Doorstep Brighton 9: A Round Up of Campaigning for May’s Local Elections

The Ghost of Nobby Clarke has an interesting take on Hollingdean and Stanmer which will bring joy to the heart of Momma Grizzly (Rachael Bates).  The Ghost believes that the Green’s Sven Rufus will do well enough in Hollingdean and Stanmer to take enough votes away from the Labour candidates (Jeane Lepper, Pat Hawkes and Christine Simpson) to allow one Tory through the middle.  If this was to be the case, then it would be Christine Simpson who would lose out (little known and disadvantaged by the order on the ballot paper) and Momma Grizzly would emerge victorious given that she would be the Tory at the top of the ballot paper (the other Tories being Robert Labs and Patrick Loewe).  However, I really don’t think that scenario will be played out.  If there is to be a split result, it will be Sven Rufus and Jeane Lepper elected, and choose one other from several.

Dan Wilson is convinced that the electorate won’t be fooled by the 1% cut in Council Tax.  They are, he says, smarter than Mary Mears or I give them credit for.  However, he thinks that the cost of parking permits may be more successful: “I think if you want to compare the Mearcon to a masterplan, looking at her move on resident parking is more persuasive. That’s clever, attractive to many and also brassy in its cynicism. Straw poll today and last evening is that a 1% decrease is of little interest. Plenty of people, however, are concerned about libraries, BrightStart and all manner of things.”  Christopher Hawtree agrees with Dan: “I have never heard anybody voice a particular objection to the Council tax.”  I think you are both probably right, but the 1% cut will have the effect of galvanizing Tory activists who seem excited by this measure.  I guess they need to be excited about something as the Big Society doesn’t quite seem to have motivated the troops.

Steampunk accuses me of attempting to “stir things ups amongst the opposition” which he says “are a distraction just now.”  Regarding the cuts he says “As you well know, the Conservative led council are implementing an ‘intelligent decomissioning’ process (conveniently timetabled to start after the election!) to decide which services to stop providing entirely and which ones to outsource to the lowest bidder. The budget proposal explains that these upcoming cuts won’t take full effect until the next financial year 2012/13 so the 250 jobs about to go are just the tip of the iceberg. The ‘intelligent’ part is the device by which every council service comes to be commissioned, either from the public sector, profit-motivated private sector or the voluntary sector (crippled by grant cuts despite warm words about the ‘big society’, and the empty invitation just a smoke screen for privatisation) – meaning that future job cuts will be dissembled.”  I agree with much of what Punky has said.  As for stirring things up in the opposition, that is not my intention, but I see little evidence of Labour being willing and able to work with the Greens.

Clive applauds Steampunks analysis, but has no kind work for your humble Blogger: “Remarkable that the BPB regards all this with chuckling indulgence, while still finding space to heap more abuse on Paul Elgood. If he isn’t Roy Pennington he might be Reg Prentice.”  Well, Clive, sometimes you have to laugh or else you’d cry.  I don’t mean to belittle what is happening to local government, the voluntary sector, the NHS, education, etc. etc.  Reg Prentice? Ouch!  As for Paul Elgood, can’t a boy/girl just have a little bit of fun.  What do others think?  Should I lay off Paul Elgood and the Lib Dems?  Your choice.  I could either ignore them completely for the relevance they are, or should I continue to make reference to their slow, well deserved demise?

On the Reg Prentice front, I have attracted support from an East Brighton Tory candidate, Peter Booth, who is determined to ruin my street credibility!  He writes that he fully agrees with my view that it will be great when it is no longer necessary to mention the sexual orientation of candidates. He writes: “The combined ‘left’ just do not see that this is not an issue anymore (well not in our party). Try NOT to live in the past. After all there are more openly gay Conservative MP’s than all other parties put together. For the record and before the criticisms start – 100% of the Conservative candidates standing in East Brighton are openly gay.”

