A round up from Doorstep Brighton – Sunday 3rd April 2011

In reverse order from the anticipated election results, I’ll start with the Lib Dems. It appears that their decline continues with some pace. For the first time in living memory, the Yellow Ones are unable to field a full list of candidates. In an area like Brighton and Hove it shows that this party is now a bit part player, not to be taken too seriously (have I ever?) and should be regarded along side other marginal groups such as the Socialist Party and UKIP.

Rebecca Taylor, one of the Lib Dem candidates in Central Hove where the Lib Dems have managed to find 2 candidates, has written regarding my round up of young candidates: “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 (Calder) and Tom (French) and wish them and all of us the very best in the elections.”

As I have suggested before, Rebecca is too gifted an activist and person to remain in the Wastelands (the Lib Dems). But as for including herself as a ‘young’ candidate, she’s got to be joking. She is now closer to qualifying for a Freedom Pass (a bus pass at 60) than her birth. (That all assumes that her party in Coalition doesn’t abolish them in the next few years).

The Estate Agent (Rob Buckwell) corrects me regarding his age. He is not 22 as I suggested but a “positively ancient 27”. I personally can’t imagine what it will be like to be 27. He writes: “It’s all to play for here in Goldsmid, and we are campaigning hard to win in this 3-way marginal. Watch this space…”. Well, Rob, I watched the space for about an hour last night and nothing happened. I suspect the same will be true in May.

Warren Morgan thinks Maria Caulfield is at risk in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean: “A YouGov poll this week of areas holding local elections predicted the Tories will lose 1000 seats on May 5th. If Maria Caulfield’s isn’t one of them I will be very surprised.”

Brighton Boy says that “If warren morgan is looking for councillors who might lose their seats in may the canvass returns for east brighton suggest he may like to look closer to home!”

Peter Booth is a Tory candidate in East Brighton who is standing against Warren Morgan. He insists on referring to Councillor Morgan as “Mr Morgan”. Fear not, Peter, in the early hours of 6th May you may legitimately call Councillor Morgan by the title “The Winner” as you pay tribute, in your speech accepting defea, to his fine victory in East Brighton.

But in his analysis, MISTER Booth says that Warren Morgan “has not a clue what he is talking about! The East Brighton Conservative candidates are working hard to unseat him and his cohorts, and are very pleased to have been supported by Simon Kirby our MP for Brighton Kemptown. I am also delighted to inform him that the 2 Conservative Associations in our city have never worked closer with each other! The Conservative team across the city is now firmly in place, and we are all working hard and up for the final 32 days of campaigning to keep Brighton & Hove Blue.”

I like the dreaded vote of confidence Mr Booth gives to the two Conservative Associations. As for the Conservative Team being firmly in place, it was firmly in place in mid March when the candidates were announced, before George Dore joined the Toothbrush (Mike Macfarlane) in crossing from Kemptown to Brighton Pavilion.

Allie Cannell, one of the most astute activists around, suggests that something interesting is happening in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean “I had a great time doing a bit of door knocking in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean the other night. Those people who have put an outside bet on the Greens getting a seat there might be in for a nice suprise.” I certainly wasn’t one of them, but Christopher Hawtree agrees with Allie: “Moulescoomb could prove very interesting for the Green.” Chris is “more sure than ever that Westbourne could be a swing state. Greens gain Westbourne? Watch that space.”

Finally, Paul Perrin, my favourite Cumugeon, returns to the young candidates and asks: “Do you still think it is a good idea to have all these children (many of whom have only ever drawn on public funds, provided by wealth-generating taxpayers for their sustenance) aiming to run the council?” I have just one question for Paul, do you do stand up routines at open mike events?

More later on the intriguing story of Janet and John (George and the Toothbrush).

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19 Responses

  1. Thank you for continuing to provide my Sunday entertainment.
    You seem really hung up about titles, and indeed that famous Mr John Prescott is Mr no more!
    Prime Minister Cameron is still Mr Cameron, Simon Kirby MP is still Mr Kirby, and Mr Morgan (who I now understand has awoken from a 13 year slumber – and that was a nightmare) will still be Mr Morgan on 6th May.
    The real question is whether BPB is a Mr???

  2. That’s Paul Perrin – one of the UKIP’s candidates for Rottingdean Coastal – and Yes2AV campaigner.

  3. BPB, what’s your prediction for Goldsmid dare I ask?

    • You may dare ask, Dear Boy. Sitting councillors Melanie Davies and Alex Phillips topping the poll (probably in that order since D comes before P and MD has been a councillor for longer). A second Green will come third. Sadly for him the Estate Agent won’t make it this time. BPB

  4. BPB, surely you can’t be right. The demography of the Goldsmid electorate can’t have changed that much in 4 years.

    Look at the evidence:

    In the 2007 Council elections, Greens had a total of 2,603; Labour 3,530 and Tory 4,988. If your analysis is correct, then the Tories will have to lose nearly 2,000 votes to come third! Most residents in the Ward don’t appear to have many pressing issues, ao why the huge change you predict?

