George Dore stands down in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean

I am grateful to Luke Walter for alerting me to the decision of Georgina ‘George’ Dore to stand down as Conserative candidate in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean. The teacher from Brighton College via Oxford was the subject of some discussion on this blog a week or so ago.

Her candidature was confirmed by the Conservatives on 15th March and videos of her and fellow Conservative, Maria Caulfield, appeared on You Tube. The reason for her standing down is not clear. Speculation includes that the exposure proved too much for her, that she received hostility on the doorstep, and (most likely) the negative publicity she attracted to Brighton College resulted in pressure on her to go.

Mike Macfarlane, “the guy lucky enough to keep his toothbrush next to George’s” remains the Conservative candidate in Regency.

Replacing George is Cath Slater who has lived in Brighton for 13 years. Cath is 36 and has two teenage daughters. She works in school catering. The Tory website reports that “she has worked in a community association for 10 years, has been involved in a youth forum, and helping with domestic violence issues. Cath enjoys helping people with their problems, and hopes to do so working as a councillor.”

This is probably a very opportune turn of events for the Tories. Cath is more likely to go down better in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean that Geore, no matter how humble her origins were. The video of her and Maria were stilted, and probably didn’t show Maria in the best possible light. Maria is a huge asset for the Tories and had she been the Tory candidate in Brighton Pavilion, rather than Chuck Vere, the Tories would have come closer, even winning the election. A Conservative team in M&B with Maria, Cath and Ayas Fallon-Khan, is very likely to do very well in May.

As for George, I don’t think we have heard the last of her. She will probably emerge at a general election in a more traditional Conservative seat and before long she will be seen on the green benches at Westminster. Standing somewhere other than Moulsecoomb and Bevendean will be less embarrassing for the brass at Brighton College.

The Friends of George Dore promise great things from the Tory’s best kept secret

My post yesterday ‘Matt Lucas to stand in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean’ about Georgina ‘George’ Dore’s candidature has attracted a fierce response from George’s supporters.

Mike Macfarlane perhaps is not the most objective correspondent, he is, after all “the guy lucky enough to keep his toothbrush next to George’s.” I think that this implies that he and George are stepping out together. He says that “this cheap pun isn’t funny. Why would any normal person want to satirize such a beautiful and talented young lady in this way?”. In my defence I have never claimed to be a “normal person”.

Mike clearly loves George, which is very touching: “The premise of some of the comments here seems to be that you can’t possibly be clever and have a normal background. I assure readers that George is one of the smartest, articulate and most lovely people you will ever meet with an obvious weight of intellect that soon explains her Oxford education.”

Linda F says: “I admire Georgina (absolutely no resemblance to Matt Lucas- why did you think there was a similarity?) for having gone to Oxford from a local Comprehensive. She must have exceptional ability to have gained a place and I’m sure it was a hard process…good for her.” Linda suggests I have a chip on my shoulder. “I realise you are a ‘left of centre’ blog, but the ‘chippiness’ of the Left against aspiration really does let you down.”

George, herself, has commented: “I went to a school called King Alfred’s Sports and Community College in Wantage and my father was a Chippie building bridges and lock gates on the Thames for over forty years before his retirement. … I can’t help but feel that by perpetuating the myth that attending Oxford is synonymous with being privately educated and /or privileged compounds the access issues that face pupils from state school backgrounds.”

The Tory Tipster (I know who you are but will respect your anonymity) writes of George: “This bright young lady is the Conservatives best kept secret both locally and nationally. Expect great things from her!”.

‘Clive’ thinks I have done something worthwhile: “The blogger has shone a light where you would rather it had not been shone, that’s all.”

I have apologised if I have caused any offence to George. None was intended. This blog (apart from being left of centre) is usually light-hearted in tone. My army of regular readers (Dan Wilson, Christopher Hawtree, Paul Perrin and Momma Grizzly) will know that I have tipped the Tories in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean to do well in May. However, when standing for election you do open yourself up to some scrutiny. And if one hopes to represent M&B one must expect some comment regarding Oxford and Brighton College. I am yet to meet George, but look forward to doing so.

