Are headlines about the Old Steine protest camp what the Greens need right now?

An unholy row is brewing in Brighton regarding protests in the City. Green councillor Ben Duncan, Cabinet Member for Commnities, has said that peaceful protests are welcome in the Ity. Of the Spanish protest camp that has been set up in the Old Steine, he has described it as “the model of the kind of engaged peaceful protest the Council and the Police are committed to facilitating.” Former council leader Mary Mears has said that she is ”astonished” by the statement and that she fears that Ben Duncan’s comments would encourage more protesters.

Now Simon Kirby, the Conservative member of paliament for Brighton Kemptown has said that the Green administration should not to use the city as a “laboratory for Green experiments.”

Mr Kirby has written a letter to Brighton and Hove City Council chief executive John Barradell in which he has said: “Whilst it is right that local authorities undertake their duties so that they comply with the law, I am very concerned at the impression being given to residents and visitors alike. I believe that business confidence will be eroded, in my opinion the rule of law is being challenged and unnecessary tensions are being created in the city. The Green Administration rests on minority support. It should recognise that. I am very concerned at the turn of events in the last few weeks and there needs to be a rapid change of direction. Brighton is a city where people want to go about their business in peace, not be part of a laboratory for Green experiments.”

My views are as follows:

Protests are part of our political life. The police have been unnecessarily heavy handed in dealing with, for example, the recent anti-EDL protests. By their tactics a generation of activists are being politicised (which is a good thng) but will have developed an anti-police attitude (which is a shame).

The statement by Ben Duncan was ill-judged. So early into the life of the new administration, the Green Admnistration has attracted unwelcome headlines. Being in opposition and being a campaigner is one thing, being a Cabinet member another. I am not suggesting that Ben compromises his views and policies, but having gained elected office, use your new position to influence, persuade and enforce your policies. Start by talking to the police about their tactics on demonstrations, agree a code of acceptable behaviour in the policing of demonstrations, insist that kettling plays no part in police tactics. You are the local government. Use the priviledged position you are in.

Finally, careful what you wish for. The camp in the Old Steine should have been given to remain for a nit or two. Now the Council will find it difficult to move. And what if similar camps begin appearing throughout the summer in the squares and parks throughout Brighton and Hove. I believe in protests and extra-parliamentary action, but there is a danger that such camps might proliferate masquerading as ‘protest camps’.

The Green Council has my blessing (I sound like Bishop Brian) but it needs some discipline within it’s ranks before something more significant causes the Group to implode.

76 Responses

  1. They aren’t legitimate protesters. They’re squatters and should be forced to move on as soon as possible. I’m all for legitimate protest, but they shouldn’t be allowed to camp out there.

  2. Ben hasn’t answered my question on Twitter yet. I am sure he will. He’s a one of the Greens I like and get along with.

    “@kemptownben Do Smash EDO fall under your definition of peaceful protest?”

  3. The Greens are on track for a fourth U-Turn now – as I said a few entries ago, their Tuition Fees moment it coming. That point when even those who thought they knew what the Greens stood for (most don’t) find that even they are wrong.

    What will be particularly ‘bad’ about this contribution to the Greens downfall is that it was created entirely unnecessarily by the Greens – it wasn’t about promises in opposition, no, they freely *chose* to set themselves up for it after they had been elected and formed their administration.

  4. First the Greens get accused of performing u-turns then, when we stick our neck out for something we truely believe in, the opposition say we shouldn’t use the city as a ‘lab for a Green experiment.’

    I’m not bothered at all by the recent headlines. The Argus has really made a blunder in being so heavy handed with the new administration. I’ve heard comments from a-political folk who see the Argus as waging a political vendetta against the Greens. They risk boring their readership with the same old thrash headlines day in, day out.

    The best thing the Green administration can do is govern without conceding to the Argus editorials.

    • Well honestly, what do you expect? The Greens were doing the exact same thing (using any political ammunition they could lay their hands on) before they were in power.

      And if the Argus _does_ have a vendetta against the Greens (which I don’t believe it does, actually), then maybe it’s just to balance out the appalling bias it has had for years _towards_ the Greens.

