Time for Labour and the Conservatives to stop personal attacks and to present their alternative budgets

I am back from my Rip van Winkle hibernation. Regarding the future of this blog, I have paused, listened, reflected and … You know the rest. I will continue for the time being. This decision is down primarily to the daily pleas for me to continue from my three regular readers, Grizzly, Doris and Biker Dave.

I think there has been enough now on this blog about Christopher Hawtree and libraries. As Geoffrey Bowden posted at 1.05 yesterday morning, everyone with views on libraries should contribute to the consultation by visiting the council’s consultation portal.

Moving on. Where are we at. Unlike me, Lord Bassam appears to have gone for at least 2 weeks without sleep as he attacks the Greens in Brighton and Hove for Tory imposed cuts from Westminster. It is a shames that Labour continues to see the Greens as the enemy. All I can think is that by attacking the Greens in such an unrelenting fashion Labour hopes to deflect attention from their absence of policies.

Ed Balls has made it clear what we can expect:

“My starting point is, I am afraid, we are going to have keep all these cuts. There is a big squeeze happening on budgets across the piece. The squeeze on defence spending, for instance, is £15bn by 2015. We are going to have to start from that being the baseline. At this stage, we can make no commitments to reverse any of that, on spending or on tax. So I am being absolutely clear about that.”

Look at Scotland, Labour hitched its wagon to the ill-thought through Tory referendum quicker than you can say Alex Salmond. Why didn’t Labour find a position somewhere between the Tories and the SNP? It is because Labour cannot see beyond trying to protect its own short term interests by attacking those to the left, be it the SNP in Scotland or the Greens in Brighton and Hove.

So why vote Labour …..? What does Labour offer that is different from the Tories? It no longer offers an alternative when it comes to pulic spending. If I want to vote for a party of austerity, I might as well vote for the one that is enthusiastic about cuts, about small government.

Locally, just Lord Bassam, There’s-only-one-Caroline-in-Hove, Warren Morgan and Craig Turton seem to be fighting for Labour, but their focus appears to be purely on the Greens. It must be difficult to be in the Labour Party when Ed Miliband is failing to make an impact, and Ed Balls is signing up to Tory cuts. I would appeal to Labour activists locally to say what there alternative is to the cuts imposed by the Westminster Tories. Please list what services you intend to put forward for cutting, how many jobs will go, and how you intend to make up for the shortfall in income resulting from buying into the Tories’ Council Tax freeze gimmick.

The Greens have published their draft budget, and are consulting on it. I do think their approach has been the most open, consultative approach to budget setting that I can recall. Credit to them there. I don’t agree with everything they are proposing to do, but anyone in control locally, Green, Labour or Tories, would have no choice but to cut.

So what is Labour’s alternative? Each time you oppose a Green cut, it is required of you to put forward an alternate cut. It is what you demanded when you were in control locally. Or are you saying you would not cut, that you would set a deficit/illegal budget? It is time Labour locallyshows it has an alternative (assuming it has one).

And the Tories, you too need to list your cuts. There are many who want to know how exactly you will obey your Westminster Masters and make the cuts required in Brighton and Hove.

One reason I considered closing down this blog was because politics locally is about to become very nasty indeed. I hate the prospect of the closure of services, making people redundant, new hardships.

So, Labour opponents of the Greens, please stop the attacks and let’s hear from you what you would do.

63 Responses

  1. I’ve narrowed it down…the blogger is Christopher Hawtree. Who else would defend his library cuts so vehemently?

    • You could be onto something Robert, we hardly had the headline ‘i am considering closing the blog after attacks on Warren Morgan’ last april and Warren did cop some flack which he took in his stride(welldone Warren)..would Hawtree get a rise out of masquerading as a freemason?..probably

  2. Welcome back – you gave us all a nasty moment there.

    Your latest post echoes calls Greens have making for a long time now. It is not as if the administration has not provided sufficient time to Labour and Conservative opponents to come up with their suggested costed alternative budget plans. Perhaps their reluctance to be specific is that providing details of their alternative approach would then expose their ideas to close scrutiny by the public, unions and the Green administration. Everyone would soon see that both opposition parties are committed to a cutting agenda. After all, the Tories can offer no other possible solution other than endorsing their Government’s agenda. As for Labour, their masters in Westminster have made it clear they won’t be reversing the Tory public service cutting agenda. Ed Balls’ speech yesterday endorsing the coalition’s spending plans and cutting off any hope that the freeze on public sector pay would be reversed by a Labour government will rightly anger the unions.

    Greens made sure that Tory and Labour representatives were included in all Star Chamber deliberations and were given the opportunity to feed into the debate during those sessions – in the main their collective contributions could be written on the back of a small postage stamp.

    Unlike the previous administration, who kept its cards close to its chest almost up to the absolute last minute with a view to disadvantaging their opponents, Greens have embraced the Open Book approach – with all the associated political risks – and published our plans well in advance to encourage constructive debate.

    With the Brighton Political Blog’s encouragement perhaps we will now get some constructive input from Labour and the Conservatives. I for one certainly hope so.

  3. Strikes me that BPB could also have added that labour’s complaints about school places were designed to divert scrutiny from their and tory failure to recognise that a growth in birth rate would mean that classroom space would be under severe pressure in the foreseeable future. So why not blame the new kid on the block for their past craven inertia and lack of understanding of basic demographics. That seems to be to be the elephant in the room. Previous administrations avoided tackling complex decisions and now divert scrutiny from their past failures by blaming the greens for all the cities woes.

    • What I have seen since May, 2011 is an undignified and indignant ‘ugly stepsisters’ shrieking and wailing from the Tories – who suffer from a sense of power-entitlement. They continue to choke and attack without grace, long after adjustment to being in opposition should have been accomplished.

      In 2007 I watched Labour struggle with their loss and relegation to opposition benches (while Brian Oxley struggled with being Leader of the Council). And there was one moment – a picture in my mind – as Gill Mitchell spoke in a meeting and looked over, her head shaking just a little, at an impassive, rejecting Jenny Rowlands. Gill could no longer call on her and it really, really hurt. Loss of officer access and all that. I had a chat the other day with Gill about this and she smiled, nodding and remembering. That is good grace if ever I’ve seen it. And maturity.

      In 2007, Labour adjusted within about 2 months, I’d say, not much more. And became a solid opposition party in its place and knowing its place. In 2012, I still await signs that the Conservatives have it in them to achieve adjustment, some 7-8 months on. Perhaps this is because they clung to their tenterhooks with fantasy thoughts of the Greens collapsing in disarray and confusion and forced to go to the polls in abject failure.

      It says something uncomfortable about the Tories if this is the case. They must move on, cut the resentment and petulance, and they must put opposition arguments and alternatives and pretty quickly too now, before all credibility is lost.

  4. It comes as no surprise that the blogger is parroting what has emerged via Twitter as the Green party line – avoid defending the budget by demanding an alternative is published.

    It’s not for me, Caroline Penn, Steve Bassam or indeed any of the individual Labour councillors who partake in the online debate to do so. The Labour group will be presenting the ideas at which they’ve collectively and democratically arrived in due course. The administration have had since May to produce, with full officer support, their draft budget so it’s reasonable that the opposition parties should have sufficient time to prepare their riposte.

    It’s correct, of course, that the Tories have little room for manoeuvre on this – one can only assume they’ll be voting in favour of the budget proposed or offering an alternative which hits the less well-off even harder. That’s what they’re for and probably explains why, apart from bully-boy Weatherley’s entirely manufactured spat with Cllr Hawtree and a few desultory comments herein the silence from the blue camp has been loud enough to attract the attention of one of the soon-to-be-axed noise patrols.

    To say that Ed Balls’s recent pronouncements leave Labour in a tight spot is fallacious, however. Balls has said little different to what he offered in his conference speech. He, and we, have never argued that fiscal tightening isn’t a necessity – we have argued strongly however that the Coalition’s emphasis and speed of cutting is wrong and dangerous, something that events are bearing out hence is timely intervention at the weekend. His acceptance of a continuing freeze on public sector pay is unfortunate for those hard-pressed workers facing real declines in their living standards, of course, but when the alternative may be further swingeing redundancies one would hope that our comrades in the union movement, out of human decency as well as self-interest, would see that he is attempting to make the best of some pretty dire circumstances. He is entirely right to say that he can’t promise to reverse cuts in 3 years time – for one no-one knows how deep they will have cut by then – for two no-one knows what chaos a Euro collapse, a second recession and credit crash will have wrought by then. Politicians (step forward C. Lucas) who pretend any different are simply scoring empty points by pandering to the gallery and demonstrating breathtaking cynicism.

    It would be very easy, at a local level, for us to come up with the kind of dishonest wish list (a Green councillor’s description – the ‘wish list’ bit, the adjective is my own) that the Greens sprung upon us last year but that would avoid the issues. The cuts to funding by the coalition are hard fact and would place any administration in difficulties. The tone of Labour criticism, while shrill at times, is borne out of genuine concern that the Greens’ combination of ideology and inexperience is poised to do the sort of damage to the city that Osborne, also inexperienced and ideological, is wreaking nationally.