Simon Williams, a very fine former Green councillor in Brighton and Hove, and someone for whom I have great respect, offers a very sensible response to my comment regarding the announcement by the Greens of their LGBT candidates: You need to remember they are talking to people in those groups probably more than to the wider ‘world’. Were we to enter some kind of prejudice free paradise where minority groups could feel safe and valued (we haven’t quite yet in the case of LGBT people despite many legal advances), it would still be important for progressive political parties to engage with and showcase their commitment to them. Announcing candidates who identify from these communities is a big part of that. Rather than see it as a defensive reaction against prejudice, progressive commentators should take pride in the fact that all the local main parties are courting these groups – it’s what makes local democratic politics tick. You suggest that LGBT population is more than 16% in Brighton & Hove. There’s no verifiable demographic measurement, obviously, but if you challenged me to a wager, I think 16%, as a finger in the air take, is about right.”  As expected, a thoughtful, insightful comment from Simon.  I would not wish to take issue with what he has said.
And finally, the innocent Christopher Hawtree is in a state of shock after being received by a naked lady.  I’m not sure who was the most excited by this encounter.  Certainly not excited by their encounter with this blog are those who are Googling ‘sex photo’ or ‘explicit sex photo’ and are being directed to the rather revealing picture of me posing in the shadows of Big Ben, wearing just a sheet and a rather alluring smile ….  Reg Prentice would certainly not approve!
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11 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by rachaelbatesuk, BrightonPoliticsBlog. BrightonPoliticsBlog said: Doorstep Brighton 9: A Round Up of Campaigning for May's Local Elections http://wp.me/pxVNs-n5 […]

  2. Off topic, sorry:

    Seeing as I have already been called a stalker. And seeing as people from all parties are asking me who you are Bappy. I have no shame in asking a simple question:

    Do you reside in the city of Brighton and Hove?

    Best,

    Dan

  3. Re the Lib Dems, they were amusing when they wore long beards, chewed dung and danced around Stone Henge in their shoes made of lettuce. And that was just the women. The nasty Lib Dems of 2011 are just annoying. I think it’s time to send them to Room 101 where they can be afforded space to come up with a big plan for a return to relevance.

  4. I have just been writing about an American Presidential campaign in the nineteenth centruy when one newspaper printed a long, surreal, rough hewn poem about it. I do not know whether the Blogger plans to provide us with a canto or two as things reach fever pitch, but signs are that songs are going to play a key part in it all.

    In Brunswick, Phelim Mac Cafferty will next month be regaling residents with a concert at which arias, Randy Newman and goodness knows what else will find a place for sibling saxophone.

    Forget the policies, doorsteps could soon echo to Bach Cantatas while from a nearby basement comes the last desperate stab of the LibDems’ attempt at Cracklin’ Rosie.

  5. Not sure what the ‘Ghost of Nobby Clarke’ mention refers back to, but as flattering as it is that people think I will get a larger share of the vote than other Green candidates, for whatever reason, I don’t think that is necessarily the case. The time we have spent out on the doorstep is showing very positive feedback for us here, and it’s got to be said that the degree to which Luke Walter and Christina Summers have got stuck in here, meeting loads of people, representing residents, asking questions at council, leading delegations at council, starting and running campaigns about resident concerns, tackling casework – well, it has left me feeling wholly inadequate as a candidate to be honest. It’s all bets off what order the three of us poll in. Comparisons between our performance as candidates and those of the existing councillors is also interesting and encouraging for us.

    Not getting complacent, but the canvassing response combined with the fact that we saw such strong support for the Greens here during the general election campaign is giving us confidence for a good result. Of course, the electorate will decide, and we will be content with whatever the outcome, knowing that we have done a good job and been honest with people throughout the campaign.

    • Sven, the tories are fighting hard in this ward making an unusal 3 way fight and to quote Caroline “Servalan” Lucas “we always look to the left of the spectrum for votes” you’ll squeeze each other not the tories if they get out their vote they’ll nick a seat…probably Bates.

      • Don’t be fooled. The Tories are not fighting hard. They can’t even be bothered to put their own leaflets through peoples letterboxes. I’ve got the photos to prove it.

        In fact, Ms. Bates was looking rather glum (perhaps a hangover?) as she was dropping her leaflets on the foot of doormats along Stephens Road and Merevale last Saturday.

        Don’t believe the hype.

  6. The LibDems/Paul Elgood… They deserves all they get; belonging to a party who have lied and mislead their voters (especially Students on tuition fees) and who are now carrying the Tory cuts through Parliament (however recognition here to EBN MP Stephen Lloyd who voted against the Tuition fee rise)… A disgrace to what used to be thought of as a principled party… and as your analysis shows; i wouldnt be surprised (in fact; slightly pleased) to see no LibDems in the Council come May.

    LGBT Candidates… Im glad parties have candidates who are openly LGBT. Im not naive enough to think that LGBT people in Brighton & Hove will vote for the candidates with the same sexuality as them (and i dont think thats why the Greens/any other party announce it), but openly showing than LGBT people can hold office and achieve great things is an inspiration to the younger LGBT community. Having more ‘out’ LGBT role models can be nothing but a bad thing

  7. So East Brighton has seen some tory activity then..Booth to pip Turton to the post maybe..Greens become the oppositon and Labour ask for a coalition…be warned Stan Fitch an Dennis Hobden are here and not happy!

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