A round-up of political blogs in Brighton and Hove (Part 2)

This is the second installment of my occasional round-up of Brighton (and Hove) political blogs.

Luke Walter: Luke’s Blog ‘The Plural Progressive’ is a pale reflection on his prolific presence on Twitter. The last time Luke posted something on his blog was 18th May which is a great shame since his posts were well worth reading.  Take, for his example, his post Momentum from 9th May which provides a great analysis of the Green’s chances in next May’s local elections.  Come on, Luke, get blogging again.

Mary Mears:  I enjoy Mary’s blog.  It is nicely sectarian, never afraid to have a dig at opposition councillors, not least Ben Duncan who seems to get to Mary regarding his comments on EDO.  May is a highly effective politician and is underestimated by her opponents at their peril.  I profoundly disagree with a lot of what she says, but she has insights that make her one of the foremost bloggers locally – and she blogs on such a regular basis for someone so busy.

Metrodeco’s Brighton Blog: All the big stories, all the big news, all the big gossip…  Not necessarily a political blog but worth dipping into from time to time as this blog offers an interesting perspective on life in Kemptown.

Nancy Platts: Since her defeat at the general election, Nancy has moved back to London but has promised to move back to Brighton should she be selected to take on Caroline Lucas at the next General Election.  (Don’t do it, Nancy, you will get heavily defeated.  Chose a winnable seat which Brighton Pavilion won’t be next time unless it emerges that Caroline Lucas is an alien receiving backhanders from the airline industry).  Her Brighton blog (like that of her Tory opponent Chuck Vere) has been put on ice.  Follow the link and you will be told “Holding page for http://www.nancyplatts.com”. Probably one to remove until, and if, Nancy returns.

Neil Harding: Neil produces a regular, easy to read blog.  Gone is the busy landing page which confused my simple mind.  Now it is clean, crisp and readable.  A good, honest blogger who provides an important perspective on politics in Hove (and Brighton).

I’ll review others next time.  Please let me know if I have missed any local political blogs.  I am aware that there is a shortage of local Labour blogs.  Please suggest some.

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A round-up of political blogs in Brighton and Hove (Part 1)

Here is the first part of my occasional round-up of political blogs in Brighton and Hove.

Caroline Lucas: Caroline has the great advantage of being the sitting MP for Brighton Pavilion.  She doesn’t over do her blog, posting every three or four weeks on a matter of some substance or of local concern.  The rest of her website is stuffed full of information that should be of interest to her constituents.  A must read blog.

Charlotte Vere: I was criticised for calling Scott Seaman-Digby (Tory Central Office’s favourite to take on Caroline Lucas who lost out to Chuck Vere in the open caucus experiment) a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ kind of politician.  He immediately disappeared back from whence he came.  Chuck Vere, on the other hand, continues to take regular pops at Caroline Lucas but has rarely returned to Brighton since her defeat.  She will, one suspects, search out her old map of Brighton when selection time is once again upon us.  As for her website, all you get when trying to open it is the following message: “Website currently being maintained and updated, please check back in a few days”.  I will.  I did like Chuck and, even though I did not shed a tear when she lost, she was a formidable individual who enlivened the local political scene.

Amy Kennedy: Green Amy hasn’t posted anything since 1st May, and that is a source of great regret, at least for this blogger.  I know I teased her for being the Delia Smith of the Green Party, and praised her taste for Stassi-styled tabards, but on a more serious note she is a strong feminist and I was pleased to plug a video of a speech she gave to the Council on women’s issues.  There are not enough local feminist political bloggers around, so I would urge her to make a comeback.  She is also a leading authority on planning issues, and I learned much from her posts.

Ben Duncan: Kemptown Ben is one of the most prolific bloggers locally, and his blog is a must read for anyone with an interest in Council matters and in the policing of the city.  Ben’s blog is great because it is regular and relevant, providing up-to-date analysis of local issues, and a fresh perspective not provided by the Brighton Argus.  Nothing more needs to be said other than “Read Ben’s blog”.

Jean Calder:  My Blog Roll has, until today, linked to Jean’s Argus Blog which provides an archive for her much missed column in the Argus.  But I am pleased to see that, in recent weeks, Jean has begun blogging on a new site, The Jean Calder Chronicles.  Her blog does not make easy reading, and is a strange mix covering as she does local and national politics as well as recording violence against women and children (and in a recent post the murder of Jay Abatan). The titles used for some of her posts makes clear the thrust of her blog “Death of Lorraine Head”, “Death of Laura Wilson”, “Death of Assia Shahzad” and so on.  It is sobering to see her factual and respectful accounts of the killings of these women, usually at the hands of a male family member. However, she does cover politics and other local issues.  Always worth reading.