    • The Argus is a Labour-supporting paper. Gill and Warren stories get large 1/3 to 1/2 page spaces for even quite trivial things placed in the first 10 pages.

      The Conservatives were largely ignored in the last Administration – only the letters page accommodated them but most Tories are inept at using it. They rarely use this forum which always publishes a councillors letter I believe.

      I do not see a “Green vendetta” from the Argus at all.

      It is a tabloid and the lowest common denominator is catered for with billboard simple messaging. The FT it ain’t. And its too poor to allow its journalists any time to do much in-depth work.

    • Gosh ! It sounds as though The Argus has been doing its job of holding those in power to account, criticising Labour AND Green. Political experiments? London Congestion Charge – Red Ken with Green support – now there was a high-risk experiment – and it worked.

  5. After reading some of the 123 comments left on The Argus website regarding anarticle on this, I can see I am not in the minority. One businessman said he would stop bringing his clients down to Brighton now, because of the current policy on protesting and unsightly camping out.

    I am getting a certain amount of shadenfreude from this situation. Keep it up Greens!

    • I avoid the comments section on the Argus. Most are abusive and insulting. You get a better class of commentator on this blog, even allowing for you, Linda!

  6. @Luke I never heard any complaints from you when Dr Lucas and the Greens were reveived great press week in week out in d’Argus.

    I also note the term “govern” re the Green administration in last para. Shivers.

  7. Of course, everybody should have the right to make a legitimate protest. However, occupying a site in a semi-permanent fashion is a completely different issue, as Rachael says they have essentially become squatters on the site. They have made their point and should be moved on. With the noises coming from the Greens not only on this issue but also that of travellers, I worry that this city is fast becoming a magnet for squatters, travellers and protesters. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this is not the image we should be projecting for the city and it will certainly not be good for business.

  8. Luke, Dan is right – the Argus were (are?) head over heals in love with Ms Lucas – if they don’t like the green council you have to ask yourself ‘why?’.

    The Green policy is very, very stupid, but I look forward to taking full advantage of it.

    As far as I can tell (so far) the Spanish Revolution (now UK Revolution, European Revolution etc) is really p*ssed off that our politicians have been left to run riot with the stupid mess that is the EU (and the Euro) and they know that it is *they* who will picking up the pieces (and the bills) for this political lunacy.

    Eat your hearts out ‘UKUncut’.

    Point 3 at:
    should get the support of many who are into ‘debt forgiveness’ – I wonder how many will admit it though? and how many will tribally oppose it (for some reasons yet to be made up by them).

  9. The internal tensions within the Green party, coupled with their long-winded methods of decision-making, will inevitably lead to this sort of blunder, which reminds those of us approaching middle age of the Dave Spart antics of some Labour councils in the 80s that gave rise to the ‘loony left’ soubriquet which so dogged our chances of election back then.

    This is a spectacular misjudgement of the views and wishes of the majority of Brighton & Hove residents and will play very poorly indeed with those who voted Green imagining that action to be a cost-free manifestation of their dissatisfaction with ‘old politics’.

    • Well said Tim. Derek Hatton’s Liverpool comes to mind; that city became an experiment of the Loony Left in the ’80s.

      I also note that B&H Council have now posted a Consultation Portal on Safety, Crime Reduction and Drugs Strategy. Perhaps the first step is to discourage the people that have these issues, and generally cause these crimes, not to come to our city to protest, squat and cause mayhem in the first place!

      • Yeah, fuck the poor.

        If they’re mentally ill or homeless lets just go the whole way and deport them, that way they’ll never come back near us.

        Those squatters that live in empty buildings rather then claim benefits are the worst! What if they moved onto my street. I might actually have to see poor people!

      • Linda, I think you misunderstand me. My beef with the likes of Hatton is that by their antics they helped to keep Labour out of power for 18 years while successive Conservative governments decimated swathes of the country – many of which have yet to recover and will have what is left of their prosperity destroyed by the current government’s ideologically-led austerity policies (although not for the richest, who’ve seen their incomes rise by 18% since 2008).

