The Brighton Politics Blogger’s Political Awards 2011

As the year draws to an end, it is time once again for the much sought after Brighton Politics Blogger’s Political Awards.

Team of the Year must go to the Green Party for becoming the first Green Administration in the UK. It was hard to see how that party could have followed up their achievement of having elected their first-ever Member of Parliament in 2010.

Campaigner of the Year goes to an Honorary Brightonian who was a leading campaigner in the ‘No’ campaign in the electoral reform referendum, Charlott Vere. She was hardly out of the news and made a barnstorming speech in Brighton during the referendum campaign. Chuck is much missed locally but will no doubt continue her inevitable journey into Parliament at the next election.

For his constant production of press releases, the His Master’s Voice Award goes to Michael Ireland, researcher for Hove MP, Mike Weatherley. Rarely a day goes by without another press release popping up in my inboThe most Inspired Campaign of the Year goes to the Labour Party for LOLA, the Leave Our Loos Alone campaign, to save public toilets from closure.

The Trend Setters Award goes to …. the Labour Party of the early 1990’s for starting the public toilet closure programme in Brighton.

The Hundred Year War Endurance Award goes to Steve Bassam and Jason Kitcat for their Twitter exchange on the Council Budget. It might not have gone on for a hundred years but sometimes it has felt that way to those of us who have read and reflected on each and every tweet!

The Individual Award for an Outstanding Election Result was closely fought. The panel of judges commended Sue Shanks for her victory in Withdene and Graham Cox for his Westbourne by-election result, but the award goes to Christopher Hawtree for his stunning individual performance in Central Hove.

The Dear Leader’s Award for Winding Up the Opposition (or on this occasion, winding up the Administration) goes to Tony Janio for wearing his Stars and Stripes tie at meetings of the Full Council.

And in spite of the judgement of the ridiculous ‘Standard’s Committee’, the Champagne Campaigning Moment goes to Dawn Barnett for her stunt in directing travellers in her ward to open spaces in Green-held wards.

The final award, the Who Got It Totally Wrong Award, goes to your Humble Blogger for getting the result of the Westbourne by-election totally wrong.

Congratulations to all award winners. Bask in the glory of your awards, and best wishes to all my readers (Momma Grizzly, Doris, and Biker Dave) for 2012.

35 Responses

  1. I see Christopher Hawtree didn’t get the Golden Bull Award for heading the Plain English Campaign.

  2. The Blogger should not lash himself over the Westbourne prediction. After all, in 2010 Geoffrey Wheatcroft wrote a long piece in the Guardian, the upshot of which was that he thought the General Election would be very boring, so much so that he was going off to Texas and would ignore it all.

    Trust that Linda has worked her way through those two sentences and is fortified to make her start on Proust.

    • I’ve still got my 700 page unread copy of In Search of Lost Time- Vol III (The Guermantes Time), which on reflection does remind me of your pastiche of the said writer. .

      However, you will be heartened to hear that I have just finished the 699 page ‘Of Human Bondage’, which didn’t incite me to give up the will to live.

      Happy new year…

    • Speaking of Texas the Green Cabinet get the ‘Texas Longhorn Award’ a point here and there and a lot of bull in the middle!

  3. I am startled by MP Mike Weatherley’s hate-filled press release about me today. It is short on facts, long on invective, and makes a mockery of the Scrutiny workshop to be held tomorrow afternoon about the three-year Libraries Plan – chaired by Tory councillor Vanessa Brown…

    One need hardly mention the Coalition cuts to Councils that are making Councils elsewhere cut libraries in a wholesale fashion.

    This also makes one wonder when the Conservatives will bring forward their local Budget ideas in a formulated fashion.

    Here is the press release. Meanwhile, I continue to think about the workshop for which, in my naivety, I had hopes as a top-level discussion about the nature of the book and society.

    Shelve Green Hawtree’s Library Cut Plans
    Mike has called on Green Cllr Christopher Hawtree to shelve his plans to cut Brighton & Hove Library services.

    Green Cllr Christopher Hawtree, a former library campaigner who fought library cuts in light of a funding review, has performed a spectacular u-turn and is now cutting library services in the midst of a funding review. Cllr Hawtree, the Dr Beeching of Brighton & Hove libraries, is the Green’s in-house library expert but is supporting the Green administration’s plans to cut library services. Mike is calling on Cllr Hawtree to turn a new page and come out against these harmful cuts.

    Commenting, Mike said: “If Hawtree’s library cuts become a reality the chapter will close on first-class library services for the city. Residents have consistently said to me that they don’t want a reduced service and that is exactly what will happen if Hawtree gets his cuts. Quite clearly, it appears that the Greens have the manual on u-turns out on long-term loan.”

