Tactical Voting in Brighton Pavilion

Join the debate – should it be Labour’s Nancy Platts or the Green Caroline Lucas who should receive tactical votes in Brighton Pavilion.

Nancy is the stronger, local candidate, principled and hard working. But she lacks a strong local organisation as Labour is dying on its knees.

Caroline has a  high profile nationally as Leader of the Greens, but lacks a local presence and profile. She, too, appears to lack a strong organisation on the ground.

After the Goldsmid by-election, this blog was on the verge of calling the contest in favour of Caroline Lucas, but now is uncertain. That is to the credit of Nancy, and an indictment of the Greens.

11 Responses

  1. This faux debate about tactical voting is such nonsense! In Pavilion, like the rest of the country, voters will want to give Labour a good kicking, so any thought that Nancy Platts will buck the trend is completely fanciful. Which leaves the voters with the choice of (currently) a non-existent Tory candidate, a LibDem with absolutely no organisation on the ground, UKIP and the Greens.

    It is likely that the Tory vote will be diluted by the presence of a UKIP candidate, which can only help the Green party’s Caroline Lucas.

    Speculation that the Green’s organisation on the ground isn’t strong seems to ignore the Brighton and Hove result in the European elections in June, where Caroline Lucas topped the poll and, more recently, what happened in the Goldsmid by-election. There both Labour and the Tories got a taste of the efficiency and effectiveness of the Green party’s true organisational abilities.

    Greens will be delighted that commentators continue to under estimatie their party’s organisational abilities to win Pavilion. It will merely serve to make local activists work even harder to prove the political commentators are completely wrong.

    Tactics won’t play a part in the way people vote. Ultimately it is the quality of the candidate that counts. The voters of our fair city showed what they thought of Caroline Lucas’ qualities just four months ago by giving her more votes than any other candidate in the European election. Expect the same result in the general election!

    • A spirited defence, Sven, but you let yourself down in 2 respects:

      firstly, never underestimate how difficult it is for life-long Labour supporters to change. You can be complacent about an automatic tactical vote for the Greens in Brighton Pavilion. Complacency in this respect, bordering on arrogance, could be the Greens Achilles heal. Remember what happened to the Greens in the recent Norwich by-election.

      Secondly, your use of the phrase “that Platts woman” does you and your party no credit. It smacks of the sexism that criticism of Thatcher who was often defined for criticism by her gender. It never happens to male politicians. When did you last hear reference to “that Blair man”, “that Brown man” or even “that Rufus man”.

      The Greens are supposed to offer a different politics but in this respect you have scored a terrible own goal.

      Treat your opponents with respect. Disagree on policy, fine, but respect Nancy for being a person and candidate of principle, integrity, and commitment.

      • A couple of things – no complacency here. The Greens could lose, but Labour won’t win, that is all I was saying.

        As for my ‘that Platts’ woman’ comment – it probably sounded better in my head at 7.15 this morning than it does in text in the cold light of day – it was meant to be jocular/flippant, not disrespectful and apologies if I got the tone wrong.

        I respect Nancy as a campaigner and for her commitment as I understand things, but I can do that at the same time as holding the party she represents in contempt, and acknowledging the certainty (in my mind) that Labour can’t win. Either way, my point remains that she has been an absentee candidate round here in Hollingdean, as much as you would have claimed the same for Caroline on Crabtree Avenue. Maybe I’m wrong, but then maybe you were too. It just strikes me as bizarre that you change your putative tactical support so quickly on such a flimsy basis.

        Oh and I do sometime refer to men as ‘that xxx bloke’. Juvenile maybe, but no disrespect.

        If just had a long and heated debate with an ex-Labour councillor from Adur which reminded me why I’m in the Green Party. I would once have assumed that I would always be a Labour voter, but the party I looked forward to throughout my youth has gone, maybe with John Smith, and never mind the tribal football team mentaility that politics can slip into, I genuinely can’t understand how any true Labour supporter can still stand by the party that has presided over the decade in which this country became the most inequitable that it has ever been. I want the right social outcomes and they won’t come from Labour at present.

  2. I’m not getting it, try as I might. A few weeks ago you were, as you say, on the verge of calling it for the Greens, and then on the basis of what you have seen – or not as the case may be – over the course of a short spell in the middle of the summer break, you suddenly decide that the Greens are not capable and that the candidate has gone AWOL.