        I’m not that bothered by the Spaniards on the Steine – it’s just another protest and will no doubt dissipate sooner rather than later. What I’m concerned about is the prospect of a Green administration wasting its time and our money on politically-motivated displays, like Cllr. Duncan’s pronouncement, for which they have no mandate.

        Their job is to help steer Brighton & Hove through a 5 year (equally without mandate) assault on the post-war social contract by an unprecedentedly right-wing government – with as much of its social fabric intact as possible. If they can do that then I’ll say ‘well done’ as I do my utmost to help win back control of our Council for the Labour party.

  10. I fear, BPB, that calls for sensible and rational approaches from certain of the Greens will fall on deaf ears.

    Tony Davenport

  11. Tim, the residents of Brighton & Hove expressed their view at the last election.

    The Greens got 33%, Labour 31% and Conservative 29% — the Greens are big fans of PR, so all they need to do is ensure that they only ever pretend to speak for 33% of Brighton & Hove residents…

    The Greens wouldn’t do a U-Turn on their support for PR would they?

    • Some say I’m more on the conservative (small c ;-)) wing of my party organisationally and policy-wise but I think Ben Duncan is right on this one…

      BPB is kindly offering his usual wise advice but it’s not needed on this occasion.

      With several years’ experience on the Sussex Police Authority, Ben already engages closely with community safety agencies, including the police.

      He has much more experience of community safety policy than many of the hostile commentators here…

      I don’t always agree with Ben, but I think the Spanish camp on the Old Steine is a positive and legitimate expression of protest in difficult times.

      A lot of people in Brighton and Hove may want ‘to go about their business as usual’ but many also feel solidarity with peaceful protesters.

      We should never be scared away from our principles by right-wing journalists locally or nationally.

      Like me, people may shy away from supporting violent anarchistic demonstrators, including some of those involved in the campaign against EDO.

      But many people *will* side with peaceful protesters. I do…

      So I think some friendlier commentators as well as the usual suspect opponents of the Greens are being too quick to make a call on Green Party division locally & too quick to criticise Ben.

      Many people support the idea of *peaceful* protest in these very difficult times and some peaceful camp sites with limited impact on local neighbourhoods should be welcomed in our city, not scorned.

      Should it all get too much then action can be taken.

      The mainstream Left (Labour Left and most Greens) should have more courage in Brighton and Hove. If not here where else in the UK?

      • Simon I think you miss the big point here…

        A couple of weeks of Spanish Revolution isn’t the end of the world, but Duncan has given a green light to anyone and everyone with a bee in their bonnet to set up a ‘peace camp’ anywhere in Brighton.

        If a load of these camps get up and running, then the inevitable enforced clearances will start – that will probably be the big crunch.

        As this kind of thing starts to make it clear to everyone that all Green policies (other than the motherhood and apple pie ones) are unworkable and misguided, that will be the end of them. Hopefully this will happen before we have been bankrupted by their tax and waste policies. (Giving people taxpayers money to do things that aren’t wanted/needed is not ‘creating jobs’!)

    • Agreed, Paul. The electorate, in my view, gave the Greens a mandate to prove that they are able to form a responsible and effective administration and no more – this much is plain from both the vote share you mention and the allocation of seats. They emphatically didn’t give any mandate for the sort of student politics grandstanding that this brouhaha represents.

      I’m sure Ben Duncan is a fine and intelligent councillor with plenty of experience relevant to public safety – that won’t protect him and his colleagues from criticism by people unhappy at the thought of having to pick their way through ‘peace camps’ week after wek, every time they need to leave their home or office or pop into town.

      The Greens need to be aware that they are running the city on behalf of all citizens, not just their base – let’s hope they do so.

  12. To be honest, this is always what was going to happen. It’s inexperience at governing, coupled with being a party of idealism. What works well in opposition, doesn’t in government.

