Councillors, young and Older, and candidates, young and younger

A number of councillors are standing down from Brighton and Hove City Council. All bar two are Green councillors. That’s not to say that other councillors won’t be around after May 5th. Councillor Pat Drake stands down after several decades as a County and more recently City Councillor. She is much respected, and generous, yet deserved, tributes were paid to her at the last Council meeting (just about the only civil exchange of the evening).

Councillor Averil Older stands down from her Central Hove seat. Unlike some councillors, she has remained a very normal human being, someone who is easy to talk to and to get along with. I wish both Pat and Averil happy retirements.

The Green councillors who are standing down are not retiring. Several are young and, understandably, are having to concentrate on their careers. All are very talented and the City will be all the poorer for the decision of Rachel Fryer, Paul Steedman, Vicky Wakefield-Jarret and Georgia Wrighton to stand down. I hope, like Councillor Pete West, that they will consider standing again at some point in the future.

There are other councillors who are standing but may not survive the decision of the electorate. I predict that up to six Labour councillors are at risk of losing their seats. Up to four Tories may lose their seats along with one Lib Dem and one Independent.

Hoping to win seats on the City Council are several young and very young candidates. For the Tories, Momma Grizzly (Rachael Bates, aged 22) is standing in Hollingdean and Stanmer, and the Estate Agent (Rob Buckwell, also 22) is standing in Goldsmid. For Labour, Harris Fitch (20) is standing in Rottingdean Coastal, and Clare Calder (18) is standing in St Peters and North Laine. The disappointing reality for these Young Turks, is that none have a realistic chance of being elected.

Of these four, the Estate Agent has the best chance of winning a seat although I suspect that in Goldsmid Labour’s Melanie Davis, Green Alex Phillips and another Green will be elected. Alex is currently the Baby of the Chamber having been elected less than two years ago at the age of 24. Alex has what it takes to make it big in politics, probably in Europe and in due course joining Caroline Lucas in Westminster.

Second time candidate at 25, Tom French (who fought a very strong campaign in the St Peters and North Laine by-election last year) has an outside chance of winning Queens Park for Labour, but needs to see off a strong Green presence in that ward.

The young candidate most likely to be elected is Luke Walter (22) who is standing in Hollingdean and Stanmer, although having a surname starting with ‘W’ he may be the Green to lose out should H&S return Jeane Lepper and two Greens (Sven Rufus and Christina Summers).

But the emergence of young candidates is encouraging although it is very regretable when young councillors find it necessary to stand down in order to pursue their careers.

The final word goes to Hanover and Elm Grove councillor, Vicky Wakefield-Jarrett, who has captured a tone that I would like to see between Labour and Green activists. In a tweet earlier today she wrote: “@ClareCalder I’m supporting Greens, but wanted to say i think it’s great you’re standing – I hope it’s a positive experience for you.”. I echo the sentiment, I hope that it is a positive experience for Luke, Rachael, Rob, Harris, and Clare.

12 Responses

  1. I know both Luke Walter and Tom French very well, both personally and through my broadcasting work. I am very impressed by their zeal and desire to make a difference. I recently spoke to both of them about the task ahead, and the need for parties to pull together. I think they do perhaps represent a new age of pluralism, a word both of them have used, and a much needed new order. Luke is intelligent and wants to see politics that stems from community activism, which is at the core of Green philosophy. Tom, is very different to the staid Labour politician we have become accustomed to. Like Luke he is bright, and naturally active within the community. He will be very successful, as long as other Labour members don’t undermine him, however unintentionally. I wish them both the best.

  2. One of my concerns in this election is that voters will mistake my name (as you have done here BPB) on the ballot sheet and confuse me with a certain ChristinE Simpson!

    Every letter counts in this game – quite apart from that, it’s my correct name!

  3. Oh bappy, you flatter me so! I wish I were 22, but in fact am a positively ancient 27. :0

    It’s all to play for here in Goldsmid, and we are campaigning hard to win in this 3-way marginal.

    Watch this space…

  4. Thank you BPB and Baron Pepperpot. I appreciate the warm words of encouragement.

  5. In other news, it looks as if Georgina Dores has dropped out in M&B:

    • There is always lot’s of chopping and changing around the nomination time, as with all the Cllrs dropping out from the Greens it suddenly dawns on a lot of people that their spare time is going to be taken up with case work they then have second thoughts, if i had a pound for every new Cllr who said ” I didn’t know there was so much involved!”

      • We have turnover in two wards, and the councillors standing down made their intentions known within the party a year ago, no surprise last-minute switches.

  6. Hi brightonpoliticsblogger,

    Reading your post on twitter I felt I’d like to comment – you’ve forgtten a couple of us young uns! 🙂

    Though 30 might not be so young, me and Mark Collins are working hard to win in Central Hove. I’m proud of Mark as at 22 it’s fantastic to see him so committed to working for his city.

    Like you I’m equally encouraged by all the young candidates emerging. I’ve met Clare and Tom and wish them and all of us the very best in the elections.



  7. (Mark and I are standing for the Lib Dems – you might be interested in the Lib Dem Central Hove campaign blog here:

  8. […] tribute came from the left-wing Brighton Politics Blog which said: “Unlike some councillors, she has remained a very normal human being, someone who is […]

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