Westbourne by-election: the wooden spoon candidate enters the race

And then there were 6: Graham Cox (Conservative), Louisa Greenbaum (Green), Nigel Jenner (Labour), Paul Perrin (UKIP), Gareth Jones (Lib Dems), and now Pip Tindall (TUSC).

Ms Tindall, a former Green candidate in East Brighton, has been selected to contest the Westbourne by-election on behalf of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. When I say “contest” I really mean “crawl in last” since TUSC has the unenviable record of coming last in most elections locally.

But TUSC’s entry into this by-election race will have some small impact, for TUSC is to Labour and the Greens what UKIP is to the Tories, an annoying side show that will take a handful of votes from the more credible parties.

So why has Ms Tindall abandoned the party she stood for just 7 months ago? She said: “The Green Party says it’s opposed to cuts, but that’s just so much hot air if it won’t fight them when it gets the chance. I was horrified when I heard the Greens in Brighton intended to hand down the cost of the banking crisis to those least able to afford it – the public service users of Brighton and Hove.”

I am sure that the Greens are trembling in their boots as this Don Quixote charges an imaginary windmill. I can make a prediction about the by-election result: TUSC will come last, then the Lib Dems, then UKIP. Who will win? Not sure yet, it is a genuine 3 way marginal.

Tomorrow’s public sector workers strike will provide a morale boost for both Labour and the Greens. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will also ensure that anyone in doubt about going out on strike will have had and doubts removed. Good luck to one and all who are joining tomorrow’s action.

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26 Responses

  1. Hello, can I ask if it is true that the Green Council intend to release all of the animals from the Sea Life Centre back into the open ocean, and what result will this have on the local economy and the marine ecosystem?

    • Hi Roger, that sounds like one of those idiotic scare stories belonging in the genre such as Caroline Lucas ate my hamster. BPB

      • Word of warning don’t have Lucas in your house!-My mate did during the General Election and she mullered all his house plants..eat the lot!

      • My dear hamster has been very quiet for a couple of days. The Sainted One was apparently actually in Brighton today and I am getting VERY worried. Mind you, that Freddie Starr called in for a coffee on Monday….

      • A friend of mine went out on a birthday dinner with the Dark Princess. She ordered a plate of spiders and when people laughed (they thought it was a joke) she just stared at them with dead eyes.

  2. You’re forgetting the European Citizens Party who are running with the same candidate that ran in westbourne back in may.

    • Shows how much I know, and shows how invisible their candidate is. I correct my previous prediction. TUSC might just avoid coming last.

  3. Wasnt TUSC the follow up to Rumours by Fleetwood Mac? Sorry got distracted for a second

  4. Do you mean like the lunatic who is constantly going on about Caroline being abducted by aliens on the Argus message board?

    It is interesting however I personally believe a Jail may be an appropriate place for a fish but not for a Mammal or indeed Cephalopod. They should be free to roam!

  5. Of course, the public are, in general, on the side of the Government when it comes to the strikes.

    The public believe (51% to 35%) that public sector should contribute more to their pensions whilst they also think that pensions should be linked to career average and not final salary (49% to 30%). In particular, the public think that teachers are wrong to strike (53% to 37%), as are civil servants (54% to 35%). By the way, the public also think (58% to 25%) that trades unions should have the support of 50% of members, not 50% of voters, in strike ballots.

    It may be that Labour and the Greens will have the biggest morale boost, but it will be the Conservatives that have the biggest vote boost.

    • Mike Weatherley was elected on 36.7 percent of the vote in 2010. Given your commenets on union ballots I look forward to your call for him to stand down, for consistency’s sake.

      Strikes are never popular, even with most of the strikers, who lose a day’s pay that they can probably ill afford. It doesn’t mean that the cause is wrong — and this is not about pensions, it’s about the failure of the government to offer meaningful concessions.

      • The government doesn’t have any money, it’s the tax payers’ money.

        My pension fund has reduced by 13% this year and on a downward trajectory, so why should I give public sector workers a ‘meaningful concession’?

        Businsses are failing here; they can’t pay their business rates let alone make any profit to fund their pensions. The private sector workers are not earning enough to put away the kind of funds needed to equal the public sector pensions. Get real!

