01 November 2007

Regency By-Election - December 13th.

Green Regency Councillor Hermione Roy has resigned less than 6 months into her tenure. The official reason given for her resignation was ill health, however there had been rumours circulating...
from day one that she was flabbergasted at being elected and didn't know whether she could juggle her work and the demands of being a councillor. The fact the Greens had a candidate in place immediately after her resignation suggests they have known about this possibility for a while.

I spoke to Hermione a few days before she was elected, and she was far from enthusiastic about the possibility of winning. She seemed to suggest her chances were remote (wishing thinking perhaps?).

The Greens were always in with a fantastic chance of taking both seats in Regency and to pick a candidate that doesn't last 6 months calls into question their judgement, especially after the calamity they had choosing candidates in Preston Park - a calamity that nearly lost them their one seat there as well. After the Lib Dims infamous absentee Regency councillor Dawn Davidson, Regency deserves a councillor committed to the area. Labour are the main challengers to the Greens here, the Lib Dims ended up finishing 6th and 8th - probably as a punishment for inflicting Dawn Davidson on us. The voters of Regency have to ask themselves, do they dare risk being messed about again by electing a Green?

29 comments:

  1. Without knowing anything about the strength of the Green Party locally I'm pretty sure I read recently that they only have about 7,000 members nationwide.

    If that's right then even in areas where they're strong(ish) (like Brighton and Lewisham) getting candidates is going to be a struggle.

    I know from talking to one of my local green councillors that s/he isn't finding the workload easy, though s/he's trying to find a way of coping.

    That said I think it is incumbent on political parties to do more to find candidates that are able to cope, and to support them when things aren't going smoothly.

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  2. Sven Rufus2/11/07 1:44 am

    Neil
    I've been an occasional and vaguely interested reader of your blog. I'm often left wondering why you are a Labour supporter based on the amount of gripes you have with the party, and also how much of Green Party policy you seem to promote (eg Citizens Income, PR etc). Still, it's your choice, albeit a rather strange one.
    What has prompted me to write to you now is that someone pointed out to me the comments that you have made about Hermione stepping down, and I felt that really needed an answer.

    Hermione is unwell, whatever else you may choose to believe, and it was as much a shock to us in the Green Party as it was to any one else when she decided to step down. The fact that we were able to get a candidate in place so quick is not at all to do with having any advanced warning - or at least no more than about 24 hours over anyone else. We had a number of excellent candidates to choose from, we worked fast, and got the selection done. Jason Kitkat will make a superb councillor after the election next month.

    It is grossly unfair on Hermione to criticise her performance and dedication, and just as unfair to criticise the judgement of the Greens in choosing someone who 'doesn't last 6 months'. No-one can predict ill health, and her health is more important to her, and to us, her friends and colleagues, than party politics. I'm disappointed in you for taking such a callous line.

    You may well have heard 'rumours' about finding the shift to being a councillor difficult, that wouldn't surprise me in the least, because it is difficult. I'll add to that - it's bloody hard work. Look at the stats for where our councillors tend to come from - typically the retired or self employed groupings of our society. To do this work of being a councillor is no joke if done on its own - to do it along side a job and a family is harder than anything I have ever done before. So yes, she may have said it was hard, so do I and probably if asked, so do all my colleagues (the Greens being the most representative demographic of any of the parties on the council – ie youngest, working, with families) but this doesn’t mean that we aren’t able to be dedicated. Look back over the last 10+ years since Pete West was the first Green elected to the council – have there ever been any times when you felt that our work ethic was lacking? We are not a party of Dawn Davidson’s, but somehow you feel that it is OK to draw that conclusion from one person’s misfortune of having a health issue!

    One last thing – looking back over some of your previous posts relating to the Local Election, you were quite right to point out the importance of keeping the Tories out. Elsewhere, you feel that the Greens are the biggest risk to losing Kemptown to the Tories, and seem to suggest that we should just pack up and go home to leave it to the ‘resurgent’ Simon Burgess. Given that logic; given the fact that the Tories are now just one seat short of overall control on the council; and given the margin of victory for the Greens in Regency a few months ago, wouldn’t it be prudent for Labour to pack up and go home, and leave the seat to us? ;^) I look forward to seeing you out canvassing for the Greens next week.
    All the best
    Sven Rufus
    (Green Councillor for Regency, don't you know!)

