10 January 2006

Brighton & Hove: Recent issues.

Falmer Stadium;

LABOUR: All councillors including Roy Pennington and MPs David Lepper, Celia Barlow and Des Turner lobbied hard for the stadium and despite objections from the Greens, Lib Dems, Tories and Nimbys, John Prescott delivered the verdict that Albion fans were so desperate for.

GREENS: "We don't think Falmer is a suitable site."

Their reaction to the announcement was slightly different;

"We are pleased that the fans will get a local stadium and accept the decision that John Prescott has made in his role as Secretary of State."

LIB DEMS: Have campaigned vigorously both for and against the stadium (talk about hedging your bets!). Lewes Council controlled by the Lib Dems have launched a legal challenge which could waste even more money and delay the stadium further.

TORIES: Campaigned against the stadium.

Park and Ride

LABOUR: Suggested Patcham (the only suitable area for a park and ride) for a much needed way of reducing congestion in centre of town. Instead of driving into town, people could park up and use buses provided.

GREENS: "Park and ride is a good idea in theory for people who can't make their whole journey by public transport"
The Greens suggest that people in rural areas should use existing public transport, but this is just not realistic for a lot of people.

LIB DEMS: Are for park and ride in principle but oppose every suggestion in practise (whatever that means!). Me thinks just another excuse to win votes by riding a NIMBY outrage. Another example of the Lib Dems putting duplicity to win votes before real policy ideas.

TORIES: Same as Lib Dems but with knobs on. Tories insisted on investigation of the Braypool site which wasted 400,000 pounds on consultants. They want more car parks in centre of town. Inexplicably claim this will 'reduce' congestion. What planet do these guys think we are on?

In the end a combination of Tory, Green and Liberal Democrat councillors voted against the park and ride proposal, defeating the minority Labour administration. Which just goes to show why we need more Labour councillors so we can actually get things done in this city.

Mobile Phone Masts

Ever wondered why mobile phone reception is so bad in Brighton?

Well next time you can't get reception, you know who to thank, the Lib Dems and Greens who seem to object to every single application.

Recycling and refuse collection

The Lib Dems are great at exageration. Under an article criticising the roll out of community bins, the Lib Dems show this picture, (which actually looks very much like the recycling points for paper and cans in Norfolk Square and not community refuse bins at all). Yes there are a few papers on the floor, but walking around Regency the other day I could have taken pictures of dozens upon dozens of community bins that are immaculately clean (I might actually do this just to prove a point). I didn't see a single community bin that was overflowing or had been flytipped. (I'm sure this happens on occasions but it is hardly frequent).

The worse areas tend to be the streets that don't have community bins (which even the Lib Dems seem to acknowledge as you read their article which mentions black bag collection). Like I've said before Brighton has a unique problem with space in such a densely populated area that doesn't allow for wheelie bins being universal. The council have come up with many inovations such as binvelopes and community bins and we now have successful weekly recycling collection.

Pub Opening Hours

LABOUR: Finally got rid of our archaic laws on drinking times (despite the hysterical media and opposition parties) that had made us the laughing stock of the world and visitors from abroad just bemused at the perverse logic of pubs having to close at 11pm.

GREENS: "We are generally supportive of liberalising the licensing laws, where doing so will enhance people’s access to leisure facilities. However this must not be at the cost of the community’s quality of life or add to the police's already heavy responsibilities."

Which is a round about way of saying, 'yes Labour is right, but we have to find some way of criticising their policy, just for the sake of it'.

LIB DEMS: Oppose the new laws and would prefer we were all safely tucked up in bed by grandma's bedtime. Call themselves liberals?

TORIES: Like the Lib Dems, quite happy to ride the moral outrage of the Daily Mail until they realised the new laws might actually be successful and prove popular, when they suddenly went all quiet.

Just remember if you want real solutions for Brighton and Hove and not a load of sensationalised bullshit, you had better vote Labour at the council elections in May 2007.


  1. Well, last January, my beloved city of Ottawa, Canada outlawed hot dog vendors from doing business on the street after the bars closed at 1 AM. Seems crowds were hanging around down town, fighting, yelling, and (oh God....) eating hot dogs!!!
    When this didn't seem to work, and the crowds were still there, hot dog vendors or nay, they decided that perhaps extending the hours to 3AM would do the trick. Well, since the bars closed at 3 AM just across the river in Quebec, we used to just export the problem over there. The extra income was normally good enough Now, we have thousands of drunken sods that have no reason to go across the river making noise even later into the wee hours of the morning!
    Just goes to show that you don't have to go all the way to Brighton to find nutty bylaws!

    Well, the Grits will be going under in two weeks, the Tories will be sweeping in for their turn at bat. The Greens are serious contenders....think I'll vote Green. Wonderful to watch a government demolish itself in slow motion like this!
    (We need you to run for PM of Canada Neil....the voice of reason has left us!)

