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.

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16 Responses

  1. There are lies, damn lies and then there are Green promises, the latter involving disingenuous and incredible election promises, which not only “cannot be implemented immediately”, but would never actually be feasible within the confines of our city.

    • Eh? We’re talking about Brighton & Hove here, not whichever demon underworld you inhabit. Break free of your confines and come and join us on the surface.

      • Of course it is par for the course for the ultra-left to hurl insults rather than engage with the real arguments and issues, but that is beside the point. My point is that the Greens have taken a leaf out of the LibDems’ book in constructing their local manifesto, lots of unachievable promises to disguise an isolation from working people and a little caveat to allow for that inevitable change of heart once elected. Fortunately, nobody with any sense will buy it.

        “We realise many of our Manifesto plans cannot be implemented…”

        You couldn’t make it up!

      • I just meant it sounded like you were living in a different city if you thought our manifesto commitments unfeasible, and quite a depressing place at that.

        The rest of sentence is “immediately because the city is starved of cash” but they are still ambitions for a four year term, and in fact most of the proposals we put forward are not costly.

        Have you actually read our manifesto? Which proposals are you saying are impractical?

  2. BPB – so I guess that the ‘twisted reporting’ of the GE results means that you are down to one Labour vote at most – if you have three to use. However, no one has actually claimed that the figures are anything less than accurate.

    On the manifestos – there is clearly virtually no room for manoeuvre – so many false distinctions between the parties are being drawn. The reality is that whoever wins will have to make cuts, and deep ones.

    However, I did notice that Caroline Lucas has said that there is a middle way between the ‘Tory kill-to-be-kind austerity’, and Labour’s ‘debt-fuelled spend-a-thon’ in her Guardian response to the budget. Does this mean that the Green Party are supporting a middle way of cuts, somewhere between the Tories and Labour?

    • The alternative Caroline was highlighting is the stimulus that investment in Green initiatives and technology would bring. We feel this a smart place to focus resources, because of the job creation in the short term, long term health and environment benefits, as well as the fact that the UK is well placed to become a world leader in Green technology. But we’re not saying it solves all problems.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/carolinelucas

      At a local level, our policy to retrofit energy efficiency in housing in the city is a good example. I canvassed a fellow last night who works in the building trade, previously voted Labour but will be voting for us this time round, in part because he considers we have sounder policies to boost the local economy.

      • Thanks – but I think there has been a clear shift in Green Party policy – away from ‘no cuts’, to the new mantra of ‘cuts where they are needed and not where they hurt’. I would agree that we should scrap Trident, clamp down on tax avoidance and bankers should receive less money, but I thought that the previous Green Party position was more of a ‘swords into plowshares’ approach, not a reduction in public spending overall.

        I would also add that to describe Labour’s approach as a ‘debt-fuelled spend-a-thon’ is pretty rich coming from a Party that went into the last GE promising far greater expenditure than Labour ever did.

      • I think you’ll find retrofitting energy efficiency into the existing building stock was a key plank of the council’s sustainable buildings SPD published a few years ago, so it’s already council policy and not exactly what you would call cutting edge thinking.

  3. Of course all parties use statistics and previous election results selectively, but having looked at the B+H Labour campaign website and the leaflet discussed in the BPBs previous entry, it really does seem that Labour have stepped over the line into downright dishonesty. Both the website and the leaflet feature bar graphs which are simply labelled ‘General Election 2010’, with no reference to which constituency (or in this case constituencies) the graph refers to. Also as someone pointed out in a comment on the previous entry, the website graph actually makes the Labour bar much fatter than the others, which is totally out of order, as anyone with any common sense will tell you.

  4. And yes, as discussed in the comments for yesterday’s entry, the Labour leaflet really does claim that the Greens ‘voted against the reinstatement of the Hove cycle lane’. BPB, give up any remaining Labour votes now!

  5. I have no problem with the Greens outlining aspirational future ideas that cannot yet be implemented, as it at least gives an idea of where they want to head in the long term. It helps tell the story of what they are about.

    Saying that, they need to be certain to make clear the ones that are actual pledges and the ones that are pipe dreams so if they do get to power and it comes to assessing them against their promises they don’t have wiggle room on all of them. Otherwise they will just have a manifesto full of empty promises and where are you then? In no.10 acting as David Cameron’s deputy PM/bag carrier, that’s where…

  6. They currently have the same number of councillors as Labour, 13. There is a strong possibility that the Lib Dem will lose his seat and probably the independent too. Labour credibility is at a very low ebb, especially with them letting the Tory cuts budget through. They are also still tarnished with the New Labour war crimes brush. It was sad to see Gill Mitchell with Ed Miliband, isn’t Prince Andrew a nice man, on March on Saturday. No, Prince Andrew sells death on behalf of the British state. The fact that he is also diplomatically inept is a side show. Caroline Lucas is also proving to be an able and principled MP.

    What started of a few years ago as a dream for the Greens is turning into a reality in Brighton thanks to the bankruptcy of right wing Labour policies. Hopefully more Tory voters will see the error of their ways as Cameron strips away the welfare state in front of out eyes. http://tinyurl.com/6fsu4bm

  7. Subversive Brighton states ” Caroline Lucas is also proving to be an able and principled MP.”

    You may well think so but there are two issues which are going to damage her and possibly Green candidates in the local elections: 1) her support for votes for rapists and murderers, and 2) her continuing to maintain her main family residence overseas in order that her children can attend a private school.

    New politics?! Yeah Caroline, if you say so……

  8. Many Green supporters have made several comments about the “Caroline” effect being beneficial. I’m not so sure.

    There are two issues which are going to damage her and possibly Green candidates in the local elections: 1) her support for votes for rapists and murderers, and 2) her continuing to maintain her main family residence overseas in order that her children can attend a private school.

  9. I disagree with NG. Firstly, I doubt if voters are that concerned about either of those issues. Secondly I would imagine most of the progressive voters of B+H agree that prisoners should have the vote, if they have any opinion on the matter. Thirdly, I imagine that Caroline Lucas’s children simply want to remain at the same school that they already attend, and anyway I doubt there are that many state-funded English schools in Brussels.

  10. I think the voters respect the fact that Caroline Lucas has always been careful not to expose her family to the media spotlight, unlike other politicians. Any violation of this privacy for political purposes by other parties just reflects badly on them and shows their desperation. And I think the voters are capable of understanding, especially if they are parents, that as a former member of the European Parliament with teenage kids in a Brussels school, she might want them to finish their exams where they are rather than uprooting them, possibly against their will. Voters know that she works hard as a constituency MP, as well as being the leader of a political party and a working mum.

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