Labour’s lacklustre performance in Hove and Kemptown could cost it dear

Christopher Hawtree accuses me of underestimating Celia Barlow in Hove after I predicted a Tory win. He writes “She has been about a good deal the past few years. I am not hearing any great enthusiasm for the Tories but people do mention her. The LibDem vote in Hove could be the key factor”.

I sincerely hope that I am wrong and that Celia triumphs once again. I agree she has been a good constituency MP but the size of her majority means that the slightest swing against Labour will see her defeated.

Christopher is also right to say that the Lib Dems could be the key factor.  It would not be the first time that a no-hope campaign by the Lib Dems lets the Tories in.  This is why this blog has consistently called for tactical voting in Hove for Celia Barlow and the Labour Party.

Unfortunately the Labour campaign in Hove is weak.  Celia, for all her hard work, has not galvanised her supportrs (unlike Nancy Platts in Brighton Pavilion who has a bunch of eager supporters willing to turn out in all weathers – even today!).

A Labour defeat in Brighton Pavilion will be in spite of Nancy Platts and her campaign, not because of it.

I had lunch with a Labour activist in Hove the other day.  He decided some time ago to work for Simon Burgess in Brighton Kemptown rather than in Hove.  But that campaign itself has failed to ignite the imagination and he has done little at the very time that all hands are needed in Kemptown.

So I stand by my prediction that the Tories will win Hove, not becaue they deserve to but because of the failure of Labour in that constituency.

Unless Labour gets its act together in Brighton and Hove, the City Council elections next year could be a straight fight between the Tories and the Greens.

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5 Responses

  1. I think there’s a typo in the last sentence, don’t you mean Unless Labour gets its act togetherin Brighton and Hove, the City Council elections next year could be a straight fight between Tories and the Greens.

  2. We shall see how Kemp Town and Hove turn out, in both senses of the verb. But, yes, it looks very much as if next year could see a battle, even a duel, between Greens and the Tories for minority control of the Council.

  3. I think it will be a clear Tory-Green fight next year. If Labour does not return an MP from any one of the three constituencies, then it would be a disaster for the party.

    But, in all fairness, they have no one to blame but themselves. We’ve had 13 years of Labour and in that time they’ve missed many opportunities, both nationally and in Brighton, to really deliver, the fact that they have not and, if voters no longer want Labour, then Labour members must blame their own and no one else.

  4. If Labour is to keep Kemp Town and Hove, it has to persuade its erstwhile supporters not to sit on their hands this time around. As much a factor as any LibDem push in Hove.

    That is the line I’d take if I were campaign manager, and I reckon enough of them will now wake up to the prospect of a Tory takeover for them to set aside their understandable Labour disgruntlements, and recognise that a hung Parliament could help to foster the sort of Labour party in which they had vested such hopes.

    A vote now holds more weight than it has done in a considerable while, especially in these three constiuencies. That amazing chance should be seized. It is as if there is now the opportunity for some good chess moves rather than suffer the three card trick we have seen in recent years.

    I am out of kilter with BPB on this, but I predict: Kemp Town, Labour; Pavilion, Green, Hove, Labour. How all this goes at the next General Election is another matter.

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