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  3. Sven, thanks for dropping by, shame it was not for another reason. I am genuinely sorry for upsetting you. It usually takes something on here to ruffle someones feathers before they feel the need to leave a comment. So sorry if you think I was being callous. Maybe I am being callous. As you know I like to be blunt on this blog.

    I have heard for a while that Hermione was not happy in the position. The rumours started on day one of her being elected. Hey, maybe it was all guff and I haven't mentioned a word of it on here before because I wanted more info but it seems a bit of a coincidence now doesn't it? (As it happens I have heard nothing but good things about your work and dedication to being a councillor, so it is not a simple party political game I am playing).

    Of course the Greens are not going to make an announcement that Hermione doesn't want to be a councillor anymore. The Lib Dems used the 'ill health' scenario with Dawn Davidson when she lost interest (but she didn't have the decency to resign as Hermione has done). It is a convenient cover. If Hermione is genuinely ill, I am sorry and hope her the speediest recovery in whatever it is she is supposed to be suffering from. But I am afraid I just don't believe it. If I am wrong I apologise, but it seems one hell of a coincidence.

    Of course balancing a job, family and being a councillor is difficult. But these are the things you should weigh up BEFORE taking on the job. The impression I have got is that Hermione never seriously considered winning here and so never seriously considered how difficult it was going to be (but worse than that - the Greens thought it acceptable to have a 'paper candidate' here). I am sorry that is the case, but we cannot afford to have councillors who leave after less than 6 months, whatever the reason!

    As for your bafflement at me being in the Labour party when I support so many Green policies. Yes, I agree with the Citizen Income, PR, and promoting public transport, cycling etc but I find the Greens policies strange on so many issues. There are too many people in the Greens with irrational views on science (opposition to phone masts, nuclear power etc), unrealistic views on the economy (zero or negative growth) and seem to want to throw money at every problem without any suggestion of where the funding is going to come from. Another reason is that the Greens are just never going to be in government and I want to see change at the natonal level. If we ever get PR for Westminster it will come from Labour not the Greens. If all the Greens and Lib Dems joined the Labour party and campaigned for PR and a Citizen Income, maybe we would get it.

    As for splitting the vote in Regency. The combined Green/Labour vote even if split 50/50 would still be more than 10% more than the top Tory candidate. So this situation is not anything like Kemptown or Hove, where the Green support is less than 5/10% and could be the difference between a Labour or Tory MP. Any advance for the Greens there will just help us have a Tory government. If you really cared about that, then you would pack up and go home. Of course this is not ultimately the Green's problem, it is the stupid electoral system and that is in Labour's hands to change which is why I am campaigning within the Labour party for such a change.

    By the way, I think you will find your candidate's name is Jason KitCat not KitKat (nice memorable name), well according to the name on his leaflet it is spelt that way. Lets hope if elected he doesn't 'have a break', ho, ho! Sorry about that poor joke!

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  4. Sven Rufus2/11/07 5:40 pm

    I didn't expect you to change your mind, and I'm not going to bother again trying to do so - I just wanted to put the record straight, that the information that has been made public is no different in any respect from the information that Hermione has shared with us, and I respect her rights to privacy on health matters.

    The political situation has changed in the city/country now since the elections of May, with a new New Labour leader, a new council, with certain knowledge of exactly what the council will look like in the event of a vote going either way, Tories up in the polls, election just before Christmas - a lot of variables to take into account. Don't assume that people will vote in the same ways, or that the same people will even bother turning up to vote. The vote share last time is not enough to give us certainty that the Tories aren't in with a chance of sneaking through, and the Greens are in the best position to stop it happening - I was just turning around the argument that is so often used as a reason not to vote Green. In this case, if you vote Labour, you risk letting in a Tory Council. (Although many have observed that it is difficult to tell the difference these days - an observation relevant as a rebuttal to your comments re. Kemptown and Hove.)