    Like at Westminster, the Lib Dems are missing being able to take impractical moral stands against whoever is in power (and _can’t_ do so because the Tories keep them from, hence why they’re flogging Labour’s record in power so hard- a tune which is becoming very old now), the Greens are trying to do it anyway. And it won’t work. If the Greens are going to avoid embarassments like this, they’re going to have to seriously think through how they translate opposition-idealism into a clear, effective and practical strategy for running the city.

    I think this is the beginning of the Greens having to wake up to the real world.

  13. Re Mr Kirby’s comments. There are two administrations with minority support from voters – Tories nationally, Greens locally. Tories are experimenting with slash and burn economics to benefit a privileged few, while Greens experiment by defending the right to peaceful protest. I know whose experiment I prefer.

    • Spot on re Kirby. I was going to point out how Thatcher turned the whole island into a vast monetarist laboratory, on the basis of a minority vote too.

      The salivating of the Tories over this is quite excessive. Wipe away the drool and get some sugar to go with those sour old grapes.

      And Dan Wilson might like to answer his own tricky question on EDO, which is whether he regards the arms trade as a peaceful business?

      All that said, I do wonder if the best place for effective protest about events in Spain might be, er, Spain?

      • Nice to see a demonstration of Green supporters having as little principle as those they decry for lack of principles.

        “You did XYZ, thats wrong. But now we can do XYZ its OK because you did”.

        That isn’t the way to raise standards – its a way of ensuring they never get out of the gutter.

        BTW: The Spanish Revolution movement appears to be an European Revolution movement – but as the media have decided not to cover it in any detail, it is hard to tell for sure.

      • I was pointing out cases of double standards and silly overreactions, not necessarily defending Smash EDO, the camp, or indeed the Green response.

        And I am only a Green supporter in the sense that they got two of my three votes at the recent elections.

    • ‘Slash and burn …for the privileged few’?……The UK has the lowest public sector cuts in the EU, 2.2%, and we have the highest deficit in the EU. We are only taking it back to the public sector spending levels of 2007- hardly extreme cuts!

      So you think that people working in the private sector, or who run their own businesses are privileged? Why should my hard-earned taxes go to pay for non jobs? As a country we need to encourage private enterprise, aspiration and not keep people on the public payroll just to keep them in employment. Those are the views of communism.

      • Why are you taking the proportion of cuts as a percentage but using the absolute figure to claim we have the “highest deficit in the EU”? This is just sleight of hand. If you took uk net external public debt as a measure of GDP you’d see we actually have very low debt, and although we have a high deficit it is not “the highest” in proportional terms as a percentage of GDP. The UK is also the second biggest economy in Europe, and since the other one is Germany it’s not particularly surprising that we have the largest absolute figure in anything.

        I don’t understand how it is so possible to be out of touch with what is going on on the ground. No amount of sleight of hand with the figures is going to hide the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are going to lose their jobs, many more their pensions, and many more their services.

      • Linda – can I point out that public sector workers pay taxes too? What’s more, they don’t get the chance to massage the tax owed downwards on self-assessment forms, since it is all taken off at source.

        I am sure you work hard, and so do I.

  14. I think this is a brilliant statement from Ben Duncan!

    Sadly our in our “democracy” you have to have loads of money and influence to have much say through lobbying (just look at how effective that Tobacco company was at delaying the ban on cigerette advertising in newsagents!). The only way that normal people can have a say is through Direct Action. So I’m glad that Ben is sticking up for normal people and not just increasing the power of the rich and already powerful.

    On the pissing off the electorate side of this, the only people I’ve seen moan about it are Argus commentators and opposition parties. And I don’t think we should be taking their moans too seriously!

    It wasn’t long ago that the Argus were moaning about the amount of police resources being wasted on protesters, surely this is a much more cost efficient way of dealing with protests too…

    This is one of the first things this council have done that speaks to their core voters. I’m pretty involved in the Greens but I have had several times where I’ve thought of giving up on party politics and concentrating on other things like UK Uncut, Bike Train, or SNOB.

    Ben is probably the councillor I most agree with and it is conversations with him that have kept me in the Greens when I have been wondering whether they still represent me.

    The Labour Party went so wrong when it started taking its core support for granted and the Green’s must not do that too.

