Doorstep Brighton 6: Official – no Estate Agents standing for the Tories in Goldsmid Ward … or is this denial really true?

Rob Buckwell, who I have met on several occasions and is a very nice, earnest young man, has the wisdom to say that “there are times when (the BPB’s) analysis is sadly incorrect. This is certainly the case with the Conservative campaign in Goldsmid.” 

He goes on with the usual guff that all candidates spout about working extremely hard to get their message out to the people of Goldsmid and reassures us that his party has far from given up on this ward.  He is hardly going to say we are a pathetic bunch of wasters with no hope of election. “On the contrary” he says “we are campaigning extremely hard to win all three seats in this crucial three way marginal. We passionately believe in our priorities for the ward and the city, and I look forward to the time Brighton & Hove has some of the lowest council tax in the country under a Conservative majority council.” 

Young Conservatives are becoming as bad as New Labour types with their on-massage line, with Tories it is looking forward to the time when “Brighton & Hove has some of the lowest council tax in the country”. 

Responding to a comment I made about the three Tory candidates resembling estate agents, he writes: “I can inform you that I am not an Estate Agent!”  But Rob fails to provide the assurance that neither of his fellow candidates are not estate agents either.  What does this omission tell us?

I am always pleased when some controversy surfaces about those wards with less prominence, and even more delighted when it becomes personal.  The shy and retiring ‘Dr Faust’ hesitated before making this comment given what he perceives as my general view of Green councillors, and my particular “affection for Amy Kennedy”.  In response to the headline that Green councillors take their responsibilities more seriously, have more weight of expectation upon them, and work harder (not my view, I hasten to add) he says that in Preston Park ward it “is certainly not the case”.  He says that it is his experience “that Amy rarely replies to issues raised, other than a ‘holding’ response, whereas the Labour members are more likely to.”

‘Steampunk’ jumps to the Good Lady’s defence.  He writes: “A Labour supporting work colleague from Preston Park recently told me that the two Labour councillors in her ward were pathetic (her words) but she found Amy very diligent.” 

I have previously been known to tease Amy by making made reference to her obsession with baking and her Stassi-style tabards (ok, she only wore it once) but I am happy to say that I have great respect and admiration for her as an unapologetic feminist.  I still think the speech she made in 2009, in which she introduced a successful motion calling on Brighton & Hove City Council to celebrate its leadership of women’s rights by adopting the Fawcett Charter, is worth watching (it can be found on You Tube).

My ‘spies’ in Preston Park ward tell me that Amy has been fantastic as a ward councillor, and several of them involved in the protracted campaign against the development of land alongside London Road station have been so impressed by her that at least two activists (both former Labour Party members) have joined the Green Party.

Preston Park remains one of the most interesting seats in the City, a key battleground between Labour (with two councillors – Kevin Allen and Juliet McCaffery) and the Greens.  Rumours have it that both Juliet and Amy will not be seeking re-election.  In both cases, a great shame.  Perhaps someone could let me know if this is actually the case, and who the candidates are for both Labour and the Greens.

‘Clive’ takes me to task by saying that I you never took up his point regarding David Watkins and Ann Giebeler who ended up as independents, and how little renegade independents seem to prosper. I agree, Clive.  I think it is a shame that there are so few independents elected at local level across the country.  Clive refers to the exception that was Jayne Bennett, but asks, “how renegade was she anyway?”.  Indeed. 

And here ends the latest Doorstep Brighton update – with no mention of Christopher Hawtree.  Oh, damn.  Ruined it …

13 Responses

  1. When it comes to being ‘on messages’, you have to take your share of the blame.

    Media (including blogs) are keen to rip into any difference between a candidate and ‘their party’, so many candidates (and parties) feel obliged to prioritise ‘on messageness’ above simple, open, honesty.

    Its not an issue for me, because I am always right.

    And god save us all from earnest people!

  2. BPB – I can most certainly reassure you that Amy Kennedy will be re-standing in Preston Park.

    The other candidates will be announced formally very shortly.

