It was the Politics Blogger wot won it for Caroline!

Congratulations to Caroline Lucas and the Green Party for an historic victory in Brighton Pavilion. It was one of the few highlights of the election.  Her success is down to the vision and determination that she brings to her politics and which she shares with her team.

While this blog called for tactical voting in Brighton Pavilion, it was a call that was, I believe, largely ignored.  From the result, with the impressive Nancy Platts coming a strong second (I did not see that happening), it appears that people voted positively, not tactically, for both Caroline and Nancy.

I hope that this blog played a small part in the Green’s success.  On January 9th I called for a vote for Caroline and the Greens in Brighton Pavilion.  I said that Caroline had the Big Mo – Momentum.  The critical factor for the Greens was to convince those wanting to vote Green to do so without fear of letting the Tories in.  They succeeded in convincing enough people to do so.  I know a sizeable number of voters in Brighton Pavilion who wanted to vote Green but did not risk it.  Should there be a follow up election later in the year, Caroline can expect to see a huge swing from Labour to Green since doubters now know that they can vote Green with confidence in Brighton Pavilion.

I would urge Nancy to seek selection in Brighton Kemptown.  A dynamic candidate like her would have held the seat for Labour.  If she stands for Labour in Brighton Kemptown, I will be vocal in my support for her and for tactical voting for Labour.

So, well done Caroline.  A fantastic result.  Commiserations, Nancy.  You will be back and I look forward to supporting you, but not in Brighton Pavilion.  And farewell, Charlotte.  I will miss you.  You brought something colourful (sometimes thuggish) to the campaign.

36 Responses

  1. Well that’s imaginative way of looking at it. Brighton had 3 progressive MPs it now has 1 and this is progress and cause for celbration? The other two represent a political party allied to anti-semites and homophobes in europe and committed to wealth distribution from the the poor to the rich and you choose to celebrate the fact that we have a Green MP instead of three Labour ones. Don’t you think that is just a teeny bit self indulgent? And as for your assertion that it was not the Greens that split the anti-Tory vote in Hove and Kemptown – what on earth is the basis for that claim? And remind me why Nancy should not stand in Pavilion again. Is it because the Greens would never stand in the way of progressive MPs seeking re-election.
    Now that I have got that off my chest. Here are the genuine (rather than rhetorical) questions

    For some years now you and I have lived in a city with many Green councillors. What difference has it made?

    How has having Caroline Lucas as one of our MEPs made a difference to our lives?

    What difference do you expect Caroline will make as my/our MP – especially when compared to that of Nancy being our MP?

    • Look at it another way – if Labour had not concentrated all their efforts on trying to stop a Green win in Pavilion they could have easily held on to Kemptown.

  2. It may be possible that Greens manage to convince everyone that Green was the tactical vote and there may be a natural swing to Labour. Bring on another one when a dodgy tory/ libdem or minority tory gov fails miserably. Expect to see the lob dem vote squeezed and the person that can squeeze it will do better (if election in summer holidays natural swing away from greens any way).

    But I still think Nancy will be a better constituency MP for brighton pavilion. The fight is not over yet!

  3. What a shame that Labour supporters ronniegordon and Robert Brown are unable to congratulate Caroline Lucas for becoming the first Green MP and the first woman to represent Brighton Pavilion. She is a true Progressive and her supporters have kept at least one constituency in B&H and the Southy East out of Tory hands. Many Labour voters are delighted to have Caroline as their MP. Your views are certainly not representative of all Labour supporters.
    Bitterness is not an attractive trait in any individual or a political party and I suggest you rethink your position.

    • But the Tories were never going to win! The success of the Greens was convincing people that they could, and only they could stop them. It never was true – but enough people believed it.

      • Promise you it was a very different picture just a couple of months ago – Chuck Vere’s pantomime villain routine spoilt her chances (despite amusing us here), while Nancy Platts deserves credit for a successful campaign that overcome bitterness against broken Labour policies on the sheer strength of her personality (and her adoption of Green policies over Labour’s which was a curve ball!)

