Political Awards 2010: Politician of the Year Part 2 (Labour and Green)

Yesterday Conservative Mike Weatherley, Lib Dem Juliet Williams, and UKIP’s Paul Perrin were nominated as the possible Politician of the Year for Brighton and Hove. Today, the Labour and Green Politicians of the Year.

Both nominees are obvious choices, being the stand-out candidates in the General Election last May.  Both received regular praise in my blog, and both were obvious assets for their respective party.  Caroline Lucas, elected as MP for Brighton Pavilion is likely to be recognised in many reviews of the year. As the first ever Green MP in the UK, she has been a breath of fresh air nationally.  Her appearances in Question Time and Any Questions, as well as other political shows, has given the electorate a clue what politics could be like if we could be freed from the central high command that characterises both Labour and the Conservatives.  Caroline demonstrates that there is an alternative, and by doing so exposes Labour for all its conservative tendencies, and the Lib Dems for its lack of back bone.  Caroline Lucas is the Green Politician of the Year.

As someone who votes Labour or Green, depending on the election and the candidates, but whose roots are most definitely in the Labour Movement, I am put off by the attempts of some Labour activists who engage in petty point scoring as if that is going to drive voters back to Labour.  The opposite is true.  Labour has a fundamental problem given the success of Ms Lucas.  That problem is how to galvanise not just voters but supporters and Labour members alike who are increasingly impressed by Ms Lucas as a constituency MP.  I was quite critical of Ms Lucas in the run up to the general election, but am pleased to say how wrong I was.  Small-minded Labour activists will ask how many nights a week does she spend in Brighton.  I don’t know, don’t care.  It clearly is enough as she is seen around the constituency and attending events.  Like Mike Weatherley and even Simon Kirby, she is proving to be an excellent local MP.

The Labour Politician of the Year defied all expectations by polling extremely well at the general election and coming a very credible runner up in Brighton Pavilion, relegating the Conservative Charlotte ‘Chuck’ Vere to third place.  Nancy Platts was, as I have said previously, selected at the wrong time and in the wrong constituency.  Her misfortune was to be up against Caroline Lucas in this general election. Had the Greens selected Keith Taylor, Nancy would have won, although Chuck Vere would have pushed her close.  Caroline took votes from both Nancy and Chuck.  Nancy ran an energetic campaign, remained (at least in public) upbeat, and never doubted the strength of her campaign. She motivated her supporters and, had she been running in Brighton Kemptown, she surely would have won.

Even though I may have been unseasonably mean to Nancy for giving her the ‘Here Today, Gone Tomorrow’ award, Nancy will be remembered for her excellent campaign. I sincerely hope that she will stand at the next general election, though not in Brighton Pavilion (assuming the seat survives the current gerrymandering). She will be a great MP and I will follow her career with interest.  Nancy Platts is Labour’s Politician of the Year.

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