Who are the best politicians in Brighton and Hove?

At present, given their electoral success, the Greens could claim to be the best politicians in Brighton and Hove. Individual Greens could be seen as having achieving remarkable things. Caroline Lucas continues to be the dominant individual, but a success for the party is the emergence of other Greens. Bill Randall has made a solid start as the Greens’ first ever leader of a local authority, and is impressing all who deal with him. In the elections themselves, Christopher Hawtree stunned all with his victory in Central Hove.

Amongst the Tories, rumour has it that Mike Weatherley is looking for a junior position in the Home Office. He has focussed much of his efforts in recent weeks on home affairs issues – Travellers, squatters, anti-social behaviour, drugs, etc. With the support and influence of Mamma Grizzly, can we expect to see armed police as a norm, even the return of capital punishment? (I have no reason to believe the Grizzly One advocates either, but I know she will always respond to any provocation!)

Labour, as the minority party in Brighton and Hove, with no MPs and few councillors, is finding it hard to be noticed. I retain some admiration for Warren Morgan and his fighting spirit. (Warren was recently photographed with sheep in Sheepcote Valley http://fb.me/BShMUeAA – Warren is the one wearing sunglasses).

Amongst the fringe activists, one has to mention My Pal Paul Perrin of UKIP. He never misses a chance to make anti-European comments, or to attack the political establishment. His latest target is payments to or expenses claimed by politicians. Perhaps he should be known as PayPal Perrin or perhaps No PayPal Paul.

But none of the above rank as the best politician. The are some individuals in the business community, Roger French from Brighton and Hove Buses, Sue Addis from Donatellos, and Mike Holland from Fingers in Many Pies, who have worked politicians of many shades to achieve their own ends. So too in the community and voluntary sector, there are several more than able politicians, who are able to bend with the prevailing wind. I think of Ian Chisnall from a church group, David Standing of Hove YMCA, Andy Winter of the Brighton Housing Trust, and Emma Daniel of the Community and Voluntary Sector Forum.

The best politicians in town, however, the five most accomplished by far, are John Barradell, the Chief Executive, and his Strategic Directors in the City Council (David Murray, Charlie Stewart, Geoff Raw and Terry Parkin). The Greens were committed to abolishing the Fab Four, but it looks as though they will survive and are going about their daily business showing not an iota of care. Such is their combined political nouce, they have made the transition from a Conservative to a Green regime as easy as moving from a starter of blue cheese and biscuits to a serving of steak, egg and chips (except, of course, on meat-free Mondays).

26 Responses

  1. I’ve always thought of cheese and biscuits as being more of an after dinner course than a starter. Though who knows what’s what now that the Greens are in charge.

    And as ever, I have to admire your willingness to poke a sleeping grizzly, as it were!

    • I think you’ll find cheese and biscuits is currently called ‘monday lunch’ by the green administration

      • Worth getting on record that the labour manifesto supported Meat Free Mondays too.

        Seems school meals have tackled malnutrition so well that the various state/council nannies have had to find a new scare to secure their continued employment – so tackling obesity is ‘in’… apart from when there are public funds to be had for eating disorders of course… the ‘experts’ relationship with food is as bizarre as anything you will ever see in a ‘patient’.

  2. ‘Not one iota of care’? An unfortunate choice of words, BPB, because it looks like you are accusing the five of going about their jobs without caring for the people they serve. Alternatively, you might have meant not one iota of care for their own precarious positions (also nonsense – but far less inflammatory). Care to explain?

    Also, wouldn’t you normally have the blue cheese with the steak, rather than as a starter. And you might have biscuits as a later course – but surely not a starter. You are in a muddle, aren’t you?

    • I AM in a muddle about starters and main courses, but who cares. I am happy to clarify that the Fab Four are very committed and focused on services to residents and getting it right. They are not interested in process but in the difference that can be made to the mythical Mrs Jones in Kingswood Flats. They don’t appear to be concerned about their futures. But why should they when they have secure contracts of employment. I think they are doing an ok job, by the way.

      • Again, the Labour manifesto came out against the super directors…

        Between Green and Labour that is over 60% of the city vote – so whey are they still there?