      • I am not demanding that polls – be they parliamentary or strike ballots – should be re-conducting in order to achieve 50%. I am merely pointing out what the public think; apparently, you seem not to like that.

        Incidentally, for the sake of consistency I am on the side of the public who supported FPTP (68% to 32%) and who support strike ballots achieving the support of 50% of the members (58% to 25%). There is no inconsistency there.

      • Linda F: there is a pensions timebomb, we all know that. I am sorry that your pension fund has been reduced, but dragging the public sector pensions down isn’t going to help your situation much, is it? I’d be happy to take supportive action of any reasonable sort to help people in the private sector. What else can I do? We are all in this together (I mean that, unlike Cameron).

        Given the difficult economic situation you outline, why on earth are you still supporting the Tories? Time for a rethink, perhaps. It is you who needs to get real, for your own sake.

        Hove Tory: there is an inconsistency between MPs who polled less than 50% (of those who turned out to vote, never mind the electorate) demanding that get 50% of their membership to support strikes. This is rank hypocrisy. The AV vote is irrelevant – it was the wrong question at the wrong time fronted by the wrong person (Clegg). The current electoral system remains an undemocratic farce.

        You are right that at the moment most people don’t support the strikes, though your exact figures are doubtful. I hope and believe that this will change. As I said, majority opinion is not the same as being right. Do you have a problem with that concept?

    • However, another poll (whose link I have lost) found that when people were told the true levels of the vast bulk pensions in question (ie., once the Conservative disinformation about gold-plated pensions had been dealt with) the percentage supporting the strikers rose to 60%.

  6. I also think that Sue Collard of the European Citizens Party will prove your predictions about the bottom three wrong!

    • I wondered what she’d been doing since Hi-de-Hi.

      • I am unsure about Westbourne as a truly 3 way marginal. The social housing percentage is very small there, so the Lab vote is more reliant on Bs and C1s it seems to me and Lab is nationally in a minority in these categories.

        I suspect too that there is a danger of the election turning into a referendum on Progress v Reaction with Louisa Green being cast as the progrressive Britannia fighting the Cox Leviathan.

        It is very difficult being the 3rd party candidate in a ward that does not naturally have a Labour majority and that is Labour’s de facto position since May.
        Am I wrong? Am I just a pessimist?

      • Puzzled by zombie’s post. Labour came second in Westbourne in May, as they did in 2007 and 2003. Or are you managing expectations?

    • Yea, Zombie, you are wrong and pessimist.

      • CLIVE- I agree the May result showed Lab second and Mrs Green just behind. But Labour is the 3rd party in the city since May. My analysis suggests the Lab vote to be more middle class than elsewhere thus softer and potentially more vulnerable to the 3rd party squeezes seen historically in byelections over the past 50 years. I hope I am wrong and that Lab romps home but the odds must be long on that. Issues might upset that prognosis -the Schools issue might play against Mrs Greenbalm for example, as might doorstep campaigning.

        HARRIS- You must learn to back up your one line assertions with evidence for them to have any credibility.

  7. I would just like to say how disappointed I am that the Greens are not promising a new primary school. This is THE issue for parents of young and not so young children in Hove. I know there is no money, but it should be a priority and they could think imaginatively. What about an international competition to design the first carbon-neutral school, sponsorship from some cutting edge eco-building company, or concerned millionaire. Or maybe get the City College involved as a long-term project for their students? Community bonds? The education profiteers have already been circulating in Brighton and Hove and if I were a parent whose child was going to have its entire primary education in a “satellite classroom” I would welcome them. Come on Greens, this is an absolutely fundamental basic service and should have your best talents working on it.

  8. Is there any truth that the greens are going to bust the dolphins and the octopi out? We should be told!

  9. Surely you should stick to answering the political points made by TUSC, rather than just dismissing them outright? Why did Pip leave the Greens to join TUSC? A clue might be in her statement – http://brightontusc.blogspot.com/2011/12/open-letter-from-pip-tindall-westbourne.html

    Which bits of a no-cuts budget, a workers’ representative on a workers’ wage, anti-privatisation and an environmentally friendly, democratic socialist alternative to inequality and poverty do you disagree with?

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