Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, Tories take on Labour in its heartland

If there is any area in Brighton and Hove that should be rock solid Labour, it is Moulsecoomb and Bevendean.  It should be an area where a Tory should fear to show their faces.  But it is a sign of where Labour now stands that there is a Tory councillor in the area.  Perhaps more significant is the appeal of key Tories that sizeable numbers of working class people are happy to vote Conservative.

The two Tories who best represent the broad appeal of that party are Council Leader, Mary Mears, and Moulsecombe and Bevendean councillor Maria Caulfield.  It was Maria Caulfield who snatched a seat in 2007 when she polled 984 votes.  Labour’s Mo Marsh and Anne Meadows each polled 1,018 while the third Labour candidate, Liz Telcs came sixth with 848 having been beaten by the other 2 Tories.

Many Labour and Green supporters sighed with relief when Maria was not shortlisted for the Brighton Pavilion seat as she would have attracted a strong personal vote.

Next May the Tories must be confident about retaining Maria’s seat and, given the unimpressive Labour councillors, they will not have given up hope of winning all three seats.

The Greens realistically have little chance. So, to keep the Tories out, I would encourage, with little enthusiasm, a tactical vote for Labour.

Advertisements

Has Labour given up and gone home?

The thing that amazes me about reaction to this blog is the absolute lack of response from Labour supporters. Not one person, even those who know me, has defended Liz Telcs, the campaign that was run (or not) in Goldsmid Ward, or the reputation of the Labour Party in Brighton and Hove.

I remain, at heart, a Labour (that’s Old Labour) supporter. I am a socialist, not a Green. But frankly, the Greens offer an alternative, and show some ambition. Come on Labour Party members. Has the Party died in Brighton? Have you all given up and gone home? Have you just rolled over and surrendered?

Is there anyone out there?

PS Good luck tomorrow, Alex. A Green victory is in the best interest of Brighton and Hove.

Goldsmid By-election is a Two Horse Race

Don’t count chickens before they hatch, is an old saying. It must be very tempting for Green councillors to speculate on what will happen in the event of a victory by Alex Phillips in the Goldsmid by-election on Thursday.

Victory is by no means certain for Ms Phillips but it is clearly a two horse race between her and the Conservatives. I would encourage you to visit Alex’s campaign website. Very impressive and very effective.

I tried to find Liz Telcs’ website so I did a Google search. The top result provided links to this blog! Then there were links to Ben Duncan’s blog, and then, last but not least, to the Argus archive!

Nothing from the good lady herself. If Labour was not so divided and demoralised, I’m sure that it could post even a basic website if they had any self belief.

Ben Duncan, in his entertaining blog, writes that in the event of an Alex Phillips victory: “I think we should invite Labour to adopt our local manifesto, and make sure as much of the council’s business as possible (and certainly the question of which minority party (ies) form the administration) is decided by council (and not the Tories single party cabinet) as possible”.

I’m glad that he is not calling for a formal coalition. Why on earth would the Greens get into bed with their arch rivals when they are hoping to beat Labour in Brighton Pavilion thus achieving their biggest success ever by having Caroline Lucas elected?

What should happen is the abolition of the Cabinet system at Brighton and Hove City Council which must be the least democratic of all the options available. The City should be run by all councillors, not a select few who do not enjoy the majority support in the City. The electorate have not given a mandate to any party and therefore the important decisions should be taken by full Council. It may well mean that councillors having to meet more often, but whoever said that democracy was easy?

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 ability to campaign

There was a time, in the 1980’s, when Labour was a vibrant, campaigning, grass routes organisation. Through campaigning, led by David Lepper and Steve (Lord) Bassam, the Party won control of the local Council.

The Golsmid by-election demonstrates how the Party has lost it’s ability to campaign, even in elections. Liz Telcs has worked hard (although not as hard or effectively as Green Alex Phillips). She has struggled to get anything of a campaign going, and appeals for help have fell, largely, on deaf ears.

Alex Phillips, on the other hand, has been energetic, enthusiastic and exciting. She reminds me of Labour activists of the early/mid 1980’s. Was she active then? No, she wasn’t even born then!

Vote for Alex Phillips in Goldsmid by-election on 23rd July

The Goldsmid by-election is just under four weeks away. This by-election could well change the control of the City Council if the Tories lose the seat. The ‘left’ vote could be split between Labour and the Greens, thereby allowing the Tories to retain the seat and thus the Council itself. The outcome of this by-election, therefore, is of critical importance to the whole of Brighton and Hove.

This week I have spent time with councillors from all three major Brighton parties (I do not include the Liberal Democrats in this).

The Conservatives seemed resigned to defeat. The behaviour of its former councillor and a lack of decisiveness by Mary Mears in dealing with him has undermined the credibility of their campaign, although they retain hope for a split in the non-Conservative vote..

Labour continues to delude itself that it is offering a credible alternative. It is running a lacklustre campaign. There is little enthusiasm for its candidate, Liz Telcs, and there is no evidence of a united party, with those backing Telcs being seen as divisive and sectarian.

The Greens, on the other hand, are displaying the enthusiasm that characterised Labour in Brighton in the 1980s, a party knowing it is on the threshold of an historic breakthrough. Its candidate, Alex Phillips, is very engaging, energetic, and enjoys the enthusiastic support of her local party.

How I wish Labour could regain its lost soul and sense of purpose. Until it does, and it won’t be in time for the Goldsmid by-election (and probably not in time for the general election next year), the recommendation of this blog is for all Labour and Lib Dem’s to vote for Alex Phillips on the 23rd July.

Goldsmid Ward By-election

The Conservatives in Brighton and Hove have been discredited by the antics of former councillor, Paul Lainchbury. Having behaved like an absentee Tory grandee, rarely putting in an appearance in his Goldsmid ward, let alone at Council meetings, he has finally resigned.

Had he gone in March or April the council tax payers would have been spared the unnecessary cost of a by-election since it could have been held at the same time as the European elections. This farce has damaged the reputation of Tory leader, Mary Mears, whose defence of Mr Lainchbury became laughingly hollow as she clings on to power.

The by-election will now take place on June 23.

At the last elections, the Tories won two seats and Labour one. But with Labour in freefall, its candidate, Liz Telcs, doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning, in spite of the excellent work in the ward by Labour councillor Melanie Davis.

The Greens are on the up with renewed energy and direction provided by Bill Randall who has replaced the pleasant but ineffectual and uninspiring Keith Taylor as its leader locally.

If the Green candidate, Alexandra Phillips, is elected then the Greens would replace Labour as the official opposition. God knows, Brighton and Hove needs an effective alternative.