Bits and pieces from the local election campaign

Luke Walter has observed UKIP delivering leaflets in Hollingdean and Stanmer. He says that he suspects that they will take a few votes from the Conservatives and Labour on the estates. I suspect he is probably right, with a few more from the Tories than from Labour. I can’t see UKIP taking any votes from the Greens.

This raises an interesting question: who will the independent candidates harm most? And will the Lib Dems influence the outcome at all?

I think that the most significant independent this election is Jo Heard who will split the Tory vote in Hangleton and Knoll, as well as taking a few votes from Labour. Michael Ireland is likely to lose out amongst the Tories, while Alum Jones, due to alphabet voting, will suffer, but not by much. Jo’s candidature is not likely to be decisive. A stunning result would be if she was elected along with the Terrible Twins, Dawn Barnett and Brian Fitch. Not impossible but unlikely. I doubt an independent will win this May. The most likely result remains the election of Banett, Tony Janio and Brian Fitch.

Ben Codfish (what a clever play on words) asks whether we should rule out a Blue / Red Coalition. Gasps of indignation can be heard in this far corner of Hove as Warren Morgan splutters over a late night bowl of Sugar Puffs. “Never! Never! Never!” goes the cry in his best Ian Paisley voice.

If people vote according to their age, Steph Holder makes the following observation regarding this demographic: “The 2001 Census noted that 42% of people in Brighton and Hove are aged 20-44 – above the England and Wales average of 35% and the 34.6% average for the South East. 21% are aged 60+. A bit of quick research shows that about 70% of Tory councillors fall into the 60+ category – so the Party is very, very far from being representative of local people. Labour seems to be similar. Greens seem to most closely reflect the population, demographically speaking.”

Linda says that we shouldn’t knock the more mature councillor. “With age comes wisdom and I think a council with a wide age range and views is sometimes healthier. Remember, the outlying areas of B&H have a much older (perhaps more Tory?) electorate. We also have many residential & warden assisted homes in Hove.. Not everyone here is a right-on, cool, cycling, Green, Liberal.”

I think there is an issue here – which has allowed the Tories too easy a ride in the outlying areas. Christopher Hawtree identified this several weeks ago, as did Luke Walter. The Green tide is spreading far and wide, even in Withdean and Patcham. Earlier today Christopher wrote: “Nobody should regard the “suburbs” as a block vote.” I do agree, but I still don’t think the Greens will come within 1,000 votes of the Tories in Rottingdean Coastal.

Meanwhile, in Goldsmid ward (a ward that warrants close attention, along with Central Hove) I sense a gap is opening up between the Greens and Labour. I have previously predicted that Melanie Davis would top the poll for Labour and that the Greens would have Alex Phillips and another of it’s candidates elected, probably Ruth Buckley (not to be confused with the Estate Agent, Rob Buckwell). Given the strength of the Green campaign, and the popularity of Alex Phillips, I would not be surprised if Alex Phillips topped the poll with Melanie Davis and Ruth scrapping it out for second and third places.

I really don’t have a feel for Central Hove – too close, perhaps. The Tories are strong here, Celia Barlow is a very well known name, and Rebecca Taylor is running a great campaign as a Lib Dem candidate. (Please note, this praise of a Lib Dem is personal and should in no way be regarded as a softening of my totally unreasonable attitude to the Lib Dems. I do rate Rebecca Taylor).

There are just over 2 weeks to go before polling day. Do let me know how it’s going in your neck of the woods.

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22 Responses

  1. Well, it begining to warm up in H&S. The greens appear to be relying on regular mailings through the door, with Labour doing a lot of door knocking in the last few days and more of their posters appearing. Would have to say probably a few more Green posters on display. But now I know we have a UKIP candidate that’s blown the whole contest wide open. Oh hang on, no it hasn’t.

  2. Our Labour team were out in force in SPNl at the weekend and as a first time candidate I was chuffed with the amount of support , I even ran out of blu tack we stuck up so many posters.

    Personally I have found canvassing a very enjoyable and interesting experience and the voters reactions have on the whole been very positive. There is a view in some quarters that SPNL is a tough nut to crack for Labour, perhaps, but our excellent team will keep campaigning vigorously for the right result.

  3. The Greens in Hollingdean are hardly relying on literature. The proliferation in literature may be down to the original campaign sponsorship that brought in extra funds for such things. The door campaign is also gaining in speed-I know that Luke Walter spent an entire week pounding the streets recently, he took time off work to do it! They also have an in place strategy at the Uni too.

    As regards Jo Heard- I am confident that she will be elected. Don’t under estimate her popularity. There is an Alzheimers Society day in Brighton on May 16th, I have suggested to her that she might want to consider finding a replacement…..

    On the Queens Park front, the Greens have begun to flood the area, they are clearly not taking anything for granted. The Labour campaign has been strong, I saw poor Tom French looking weary after a hard days campaigning on the Tarner/ Milner estate, Labour clearly feel that the mobilisation here is key. Tom is fighting to the last.

    Lets face it though, none of us know what’s going to happen.

  4. What odds that the Labour Party have NO councillors in Brighton Kemptown after May 5th? (including East Saltdean, Telscombe Cliffs and Peacehaven). 30 Town councillors, 9 district councillors and 14 City councillors are up for grabs (the two conservative held County council seats are not up for election this year).

  5. The H&S Conservatives have been pounding the pavements so much that I’ve now worn through two pairs of shoes in the process!