More in the next few days.  Until then, feel free to comment on what I have said about other people’s blogs, and have a say about this blog.  My favourite comments about my blog include these from someone styling himself/herself simply as ‘kemptown’:  “Your writing is not very original. Your blog is not kept up-to-date. It is pretty dull to the average person. In fact it is just not very good” and on another occasion “You really are a bit odd and this blog is not really very good; come on do some real blogging for a change”.   Makes me proud to be appreciated!

If this is the best Labour can offer in Brighton and Hove, we are doomed

The other week, shortly after Ed Miliband was elected Labour Leader, I received a ‘letter’ from the Labour Party entitled ‘A fresh fight for a fairer society’. It must rank as one of the most ineffective party political communication I have ever seen. If this is the start of Labour’s ‘fightback’ in Brighton and Hove, then the Greens and Tories will be laughing all the way to the election count next May.

It starts “Dear Voter”, immediately defining the relationship. The election is six months away, but I know that Labour is interested in just one thing. There is nothing about wishing to engage, work in partnership, recognise past failings.

The letter goes straight to an attack on the Tories and Lib Dems. That really should please me, but some how it doesn’t. There is no scene setting, nothing positive, just a rant against the Tories and Lib Dems. Only in paragraph 5 is there anything remotely positive and apart from that the whole of the first page is negative. There is some complete guff at the bottom “Labour Values” and “Community thinking”. What on earth does either of that mean? Is it “Labour values community thinking”?

At least page 2 starts with something a bit more positive – “We say – there’s a better, fairer way.” It then reports that “At our recent Party conference we elected a new leader and we will begin a fresh fight for a fairer society.” What the letter fails to do is say who the newly elected leader is. (I understand it to be one of the Miliband boys).

The rest of side 2 is ok, presenting some policy priorities, and then making an invitation to join the Labour Party. But the letter is not signed, and the only two names on the letter are mine (in the address box) and the name of the publisher, a Mr Keith Day of 49 Church Road, Hove. Even the email address in the “Contact us” section is “council@brightonhovelabour.com”.

This leaflet is a disaster, a waste of paper and of effort. Please, Labour Party, this is an embarrassment. We, the people of Brighton and Hove, need you to put up a bit of a credible challenge next May. At this rate you will let the Tories hold those seats where you should be challenging. If this is the best Labour can do, we are all doomed!

No hiding place for Lib Dems in Brighton and Hove

Mark Collins from the Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats has a letter in todays Argus saying that Brighton Lib Dems oppose higher tuition fees. He rightly points out that every Lib Dem MP signed the pledge to vote against any rise in tuition fees.

“Being in government doesn’t change those views, and it does not change a pledge”, he writes.

He says that he will march proudly against the rise and for “the future of higher education” in the nationwide demo on November 10th.

But what he can’t get away with is that it is his MPs and his Party that is making it possible for the Coalition Government to make these cuts.

There is no way back for the Lib Dems in Brighton and Hove, not as long as they are betraying every principle that they once claimed to have had. And decent activists, like Mark Collins, do themselves no help whatsoever by pretending that there is a difference between activists and what their MPs are doing on their behalf. It is the activists who helped Norman Baker and Stephen Lloyd get elected in Lewes and Eastbourne.

If Mark wants to make a real difference, and wants to put real pressure on his coalition MPs is to resign from the Lib Dems and join Labour or the Greens.

Evidence of deep divisions within Brighton and Hove Conservatives

The Tories in Brighton and Hove are at each other’s throat.  Leading councillor Ayas Fallon-Khan has been deselected by his Goldsmid ward association.  This is the latest, and the most public, display of hostility within the local Conservative Party. 

The divisions are local and personal, with genteel Hove Tories upset by the Brighton-dominated leadership.  But there are other divisions – between those Tories who are basically One Nation Tories and those who are salivating at the prospect of deep cuts by the ConDem Coalition.

What most Tories are fearing as they approach next May’s local elections, is the backlash against them because of the cuts.  They may not like each other, but that will be insignificant when compared to the hatred that they will experience as representatives of the Coalition Government.