If this is the best Labour can offer in Brighton and Hove, we are doomed

The other week, shortly after Ed Miliband was elected Labour Leader, I received a ‘letter’ from the Labour Party entitled ‘A fresh fight for a fairer society’. It must rank as one of the most ineffective party political communication I have ever seen. If this is the start of Labour’s ‘fightback’ in Brighton and Hove, then the Greens and Tories will be laughing all the way to the election count next May.

It starts “Dear Voter”, immediately defining the relationship. The election is six months away, but I know that Labour is interested in just one thing. There is nothing about wishing to engage, work in partnership, recognise past failings.

The letter goes straight to an attack on the Tories and Lib Dems. That really should please me, but some how it doesn’t. There is no scene setting, nothing positive, just a rant against the Tories and Lib Dems. Only in paragraph 5 is there anything remotely positive and apart from that the whole of the first page is negative. There is some complete guff at the bottom “Labour Values” and “Community thinking”. What on earth does either of that mean? Is it “Labour values community thinking”?

At least page 2 starts with something a bit more positive – “We say – there’s a better, fairer way.” It then reports that “At our recent Party conference we elected a new leader and we will begin a fresh fight for a fairer society.” What the letter fails to do is say who the newly elected leader is. (I understand it to be one of the Miliband boys).

The rest of side 2 is ok, presenting some policy priorities, and then making an invitation to join the Labour Party. But the letter is not signed, and the only two names on the letter are mine (in the address box) and the name of the publisher, a Mr Keith Day of 49 Church Road, Hove. Even the email address in the “Contact us” section is “council@brightonhovelabour.com”.

This leaflet is a disaster, a waste of paper and of effort. Please, Labour Party, this is an embarrassment. We, the people of Brighton and Hove, need you to put up a bit of a credible challenge next May. At this rate you will let the Tories hold those seats where you should be challenging. If this is the best Labour can do, we are all doomed!

We are at the beginning of the beginning of the Recession

Good news and bad news on the high street in Brighton and Hove. The threat hanging over Sussex Stationers has been lifted, at least for now. Unfortunatelythere will be a large number of job losses. Already 30 redundancies have been made by private equity firm Endless who bought the chain from Easons earlier this year.

Already the high street has lost Woolworths and Zavvi. There is another large high street chain, with an large outlet in Churchill Square, that is on a knife edge. Telephones have been cut off, staff have not been paid and the bailiffs have called. I give this chain no more than 2 weeks. Its loss to Churchill Square will be serious.

We are all in a state of denial. The recession has yet to bite. Two things have held back the real impact. Firstly, the impending general election has ensured that the extent of cuts has yet to be revealed. The public sector has been protected, but all will change after the election.

The second is the determination of governments across the world to ensure that there is a supply of cash. This has allowed limited liquidity to be sustained, but governments are running out of money and national economies will, in the next 12 to 24 months really hit the buffers.

The future isn’t Orange, the future is grim and getting grimmer. We are not seeing the green shoots of recovery.  We are seeing the beginning of the beginning of the recession.

Labour Councillors to defect in Brighton and Hove?

We are entering the silly season where we can expect to see defections from one party to another. There is speculation that, in Brighton and Hove, the next year may see some party switches. Already in the last week we have seen former Labour councillor, Vince Meehan, come out in favour of the Greens in their successful campaign in Goldsmid ward.

Previously, in the run-up to a general election, the former Conservative leader of Hove Borough Council, Bernie Jordan, switched his allegiance to the Labour Party. He said that New Labour represented his values and policies!

At a national level, those wishing to prolong their ministerial careers, such as Shaun Woodward and Quentin Davies, both extremely wealthy and neither coming from traditional Labour backgrounds, crossed the floor and were suitably rewarded. Woodward is now Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office, and Davies is Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Defence !

So what can we expect in Brighton and Hove? There are Labour members who will be, I can say are, questioning whether their careers will be best served remaining in Labour. It would come as no surprise to me to see at least one Labour councillor joining the Greens (not immediately) and one even joining the Conservatives (in the immediate run-up to the General election). Joining the Greens is understandable as they are a more radical party than Labour. One could even see justification for joining the Conservatives given how right wing Labour has become.

Traffic Chaos in Brighton

Heads should roll because of the chaos on Brighton’s roads today (Sunday). And the first to go should be the Cabinet member on the City Council responsible for traffic management.

A beautiful mid-summer’s day, the London to Brighton bike ride, two main thoroughfares closed, and the train companies refusing to take bikes!

What a recipe for chaos.

Is it beyond the ability of the Council to negotiate with the train companies to put on extra trains and carriages to cope with the thousands of extra passengers.

No, instead, hundreds of extra vans, lorries and cars clogged our roads, polluting our air , and bringing the city to a standstill.

Why doesn’t the City Council do all in it’s power to discourage motorists from driving down from London. We have a great rail service from the capital. It should be used to the maximum on exceptional days like today, and at all other times.

Cars will be the ruin of Brighton and Hove. Shame the Tory leadership in Brighton and Hove can’t see that.

Unemployment

According to the Office of National Staristics, one job is being lost in Sussex every 80 minutes, or 18 each day. Manufacturing and construction industries have been particularly vary effected.

Certain politicians and economists are, wrongly in my opinion, saying we are coming out of recession. These economists, I fear, are offering false hope. Those politicians are promoting a cruel hoax.

The situation is going to get worse, much much worse, with unemployment increasing yet by more that a million.

In Brighton and Hove there has been a 64.8% increase in those out of work since May 2008, in East Sussex 98.2%, and in West Sussex 155%!

In Brighton these figures do not include the 80 staff who will be lising their jobs at Legal and General.

And worse is to come with substantial cuts anticipated in both the public and charitable sectors where funding will be cut over the next year and slashed after the general election.