A final plea for tactical votes in Sussex

It’s polling day.  For the past six months or so, I have been advocating tactical votes in Sussex to minimise the number of Conservatives elected.  Last year, with the Tories running in the polls at plus 40% and David Cameron thought it was a formality that he would become Prime Minister, I feared that 16 Tories might be returned from the 16 seats in Sussex.  There was an outside chance that with tactical voting we could see that number reduced to just 8.  The reality is that we might keep that number at 9, although Crawley is looking particularly vulnerable following the unforgivable decision of Laura Moffatt to stand down at the eleventh hour.

So, for a final time, here are my recommendations for tactical voting today:

Vote LABOUR in Brighton Kemptown, Hove, Hastings and Rye, and Crawley

Vote LIB DEM in Lewes and Eastbourne

Vote GREEN in Brighton Pavilion

The decision in Brighton Pavilion between Labour and the Greens took some serious reflection, but having advocated a Green vote as far back as January, I am more confident than ever that it is the right call for Brighton Pavilion.

Nancy, Charlotte and Caroline have already made this a great campaign even though Gordon is yet to go to the Palace

As Adam Boulton said on Sky News yesterday, Gordon Brown will today be polishing his shoes ready for a trip to the Palace tomorrow or Wednesday to ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament in order that a General Election may be held.

May 6th is hardly a surprise.  Most pundits have been predicting this for the last year.  It has been a fascinating 12 months as campaigns have been developed, and candidates have come and gone.   Laura Moffatt, the sitting Labour MP in Crawley, announced her retirement at the eleventh hour, leaving the Party in a bit of a pickle, and again has yet to offer any credible explanation as to her actions.

The original Tory candidate in Brighton Pavilion, Dr. David Bull (if I recall his name correctly) resigned with little explanation, having made next to no impression locally.  This allowed the candidature of Charlotte Vere who, by contrast, has taken the constituency by storm, completing a field of three very impressive women candidates, and helping make the campaign in Brighton Pavilion one of the most fascinating in the country.

The Goldsmid by-election last year has given the Greens a platform from which to launch its campaign in neighbouring Brighton Pavilion, and the momentum built up by Caroline Lucas and her team should see her elected as the Green’s first ever MP.  It was this blog called for tactical voting for Alex Phillips in Goldsmid, before anyone else did so.  So too with Brighton Pavilion, it was this blog that some months back called for tactical voting for Caroline Lucas.  It was a tough call (and remains so) since Labour’s Nancy Platts is a first rate candidate and she would almost certainly have won had it not been for the momentum built up by Ms Lucas. 

This blog was wrong in expressing doubts about Caroline Lucas.  She has strengthened her presence and support locally through dedication, charm and enormous competence.  Most constituencies would be fortunate to have either Nancy or Charlotte elected as its MP.  I have few reservations about Nancy other than she is the candidate for the wrong party, at the wrong time and in the wrong constituency.  I hope the Labour Party will recognise the asset they have in her and that she will find herself in parliament in the not too distant future.

While she remains a Tory I could never advocate support for Charlotte, even though I have grown to like her fighting spirit if not always the stands she has taken and her focus on her opponents – she should leave that to lesser individuals such as bloggers.

It is likely that Caroline Lucas will be elected and I predict that she will rapidly become the stand out newcomer to the Commons, and Brighton will have its reputation enhanced by having her as one of its MPs.

I could comment about the campaigns in Brighton Kemptown and in Hove, but they have been so dull and uninspiring that I just won’t bother!

Laura Moffatt stands down and effectively hands Crawley to the Tories

I have just heard that Laura Moffatt, Labour MP for Crawley, is standing down for ‘family reasons’.  With a majority of just 37, her decision to stand down at this late hour effectively hands the seat to the Tory Henry Smith.

At least her pension and redundancy payments are secured.

90 days to go until the General Election – Tactical Voting Campaign needed more than ever

If, as expected, the general election takes place on 6th May, there are just 90 days to go until polling day.  It has been said that a general election is decided by less than 100,000 voters, those ‘swing’ voters in key marginals whose votes decide which party gets a majority.  In some constituencies, like Arundel, a monkey with a blue rosette would gain a majority – and in the past it seems that this has happened!

