Labour in Brighton has become the Nasty Party and is betraying its core support

Since Labour lost Brighton Pavilion to the Greens in Brighton Pavilion, there seems to have been a concerted attempt to rubbish Caroline Lucas.  Blogs and Tweets by Labour supporters have made rather cheap attacks on Ms Lucas.  Far from having any impact on her reputation, it has shown Labour supporters as poor losers and, frankly, very petty.

Labour was beaten, fair and square.  Rather than attack the successful candidate who has impressed and is admired, Labour should take a long hard look at itself and look at why life-long Labour supporters like me voted Green.  In response to these cheap attacks, I am more likely to vote Green next time than return to Labour. Labour in Brighton, by the reaction of its supporters and the ungracious comments of the former MP, has become the nasty party.  It bodes well for the Greens for the 2011 council election.

Labour in Brighton has lost its compass.  The Greens are seen as the enemy, at a time when the Conservatives are cutting, cutting, cutting.  Labour in Brighton is betraying its core support.

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9 Responses

  1. Has Labour been nasty? I’m not sure. As any good journo or academic would say: we need examples.

    In the past few years, Labour in Brighton and Hove has lost control of the council, and all the parliamentary seats in Sussex (not even just here in B&H). I can speak for many when I say we know we need to do better. We’ve lost a lot of things. But the compass? No. I have it here. :o)

    Labour is now a party of opposition and, hopefully, insurgence. Plenty of things need to be done and reflection is a must. We need to reach out to citizens, voters, and indeed people from other parties. I’m in the business of building bridges, rather than burning them.

    I’d like to see more cooperation and less conflict. I think I’ve made that very clear of late.

    But none of that precludes scrutiny. The Greens are not the enemy. Indeed, I’d like to understand how we both complement each other and, with any luck, form a coalition on Brighton and Hove Council after the 2011 city council elections. Potentally with the Greens as the bigger party, if that’s what the voters decide.

    But the Greens are the establishment now. As a Brighton Pavilon resident in the Regency Ward, they represent me. My MP is a Green. Both my local councillors are Green. I have (among others) a Green MEP. They have to prove themselves… that’s their challenge. Criticismi s valid

    Personally, I’m struck by Greens who continue to turn their fire on Labour and not the Tories….

    I give you examples:

    http://www.jasonkitcat.com/2010/06/labour-incapable-straightforward-campaigning/
    http://www.jasonkitcat.com/2010/06/labours-astounding-hypocrisy-cuts/
    http://kemptownben.blogspot.com/2010/06/brightons-public-spending-cuts-in.html

    To corrupt an old t-shirt slogan: I’d rather be criticising the Tories.

  2. Yikes. Sorry. 😉

    And another thing. Labour (including me) has been out in Portslade this past week door knocking, leafletting, and having converations about traffic, the PCC and all manner of local issues. We enjoyed a very positive response.

    In the Mile Oak neighbourhood, the Greens aren’t actually part of the discussion in my experience. And I know the area well.

    • Factually BPB is correct.

      But the problem lies more in the fact that Labour in Brighton not only dislike the Greens more than they dislike the Tories, they are actually closer in thinking on a lot of issues to the Tories – especially on planning development and privatising services.

      The recent deal Labour did at the city council with the governing Tories to keep their opposition spokesperson hats (more allowances) is an example of that – in return for which it looks like they agreed not to work with the Greens on the council budget so the minority Tory budget would prevail.

      Since Steve Bassam’s reign as Labour Council Leader in the 1990s, Brighton & Hove Labour has become one of the most ‘right’-leaning Lab parties in the country.

      Of course, there are noble left-wing exceptions including former councillor Joyce Edmond-Smith, but they are a minority.

      Many of the ‘old left’ have joined the Greens such as former Labour councillor Jack Hazelgrove.

      Interestingly nationally, there seems to be more postive thinking from Labour, especially from the left-leaning Compass committee who have invited Caroline Lucas to speak at their conference.

    • The Greens could do well in Mile Oak.

  3. You touch another raw nerve here. In political terms Labour made only one mistake but it was huge. It was the invasion of Iraq. Fancy waiting 17 years to do something useful and all you can come up with is invading Iraq. Gross.

    But let’s point our guns to the government now. Did everybody see how elements of the Conservative party and the media are criticising Obama for ganging up on BP?

    That is symptomatic of the entire political spectrum of the UK. Forget that the explosion killed 11 oil rig workers and caused the biggest catastrophe in US history. Conservatives jump in the defence of business but not in the defence of the British workers. They don’t count. By the way, was the British worker the one who cause the current financial catastrophe? Was it the State who caused it?

    What is surprising the media and Boris Johnson most is that Obama DARES to defend the workers and the common people. That is Thatcherism for you. It will be our undoing because it permeates everything. Now, they are targeting universities. Tomorrow they will target single mothers again. It’s in their blood.

    But I will shift the attention to the UK student. In 1968 students were in the frontlines of social change and the protection of society. Today they queue outside Apple Stores overnight for an iPad.

    I urge students to live up to their history. Rise up. Hit the streets. Become once again the future of the country. Don’t forget to study, of course. We need your degrees and your placards.

  4. What has been said that is offensive to Caroline Lucas?

  5. The nastiness was always going to hang around.

    The only reason why Labour went up to Portslade last week was after the Greens announced they would host a public meeting to discuss the academy plans for Portslade Community College and to organise some community opposition to it.

    After all, we need to remember that academies were a flagship Labour policy, it is no surprise to see them being embraced by the Tory council.

    The attacks on Caroline Lucas are petty. Caroline pledged from the start that she would be an MP for Brighton Pavilion. She has already done more than either of the two Tories in Hove or Kemptown.

    Thirteen years of a Labour Government, their record, their actions, the policies they promoted, do not disappear straight after losing an election. Criticism is still reserved for Labour and will be for some time.

  6. Whenever there’s any comment or criticism of Caroline Lucas, this is presented as “petty”. But Green supporters are absolutely fine about criticising other politicians and parties, particularly Labour.

    I’ve no problem with criticism – it’s part of democracy to openly debate the shortcomings of government and politicians (although it would be nice if credit were also given where it’s due).

    What bothers me is that the Greens don’t seem to accept that they should get the same treatment. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions about Caroline Lucas’ commitment to Brighton. People here have a right to know whether she is going to take the responsibilities of being a constituency MP as seriously as those of party leader and spokesperson.

    Labour’s the main opposition party in this city, and Greens should expect Labour activists to play a role in giving our MP the same scrutiny that she and her party would give others.

  7. At the recent meeting of trade unions against cuts organised by Unison, the muttered bitchiness of some Labour members sitting behind me when Lucas got up to speak was all too audible.

    The sense of divine entitlement to the progressive vote which Labour still seems to think is its property alone will be its total undoing if it isn’t careful.

    They ought to appreciate that many people see the Coalition as simply carrying on with bad ideas which were first inflicted on us by Labour – academies being a prime example.

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