St Peter’s and North Laine by-election: vote for Tom French

Good luck to both Tom French and Lizzie Deane in tomorrow’s St Peter’s and North Laine by-election.  It is good that those of you with a vote in the election can expres your choice without having to consider voting tactically.  It is a two horse race, and you can express your preference without worrying about letting the Tories or their feeble baby brother, the Lib Dems, through the middle.

As I have oftn stated in this blog, I hope that the Greens win next year’s local elections in Brighton and Hove, that they will be the largest party even if they don’t achieve a majority.  Winning the by-election is important to the Greens but not essential.  Losing the seat will be a set back, but not a disaster. 

Bearing this in mind, and having considered the merits of Tom and Lizzie, I am urging that people vote for Tom French.  With dynamic candidates like Tom, and with the prospect of Labour becoming renewed, it will be an interesting time for politics in Brighton and Hove over the next 12 months for those of us who are non-aligned on the left.

My hope is that next May the Greens are the largest party, followed by Labour, with the Tories down to single figures on the Council.  As for the Lib Dems, much deserved oblivion awaits in Brighton and Hove.

16 Responses

  1. I met Tom French for the first time yesterday, at a public meeting where Ed Milliband was the ‘star’ turn. Tom was only able to speak and take questions for about 25 minutes, but in that time he impressed me. Firstly, he is an excellent ambassador for state education, having come through Brighton schools at both primary and secondary level, and his ability to deliver a passionate message, whilst also giving accurate and balanced information, is evidence that the so-called ‘polish’ of the public school system is not always a match for genuine conviction. Tom spoke wisely about the need to place people first when decision-making, quite rightly pointing out that ‘Green’ decisions are not only about environmental impact. I do not live in Tom’s ward, otherwise i would certainly be voting for him. I urge anyone who is voting tomorrow to support this genuine and talented young man.

    • I think your point about Tom French being an excellent ambassador for state education is a very good one. I went to the same 6th form and was in the same politics class as him so have seen the evidence! Whilst as a Green supporter I am not supporting him in this particularly election (kind of a ‘not right here, not right now’ thing’) I think he is a great choice of candidate for the Labour Party and would be delighted if he’s someday elected as a Labour MP, something which I have little doubt will happen.

      • Apologies for the grammatical error, although I do quite like the sound of the phrase ‘particularly election.’

  2. Candidates and councillors are they the same thing?

    Lizzie has been campaigning with energy on the streets perhaps not on BPB’s street.

    Does BPB live in the ward?

    Lizzie would make a strong loyal councillor: genuine, deeply committed to her local community, not veering from one thing to the next and on a platform of consistent radical and grassroots vision.

    For many years the Greens have been fighting the big business love affair of New Labour locally – and their Government – and now that of the Tories.

    I think that, locally, wise and perceptive people can see and respect that trackrecord.

    Good Luck!

  3. I have just cycled back from helping Lizzie Deane this evening, and also from cycling to collect some data from another hot spot, and there is a buzz from talking with people about all manner of concerns – including how to keep a rescued greyhound from looking behind the telly in quest of goodness knows what. I said that perhaps that is where England’s manager has gone to ground.

    Along the way, I saw Tom French, and later some of his other canvassers, and that was amiable, as it should be.

    Agreement that my Milliband question last night was pertinent.

    Later, during cycle home, I chanced upon Andrew Weall, who was always good natured during Goldsmid campaign. He remarked that he had said to the St. Peter’s Tory canddiate that people with this, our fixation upon local politics can go wild over some post or other on Brighton Polical Blogger site but that 99.99% of residents know nothing about it.

    That is probably the case. At the same time, as Jane Jacobs pointed out in her wonderful The Death and Life of Great American Cities, it takes only 100 people in a conurbation to form those links that makes for rapid spread of news/points of view among that 99.99%.

    An abiding memory for me is that around 9.30pm in the Goldsmid campaign, Election Day, when I was on a doorstep, is that a fellow said to me that he was voting, I think, Labour but held out his hand and said “well done for doing this”. That is surely the difference between England and Liberia or Sierra Leone: in those places, at various times, the hand would have been sawn off, rather than shaken, for expressing a different point of view.