  4. How refreshing it was to go to our new MPs ‘open access’ surgery on New Road today.

    People were literally lining up to congratulate Caroline. The excitement from the public was palpable!

    Brighton has truly made a positive statement!

  5. Tell you what why not have a go at answering just one those questions and then we can begin to discuss my moral obligations to everyone that wins an election after.
    What difference will she make to my life that a Labour MP would not have made?

  6. Your analysis may be right – but there is another way of looking at the numbers. The fact that Labour came second is crucially important to any future elections – particularly if it is not too far away. The Greens will no longer have the ‘vote Green to keep the Tories out’ card to play. The Tories are finished in Pavilion, and those who voted Green for fear of a Tory victory will not do it again. You are no doubt right that some Labour votes were out of fear of a Tory victory, but I believe that they are a relatively small number compared to the number of Labour supporters who voted Green for the same reason. These votes will return to Labour. Some will return to Labour/Lib Dem now that history has been achieved.

    I genuinely believe that if the poll were re-run tomorrow then Nancy would win. I lost track of the number of Labour supporters who finally secumbed to the relentless Green campaign of telling people that Labour were a distant third, and couldn’t win – therefore vote Green to keep the Tories out. Together with the ‘making history’ line, it was the only strategy the Greens had. It worked of course, so credit for that – but it was hardly the ‘new politics’ that the Greens are meant to be about.

    I thought that the worst piece of tactics I saw on the day was for a member of the Green Party to park their car right outside a polling station with the betting odds from William Hill stuck to the windows. When asked if they thought it was appropriate they just said – ‘its only the betting odds, nothing political’. I know that it was very effective in changing several last minute decisions for people who were struggling with who was best placed to keep the Tories out.

    So congratulations to Caroline – but it was not a knock-out blow for Labour. The positive and dignified campaign of Nancy ensured that.

    And don’t forget. The Greens threw absolutely everything at one seat. The ability to have so many people going door to door with the same message day after day was unstoppable in the end. The Greens will have to fight elsewhere next time as well – and history will not be there for the making.

    • Pavilion Green vote will go up in the next general election whenever it is called, for the reasons BPB says – a lot of people who would have voted Green were afraid to because of the Argus Poll that Labour were pushing saying we would come 3rd. Risky strategy – I think Labour have lost a lot of credibility as a result.

    • Paul McCrystal – what a nasty little chap you are.

      Dr Faust: Steve Bassam canvassed my house – despite 6 (count ’em!) posters in the window.His single point was that only Labour could win, and that we wouldn’t want a Tory MP, so we should swallow hard and vote Labour.

      Labour’s last two leaflets said the same thing. And from here on in, everyone knows its bollocks. We’re all schooled in Labour being the ‘natural opposition’ to the Tories. When it comes to scaring people with the Tory threat, Labour have a massive advantage, and they played it, by God. And it didn’t work, and won’t again. We’ll get about 2-3K from the Labour vote from people who really wanted to vote for us, but thought it was too dangerous.

      • I ‘Unapproved’ Paul McCrystal’s comment as unacceptable. Also thinking that, for different reasons, Alexander Craven’s comments are losing touch with reality. His personal attacks and lack of grace leave a lot to be desired

      • But the Green argument – that Labour couldn’t beat the Tory – was bollocks as well, and I am certain that more people believed them than Labour. Why should only Labour and not the Greens lose credibility from using the same argument?

      • Because the Green claim was based on the 2007 Locals, the 2009 Euros and the poll commissioned by ICM; the Labour claim was based on the 2005 general results. In other words, whilst no-one knew, the Green claim at least had credible supporting evidence.

  7. Another point that it is worth bearing in mind for future campaigns is that the bookies called it wrong. Yes, I know that Caroline was favourite but I’m almost certain that every bookie had Charlotte down for second place.

  8. Moan Moan Moan. Your all abit bitter aren’t you.

    I didn’t think Labour would be so childish about loosing!

    And the idea that people like Labour and thats why they vote for them is laughable!

