The Great, the Good and the Ghost of Nobby Clarke predict a Green victory in the Westbourne by-election

And they’re off in the 12.22 Christmas Stakes, with the Greens perhaps going off too quickly, taking an early lead. Well, that’s the view of the Ghost of Nobby Clarke who reports: “Greens supposedly seen out in Westbourne yesterday, bit soon by my thinking but the 22nd might hold some ground then, if the Green Machine wasn’t in full effect last May and they polled the votes they did they’ll be a tough nut to crack on this one- De Ja Vu Goldsmid By Election.”

The Ghost recognises the clever tactical nature of the Green’s being quickest out of the starting gate by ensuring the by-election will be held on 22 December: “Of course strategically clever of The Green Machine as the tories and Labour will no doubt take another few days to get their house in order whilst you tread the cobbles picking up votes and delivering your first leaflet- plus as you well know most Tory voters will have their eye on Christmas but most Green voters will have their eye on the polling station You had paper candidates in May so imagine how you’ll fight without both hands tied behind your backs?, if thats twinned with Louisa Greenbaum as candidate (if she is) it looks rock solid.”

Given the demographic changes in the area, and the possibility that the Greens did not work the area in May’s elections, Zombie predicts a Green walkover: “Poets Corner…full of creative, arty, media and educated types; youngish and relatively well-heeled. Very reminiscent of the area around Blaker’s Park in social make-up. Once heavily Tory but now full of ‘progressives’. Add in an unwanted by-election, probable very low turnout and no obvious anti-Tory frontrunner-you probably have ingredients for a Green walkover if they work it hard. If it was true the Greens in May were only a nominal force their prospects must be very bright indeed. You would need to be very brave or charismatic to be the Tory or Labour candidates unless you like egg on the face.”

There has been an interesting comment from Luke Walter who, one suspects, is the strategic and organisational genius behind the Greens successes in Brighton. He says that the Greens have not worked Westbourne before, yet they came within a couple of hundred votes of winning the seat in May: “I think it is fair to say that the vast majority of Green resources went into neighbouring wards, namely Goldsmid, Central Hove and Brunswick and Adelaide.”

No doubt this is an understatement from Mr Walter. What he doesn’t say is that, even as I write this over my Sugar Puffs (good morning, Warren), the full might of the Green Machine is being mobilised to blitz the ward this weekend with Greenleaf papers.

The fact that Luke is not going to be the Green candidate, and that he is likely to organise the campaign, is another reason for concern for the Tories and Labour. He is, by some way, the best election organiser in the City.

But spare a thought, have some sympathy, for the dedicated activists in the Labour ranks. Take Labour activist, Pete Gillman, for example. He worked tirelessly in St Peters & North Laine in May, is now facing 4 weeks on the stump, in what could well be a futile cause: “Back on the campaign trail then. Me and my feet have only just got over the Council elections.  I would have preferred another few months before this was called but up for the fight as part of Labours resurgence.”

A final point about the Tory candidate. I suggested it could be one of the Young Turks who surround Mike Weatherley. Steampunk was first in with the predictable “Young turks don’t get voted-in for Christmas.” nice one Punky.

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10 Responses

  1. No too off-topic, I hope, but I just wanted to add to the groundswell of admiration for Brian Oxley. When I was a council spinner, we tended to divide members into three camps that were nothing to do with party politics. Just over a third were arrogant, out of touch and a bit dim, another third (give or take) were professional, principled and polite and slightly less than a third were charming, principled, intelligent and human. Then there was Brian, who stood out as a gentleman and selfless public servant. Shame he’s off but I wish him the best of British.

  2. One element in this which favours Labour and Tories is that the by-election is in Hove, where there is the growing issue of school places, particularly primary age ones. This could be the Achilles’ heel of the Green Party campaign, and they will be hoping that a short one, with people distracted by Christmas, will prevent a head of steam building up. Do parents want Portakabins for their children to learn in, the solution offered by the Green Party, or do they want proper classrooms? Its all about priorities.

    • Of course Dr F is right. School places and education policy will be a key factor for next month. Tories offering mass educational privatisation, Greens offering educational recycling (back to the grotty portacabins I was taught in for the 1980’s and 1990’s) – meanwhile the Labour and Co-operative vision for first class education with true community engagement really does appeal across a very wide political spectrum.
      Of course, there are also many other issues where this is true and we wont be sucked into believing that everyone is Westbourne is going to vote purely on schools.

  3. I calculate that there will be a terrifying machine in the shape of a sea lion taking part in this battle!

  4. It won’t be a futile course, we shot off the starting line months ago.

    We have so many keen members there compared to the Greens that we probably could man the election campaign with locals. Of course outside help is always welcomed though!

  5. Former Peace Messenger Brian Fitch looked daggers when he saw me giving a resident a poster which went straight up at noon.

  6. Much has happened since my previous comment. What’s more, strange as it might sound, a comment by Phil Spector the other day is I think key to the Westbourne campaign. And there is no doubt that he had an effect in Central. More I cannot say just now.

  7. Paul Perrin has told me he is standing. This could be a seat he picks up a good few disgruntled votes in.

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