    Back to wondering why you are in the Labour Party. Your arguments against the Greens - ie you don't agree with many of the policies, is exactly the same reason I could not support Labour. Just as you suggest that if the Greens and Lib Dems join Labour to get PR etc, I could, and will, argue that you, as a True Labour supporter, should join the Greens as we already stand for many of the things you hold most dear, and you could campaign from within to make the changes you wish to see. Therefore, the argument you make is circular, and needs a bit of work if it is to stand up.

    Then, saying that there are too many people that have irrational views, just because they are different from yours isn't worthy either. I am a scientist by training and trade, and am able to be opposed to nuclear power for valid scientific reasons. There are those without any scientific background in Labour who support nuclear with no real idea why - do you criticise them as well, or is it OK coz they agree with you? Similar arguments pertain on the economic points you make, but I can't be bothered at the moment, perhaps we can thrash that out over a pint someday.

    Finally on this bit, don't kid yourself that Labour will ever introduce PR, it ain't going to happen. Change comes at national level when a new radical policy agenda forces itself into the mainstream - look at your own party's history. Unfortunately Labour is now part of the establishment that it once sought to change, and will do it's best to protect the status quo, using unions, co-ops, and tribal loyalty as required before divesting themselves of such proletarian baggage when no longer needed. The Labour movement's history is inspiring and wonderful - I am a keen student of it, and a trade union member and active co-operator, but history is of no use to us unless we can learn from it, and see what we need to do now, in the present day to effect the changes we seek to make. Stick by your football team, through thick and thin, as that is an emotional choice. Choose your political affiliation with care, as this is a rational choice. Sticking with Labour from a sense of tradition and a misreading of historical lessons is a waste of time, and waste of a keen brain such as yours.

    Oh and two more things. First of all, the spelling of Jason Kitcat - oops - it may be as I drafted it in Word and pasted it in the reply box and auto correct got the better of me, or else it may be that I was doing this at about 1.30 in the morning, but still - oops! Secondly, thanks for the compliments about my performance so far, and here was me worrying that I'm not doing enough.

    Vote Green, Vote Kitcat!

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  5. Sven, I would love to talk politics over a pint someday. However if your candidate gets his way on the licensing laws, it seems we might struggle to have a late night drink (I assume from the 1.44am time of your comment that (like me) you like to stay up late).

    Where I live I am surrounded by busy late night pubs (Montpelier Inn, Norfolk Arms, Lion and Lobster, The Sailor) and I can tell you that most disturbances come from people staggering home from the town centre nightclubs and vertical drinking establishments (Yates, West St etc). That has always been the case. Drunks returning from these clubs at 3am happened before the late licensing. If anything my road is quieter now that people are drinking more slowly in the residential pubs, it has certainly stopped the massively noisy 'pressure point' at 11.30-12 where everyone is out on the street. So I do not understand the Greens position on this. It is clear that Labour is more in tune with young people on this, while you lot are pandering to the Daily Mail/Argus 'apocalypse' types.

    There are plenty of issues like this where I disagree profoundly with the Greens. I am sure most Green party members own mobile phones which put as big a radiation pulse to within a mm of their temple as a phone mast does to the surrounding air. Masts are no more dangerous than mobile phones, so if you want to ban them, then you need to support banning mobiles as well.

    With soon to be 9bn people on the planet we are going to need energy. I really don't see any alternative to nuclear power if we are to reduce carbon emissions in the medium term, so your opposition seems at best wishful thinking.

    Labour have given us PR for Scotland, Wales, London, and European elections. We will soon get an elected House of Lords by PR. The Alternative Vote for Westminster is very likely as well. Although not PR, it is progress. Labour need a bit of a push on this issue but they are certainly more likely to give us PR than the Greens who will never be in power.

    Nationally the Greens are irrelevant, so I would be wasting my time trying to change their views by joining them. Even if I succeeded, what difference would it make nationally? Whereas if Labour changes it mind on something we get real progress, like we did with the smoking ban, freedom of information, party funding, written constitution etc etc. Then, if you care about minorities or a minimum wage, tax credits, or funding health and education...this has been the best Labour government ever! So don't give me this 'no different to the Tories' rubbish. Do you really think any of the social progress we have had over the last decade and the massive injection of funds into public services would have happened under the Tories? Give me a break! It has got nothing to do with tribal loyalty, Labour are the best party - simple as that! You seem a nice bloke so your view of Labour as the enemy is disappointing. I don't think the Greens are anything like the Tories - I see you as mostly misguided Labourites. Admittedly there are some tribal Labour party people who would claim the Greens as right wing but I am certainly not one of them.

