The division within the Greens over Christina Summers’ expulsion

The Argus’s Tim Ridgway is fast establishing himself as an outstanding local government correspondent, and the Argus is the better paper for his reporting.

Not that the Greens will be thinking so this morning as Tim reveals the list of those Green councillors who signed the letter resulting in Christina Summers being expelled from the Green Group on Brighton and Hove City Council.

According to Tim, those who signed the letter were: Liz Wakefield, Rob Jarrett, Leo Littman, Phelim MacCafferty, Lizzie Deane, Sue Shanks, Christopher Hawtree, Ben Duncan, Sven Rufus, Mike Jones, Stephanie Powell, Amy Kennedy, and Ruth Buckley.

Those who did not sign were: Matt Follett, Bill Randall, Geoffrey Bowden, Ian Davey, Ollie Sykes, Alex Phillips, Pete West, Jason Kitcat, and Ania Kitcat.

I am personally disappointed with some who signed and pleasantly surprised by one or two who did not.

When histories are written of political administrations, the moment that an under-fire group turns on its own members is the moment that defeat becomes likely. The Greens still have time to reflect on what got them elected in 2011 and return to the campaigning political operation that so inspired many voters.

(Note: the original posting had Tim Ridgway as a “loyal government correspondent” now corrected to “local government correspondent” and the names of Geoffrey Bowden and Bill Randall had become fused as Geoffrey Randall. What a thought!)

12 Responses

  1. I’m really struggling to understand your objection. I can only think of three core reasons:

    1) You don’t think parties should expel, ever;

    2) You don’t think this is an issue on which someone should be expelled;

    3) You don’t think this is a time to be expelling.

    These are all legitimate points of view, but all highly contestable notions. The first is about the nature of political parties; the second about the nature of the politics of equality, the final about the role between principle and pragmatism.

    Given you’d repeatedly used the blog to express your view that you thing it’s a bad move, I think you should actually explain why, instead of repeating it as a personal view dressed up as tablets of stone political wisdom.

    • May I suggest you look at my letter in the weekend Argus for the biggest, most important reason of all why the Green Party’s behaviour have blundered (actually and not just morally).

      You DO NOT trade casting votes on 4 Council Committees for the expulsion of a voting Committee member. She is now off committees, not voting, and the makeup of all committees will now change so the Greens cannot win the vote on 4 important committees – the Policy and Resources one in particular.

      They had NO RIGHT TO TOSS AWAY THEIR RESPONSIBLITY TO RETAIN THESE CASTING VOTES so hard won at the ballot box and in negotiating the political makeup of committees.

      Lightminded fools – ten of which are brand new councillors who have been allowed to believe they are more worthwhile than is the case in some instances. No experience, given power positions, and now killing the credibility of the Green Party – perhaps terminally in this city.

      Mr. Shepherd has a nerve to suggest some of those not signing would have had they been there. They could have signed the next day or emailed their assent. So he is bang out of order.

      The time honoured way of dealing with elected ‘mistakes’ (remembering Ayas Fallon Khan especially) is to demote, reshuffle so they are not in key positions and then de-select.


  2. Do we know if those who didn’t sign, actively refused to sign or whether they were called away on other business?

  3. Theboyler has it correct. Your objections aren’t based on any position other than a spurious window dressing argument. Real politics at work here. With real people.

  4. I do not think that the Blogger’s summary gets to grips with the myriad intricacies of a complex situation which caused so many people a lot of heart-searching through the summer.

    • Don’t whine. It cuts no ice. Are you suggesting that there was some terrible threat, danger, or appalling consequence to be suffered by the Administration over the balance of the time left before the next local election?


      • “HEARTSEARCHING” ?????? While digging over the turnips maybe? None of that heartsearching involved worrying about giving up casting votes on committees such that no Green business can be conducted without the say-so of opposition cllrs! You were at Economic Development and Culture. You saw how the Tories and Labour Cllrs made sport of the Greens and turned them over so that they called the shots on the mobile library item! And the rest.

        Tell me Christopher just WHY there was an emergency need to get rid of Christina Summers. Tell me why she could not have been reshuffled downward and deselected in time. Tell me why a vote for a ‘Dear Prime Minister’ of no council business consequence whatsoever was so important you all suffered ‘heartsearching’ and then publicly humiliated her and 13 of you voted to expel her.

        I reckon the rank and file party membership should have had a say at the very least. The whole thing is pathetic and the Green Party now looks extremely foolish.

      • Rofl 😃

      • Turnips? It’s a filthy lie. I am not, and never have been, a turnip planter.

  5. I think Valerie is right in many ways – lightweights have destroyed the credibility of the brighton greens – if they were so determined to be martyrs (going out before they were found to be wanting, but pretending it was a principled action) they should have refused to set a budget.

    Would have been chucked out (for now) looking principled and before their reputation was comprehensively trashed.

    I am, of course, delighted that the Greens seem likely to be sidelined in council and in the city generally.

  6. This is what happens when spoilt children get given a city to play with for their birthdays.

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