    Unfortunately Labour’s experience of cooperation with the Greens on budget matters has left little appetite for a repetition – our councillors are understandably wary of being used as political cover for a budget which to their minds does little to protect the vulnerable while being powerless to, for instance, remove the Greens’ green factions’ pet projects from 2012/13 expenditures.

    So alternatives will be presented in due course. Until then Labour activists will reserve the right to criticise as much as we feel necessary – and the increasingly snippy responses from the Greens indicate that they dislike it mightily. To trumpet an ‘open book’ approach only to whinge in the face of robust argument certainly shows a strange attitude to debate carried out in public but they’ll have to get used to it as they’re stuck with it (as the city is with them) for the next three and a bit years.

  5. Your blog used to be good, now its just rubbish.

  6. BPB
    Labour’s policy on the “Scottish issue” has been in place for years. They have not jumped hitched onto any Tory “wagon”. You are entirely wrong and I look forward to your correction.

    ps. Your suggestion that there should be no more debate about the Hawtree-Bowden library cuts suggests that the Greens have lost the argument and want to sweep it under the carpet.How very Soviet!

    • Careful…..your wish to keep the Hawtree/Weatherley/library cuts thing going smacks of obsession.

    • Roddy’s exactly right on Scotland, by the way. The only Westminster party with MPs elected on a platform of Scottish independence is the SNP. Labour policy has always been to support the Union. If Labour agreed with the government that murder should remain a crime would that also be ‘hitching its wagon’?

      Your dislike of Labour is distorting your logic.

  7. Labour built a huge unsustainable mess – neither the tories nor the greens stopped them. Then the tories had a go at trying to pick away at the edges – now the greens just stare at it in incomprehension.

    Cuts? How about start by looking at:-

    Food Waste Trial
    Strategic Directors
    Diversity Officers
    Equality Officers
    BioSphere Officers
    Over-Engineering of Cycle Lanes
    Review what’s spent in various ‘talking shop’ partnerships
    Cut street furniture and anti-car activities.

    Cutting waste is a *good* thing, cutting in-efficient activities allows people to do *more* of what they want to need.

    This truly pathetic ‘what would you cut then? yah boo’ is beneath contempt.

    A radical rethink/restructure is required.

    It is expected that by the end of this parliament 500,000 people (in the UK – up from under 100,000 now) will be fed by voluntary/charity food banks – the welfare state is hugely expensive and isn’t working. volunteers/people/communities can better look after themselves than the expensive public service middlemen.

    • Are you able to cost any “radical rethink/restructure” you might have in mind? Your irritated post seeks to justify not having to provide alternatives to the Green proposals. Fail.

      • Seems a bit knee jerk there…

        I have listed several areas for cuts – and not mentioned the greens proposed cuts at all.

        I have no interest in the Greens ‘budget simulator’ approach to the budget (did Kitcat use it for the actual budget? I kind of suspect that he might have…). I have said here before that the city needs a budget using zero based accounting, and fully prioritising the provision of services legal obligations at the top right down to the ‘nice to haves’.

        Once the front line service priorities are agreed, the smallest possible overhead for admin needs to be worked out, then once the essentials are budgeted for, let people simply say how much more they are prepare to pay to deliver the non-essentials further down the priority list…

        Thats the vision – then plan for the running down the legacy services that people are no longer willing to pay for, and the delivery of any new services that they do want the council to supply for them.

    • i do agree with you about dumping the PC enforcement officers.

      There is a sense of cossetted entitlement within the officer class and layers and layers of people whose job it is to make it impossible to criticise any officer or call any officer to account without having to negotiate the minefield of accusations lying in wait to trip the fool up and let the miscreant off the hook.

      • Valerie, local government is the most efficient part of the public sector, and its cosseted officers have already endured a pay freeze for longer than the rest of the sector.

        I doubt you would now find layers and layers of people in any department. Understaffing across local government is becoming the norm.

      • ChickenFamalam I have heard that claim before regarding the efficiency of local government – do you (or does anyone) have a link to the report?

        Clumping the whole of government together into one figure seems rather odd – how inefficient would one local council (say Brighton and Hove) to change the overall position of local government in the rankings?

        A league table of councils would be interesting – particularly based on the most recent data.

      • Paul – that’s a good question. I’m taking it formt he Treasury and Prime Minister saying so. Local governemnt as a whole has also been cutting expenditure as a whole since at least 2004.