    You are right that nobody's vote can be taken for granted in Regency. The Tories pumped huge amounts of money and resources into Regency last time (even Dave Cameron himself dropped in) but to little avail - (they won only 83 more votes). They are sure to put in even more effort and money in now the council is at stake but their support is stuck at around 535 votes max. Turnout was already very low - around 34%, so I don't see how it could drop much lower. The opinion polls were showing around 39% nationally for the Tories at the time, now it is about 40% - so hardly any change really. Labour however have improved by about 10% in the polls since then, while the Lib Dems (massacred across Brighton & Hove in May and particularly in Regency) have seen their support decimated even further - another 8% drop in the polls.

    Both Labour and the Greens have to work hard here (as I am sure we will) but I doubt there is any danger of the Tories sneaking it unless there is some calamity(always possible but very doubtful).

    The Greens are favourites but people are not going to be happy with Hermione resigning so I think Labour have a very good chance. I am convinced we have gained plenty of votes since May, so lets see what happens. ;o)

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  6. The Lib Dems never used an 'ill health' excuse. That is a lie.

    You have a grudge against them and like to creat false myths. Infact Dawn Davidson was an excellent Councillor. It is very dishonest of you and rather unpleasant to portray otherwise. Have you seen how little work some fo Labour's councillors do? They sit in their safe seats and do absolutely nothing for their electorate.

    What has Christine Simpson done since being re-elected? Pat Hawkes? Ann Meadows? Bob Carden? They do nothing and ther eis no opposition in Brighton & Hove to the Tories.

    And if Labour was so good in the ward and city in May, why were you absolutely wiped out then?

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  7. Anon, Of course a Lib Dem on here posting anonymously is going to say Dawn Davidson was excellent. The Lib Dems went from having a councillor in Regency to being pushed into 6th and 8th place. I think that tells us what the people of Regency ward thought of Dawn Davidson.

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  8. Well Labour didn't exactly do that well did they? They lost.

    You really need to get over this fixation you have about Dawn Davidson. It is very sad. She was a fine councillor and you know it. You just went about spreading lies and running your usual nasty camapigning. Let us hope that the same negative campaigning is not used by Labour in the by-election. People are sick of it.

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  9. Oh I forgot to say - Delia Forrester - she wasn't exactly a hardworking councillor before being thrown out on her ear. You can't serious selected her or old Roy again.

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  10. Anon, what is it with Lib Dems and their fixation on age? Look Dawn was useless in Regency. Did the Lib Dems go from having a councillor in Regency to finishing 6th/8th or not? How is that a lie? The people of Regency let it be known in the election what they thought of Dawn and the rest of the Lib Dems with the drop in your vote. I am only pointing this out because Dawn is an example of the sort of absentee councillors the voters reject.

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  11. Well you are the only one who makes these claims. You think that if you repeat it enough people will believe your lies.

    And no-one takes lectures from Labour on hard working councillors. Look at who is on your selection tonigt. delia Forrester did nothing and she soon got booted out. Roy Pennington at best was hopeless. Then tell me what does say Ann Meadows ever do or Pat Hawkes or Gill mitchell?

    Its the worst kind of negative campaigning that youa re known for. Look at your comments about the Green councillor who is unwell and stood down. How do you sleep at night after making such comments?

    You are a very sad man.

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  12. Anon, I have said nothing nasty. I have not criticised Hermione as a councillor and I have only good things to say about Sven Rufus the other Green councillor here, so it is not party political. I have just reported what was well known, that from day one she found being a councillor difficult and now she has resigned. It seems to me much more likely that it was this difficulty than ill health that was the reason for her resignation. Maybe I am wrong and if she is unwell I wish her the best, but it is one hell of a coincidence. The Greens are hardly going to announce she doesn't want to be a councillor anymore are they? It is embarrassing enough for them as it is. I spoke to Hermione just before the election and it was clear that she was less than enthusiastic about the possibility of winning, then from day one of election, the rumours started about her wanting to resign. I didn't say anything then, but now she has resigned it seems the rumours were true all along.

