The Lib Dems manifesto: destroy new businesses, scrap recycling, and wishy-washy liberal policies to collude with anti-social behaviour

A man walked into the Lib Dem bookshop and asked for a copy of the party’s manifesto. The assistant replied: “I’m sorry, we’ve sold out.”. The man replied: “I know that, but could I have a copy of your manifesto?”

Last week the Lib Dems launched its manifesto for Brighton and Hove. At the heart of the manifesto are six main points which they call “Six to Fix”:

  • An end to the City’s postcode lottery system of allocating school places.
  • Keeping Brighton and Hove key buildings in the public sphere.
  • A total revamp of the City’s transport system
  • An increase in the rate of recycling and the items that are included to food and garden waste and other forms of plastic.
  • Establishing an ambitious support system to support new businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Bringing local communities together to fight anti social behavior. 

Given the form of the Lib Dems regarding manifesto pledges, the Lib Dems are likely to:

  • Support the postcode lottery for school places
  • Privatisation
  • Destroy public transport
  • Scrap recycling schemes
  • Undermine new businesses
  • Promote wishy-washy liberal policies regarding anti-social behaviour.

The only question I have is “How can anyone take the Lib Dems seriously after Cleggs sell out.”. The only answer I have is quite simple: nobody in this May’s local elections.  The only regret I have is that Rebecca Taylor @rtaylorhove, is a Lib Dems.  Move over, Rebecca, and join either Labour or the Greens.  Don’t waste your talent in a party that has sold out, is washed up and is going nowhere.

Decent and fair manifestos from both Labour and the Greens, but Labour continues to be economic with the truth

Both Greens and Labour have launched their election manifestos in the last week. The Green’s ‘A fresh start for a fair city’ offers “Brighton and Have a fresh start after four years of Tory mismanagement”. The manifesto is “fuelled by fairness and driven by a desire to produce a sustainable city and narrow the gap between rich and poor”. The Greens “realise many of our Manifesto plans cannot be implemented immediately because the city is starved of cash” but present an alternative which “offer practical solutions to the challenges the city faces”.

The Greens advocate more walking and use of public transport (a direct opposite to the Tory obsession with cars), maximise opportunities offered by the new South Downs National Park to broaden the economic base of the city, and introduce renewable energy to create jobs, make homes healthier and warmer, cut fuel bills and reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

The Greens offer a ‘lucky’ thirteen point programme that also includes a 20mph speed limit for residential roads and a programme that will see at least 1,000 new affordable homes.

Labour’s manifesto also includes the ‘F’ word in its title, ‘Plan for a successful and fairer city’. The manifesto highlights the need to get Brighton & Hove “thriving again,” attracting more investment and developing stronger communities. Labour will work to reduce the gap between rich and poor in Brighton & Hove, as well as calling for a more co-operative city, in which the council works closely with other public services, trade unions and the voluntary sector. Labour attacks the Tory’s four-year reign in the city as a failure and slams them for wasting local taxpayers’ money on consultants, marketing and communications, glossy publications and sham consultations.

Labour also proposes to “bring back popular ‘Grime Fighter’ days, which saw co-ordinated clampdowns against crime and grime in local neighbourhoods”. A smart-card for residents to access cultural and sports events in the city at a reduced price, or for free, is also amongst Labour pledges.

Labour activists have criticised the Greens manifesto for stating that some of its commitments “cannot be implemented immediately”. I would have assumed that any party would wish to have this caveat in its manifesto.  While Labour says its programme is fully costed, it would be reckless in the current climate for any party to claim that its entire programme is costed and can be delivered. 

One last thing, on its website, Labour persists with misleading the public with its twisted ‘reporting’ of the results from last year’s elections.  I am at a loss to know why so many decent Labour activists and candidates are remaining silent while the Party is being economic with the truth.

Labour being devious and dishonourable in its use of statistics

I received a leaflet from Brighton and Hove Labour Party this morning that has made my blood boil. On the front page Labour has given the votes cast in the 2010 general election. It inevitably puts the Greens in fourth place and says “voting Green or Lib Dem just helps the Conservatives here”.

It adds “If you are serious about getting rid of the Conservatives you need to vote Labour”. In many wards this is plainly untrue. Labour is spreading a lie.

This may reflect the total votes cast in the three constituencies ….. and those parts of Lewes District that come within Brighton Kemptown, but is not relevant to these local elections. This tactic by Labour is totally unacceptable. It is devious and misleading. It suggests that Labour is so desperate that it is content to lie in order to shore up its support.

I could produce a table showing the results from last year: “Elected 2 Conservatives, 1 Green and no Labour. Don’t waste your vote on Labour”. This would be equally devious and misleading.