    The other thing I like about Green Party politicians is they say what they think. I often see it with Caroline Lucas and I’m glad that councillors are doing it too. I don’t want them to be so scared of offending anyone that they don’t actually say anything, like most politicians!

    The evidence is that people don’t believe what they read in tabloids (like the Argus unfortunately is). The media’s influence is in setting the agenda so if that means more discussion about the right to protest then I’m very pleased about that.

    Thats a nice essay 🙂

    • Green core support?

      This is when you know you have been in Brighton too long. The Greens do not have core support.

    • Allie – did you share your doubts about the Green Party and politics in general when you asked the people to vote for you to serve for four years.

  15. To a degree I agree with Ben Duncan’s sentiments. In recent years political protest has been policed as if it were a potential riot rather than a legitimate political act. The actions of a minority (real or imagined) have been used as an excuse to use kettling, ignoring civil liberties and the right to protest. It is a positive step to try and redress this.

    However, in welcoming “peaceful protest”, it appears that the Greens only want to encourage protests in line with their own political sympathies. Would it be a different story if the EDL wish to hold a peaceful parade? Or perhaps the travellers facing eviction from Woollards Field decide to squat on the Old Steine.

    The Greens seem want to decide which organisations are welcome in Brighton and which are not.

    • I was thinking of starting a counter protest called Brighton Must Cut. Will me and my many friends be allowed to set up our tents in a nice spot like Pavilion Gardens?

      Unfortunately, because I have to drudgery of having to work nearly every day in order to live, time to do this is a bit scarce!

      • I had my eye on a nice spot on Hove Lawns, but the bbq ban put me off …

    • The EDL are already facilitated to protest – last time they came to town Sussex Police were escorting them from pub to pub while they knocked back pints of Stella.

  16. People are getting overly bothered by Ben Duncan’s pronouncement and seeing it as a touchstone for all sorts of other issues. At the moment we have a protest camp in town which has broken a park byelaw by erecting a structure without authorisation. They have also put up a few pictures. And they are sitting on the grass. In a park.

    Regardless of Cllr Duncan’s views, if they were committing a crime the police would act. That is what the police do. In the early 1980’s a Peace Camp set up on the Level, was tolerated, stayed for a couple of months then went away. The sky didn’t fall in, Brighton didn’t become the capital of protest camps.

    It’s a public park.

    The main public cost of demonstration is policing. Police complain that they need extra resources to be prepared as the demonstrators won’t share plans. Demonstrators complain that any advance information given to the police will be used against them, to prevent their march and to help detain them, resulting in a disproportionate policing bill and unnecessary criminalisation of peaceful protesters. Cllr Duncan appears to be attempting to break out of this deadlock, and to start seeing public demonstration as a right and something we need to facilitate, rather than a public order situation which needs to be contained. Public protest is a strong (government stimulated) growth area, and banning it is not an option. The Council is being prudent here in my view.

    According to their Twitter feed, the Spanish Campers plan to leave on Sunday. The council and police could have booted them off, at great public and (to the campers) personal cost, but this didn’t happen. We will just be left with a few brown patches on the grass, and an interesting discussion on the nature of protest and public spaces. This must be progress.

    • Last I saw they said they weren’t leaving before Sunday – thats not the same as leaving on Sunday.

      However as half term will be over and (presumably) many are students. It could be over then.

      But if any NEETs are involved, it maybe they have nothing better to do with their time… The promise to leave the ‘community garden’ site didn’t go too well did it…

  17. I have to say three weeks is a record for me to be disappointed with politicians but the Greens have set a new all time record……they have forgotten already that they have been elected to represent the people of Brighton and Hove and not the rest of the world who want to come here to protest on random issues.

    I have gone to lie down in a dark room as I am finding I am even agreeing with the young tories on their comments .

  18. Brighton 2016:
    Residents in Hanover are planning a petition as they are fed up with North St being closed twice daily on Saturdays for the morning and evening demonstrations. Around the Triangle, residents can no longer send their children to play at the Level(nicknamed Levelution since the advent of the protest squatter camps). Old Boat Corner to Hollingbury Park has camper vans parked bumper to bumper , as the sympathetic Green council gets seen nationally as a soft touch.