  4. Come on Chris, show some compassion towards local library users. What have they done to you to deserve such treatment (other than elect you on a pro-library platform)?

    • Mike Wetherley’s press release provides no details for his wild “Beeching”assertions. I have no desire to have any more contact with you, Robert, and have this evening disassociated myself from Andrew Wealls.

      When he and I stood side by side on the podium in May, and shook hands, I thought that we might find common ground. Today has made me realise that I was naive.

      I shall await Vanessa Brown’s chairing tomorrow with a certain interest. I wonder whether my views will be allowed a look-in after today’s tirade.

      • I have now consulted further, and there are growing doubts about tomorrow. I have no enthusiasm for going along, but shall do so. Such is Scrutiny after the Wetherley press release. Does Scrutiny have meaning with Vanesa Brown as Chair? I shall need reassuring, this awful day.

    • Of course the Conservative solution is to divest libraries to the voluntary sector/big society and leave them to fend for themselves

      We’re coping pretty well with the Cameron’s cuts in Brighton & Hove compared to other places, including Tory administrations, who are closing libraries left right and centre

      Reducing service hours and mothballing the mobile library is less drastic than closing premises. At least these cuts can be more easily reversed when you right-wing fanatics are voted out of office.

    • Robert — The release has no content whatsoever. Why? Because whilst many Tory authorities around the countries are closing hundreds of libraries, Greens are closing none! In fact we are building a new library in Woodingdean and parking the ageing mobile library there during construction to ensure no loss of service. If you want to join the political debate why not read the budget papers first – informed debate is what the public deserve.

      • I think it is a bit cheeky of that Mr Cllr Jason Kitcatbiscuit to make it sound as the new library at Woodingdean was his party’s idea. Ahem, the project has been going on for quite some time, long before last May. More respect to him if he gave credit where it is due and stop trying to fool everyone that anything good that happens in BH is down to the Greens.

      • “parking the ageing mobile library there during construction to ensure no loss of service”

        Isn’t the point of a mobile library, and indeed it’s function, is that it is mobile?!

  5. Judging from the press release the Weatherley office seem to have got a book on unfunny puns out on long loan. But they haven’t spent long in the history section, as Dr Beeching was acting on the orders of a Conservative government.

    Mr Hawtree: you shouldn’t let this kind of brass-necked political banter wind you up so much. Arm yourself with all the stats about the far worse library cuts being made elsewhere (and eagerly, by Tory councils), have the words ‘JAN YOUNG’ tattooed on your knuckles, get along to that meeting and give them hell!

    Today’s press release: tomorrow’s virtual chip wrapper. It is a pity that so many people in politics (including this blogger, it would seem) think that winding up opponents is a worthwhile use of their time. What it shows is that they have nothing worthwhile to say.

    • I think you shouldn’t take such attacks so personally Chris, especially from Conservatives. I will always support Labour over Greens but you have been elected so just crack on I say.

      On a different note, how about a BPB event to see the film ‘The Iron Lady?’ followed by a fierce discussion, in the Pub, afterwards? I lived through Maggies reign, I remember it, I condemn it.

  6. I shall await Cllr Vanessa Brown’s take on libraries at the workshop with keen interest.

    It is her chance to put up or shut up.

    What are the Tories’ library ideals and the way to achieve these?

    The bizarre press release has made me decide to have no more to do with Andrew Wealls in Central. I think I owe this to those who voted for me: they did now expect any cowering to such a cheapskate piece by Mr Weatherley. It is despicable.

    • You were elected to represent your ward constituents’ interests, not to cut off contact with fellow elected office holders in a fit of pique.

      Mature politicians are able to work together when necessary to fulfill their roles despite their political differences and rise above the occasional media spats in which they may become embroiled.

      Besides, it wasn’t Cllr Wealls who so offended your amour propre but your Westminster MP. If you have an argument with him then take it up with him like any other constituent and campaign against him at the next General Election.

      To sum up – if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen (perhaps on the food scraps recycling truck) – after our fine showing in Westbourne, Labour are itching for another by-election so you’d be doing us a favour!

  7. Please try to get a grip on reality Christopher.

  8. Libraries eh! My Aunty Mable said that the books she recommended were the most popular
    ones. Of course she doesn’t deny that they were the least read ones in the
    entire library; but I take that as a sign of their popularity. You see, when
    a book is really popular, people buy it or borrow it from friends; they
    don’t wait to borrow it from a library…that was before Aunty had the terrible accident with her cheese grater.

  9. There has been much talk of Chris Hawtree resigning over his sweeping library cuts campaign. Rumour has it that he will be taking a trip to Kings House today to discuss the issue. I would ask him myself but apparently I have been excommunicated for being pro-library.

