How effective are Nancy, Caroline and Chuck in using new technology in Brighton Pavilion?

The “snowstorm in a teacup” incident where Charlotte Vere re-tweeted a link to an outrageous blog that likened the policies of the Green Party to those of the BNP (for which Charlotte apologised), raises the two edged sword that is the mighty Twitter.  It is so easy to Tweet or re-Tweet something and for it then to get ‘legs’.  It has caused me to think about how the three candidates for Brighton Pavilion are using Twitter and other new media.

Nancy Platts has for some considerable time made very effective, and at times, humourous use of new technologies.  Her style is warm and engaged with a strong focus on local issues and what she is doing.  Anyone following her will have no doubt about her commitment to Brighton Pavilion and be impressed by her personal campaign.  A great example of her blogging can be found on “Tory stories, Tory cuts, my thoughts on what it’s meant leaving social care in Tory hands in Brighton” . Nancy has had a very high profile regarding the campaign to save the Preston Circus Fire Station, just one example of street-level activity for which she is know and respected.  Nancy has 693 Twitter followers.

Caroline Lucas, as the national leader of the Greens, has a different focus – more on national issues and events.  Even though this blog has called for a Green tactical vote in Brighton Pavilion, there remain concerns about Caroline as a local candidate.  Her Tweets refect this, although there is an increased focus on local issues, such as the campaign to save the Brighton History Museum.  That campaign has a high Twitter profile and can easily be supporter from Brussels.  What Caroline needs to do is to raise some original, local issues that are original to her, and not issues fed by her campaign team or joined online.  Her new website is impressive, but again the local issues are all those championed by Green councillors locally.  Caroline has 978 Twitter followers.  As yet she has chosen not to follow @BrightonPolitic, the rather wonderful Twitter of the Brighton Politics Blogger which this blog highly and without reservations recommends!

Chuck Vere (you notice that, following her apology, it is back to the rather familiar and intimate ‘Chuck’ as opposed to the sterner Ms Vere) has, as previously stated on this blog, hit the ground running with her website although she is yet to define herself as either local or London.  A lot of her Tweeting and blogging is on issues such as Gordon Brown’s leadership.  She doesn’t need to do that since it does not add to the overall debate and makes her come across as a party political hack, and being a cheerleader for David Cameron is not going to be a big vote winner, even if she thinks it will.  She also adds to an image as a hack by making direct and rather shallow jibes at Caroline over her expenses as an MEP.  Chuck has 190 Twitter followers.

Where Caroline has done well is to avoid responding directly to the jibes from Chuck Vere.  She addresses the issues but gives no name-check to Chuck.  She knows the number 1 rule of local political campaigning.  The electorate don’t respond positively to name-calling by candidates against their opponents.  To quote that great political strategist, Thumper, from the Disney film Bambi: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”.

A disgraceful error by a naive Charlotte Vere: she must apologise

In a Twitter post on January 3rd, the Conservative candidate in Brighton Pavilion, Charlotte Vere, re-tweeted a post by Thomas Byrne, that provided a link to a website that compared the policies of the Greens to those of the BNP.

I am sure that Ms Vere did not intend to make such an inappropriate and insulting link.  She cannot possibly think that it could ever be appropriate to link the Greens with the BNP.  I believe it was a disgraceful error and she should, without delay, make it clear that it was an error and put on record her belief that this slur on the Greens is wholly wrong. 

To forward a Tweet from another has its risks, as I am sure Ms Vere will now realise.  She may say, as she does in today’s Argus, that  these are not her own views, but she has chosen to promote them through Twitter.  This is a sign of her naivety. I hope she will apologise without reservation before the day is out.

Labour wants anything but a Green win in Goldsmid By-election

Leading lights in the Labour Party in Brighton and Hove are desperately worried about the outcome of this weeks by-election in Goldsmid ward. So concerned are they that they are privately saying they prefer a Conservative win rather than victory for Alex Phillips of the Green Party.

Most would imagine that the prize of the Conservatives losing control of the City Council would be incentive enough for Labour to wish for a Green victory in the event of their candidate being unsuccessful. But no, a Green victory will be regarded as an absolute disaster. Even though Goldsmid ward is not in Brighton Pavilion, victory for the Greens would give huge momentum to the Greens in the run-up to the General Election next year, and to their candidate Caroline Lucas.

What little canvassing has been done by Labour points not only to a close result between Conservatives and Greens, it shows that Labour is heading for a very poor result, coming a very distant third. Feedback from the doorstep suggests that Alex Phillips has been well received by voters whereas Liz Telcs is not making an impact and there is widespread disenchantment with the Labour government.

Labour has lost the plot in Brighton: vote Green

The Green Party has claimed it could win Brighton Pavilion at the next general election after it secured more votes in Brighton and Hove in the European elections than any other party.

It used to be said that voting Green would let the Tories in. Now, with the Greens on 33.7%, the Conservatives on 23.7% and Labour on 15.6%, it can be argued that voting Labour could let the Conservatives in.

In Caroline Lucas, the Greens have a very impressive party leader. Her weakness is that she doesn’t seem to have much presence on the ground in Brighton. This is a sign of arrogance and could deny the Greens its first ever MP in Britain.

With David Lepper standing down at the general election, Labour loses its greatest asset in Brighton. David has been a diligent MP who has built up a huge personal vote, and he is respected by people of all political persuasions.

Labour’s unimpressive performance on the City Council, and the lacklustre campaigns of its two Parliamentary candidates, suggests that those on the centre-left should support Caroline Lucas in becoming the next MP for Brighton Pavilion, in spite of her shortcomings.