Are the Greens losing it in St Peter’s and North Laine?

The old St Peter’s Ward was the area where the Green Party made its first breakthrough in the City with the election of Pete West.  The party has dominated the seat ever since while the Greens have spread their influence into traditional Labour areas, ousting Labour’s leaders in Queens Park last time out.  The challenge for the Greens is to make in-roads into traditional Tory areas if it wishes to be the largest party after next year’s local elections.

Other than the election of Caroline Lucas to Westminster, the greatest achievement of the Greens since the last locals was Alex Phillips’s stunning win in the Goldsmid by-election.  She is an impressive young woman, hard-working and very likeable.  Her campaign in that by-election had all the ingredients for a successful bye-election, and that is the approach that the Greens need next May.

So why on earth are the Greens running such a lacklustre, uninspiring campaign in the St Peter’s and North Laine by-election.  The qualities shown by Alex Phillips’s campaign are being replicated by Labour.  In Tom French they have an impressive young man, hard working and very likeable.  He seems to be everywhere and he is winning support from those who vote Green in local elections and who voted for Caroline Lucas.

In a recent exchange with the Green candidate, Lizzie Deane, I described myself as a critical friend of the Green Party.  I am not a Green, more tribal Labour.  In the general election I called for tactical voting throughout Sussex.  In only contest did I advocate a Green vote, and that is because I thought the Greens had a better chance of beating the Tories.  I will be taking the same approach next May, although I anticipate calling more seats for the Greens than for Labour.

The risk for the Greens is that the wholly inadequate campaign in St Peter’s and North Laine will give a huge boost for Labour, even if Tom French comes a close second.  This will give Labour the ‘Big Mo’ – momentum.  I hear that the Labour Party in St Peter’s and North Laine has a lively bunch of young activists who believe that they can win the seat, if not on July 8th but certainly next May.

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6 Responses

  1. Hi BPB,

    Certainly Labour are running the kind of campaign you expect from a party that has gone into national opposition.

    They are campaigning against cuts, despite of course Darling’s warning that we could expect cuts worse than Thatcher under Labour.

    They also seem to forget that the cuts to education started under a Labour Government and Labour in Brighton certainly are trying to re-write history.

    What the Greens need to expose is Labour’s double-talk and re-writing of the record on cuts. Thirteen years of Labour policies being implemented nationally cannot be underwitten in a few weeks.

    We need to point out the inconsistencies in the Labour campaign as well as their collaboration with Tories on the council in recent months where they have undermined proper democratic procedure. Voters in SPNL need to be made keenly aware of how Labour operate on the doorstep compared to the council chamber and committee meetings.

  2. How does the BPB judge these matters? How many places does he have in St Peter’s and North Laine? My impression, from this side of the doorstep, is that the area has enthusiastic Green voters. I can envisage Green advances next year.

  3. I think it is impossible to read these things. I imagine the Greens will win big. I will be astonished if Labour get within 10% of them.

  4. No chang of record. We said no emergency budget, no more deficit reduction this year but a sensible economic policy. We are now campaigning against cuts to frontline services this year, which we have always opposed.

  5. I do not know what the BPB thinks one should be doing.

    I go around and have now had several hundred people enthusiastic about voting Green. Much talk, points answered, concerns heard.

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