David Cameron is right – we DO deserve better, but it is certainly not him

Gordon has kissed hands with the Queen and the campaign is up and running.  “Britain deserves better” says David Cameron.  That is true, but we aren’t going to get it from HIM.  Here is what I hope we will wake up to on May 7th.

I really don’t want to see a Conservative government elected.  The UKIP candidate in Hove recently accused me of not being open-minded.  Guilty as charged.  I have little if any confidence in the ability of George Osbourne to manage the economy.  The Conservative Party may pretend to have reformed itself, but it is instinctively a party that cuts public expenditure and public services.  It continues to claim to be a party of small government.

Be clear, a vote for the Conservatives will mean savage cuts and even greater support for big business than even Labour will deliver.

I hope Labour ends up with the most seats but not an overall majority, not because it deserves a further term, but because it is the lesser of two evils.  Labour will cut, but some of the excesses that can be expected from the Tories may be tempered, especially if Labour forms a minority government.. 

While hung parliaments are not a great thing generally, I hope that the new parliament will have more independents and minority parties upon whom Labour will need to depend to get its programme through.  This would mean that the Whips will have less influence.

Amongst the minor parties I hope and expect that the Greens will win their first seat, Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion.  I also hope that there will be further successes for the Greens, but my lack of knowledge about campaigns elsewhere requires me to remain silent on those campaigns.

Locally, I hope Stormin’ Norman Baker holds Lewes (likely), Labour holds Hove and Brighton Kemptown (both unlikely), and Michael Foster holds Hastings and Rye (very possible).

I remain an admirer of Nancy Platts and would wish to see her in Parliament – perhaps she could beat the sitting Tory MP for Brighton Kemptown in the next general election …. in October.

67 days to go, or is it 25? With tactical voting it will be Kemptown Labour, Pavilion Green and Hove …?

Conventional wisdom has it that Gordon Brown will go to the country on May 6th. But Labour friends have hinted that, given the narrowing of the polls (Sunday Times has it down to 2 points although that is probably a rogue poll), Brown might pop in to see the Queen tomorrow in order to have the election on March 25th!

David Cameron’s speech today amounted to little more than raising the bogey of “5 more years of Gordon Brown”, which might prove counter-productive given that Labour now leads the Tories on who people trust to care for the economy. George Osbourne just doesn’t instil confidence.

The “Vote for Change” slogan is rather empty.  Change to what?  Faced with  little of substance (other than not being Brown) when coming to cast their vote, electors will go with the devil it knows (that is other than Brighton Pavilion which increasingly looks like Caroline Lucas of the Greens).

The Greens organisation is really coming together, and the blitz of the constituency this week, well beyond the Muesli Belt, is demonstrating that the Greens, by concentrating on Brighton Pavilion, will almost certainly see the election of the first ever Green MP.

With the closing of the polls, and the concentration of the Greens on Brighton Pavilion, Brighton Kemptown will return Simon Burgess as a Labour MP if other non-Tory supporters vote tactically. As for Hove ….?  My heart goes with Celia Barlow.  What I would welcome is the Greens advocating tactical votes for Labour in Brighton Kemptown and in Hove.  Should they do that, then Labour supporters would be more inclined to vote tactically in Brighton Pavilion.  I just wish that Nancy Platts (I am a big fan) was the Labour candidate in Brighton Kemptown.  With her energy, integrity and enthusiasm, she would win comfortably.

Great candidates, shame about their Leaders

The more I reflect on the election battle in Brighton Pavilion, the more excited I become. First, there is the certainty of have a woman elected to represent Brighton Pavilion for the first time in its history. Second, whoever wins, we will have a first-rate Member of Parliament.  All three candidates, Nancy Platts, Caroline Lucas and Chuck Vere, are impressive in their own right, each achieving prominence in their particular field.  But each has a handicap to overcome – the Leader of their Party.

Gordon Brown is on the one hand an extremely unlucky Prime Minister.  Many of the woes that have befallen his government could not have been anticipated. One the other hand he has not handled himself well. He did not distance himself from Blair, and he has failed to engage with the electorate. Ironically, he has recovered when attached by the Sun over the letter to the mother of a dead soldier.  For the first time people saw the humanity of the man, and learned about his own disability – blindness. There is still a chance that he will recover further, and this would help Nancy Platts.

David Cameron is everything that Gordon Brown is not. Smarmy, privileged, born to rule. No matter how hard he tries, he just lacks the common touch.  As the election approaches, and as people see more of Diamond-Geezer Dave, they will realise that he comes across as an Old Etonian, Oxford toff.  Why? Because he is an Old Etonian, Oxford toff!  This image is magnified when he stands alongside that other Tory toff, George Osbourne.  The challenge for Chuck Vere is to ensure she does not come across as a Tory toff herself. Is she able to talk to ordinary people on the Number 46 to Hollingbury without talking down to them?

But the biggest challenge posed to any of the three comes from the leader of the Green Party. Candidate Caroline Lucas will be hard-pressed to overcome the disadvantage she faces from the Leader Caroline Lucas.  Don’t get me wrong, I have huge admiration for Caroline The Leader.  She stands out head and shoulders above the leaders of any of the other main parties.  She is bright, engaging, original, inspirational. The disadvantage to Caroline the Candidate is that as Caroline the Leader she is already being thinly spread, and that is without taking into account her duties as an MEP.  Her profile as Leader will help her as Candidate, but it also might dilute the effort that will be necessary if she is to become the Green’s first ever Member of Parliament.

Who is brave enough to call this one?