Highlighting the commitment of Mike Weatherley MP to the people of Brighton Pavilion

From time to time my Labour and Green friends say to me: “You know what, Bappy, you hardly ever comment of the local Conservatives. Are you sure you are not a closet Tory by any chance?” If the truth be told, the answer is …. no.

So I thought I would reflect today on the work of Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion. (Shurley shum mishtake – Ed).

Now, a great myth of our time is that Mike is MP for Hove, something the Argus has consistently reported. Now there is evidence to support my claim. I had a look at the website of The People’s Mike and carried out a forensic analysis of the press releases he has put out for the two months of June and July. I looked at how many related to Hove, and how many to Brighton Pavilion.

Of the 41 press releases, just 5 were directly about Hove (travellers in Hangleton, a local restaurant being commended in a House of Commons curry competition, the Olympic torch visiting Hove, opposing development at Toad’s Hole Valley, and a petition to do with Medina House).

There were four other press releases that indirectly related to Hove (experience of commuters at Victoria Station, warning about a Council Tax scam, a call for better maps at bus stops, and a parliamentary motion supporting local shops). But each of these equally applies to Brighton Pavilion.

And then there is his fascination of all things Brighton Pavilion. He has put our 8 press releases about Brighton Pavilion – 60% more than those put out about Hove. He talks about the Brighton Toy Museum, travellers at Horsdean (Patcham), Jubilee protests in central Brighton, the Horsdean travellers site (again), a trip to Brighton Museum, Portas Money for London Road, the eviction of squatters in Middle Street, and a government initiative supporting Malpass Meats Direct (and the Big Lemon in Brighton Kemptown).

The remaining 28 press releases either have nothing directly to do with Hove (or Brighton Pavilion). So move over, Caroline Lucas, and stop pretending that you are the duly elected representative of the people of Brighton Pavilion.

16 Responses

  1. Interesting post. It is quite a phenomenon, this Weatherley mission creep. It also showed itself, perhaps even more blatantly, when he held a public meeting back in the spring (about travellers, naturally) in Patcham.

    I thought there were pretty strong political conventions against this sort of encroachment. The only possible justification is the boundary changes, which are likely to see him fight a seat that will include much of Bri Pav.

    Another worthwhile piece of number crunching is count the number of press releases about travellers issued by Messrs Weatherley and Kirby BEFORE and AFTER May 2011, when their party lost control of the City council. BEFORE – none. AFTER – 15 from Weatherley and a whopping 17 from super Simon! So much easier to make a song and dance when there’s someone else to blame, isn’t it?

  2. Out of curiosity, has anyone actually seen Mr Weatherley in his constituency this year? His weekly email is written in the third person and is full of him welcoming things, but never actually doing anything.

  3. On the subject of boundary changes, it now seems quite likely that these will NOT happen after all, as the LibDems seek to punish Cameron for the failure of Lords reform. Any thoughts on how this development might affect the strategies (and chances) of Greens, Labour and Tories in Brighton? Presumably Mike Weatherley might hold a few less meetings in Patcham, but I think the consequences will go beyond that.

  4. I suppose as Ms Lucas has not been representing her Patcham constituants properly, who are in the main opposed to a proposed extension to the traveller site, then Mike Weatherley has had to step into the breach. I don’t blame him for having foresight and using this opportunity to link up with his expected new ward.

    i’ve seen Mike Weatherley quite a few times here around B&H recently. However, is more important: being quietly effective or parading yourself around gushing about lots of initiatives and not doing very much?

    • “I’ve seen Mike Weatherley quite a few times here around B&H recently”.
      Could that be because you are Deputy Chair of Brighton & Hove Conservatives Margot?

    • Mike Weatherley’s traveller meeting was a blatant piece of nimby opportunism, but Margot Freed nonetheless raises a valid point – I am sure many Patcham residents do not feel they are represented by Caroline Lucas – because they are essentially Tories, and she is a Green.

      By the same token I do not feel I am represented by Mr Weatherley, my MP in Hove. I have now been given the bum’s rush by him on numerous issues I have raised, from Lansley’s NHS reforms to rip-off charges by privatised utilities. My views have been brushed aside or simply ignored in a series of (usually form) letters from his office. These have become noticeably more bad-tempered recently: one informed me that 38 Degrees was ‘a Labour Party front organisation’ which would come as news to its founders, I suspect.

      Anyway, the point is that no single MP for a given district can possibly represent all their constituents adequately, which is why we need to elect some of them collectively by a regional (or county) list. This would help ensure better proportionality as well as give voters a choice of MP to approach.

      • The comment about 38 Degrees (a very effective front organisation for, uh, 38 Degrees) may not have been produced by MW hiself….. Could it be that a minion has allowed innate taste for sneering and sarcasm to be put to use in someone else’s name….hmmmm? MW needs to be careful of letters going out in his name that he has not composed. It is a common practice.

  5. It’s almost too obvious to make the point that the present MP for Brighton Pavilion has been modelling herself as MP for Brighton and Hove almost since her election. Both Caroline and Mike’s behaviour has been motivated to quite an extent by the proposed boundaries changes (although personal vanity is in there as well) – so I’m sure both will be returning to their present electors rather than their potential ones as the possibility of the change retreats.

  6. Who will be contending for the Conservative nomination for the Hove seat (whether or not it includes Patcham) in 2015?

    • I’m seeing the initial “G”….the message from the spirits is faint. Ah, yes, now I am getting the letter “C”….

  7. It seems likely the LIbs will leave the Coalition about 2014 to allow some differentiation and recovery in their fortunes by 2015. H of L reform is dead and so are the new boundaries it appears.Further austerity with a minority Tory government would presage Lab recovery in 2015 so Hove and Kemptown should return to Labour unless there is a marked upswing in Green popularity. Mike Weatherly could switch to Lewes and hope to unseat the Lib there.

    • Why would Mike Weatherly walk away from Hove, where he has a profile, and go to Lewes where he does not?

  8. Because Lewes may be more winnable than Hove in 2015. Personal votes count for little unless you have a national profile like Dr Lucas.

    • I used to work in Lewes until two years ago (so obviously a lot has happened since then). When I was there, Norman Baker continued to enjoy wide and longstanding personal popularity locally. Have things changed so much for him, or will his personal popularity outweigh any reservations based on the coalition and his role within it? Sometimes the noise generated by dissatisfied voices is not in direct proportion to the number of dissatisfied voices! I am asking because I am curious, not because I have an opinion…

      • I don’t know too much about sentiment in Lewes, but two months ago it looked as if Norman’s seat was going to be cut into four pieces: now that it almost certain not to happen. So it does indeed seem a very odd time to be pronouncing him politically dead.

        And it seems even odder, from a centre-left perspective, to be dancing on his grave, given that the only other possible victors in Lewes are the Tories. Yes, he did a very bad thing in signing that wretched pledge, and I’m not too sure about his record as a minister either, but where else are voters supposed to go?

        Can’t see Mike Weatherley jumping ship for Lewes – don’t think his urban populist brand of Conservatism would be a very good fit. He’s against hunting for a start.

      • Completely agree. And I am sure that Norman Baker’s vigorous objections to the boundary changes were not made without a level of awareness about the impact they would have on him…but I am glad they are not likely to transpire.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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: