Labour in Brighton must stop carpet-bomb criticism of the Greens and raise its game

In spite of comments from certain Labour activists, neither your humble blogger nor my extensive and highly paid editorial team, are hostile to Labour. This accusation is made each time I make a positive comment about the Greens or criticism of Labour.

I have frequently said that I regret that Labour has been so lacking in opposition, has not articulated a vision, or that it does not have someone to rival Caroline Lucas. I have been critical about the ongoing personal attacks, as opposed to political criticism, of Ms Lucas. Such behaviour tends to be counterproductive, alienating anti-Tory voters and consolidating support for Ms Lucas.

Yesterday Lord Steve Bassam (@SteveTheQuip) said on Twitter that “I think local party is gradually becoming a political force again making the political weather in the City”.

I think he is correct. Over the last couple of months there has been a noticeable increase in the volume of comment coming from Labour’s ranks. The budget proposals put out by the Green administration has provided an obvious target, and Labour has not passed up the opportunity to attack.

The LOLA campaign (Leave Our Loos Alone) was a smart move. I really would like to know whose idea LOLA was. Please can someone let me know. You can DM me @brightonpolitic.

What I think has been unfortunate about Labour’s insurgency is that it has the feel of being the political equivalent of indiscriminate carpet bombing. Carpet bombing is a tactic of desperation, of last resort. It does the opposite of winning the hearts and minds of the population. Rather it alienates and it is destructive. It leads to long term resentment.

What Labour needs to do is capture the hearts and minds of people in Brighton and Hove. The Greens have done so and, notwithstanding the Westbourne by-election, continue to enjoy support. While the honeymoon for the Green administration is well and truly over, Caroline Lucas continues to be admired and respected.

How can Labour demonstrate that they are more than being merely anti-Green? First they need to articulate a positive alternative by publishing their alternative budget. If they wait to unveil it at the Budget Council Meeting it will be lost to public attention, receiving at most a paragraph or two in the Argus. Second, Labour must also stop carpet bombing the line of “Green cuts”. Does the Labour Party take ownership of the cuts being implemented in Labour-controlled Manchester or Doncaster, or do they blame the Conservative-led Coalition Government for the cuts? It is the latter, of course. Third, Labour must ensure that its leadership in Brighton is seen to come from its local leadership, not from the House of Lords.

I have sympathy for Lord Bassam. The frustration he must feel about the situation in Brighton and Hove has forced his hand, and at a cost to him personally. Those who follow him for his excellent coverage of the effective opposition being mounted in the Lords against cuts in disability support, welfare benefits and legal aid, must be being put off because of his Brighton-focussed tweeting.

Labour really must raise its game or they will continue to be seen as an ineffective bit-part player in the politics of Brighton and Hove.

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51 Responses

  1. I’m not sure if my Argus letter giving a few green and safety reasons for not closing public toilets came before the LOLA campaign to help get the ball rolling so that politicians sniffed ‘opportunity’ but I have a feeling that Chris Kift (who took Ann Meadows round in a wheelchair to demonstrate lack of dropped kerbs) could have had a lot to do with what became the LOLA campaign from Labour councillors. Certainly my letter came before I was told about LOLA and Chris Kift emailed me about it.

    Maybe we all jumped simultaneously.

    • Glad you aren’t being provoked into making it a personality campaign… If an idea isn’t bigger than a person, then it isn’t an idea worth having.

      There may be some credit in changing someone’s mind – but none in knocking at an open door (Brighton/Hove MP’s – broadband…)

      But anyway – here I stake my claim on the the budget consultation being a farce, because the greens figures were wrong in the first place – and on the back of this they want to be taken seriously in projecting TWO YEARS ahead? Just kidding about staking a claim – bad is bad whoever said so first…

      http://free-english-people.blogspot.com/2012/01/brighton-and-hove-council-budget.html

      • “Green’s figures”? I think the professional, mucho-highly paid financial offices of BHCC will have provided the arithmetic, mightn’t you agree?

      • The figures I saw were in a green draft budget – I couldn’t say where the greens got them from. But now the greens are saying that they were incorrect.

        It didn’t occur to me to ask the council directly – I didn’t occur to me that it might be necessary.

        I guess I could put in an FoI request asking for all the communications the Greens received from council officers regarding the figures – to find out exactly who knew what and when – but I am sure it will be volunteered before any FoI request got responded to.

