George Dore and le Toothbrush, and the continuing decline of the Lib Dems

Intrigue surrounds George Dore’s move from Moulsecoomb and Bevendean to Preston Park, and that of her beloved, le Toothbrush (Mike Mafarlane) from Queens Park to Regency Ward. Dan Wilson asks: “Why change wards now? Totally bizarre.” Dan’s twin brother, Warren Morgan, observes: “Tories seem to be abandoning Kemptown wards as fast as they are selected. Does not bode well for Mr Kirby.”

The Tory Tipster thinks that the problem lies in the heart of the Kemptown Conservative Association: “And another one bites the dust!!! First Mike Mac then George Dore – something is very wrong in Brighton Kemptown when their most talented candidates are jumping ship! I take on board your comments about Maria Caulfield but at the risk of sounding ungentlemanly, she is now very much past her best and now looks rather tired and sagging. Thank goodness the Hove Association has the good sense to have so many bright young candidates on the ballot paper!”

Linda F asks “Why would Ms Dore finish lower in Preston Park than M&B, if she appeals more to the PP middle class voter? I think she is just the right candidate for the aspirational younger families living in PP. She just needs to make sure her voters come out on the day. This switch is an interesting development anyway.” Well, Linda, Preston Park is a Green / Labour marginal and disillusioned Lib Dems are hardly going to move rightwards but will split their votes between the Greens and Labour. The share of the votes of the left parties will definitely increase in Preston Park. The question that I cannot answer is who will benefit most from the collapse of the Lib Dem vote.

But the Ghost of Nobby Clarke thinks that the Tories should not be written off in Preston Park: “Don’t underestimate the very impressive George Dore in Preston Park. She might just surprise a few people. After all some of us still remember excellent former Tory councillors there such as Doreen Radford and Vic Marchant.”

But what is emerging tonight is how low the Lib Dems have sunk. I wrote yesterday that “It appears that (the Lib Dem) 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.” Not for a moment did I suspect that the LibDems could only field 8 (yes that was EIGHT) candidates across Brighton and Hove. According to the Lib Dem website, otherwise known as The Life and Times of Paul Elgood, the Lib Dems are fielding candidates in Regency, Brunswick and Adelaide, Central Hove and South Portslade wards.

I have been criticised in the past for being too harsh on the Lib Dems and that my prediction of their imminent demise was premature. I had never anticipated that they would field just 8 (yes, I repeat, just EIGHT) candidates! With the deadline for nominations closing at 12 noon tomorrow (Monday 4th April), there is still time for the Lib Dems to find a further 46 candidates. But they could, at this late stage, be no more than paper candidates, unwilling and unable to mount a city-wide campaign.

Finally, I was thumbing through some back editions of the Midhurst and Petworth Observer, as one does on a lazy Sunday afternoon. In the edition for Friday, 5 June 2009, I came across the election result for the Billingshurst division of West Sussex County Council. Trailing in third place, behind David Duke of UKIP and the Conservative Amanda Jupp who won the seat, was Larissa Rowe standing for Liberal Democrats. Could this be the same Larissa Rowe who is standing for the Lib Dems in Regency (where le Toothbrush is standing for the Tories)? And could this be an omen that will see the Lib Dems beaten into 5th place by UKIP in a seat that, until recently, returned a Lib Dem councillor? Watch this space for a positive response from UKIP’s own Mr Cumugeon (Paul Perrin).

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12 Responses

  1. That is twice you have referred to me as a cumugeon you have had a whole day to compose your blog entry, I would have expected more imagination from you.

    I would have thought having some experience of life (like maybe having at least have had responsibility for housing, clothing, feeding and raising a family) and wanting far, far better for others than you have seen/had for while you were doing it would be a positive qualification rather than a negative one.

    But maybe your expectations for the people of brighton, hove and portslade are rather lower than mine.

    • Spoken like a true Curmugeon, Sir! It was meant with some affection. I enjoy your comments. As for me lacking imagination, I plead guilty as charged! BPB

    • If that’s the case, can I really have an informed opinion on anything? Just because I haven’t experienced something yet, it doesn’t mean I don’t understand it.

      One of the reasons I knock on doors is because I want to understand the people I hope to represent, be they council tenants, home owners, students, working mothers, pensioners, etc. I can’t see how my age hinders my ability to represent people effectively.

      Heck, we’ve got representatives in their 50s and 60s who do a crap job of that – UKIP MEPs being some of them.

  2. I know Larissa from my time at Sussex Uni and, whilst we disagree on a lot politically, she’s a lovely girl and will make a great councillor one day. She’s one to watch, Baps!

  3. Curmudgeon (sic) or not, I think Paul Perrin has a point. We need less politicians who have only ever ‘done’ politics, not more. And youth isn’t much of a recommendation in itself.

    Mind you, I wouldn’t go the length of one local Tory godfather, who – from what I read the other day – thinks that half the council’s seats should be reserved for businesspeople. Not what I’d call democracy, and an indication to me that we have gone too far in worshipping the entrepreneur.

    I’d be very surprised if the Lib Dems ran only eight candidates – more likely that they just haven’t sorted the website out.

  4. Yes, they did tell me they were putting candidates in Rottingdean Coastal… that wasn’t on your list though.

    Doesn’t matter if they do really though! We will take them AND the Tories down!

  5. Harris Fitch asked the Lib Dems not to put candidates up in Rottingdean in a bid to stop Mary Mears.

  6. Paul Elgood says on Twitter that the Lib Dems are running 45 candidates for the 54 council seats available. Queens Park and East Brighton are two wards where they are not contesting one of the three seats.

  7. The local Tories are in meltdown. Mary Mears’ leadership is supported only by a small faction of colleagues and the apathy of the other Tory councillors who are, with a handful of exceptions, totally unremarkable. So desperate is this small faction to retain power that they are actively blocking the possible election of any new talent that might later challenge their regime even if it is to the detriment of the whole Party locally. These people think they are ‘real’ Conservatives but they are living in the past with no vision for the city at all.

  8. The leadership of Mary Mears’ is dependent upon a small faction of fellow Councillors with paid cabinet posts (mostly their main or only source of income) and the apathy of the remaining Councillors who, with a handful of exceptions, are largely unremarkable. It is increasingly obvious that the Mears’ faction are making it deliberately difficult for any talented Conservative who might eventually challenge the regime to get near a potentially winnable Council seat. The sad result is an under performing administration that lacks talent or ideas to the detriment of the city. To give my comments a context, I have been a Conservative for over 20 years, but I now see local meltdown. The Administration are merely de facto Conservatives to suit their own personal will and it makes a mockery of the local Party that is otherwise crammed full of gifted individuals.

  9. thanks you nices post

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