever.

What a shame New Labour did not adopt the Mandelson blue print. Stupid me, Blair did.

What will Mandelson put forward next to cover for the failed New Labour model? No doubt he will find someone to blame …. immigrants, the unemployed, the sick, the elderly, trade unionist, socialists, ….. Where will that lead us …. That scenario is truly terrifying!

Ethical Foreign Policy? I think not

Labour was elected with what Robin Cook described as an ethical foreign policy. He went in protest to war.

New Labour has brought us Iraq and Afghanistan. New Labour has denied that rendition flights had used UK airports and bases. They had. New Labour denies torture allegations. The evidence suggests otherwise.

Labour candidates, if you want the support of old Labour voters like me need to demand that Brown apologises for the wars, for rendition collaboration, and agrees, now, to a public enquiry into torture allegations.

He looked pathetic when caving into demands that the Iraq inquiry be held (at least in part) in public. He is in danger of a repeat performance over torture allegations.

If Labour candidates can’t achieve this now, they should individually denounce New Labours unethical foreign policy and offer apologies to their constituents.

Lets be hearing from you, Nancy Platts, Simon Burgess and Celia Barlow. These are extraordinary and difficult times for Labour. Extraordinary and exceptional actions are required from it’s candidates if they are to have any chance at the elections.