        Not to mention the Greens ‘priority for 2011/15’ to be to reduce top council pay to no more than *EIGHT* times the lowest (page 3 green manifesto, big type). But they now like to promote the *TEN* times multiple that was aparantly buried away in the small print at the back of the manifesto. But fail to explain how their headline manifesto commitment can be trumped by something printed elsewhere…

        At least the LibDems *admitted* they were breaking a pledge on tuition fees – they didn’t claim some small print freed them from their headline pledge…

        I wrote up the Green backtracking on their headline pay multiple pledge here:-

        I wrote to my local councillors about this, they passed my letter on to the council leader – but he hasn’t had the courtesy to even acknowledge this, let alone reply in substance…

    • How much the newish directors care about this city and it’s people will only be revealed by the evidence of when they have been here long enough to evaluate their impact and actions. A quick rule of thumb will be to see if they mainly focus on achieving big savings to increase their employability somewhere else in a year or two (a common ploy for senior public officials) or, more positively, they stay long enough to immerse themselves in a wide range of city communities and insitutions to start rebuilding after the cuts….

  3. As I said, I am not commenting much here but I think that my abilities, whatever they might be, are those of somebody who sure is not a politician.

  4. Respond to any provocation?

    Whatever gives you that idea?!


  5. This post is definitely different to what I imagined when I clicked on the link (and the wildly surreal set of comments even more so!), but I’m glad that some of our non-party political fellow citizens are getting a shout out.

    Perhaps the BPB could give those of us not familiar with these people a taste of what they’ve achieved politically in the city? I do think those of us in the political arena should be made more aware of and engage with the wider civil society in the city.

  6. To return to your theme BPB, who are the best politicians in B& H. What is politics? One definition is the ability to achieve your intended effecfs. Another is that it is the art of seeking, achieving and maintaining power in the public domain.

    On these criteria, clearly the saintly Caroline Lucas is head and shoulders above others. Labour’s voice is muted. The return of Brian Fitch has led to dissapointment so far, in the form of silence. Warren Morgan and Craig Turton are impressive local councillors but have not had a wider impact. Labour must be a campaining party in B H or it is nothing

    Both Tory MPs have been adept at playing the constituency MP card though Mike is vulnerable to ousting in 2015 by a really impressive Green or perhaps even Labour candidate because of Hove’s changing demographics.

    Geoffrey Theobald has been pretty impressive so far. The Tory Group are emerging as THE opposition to Greenism. Labour really needs lesson in how to do politics from those likeLancaster’s Labour Group who decimated the Greens in their council elections.

    Rachael Bates will be a formidable woman MP in 10 years time. She reminds me of Tony Baldry the Tory MP who once stood for Brighton Council.

    But it is worth remembering that all political careers end in failure……

    • Greens were not decimated in Lancaster, but they did lose 4 seats. However, that still leaves them with 8 seats, unlike the LibDems, who lost all 5 of theirs…

  7. Do you not think Simon Kirby has done a good job Baps?….it’s just a crying shame that both the MP’s for kemptown and Hove don’t get their hard work reported in the Argus..can you help on that one!?

  8. I was not at all impressed with the Director responsible for economic regeneration. A grey suited bureaucrat who made me numb with boredom and I don’t think knows his brief. Where is the dynamism, the ‘can do’ attitude, the creativity and excitement? I despair and so will the Greens if they continue to sit on the fence.

  9. If the Greens stick to their manifest pledge #13 cutting top salaries to 8 times (not 10 times but 8 times) lowest salary, the strategic directors may not be around long anyway.


    The Greens have stuffed themselves on this really (a’la LibDem Tuition fees).

    Greens don’t believe *anyone* is worth 8 times as much pay as anyone else. So they are either *WRONG* or deliberately and knowingly paying over the odds with TAXPAYERS money for people who aren’t worth their pay…

    • But Paul what would be the cost to tax payers of breaking these individuals contracts (or paying them off to leave?)
      Btw you are wrong on both of your claims regarding Labour’s Manifesto – we highlighted that we opposed the creation of the four strategic director posts and only offered to consult with parents regarding meat free mondays for school dinners – not the same as the two undeliverable promises the Greens seem set to renege on.

      • 1) Labour said they would consult parents on Meat free Mondays – you don’t propose and consult on things that you oppose…

        2) I actually said that Labour *opposed* the super directors.

        So I’d still say I am right on both counts…

        The cost of sacking the super directors? If that is an issue then Labour and Greens should have thought about it before they wrote their manifestos, and voters should have thought of it before they voted Labour or Green.

        Labour and Greens got two thirds of all votes – that looks like a strong mandate for the areas they agree on…

        So super directors must go – its up to the elected councillors to sort out the detail – thats what they were elected for… You don’t vote for a dog and bark yourself !! Maybe get one of the super-directors to work out the detail – isn’t that what councillors employ expensive staff for?

  10. Thought I’d do a new blog about the greens general principal that earning multiples make some kind of sense (they don’t!).


  11. Paul – I’m no expert on Green policy (and neither, it seems are they).

    However, I believed “Meat Free Mondays” to be less about tackling obesity and more an attempting to reduce the effect intensive live stock farming has on the environment.