    Aside from my rapidly decreasing footwear, all is going well with our campaign. Plenty of people have come out in support of us. It’s particularly encouraging to see people that were at first not going to bother voting saying that they are going to vote for us.

    It really isn’t long at all until Polling Day. I personally am really looking forward to it. I’ve stocked up on extra trainers especially for it.

    • Put your feet up Rachael, those people on the door step tell such terrible fibs…..

      • Don’t underestimate the Tories in H&S they have been the party kicking the ball about for the most amount of time in that ward, a page has been taken out of the Green Machines book, ask any Liberal and they’ll say the greens stole it from their book.

  6. The Blogger does not mention Westbourne.

    • he doesn’t want to encourage you…. 🙂

      • I mentioned to one resident that Westbourne is “Fiveways on Sea” and she laughed, and said, that’s exactly right.

  7. “What odds that the Labour Party have NO councillors in Brighton Kemptown after May 5th?” asks the Ghost. Unlikely I’d say based on canvass returns and door step reactions. Certainly in EB there has been a level of voter enthusiasm for Labour which I can’t recall before in 2003 or 2007, eg; being asked for posters to display unprompted. QP colleagues tell a similar story.

  8. Have you not heard? – Codfish is an endangered species.

  9. In the two areas I know best I would say that in H+S, The Green Party look and feel to be clearly ahead, but they will need to reach beyond their core vote and get them to the polling station; in PP the race looks to be fairly close, but I still predict 1Green and 2 Labour. Still only canvassed by Labour.

    Elsewhere, I am struck by the number of Labour posters up in H+EG, which may mean nothing in the end, but in some other areas there appears to be little interest – predominantly Tory areas. Why aren’t they less popular? Stop blaming the Lib Dems all the time just because you think there is more to gain politically by taking Lib Dem votes, and concentrate on getting the Tories out!

    BPB – how about a new blog on the AV vote, which is at least as significant as who who imposes Tory cuts in B+H over the next four years.

  10. No, no blue/red coalition (said in my calmest voice).
    Yes, there will be Labour councillors in Brighton Kemptown after May 6th, between 7 and 9 I predict.
    Hanover…I can’t remember seeing Labour posters on Elm Grove last April, but they are there now.

    Slightly academic point, in by-elections over the past year, the Tories have retained 53% of their General Election vote, Lib Dems 58% (surprisingly) and Labour 78%. This compares to 82%, 98% and 76% respectively during the last Parliament 2005-10.

  11. I too have been surprised at the number of ‘YES to AV’ posters up in PP. I thought voters were supposed to be apathetic about the referendum. Any thoughts on how this interacts with the local elections? Increased turnout, etc?

  12. Fairly quiet in my corner of Goldsmid. Only the Greens have attempted to canvass, and I was out at the time.

    Dr Faust mentions AV: I attended the debate at the Gloucester Place Baptist Church last Friday, and was astonished to find the Tories in heavy attendance. I wonder that a few more of them weren’t out canvassing?

    They didn’t contribute much, apart from a lot of muttering when one of the pro-AV speakers mentioned the similarity between AV – also known as ‘instant run-off’ – and the eliminating ballots that the Tories use to select candidates. The speaker was quite correct – the systems work on the same principle, you just don’t get the opportunity to change your vote between rounds under AV.

    Charlotte Vere spoke for the No campaign. I know the blogger is a fan, but to me she is no better than Virginia Bottomley-lite. But I think the blogger’s judgement goes AWOL when it comes to attractive women.

    She claimed that AV is an abandonment of one-person-one-vote. This pernicious rubbish – *all* the votes get counted in each round, it’s just that those of knocked-out candidates switch to lower preferences. Not that difficult to follow really, unless you are being dense or disingenous.

    The reason for this disinformation – and probably the reason for the high Tory attendance at the meeting – is that the existing system has unfairly benefitted the Conservative party more than any other since it was introduced in 1885. They stand to lose most from the adoption of the somewhat more democratic AV system. It’s all about self-interest – as is usual, for them.

  13. Clive – Tories do appear to be spending considerable time on the No campaign and I’ve yet to meet a single voter who has raised the issue in EB. Loved your comment that ” I think the blogger’s judgement goes AWOL when it comes to attractive women”. No, surely not?

    • High five, Craig.

      This annotated list of donors to the NO campaign is worth looking at (with a hat tip to Neil Harding)

      http://poplarmark.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/annotated-no2av-donor-list/

      People of this ilk don’t give away money in sums like that unless they fear that their access to power is in danger of being compromised.

    • That is why I sing the praises of Warren Mitchell, Bill Randall, even Christopher Hawtree, along with my admiration for Mary Mears, Brian Fitch, Maria Caulfield, with a particular interest in Craig Turton. But sadly, other than Warren Mitchell, the choice of breakfast cereal of all is a mystery to me. Pass the Sugar Puffs, Warren.

      • You are falling into the trap of confusing me, my ward colleague and that well known actor. And my choice of breakfast cereal is between me and my kitchen table…(it’s healthier than Sugar Puffs though)

  14. Clive – do you think the blogger would have a more favourable opinion of the Fib-Dems if a new frontbench team included Kim Kardashian, Kelly Brook and Nigella Lawson? Given the blogger’s occasional AWOL judgement as you point out, perhaps he is really Lembit Opik?

    • Cheeky! But yes, mystery solved I think.

      The crack team you mention would, I’m sure, have negotiated a more favourable coalition deal than did Alexander, Huhne and company. Then again, so would my granny and her card school, and they’ve all been dead upwards of two decades.

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