        And the main point stands – if the green budget isn’t even reliable for a month, on what basis do they think they can reliably set a two year budget? Charging council taxpayers an extra 10.5% (and definitely losing 2.5%) to back a Kitcat hunch is not reasonable nor rational nor ‘fair’.

      • Obviously detailed figures will be published in final budget proposal and you will be able to see where the additional funding has come from – no inaccuracies in original plan. Consultation worked very well I thought, we learnt which services residents were most worried about and responded.

      • Consultation appears to have ignored calls to:-

        Freeze Council Tax
        Cut Strategic Directors
        Cut Waste Food Trial
        etc

        They reversed some unpopular proposed cuts (that it turns out were never needed in the first place). And ignored calls for genuine cuts that are still wanted.

        Just like the useless budget simulator – the greens are avoiding giving people any options that the greens aren’t already up for.

    • Why did the press release announcing these reversals come from the Green party and not, as it should have done, from the Council?

      • Did it?

        There was an official council tweet:
        Why is the council proposing to increase council tax by 3.5%? Watch BBC Breakfast on Monday and make up your own mind #brighton #bhbudget
        https://twitter.com/#!/BrightonHoveCC/statuses/160729911747805184a

        That doesn’t mention the greens wanting to putting up council tax at all…

      • I have to echo this question, myself. Would the press office would have written it differently? As the Greens ARE The Administration, this should have been an official Council release.

      • Nope, the @BHBudget twitter account isn’t a council one, it’s entirely generated by Green councillors. I can find no official council dissemination of this news pre-dating the item on the Greens’ website on 19th Jan.

        In my view the Green party have entered this whole sham budget consultation in a cynical and mendacious attempt to give themselves political cover for reneging on their (frankly fantastical) election promise to ‘resist all cuts’. I think they’re gaming the entire process to score political points.

        Full marks to them – it’s very clever, but it fails due to the fact that in their arrogance they think the rest of us are thick.

      • You need to swat up on local government law.

        Because they aren’t official council policies as yet / may never be.

        They are just *consultation* proposals from one political group / party in a minority administration.

        Assume it also saves council press officers’ time and so taxpayers’ cash.

        Why are you complaining?

      • Simon

        Tim points out that the greens are claiming credit for reversals to their budget (that somehow the council taxpayers funded the ‘consultation’ on!).

        I pointed out that the council are claiming credit for wanting to reject the freeze grant and put up tax by 3.5%.

        The Greens/Green-Led-Council can’t have it all ways.

        Whose budget is this? Whose consultation was it? Whose updated budget is it? Who wants council tax put up by 3.5%.

        If its a green budget, they should pay for the consultation – if it is a proposed council budget then the changes are council changes, not green changes.

      • Simon – it pains me to say it, but ‘what Paul said’.

      • As there needs to be a distinction between legit MP press releases and press releases that ski off-piste into Council territory, so the Greens need to distinguish between Green Party material and Administration material they are putting out and use the Council press office to make budget pronouncements.

        As the Admin. the Greens can insist that “Green Administration” is specified, I’m sure, in order to brand it.

      • Unsurprisingly, don’t agree. ;-(

        As mentioned, council press officers are rightly under legal constraints as to what they can say re the draft budget at this stage.

        So it’s entirely appropriate they shouldn’t ‘brand’ statements politically and use tax payer-funded time to promote one party’s message over others.

        The draft budget is a Green Group proposal at this stage.

        We have a council where this no overall control so nothing can be assumed before a vote.

        In this context it is right that such announcements are issued by the Green Party – as political proposals – giving their detailed perspective.

        This enables anyone to consider whether to support the budget plan, to oppose it or to amend it.

        I understand the council has a modest consultation budget which has been used by all previous Labour and Tory administrations to encourage residents to offer their view.

        The minority Green administration has opened up discussion on the same terms.

        Anyone can offer alternatives and the whole council needs to vote in the final budget so it will be a cross party decision.

        Still don’t get what you are complaining about if a political party takes the burden of communicating to residents and saves officer time in doing it?

      • So greens will be picking up bill for consultation on their green budget then?

        And the council will be withdrawing its tweets regarding the council supporting a 3.5% increase (as this is a green proposal too)?

        On whose authority are you acting? Or just making it up on the fly?

