UKIP set to take the local elections by storm (actually a light breeze rustling the leaves)

So there we have it.  It is not the Switch to Fitch movement, nor Christopher Hawtree standing in several seats simultaneously, but UKIP that is set to take Brighton and Hove by storm.  Well, maybe a gentle breeze.  The party is rumoured to have seven candidates (so far ….) to stand in May’s local elections, a candidate in Patcham, St Peter’s and North Laine (I am reliably informed that Labour’s Adrian Morris “a great guy and a real supporter of your community” isn’t standing for UKIP), and Wish.  There will be three UKIP candidates in Rottingdean Coastal including Paul Perrin (the UKIP candidate in Hove at the general election).

Nigel Carter, the UKIP candidate in Brighton Pavilion last May, is standing in Withdene, or is it Hollingbury (sic), or maybe Woodingdean.  Perhaps somewhere else.  They haven’t yet decided.

Paul Perrin told me: “We are in the process of setting up a local branch/association, our only resource is goodwill of local supporters so we are spread a bit thin and rushed …but ….  I think it is safe to say that we are really just local people who think the UK should be putting UK citizens first, and think the local council should be putting its residents first.”  I think I am quite safe in saying that, on that platform, UKIP will not be forming an administration in May or even holding the balance of power.  But their arrival (if it can be called that) adds a bit of colour, especially in Rottingdean Coastal which is fast becoming a four-way marginal – Labour’s Harris Fitch, UKIP’s Paul Perrin, Christopher Hawtree of the Greens are all confident of unseating Mary Mears.  Be afraid Mary Mears, be …. well …. a tad amused. 

But have I got it wrong? ‘rottingdean’ says I should check my sources: “The Lido mob, UKIP or Mr Pickwick might not be the only surprises in Rottingdean, something far bigger is being rumoured to unseat Ms Mears.”  I’ve heard nothing.  I think Mary is safe as houses.

Caroline Lucas and Nancy Platts put in strong performances on TV this weekend

Are you still undecided how to vote on Thursday?  It might be worth your while having a look at a couple of programmes broadcast over the weekend on BBC TV and featuring several of the candidates in Brighton Pavilion.

The first,  Newsnight  broadcast on Saturday evening has an item featuring Nancy Platts, Caroline Lucas and Charlotte Vere, as well as a great clip of Green Councillor Alex Phillips about the Greens no loner being a party of sandal-wearers … only to be shown wearing sandals herself.  The broadcast finishes with a bruising encounter between Caroline Lucas and Jeremy Paxman.  It shows Caroline at her charming best agains the Purile Paxman. It shows that, no matter what, Caroline ha the personal qualities she will need as a Westminster MP.

The feature on Brighton Pavilion can be found here and starts at 17 minutes 10 seconds and runs until 29 minutes 50 seconds.

The other is yesterday’s Politics Show South East.  Broadcast from the Brighton Grand Hotel, it featured a debate between Caroline Lucas (Green), Nancy Platts (Labour), Berni Millam (Lib Dem), Charlotte Vere (Conservative)and Nigel Carter (UKIP). For what it is worth, I thought Nancy came across strongest in this debate but luck is not with her in this election. It is ridiculous but this item could not be seen in Brighton Pavilion since it was the slot broadcast from Maidstone.  Instead, in Brighton Pavilion we were able to see a debate broadcast from Southampton and featuring a Dorset constituency.  The BBC must really sort this out. 

As for Charlotte Vere, she came across characteristically robust and personable.  She claims her leaflets are “100% positive”.  So I checked on the 5 Tory leaflets I have received and I have to say she is right! It is a shame that the same can’t be said about her Tweeting.