The election of Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion will see Keith Taylor become an MEP

Thanks to Gary Dunion, a Green Party activist in Perth, Scotland, (follow him on Twitter @garydunion) for alerting me to today’s breaking news regarding the appointment of Brighton Green councillors, Rachel Fryer and Keith Taylor, as the Gren Party’s spokespersons on Education and on Planning and Regeneration, respectively.  Congratulations to both.

I was reminded of an exchang I had with local thespian, Ralph Brown (@ralphwjbrown) regarding the Open Market.  I said that local Greens had much to learn about local campaigning.  Ralph accused me of being a Tory! He said that Keith Taylor had been working on the regeneration of the Open Market for many years,and that I should, in effect, ‘watch this space’.

Well I’ve watched and waited, and I have observed a further decline in the Open Market, including the closure of the most prominent stall run by Council Leader, Mary Mears.

Given Councillor Taylor’s ‘success’ in the regeneration of the Open Market, I am glad that the election of Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion will not see, nice guy that he is, Keith gaining any additional authority for planning and regeneration. What it will mean is that Keith will succeed Caroline as a Member of the European Parliament!

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8 Responses

  1. Thanks very much for the name check! My new post today clarifies that we’re not actually sure when Cllrs Taylor and Fryer became national spokespeople, because the list hasn’t previously been available to the public.

    http://brightgreenscotland.org/index.php/2010/02/clarifications-and-questions-on-green-spokespeople/

    To the best of my knowledge, though, this is the first public announcement of their appointments.

    I add my congratulations to both councillors, however belated they may or may not turn out to be!

  2. As far as I can recall Rachel has been in that post for years and Keith has had that position since at least before the Euro’09 elections… so not news really.

    As for the Open Market, it’s not in my ward but as far as I know it is a complex issue with lots of stakeholders making progress tricky. I wish opposition ward councillors had to power to just push renewal through – but we don’t!

  3. Re Dunion and Kitcat: Much amused by Green party people’s discussion regarding who and what their own people are speaking for and for how long. I partic like the idea that you could have spokespeople and not make that public! Brilliantly bizarre!

    As I recall, Keith Taylor has been councillor for the ward that contains the Open Market since 1999. I’m wondering how much longer he needs to come up with a reasonable proposal and fight for it.

    I was at the Open Market last week and made some purchases and am bewildered that it continues to be a shadow of its former self (as a Brighton kid I recall it being vibrant and vital as a source of produce for the family!)

    I’m not not sure that the Greens can keep saying: it’s complex and we’re in opposition. Seems rather defeatist.

    What is the Green plan for the Open Market?

  4. Dan, for better or worse times change, things aren’t static and never stay the same for instance, when you were a youngster Brighton Pavilion was considered a solid Tory seat, now look at it, it’s on the verge of electing a Green MP.

    It is well known that in recent years Brighton has become a very fluid and mobile city with a constant changing demographic; this has been proven in a very recent survey.

    It takes a long time for businesses, especially local ones, to cultivate a loyal customer base, this isn’t easy in a city which is changing quite rapidly. Bigger businesses e.g. Supermarkets and high street chains, can afford the luxury to spend a lot of money on cultivating a loyal customer base, they are increasingly becoming one-stop shops where the consumer can purchase almost anything at a price they are told is a fair one.

    The loss of local businesses and local stores is just as much down to trust than evolving socio-economic factors. As a society, across the nation, trust has been lost, we are less trusting of one another to how we were twenty years ago. Now, this can be attributed to the loss of high quality journalism in the media, it could also be a result of an increased emphasis on ‘fear’ and ‘shock’ in our arts and culture, it can also be attributed to a populace that is becoming more mobile and venturing off to pastures new (though not always as pleasant). This has a profound affect on small businesses and local markets who are struggling to hang onto existing customers, let alone trying to bring in new ones. People like logos and they enjoy brands, people trust them because they think they know what they’re getting.