      • Could be cause for a genuine referral to the standards committee… Even misuse of public money…

      • Simon, as the Green Group and The Administration are one and the same, the Green Group are not free to put out draft budget proposals as Green Group. They are de facto Administration proposals……

  2. BPB – as no-one seems to want to respond to the substance of your original post I’ll have a go. The comments made by those who consider you a mouthpiece for the Green Party are simply a response to the way in which you frame your blog posts. They are overwhelming antagonistic to Labour and uncritical of the Green Party. Not exclusively, but overwhelmingly. Personally I wouldn’t find it so interesting if you were more balanced – I don’t think that’s the best way to resolve political differences – but you have to expect Labour supporters, of whom there are almost as many in B+H as those who support the Green Party according to the May poll, to respond robustly.

    This difficulty is reflected in the Green Party as well. They appear to be genuinely offended when critisised, even hurt, and believe that everyone should be ‘nice’ to them because they are such lovely people, who care about the world and our fellow humans in a way that no other political party does.

    But they are fundamentally wrong. People who care about the planet, about poverty, about inequality, about injustice can be found in all political parties and none. The Labour Party in particular does not need to receive lessons in improving the lives of people over the last 100 years from the Green Party – including the most recent period in government.

    The Green Party are now in power in B+H. They have to expect cuts to be labelled as ‘Green cuts’, because they are making them, and the local Labour Party is their direct opposition when it comes to winning votes. ‘Resisited to the max’ – I don’t think so! The Green Party won’t even call them ‘cuts’, rather they are ‘savings’. There is no way you would have allowed the Labour Party to get away with such nonsense without comment.

    Of course elsewhere the local Labour Parties will be persuing a different line – but here we have to attack those in power. Do you really think that if Labour were in control of B+H the Green Party would be saying – ‘we really feel sorry for you having to implement these Tory cuts’ – no, they would have taken the further opportunity to attack Labour locally, which has been the approach of the Green Party locally since they first emerged as a force. Relentless attacks on the Labour Party, locally and nationally, no credit for real achievements, just self serving gesture politics.

    As another example – we see lots of gleeful comments from Green Party activists about the allegation that Labour is just another Tory Party, given the Ed Balls will not commit to restoring every cut if Labour come back to power. They can hardly contain their excitment that Union bosses will be knocking on their door. But it is all based on a political spin. Labour is very clear – they are opposed to the present cuts, but cannot say now that they will reverse every cut, or what public sector pay rises might be. Totally correct and approprite politics at the present time, and for a party that genuinely aspires to govern. Are the Green Party saying now that they will reverse every cut (maybe except defence, particularly the protection of the Falkland Islands given CL’s appearance on QT)? If not, then they are saying exactly the same as Ed Balls – but without the Balls to say it!

    The reality is that the Green Party needs a Labour government. Labour represents the best opportunity to implement policies which they more generally support. They will not be in power in my lifetime, and if they are, they will just be the Labour Party in another form. Those who have left should recognise that their leaving has left the Labour Party more representative of those left behind, and reduced the chances of implementing the type of agenda that they would support. I would urge them all to re-join and get rid of the Tories together.

  3. I couldn’t disagree with a word Dr Faust has posted particularly around behaviour, ie; Greens do “…appear to be genuinely offended when critisised, even hurt, and believe that everyone should be ‘nice’ to them”. And no, Valerie, I don’t think it is ‘jealousy’ – a really puerile comment.

  4. You’re right about Bassam. His ‘you still haven’t answered my question about…’ tweets to Kitcat et al seem petulant and basically rhetorical. Perhaps they are useful to Labour members locally though, they point to a ready made set of attack messages for B&H Labourites.

    BTW – I do think this blog has a bias towards the Greens. But, for the record, I still enjoy reading it and I’m not a Green.

  5. Dr Faust: the big problem is, if you harp on about ‘Green cuts’, you let the Tories off the hook.

    I know that the ‘I couldn’t disagree more’ approach to any opposing party is pretty standard politics in this country, but it is also boring and negative, and exemplifies why most people can’t be bothered and, at local elections, don’t bother to vote. Whatever the Greens may done and said about you lot, have you considered that there might be political benefits to calling some kind of ceasefire?

    I agree with you about Ed Balls – all he did was state the obvious, though it seems to have been a bit of a PR disaster all round. But much of what is in your last paragraph could have been written by a Liberal partisan 100 years ago (substituting ‘Liberal’ for ‘Labour’ where appropriate), and look what happened to them.

