Reasons to be Cheerful … for 39 candidates in Thursday’s elections

‘Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3’ by Ian Dury and the Blockheads was released in July 1979, shortly after Margaret Thatcher had been elected Prime Minister. Cut, cut, and more cuts was the order of the day. On that occasions the Tories were able to make cuts to their hearts content. They didn’t have to rely on those disgraceful, turncoats, the Lib Dems, to help them. (I have gone for more than a week without a cheap comment about the Lib Dems – is this a record?).

But there are a number of people, 39 to be precise, who have reasons to be cheerful – those who I am confident will be elected (whatever the weather and their positions on the ballot papers). Some campaigns are too close to call, and in some wards I am only predicting one or two winners. The figures in brackets are the number of seatsup for election.

Brunswick & Adelaide (2) – too close to call

Central Hove (2) – too close to call

East Brighton (3) – a Labour 1, 2, 3: Gill Mitchell, Warren Morgan, Craig Turton

Goldsmid (3) – Melanie Davis, Alex Phillips (Labour, Green)

Hangleton & Knoll (3) – Dawn Barnett, Brian Fitch (Tory, Labour)

Hanover & Elm Grove (3) – a Green 1, 2, 3: Matt Follett, Bill Randall, Liz Wakefield

Hollingdean & Stanmer (3) – Jeane Lepper, Sven Rufus, Christina Summers (Labour, Green, Green)

Hove Park (2) – a Tory 1, 2: Jayne Bennett, Vanessa Brown

Moulsecoomb & Bevendean (3) – Maria Caulfield, Ayas Fallon-Khan (Tory, Tory)

North Portslade (2) – Bob Carden (Labour)

Patcham (3) – a Tory 1, 2, 3: Brian Pidgeon, Carol Theobald, Geoffrey Theobald

Preston Park (3) – Amy Kennedy (Green)

Queen’s Park (3) – Ben Duncan (Green)

Regency (2) – a Green 1, 2: Ania Kitcat, Jason Kitcat

Rottingdean Coastal (3) – a Tory 1, 2, 3: Lynda Hyde, Mary Mears, David Smith

South Portslade (2) – Les Hamilton (Labour)

St Peter’s & North Laine (3) – a Green 1, 2, 3: Ian Davey, Lizzie Deane, Pete West

Westbourne (2) – a Tory 1, 2: Denise Cobb, Brian Oxley

Wish (2) – too close to call

Withdean (3) – a Tory 1, 2, 3: Robert Nemeth, Ann Norman, Ken Norman,

Woodingdean (2) – a Tory 1, 2: Dee Simpson, Geoff Wells

In summary, the above predictions will see elected 8 Labour councillors, 13 Green, and 18 Tories. That leaves 15 seats that are too close to call. Privately, just between me and you, my four regular readers, I predict 8 of these will go Green, 3 to the Tories, and 4 Labour. A hung council made up of 21 Greens, 21 Tories, and 12 Labour councillors. A nightmare scenario for many ….!

The balance of power on the City Council rests on Preston Park, Queens Park, Regency, and St Peter’s and North Laine

So far I have reviewed the prospects for next May’s local elections of every ward in Brighton and Hove other that Preston Park, Queens Park, Regency and St Peter’s and North Laine.

I predict that Labour will regain the two seats lost in May 2007 in North Portslade and South Portslade but will not be successful in Hangleton and Knoll (Labour might just grab one seat but certainly not all three).

I think that the Tories will hold Hangleton and Knoll and gain a seat in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, as well as weigh in heavily in their traditional strongholds.  In spite of the optimism of Christopher Hawtree and Maxxxxie, I can’t in all truth think that defeats for the Tories in Patcham and Rottingdean Coastal are possibilities.  But good luck to the Save the Lido campaigners, nevertheless.

And while I am about it, thanks to Andy Richards for correcting my poor knowledge of the electoral history of Hove.  He writes: “Labour had all three Hove Borough seats in Wish from 1995 to 1997, and held 2 of them in the first years of the new unitary council. Heather James later won a seat there for Labour in a by-election. I don’t need to rely on Wiki……I was the Labour election agent for some of that time!”   He adds: “The Lib Dems held the Westbourne County Council seat for some time in the 80′s/90′s.”  Thanks, Andy, I stand corrected.

Finally, Andy Richards askes: “If anyone can think of a single independent thing the “Independent” Jayne Bennett has ever done, do tell!”.  From memory, Andy, I think Jayne resigned the Tory whip in order to head the successful campaign to retain a breast cancer unit in Brighton.  She felt being a party politician would undermine the campaign.  I personally think the Council would do well to have more independents, including single issue campaigners who could focus on that issue as well as representing their ward constituents.

Back to my predictions.  The Greens could win Brunswick and Adelaide, and pick up the other two seats in Goldsmid.  Most interestingly, the Greens could pick up two seats in Hollingbury and Stanmer.

Should all this happen, and should all other seats remain with the party currently in place, it would give the Tories 19 seats, Labour 14 and the Greens 10.  It is what will happen in Preston Park, Queens Park, Regency, and St Peters and North Laine where the final eleven seats are up for grabs.

Labour currently holds 2 of these seats, but will be keen to keen return 6 of these 11 councillors. The Greens currently hold 9 of these seats, having displaced Labour in areas like Queens Park and one of the Preston Park seats.  They will be looking to win all 11 to make them the biggest Party on the Council.  As for the Tories, their best chance of picking up seats from these wards will be in Preston Park and, in a good year for them, the two Regency seats.

I will continue my review tomorrow with a look at St Peters and North Laine.