    • I have had both Tories, Lib dems and far right voters offer me their hand, but never a green voter. However I have had about 5 or 6 green voters calling me war mongering scum among many other more unrepeatable things.

      I have often wondered why this was the case, but it is interesting to hear that you have had a different experience.

      Tories are by far the politest people to answer the door, including the Labour supporters I find.

  4. I agree with Brighton Sense. Lizzie Deane would of course make an excellent councillor. She is clearly in touch with the ward, with the residents and knows the area as well.

    The Greens continue to offer the only principled vision for Brighton, as reflected in their decision not to be party to the process to find four new strategic directors with inflated public salaries. That is a gutsy, principled stand, and something that will be replicated by any future Green councillors, including Lizzie.

    Fair enough, BPB has been charmed by Labour in opposition, but I have every confidence that Lizzie will be announced the new Green councillor for St. Peter’s and North Laine.

  5. I have been out here this evening for a stroll, and had a talk with somebody I thought was probably Tory but turns out not to be so, by any means.

    The demographics of the whole place defy the simple predictions of a few years ago. The lazier politicians have not woken up to this.

  6. Well, well well. How interesting!

    It seems very clear that given that in SPNL, the Greens are the Incumbents, their supporters are making one hell of alot of noise… Something must be wrong. Suely as such the Greens should be Quietly confident, but that is not the case.

    It appears that Green supporters are all over this Website like a “Rash”, slavishly supporting the Green candidate.

    The fact remains that Tom has conducted a very energetic and charismatic campaign, while the Greens, given their previous large majorities in past elections have run a rather lacklustre low key campaign.

    It is given the above facts that the Greens are visibly rattled and must fear either losing the SPNL Seat, or are, at the very least extremely worried that they will see their huge majority largely evaporate, causing them to be concerned about their chances of holding it in next years “All-Out” City Council Electons.

    If the Brighton and Hove Labour Party are able to replicate the energy and vitality of Tom’s campaign next year, then the Greens have much to fear for their prospects i next years City Council Elections.

  7. Who is Lizzie Deane?

  8. The vast majority of people I know in Brighton, including myself, switch happily between Green and Labour at elections, according to which party or candidate best represents their interests at a given time – that’s a reality of modern politics. When canvassed by a Green at the last election I explained that I was leaning towards voting for Nancy Platts, but that I considered Greens my friends and allies. He responded with a warm handshake and expressed the opinion that Nancy was unlucky to be up against a candidate as strong as Caroline, and that he sincerely hoped to see her in Parliament one day. Local politics need not be so unpleasant as commenters on this blog often make out.

    • I share your point Jonathan. I find that local politics is a lot more pleasant in real life. I once canvassed a lady who said that she ‘loved’ the Green Party but was voting Labour in the General Election. At another point I met and had a chat with Nancy Platts whilst canvassing on her street, which was very pleasant, as was telling on a polling station with a Labour activist who I soon found out was Tom French’s mum(!)

  9. Perhaps the two unpleasant encounters I have had are these.

    At the Count in 2007 I was talking with Celia Barlow, when up came Anne Meadowes, who asked Celia, “why are you talking with this bastard?” and stomped off. “Who on earth was that?” asked Celia. I replied, “one of your Moulescoomb councillors.” “I really must apologise on behalf of the party,” said Celia. This bizarre scene went quickly round the Great Hall, and I learnt that Councillor Meadowes rarely charms her own party, and I wonder how they can face a weekly meeting.

    Of course, for the Tories, there’s Cllr David Smith, who last year “answered” my Public Question about music libraries by declaring that he would like to challenge me to a duel – and, what’s more, that he would win. People continue to flabbergasted at this in Rottingdean Coastal.

  10. I’d agree strongly that local politics should never be personally unpleasant. Strident and robust, yes. But never with malice. I’d like to see a whole lot more cross party cooperation and warmth.

    I was thrilled to meet the urbane Christopher Hawtree the other day and had a wonderful conversation with him. On SPNL polling day, I took numbers with Cllr Brian Oxley for a while and found him most convivial company.

    And yet there are quite a few people in my local Labour party that I loathe… ;o)

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