    Labour is the third party in Brighton now* and needs to give people positive reasons to vote for them. Announcing some budget proposals might be a good start – otherwise, LOLA or not, they are likely to keep on pissing into the wind.

    * in terms of seats, and the party doesn’t support PR so will have to live with it without complaint

    • Clive the big problem is if you harp about ‘Tory Cuts’, you let the voters and taxpayers (current and future) off the hook.

      The public were sick of labour p*ssing billions and billions of tax payer pounds up the wall – squandering all the growth of a decade on stupid pet projects, special interest groups, starting massively expensive projects that we’d never afford to finish etc. So finally got rid of the idiots behind it.

      The Greens in Brighton are behind the curve and still want to continue this lunacy – even after the labour party have faced up to the truth.

      The relatively wealthy and benefit claimants aren’t so impacted by the squandering of our wealth – the wealthy still have some fat to live off and claimants don’t pay anything anyway – so they can afford to vote Green.

      The wealth creating workers get a kicking, while whatever wealth they do create gets taken and redistributed to the already rich and non-workers.

      • Well I don’t share your analysis of what’s happened over the last decade or so. My problem with Labour 1997-2010 was their failure to regulate the banks, their cavalier attitude to civil liberties and their toadying support for Mr Bush and his wars.

        Their modest redistributive efforts in terms of government spending were fine by me, overall – and it is not this that has caused the current problems. What tipped the national balance sheet over was the bank bailout.

        I am not saying all government money is well spent. HS2 is a project that I would put in the box of a prestige-raising project for a few vain politicians. The only party to oppose it, as far as I know, are the Greens.

      • Not the place for full dissection of Blair/Brown (however tempting). But I’d say Labour took cake and gave back crumbs. Crumbs may be better than nothing and made some grateful (not knowing any better), but everyone could have had cake – its what we paid for (even if unwillingly).

        However on HS2 – UKIP are firmly opposed, local councillors and MEP’s have spoken against it.

    • I think there is a fundamental difference between now and the situation 100 years ago. Then there was no party to represent the interests of the majority of the people. The Labour Party emerged to fulfill that gap, and continues to do so within the context of present day circumstances. The Green Party are not needed to fill that gap. They are a distraction when they seek electoral success, rather than pushing the existing parties as a pressure group, which they have been very successful at, alongside a wide range of pressure groups. Because they have chosen to compete with Labour and the pre-coalition Lib Dems (to whom they are generally closer) for votes they have set back the chances of their policies being delivered.

      • I think the green pressure group achieved its aims long ago (over a decade past) – when all political parties started taking the environment seriously (just at the people wanted).

        The current green party are a bunch of chancer’s trying to piggy back on that ancient win – using it as cover to promote hard left totalitarian socialism.

        If the original greens were ladybirds, then the current greens are “Dinocampus coccinellae”
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13860891

      • Dr Faust: No historical analogy is perfect, but by the early 20th century the Liberals most certainly had aspirations to represent ‘the people’, introducing old age pensions and so on. But they fell short in several respects, notably over their failure to back votes for women.

        Many would suggest that present-day Labour are also falling short – very short. How were ‘the interests of the majority of the people’ served by the failure to regulate casino banking, the introduction of ID cards for no good reason, the Murdoch toadying, the Bush and Berlusconi chum-fests? I could go on but it’s upsetting – I was a Labour activist too, once.

        The last part of your post is essentially about the iniquitous and undemocratic workings of the first-past-the-post electoral system rather than the Greens, and actually rather self-defeating since Labour are now the third force in Brighton and Hove. By your logic you ought to be swinging behind the dominant progressive party – and that isn’t Labour.

        But it’s a naff argument anyway, the ‘vote for x to stop y’. I’ve voted for Labour in hopeless seats before and would potentially do so again – if they were worth it.

        And face it: we haven’t really had a two-party system since the 1950s. Pluralism and choice is promoted is every other area of life, and people now expect it in politics too. A country where there are over 500 different energy tariffs but only two effective political parties doesn’t sound like much of a democracy to me.

        Socialists and social democrats work OK with Greens in other countries – Germany for one. So why not here?

  6. Can you believe the BPB has not blogged on the day of a council meeting where a hundred traders turned up to protest against the Green budget……why is that then BPB?

    Maybe he has shut down after the personal attacks on Mike Weatherley after all !