  3. Kevin Allen and Juliet McCaffrey are both certainly standing again for Labour. Not sure about the third candidate.

  4. I’m sorry Rob Buckwell, but a couple of points:
    1) If your headline policy is achieving the lowest council tax in the country – if that is as far as your ambition goes – then no wonder this city has ground to a halt in the last few years. It goes someway to explaining the present administration having an active policy (the only policy they do have) of blocking, delaying and spoiling everything. At least that’s cheap. But where is the vision for the city, the big ideas, the plans to make it a better, fairer, more creative place?
    2) A conservative majority will never occur under Mary Mears. When the Goldsmid by-election occured the Tories were on the up nationally (pre-cuts), yet she managed to throw away the tory seat, and with it their effective control of the council, at a time she should have been building the majority. I’m amazed higher echelons in the tory party haven’t demanded her removal – especially after David Cameron is alleged to have phoned her personally to ball her out over Status-Quo gate and the salaries of the posts being advertised (tbf he must have finished that conversation by shaking his head and wondering what was going on in the provinces if someone like her can get to the top of his party locally). And lets put to bed BPB’s myth that Mears is an intelligent and shrewd operator who is dismissed at your peril. Yes, she has a core vote among the entrepreneurial working class, but she is not a clever person. Time and again my dealings with her have disabused me of my initial notion that I shouldn’t underestimate her. There is a fundamental vacuum of strategic thinking or adequate comprehension at the top of the council while Mears is there – and most of her party group know it.

    • Can’t argue with your second point. Clearly the council were entirely bereft of ideas. Their response of bringing in a raft of strategic directors was the most stupid possible ‘solution’.

      If you don’t have ideas you should step down, but if that isn’t acceptible you don’t employ permanent directors on large salaries, you get in some consultants on a short fixed contracts with payment by results.

      To this extent minimising council tax is an excellent objective – let people keep their money and use to improve their lot as they see fit, rather than having it taken by the council who like the cudos of controlling vast sums of money, but waste it (i360 anyone?) because they can’t think of anything better.

      • The new directors (and chief exec) were not to overcome a lack of ideas (that really doesn’t bother her). They were in fact part of a decapitation strategy that is presently working fine. As much as Mary Mears dislikes the Greens and Labour, her true enemy is the officer class at the council, who she believes are a load of trots all out to stab her in the back. By removing a CE and directors of what was , lets not forget, an excellent rated council, she has created 2 years of tailspin, navel gazing and permanent revolution that has stopped the officers doing all that left wing subversion she thinks they spend their days planning.

        Perhaps I was wrong when I said she’s not a shrewd operator……..

      • Oh, BTW, I am pretty certain the i360 is not a council run project and so is not wasting any tax payers money. As a commercial project it would have a viable business case to support itself. I suspect any lack of progress is about banks not lending money, nothing to do with taxpayers cash (though I’m no expert on these things).


        There can be little doubt that the ratepayers will end up ‘investing’ in any shortfall.

    • HP: great post, spot on.

      There is nothing wrong with keeping council tax down – being parsimonious and not wasting money on junkets, consultants, town hall pravdas and the like.

      But as a headline policy ‘keeping council tax down’ shows just how little the Tories have to offer – especially when opponents can point to Status Quo-gate and say, well, you’re not even very good at doing that, are you?

  5. What is the “on-massage line” which the BPB mentions? Has the NHS budget grown to include more physiotherapy treatment or is he hintng at something else?

  6. Apparently the Labour candidates for Preston Park are Kevin Allen, Juliet McCaffery and Tim Lunnon.

  7. I can confirm that none of the Goldsmid Conservative candidates are Estate Agents, Baps!

  8. […] Green Party by electing three councillors this May. The candidates are: Amy Kennedy (contrary to recently propagated rumours that she wasn’t going to stand), Leo Littman (lecturer) and Mike Jones (an NHS health […]

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