North Portslade and South Portslade both saw one Labour and one Conservative elected in May 2007. In North Portslade, long-standing Labour councillor Bob Carden topped the poll with 1,142 votes with Tory Trevor Alford second on 1,082. The Tories were third with Labour’s second candidate fourth.
It was a similar story in South Portslade where Labour’s Les Hamilton polled 1,119 votes. The Tories had Steve Harmer-Strange elected with 1,061 votes. The Tories filled third place and Labour fourth.
It was clearly the Carden name and his personal vote that saved Bob, as it was with Les Hamilton (but not with Brian Fitch in Hangleton and Knoll). Cardens go back to the 1920s in Brighton, with Herbert Carden being responsible for the City’s huge land holding, more than 10,000 acres and more than a dozen farms. Carden Avenue is named after Herbert.
As for Les Hamilton, he used to hold the seat with his dad, also called Les Hamilton. It sometimes feels as though there have been Les Hamiltons going back a thousand generations in Hove politics.
While Bob and Les have done well, dynastic politics can have the great weakness of poor party organisation and renewal. Labour paid the price for this in 2007.
If Labour is serious about becoming, once again, a serious force in local politics, it must win all four seats in May 2011 in the two Porslade wards. In both wards the Lib Dems and the Greens came absolutely nowhere. So it is an easy recommendation that anti-Tory tactical voters should vote Labour.