The fringe candidates in this May’s local elections in Brighton and Hove

In the last couple of days I have commented on the independent candidates standing in Wish (Mr and Mrs Jenny Barnard-Langston), Hangleton and Knoll (Jo Heard) and North Portslade (Theo Child). But there are other fringe candidates standing,and I don’t mean the LibDems or UKIP. If you read between the lines of what I have written about those parties you may have gained the impression, I can’t think why, that they are not my cup of team (forexample, “I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than vote for UKIP”).

The most spoken about Independent this May is former mayor, former Lib Dem and sitting councillor David Wakins who is hoping to defend his seat in Brunswick and Adelaide. His candidature could be characterised as the Mr Angry Candidate, not that David is the angry sort, but his treatment by the Lib Dems has not been kind and his is a spoiling campaign designed to undermine support for the Lib Dems in their last remaining area of representation.

Trade Unionists and Socialists Against the Cuts may have worthy intentions, but they are likely to mobilise no more than a few dozen votes. Standing for TUSAC are an uninspiring bunch who have failed to rally the working classes time and time again. There was a song, can’t member who by, that went “As soon as this pub closes, as soon as this pub closes, as soon as this pub closes, the revolution starts”. The chorus was sung by an increasingly drunk singer. The final chorus went “As soon as this pub closes, as soon as this pub closes, as soon as this pub closes, ……… I think ….. I’m gonna ….. be sick”.

Now I’m not suggesting that any of the TUSAC candidates are partial to a drink or two, but they are a mixture of uninspiring individuals (Bill North standing in East Brighton) and more enthusiastic, less cynical types such as Jon Redford (Hanover and Elm Grove). He is active in the Stop the Cuts Coalition and, at least, has some get up and go about him. At just 23 Jon is one of the younger breed of candidates and he has been part of the campaign against cuts in Education Maintenance Allowances.

Also standing for TUSAC in Hollingdean and Stanmer are Phil Clarke, Tony Greenstein (how is it that he hasn’t yet been expelled from TUSAC – he has been expelled from evey other fringe group on the left) and the Peter Stringfellow of Brighton politics, Professor Dave Hill. Dave Bangs is standing for TUSAC in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean.

What is touching, yet quite sad about this bunch, is that unlike Don Quixote who charged at imaginary enemies, this lot have real enemies yet they tend to focus on others on the left and fail to mobilise real opposition against the Tories. They just don’t know how to organise an effective coalition. Their handful of votes could just let the Tories in in very close contests. One wonders if this is what they hope for …..

Gerald O’Brien is standing in St Peters and North Laine. He has stood in more elections than the number of comments left on this blog by the Legend that is Christopher Hawtree. He is yet to top 100 votes and even being most generous, is unlikely to win in this seat, the safest Green seat in the country.

Mohammed Asaduzzaman is standing as an Independent in Queens Park. A respected local businessman, concerned with crime, he has stood before but has little chance of making more than a ripple on the result in Queens Park.

And finally we have Yuri Borgmann-Prebil (Preston Park) and Susan Collard (St Peters and North Laine) standing for the European Citizens Party. Now for many weeks I have been collating comprehensive files on both Yuri and the European Citizens Party. In fact I have focused on little else …. zzzzzzzzz

North Portslade: The birth of a new Labour dynasty and further evidence of Tory splits?

My friend, Christopher Hawtree, has asked me to comment on North Portslade. Last time out, it would be reasonable to assume that the Alphabet Factor had had a large influence on the outcome of the elections. The result was split with Bob Carden (from another Labour dynasty) and Trevor Alford (Conservative) being elected. But, in fact Alford was third on the ballot paper and Carden in the bottom half! This time they are the top two on the ballot paper.

Bob Carden topped the poll in 2007 with Trevor Alford second, Tory Theo Brake-Child third and Labour’s Nicole Murphy fourth. North Portslade must be one of Labour’s top targets. Anything but a comfortable win and the election of two Labour councillors would be a disaster for the Party.

Bob Carden’s running mate this time is Penny Gilbey. If Penny was to be elected, and I am confident that she will, it would be the start of yet another Labour dynasty. Her father, George Humphrey, was the former leader of the Labour Group on Brighton Borough Council in the early 1980s.

Standing in this election as an Independent is Theo Child. Could this be the same person as Theo Brake-Child, the former Tory candidate. Is this yet another example of the split in the Tory rank, similar to the split in Hangleton and Knoll where Jo Heard is also standing as an Independent?

The second Tory candidate is Kerry Underhill. Her dad, a butcher, runs a shop on London Road, just outside the Open Market. Is her candidature an indication that the faction led by her dad’s near business neighbour, Mary Mears, has gained control in North Portslade?

“Deep and wide, deep and wide, the split is running deep and wide ….”.