        There is an interesting report from last month (Decemeber 2011), jointly from the Audit Commission and Local Governemnt Association, on productivity (‘meeting needs with lower workforce costs’): http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/Downloads/201112workforceproductivity.pdf

        It does show a variance in costs across types of councils, and the (imposed) need for transformation. Above all though it refutes the popular idea of localfgovernment employees as ‘cossetted’.

  8. When the Greens were in opposition they were perfectly happy to oppose cuts without coming up with alternatives. Now suddenly that’s wrong because it doesn’t suit them. The Greens took most of their votes from Labour. Why isn’t Labour allowed to get them back? This whimpering is very feeble.

  9. It is simple. The tories when they were in administration last year had a cut to their grant ( from a Tory Government and many more cuts from the previous Labour Government) and they managed to make savings without closing a toilet or a library. Greens need to be honest. They are wasting money on their pet projects like food waste collections and stuck two fingers up at £3 million windfall from a Tory government because it went agaianst their tax the rich council tax rise philosopy and where is the money the Government gave them for the travellers site and the grant to build council housing which they have done nothing with. It seems only BPB is falling for their spin.

    The rest of us see Greece, Italy and France and know there for the Grace of God go we if we had not cut our cloth….oh yes but then the Greens oppose anyone who beleives in God and instead will cut their school transport as a way of saving money too.

  10. The Greens take most of their votes from Labour. For Labour they are an enemy.

    Overall, what comes across from this post is that you have now dropped your pretense of being anything other than a Green, and that the Greens are poor at taking criticism, though past masters at dishing it out.

    On this showing the other parties do not have to do or offer anything much at the moment, no matter how much you demand it, and the greens will drive away the voters in their own.

  11. I agree with Chicken…the Greens never came up with alternatives when they were in opposition just a Council tax rise…which to be fair they have kept to in administration .Maybe if they had done more work in opposition they would have a credible plan for the City and one for the people rather than a cynical one to blame the Government for instead which is a real shame as every other council in the land has had the same cut o their moeny and most are freezing their council tax or even cutting it. The truth is the Greens think all tax payers are rich and they will continue to punish them for as long as they can. I also agree with Robert that BPB could in fact be Cllr Hawtree, or one of the other Green councillors.

    • Wrong on all accounts. Greens proposed an alternative budget last year, despite Tories leaving it to the last moment to publish their full one.

      Council tax is one of the few means for councils across the country to generate extra revenue. I would prefer it if the Government gave local authorities more tax-raising powers.

  12. BPB I really can’t let this pass, so let me answer each of your points in turn:

    “It is a shames that Labour continues to see the Greens as the enemy. All I can think is that by attacking the Greens in such an unrelenting fashion Labour hopes to deflect attention from their absence of policies.”

    It’s naïve to think that the Greens and Labour are not enemies, or rather rivals for very much the same votes. The Greens have made no secret of attacking Labour over the past 18 years in pursuit of that vote. Some of us thought, even in the absence of a coalition locally, that there might be some co-operation in pursuit of common goals, particularly as there are no major elections until 2015. Bill Randall made it clear that replacing Labour as the opposition to the Tories remains their goal when, after 100 days of the Green administration, he said “if we get this right then in five years time things will be very difficult for Labour”. Had the almost level number of votes across Brighton and Hove aligned differently last May, and the Labour Green position been reversed, then I very much doubt that the Green approach would be much different.

    “Ed Balls is signing up to Tory cuts”

    Ed Balls has said that Labour cannot, at this point, promise to reverse cuts pushed through by the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition between now and 2015. That just isn’t realistic. Osbourne’s austerity measures and failure to regulate the banks will lead to higher unemployment, higher welfare bills and a larger deficit that the one they inherited. Labour won’t be able to reverse cuts and increase public sector wages with money that isn’t there. To promise otherwise would simply be a dishonest appeal for votes and increase expectations only for them to be dashed. Not that I’m saying the Greens have done that locally…

    “Please list what services you intend to put forward for cutting, how many jobs will go, and how you intend to make up for the shortfall in income resulting from buying into the Tories’ Council Tax freeze gimmick.”

    Labour have made it clear that we intend to look at many of the “back office” functions of the council, from the top tier directors (who the Greens promised to cut a year ago but who they now seem to be defending) and functions like HR and communications which have grown over recent years. There has to be scope for sharing these functions with other public bodies or the voluntary sector, not insisting that everything must be done by the council.

