Condemning the Greens for their bar chart but recognising the Greens are on the up

Imagine the scene – Warren Morgan reviewing this blog while having a sneaky second bowl of Sugar Puffs. Seeing the condemnation by Dr Faust of my failure to criticise the bar chart used in the latest Green leaflet, he is compelled to write: “Dr Faust – yes, still no defence of the Green ‘last citywide poll’ bar graph from 2009, funny that.”

Faust himself had written: “BPB – don’t forget your over the top condemnation of Labour leaflets with far less contentious contents. You said Labour had lost one of your votes at the time – if you were going Green with it, then surely you should take it back – or maybe go Lib Dem?”

All I can do is coin a phrase: “Calm down, dear”. The bar chart used by the Greens is almost as bad as that used by Labour – which recorded some votes cast in Lewes District. At least the Green chart used only votes cast in Brighton and Hove. But apart from that, it is a dishonest chart in as much as these local elections are being fought on ward boundaries. No direct comparisons can be drawn and the Greens should not have used it.

What the Greens can legitimately claim, and this will have Warren spluttering over his Sugar Puffs, the “Greens are on the up” and “Labour are in decline”. Apart from poor grammar (it should read “Labour is in decline”) this claim in the Greens’ leaflet is correct and will be seen to be so on Friday when the real votes are counted.

Which brings me on to Geoffrey Bowden. He writes: “What lovely fun all this speculation is. However, for my part and the rest of the Green Party candidates in Queen’s Park, the canvassing goes on till the last moment and nothing will be taken for granted.  Its been a great contest cleanly fought (for the most part) on all sides, but in the end it is the electorate who decide and not the sephologists.”

Clearly the Sussex Square doesn’t think it is fun at all. Lighten up, Geoffrey. This blog is provided as a social service, to help otherwise stressed candidates to let off stream. All four of my regular readers (Warren, Grizzly, Christopher, and Doris Day) know what is being written is speculative fun.

As we enter the last few frenetic days of the campaign, I encourage all candidates to enjoy themselves. Some wards are so close that a final push might make all the difference. Give it your all, and best of luck to all, even Grizzly and the Estate Agent!

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30 Responses

  1. “even Grizzly and the Estate Agent!”

    Even?!

  2. I don’t think that anyone doubts that the Green Party will have more seats on Friday than they do today. At least 2 in H+S, possibly even 3, and others – with the only possible loss in QP. It is interesting that they are so hooked on attacking Labour – partly old habits from the old Labour left, and partly (for Pavilion) a view towards the 2015 General election, (likely to be on the same day as the next locals). If it is fought under AV (probably unlikely now) then Labour falling to third is more important than attacking the Tories in order to preserve their seat.

    To read the Green Party blurb you would think that the Labour Party was running the Council!

  3. I sensed an electricity in the air this evening.

    Mothers could be a key factor in this election, in more ways than one.

    As are the lost opportunities. Too many locked horns, not enough lateral thinking.

  4. I popped up to queens park today to help the labour team in between our own canvassing activities.

    Apart from one rather cross old guy who told me to ‘Piss off, I’m havin’ me tea’ I saw a huge amount of support for Tom, Chris and Dan. In the final push these guys and their supporters have excelled themselves. The hard work will be rewarded, I have no doubt.

  5. In between the stuff on bar charts (zzzzzz) and so on there have been a few curious comments that the existing council have managed their business well, or words to that effect.

    What about solid achievements though? When the statue of Mary Mears goes up at the bottom of Grand Avenue, after people finally get sick of the royals, what is it going to say on the plinth?

    Apart from the bandstand, which was Geoffrey the Old Pretender’s big thing, I’m hard pushed to think of anything much — apart from the thousand-odd fractured bones as a result of the failure of the council to grit properly in the winter of 2009-10.

    That and those lovely pictures of smiling couples wielding shopping bags, which adorn all the empty shops. Postmodern doesn’t even begin to describe it.

  6. “What the Greens can legitimately claim… the Greens are on the up” and “Labour are in decline”?!?!? Has the Blogger been blinded by the dazzle of St Caroline’s halo I wonder? Far from being in decline, I never experienced such enthusiasm for Labour in 2003 and 2007. Dr Faust has picked up on the fact that the People’s Front of Judea/Judean People’s Popular Front wing of the Greens are spending more time attacking Labour than the Tories (though in fairness to them one or two Dave Spart wannabees have spent the last four years doing just that).

    The Greens have made the calculation that they are not in a position to gain any seats from the Tories (true – main challenger is Labour) and any Green gains will be at the expense of Labour (again true). This explains the Green focus on Labour because they desperately need to retain existing seats (such as Queens Park where it looks likely they will lose two out of three seats) whilst winning new seats from Labour (look at that Green activity in H&S).

    My overall prediction: NOC. Tories win no new seats and lose some to Labour (both N&S P’slade plus others) whilst Labour and Greens trade places in some wards by both winning and losing seats to each other. Which of the two comes out on top is the key issue in this election.

    • Craig, I take it you haven’t seen the Labour literature flying about in Hollingdean and Stanmer?

      So callous were the lies in that literature, we were forced to issue a rebuttal to residents.

      • Negative campaigning surely not. The Green Party are hardly innocent here despite the ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ attempts.

    • Craig, that’s not exactly true – I’d be willing to wager Sue Shanks might take a seat for the Greens in Withdean and the Tories seem to be on course to lose their last seat to the Greens in Goldsmid… plus you never know what might happen in Central Hove with the dynamic Christopher Hawtree machine… Greens can win in Tory areas where Labour has absolutely no chance.

  7. Labour had 13 years to change the electoral system, so we could could all vote for the party we wanted, rather than the one who had the greatest chance of beating the party we disliked the most.