  2. Lets look at New Labour's two faces:

    - They talk about building new landmark skyscrapers, such as at the Marina, and then half their councillors vote against it.

    - They talk about Park and Ride as a solution to congestion, but only bring forward a 450 space site. Its not even worth having.

    - They talk about deivering a new vision for public transport - whats their answer? A bendy bus, now thats original.

    - They talk about a South Downs National Park but then want to tarmac all over the Downs.

    - They talk about decent housing, but then adopt the Tory sell off plans to transfer the housing stock.

    - They talk about local democracy, but have set up more quangos and unelected bodies than ever before -such as abolishing CHCs.

    - Locally they say they oppose Blair's schools selection nonsense, but then want to privatise one of our schools with an unkonwn Labour donor and christian freak

    - They talk about clean streets, have you even known a more filthy place to live?

    - They talk about dealing with the housing crisis, and then close St Patrick's Nightshelter, putting dozens of homeless peopleout on the streets in January

    - They talk about equality and equal opportunity - and then cut funding to the Womens Centre.

    - They build a new library and then throw away all the books in skips to stop the building looking scruffy

    - They talk up their libraries and then try and shut Hove Library

    The list of New Labour failings in this City go o nand on and on...

  3. Anon: "tarmac all over the Downs."

    So you are against the stadium at Falmer then? I'd imagine most people in Brighton would disagree with you.

    "A bendy bus, now thats original."

    If its good enough for Ken Livingstone in London, it must be a good idea.

    "a 450 space site. Its not even worth having."

    Of course it was worth having. It would be 450 cars not driving into the centre. You only opposed it to get a few nimby votes.

    "They talk about decent housing"

    Which party is the only one taking on the nimbys and proposing the only solution that will work? It is because of this government that so many more affordable houses are going to be built, no doubt opposed by your lot in cahoots with the Tories.

    "They build a new library"

    You mean the new library that has won national awards and has been a great success with a massive increase in the number of people using it. People want new books, there is no point keeping old stock nobody ever borrows.

    As for the nightshelter and women's centre. You are bragging on your website about how you (no doubt with the Tories help) negotiated the smallest increase in the council tax. Reduce the funding and this is what happens.

    "filthy place to live?"

    The bad streets are the ones where community bins (that you moan about) haven't been rolled out. In any case there has been a dramatic recent improvement in the cleanliness of the streets. It's easy to moan. Whats your magic solution, Mr Lib Dem?

  4. Hi Neil

    We're currently suffering under a godawful Lib Dem council here in York. House prices have soared in relation to wages locally, making the city one of the most expensive places to live outside of the South-East. The Lib Dem council's advice to locally born young people who can't afford to buy a house - "move out".


  5. Hi Martyn, the Lib Dems complain about house prices but join with the Tories and nimbys in blocking affordable housing projects.

    It's a simple case of economics, demand for housing has surpassed supply. Labour is desperately trying to free up house building down here and ensure affordable housing is built. They are being blocked every step of the way by the Tory and Lib Dems.

  6. By the way, Martyn, like your blog, will add it to my blogroll.

  7. What do house prices have to do with affordable housing projects? Theres a basic misudnerstanding here.

  8. The more affordable housing being built lowers prices.

  9. Neil,

    First time I've looked in ages, but...

    Falmer - I'm one of the Greens who opposed party policy, and I'm proud to say I'm happy about the result.

    Park and Ride - possibly the most foolish idea for Brighton and Hove ever. The best a P&R scheme could hope to do is temporarily ease congestion in the centre and would never reduce traffic. I repeat, the worst idea ever.

    Licensing Laws - thank you for quoting the actual Green position. No thanks for distorting it.

    How do you feel about U-turns? What with Joyce "I will vote against the incinerator" Edmond-Smith abstaining... very disappointing.

  10. Paul: Nice to hear from you mate.

    Why would P&R only temporarily reduce trafic?

    On licensing: the Greens have been playing a bit of a game, being highly critical of the way the scheme is implemented seems like picking flies for the sake of it to me. I suppose to be fair all parties do this, but I thought the Greens were above all this petty party barracking over nothing issues. I suppose it wins votes, am I just being naive again.

    As for Joyce, not really sure why she didn't vote, so can't comment on that.

    Looking into the facts, I have to agree that an incinerator is not a good idea. I'm not sure how much extra it would cost to introduce a zero waste strategy, but I think Labour should bite the bullet and persuade us that a rise in the council tax bills for this reason would be worth it.

    At the moment it seems that Labour and the Tories think an incinerator is the way to reduce costs and therefore worth it. It seems virtually every council in the country has taken the same decision. I'm not convinced that cost should be the reason here as the health hazards (even with a highly cleaned up incinerator are still significant).

    The Greens were the only party to vote against the incinerator, so well played. The Lib Dems have changed tune to play to the nimbys. Labour should join the Greens on this.

  11. The Greens were not the only party to vote against the incinerator.