    The Greens are going to kick the last little bits of Labour out of Brighton in the locals next year. By the time we get to the next General Election there won’t be any Labour left in Pavilion to fight the election!

    The people voted for the politics of fope rather than the poltics of fear!

  9. The poltics of fope. lol.

  10. The Labour comments here are rather graceless.

    What is perhaps being overlooked is the fact that the Green party not only gained a majority over Labour, and all credit to Nancy Platts for keeping at it, but the Greens leapt across a gap of several thousand votes from the previous Election.

    It was, on all sides, a campaign of innumerable stories, not all of them repeatable, especially the historical information vouchsafed to a Patcham canvasser, but I was perhaps most struck by the rebarbative way in which, on the seafront as dawn broke today, Council Leader Mary Mears greeted my jocular remark by snapping, “you know nothing about campaigns.” Er,…

    Meanwhile, inside the Count at the Brighton Centre, there had been a seething, highly tensed atmosphere, with more nerves on display than at the Royal Sussex, all of it making for a multifarious drama perhaps unique in Festival productions: the participants were also the audience.

    Brian Eno should be congratulated for this fascinating addition to this year’s Festival programme.

    The only disappointment is that the Zombie party was completely useless. Everybody expected some high jinx to enliven a long night night, but the Zombies fell asleep. Which is perhaps only to be expected. Did Brian Fitch have a word with them?

    I was of course profoundly shocked that our new MP’s husband – who evidently shares a tailor with Martin Bell – flouted the city’s street-drinking laws by taking a swig from a champagne bottle outside the Brighton Centre, then handing it to me, and so I sampled it too, hic, and handed it on. Impossible to capture here the smiles and tears and hugs of that gathering outside: it encapsulated the fact that any successful campaign has no one magic ingredient: it is pooling of ideas and enthusiam and energy, and all that generates so much more. As the BPB says, Momentum.

    Mary Mears does not understand campaigns. Caroline has eclipsed the two Tory MPs. Time and again, I pointed out on doorsteps that one Green MP would, paradoxically enough, be so very much more visible than just another backbencher. People grasped that. The wonderful thing about a doorbell is that you never know what you might hear, and the number of times that pressing a bell audibly brought the chimes of Big Ben was surprising. If that gives away a gag line, so be it.

    As for a Green MP being so much more visible, I was delighted that inside the Count, in her speech, Caroline gave due, prime acknowlegement to Pete West, who, as Brighton’s first, solitary Green Councillor, enraged the future Lord Bassam by his very existence. I wish I had witnessed those times. But I think we could see that situation repiicated in Westminster.

    Pete West is a quietly brilliant man.

  11. Okay Allie. Let’s just pretend that everything you say is true and see if you can answer a serious question about Caroline.

    What difference will it make to my life now that Caroline is my MP?

    At the next election what changes will I have seen her make so that I can say, “You know what? I was wrong about her and the Greens. There going to get my vote this time”?

  12. Ohhh puhleaase!

    Rather graceless?!For goodness sake! Get over yourself! Just tell me what difference she’ll make to my life. And never mind about ‘the Labour comments here” or people being representative of Labour. I’m me- I’m a Labour voter but I don’t claim to represent the Labour Party. I’m now one of Caroline’s constituents and want to know how she will make a positive difference to my life.

    • As far as we know it’s a hung Parliament. Even if Labour won Pavilion, you still wouldn’t have a majority and you will be heading towards opposition.

      Caroline will have the unique opportunity to work across party lines. She will not be set by tribal loyalties. In hung Parliaments, tribal loyalties usually mean you end up doing very little for your constituents, the fact that Caroline has some ‘glam’ to her character and personality makes her an MP parties will try and woo.

  13. And, Allie is right, Labour is being completely graceless about this. The truth is, Labour is dead in the South East. Brighton Pavilion was their safest seat and the Greens inspired enough people to vote Green.

    Caroline will be a champion for Brighton. Even the Tory tellers were singing Caroline’s praises yesterday. Whilst some voters may not have been convinced by the Greens, they certainly have an overwhelmingly positive perception of Caroline as being an experienced, hard-working and sincere politician.

