The Green Party ‘establishment’ at sixes and sevens over Jason Kitcat’s decision to stand for the European Parliament

My post last night regarding the decision of councillor Jason Kitcat to put his name forward has attracted a reaction from the Green Party ‘establishment’. I received one email that aimed to set out the correct facts (something that has never unduly influenced me):

“We began our selection process for the 2014 (not 2013) European Parliamentary elections last Autumn. … That’s before Bill publicly announced he’d be standing down; let alone Jason emerging as our nominee for Leader of the Council. We are currently selecting a list of ten candidates from a total of 18 nominees. This process will end on 9th April. At that point we’ll know where Jason has been selected on the list, if at all. Since 1999 we’ve had one MEP in the Region. We are hopeful that we might make that two this time. Therefore, unless Jason is selected first or second; his chances of being elected as an MEP are more or less zero. Even if he is selected in first or second place; the election isn’t until June 2014. That’s 2 1/4 years away. I can’t see any reason why this should interfere with his work as Leader of the Council. This is especially true as we elect our Group Leader once a year, so in order for Jason to still be Leader of the Council by the time of the European Elections, he’d have to stand and be re-elected twice by the Group and Local Party.”

I’m not sure if I entirely agree that an election two and a quarter years away would not interfere with his work as Leader of the Council. I would hope it would not, but then it would be a pity if a candidate selected so early did not campaign energetically across the south east constituency during that time.

There were comments left on my earlier post that tend to contradict each other. Rob Shepherd writes: “It is not the case that Bill Randall decided to stand down after just one year in office. In fact, he made it clear when he took office that it would be only for one year” while Ben Duncan writes: “All candidates (Jason included) seeking nomination to the Green Party’s list for the European Parliamentary election put their names forward last year… well before the role of Leader of Brighton and Hove City Council became vacant”.

It could be that both are correct but it means that the right and left of the Greens aren’t aware of what the other is up to. Whatever the situation, I coninue to hold the view that Brighton and Hove City Council needs someone of the calibre of Jason Kitcat as its Leader. His effectiveness will be watered down if he was to be selected as a candidate for the European elections.

11 Responses

  1. Ahem… careerist Mr Kitkat

    • Mr Fitch, you return to the blog that is a waste of time reading! BPB

      • Just the last few posts. I like the “not taking the mickey” posts!

        This police commissioner stuff… I had almost forgotten about it. Now that business is a waste of time. Politicising the coppers? No.Thank.You.

        Fitch – out.

      • I am not taking the mickey but your comment was the 5,000 comment left on this blog.

  2. Think we need a bit more info on Green internal processes here – if leader is elected annually – how many candidates have there been each year since they first had a grouping in B+H? i.e. how many candidates contested each of these annual events? Or is ‘re-election’ automatic if sitting leader doesn’t step down?

    I particularly ask so as to assess the line about Jason having to stand and be re-elected twice to be in post come the EU elections — if he is leader and wanted to remain, is there any real chance that he would be replaced/deposed?

    Also what does that say about Bill Randall ‘stepping down’ if election is contested year by year, then why should he automatically have expected to serve more than one year? Do greens really ‘do’ democracy, or just pay lip-service to internal democracy for appearances sake?

    • Mr Perrin, how the Greens (or Labour or Tories) elect their leader is their own business. I imagine UKIP members look in the mirror and say “I vote for Paul Perrin” who is thus elected by an absolute majority! The point of my post was the impact that might follow in his ability (and he has great ability) to lead the City Council is selected to fight the European Parliament elections in 2014 (not 2013 as I wrongly stated in my original post). BPB

  3. There’s nothing unusual about politicians from local government using that as a basis for a higher profile role. David Lepper was Leader of the Council before being an MP – although not immediately before if memory serves me right. So nothing wrong in principle with what Jason is doing, but the timing is all over the place. What he is trying to do is leave one role, before he has even started it, to move onto a more glamorous and well paid one.

    The message is that being Leader of B+H City Council is just a minor stepping stone to ‘greater’ things.

    Presumably Jason knows he has to be one or two on the list to be successful in the Euros, and so must be campaigning to be in one of those places. He surely would not risk the flack just to be a paper candidate lower down with no chance of election. If Keith Taylor is standing he needs to look over his shoulder to avoid being shafted all over again.

    It would have been quite simple, having secured the nomination of the Green Party for Leader, for Jason to withdraw his name from the Euro list. That he did not would seem to confirm his intention to stand – and with the aim of being elected.

  4. True, Jason may have put his hat in the ring last year, before the Council Leader position “came up”, but I was unaware it was a solemn blood oath that if you put you name on the list back then, you had to stand now.

    If, as the Green spokesperson maintains, his chances are “more or less zero”, wouldn’t it be rather more appropriate to drop out of the race and concentrate on leading the city?

    Or perhaps Ania is intent on getting to Brussels to do her bit to combat the region’s in-breeding problem? I hear it’s terrible this time of year.

  5. It was before my time, but i gather it excited comment that Ivor Caplin stood as MP while on Hove Council – and got elected (in that famous, even notorious Blair/Campbell dialogue). indeed, it was as much a surprise to Ivor as anybody else that he landed in Westminster, and he stayed on as Councillor for a bit until matters of State supplanted lamp-posts in Portslade.

    Perhaps politics, as with life, is an ever-flowing stream which defies the comprehension of those sat on the bank/bar-stool?

    That is, so far, my experience. “Events, dear boy, events.” I was surprised at the number of Tories who did not recognise that quotation the other week (which seems an age ago).

  6. he will have put his name forward before all the controversy but it looks like a mistake now and a quite withdrawal would have been advisable. all eyes will be on who gets more votes from green party members jason kitkat or alex philips and i think it will be ms philips. add in at least one high profile candidate on the greens left who has some support and a sitting mep who will probably get most of the parties more consertive vote i think he is facing a humilation by south east gp members.

  7. Yes, I am standing in the Green candidate selection for the SE 2014 MEP list. Since taking over from Caroline in June 2010 – (as a councillor/convenor with 11 years experience), I have gained lots of experience in EU affairs, with several significant acheivements, as a visit to my website will show.

    I’m very proud to part of a democratic process which has seen 18 candidates sign up to the selection process. Jason joined the list well before becoming Leader in waiting. The final list will be selected by all the members in the SE. I don’t recall other parties being so inclusive!

    Our members choose the best people for the job, I’m happy with that!

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