    All this could be the future but I fear it won’t happen as St Caroline will not let it be so!

  19. @ Rob Brown: of course the Greens have ‘core support’. There are natural Green voters all over the country who are only discouraged from voting Green by the fact that they are unlikely to be elected (or not even standing) in that particular area. We’re not all anti-politics protest voters you know!

    @ Linda F and Caroline Penn: yes I’m sure the Green administration will support your right to protest peacefully in favour of the cuts if that is your wish. The EDL are a different kettle of fish as they are racist thugs, not misguided Tories 😉

    • Actually Green Dad, I am proud Labour member/voter (I stood in Central Hove) and am certainly anti -cuts the Tory cuts.
      However, I don’t believe that you can encourage one group of squatters because you agree with their politics and then throw a group of travellers out, when they have no where else to go.

      • Apologies for calling you a Tory, I must have misunderstood your post. I thought you were offering to protest in favour of cuts. There are many people with essentially Tory views in the Labour party though…

    • Core support is more than just a group of voters though. It implies whole demographics, whole regions or whole political movements having a huge bias towards a party. It combines deep historical roots with modern political thinking. Just being a voter of a party does not make you a core supporter.

      In the same way I cannot claim to be a ‘core Labour’ voter.

    • “The EDL are a different kettle of fish as they are racist thugs, not misguided Tories”

      And… what? They shouldn’t be allowed to peacefully protest because you don’t like them?

      • No, I support their right to *peaceful* protest, but since they are a racist/anti-Muslim organization with roots in the National Front and football hooliganism, there will always be a high risk of incitement and violence. Therefore an EDL demo is a different kettle of fish to a pro-cuts demo, which is more likely to cause amusement (or perhaps bemusement) than fear.

  20. @ zombie: I rather like the sound of ‘Levelution’. Maybe you should copyright it 😉

  21. The Green Party, and B+H have far greater challenges ahead than a few people camped on the Steine. They look pretty harmless to me, and I don’t think they send out a signal that means people will stop coming to Brighton and spending their money here. There are many reasons why I am concerned for the City under Green Party control, but this is hardly going to bring the City to its knees.

    There is a quaint naivety about some of the things the Council are proposing at the moment, which is genuinely refreshing. The real tests are still to come, particularly when the redundancies kick in – although I hear that one cabinet member is already shocked at how many officers there are in the Council – the axe is hovering.

    • Why do I feel the Student Union has taken over the Council?

      All we want our council to do is deal with practical local issues: cleaning streets, waste disposal, lighting, schools, social care, grass verge , beach and tree maintenance, civic pride etc. They should keep out of national politics and student type activism whilst in control. If they could be more pragmatic, they would find their tenure more acceptable to the vast majority of residents.

      • Student Council? Do you have any idea of what local government actually involves?

        I must say that I am deeply impressed by the diligence shown by the Cabinet member for Adult Social Care, which is perhaps the most hairy portfolio. And, by its very nature, such private lives, it does not get widely reported. There was time for some mention of this in general hubbbub here of gathering in kitchen to thank people for Central help. A campaign which, perhaps surprisingly, brought admiring comment in the Daily Mail the other day.

        Before people make glib remarks about Student Council, they should look at the work Councillors have taken on.

        As Simon Williams has said, several yards above, there’s protest and there’s protest, and the Spanish contigent is vibrant, and I admire Allie’s robust line. We shall hear more of him.

        Meanwhile, it’s one of life’s mysteries that, however much one spruces up the rest of the place, people remain in the kitchen. Perhaps that is what is meant by kitchen sink politics. Or, in Labour and Co Operative Party circles, bowl of Twiglets circles.

  22. In the words of the old Labour warhorse ex Cllr Gary Griffiths to the greens in the 80’s “you don’t play toytown politics with peoples lives!”

    • People’s lives? Perspective, please!

      • I’m with the ghost on this.

        Maybe the Greens problem is the same as yours – they don’t really understand that it really is peoples lives they are playing with.