    The Greens are pressing ahead with many of the “greenest city” manifesto commitments, from cycle lanes and 20mph zones to bringing Downland management in-house and a much enlarged sustainability team including “One Planet Living” and “Urban Biosphere” consultants. They are entitled to do this, but when they are cutting basic front-line services elsewhere then residents and opposition parties are fully entitled to scrutinise and question their priorities. This isn’t “personal attacks” it is the way councillors are supposed to reach democratic decisions.

    Labour does intend to propose amendments that would allow the council to freeze council tax; some Green-voting residents in the well off areas of the city may be able to afford 3.5% increases every year, but wages for residents in my ward are not increasing by anything like that, people in Whitehawk, Craven Vale and the Bristol Estate are facing higher bills, possible redundancy and an uncertain future, so want no increases from the council. Yes Labour increased council tax in the 90s at a time of increasing prosperity when the city needed improving after decades of Tory neglect, but these are different times.

    “The Greens have published their draft budget, and are consulting on it. I do think their approach has been the most open, consultative approach to budget setting that I can recall. Credit to them there. I don’t agree with everything they are proposing to do, but anyone in control locally, Green, Labour or Tories, would have no choice but to cut.”

    Yes, because of Tory decimation of local government funding, the Greens have no choice but to cut, but do have choices about what to cut (see above). And as for an open and consultative process, internally it was Labour who set up cross-party Budget groups to allow all members to be informed and involved, whilst maintaining the ability of parties to come up with alternative proposals. The Budget simulator and focus groups the Greens have set up have failed to engage very many residents but have cost a considerable sum of money. Again I would question their priorities.

    “So what is Labour’s alternative? Each time you oppose a Green cut, it is required of you to put forward an alternate cut. It is what you demanded when you were in control locally. Or are you saying you would not cut, that you would set a deficit/illegal budget? It is time Labour locally shows it has an alternative (assuming it has one).”

    We are looking at the alternatives, including some of those items listed above, but it is difficult to get clear answers from the council particularly when we want details on some of the “greenest city” spending commitments. The council budget is a vast and changeable thing, every week there are underspends, overspends, new grants and pots of money that seem to appear from nowhere. What the Greens proposed a month or so ago will not match the final figures at the end of next month. I’ve no doubt that once the Greens have seen which cuts generate the most protest (loos, music service) they will suddenly find the money to prevent those particular cuts. If the opposition parties make their detailed proposals known early then great, the Greens can pinch the idea and claim the credit for saving x, y or z, having “listened”. Our proposals will come when the facts are known and when we have worked on our alternatives – just as the Greens did, releasing their own budget amendments two days before last year’s meeting. Let’s not forget it was the Greens who seemed willing to vote against setting a legal budget last March.

    “So, Labour opponents of the Greens, please stop the attacks and let’s hear from you what you would do.”

    Why are Labour, in your view BPB, not allowed to criticize the Greens? Are they above scrutiny? Is it not the duty of an opposition party to offer alternatives, to criticize when we feel the Administration is doing the wrong thing? Why should Labour help the Greens succeed politically when success for the Greens means further losses for Labour (against both Green and Tory opponents)? As we said last May, Labour will act in the best interests of the city, but not in the best interests of the Green Party.

    • To answer the last part Warren – Labour aren’t allowed to criticise Green – because it’s the BPB’s ball and he’ll take it home if we keep being beastly to them and don’t let them have a few easy goals.
      The reality is that BPB has failed to demonstrate anything other than antipathy to Labour and gushing love of the Greens (however he tries to frame it). The Greens announced a weak set of budget plans in the hope that they could get better ideas from other parties…well surprise surprise other parties don’t give up their ideas as easilly, or as early as the greens.
      They are now apparantly withdrawing from most forms of budget discussion… having tried bullying and crying…they have resported to sulking. (Oh and asking their bigger friends like BPB to help them)
      Politics is hard sometimes but that’s because peoples lives, jobs, homes depend on it…Oh and for the pedants (CH and others) please feel free to add in any missing apostrophies at will.

      • If Labour really cared about Brighton and Hove they would have engaged with the administration on this budget. Instead, the Labour group of councillors is playing politics in a bid to survive.

        You suggest Labour’s strategy throughout the budget is to try and embarrass the administration. This is hideous politics rather than doing the utmost to work with the administration to protect the city’s most vulnerable residents.

    • “If the opposition parties make their detailed proposals known early then great, the Greens can pinch the idea and claim the credit for saving x, y or z, having “listened”.”