  7. And let’s not forget the music service demo too! Perhaps BPB is even now in deep negotiation with Jason Kitcat trying to work out how to spin the u turn on the music service cuts and the waves of anger from the public gallery following Mr Raggio’s eloquent speech.

    This was the first Council meeting where I have seen members of the Green administration look really uneasy with the consequences of their decisions. Some of that unease was evident in the tone and quality of replies from certain Cabinet members (honourable notable exceptions being Bill, Geoffrey and Jason) who either didn’t know their briefs, were evasive, complained about questions from Councillors (err, that’s part of our job) or resorted to cheap insults. For those who doubt my words, have a look at the webcast. Geoffrey Theobald (rightly IMO) made the point that when the Tories were in power, the Greens used to ask endless questions with the supplementary questions sometimes having a very tenuous link with the tabled question and then used to complain that the Tories were evasive in reply. It was like Groundhog Day last night but with swapped rosettes.

    Come on BPB, where are you?

    • Labour does not have to spell out a detailed budget because it is not in power. The role of an opposition is to find faults with the proposals of the party in power and to exploit those weaknesses.

      The Greens are doing a fine job on their own of undermining their credibility since having achieved power. This means that progressive and Green-disillusioned voters will naturally gravitate to Labour.

      Of course it would be better if Labour had a clear and popular programme but in present circumstances that is rather difficult. And whatever B & H Labour does may be undermined by rather gross inept national leadership of the kind that is alienating public sector workers(eg the Milliband support of the Government’s pay freeze).

      But it is likely that B & H Labour will be given the benefit of the doubt as nature abhors a vacuum unless some new force emerges in B & H to challenge for the progressive vote such as a putative Brighton Independence Party.

  8. Turns out trying to second-guess Pickles isn’t such a smart idea… ‘the move will leave councils which have announced plans to increase council tax by a small amount – including Surrey County Council – out in the cold, as it will negate the argument that they face a ‘cliff edge’ to their funding when the incentive cash dries up.’

    http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?method=news.detail&id=104744

    • That link doesn’t seem to work – can you say more about what this story is?

      • Link working fine here.

        Title: Pickles hints at future protection for councils freezing tax
        Para1: Councils could be financially protected in the future if they freeze council tax this year, communities secretary Eric Pickles has hinted.

        When Greens announced two year budget, Theobold (cons) was reported in the Argus as telling Kitcat it was not sensible to try to guess the future, I challenged Kitcat on twitter over the basis of his assumptions for the future, and Dan Wilson challenged the assumption on twitter too.

        Kitcat/Greens are in a minority of 1 in thinking the can accurately predict the distant future… Budgets and Global Warming… Any theory that fits their real objectives seems to do…

      • Paul are you happy for Central Government to play games of tease with local authorities? Happy for them to control local authorities using blackmail? I’m not.

      • Valerie, *everyone* except Kitcat said that it was not sensible to make expensive, irreversible decisions based on a *guess*.

        Not only a *guess* but a *guess* that went against the evidence!

        This years freeze grant was only announced a few months ago – Kitcat couldn’t have planned for it 6 months ahead, let alone 2 years – so how can he plan a budget for two years hence? Especially one that takes £5.4mil out of residents pay packets and turns a new £3mil away from the city?

        You may not have noticed, but national finances are in flux right now – the correct approach is not to guess with an expensive gamble for glory, but to baton down the hatches while keeping options open…

        “Its all there fault, not mine” doesn’t cut it. But at least he chances of becoming council leader must be rapidly diminishing…

  9. Loathsome as he is, Pickles may end up more popular than Kitcat in Brighton – hitting wallets tends to focus ‘hearts and minds’ on their real interests (clue: it’s not food recycling for Patcham; it may be music tuition provision for under-priviliged kids).

  10. At Hove Town Hall on Thursday I went back outside, before the meeting, to see the musicians. Lo and behold, a bunch of Tories suddenly appeared for a photograph. To their credit, the Tories did laugh I when I borrowed a copy of Socialist Worker from a seller of it and suggested they held it up.

    But the real point is that the Tories were only there during the young musicians’ tuning up. The Tories were back inside before the teenagers began a great version of “I Get Around”. Brian Wilson would have cheered

    Meanwhile, Phelim and I talked with a mother who was holding a placard aloft, and we explained the situation, and she said that she would like to help the Greens. I am continually amazed, delighted at how talk of Bach resonates.