    As for Dawn Davidson, the voters gave the verdict on her tenure by dropping the Lib Dems to 6th and 8th place, it says it all. The voters clearly saw the situation the same as I did. You can say whatever nasty things you like about me and others but it won't change that simple crushing fact. The Lib Dems felt the wrath of the voters over this by losing a councillor and losing so badly.

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  13. This childish mudslinging between party political activitists just confirms the rightness of my decision not to vote in any election. You are far more concerned about point scoring than the poor saps who might vote for you.

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  14. Anon, You are right - it is childish, maybe I have got too personal (although everything I have written is true). I wish I hadn't have got drawn into such a pathetic argument. It is the issues that matter and don't tar us all with the same brush -there are some fantastic candidates out there in all the parties. I would rather you vote Tory than not at all. Honestly I would. Probably not a politically savvy thing to say. The thing for me is, if everyone joined a party (even the Tories - maybe especially the Tories, we wouldn't have so many duff councillors). Don't give up your vote because it is that which 'only encourages them' not when you use your vote - that scares them. Believe me, low turnout is a strategy for some parties, especially the Tories. So don't think you are helping democracy by not voting. The opposite is the truth. Get involved, join the party you like the most (or hate the least)- any party, and change it for the better. The old saying is very true 'if you are not part of the solution - you are part of the problem'.

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  15. Agree about childish.

    So tell us why would Delia Forrester make a good councillor, considering she couldn't hold her own seat a few months ago? Now she is carpetbagging to try and get another.

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  16. Delia won't resign after 5 months for one thing. There will be a big campaign here for Delia on all the issues - the 850k the Tories are spending on the bandstand, the parking re-zoning that has increased traffic will be reviewed soon, the main building of the Royal Alex should be saved, communal bins that are being blanket installed across all central Brighton and forced on Regency by the Tories when they should be determined street by street. Voters should not be ignored like that. Delia was the best performing Labour candidate in Queens Park (beating Simon Burgess), she received 1458 votes and only lost out by 15 votes! She is an experienced candidate, having been a councillor - she will be able to get Regency issues on the council agenda. She has the full backing of Roy Pennington, whatever you think of him - he has a strong personal vote here in Regency and was well liked. Delia can win here and she will be the main challenger to the Greens.

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  17. If you thought she was such a good candidate why did you stand? And then go on to LOSE!! hehe

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  18. I was interested in being the candidate. I put my name down before I knew Delia was standing. Competition is healthy, we had plenty of candidates. Delia won fair and square - well done to her, she was the best candidate.

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  19. Yes but you've always hated what you call 'losers'. No you are are one. We love it!!!! We can all have a good laugh at your expense now, like you do to others.

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  20. Yes you can, go ahead and laugh if it makes you feel good.

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  21. By the way, don't think I was laughing when Simon Burgess lost - it gives me great pain that the policies from a few individuals in the Labour party have so ruined us here. Labour needs new blood if it is to win back seats from the Greens. I intend to keep campaigning to change the Labour party. Eventually we will realise that 'safety first' will lead to the sort of massacre we endured in May. We need to take a gamble a be radically green. Even the Greens seem to be falling into the careerist self interested trap. Until we get that breaktrough that gets it a fair electoral system I despair. Things may have to get worse before they get better, but I live in hope.

    By the way, nice to see Burgess has some friends in the Lib Dems, pity they won't reveal themselves. What I say, I stand by and I don't insult people using cowardly anonymity.

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  22. Sven Rufus6/11/07 2:02 pm

    Goodness, this one has gone off in a rather unseemly direction! I thought I might come back in with a couple of observations for you Neil, regarding some comments you made about what Delia will be working on for the ward if she gets the nod.