    My point is that things change and people have to change with it. If you support the (free) market, you have to come to terms with it.

    If you are concerned about the open market and the state of local businesses in St. Peter’s and North Laine, then I suggest you get in contact with Keith and the other Green councillors, pitch your ideas, work with them constructively and do something non-partisan. Can you agree on that point?

  5. Dan,

    For better, or for worse, times change and people change to. When you were a youngster, Brighton Pavilion was considered a solid Tory seat, now look at it, voters in Pavilion are on the verge of electing a Green MP! That’s pretty remarkable.

    Brighton Pavilion has an ever changing demographic, with residents coming and going, this has a profound affect on local business. It takes years for local businesses, including those at the Open Market, to hang-on to their existing customers, let alone trying to cultivate new ones. Bigger businesses e.g. supermarkets and high street chains, have a luxury which local businesses don’t have: marketing teams. Supermarkets are fast becoming one-stop shops in which you can pick up anything you want whilst the consumer is being led to believe that it’s at the fairest possible price.

    In recent years we have seen a huge decline in trust. Now, this may be a result of loss in high-quality journalism in the media, it may even be a result of ‘fear’ and ‘shock’ becoming so prevalent in our arts and culture or, it is more likely, that it’s a result of changing communities, with new neighbours appearing every couple of years.

    Moving home is an often stressful and daunting experience for a family however, logos and brands remain a constant when moving home. This is where local businesses, some of which have been around for generations or more, lose out.

    Brighton as a city is becoming more commuter oriented, with people waking up at 6am, catching a train at 7am and not getting back through the door again until after 7pm. For those individuals that remain and work in the city, often those on lower incomes, independent businesses, like those at the open market, are probably considered to be more expensive than a supermarket, with far less choice than the high street, and perhaps above their station.

    Im sure you’ll agree Dan, this is a far more complex issue, than it appears, dealing with a number of other factors, and generally trying to fight against the tide. So I propose this, if you have a plan, or indeed any kind of suggestions for returning the open market to the glory days, then go to Keith, pitch him your ideas, and let’s make it a non-partisan issue, one that puts those business men and women at the heart of the matter. What do you say?

  6. A stroll round London’s Borough Market should be inspiration to anyone interested in the future of our own Open Market. The possibilities are infinite. The scope endless.

    I would happily join a group looking solely at the revitalisation of the OM.

    Shocked by the lack of enthusiasm, ambition and sense of possibility.

  7. I do enjoy Borough Market, it’s a real pleasure to be able to work in an office on Southwark Street, less than 100 yards from BM. However, BM has something which OM doesn’t, commuters.

    Many people work in the vicinity of Borough Market, only a short walk across London Bridge.

    A lot of well paid office people spend their Thursday and Friday lunch times spending a fair bit of cash at the market. That’s the sorry conclusion to that.

    The Open Market is open to possibilities, but we have to accept the reality that it is no longer what it once was because times have changed. Much of rural Sussex outside of Brighton has gone through a very similar change, it may not be pleasant but it’s the sad reality.

    Rather than focussing on what the OM once was, why don’t we try and imagine what it could become? What can it offer to those people who live and work in Brighton? How do we move the Churchill Square crowds to the OM?

    There are far more questions than the ones above, but we can’t simply say that the possibilities are infinite, they’re not. But I do agree with you on one point, we shouldn’t give up on the OM.

  8. Of course Borough Market and Open Market are totally different beastsand we couldn’t replicate that. Not least on size. We might not want to. But it’s a useful inspiration.

    And the point you make about commuters is fair too. But isn’t also Saturday a busy day at Borough? No commuters then.

    When I lived in London, it was a draw that would bring people from all over the city. In Brighton, the OM is in with 15 minutes walk of a massive population. I really think that if it was remarkable, distinctive and also honestly priced that we could see something really special develop over time at the OM.

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