Finally, NG praises my blog: “Your comments about George Dore are really quite childish aren’t they? Please try a bit harder to get out of the playground.” Ouch. Childish, perhaps, but I hope that at least George will acknowledge that this blog has boosted her profile and name recognition. A couple of days ago most activists would have struggled to name her as the third Tory candidate in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean. Now for the 1,000 or so daily readers of this blog (Dan Wilson, Christopher Hawtree, Paul Perrin and Momma Grizzly probably make around 250 unique visits each!) she is no longer the Tory’s best kept secret. We know know who she is, will remember her name, and above all we know she is the girl lucky enough to keep her toothbrush next to Mike Macfarlane’s.

Matt Lucas standing for the Tories in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean – Exclusive

Do you remember the TV quiz programme Shooting Stars with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer? And the Matt Lucas character dressed in a huge baby romper suit playing the drums and keeping the scores: “What’s the scores on the doors, George Dawes?” was the cry at the end of each round.

Well, standing in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean is George Dore. Sorry not THE George Dawes but Georgina Dore who likes to be known as George. You must watch the election campaign clips on YouTube of her and Maria Caulfield. Never in the field of human politics have two candidates felt so uncomfortable for so long in front of so few cameras. But fair play to them. They have produced four videos explaining why they want to be councillors and what improvements they hope to bring to the area.

Matt Lucas is a school teacher, having been brought up in rural Oxfordshire, she stresses her humble origins before rather ruining it by saying she went to Oxford University. it was a “hard process” she says. Matt says she is committed to education since it “opens doors”. After all she is a teacher working in the City. Hang on a moment? If she is a teacher working in the city she can’t stand for the Council unless she ….. doesn’t work in a state school. A Google search reveals she works at that school favoured and much chosen for their children by parents in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean ….. Brighton College.

Her write up on the Brighton College website reads: “Miss Georgina Dore MA (Oxon) joined Brighton College in September 2009. She previously taught for three years at Uppingham School. She is a boarding house tutor and also teaches Politics. Her special interests include British Decolonisation. She shares in the teaching of the Oxbridge programme as well.”

(While on the Brighton College website, have a look at the biography of the wild-eyed Mr Christopher Canning MA (Oxon) “Joined Brighton College in September 2010. His specialist interests include Anti-Semitism. He also teaches Politics.” I swear, it says his interests includes anti-semitism. I’m sure he doesn’t mean how it reads. It reminds me of the US politician who reassured his constituents that he was “anti-racist, anti-fascist, and anti-Semitic”. And that reminds me of the woman, again in the USA who said “I’m not a Republican or Democrat. I’m …. what do you call it? ….. I’m bi-sexual.”)

Back to Maria Caulfield and Matt Lucas, they are the Tory candidates in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean. I’ve mentioned that already, haven’t I? But hang on, there are three seats in M&B. Are the Tories fielding just two candidates? Of course not. Ayas Fallon-Khan is the candidate that Maria and Matt dare not speak his name. Why does he not appear in any of the videos?

I actually I have a lot of time and respect for both Maria and Ayas. Both are hard-working councillors. Neither are traditional Tories. As for George Lucas … didn’t he produce Star Wars? I’m really confused now ….

Scott Digby: A here today, gone tomorrow politician

Why are the Tories bothering with their Brighton Pavilion open primary’ (or what Jason Kitcat argues is, in fact, an ‘open caucus’)  given that Conservative Central HQ operative, Scott Seaman-Digby is so far in front of others that his selection is almost a formality.

Scott has busied himself around the constituency on official Party business well before the announcement of the shortlist. He has become well networked and opportunities have been created for him to meet with community leaders, the police and others. If I was one of the other five, I would be totally pissed off.