    But I should like to say that during the interval of the Council meeting, Garry Peltzer Dunn said that he liked my on-the-hoof bit during Music debate. Must be first time Bobby Keys (on Power to the People) mentioned in a BHCC meeting?

    Out and about today, I feel sure that people get the point, the long view.

    What I find very interesting is that it is so much easier, pleasant, to speak with Labour councillors than it is with Tories: the latter are impossible (with the honourable exception of Lennon-enthusiast Garry Peltzer Dunn).

    • More Hawtree hallucinatory nonsense.

    • So the protestors were there to help the Greens destroy their services/businesses? Truly Bach is powerful stuff.

    • Put some new characters into your scripts please. We need new reference points from you as Dyland, Bobby Short, Bobbie Keys, New York et al are wearying.

      That said, I thought the Tories made fools of themselves posed up for the Argus as though THEY were the music demonstrators – consigned for PR purposes in the Argus to also rans just visible behind the heads of the Tory cllrs – who shamelessly highjacked the music cuts demonstration to themselves. Thankfully the Argus left readers to guess who they were and gave no name checks.

  11. Huh? Can’t recall ever referring to Bob Dylan, Bobby Short in a Council meeting, and did not do so this time. And a resident said this was a first for BobbyY Keys. and she said that Aunt Mimi point resonated with them. I feel pleased at the resident’s message, that my impromptu – er – riff – had an effect.

  12. Valerie Paynter, on January 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm said:

    Simon, as the Green Group and The Administration are one and the same, the Green Group are not free to put out draft budget proposals as Green Group. They are de facto Administration proposals……

    Valerie, the Green Party has every right to do what it likes as far as telling the story on the budget and its communications. Just as the Tories in council admin did before them. You seem to be misunderstanding the way local politics works? It’s called democracy 😉 Council communications are / should be about corporate reputation. That’s a different issue – especially until a budget has been passed.

    • You simply can’t have it both was – negative issues (council tax increase) presented as:

      ‘The Council plan to put up council tax…’

      While ‘positive’ issues presented as:

      ‘The Greens have reduced cuts to…’

      Just yesterday Kitcat tweeted using (the council promoted ‘#BHBudget’ hash tag) an announcement that the budget consultation (was that consultation green or council? If green will they be paying?) was complete — with a link the green’s website with details of the budget, and slagging off cons/labour… When pushed, he told me the budget itself (not the slagging off of non-greens) was on the council website – but didn’t explain why as a council officer, using a council promoted hash tag he hadn’t ensured that the official link had been promoted…

      These abuse (I will be reporting it, if no-one else does) show a mentality better suited to a childish playground shouting match than the serious business of running the council.

  13. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jan/31/hugh-muir-diary-boris-johnson
    From Yesterday’s Guardian:
    And with Labour flip-flopping over pay freezes and cuts, thank god for the Greens, and a measure of consistency. They refuse to shake the dead hand of austerity. Unless they are in power. Then who knows? Certainly there is confusion in Brighton, where they’ve watched party leader Caroline Lucas standing with the Occupy protesters at St Paul’s and attacking government austerity measures on Question Time, but where they also see her acolytes on the city council pushing ahead with cuts of £35m. Members don’t like it. “It is particularly disturbing to learn that Green party councillors in Brighton and Hove intend to proceed with budget plans that will cut millions of pounds from local services,” said a statement from Green Left. “The first Green-led council should be drawing up a budget which not only defends existing service provision but which also reverses the cuts made by previous councils.” Better opposition than this, they say, but there’s no sign of a U-turn. Always respect to be gained taking the tough decisions. Look at the Lib Dems.

  14. If BPB doesn’t mind.. (is (s)he asleep?) – for wider more general local political discussion just thought I’d plug http://bhcp.pro-forums.co.uk/ (non-partisan, open to all) – got entries for council meetings (moan about specific planning decisions!) – local events (starting) – or start your own etc – do take a look.

  15. I think the BPB was once place for great badinage/debate but became festooned by Argus readers-type comment, and lost it. Which is a shame. But there it is. The caravan moves on. As Dawn Barnett longs to say!

    • I rather think the Greens are going to ground now they are expected to deliver and to be accountable for it.

      Easy to make excuses and blame others as a smoke screen…

      So has the mobile library been saved, and equipped with internet terminals to make consultations open to all?

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