    I understand that most UKIP members are Climate Sceptics, so the impact of deforestation in Brazil by cattle farmers will have little resonance. However, is hard to ignore the cruel practises in factory farming as a result of the demand for cheap meat in this country.

    I’m surprised that no Green has come forward and defended a manifesto pledge. I personally don’t believe it is right to tell people what to eat – but armed with the facts, they can make their own, informed decisions.

    • ‘Climate sceptic’ – wot no climate? Never heard anyone suggest that…

      Not heard anyone suggest that the only positive aspect of Brazilian forest is its capacity to absorb CO2 either…

      If the UK had any control over its intentional trading relations I guess something could be done… but we don’t… (guess who does?!)

      Funny really – Dr Lucas giving up a seat in the EU parliament for a Westminster one – don’t MEP’s have far more power over all the important stuff? Oh no… its the unelected, unaccountable commission who control it all – MEPs are just to give them an illusion of democracy.

      • Sorry Paul, yes I meant “Climate Change Sceptic”. I was trying to avoid using the pejorative “denier”.
        Although given UKIPs stance on most issues, I wouldn’t be surprised if some members where “sceptical about the climate” in the face of actual evidence (or blame the EU).

        According to UN data, deforestation causes 25% of CO2. Obviously I wasn’t suggesting the ONLY reason to protect rain forests, but it is an important one. Although I’m sure there are far greater experts in this forum than myself to comment on environmental issues.

    • @caroline penn

      Why do you bluster with “Although given UKIPs stance on most issues” – which ‘stances’ are you taking issue with?
      Citizens income + Flat Rate Tax?
      Local Referenda?
      Getting people off benefits and into work?
      Increasing trade with the developing word?
      Only being taxed by our elected government at Westminster?
      – name them if you really have issues with them.

      If you don’t feel confident to defend you position on Co2 – maybe it isn’t your position at all – maybe you are just following someone else?

      The main issue on ‘climate’ right here, right now, is whether their could ever be any circumstances under which the greens unilateral, coercively enforced, self-flagellation and destruction of UK wealth could ever be considered a sensible course of action. To which the answer is simply ‘no’.

      If the greens really believed that ‘setting a good example’ (the argument for sacrificing the UK and its people to their green god) worked, they wouldn’t seek political power, they would just go ahead and live/demonstrate their ‘better way’ in full confidence that everyone would see and join them…

      • p.s. Cant resist this one though… you know EU have legislated to throw *billions* of our tax-pounds to support bio-fuels? (Green MEP’s must have wet themselves when that went through)…

        Guess where those crops are being grown?

        1) Displacing food crops

        2) In De-forested Brazil

        And you know what? When comparing bio-diesel CO2 to oil CO2 – those genius green scientist sillies forgot to account for the CO2 generated from ‘land use change’ — which means oil beats bio on that one after all – oops!


        Never mind – soon get all that forest and all those species back eh? And it might still be made to work with some serious genetic engineering of the crops (I am sure those nice monsanto people will help with that).

        Did you support Biofuel – promote it to others? Well, never mind, its the scientists fault, how were you to know? But at least you’ll learn that scientists shouldn’t be blindly trusted – Won’t you?

        (As it happens I am a big fan of sustainability, but the greens endless goofs damage the cause and discredit the concept)

      • Sorry Paul, perhaps I should explain …
        My parents have been UKIP activists for over 10 years and have medals and photos with Nigel Ferrage to prove it. I didn’t wish to sound disparaging. I am very aware of UKIPs policies.

        I’m not sure why you would suggest I am following someone else regarding CO2. I’m posting from work and don’t have time to fully research the facts & figures. However, I am always mystified how people will trust science for so many things, yet chose to ignore what every expert in the field has been saying for years.

        I’m not in the habit of defending the Greens. But to suggest that somehow they should disband as a political movement in order to live ethically is ridiculous. Do you think women would have achieved the vote if they’d just discussed over tea in the parlour?

      • @caroline citing others (however close to you) is still more bluster. if you have issues state them.

        If you need to cite others you *are* following others — simply repeating what someone else says doesn’t make it any more true.

        The suffragettes were despised by many for being so up-front, they never simply suggested that setting a good example was enough.

        Meanwhile the Greens say coercion is not needed, they say setting a good example is enough – cripple the UK and the rest of the world will happily cripple themselves.

        But given the opportunity, the Greens go quiet on this ‘set a good example’ rubbish (it is rubbish, and they know it is rubbish). And, instead, coerce the public to obey the Green line. This is simply green hypocrisy – don’t tar the suffragettes with that brush, they don’t deserve it.

  12. Jean Calder and Andy Winter certainly know their stuff

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