    • A plague on both your houses, Cllr. Nemeth. What we have here is a programme of ideologically-inspired cuts to central government grant funding driven by someone described by many as the least competent post-war chancellor, implemented in an ill-thought out and amateurish fashion by a city council with problems maintaining contact with the reality-based community.

      Don’t pretend that a conservative-controlled council would do anything different with regard to libraries – in fact it would probably do far worse, as a glance around the country soon reveals.

      The only party whose ideology would require it to implement these tory cuts with absolute regard to their effects on ordinary families is the Labour party.

      • Oops, not a councillor (thank God for that, given your shameful comments on NHS reorganisation).

      • @ Tim: The only party whose ideology would require it to implement these tory cuts with absolute regard to their effects on ordinary families is the Labour party

        I wish that were true, but it isn’t. Labour doesn’t really have an ideology, post-Blair, and seems very divided between those who think they can simply reheat Blairite managerialism and those who are looking beyond this to something a bit more in tune with traditional Labour values.

        For a practical example of what this means, look at what Brent Council are doing with their libraries.

      • Yet the Blair government was the most redistributive since 1945. Agreed, there is an ongoing tension within Labour, but even the ultra-Blairites share core Labour values.

        As for Brent council, there is no comparison. Some of the poorest and most troubled communities in the country reside within its wards and it may well be that cuts to library services are one of the least bad options open to it.

  10. Interesting article in the New Statesman from 2001, written by none other than Christopher Hawtree. The piece is entitled, “The death of the public library”.

    Congrats, Chris. You’ve managed to make your own prediction come true with your sweeping library cuts!

    • Cllr. Hawtree has been found wanting in his reaction to Mike Weatherley’s (disingenuous) press release and should get a grip.

      However, the sight of local Tories queuing up to post on here, representing themselves as defenders of public services really is enough to make one gag.

      • Numerous Tories are also posting these unsubstantiated allegations on twitter. Contrary ton Mr Nemuth’s remark, I am not on my way to King’s House but to a meeting, chaired by Vanessa Brown, about the next three years’ libraries plan. In light of this pervasive Tory hatred, and purveying of lies, i stand by what i said, and find others saying the same.

      • Agree with Tim’s comment.

        Chris: what the Tories are purveying here isn’t hatred – you could call it smug, hypocritical grandstanding, I guess, but it really isn’t worth getting wound up over. Frankly, the only reason they have targeted you is that they knew there was a fair chance of you going off like magnesium hitting water, and the only reason we are still discussing this is because you have.

        That said, it is pretty unusual for an MP to issue a release targeting an individual opposition councillor in this way. It probably ought to be beneath Weatherley’s dignity – the fact that it isn’t would have spoken volumes even if you, Chris, had said nothing at all.

      • Mr. Hawtree can dish it out, but can’t take it 😉

        Sorry to hear that you’re being bombarded with “unsubstantiated allegations”. Still … you’re happy to dish out outright falsehoods and lies about other people, aren’t you Chris? In fact, Chris recently had to be “re-educated” by a Standards Officer for it!

        To quote T.S. Eliot from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (not dogs, sorry Chris):

        “The ruthless foe pressed forward, in stubborn rank on rank;
        Growltiger to his vast surprise was forced to walk the plank.
        He who a hundred victims had driven to that drop,
        At the end of all his crimes was forced to go ker-flip, ker-flop.”

  11. Oh dear. ‘Lembit’ Hawtree seems to be throwing his toys out the pram.
    If Mike Weatherley’s comments are “hate filled” why isn’t the esteemed Councillor reporting them to the Police?

    • I do get a bit confused sometimes but with all this talk about static mobile libraries and permanently rooted travellers, this city’s getting the flavour of a Carry On movie.

      What think you Charles … I mean Christopher .. Hawtree?

  12. jesus, what a bunch of tossers

  13. I shall write more about this controversy – which took me by surprise – on my own site, but I stand by everything I have so far written.

    This evening’s Libraries Plan workshop was fascinating, encouraging, redolent perhaps of a Tory split, and made clear that Mr Weatherley’s assertions are mendacious.

    I rather think that he might usefully borrow a stage prop from his mate Alice Cooper but he would be tempting fate to use as a theme song that great disc “(I Wanna Be) Elected”: after all, the b-side could be “Those 11, 0000 LibDem Votes Have to Go Somewhere (But They Sure Ain’t Hugging Me)”.

  14. Seems that the nasty party is alive and well.

    The Tories working in Weatherly’s back room think they have found some dirt on Christopher Hawtree and and are loving trying to get at him. It just looks like bullying.

    And then you people wonder why the public is disillusioned with politics!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: