Some of my favourite things about politics in Brighton and Hove

The Greens: Thank goodness we live in a city that has the variety of politics and an openness to new ideas that allows a party like the Greens to thrive and enjoy electoral success. As a tribal Labour loyalist who voted Labour in May, I can’t imagine how very boring politics would be if we were still locked in a two-party dog fight, year in, year out. The Greens are forcing Labour and the Tories to rethink their strategy and policies, and (who knows when) both the old parties may just one day change for the better!

Warren Morgan: Warren will hate to be included in this list but he represents the fighting spirit that remains in parts of the local Labour Party. I can rely on Warren to spill his Sugar Puffs each time I post my latest take on the Greens. For him, it is the Evil Princess and All Her Works (i.e. Caroline Lucas) that personifies everything that is wrong with Brighton politics. Without the likes of Warren, Labour’s decline would be almost terminal.

The Young Tories: Rob Buckwell, Michael Ireland, Mike MacFarlane, George Dore, Kerry Underhill, Robert Nemeth and the incomparable Momma Grizzly, Rachael Bates. The Tory Party needs ‘modernising’ but not in the Blair/Cameron sense (which are no more than a cover for the worst traditions of paternalistic old-fashion politics). This new breed of young Tories will help the Tories break with their past and will challenge Blue Labour, sometimes from the left. Momma Grizzly is an enigma: a right wing, anti-monarchist, pro-Palin, capitalist. Other than her anti-monarchist tendencies, she represents much of what I oppose, but at least she has a sense of humour and passion, but that could make her all the more dangerous.

Community Gardeners: These groups represent the free spirit of campaigning that has long existed in Brightn and Hove. They are bottom up campaigners that genuinely ‘shape place’ to use the jargon of the City Council. Co-operative and communal, they bring forward a model of how things can improve, without consultants and council officers.

Christopher Hawtree: Chris is the latest in a long line of characters that have graced and enriched the political scene in Brighton and Hove over many years: Dennis Hobden, Ruth Larkin, Doreen Radford (the lady who it is said wore a new hat at every Council meeting), Richard Stanton, Sheila Hall, etc. Christopher’s election sent greater shockwaves around senior officers of the Council more than any other result on the night. It is said his election sent shockwaves around the Green Party as well!

The Blogosphere and Twiteratti: My life was sad, lacking in focus, days passing into weeks and weeks into years. I am the shy, retiring type. But then I discovered a whole new world and made loads of new friends: The Ghost, Zombie, Doris Day (she never returns my calls), Baron Pepperpot, Momma Grizzly, Rosa’s Lovely Daughter, Dr Faust, etc. Social media has enriched the political world locally, although no party has yet worked out how to make the most of it. When one party fully utilises Twitter, they can expect to reap electoral success.

The future: I don’t mean the young Tories (see above) or even the impressive young activists in Labour (Harris Fitch, Clare Calder, etc.) or in the Greens (Luke Walter, Allie Cannell, Alex Phillips, etc.) but those who active in their early and mid teens, such as Pearl Ahrens. With committed young activists like her, we can take courage for the future health of the political process.

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21 Responses

  1. Erm, thanks – I think. Just one minor quibble – have I ever mentioned Caroline Lucas? Maybe I have, but she – and the Greens – are not what motivate me. And there are many others in the Labour/Coop Party locally with more fighting spirit than me.

    • Apologies if I have maligned you re Ms Lucas. I named you because I genuinely believe that you personify a rare fighting spirit in Labour locally. I am pleased if, as you say, there are others with a fighting spirit. I don’t see too much evidence of many with that spirit who are effective. I realise that praise from me will ruin your credibility with many in the Labour ranks!

  2. I do not know who those other people might be that are mentioned in the same breath as myself by the Blogger. Which perhaps puts a perspective upon politics. There are surer paths to immortality.

    As for the woman with the hats, I do not intend to do likewise, though I must say that I have a bit of a penchant for jackets as a change from slopping around here in t shirts and jumpers.

    And, at such times as telling and turning up at the Count, I have a habit, so to speak, of wearing the green jacket which saw me in good stead on The Politics Show when I went over to Bournemouth’s lamentably PFI library. Rational superstition.

    I always thought that it should have been a Green majority on the Council this time. That was apparent to me during five solid, wonderfully enjoyable weeks in Patcham last year and a month in Central this year.

    I do not know about officers’ views, and that moment at the Count, when I had just achieved something of a Zen and the Art of Campaigning spirit, is a bit of a blur: but I do recall, on the stage, the Chief Executive saying something to the effect that he was reading out the right result.

    Whatever the badinage of this site, what engages me most is what happens on the doorsteps/pavements.

  3. The names you’re mentioned with are pretty good company to keep other then Mr Stanton the terrorists friend.

  4. Why oh why does BPB keep on banging on about some mythical obsession s/he thinks Labour has with the “Evil Princess and All Her Works” (cc BPB)? Personality is not the problem. the issue here is policy and more importantly the practical application of policies which bring change to benefit the City which is the real issue. Let me be clear – I’m not talking about pavement politics stuff but big picture issues – bringing jobs to the City by encouraging Government to give tax cuts to (for example) the digital media sector and seeking changes which encourage development and improve transport infrastructure.

    The problem with Saint Caroline (BTW I first heard that nickname from a Green during the plot to throw over Keith Taylor) is that being in a minority of one with in essence the status of an independent MP representing the Brighton Pavilion Allotments and Residents Association, means that her ability in Parliament to influence government and its agencies to act as a catalyst in facilitating change for the City is far more limited than that of an MP representing the DUP or Plaid Cymru for example.

    I want my MP to influence change at national level by proposing, amending or opposing legislation rather than be a glorified social worker. It means getting your hands dirty by cooperating, influencing and building alliances with politicians of other Parties. Yes, it is ‘old school’ politics involving all the ‘grey’ Parties but like it or not that is what Westminster is about.

    Doubtless some Mystic Meg Lucasade will respond to this by predicting that by 2015 there will be 2, 4, 6, or whatever Green MPs. But I’m talking about the here and now and frankly, with the exception of individual casework, she can do very little by herself to influence change except vote with Labour (which she does surprisingly often if you look at her voting record for someone who spends so much time slagging Labour off).

    So BPB, enough of this personality nonsense. To quote Tony Benn (again) it is the “isshoos” against which she should be judged.

    • Caroline Lucas does work with other people in parliament?!?!? Plaid Cymru and the SNP give the Greens lots of help in Westminster.

      She does propose, amend and oppose legislation.

      How much difference would one more Labour or Tory MP out of hundreds make? As we said over and over again during the general election campaign.

      I don’t understand your argument……

      • Allie – read again. I’m saying that without numerical numbers and because of he whipping system it’s virtualy impossible for lone MPs to get changes made even with cross-Party alliances.

    • I agree with Allie, Caroline can have an effect in Parliament equal to any other opposition MP.

      Craig, by your logic when Labour only got 2 seats when they were just getting going in 1900 they should have given up, and worked with the Liberal Party. 24 years later Labour had enough MPs to form a minority government. I’m not saying that the Greens’ rise will be as dramatic but parties have to start somewhere!

  5. yeah and as for the new Tories….I have said before on here, they were given chances in some of the safest seat in the City and didn’t win…..young Labour or Greens would never have made such a mistake.

    Seems to me they assumed they would be handed the kingdom without having to work for it.

    Maybe a lesson for the young pups there.

    Us oldies may be knocking on a bit but with age comes wisdom. I greatly admire Bill Randall who is able to guide all his team young and old on such a steady ship

    • Looking simply at the number of young people elected it wasn’t a great election for us all round.

      Alex Philips is still the youngest councillor.

      It would be interesting to look at whether young people that didn’t get elected but weren’t expected to, did any good overall.

      I was very happy with 1000 votes and 2nd place in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean.

  6. ‘Brighton is different’ declared Amy Kennedy when asked why Eric Pickles should listen to her when he has ignored everyone else. Indeed it is and we are very grateful for that, but let’s hope its difference doesn’t lead to it becoming detached from the rest of the country and the main body politic.

  7. Thanks for the compliment!

  8. I want to know why BPB insists on banging on about these “Young Tories” some of which are variously intellectually weak, politically lightweight and rather slippery and rude characters? Other parties’ young supporters, candidates and activists don’t get nearly the same amount of attention.

    • Well, Meester Keester, at least they have some character unlike many hacks. And I also enjoy having some sport at their expense – Momma Grizzly, the Estate Agent, le Toothbrush, etc, etc. I hope they continue to enjoy their current level of electoral success. The Grizzly One will no doubt have a go at me for saying that. I’m not scared of her ….. just don’t tell her where I live. BPB

  9. Where did Warren Morgan get this reputation as Mr Sugar Puffs?

    • Hi Pearl, I really don’t know where the Sugar Puffs phrase came from. It’s a complete mystery to me, too. Some people suggest I may have made it up! Possibly. BPB

  10. To Allie, Rachael, Clare and al the other young people who fought the council elections-good luck to youth! Youth is fired with commitment, idealism, energy and self belief. I can just remember my 20s and 30s when I was in your position.
    If Greens fail, long live the Purple Party or the Rainbow Party-they are sure to comptete but only in Brighton!

  11. ps Ruth Larkin was a very nice person. I first realised that Tories were actually human beings when she once gave me a sweet.

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