You think Moulsecoomb and Bevendean could go Tory, or Labour, even Green, in May’s local elections

Last night’s prediction that the Conservatives may win all three seats in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean has prompted an interesting response. No surprise that Peter Booth, Tory candidate in East Brighton agrees with my prediction: “Completely agree with your assessment in Moulsecoomb & Bevendean. Maria is a hard-working and popular Councillor and is joined in this campaign by Ayas Fallon-Khan who has gained a solid reputation on Council – and predict all 3 Conservatives will win through.”  Baron Pepperpot (flattery will get you nowhere with me!) couldn’t disagree more: “three Tories in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean? At a time when the cuts will start to bite?”

Allie Cannell makes a prediction that I don’t see as likely: “I’m predicting the Greens will get a seat in M&S. There are over 2,000 students just living in University residences there.   Thats not even counting all the students living in private accomodation.”  The problem with that view is that students are not that likely to turn out in large volumes in a Kemptown seat, even for Green candidates in a local election.  If I am wrong, then all bets are off regarding the final make-up of the Council.  3 Green candidates in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean would suggest major gains by the Greens across the city.  Allie is not alone, Christopher Hawtree is predicting that “the Greens could do well in Moulescoomb.”

Kelvin Poplett, another East Brighton Conservative, says: “Surprisingly- I wholeheartedly agree with Peter Booth. From our time spent knocking on the doors in traditional Labour areas, we are finding Conservatives everywhere. Through sheer hard work we may just surprise you.”  You would surprise me if you found enough Tory votes to unseat Mitchell, Turton and Morgan. Peter Booth says that the Tories in East Brighton “are David against Goliath – Yes we oppose your particular favourite (and that favouritism does shine through in your blog) but do not under-estimate the campaign of East Brighton Conservatives – who are all in this campaign – fighting for every vote until 10pm on 5th May, and who may just surprise you and your friend Mr Morgan. There are no no-go areas in East Brighton for EB Conservatives!”  I have no favourites (other than Green Amy but she never writes, never calls – thanks to Dan Wilson for that line).

The Ghost of Nobby Clarke asks: “Is Mr Morgan rattled I wonder!, This ward has never been worked by the tories has it Peter?”.  Actually, that’s not true and it did go Tory in the early 1990s when it was Marine Ward.

My “favourite” Warren Morgan, draws attention to the fall-out in 2007 from the stock transfer issue that so damaged Labour: “Woodingdean looks pretty safe for the Tories based on the 2007 results, but interestingly the ward was split three ways at the GE count with the Lib Dem matching Simons Burgess and Kirby.  The traditionally strong Labour vote in Woodingdean (we did win a seat there in the 90s) was artificially depressed there in 2007 by the stock transfer vote fallout, as it was in Portslade, Moulsecoomb and Queens Park. Geoff is busy being mayor and Dee is busy with Cabinet duties which may explain DAPs comment above. We’ve selected some keen, new candidates both there and in Rottingdean Coastal, all hopeful of putting up a good campaign and earning safer seats next time (as BPB said in an earlier post). And complacency is a stealthy enemy in politics, as some of my colleagues found out last time.  Don’t forget in Moulsecoomb & Bevendean that the Respect candidate Dave Bangs scored over 300 votes last time (equivalent to a constituency wide Respect/Socialist vote at a GE) capitalising on the stock transfer issue, and with what he portrayed as the endorsement of two retiring councillors. And yes, the students will be a factor, particularly if they vote tactically for Labour rather than the Greens who are not in contention in M&B.”

Clive points to another issue that damaged Labour in 2007: “Another elephant that is no longer in the room is the King Alfred. Last time, this surely helped the Tories in Westbourne, Central Hove and (to a lesser extent) Goldsmid.”  He also points out the state of the parties in national polls: “the national opinion polls in April 2007 – just before the last local elections – were, taking a rough average of all taken: Conservative 37, Labour 31, LD 19. Therefore it’s hard not to conceive of Labour enjoying some kind of general uplift given that they are now polling around ten points ahead of that.”  The counter argument to that, Clive, at least in Brighton Pavilion, is the Caroline Effect and how that constituency should be seen apart from the national position.