    • About a 1, 000 more people through fear mongering at the last minute.

      You won’t have the same resources next time.

    • Whilst I’m overwhelmed that the Tories did not take this seat, I now feel quite embarrassed to live in Brighton Pavilion where we have just elected some self-obsessed careerist.

      Spending £40, 000 to capture such a small margin of votes says quite a lot about Lucas’s campaign. It shows the Greens’ support here is extremely weak. A lot of people think that having one Green MP is a gimmick. I know a large number of Tory voters who would rather a Labour candidate than some bizarre ultra-authoritarian ideologue.

      Our fighting, campaigning local Labour party will continue to fight for the local, not party, interest. I doubt Caroline will be able to squeeze another £40,000 from her student activists to win back those 1, 000 votes.

      The future for the Greens in Brighton Pavilion is very bleak and very short term.

      • As BPB said, you are losing touch with reality.

        Labour has been wiped-out in the South East. Credit to Nancy, she was a fantastic campaigner and ran a decent campaign. She was clearly well-liked but, as I said, even from Tory tellers, they had nothing but praise for Caroline.

        Greens beat the system, it is that simple. Nationally, Gordon Brown was telling us that if we voted for anybody but them we get the Tories. That hasn’t happened. We only get the Tories if your former party, the Lib Dems, do a deal with the Tories to support them in a confidence vote.

        Greens have a real chance of displacing Labour in a number of seats next year. Also, they have a real chance of picking off Tory seats in Withdean and Patcham.

        We shal have to see but, my hunch is that the Greens can take the momentum and take the fight across Brighton and Hove in the council election next year.

  14. Obviously I’m incredibly dissapointed that Nancy did not win. The campaign that she ran was incredible to be a part of both for the ability it was run with but also the fun that I had with it. Its a great shame that it did not get the result it surely would have anywhere else in the country.

    I would like to offer congratulations to Caroline Lucas, theres no getting away from the fact that the green campaign was also very large, and obviously, effective. As my MP I hope she does do well for Brighton Pavilion. That doesn’t take away from the fact that I would still prefer a Labour MP to represent me (especially Nancy!).

    I’m incredibly happy that the Tories came third, hopefully they will never be able to win here again, so that voters can choose whoever they want here irrelevant of tactical voting.

    I think it should be noted that despite the very high levels of campaigning of both Labour and Green parties, it remained a fairly clean campagin. There may have been some minor squabbles, but this is nothing compared to what I’m hearing of the Tories and Lib Dems fighting in Lewes, Horsham and Eastbourne. It does make you wander how they’ll get along in Government.

    An interesting side point is the total division of votes in Brighton and Hove:
    Conservative: 46786 – 33.9%
    Labour: 46301 – 33.5%
    Liberal Democrats: 26090 – 18.9%
    Greens: 21136 -15.3%
    UKIP: 3538 – 2.6%

    Should make for some interesting council elections next year, (I don’t think it’ll necessarily stay in this order, certainly not this share).

    Obvioulsy since we came near enough top but with no MP’s, let me be the first to ask for a better electoral system! 🙂

    • Given the number of leaflets from Green and Labour parties showing bar charts of alleged support, or bookies odds, I wonder what we will see come the local elections next year. Tim’s figures above show an interesting change from the euro elections.

      Conservative – 33.9 – up 11.8%
      Labour – 33.5% – up 19%
      Liberal Democrat – 18.9% – up 6.7%
      Green – 15.3% – down 16.1%

      I’m not sure how this can be worked out in terms of swing – but it looks like a 14% from Green to Conservative since the euro elections. I look forward to the Green leaflet illustrating this next year! Or perhaps the Tory leaflet saying – ‘Conservatives push Greens into fourth place in Brighton and Hove at general election’. It ‘s all about which figures you choose and how you present them – as we have seen in this election very clearly.

      • Erm, wasn’t it Labour that said people vote differently at local and Euro elections than they do at the General Election? Hence why the Greens look better on paper from Euro and local results?