    We’re still here, yes we are. Yes I’ve been on holiday too – albeit that I stayed at home and had to work during it, but that’s another story. Have you had a holiday this year? Hope it was better and longer than mine.

    I know that after the Euros, and Goldsmid hot on its heels, a lot of the Greens took their deferred holidays that we hadn’t had time to take prior to that. But this criticism of our presence is really quite inexlicable and bewildering. It looks insincere and comes across more as politically motivated rather than a dispassionate assessment of the facts on the ground.

    And from my perspective, where is this Platts woman? I’ve seen not hide nor hair of her from my abode in the muesli-free locale of Hollingdean. Maybe she’s been in Crabtree Avenue, but she’s not been near the Dip. You know what, maybe she’s been busy but somewhere where I haven’t come across her – and maybe Caroline has been busy but somewhere where you haven’t seen her. So, I say again, I’m just not getting it – what is the real basis for your criticism here?

    Call it either way, but it won’t change the facts as Geoffrey above says – it is a two horse race here, Green or Blue. Take your pick.

    • Great response, Green Amy. A strong and effective defence of Caroline and the Greens. Perhaps I need to get out more! There remains everything to campaign for.

      • Ah, the life of an Anorak can be reclusive BPB 😉 And you’re dead right – there is still everything to campaign for, “campaign” being the operative word. We know that there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned door-knocking, leafleting, street stalls, and getting out and meeting residents, and we’re now on a rolling programme until the GE.

        If you tell me which ward you live in I’ll come and knock on your door in person! 😉

      • Green Amy offers to knock on my door – certainly not if she is wearing that tabbard she is sporting on her website! http://greenamykennedy.blogspot.com/ She looks like something from the Stasi.

  3. Let me first of all say I am a brighton pavilion based labour party member, so am without doubt biased in the current debate (as no doubt the green party members are as well).

    Obviously I support voting for Nancy at the next general election, and would encourage all left thinking voters to do the same, and I’ll give my reasons why I think they should.

    Firstly Nancy would only be concerned with being the Brighton pavilion MP, rather than trying to front a national party at the same time. So the logical conclusion is that she would be better able to focus on local issues, and work better as a local MP.

    Secondly, Labour are the main party of the left. If you are a left wing voter and want to see left wing government, then labour are the only choice. If (like I believe plenty do) you think labour have moved too far to the right, then nancy is just the kind of candidate you should be electing, as she is truly someone with their idealogy stemming from traditional left of centre views.

    Thirdly, If you believe that Nancy or the local labour party do not care about the environment, you are wrong. We campaigned very strongly for the south downs to become a national park and hosted an event for Ed Miliband (the environment secretary) to attend (among others). Nancy vocally stated her support for the vestas workers on this website. Younger members (including myself) will hopefully still be around in 50 years time, so the interest is as much personal as it is for the betterment of the world.

    All the green party offer (in my opinion) is a pressure group focussed on the environment. Most of their other policys sound very good, but I’ve yet to see a budget from them that could sustain all these ideas (I would willingly be proved wrong), and don’t take into account the needs of soceity as a whole, but rather just specific focus groups, and would never work if put into practice.

    I fear that if the green’s were elected it would make Brighton (and by association Hove) a bit of a joke.

  4. I can’t help but find BPB ‘change of heart’ towards Green prospects in Pavilion quite amusing. Of course there has been little Green activity, as there would be from most politicians. Caroline does have a ful-time job representing the people of Brighton in the European Parliament, I think she can be forgiven for having a couple of weeks off, as with the entire Green operation.

    What BPB should remember is the Greens are still an underdog organisation up against a very well funded Labour Party and Conservative Party. It’s activists are working under financial pressures not matched by the main three parties (with the Lib Dems still not in the same pool as Lab and Con). I think the Greens can be forgiven for taking a little break after a well deserved victory in Goldsmid.

    I also expect the Greens in Brighton to be hitting the ground running after Conference, so expect plenty more activity from Brighton and Hove Greens.

    My advice to BPB, just think a little before making a quick, and what seems a cack-handed, judgement on Green activities/activists.

  5. I find your assertion that Caroline Lucas has “a full-time job representing the people of Brighton in the European Parliament” a little misleading. She is after all an MEP for the entire South East region.

    Please don’t attempt to give her local credibility where it isn’t due.

    I also think it’s rather misleading to say that the Green Party are short of cash in Brighton Pavilion. Have a look at the donations made to Brighton & Hove Green Party in the last couple of years when you get a minute:


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