To his credit, he has been very busy meeting with councillors, Association members and others, and he has created a comprehensive website in record time, having launched it well before the shortlist was announced.  It was as if he had been tipped off about the shortlisting in advance. He is clearly very talented, and I have no doubt that he would be a diligent and hard-working Member of Parliament.

But for all his preparation and the launch of his website ‘Digby4Pavilion‘, a review of his ‘My Brighton Blog’, launched on 23rd October, reveals how shallow is his knowledge of Brighton and Hove. He refers to meeting with “Michael and Simon, the two selected Brighton candidates”.  I think the Michael being referred to is Mike Weatherley, Tory Parliamentary candidate for Hove & Portslade. Anyone with any local knowledge knows the uneasy relationship between Brighton and Hove, actually, and would never refer to Hove as Brighton.

His repeated, folksy use of life in ‘Pavilion’ is most strange. For example, he says that he met “local Pavilion councillors”. I know of no one who ever, ever uses the term ‘Pavilion’ as if it is a recognisable community or geographical area. Kemptown, yes, but Pavilion, no. And his reference to going to “the coast” and to “the seaside” suggests someone who sees Brighton as a fun day out, a bit of recreation, rather than a complex mix of communities.

Follow his itinery recorded in his blog. He discovers Bill’s in North Road, visits the North Laine, the Lanes, the County Hospital, Brighton College, Preston Manor, Withdean Stadium and Waterhall. He has lunch with Association members at Withdene. At the Open Market he meets a stall owned by the family of Councillor Mary Mears, the Conservative Leader of Brighton and Hove City Council. Yet he is still to meet working class Mary Mears (and here we return to the class divide within the local Tory Party – visits Brighton College, lunches in Withdean, but has yet to make the acquaintence of  Mary Mears).

In an earlier response to this blog he says that “the time I have spent in Brighton since 2001 probably qualifies me as equally local, on the ground pretty much 4 days a week at present”. (What does that say about his commitment to his constituents in Hillingdon?).

Given his itinery to date, he has barely scratched the real Brighton.  Sadly, his commitment does not run deep. In his blog on 27 October he says that “if I am not successful then the site winds down with a thank you to everyone I have met in the process”. He is a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ kind of politician.

 

A Tactical Vote in Lewes is a Lib Dem Vote

The first call for the Tactical Voting Campaign is for Labour and Greens to support Stormin’ Norman at the General Election.  Norman Baker MP was elected to Parliament in 1997. A former local councillor he has gained a huge reputation at Westminster for his campaigning from the back benches for a public enquiry into the death of David Kelly.

There should be no difficulty in Labour and Greens voting for Norman, unless of course you are a huge fan of Peter Mandelson.  Baker is probably the MP hated most by Mandelson.  All the more reason for voting for him!

Up against him are Jason Sugarman (Conservative) and Hratche Koundarjian (Labour).  Sugarman was educated at Brighton College and Durham University. He is a barrister specialising in criminal law. Having contested Dudley South in 2001, he appears to be a Tory in search of a seat. Koundarjian was educated at Sussex University and works in public affairs. Unfortunately for him, Labour doesn’t stand a hope in hell of winning in Lewes, so Labour voters should have no hesitation in voting Lib Dem.

The result in 2005 was:

Conservative: 15902 (34.2%)
Labour: 4169 (9%)
Liberal Democrat: 24376 (52.4%)
Green: 1071 (2.3%)
UKIP: 1034 (2.2%)
Majority: 8474 (18.2%)

Since then there have been boundary changes.  The UK Polling Report has adjusted the 2005 result to reflect the boundary changes and reports a notional 2005 result as follows:

Liberal Democrat: 26140 (51.6%)
Conservative: 17212 (34%)
Labour: 4943 (9.8%)
Other: 2359 (4.7%)
Majority: 8928 (17.6%)