    • The Hove demography shifts are extremely interesting. They cannot be covered by that blithe “surely”. As I have said before, walk around the place, talk with people.

      Westbourne rocks.

  5. You seem adamant that our chances are not good in Goldsmid, but I wonder how it is you reach that conclusion?

    Of course, based on current polling we will be swimming against the tide, but circumstances in Brighton & Hove are unique, and national opinion polls cannot be completely relied upon to predict the result. The national picture is also more nuanced than many suggest. Whilst Labour are ahead of us in most current polls, when pollsters dig deeper they show that a substantial majority of the public either agree with the current level of cuts or actually want them to go further! Of course people are also well aware that it is Labour’s reckless spending that got us into this debt. Once again in our country’s history it falls upon the Conservatives to clean up the mess.

    Locally this narrative is mirrored. Spending was out of control when the Conservative administrion took over from Labour, with council tax having increased by 124% over 10 years. It took a Conservative administration to bring things back under control so we are now in a position to offer people the prospect of lower council tax. The fact that Labour and Greens united to stop this just gives us a glimpse as to how a potential Lab/Green council would be wedded to high taxes and would simply become a “Loony Left” council. That’s assuming such a coalition could even keep itself together!

    I think many people are well aware of the dangers of returning to such a council.

    From my experience on the doorstep there is still all to play for in Goldsmid, and I wouldn’t write us off quite yet. I think the result will probably be very close what is a very marginal ward for all three of the big local parties.

    • How’s the campaign going to save the police station, Rob?

      Linda’s figures are somewhat misleading – that loss of 2000 votes translates to 667 votes lost. Also, the Tories threw a lot into that 2009 byelection and couldn’t win it, when riding high in the national polls. Anything can happen of course, but the blues are likely to lose their remaining seat.

      • sorry, 667 *voters* lost – 3 votes per person.

      • I think it’s ironic that Green candidate, Alex Phillips, is going around to small local businesses in Church Road campaigning for lower business rates.

        If Greens, with their ‘No Cuts’ stance get into any sort of pact with their ‘friends’ the Labour Party, these small businesses can wave goodbye to any savings or reductions in rates. Council Tax will rise and it’s the small businesses that will be out of business! More clone charity shops methinks.

      • I’m not denying that it is a tough fight and I predict the results will be very close, but we are fighting hard for every vote.

        As far as the police station goes, we have made our views clear: that we believe Hove needs a point of public access to the police, either in the form of the current station or an alternative in the area. We are keeping the pressure up on the police authority and will do all we can to achieve such a result.

      • As Linda mentions this is a curious stance for the Greens to take, given that last year’s general election manifesto called for taxes to rise “from their currenly very low level”. Their ideas locally would result in a very much increased tax burden both for individuals and businesses. The Conservatives are the only party that is truly a friend to business in this city.

      • I’m not a Green member, but I think the quote regarding business taxes relates to corporation tax – and they are correct, historically speaking, to say that the rate is low.

        Corporation tax is currently being lowered year-on-year still further by Boy George Osborne.

        This benefits the Barclays and the Vodaphones of this world, not small businesses. It is big businesses that the Tories back, not small ones, and their interests are not the same – in fact they are often directly opposed (Tescos versus local shops, for example). Only this weekend a friend of mine was complaining about cuts made to Businesslink, a government service to help business start-ups.

        My point about Hove Police station relates to the rumour that the decision to close it has already been taken. I mentioned this before and the silence from the normally voluble blue fans on here was deafening.

    • Low corporation tax benefits all businesses, big and small. I think it’s brilliant that George Osborne will be lowering it year on year to give us the lowest rate in the G7. I, as a Conservative, believe passionately in supporting our small businesses locally.

      • Glib words, because most small businesses will pay the small profits rate – true, Osborne has lowered this, but only by a single percentage point, whereas the main rate has gone down by two percent this year.

        Which reinforces my point – Barclays and Vodaphone will, proportionately speaking, do far better out of this than will the many sole traders operating in B&H. They will most likely find the small cut in the lower rate more than swallowed up by the VAT increase.

  6. The Green Machine will be in full effect in Goldsmid.

  7. If Peter Booth does make a speech accepting defeat it won’t be in the early hours of May 6th – the count this year will be during working hours on the Friday rather than the traditional Thursday night.

  8. Which indicates BPB is an old Labour warhorse

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