      Warren, the public don’t appreciate politicians playing this game! To retain credit you just make sure it is in all the media before you give it to the Greens. Simple. And we all know cooperative decisions do get made so why can’t opposition parties provide ideas and allow the Greens to incorporate them and say they listened?

      What’s the problem?

    • Dear Warren

      Claim what you will about Ed Balls, but to many including the unions it was a surrender to the Tory/LibDem austerity consensus which is utterly wrong-headed.

      In response to some of your other points…

      “functions like HR and communications which have grown over recent years”

      False. Those areas have decline spending trends, council-wide comms and marketing spend has been significantly reduced in the last 2 years. Any bulge in HR spend has been due to dealing with Single Status payments and switching IT systems.

      “There has to be scope for sharing these functions with other public bodies or the voluntary sector,”

      Which we do. The comms team last year made a splash by offering their services to other public sector bodies in the city. Our finance department do work for the South Downs National Park Authority and our HR department do work for our schools and colleges, for example.

      “And as for an open and consultative process, internally it was Labour who set up cross-party Budget groups”

      The budget review group is a cross-party group to inform councillors about new financial information. It was a welcome addition, but Greens went further and were the first to have a cross-party star chamber process when all parties participated in reviewing confidential first-draft budget proposals. This part of the budget has never before been opened to opposition parties before.

      “If the opposition parties make their detailed proposals known early then great, the Greens can pinch the idea and claim the credit for saving x, y or z, having “listened”. ”

      That is an incredibly limp excuse. If you make a proposal and we adopt it in our budget it’s clearly from you. But so far nothing positive – no firm ideas.

      I note your continued criticism of our plan to keep the sustainbility team going after their grant funding ends. Yesterday at Cabinet your leader Cllr Gill Mitchell emphasised Labour’s belief in addressing sustainability in this city, but refused to rule out removing the sustainability team’s funding. Empty words in favour of partnership on the environment if Labour won’t support the funding.

  13. No – it is time for other parties to present official position. Green administration presented proposals early and encouraged councillors from other parties to join sensible discussion. Instead of this an absolute silence from elected members and tumult of attack more similar to playground bullies than proper debate coming from not elected activists and a lord.
    Am thinking now that Labour & Conservatives plan is to poke green council like bears in cage, and to wait until last minute before presenting alternatives of their own. This way they are avoiding democratic and public scrutiny. A budget scrutiny is happening and the Labour and Conservative refusal to give proposals makes this an stupid waste of time as they can turn up at 11.59 , vote down Green proposals and set their own budget with no public scutiny at all! Maddening!
    Also perhaps they will deliberately prevent budget being set and welcome Mr Pickles servants to run town instead – get them off the hook of making decision and destroy green party in Brighton at same time.
    It is well past time for Labour and Conservative to take seriously their democratic responsibilities.

  14. Does Ilyich not remember budget council last year…the alternative budget by the Greens was a last minute joke with no real proposals except increasing taxes for everyone when they could have joined with Labour and out voted the Tories. So it is a case of do as I say and not do as I did !

    Are the Greens not confident enough of their own budget that they are waiting around for ideas from the opposition?

    I am completely neutral here but it is clearly a case that the Greens did one thing in opposition and another when in power….not impressed at all.

    • Was it not that the Labour party abstained instead of joining with Greens to out vote tories?

    • Last year the Greens proposed an alternative budget without raising CT. In addition, Greens voted against the Tories and Labour abstained.

      You either have a terrible memory or you are a persistent liar.

      • Sophistry, Luke. The so-called alternative budget reversed the Tories’ proposed 1% cut in Council Tax – an amendment which Labour by, yes doing a deal with the Tories, managed to get adopted, saving public services for Brighton residents.

        Either you have a terrible memory or you are a persistent liar.

      • Tim, whatever deal was done with the Tories in return for Labour’s abstention on the budget vote, it didn’t do you any favours in the local election result. Hope you will reflect on that.

      • Tim, nothing I said above was a lie. Please retract your final sentence. Thank you in advance.

      • Come on Lukey, someone who bandies about accusations of mendacity like the Milky Bar Kid doling out white fat should have slightly broader shoulders than that.

        The reversal of a 1% cut walks like a duck and sounds like a duck to me, so while ‘lie’ might be a little strong, ‘dissemblance’ wouldn’t be – but it was too irresistible to paraphrase the pomposity of your final paragraph.

        Don’t get me wrong, I thought the Tories’ proposed reduction was an outrageous an abuse of public funds as I’ve ever seen and it was right that Labour negotiated its reversal – a great example of a party putting aside ideological considerations for the greater good!