The good Baron agrees with my assessment for Queens Park where he lives, that “it’s too close to call, but I’m not sure you’re right about which Labour candidate would be returned in the event of a split vote.”

Finally, a couple of comments have been left on this blog earlier today which are not in the spirit of debate and friendly provocation.  I haven’t approved one as it may contain a libel or two, and I have removed another offending reference in another.  Please keep to the spirit of the blog.  I really don’t want to have to moderate comments left.

20 Responses

  1. The students are always a factor, the SUs usually campaign to get students to register/vote in elections… Look locally and nationally, the students have been very much more active these last 12 months than in recent history… London demos/riots… Brightons demos… Brighton and Sussex uni occupations…

    M&B Greens could indeed get an umpf from the students (Moulscoomb & Falmer halls fall into M&B as well as the private accomodation), but Labour could also… This will make it hard for Labour to return their 3rd councillor in the area… Tories and LDs will not get anywhere…

    H&S has alot of the Sussex students… they’re renouned for being very left and active. I believe they have a strong Green Party Society too… Greens indeed could benefit from this…

    and dont forget Grand Parade… This is where most of the Brighton agaisnt the cuts students study… Pheniox halls in (i assume) Regency ward… even bigger swing for the Greens most likely… or atleast a lefty vote in general

    • Pheonix Halls is in Hanover and Elm Grove, although I believe there are a few small University residences in Regency. I generally agree with your analysis though.

  2. I remain certain that Moulescoomb is a wild card in the Election, as is the potential field in Rottingdean Coastal.

    And Warren Morgan’s take on Woodingdean is very interesting. As in Rottingdean, it seems that there is local concern about absentee councillors.

    My experience of Woodingdean is this. I did a series of Petitions about branch libraries, all handed in by various Councillors at one winter’s Full Council. This was before my being challenged to a duel by Cllr David Smith. When I got to one street in Woodingdean, Nolan Road, I was surprised when the door was opened by two women in dressing gowns. What’s more, there were piles of white towels everywhere. They expressed such, er, relief, when it turned out that my clipboard, and Humphrey Bogart raincoat, simply denoted a library petition rather than arrest that they signed it eagerly.

    Only when I walked back across the, er, hardstanding did I quite take in the suburban diversion which I had chanced upon.

    I mentioned this to somebody the other day, and found that my impression of it was not unduly fervid: a piece in the Argus reported that the Police had closed it down.

    Let’s hope that Woodingdean Library, and others, do not go the same way.

  3. DAP:

    Phoenix Halls are in Hanover and EG, and have been since I canvassed them in 1997 shortly after they were built.

  4. Has East Brighton been worked though, I remember Mary Mears and Michael Maine worked the area in the 90’s but we have had many changes since then and a few house’s built, if the tories knock doors for the first time since the 90’s we will see a change.

    • Are you saying that the Tories ignored East Brighton completely at the General Election last year? Or that if they didn’t, Simon Kirby is not sharing the voter ID info with the Tory candidates?

      • I have always been of the opinion that more people then we think vote differently at Local elections then at GE..I know Kirby has been seen in Whitehawk knocking doors and apparantly is at most of Whitehawk FC’s games(that comes from a GMB chap too!) and that the tories have been out and about a fair bit as have you and your team Warren..they could have info from Tele canvassing from the GE but nothing accounts for that knock on the door does it..there must be untapped tory votes in East Brighton

  5. Don’t quite see how stock transfer will have registered too heavily amongst the builders vans on block paved hardstandings of Woodingdean. It was more the areas like Queens Park where I thought it opened the door for Green candidates. The interesting thing to see therefore is if the Greens have kept those votes or if there will be a drift back to Labour now stock transfer has gone away (sort of).

  6. Whatever may or may not have happened at previous elections, I guarantee that East Brighton Conservatives are working very hard in this election – with the full support of our Member of Parliament Simon Kirby who has been out on the doorsteps with us already.
    We do not take the electorate for granted, and know that every vote and every doorstep counts!