        If extra taxes/worse environment push business out of Brighton jobs will be lost and new jobs not created. When people can’t even earn a living then everything in their lives can go down hill.

  23. What it says, playing with the people of Brightons lives.

  24. […] cuts, royal weddings, Adam and the Ants – and protest camps. In a recent post on the Brighton Politics Blog discussion on the current Spanish Solidarity Camp at the Old Steine, I mentioned a previous Peace Camp on the […]

  25. We are talking about a temporary protest camp here, and I repeat, you are over-reacting in your enthusiasm to trash the Greens. The effect is actually quite comic.

    Somehow, in your worlds, it ISN’T playing politics with people’s lives when it is public sector workers being put out of work, because you seem to view them as some kind of inferior sub-human species.
    This does not rebound to your credit.

    I am not some kind of Green stooge and I tend to agree with the blogger’s initial post. But I do think they deserve a chance to show what they can do without being howled down by free market banshees.

    • “inferior sub-human species”

      Wow who said that? Can you give me the link so I can throw it back at them. Without a link, to make up an attribute such a statement/throught would be a very very stupid thing to do wouldn’t it?

      • You missed out ‘you seem to view them as …’ in your selective quotation, which isn’t particularly honest. I was expressing my view of how you come across, that’s all.

        You have now called me stupid and told me that I have a ‘problem’, neither of which I appreciate. I have previously found you a respecful debater and you have given me plenty of food for thought.

        Can we keep it civil from hereon, please? By the same token, if I’ve offended you by what I posted then I apologise.

  26. @clive You can’t go around making things up with no basis what so ever and expect a ‘civil debate’.

    I think the comments you make about ‘sub human’ are truly disgusting. And suggest you are a pretty nasty person yourself.

    ‘Offended’ me too fucking right you have.

    I expect you to put up something to support your ‘view’ or withdraw it completely.

  27. You only ever mention public sector workers in a negative context – ‘non-jobs’ and so on. You have given the impression that the only experience worth having lies in business.

    I therefore concluded that you regard public sector workers with some measure of contempt. I have apologised for the way I expressed this, and you have reacted by suggesting that I am a ‘nasty person’.

    Yes, wealth creation is important, but not everybody can be entrepreneurs and there is more to life.

    • If you cannot separate people from the work they do then you are a very sad person indeed.

      I have the utmost respect for anyone who gets off their backside and makes a living for themselves and maybe a family.

      I also have no qualms about highlighting jobs that don’t need doing, or services the taxpayer is being forced to pay for that they either do not want, or could get done better or more cheaply without state involvement.

      Some jobs do need doing and are currently best financed through taxation, but there are also plenty of ‘non-jobs’. People doing ‘non-jobs’ have been misled by the fools who created those non-jobs and the tax payer has been ripped off by those who make them pay for those ‘non-jobs’ to be done.

      Those doing the ‘non-jobs’ in good faith carry no responsibility for the state of affairs.

      You really need to consider your own prejudices when you decide to characterise innocent individuals by your own twisted beliefs to slot into you prepared boxes.


    These are Spanish protesters, for heaven’s sake, holding Brighton to ransom. The Spanish public sector cuts, although unfortunate, have nothing to do with us in the UK. The Spanish had a huge property boom, helped by EU money, and now are paying the price for their profligacy.

    How would Madrid residents feel about English students taking over their public squares, marching and holding up traffic in the cause of English politics. Not kindly I’m sure.

    What’s to stop protesters from all 27 EU members states coming here to protest about their cuts? They have a right and precedent c/o B&H Council.

    • How much control/influence do you think the average Jose Soap had over what happened in Spain (or portugal, italy or ireland)?

      My kids have had no say over the huge debt Blair and Brown ran up in their name for no good reason whatsoever. I wouldn’t blame them for a second if they decided they weren’t prepared to pay back those idiots debts.

      The PIIGs debts will never be paid back, the sooner that is recognised the better — until then the debts are just a big stick the EU will use to keep the people of those states enslaved.

      Its not just a Spanish issue, its an EU wide one.

