Announcing the outstanding candidate, with youth and good looks, for Hove 2015

From the reaction to yesterday’s post, it appears that the campaign in Hove in 2015 is already capturing the imagination. There is speculation about the Labour candidate, the advantage of women candidates, and the merits of experience over youth.

Councillor Christopher Hawtree agrees that Hove is an interesting prospect: “The subject of the Hove constituency is certainly more galvanising than a gathering of the Strategic Partnership. A point not made by the blogger is that, very winnable, Hove could attract the attention of candidates from elsewhere. Meanwhile, in studying it, I think I have found the key factor in a close-run Election, but am hardly going to say so here.”

Clive agrees that Mike Weatherley could be vulnerable: “1800 majority and 37% of the vote does not equal hard to shift, unless Argentina invade the Falklands again. It is very easy to exaggarate the effect of an individual MP’s efforts at social work.” Perhaps so, Clive, but Mike has already impressed with his careful nurturing of the constituency and he has a populist appeal.

So what can councillor Chris have discovered? He is right that Hove, as a winnable seat could attract candidates from beyond the city. If Labour or the Greens did so, it would be a mistake. There is much speculation that Labour is looking to Simon Burgess.

Luke Walter (who rumour has it may have Green leanings), writes of the likely Labour candidate: “For once, I agree with Zombie, a female candidate would stand a much better chance for Labour. However, given that the Kemptown seat is an all-woman shortlist (AWS) and Hove isn’t, Burgess only has one option (unless he can persuade the NEC to keep Pavilion open to all, though, I doubt he wants to stand there). Therefore, Hove it will be for Mr. Burgess unless the local party opts for someone else. Given Warren Morgan’s own friendship with Burgess and the East Brighton grip over Labour’s constituency parties in the city, I imagine the local Labour selection for Hove will be without a credible challenge to Burgess.”

But some feel that a different brand of candidate should be chosen. I suggested female and young in the case of the Greens. Likewise, Zombie proposes female and young for Labour: “A Green candidate in place now (probably Alex Phillips) could start to build a challenge. This could become momentum given a fair wind from B & H council’s activities or the kiss of death. Labour can help the Greens by selecting someone mediocre from outside the area, or can select someone with potential like the Benn girl who stood in Shoreham in 2010 or perhaps Clare Calder. Leaving selection late will help the Green challenger. In any event the Green Alex Phillips lookalike will need to show she is best placed to challenge Weatherly well beforehand for the Lab vote to evaporate.”

Zombie urges Labour not to waste time: “Labour would do well to select their Alex Phillips now and establish their own campaigning radical credentials. They might then squash the Green Alex as the clear non-Tory alternative.”

Finally, it appears that I am getting under Clive’s skin. He writes: “I do find the blogger’s repetitive promotion of a select few annoying, because it seems to be based on so little in the way of substance.” But Clive, I am totally devoid of substance! But give me some credit – I say it as I see it, and I am not often wrong. I predicted Alex Phillips’ Goldsmid by-election victory when others did not, I called Brighton Pavilion correctly, and I was within a seat for both Labour and the Greens this May. I also said that my friend Warren Morgan would romp home and that Brian Fitch would regain his seat. You are right, Clive, I concentrate on the select few.

But I do agree with Clive on his final point: “There is a wider, national malaise in our politics too, in the elevation of (relative) youth and (relative) good looks above substance.”

So to add to this national malaise, there is just one person who has the youth and good looks necessary to beat Mike Weatherley. Yes, it is your ever so humble Blogger.

9 Responses

  1. I am as astonished by the sluggish start to the Hove campaign as I am by the Obama one. Tho’, over there, they have the complicating factor of when will Ms Palin jump in.

    For anybody with eyes to see, Hove is up for grabs, but after last winter I shall need good reason to pitch in whatever pavement skills I might have.

  2. Haha try having elections every year Christopher that keeps you really down to earth.

    Is there another angle? Might the better potential Labour candidates be looking elsewhere. If the tide swings towards Labour natioally but it appears unclear as to whom that will help in Brighton then Labour’s best prospects may go for winnable seats elsewhere. Even if they don’t even go for other seats in the end might this delay decisions from people like Simon Burgess?

    Other potential Labour people may choose community activism (health boards, RAs etc) where it is helpful or even necessary to stay politically independant publically.

    When the tide turns against a party it can be tough to regroup, partly because the talent deserts to other projects.

  3. I think for Labour and the Tories they’ve lost a degree of their fight; the campaigning for the general election went on for *ages* and they barely had time to regroup in time for the council elections. I also think the public aren’t yet ready to have pre-electioneering thrust upon them.

    Candidates probably won’t be being selected until 2013 due to boundary changes, but I agree that an under-35 female candidate with election public speaking skills (and preferably a local Sussex/Brighton alumnus) could wipe the floor with Weatherley. Of course, Weatherley’s fate does largely rest on the shoulders of a) the economy, b) health reforms and c) his own party-loyalty, but good opposition candidates could really do him damage.

    Re. Old/young, younger people have more energy and fresh ideas! Talking to politicians 20 years my younger is a refreshing experience.

    Is Mike Weatherley really only 53?!

  4. Mr Keester correctly throws a spanner in the the boundary review. But since Hove has had virtually the same boundaries since the 1950s and to expand west would break the administrative county boundary, it is most likely to survive as it is only 1600 short of proposed size constraints.

    The boundary review nonetheless complicates selection of candidates. An agile Green coup de main(probably they are a less bureaucratic party than Lab) could circumvent the issue by having Alex Phillips as a ‘Shadow’ MP for Hove-doing all the things you’d expect a candidate to do but not formally a candidate, so no selection issues.

    It seems more likely to me that Hove and Pavilion will remain and that Kemptown will expand to take
    in Newhaven. That is not necessarily bad for Lab as Newhaven often voted Lab at County level in the 60s/70s and the LibDem vote may be expected to contract in 2015.

  5. BPB you were indeed rarely wrong in your take on the election, although consistency has not alwasy been your strongest point and some of your dedicated followers may well remember an earlier assessment which said “the Tories in Hangleton have nothing to fear from the return of Brian Fitch”

    • You know me too well, Dom, consistency is not a strong feature. If I said Brian Fitch will win a seat, then later that Brian Fitch will narrowly miss out, and some other time that the Tories have nothing to fear from the return of Fitch, I would almost certainly be right! And so it proved! BPB

  6. In 1951 the Tories polled over 37000 in Hove and now get half that-an interesting measure of the extent of social change.Moreover, Lab were often third in the 70s/80s, so as well as changing demographics Hove is also volatile electorally.So BPB is probably right in saying it is up for grabs.

  7. Whilst you were largely right in your seat predictions BPB (predicting larger gains for the Greens than even they expected) you did underestimate the number of seats Labour would hold, our gains from the Tories and our share of the citywide vote I think.

    Regardless of boundary changes, Labour’s NEC have asked Hove and Kemptown to select Parliamentary candidates this autumn.

    • Yes, too much is made of the boundary changes; that is not the main thrust.

      I have this morning, on a stroll, formulated what I think could be a key doorstep line.

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