        Hmmm. Poor Labour attempt at getting their numbers (and knickers) in a twist.

        Commiserations to you, Tim. Nick Herbert has an even bigger majority than he did before and has now taken his vote over 50%. Never mind.

      • Thanks for your commiserations Luke. Labour suffered huge blows in West Sussex. I think part of that was people mistakenly voting tactically for the Lib Dems, when truthfully the Conservatives are set in deep, unlikely to change in my opinion.

        In Arundel and South Downs we guessed we were in for a rough time, as last time the Conservatives actually lost share of the vote (against national gain) which was no doubt due to the Howard Flight debacle. I think the canceling of this blip was one of the reasons for Nick’s strong showing, along with Tory gains nationally. Still disappointing though. Some Tories came to me and said they though we’d run one of the best Labour A+SD campaigns, but then we would say that if they got that big a gain!

        PS. I think if you check my comment underneath the numbers I said I don’t think the share will stay the same, so numbers not in a twist! 🙂

  15. The hope of electoral reform is one of the reasons I voted for Caroline Lucas, in order to weaken the power of the Labour/Conservative establishment. Even a change as minor as AV instead of FPTP would mean people could vote for their favourite candidate rather than against the one they fear might win – which might reduce the need for so much negative campaigning (vote for X in order to prevent Y from winning).

  16. Which one of Caroline’s manifesto commitments do you think she’s most likely to deliver on?

  17. Ronniegordon,

    Which of Nancy’s policies would have been implemented? I didn’t see any of them in the Labour manifesto.

    I like Nancy’s politics but, on the whole, her policies we not Labour’s, they were much closer to the Greens.

  18. Luke, you may have picked up that I’m a bit fed up. I’m fed up that a Labour government hasn’t been elected to prevent the horror that I believe that a Tory government is about to unleash on the country. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

    Had a Labour government been elected I imagine that frontline services in the NHS and schools, Sure Start working families tax credit would have been protected as per Nancy’s manifesto.

    Now what irritates me is that I feel that I’m expected to be pleased that Caroline’s been elected. Well don’t get me wrong one progressive in B and H is better than none – but not as good as three.

    Forgive me for not joining in the celebrations for Caroline – I understand the local Greens are having a big party tonight but I honestly do not think her election (as opposed to Nancy’s) will make a bit of difference to my life. I genuinely do not believe that any of her policies will be implemented – I’d be really pleased if a lot of them were. And I’m beginning to suspect that no one here really believes that her policies stand a chance of being implemented either otherwise my requests for examples would have been answered.
    Now, in good faith I’ve tried to answer your question how about you having a go at answering mine?

  19. The Greens are a one-trick pony. Out of 300+ seats they stood in, they only retained their deposit in three – Brighton, Norwich South and Lewisham Deptford – and in the case of the latter two, they came FOURTH.

    That’s right. Fourth. After Labour, Tories and Lib Dems. So they cannot credibly say, next time around, they have a realistic chance of winning either of those seats. And because they failed to get even 5% anywhere else, there are no seats where they could credibly say they could win. The next few elections will be about defending their single seat, much as they had 2 MEPs for 3 elections and never increased their contingent.

    That’s all very nice for them, and for those people who think politics is about losing even if you’re right, but for the rest of us, who have a planet to defend and a political system to reform, the Greens are a waste of time and offer no hope for the future.

    So congratulations are in order – but even if you hold onto this seat (and no doubt, you will throw your entire national machinery behind it again, and will do for the next 10 years), there’s nowhere for you to go now. Sorry.

  20. @ronniegordon

    Labour lost. Maybe Labour is in decline. You can’t keep the old parties around forever. Maybe it is time for them to be replaced. However, if you see the facts from my post above, you and your Green opponents will realise that this is as far as it goes for the Greens. A bit of time in opposition will help Labour reform itself, and then win back their lost votes. The Greens might even lose this seat.


    it’s almost as if the last paragraph was written with you in mind.

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