    This would enable political party’s to ditch the constant bar charts.

    So less of the complaining, you had the chance to reform our electoral system but didn’t. Don’t complain about bar charts.

    The

    • AV wouldn’t end the bar chart issue, as they would just be used to focus on second preferences rather than first – vote Green/Labour/Tory/Lib Dem second to stop the Tories/Labour/Lib Dem etc.

      • You talk as though AV were the only option available to Labour.

        Labour’s promised a review of our electoral system in their 1997 manifesto. The Jenkins report recommended a form of proportional representation, AV plus.

        But Blair was too weak, and we still have FPTP. So when Labour complain about bar charts, it quite hypocritical. It was in their power to change things, they didn’t.

      • I don’t agree. The whole argument that a vote for [whoever] is a wasted vote if you want to keep [whoever else] out is made redundant by a preferential voting system.

        People might want to advise their supporters who to vote for second, but I don’t see why they would use bar charts to do it.

  8. I was only making an observation about AV, which is the present option on the table. Labour completely failed on electoral reform, but it’s a strange leap from that to it being ok to publish misleading information and somehow make it someone else’s fault.

    • Mine was a general comment on the usual bar chart arguments that occur at every election and which party’s charts are misleading or not.

      With PR we could have virtually ended this endless talk about bar charts and instead allowed people to vote for who they agreed with, politics could be more positive. But no, it suited their interests too much to be ‘conservative’ and stick with the stays quo – ‘Blue Labour’ indeed.

      • I hate to prolong the bar chart issue, but who are you talking about in ‘suiting their interest’ – Labour and the Green Party have produced charts and headlined them as they thinks suits them – you can’t be suggesting that somehow the Green Party is not involved in this, which you seem to be. Would it be fair to say ‘Blue Green’ indeed ?

  9. Hi Luke,no I haven’t seen Labour’s most recent campaign literature in H and S so I can’t comment on that. However, I have just seen the latest (City wide presumably?) Green leaflet and perhaps you can help me interpret the messages it seeks to convey?

    As these are local elections I would have thought the Greens would be keen to tell voters what they would do if elected in sufficient numbers to have a majority to lead the Council (didn’t a recent Greenleaf seek to excite voters to elect the first Green-led Council in England?).

    But what do I see? A glossy photo of Saint Caroline – is she a Council candidate? – and an attack on Labour leading the UK into “foreign wars” – remind me which Council scrutiny committee has oversight of foreign and defence policy again? Oh and other anti-Labour rhetoric about national issues beyond the control of local government.

    It is dog-whistle politics of the worst order.It is dishonest. You know that really local issues are about the Coalition’s cuts which local council’s are having to manage. But no, these are apparently Tory AND Labour cuts according to your leaflet.

    Perhaps you should come clean with the voters on the cuts issue. Your leaflet gives the impression that the Greens would make no cuts but your manifesto acknowledges that you may have to do so if the Council is Green-led (Bill also conceded this point to Peter Hendry on BBC Politics Show when Hendry told him that the Greens were being “unrealistic”).So which is it?

    The reality is that whichever Party leads the Council would have to manage the Coalition’s savage cuts agenda.Labour has been honest because we have said repeatedly that on day one of a Labour administration we would examine the books and seek to move expenditure reserved for management and communications costs to protect frontline services. When are the Greens going to come clean with the voters about what you would do locally if you are the largest Party?

  10. Greens have upset a lot of people in Waterloo Street by putting a stake board up. East Brunswick RA campaigned hard against these boards and they got them banned.

  11. Can we get odd on Political betting about how long the Comedy coalition will last!?.
    This is great fun reading The Greens & Labour having a spat before the first vote is even counted!.
    Both parties think they are going to be far bigger then the other and play the school bully..can’t wait to see Bill Randall sending Gill Mitchell and Warren to get the tea’s!.

  12. Dr Faust

    Sorry my last post can be read in two ways. I am talking about FPTP vs PR not bar charts.

    It suited Labour’s interests to block electoral reform, despite what they put in their 1997 manifesto.

    The current AV campaign clearly reveals that Labour is split down the middle on AV at least.

    The anti-AV side are generally the more ‘conservative’, less progressive wing of the party.

  13. I was interested to learn this afternoon in Central Hove that the LibDems are paying somebody to deliver lealfets.

    So much for grassroots politics.

    What I have found cheering in this is that people met on doorsteps have offered to help.

    Who knows, perhaps if one puts energy into thsi sort of thing, there comes a buzz and one makews one’s own luck. Innumerable stories.

  14. Mrs Tipster received a letter from Labour today ‘outing’ Hangleton and Knoll Independent candidate Jo Heard as a former Tory candidate. Either Labour regard Ms Heard as a credible threat or it is a desperate attempt to split the Tory vote.

  15. So what happens in a scenario where Labour have to form a pact with the Greens.

    Do we have the Labour cuts – which I believe some of the B&H Labour Party don’t want- or do they have to incorpororate the No Cuts, Robin Hood Tax Green manifesto?

  16. what happens in a scenario where conservatives ask this question at this stage is that the rest of us know that they know they have lost the council….

    • Tories will still be the largest party and once the Comedy Coalition breaks down with the bad publicity that it will generate we’ll see what happens.

    • Are you an ‘official’ spokesperson?

  17. I do find the tone of some of this debate quite worrying. Whilst I’m really hopeful that the experience I’ve seen on the doorstep and the general mood of B&H will lead to a strong Green showing, the main parties are going to have to work relatively closely together to one degree or another.

    I’m concerned that if this barely disguised antipathy towards the Greens continues, we are going to struggle to put the Council back onto a firm and forwarding looking footing for the next few years.

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