I am fed up with this tactic of Labour. It is gutter politics. It fails to address the “isshhoos”. Craig Turton has called on me to focus on issues. In response, I call on Craig to disassociate himself from the tactic employed in this leaflet.

I have been undecided how to vote in May. In fact I had considered splitting my vote between Labour and the Greens. Because of this leaflet I will definitely cast one vote against Labour and in favour of the Greens. If this tactic is repeated I will definitely cast two votes against Labour and in favour of the Greens. Now, I may live in a ward that elects two or three councillors. If it is three (and if the Greens can find enough candidates to field a full slate), I will cast all three votes against Labour if they repeat this tactic for a third time.

By repeating this lie, Labour is running a dishonest and dishonourable campaign and I condemn them for it.

Welcoming a Labour, Tory and Green love in (while everyone hates the Lib Dems)

Earlier this evening there was a lovely exchange on Twitter. Green Ben Duncan wrote: “Just got canvassed by Labour candidate Tom French – very nice young man. I’ll be voting for me instead though!”. Emma Daniel liked this, writing: “@KemptownBen That’s a really nice tweet! I like it when you guys play nicely!”. Robocop Ben replied: “Well thanks. Me too! We all aspire to be councillors, we have that weirdness in common, whatever our chosen parties!”

Conduct of candidates and councillors has been a theme on this blog in recent days after Craig Turton urged me to focus on issues rather than personalities before rather spoiling it by making some rather personal digs at Maria Caulfield, Mary Mears and Ayas Fallon-Khan.

This being Sunday, Craig has come to confession: “Yep BPB, I admit one could take my references to certain opposition councillors as slightly hypocritical when calling on you to look at issues rather than personalities (GOTCHA in Sun-speak) but my references aren’t nasty, just light hearted (unlike recent Tory vitriol). Politics aside, I get on with Ayas very well but also Maria and they’re both big enough to take a ribbing.”

And before I knew it, a mutual love-in had begun with Jason Kitcat writing: “I agree with Craig, there has been a steady decline in the standards of behaviour on the council. It’s frankly embarrassing to see some of the personal attacks, point scoring and name calling that goes on in some tax-payer funded public council meetings. Governance committee has been particularly bad as well as full council.”

So will everyone sign up to the Reverand Father BPB’s Charter: “Love Your Election Opponent as Much as You Love Yourself”? I won’t hold my breath …. (PS. The Lib Dems are exempt from this Charter!)

Meanwhile, the speculation over Labour’s candidate in St Peters and North Laine is over with Dan Wilson reporting that the “very brilliant Clare Calder will be on Labour’s slate in SPNL”. Fellow Labour candidate in SPNL, Pete Gillman, writes: “Excellent news today regarding the announcement of Clare our new candidate who is a superb addition to the team.”

Clare does make an interesting addition to the body politic. At 18, she is the youngest ever candidate to stand for election for Brighton and Hove City Council, and she makes Momma Grizzly, at 22, look rather aged. Perhaps Grandmomma Grizzly should be her new name! The Calder name is well known in St Peters given that her mother, former Argus columnist Jean Calder, is a former councillor in the area. (My apologies to Clare for having misspelt her name in earlier posts).

So is everyone is happy and are there group hugs in SPNL? Well, no. Geoffrey Bowden, Green candidate in Queens Park sounds a discordant note: “Who cares who Labour is putting up in St Peter’s North Laine at this late stage in the campaign? The Green Party’s sitting councillors and the very large local party team have been campaigning for months and are practically through the third canvas of the ward. Nothing is being taken for granted, but the returns indicate that the majorities for all three Green candidates will be as large as last year’s bi-election win for Lizzie Dean.”

Possibly, but stranger things have happened…

The Personal and the Political, how this blog falls miserably short of maintaining standards

Craig Turton quotes Tony Benn in saying that politics should be more about issues than personalities. He writes: “This blog (good though it is and the blogger would be flattered by the number of councillors who do read it) is in danger of becoming a soap opera. Perhaps time for more consideration of the ‘isshhoos’ as Mr Benn would have said.”

Craig, as in most things, is right. But as defenders of the gutter press say that they are just giving readers what they want, so too does this gutter blogger. When I wrote about policy and ‘isshhoos’, I had just two readers. Since embracing the cult of personality, readership has soared to five (Momma Grizzly, Mr Pickwick, an Estate Agent, Captain Morgan, and now Comrade Craig).

But Craig is not immune, himself, from making the odd reference to personality. Having urged me to focus on issues, he then reports on last night’s Council Meeting: The Nasty Party were back in force at the Council meeting with pretty nasty and unnecessary personal barbed attacks on opposition councillors, re-writing of history and misrepresentation from the Dear Leader, Fallon-Khan and Mini-Mears Maria.” Glad you have kept away from personalities, Craig.