      • Again, Tim, nothing I said above was a lie. Please retract your sentence calling me a liar.

      • To Mr Tim Sewell – having done check on council website and finding memory not at fault, can confirm that amendment to reverse tories proposed council tax reduct of 1% at last budget was not deal done with Labour and tory as you suggest, but joint Green and Labour amendment which was carried 28 to 24. Only wishing Labour and Green could still be working together to give city best chance.

  15. “It must be difficult to be in the Labour Party when Ed Miliband is failing to make an impact, and Ed Balls is signing up to Tory cuts”. Up to a point but such baiting by BPB, Lord Bowden of Sussex Square and others won’t push me or others into revealing Labour’s alternative to the Green budget. There is an appropriate time and place and that is in full public view at the Budget Council meeting and not trotted out piecemeal on a pro-Green blog.

    • Craig, the flaw in your argument is this. Labour are wilfully denying the public a voiced opinion about what these alternatives might be. At least the Greens have been brave enough to give the public a chance to comment and possibly even influence what is put into the final budget proposals.

      Plus, you and I know that behind the scenes horsetrading is going on that will ensure a budget is set on the day.

      • So they are abandoning the council tax increase, as that seems to be the majority view? Or is it, as you like to say, smoke?

      • “At least the Greens have been brave enough to give the public a chance to comment and possibly even influence what is put into the final budget proposals.”

        Nope. The Greens have published a draft budget in order that when they enact it they can shrug and say ‘but we consulted the public’, when it’s plain as the nose on your face that outside of the city’s political geeks and a couple of excellent campaigns over specific cuts the whole exercise has been greeted with a massive ‘meh’.

        The only element of the draft to excite anything resembling a public reaction is the 3.5% rise coupled with the refusal to take the freeze money. That public reaction has been overwhelmingly in favour of a freeze.

        How likely do you think it is that the administration will amend its budget accordingly?

      • If horsetrading wasn’t going on behind the scenes then our elected representatives would be letting us down.

        It’s essential that a legal budget is passed (something the Greens evidently feel Labour should have joined them in sabotaging last year) to avoid the risk of Whitehall imposing a technocratic solution on Brighton & Hove.

        I don’t want to see us become Greece-by-Sea and I don’t know anyone who does.

  16. During the extended, but rather synthetic, debate on Hawtree/Weatherley someone made the point that if this blog was closed then we could always go to the Green Party website instead. Unfortunately your return only confirms this.

    • Perhaps it is time for BKIP(Brighton Independence Party). Brighton is denied fasted broadband by the UK government and is having its centrally supported services cut. It is time to stand up for Brighton by seceding from the UK.
      Brighton is already a financial services centre and if independent can create its own tax regime as on on-shore haven. Brighton would make its own laws, money within the sterling area and have a customs union with the UK/EU.
      A 2015 referendum could ask voters if they wanted independence or devolution-max, if BKIP wins power.
      Brighton’s voters have previously had Tories, Labour and now Green government so perhaps they’d be prepared for a new party, BKIP. Brighton is cosmopolitan enough to perhaps make it happen.

  17. Reading this latest blog reminds me of a scene in The Life of Brian:

    REG: Right. You’re in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the
    Romans are the f*cking Judean People’s Front.
    P.F.J.: Yeah…
    JUDITH: Splitters.
    P.F.J.: Splitters…
    FRANCIS: And the Judean Popular People’s Front.
    P.F.J.: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Splitters. Splitters…
    LORETTA: And the People’s Front of Judea.
    P.F.J.: Yeah. Splitters. Splitters…
    REG: What?
    LORETTA: The People’s Front of Judea. Splitters.
    REG: We’re the People’s Front of Judea!
    LORETTA: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.
    REG: People’s Front! C*&ts.
    FRANCIS: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?
    REG: He’s over there.
    P.F.J.: Splitter!

    I am afraid that, however much you good folk in the Labour and Green Parties would like things to be different, the world has moved away from attempting to build Socialist/Marxist/Communist utopian states. Get over it.

    Can anybody actually name a country that has stuck with their Socialist/Marxist/Communist ideologies and been successful? Just one will do? Any? Yes, to be a benevolent and caring society you must first generate the moolah. Sorry if this offends, but it is the truth.

    That nice Mr Blair took Labour to the right and DC has taken The Conservatives to the left (maybe, I agree, with some prodding from Nicky). There is a great deal the two main parties can agree on, but first we need to agree to agree. Take Europe as an example – it would just need Ed to acknowledge that DC was right to stand up to those nasty bullies in the EU and the problem would go away. Take the former ‘right-winger’ Iain Duncan Smith, his Centre for Social Justice can’t be placed on a conventional spectrum. Ed Balls in now happy with Conservative spending plans. It really is a big ‘Love In’.

