The campaign in Queens Park is getting lively and turning nasty!

Labour’s Tom French alleges that Green Queens Park councillor Ben Duncan was “slated by member of public for not attending 6 Police Authority meetings”.  Really?  The public no less.  Everyone of them?  Tom French then says that the Tories  “refuse to protect local bus services in Queen’s Park”.  The infamous, number 81 no less, the one with ‘Brian Fitch’ on the front.  He calls on another Green councillor, Jason Kitcat, to support the campaign to save the number 81.  Councillor Kitcat replies “if valued bus services are being actually cut then I’d be very very worried. But no firm signs of that yet”.  Then councillor Kitcat says “AFAIK”. What could he possibly mean?

The Queens Park campaign is likely to be one of the liveliest in the city.  The three Labour candidates, media-savvy Tom French, local community activist-extraordinaire Chris Cooke, and the other one (the lovely Dan Chapman) are hard workers, part of the new breed of Labour activists who lack electoral experience (which is a good thing given the tired out hacks on the council radiate doom and defeat). 

But up against them is the Green Dream Team, sitting councillor Ben Duncan (who cares if he misses the occasional meeting – focus on your own campaign, Tom French.  Attacking a popular and hardworking councillor like Ben Duncan makes you look shallow).  Steph Powell, a youth worker, is energetic and personable, and offers an alternative to voters because it is rumoured she is not a gay man!  Again it is rumoured that Labour tried to recruit her as recently as November.  Geoffrey Bowden, the Sussex Square, matches Tom French in his use of new media.  He is a communications consultant, no less. 

Queens Park was the outstanding result last time for the Greens.  Ben Duncan, the very popular Rachel Fryer and the much respected Paul Steedman ousted Labour’s leadership on the Council, Simon Burgess, Ken Bodfish and Delia Forrester.  Ben beat Delia by a mere 15 votes, but it would be wrong to think that a small swing to Labour nationally will even things up and allow Labour back in.  Rachel, Paul and Ben have consolidated the Greens position and the Greens could be on the verge of being the natural party to represent Queens Park.

But one shouldn’t forget Chris Cooke who has been everywhere in Queens Park over the last few years, with a profile as high as that of an active councillor.  We could get a split decision here.  My prediction is that Queens Park will return 3 Greens or 2 Greens and one Labour councillor.  No wonder it is a lively battle, and no wonder it is getting dirty!

5 Responses

  1. Apologies for the acronym in my tweet, but when every character counts some old email shortcuts come handy…

    AFAIK = As Far As I Know

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pabs, BrightonPoliticsBlog. BrightonPoliticsBlog said: The campaign in Queens Park is getting lively and turning nasty! […]

  3. There is a lot of comment about Queen’s Park as a swing state.

    I have walked all around it, and I am not persuaded that Labour will regain a seat.

    Times they were a changin’ in QP a few years ago.

    Meanwhile, in Brunswick, I was startled the other evening to find there are no votes at all for the Greens on the top floor of Hill House on Western Road. It would be interesting to have the view of the LibDems, and indeed of David Watkins, on this phenomenon. Perhaps, before they come to blows in that corridor, Elgood and Watkins can shed some light on it – if they can find the button…

  4. Great post BPB: I came across it during a break from a cold Saturday’s canvassing and it made me chuckle.

    We’re working hard, as you’d expect, but are hearing really positive feedback from voters.

    Te overwhelming message is that people love meeting engaged councillors – and really appreciate being canvassed.

    So, in the interests of enhancing local democracy, my free gift to canvassers of all parties is a wintry filip: the fact that canvassing – if it means you get to have some random encounters with strangers – will make you happier, healthier and, possibly even live longer –

  5. So sorry I missed this interesting post too at the time – I was sleeping rough in support of the YMCA’s Sussex Central Sleep Easy campaign and high lighting the growing issue of homelessness in the city.

    Sadly, the Tory administration seem to have leaned heavily on the YMCA to prevent a Sleep Easy in Brighton going ahead on Saturday, which might have made folk question the woeful under reporting of rough sleepers in the city.

    The last minute cancellation of the Brighton leg of the national Sleep Easy campaign meant that the YMCA was forced to return more than £300 to donors, as the participants they were supporting were unable to switch to the Horsham sleep out on the 28th, which is where I had to spend the night under cardboard cover instead.

    Its a scandal – especially as the YMCA works with the B&HCC providing support to over 1,000 homeless people in the city each year and roofs over the heads of 200 of them. The lovely YMCA folk didn’t want to make a fuss to protect their relationship with the council, but I think the Mears-led bunch should be forced to make up the donation shortfall.

    If the campaign in Queen’s Park is getting dirty, then let’s focus our fire power at the lack luster bunch running B&HCC show at the moment for pulling shameful stunts like this! Incidentally, if Mary Mears or any other her colleagues are reading this and would like to donate towards the fantastic out reach work of the YMCA they can by clicking onto this link:

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