(This is a bit personal, even a bit nasty, Craig. I am sure you mean it with affection. For all correspondents, the nature of this blog is left of centre, and any ‘name calling’ is done in a spirit of affection and good humour. Most of those who become the focus of my gentle gaze have assured me that they enjoy the attention and the increased name recognition even, I understand, the Estate Agent. Do get in touch if I am wrong and I will put it right).

Craig asks if I was in the public gallery at the meeting. I couldn’t stay as the meeting clashed with my monthly meeting at the Lodge. (Before anyone says differently, it isn’t a secret society, it is just a society with secrets!).

‘Clive’ agrees with Craig Turton. He writes: “Reading this blog, I feel as if I’m watching Eastenders after not doing so for several years. I’m not sure who the characters are, and I’m not sure whether I’m that interested.” he then goes on to criticise councillors for “petulant grandstanding”, adding “most of it from the administration.” He accuses them of being “bad losers, knowing they were on the way out.”

On the subject of Eastenders, says that he himself could “certainly pass for Phil Mitchell”. This could open up a rich vein of amusement for this blogger, keen to avoid the issues and obsessed by the cult of personality. Now who on earth could be the Peggy Mitchell, the Matriarch of the City Council ….?

Speculation is rife regarding Labour’s new candidate in St Peters and North Laine

There seems to be a great deal of interest in who the new Labour candidate in St Peters and North Laine might be. The general consensus is that the candidate is female. (I think I may have intimated that already).

The speculation includes former leader of the Council, Lynette Gwyn-Jones who represented the old St Peters ward in the early 1990s. Is she from a family dynasty locally. Her former husband is the former Member of Parliament for Brighton Kemptown, Des Turner. Interesting.

Someone has suggested Tom French’s mother (whose name I don’t know). She lives in the ward and is an active Labour Party member. But can a one-off by-election candidate qualify the family as a dynasty?

Claire Calder has been suggested by Dani (who often has her pulse on events) and another (Farris Hifch – very funny). Both Claire’s parents, Jean Calder and Andy Winter, were Labour councillors in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This heritage has more credibility than, say, the French family, but they are hardly in the class of Theobald, Firch or Les Hamilton.

Luke Walter suggests someone from the Forrester Clan. Delia Forrester was part of the Queens Park Mafia that was so soundly defeated by the Greens four years ago. Tom Forrester was a Labour councillor in Hanover before defecting to the SDP in the early 1980s. Is Delia making a comeback? Or is another generation of Forrester about to grace us with their candidature?

Harris Fitch, a fourth generation Labour activist and future councillor) has written of the prospective candidate: “The person is a dear friend of mine, they are extremely capable and will make a great candidate and councillor! I don’t know when it’s being planned to be announced but you certainly have it right that the Greens will be worried!”

I suspect that an announcement will be made tomorrow or Saturday.

Who is the 3rd Tory candidate in Queens Park and Labour’s mystery candidate in St Peters and North Laine?

Two candidates have mysteriously disappeared from their Party’s list of candidates. In Queens Park, Mike Macfarlane, “the guy lucky enough to keep his toothbrush next to George’s” has been named as one of the three Tory candidates, but on the Kemptown Conservative website, his name, photograph and biography is missing. Gail Woodcock and Anne Glow are there, but no Mike. But fear not, the lovely lad has crossed the Steine and is now the candidate in Regency Ward where he stood unsuccessfully in 2007.

On March 16th I asked what was happening to Adrian Morris, “a great guy and a real supporter of your community”. Rumpled close to Adrian had been saying that he had stood down. I asked whether this was so. I have hear from Labour’s High Command that he has, indeed, stood down. Efforts to persuade him to stay on fell on deaf ears. The official line is that he had to stand down for personal reasons, but word from sources close to Adrian himself suggest something different.

Even though Adrian has now officially resigned, and the hunt is on for a new candidate, we are still told on Labour’s website that Adrian is “a great guy and a real supporter of your community”. “Oh no he isn’t”, “oh yes he is!”.

Who the Tories find to stand in the lost cause that is Queens Park is a mystery. It might appear that Labour has been left high and dry in St Peters and North Laine, but I was told earlier this evening that a candidate has been found and that an announcement will be made in the next couple of days. If my source is to be believed, the candidate comes from another political family, though not as illustrious as the Fitch, Theobald, or Hamilton dynasties. Her candidature, if confirmed, could cause a stir in St Peters and North Laine and might just cause the Greens some concern in what has become its safest seat in Brighton and Hove.