    We have all (mostly) coalesced around the centre (sorry Sven), and now need to just get on and do the stuff that is right for the city of Brighton and Hove. To help this process, it would be nice if The Green Party were to grow up a bit and stop throwing their toys out of the pram every time the other parties, and increasingly the residents, point out just how completely bonkers some of their views, and now policies, are.

    Have a good day.

    • “Can anybody actually name a country that has stuck with their Socialist/Marxist/Communist ideologies and been successful? Just one will do? Any?”

      Huaxi….will this little corner of China serve as a suitably acceptable example?



      • Valerie

        Socialism! It seems to be more like a rampant Capitalist Partnership to me. The original Partners (Villagers) own all of the capital and now share the spoils. And who does the work? The real Villagers, from a pool of about a billion, who have been sucked in from the surrounding areas to do the, probably back-breaking, work for a pittance.

        Actually, no, you are right….. that isn’t Capitalism (which relies on mutually agreed contracts), it sounds more and more like old The Soviet Union…… and look how successful that was!

        Have a splendid day Comrade

      • Ha ha. Don’t like Tony’s politics, but I’d like to have a pint with him. Geezer!

  18. Interesting link Ghost…

    The Argus story says Labour have asked, and the Greens have agreed to look at making the mobile library savings by replacing the permanent staff with volunteers.

    The whole council ‘volunteers’ policy is wrong headed and misguided – but even then it says that volunteers will not be used to replace permanent staff or provide core services… oops…

    I still don’t understand why socialists think getting people to work for no pay is a ‘good thing’ but paying them anything less than ‘living wage’ is a ‘bad thing’ – but there you go.

    • Well well, Socialists and Greens are latest devotees to Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ agenda.

      If you can’t afford to pay for services call up the volunteers, who won’t strike, want annual inflation busting pay increases and final salary pensions. Can we please be sensible and look into using the vast army of experienced volunteers to run more of these services

      • Anyone who has dealt with voluntary labour of any sort will be familiar with the stress of wondering whether they will even turn up.

        Running libararies on voluntary labour is not a practical idea, though I sympathise with the problems of any council in having to deal with the centrally imposed cuts.

      • I find genuine volunteers very reliable… They have offered/asked to do something because they want to do it – why would they be anything other than enthusiastic?

        If people are pressured/coerced they may not be very enthusiastic – but there is a difference between being a genuine volunteer and simply being asked to work for nothing.

  19. Oh grow up, the lot of you.

    You either have a hand in, or seek to have a hand in, running a corporation worth nearly £1bn that directly affects the lives of 252,000 people, many of whom are far more vulnerable to the world’s trials than you.

    And how do you respond? You slap your (m/f) appendages on a virtual table and argue about whose is longer, wider, fatter, stronger, older,, younger, spottier, smoother etc than the rest …

    You just care that your side wins. You don’t show any evidence in this thread of caring whether the people out there, some in desperate need, win …

  20. “So what is Labour’s alternative? Each time you oppose a Green cut, it is required of you to put forward an alternate cut.”

    The Greens have now done a u-turn on their most unpopular cuts, but have not said in any detail how those cuts are to be avoided, or what else is being cut to pay for them. Unless of course the money to avoid unpopular cuts was there all along?

    • Kitcat tweeted that the money had been found from elsewhere. More council tax payers than originally anticipated or some such – so no cuts elsewhere needed.

      So the ‘consultation’ was actually just a huge trap – to get the other parties to suggest where the would ‘prefer’ the cuts (weren’t the greens keen to get that out of them…) then the greens could suddenly find the money and say ‘SEE WE ARE CUTTING LESS THAN THE OTHER PARTIES WANTED TOO – THEY WOULD HAVE CUT XYZ, BUT WE ARE KEEPING THAT AND THE OTHER THINGS TOO”.

      What a bunch of devious sharks.

    • p.s. Of course I would still be in favour of substantial cuts – senior management for a start – take the freeze grant and cut council tax.

      I actually think the ‘no more than 8 times lowest pay for highest paid’ could be a good thing in the PUBLIC SECTOR – not for private sector/suppliers/agency staff etc… just for permanent public sector staff.

      Funny that the greens are still banging on about a TEN times multiple, rather than the EIGHT times at the front of their manifesto (priority 13).

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