But tactical voting can change that.  Perviously this blog has called for tactical voting in eight of the sixteen Sussex seats.  There is a danger that all sixteen seats could go Conservative, but with tactical voting Sussex could yet return eight non-Conservatives.

The key seats are: Lewes (Tactical vote for the Lib Dem Norman Baker); Eastbourne (again Lib Dem Stephen Lloyd); Hastings and Rye (Labour Michael Foster); Hove (Labour’s Celia Barlow); Brighton Kemptown (tight call between Labour’s Simon Burgess and the Green’s Ben Duncan); Brighton Pavilion (the Green’s Caroline Lucas); Crawley (Labour’s Laura Moffatt); and Worthing East and Shoreham (Labour’s Emily Benn).

This blog previously called for tactical voting in Worthing East and Shoreham for the Lib Dems, but such is the disorganisation and incompetence of that party in West Sussex that it has yet to select a candidate!  The website for the Worthing Lib Dems is one of the most inadequate websites I have ever seen.  The campaigns tag takes you to an empty page! It demonstrates that the Lib Dems cannot be taken seriously as the third party of British politics and should really stand aside in key seats such as Brighton Pavilion and Worthing East and Shoreham.  Therefore, this blog is changing its recommendation and is calling for tactical voting for Labour’s Emily Benn, granddaughter of Tony Benn and niece of Hilary Benn.  Alas, she does not share their politics.

By contrast, the website of the Lib Dem candidate in Worthing West and Arun, Hazel Thorpe, is lively and impressive.  Unfortunately, Hazel (who I personally admire) has little chance of success but nevertheless, this blog urges all Labour and Green supporters to vote tactically for Hazel Thorpe.

My next blog will review the two Brighton seats.

A Tactical Vote in Crawley is a Labour Vote

This should be a “no brainer”. Labour’s majority at the last general election was just 37 over the Tories with the Lib Dems 10,000 behind on just 15.5%.

There is no excuse for anyone who wants to limit the Tory majority in Parliament voting anything but Labour in Crawley.  Laura Moffatt is a hard-working constituency MP, made a stand on the expenses scandal (by sleeping in her office on a camp bed rather than incur London rents/hotel rates).

So, rally round Laura. She needs your support.

The 2005 general election result:

Labour: 16411 (39.1%)
Conservative: 16374 (39%)
Liberal Democrat: 6503 (15.5%)
Other: 2685 (6.4%)
Majority: 37 (0.1%)

Tactical Voting in Sussex

Following on from my call for tactical voting in Brighton Pavilion at the next General Election, here are my recommendations for tactical voting elsewhere in Sussex:

Crawley: Labour (Laura Moffatt – sitting MP, well-regarded locally, hard working, good record on expenses!)

Lewes: Lib Dem (Norman Baker – Stormin’ Norman, the sitting MP and persecutor of Mandleson. The most exceptional opposition MP)

Eastbourne: Lib Dem (Stephen Lloyd – a typically hard working Lib Dem, taking up grass routes issues and making a good name for himself))

Hastings & Rye: Labour (Michael Foster -sitting MP who has earned good reputation locally and can expect strong personal vote)

Brighton Kemp Town: Labour (Simon Burgess – hoping to replace Des Turner. Respected former leader of the City Council. A decent man)

Brighton Pavilion: Green (Carolline Lucas – Leader of the Green Party, MEP for the South East. Likely to become the Greens first ever MP)

Hove: Labour (Celia Barlow – sitting MP, surprise winner in 2005. Works hard but has expensive taste in bathroom furniture ….)

Shoreham and Worthing East: Lib Dem (no candidate selected yet, which is a weakness, but in Emily Benn Labour doesn’t have a particularly strong candidate)

There you have it. 4 recommendations for Labour, 3 for the Lib Dems, and 1 for the Greens. If the supporters of each of the non-recommended parties voted for the recommendations above, then 8 non-Conservatives could be returned from Sussex.

I will comment more on each constituency in the weeks to come. Please let me have your comments and views on the various campaigns – their strengths and weaknesses.