      The Council have handled it very, very badly but the protesters have a 100% rock solid grievance.

      • Frankly, that’s b****ks Paul, no mention of the banks, bankers and their casino economy? I don’t seem to remember anyone, least of all Cameron and Osborne protesting too much when Labour invested billiions in health services and schools.

      • @Dom

        Brown *chose* to give our money to the banks.

        People *chose* to take risks with their money (i.e. non-UK banks for a few %age points more interest) and lost.

        For some bizarre reason Gordon Brown decided to make good those losses.

        I didn’t take those risks, I didn’t benefit from the ‘good times’ when those risks paid off… But when it goes bad, then Gordon makes me (and my family etc) liable for making good other peoples losses – others who never gave me a cut in the good times…

        Blair/Brown created a bad situation and then ensured we got the worst possible result from it.

        Wonder if he’ll refund all my lottery ticket spendings?

      • Paul – you do go on dont you! We do get it… you are anti europe!

      • No, I am not anti-europe, I broadly support what the spanish protestors (and the greek protestors etc) are calling for – as, fundamentally it seems do most of the people of the UK.

        They want their directly elected national governments to be accountable and responsible – not to defer to unaccountable, unelected external powers.

  29. So now we are a ‘city of protest’ according to Commrade Lucas (CL). Inviting the raggle taggle of professional trouble makers to come to Brighton may be her idea of fun but would she want them to come and ‘live in harmony’ next door to her? She may be an MP in the city but does she actually live here?

    One thing that I do agree with CL is that the polluter should pay. Indeed, you mess it up, you clean it up or pay the cost of it. To that end I will be demanding that our new green leaders work sensitively and constructively with City Clean to ensure anyone who wishes to camp in the city can do so but will bear the cost of doing that. Surely this is equitable.

    With regard to taxation, paying an appropriate share of what you earn is an essential part of a modern democratic society. I am hoping that our welcome visitors in their many camping / squatting forms should welcome a visit from HMRC either when they arrive in the city or as they leave and make payment for the waste disposal they have incurred. Having reciepts for major purchases like caravans, vehicles and plant is a requirement of running a business and I am sure they would have no problem in providing all the paperwork to the satisfaction of all of us who seek a fairer and more equal way of running our country.

    • The problem there will be that even if ‘protesters’ are happy to clean up after themselves and leave things clean – most councils would undoubtedly slap a huge fixed charge on to send in waves of ‘protest waste management operatives’ to scour the site in ultra-find detail in the name of ‘public safety’ and then celebrate the new ‘green jobs’ they are creating…

      Then there would be insurance, licencing, named organisers, official stewards, and other non-work that can be used to pad out perfectly reasonable public actions and make them unaffordable to the very people with the smallest voices…

  30. The Green council would not like it but ‘d like to propose the granting of the freedom of the city to Brian Fitch and Geoffrey Theobald. This would be in recognition of the nearly 200 years of combined public service to the city given by themselves and the various generations of these two families.

    It would present an issue that the Tory and Labour groups could get together on. This unity might then extend to any area in which the Greens go overboard in policies damaging to the city or its residents and create an opposition united front.

  31. Dear Mr Perrin,

    Your comment on the cost of cleaning up after protests or traveller encampments that would make it unaffordable for ‘the very people with the smallest voices’. Does having a small voice absolve you of responsibilities and allow you to ignore the laws of our country? I don’t think so.

    There are lots of things I would like in this life but cannot afford and as a consequence will do without or most likely work hard, save up and then get what I want. I don’t expect people to pay for me and if we have people fouling up our environment they should be made to pay. No ifs or buts no matter how well meaning or ‘green’ they feel they are.

    What a lot of these professional protesters seem to forget is that rights also have responsibilities and that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I think they will be on the receiving end of some reaction fairly soon.

    • I didn’t say that sites could be left unclean did i?

      I said that it should be an option for protesters to clean up after themselves.

      Quite different things.

      “No one should be obliged to pay for a service that they are prepared to do for themselves” (good principle from magna carta or bill or right or some such…).

  32. well said votesoon

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