  7. All this talk of Tories and doorsteps … my impression was that they relied almost entirely on telephone canvassing and not ‘waking the opposition up’.

    The exception was Brunswick and Adelaide last time, when they did go door-to-door, and finished a poor third behind the Greens in second, who did diddly-squat.

    This East Brighton talk is surely just bravado.

    And unfortuntately, under the present system, every vote does NOT count. If you want to vote Labour in Patcham, or Tory in Hanover, you may as stay at home for all the good it will do. A point to bear in mind when supporters of first-past-the-post wring their hands about voter disengagement and poor turnout.

  8. No Clive – not bravado, just gradual progress, and we lack neither conviction nor courage in our ‘David against Goliath’ campaign!
    Have just come in from pounding the streets of Craven Vale and up to Manor Hill with one of my fellow candidates.
    However the campaign is not yet in full swing, but starts next Wednesday when I take leave from work to campaign full-time until 10pm on 5th May!

  9. I remember when it was financially viable for all candidates to take 2 months off work to campaign… o wait… no… thats just a luxury for Tories… 😉

    • Why do you assume Tories are all financially viable? You can’t pigeonhole Tory voters in that way. Things have changed; many in the public sector (usually Labour/Green voters) are financially secure with their regular income, quite secure jobs and good pensions.

      While Labour was in power, they created a ‘client state’ of public sector workers financed by hard-working people running businesses (despite red tape) and wasting their taxes on spurious social initiatives.

      Thr typical Tory voter (self-employed or working in the private sector) is not protected by Unions and is deplete, downtrodden and frightened for their future. Certainly no time for campaigning methinks.

      • Assume…? Well i know i couldnt take almost 2 months off of work to campaign (not that im a candidate), yet the East Brighton Tory canddiate (Peter Booth, above) seems able too…

        More logic than assumption surely… Able to not work for 2 months = comfortable enough financially…

        Plus i said Candidates, not voters… im sure Tory voters are as diverse as they are for any other party… 🙂

        I wonder how many (of all parties) do leave work before election day (and the dole que the day after…)

      • Linda – let’s get this straight. Is everyone who works in the public sector idle? Are all the jobs in the public sector the product of ‘spurious social inititaives’? If not (I’m guessing not) then what exactly do you have in mind when you say that?

        On the other hand, is everyone who works in the private sector ‘hard working’?

        What about those (like myself) whose work is split between both public and private sector? Am I half idle and half busy bee?

        Or are you just peddling lazy stereotypes with roots no deeper than your own personal prejudices?

  10. Clive, with all due respect, you are making assumptions and posing arguments I never made. I did NOT say everyone who works in the public sector is idle.

    Nor did I say ALL public sector jobs are the product of spurious social initiatives.

    It is also your assumption that I have deep rooted personal prejudices. Please do reread my post.

  11. Linda, you said:

    “While Labour was in power, they created a ‘client state’ of public sector workers financed by hard-working people running businesses (despite red tape) and wasting their taxes on spurious social initiatives.”

    I thought this statement carried a pretty strong implied contast between the ‘hard working’ people running businesses and the occupants of this ‘client state’ that you talk about.

    So I’m pleased (and relieved) that you don’t consider all public sector workers to be lazy, though I note that you have not so far come up with any concrete examples of these ‘spurious social initiatives’ of which you speak.

    Back to the ‘client state’: firstly, if this was Labour’s intention, then – electorally speaking – it didn’t work, since they lost the election. Secondly, I am surprised at how many coalition supporters are happy to bandy this term about, since the implication is that public sector workers have so little integrity and intelligence that their votes can simply be bought. Which is fairly insulting, if you think about it – and also not true, since many did not vote for Brown.

    Sure, private interest and private gain is bound to play *some* part in people’s voting choices. But that is just as much the case on the blue side as on any other.

    • Call it what you will, ‘nanny’, ‘client’, etc the state that the years of labour government has created is divided and broken. Blair, Brown, Balls/Cheeseman, Prescott, Milliband etc should all be ashamed of the ‘state’ they’ve left the country in.

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