    Regarding Parking - the scheme that you are looking forward to being reviewed is one your own party introduced. The Greens highlighted that there was a real risk of internal commuting, and that the larger zones would also lead to an increase in travel needed to find a parking space, thus wasting much time for residents and increasing the numbers of cars on the road, and putting more pollution in the air in Regency. The former point is the only thing the review is looking at - it is not going to change the zones, as this is not what Gill Mitchell wanted, so Labour stitched things up for the residents and lumbered them with this scheme in its current form come what may. As you say, voters should not be ignored in this way - but labour made sure they will be. As for the daily pursuit for a parking space, you should see my inbox, the numbers of people that are complaining about exactly what we predicted (half an hour looking for a space and a 20 minute walk home from it), concerns which Labour chose to disregard. I am working on finding a solution to this, but unfortuneately, due to the efficiency of the Labour machine, there is very little room for manouevre. What you may want to consider is that in the Environment committee coming up this Thursday, there is a proposal to cover the whole of the coty centre as an Air Quality Managment Area - effectively saying that there are too high levels of NOx and we need to find a way of tackling this. Forcing people to drive round and round in the futile hunt for some far flung parking space is not helping the problem. It was the Greens that lead on these issues, and our concerns have been borne out. Labour made a royal mess of this, and we all have to pay the price.

    As for the communal bins - you are re-writing history. Again it was Labour that started these plans off, not just the ones that are already in place, but the proposal to blanket cover the whole of the city centre - thanks are due to your very own Gill Mitchell for that. The fact that she found something to object to at the last Environment Committee meeting when her own plans came up for consideration is an example of the Machiavellian politicking that I hate so much. It is also worth mentioning that while the Greens and Labour were working on a joint amendment to secure the consultation on communal bins, it was us, the Greens that put in the section on consultation with the unions. Gill then took the amendment back and cut us out, not at all in the spirit of co-operation that we had been approaching the task. She then claimed that she would always have put in something about the unions but it is odd that she only thought of it when I suggested it. It was also the Greens that got the amendment for looking at the impact of communal bins on recycling rates, which Labour wouldn't accept. Hmmm.

    What were you saying about Labour being good for the residents of Regency? Still time to reconsider, we are out canvassing all the time, and you are welcome to join the one true representative party, that really has people interests at heart, not just the pursuit of party agenda. You see the Greens as 'misguided Labourites' - good Lord, no! My own view is that anyone still left in the Labour Party is either a Tory or a misguided Socialist.

    When I have more time, I'll come back and give details of why I profoundly disagree with your statement that 'Labour are the best party - simple as that!' and 'this has been the best Labour government ever!'. Interestingly, you will find (when I have the time) that my reasons for disagreeing are more or less the same as the ones you give for holding those views. As a taster, the line I will be taking is that you fundamentally misinterpret what has happened and what the effect has been.

    We must have that pint...

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  23. Sven, Unfortunately the closer a party gets to power the more machiavelians appear. I think they are found in all parties all over the world, especially the bigger ones. I also agree with you that there are people in the Labour party that seem very like closet Tories. Who knows? It wouldn't surprise me. I think all political parties need more mass membership to counteract this dishonesty.

    It was Labour that wanted blanket communal bins but in the end they backtracked and they were only rolled out in some streets and not in others. The difference this time is that despite knowing the strength of opposition in some streets, the Tories are going to bludgen it through everywhere. Labour didn't do this and recognised that some streets ought to be left unchanged. Overall, I would like to see communal bins in my street, but I get the impression I would be in a minority here and would have to respect that.

    I agree that Labour have been guilty of not listening, which is why they did so badly in May. On the parking issue, we in Regency (and here on my blog) strongly opposed the measure. Roy Pennington tried his hardest to get changes to the zoning but was foiled, much as you have been.

    I don't see how the communal bins will have much impact on recycling, but I suppose it is worth looking at. As for consulting the unions, I would have thought their interests might be different to residents, who should matter more?

    I think being a member of any party unfortunately seems to require some suppression of free speech. I have always been a maverick and took my chances but I know for instance even the 'perfect' Greens have expelled people. I know one guy expelled for writing a pamphlet 'how many greens does it take to change an ecologically sound lightbulb?' in reference to their difficulties in taking decisions.

    I look forward to your comments on how the Greens are going to get into government and deliver PR before I shuffle off this mortal coil. Definitely up for a beer sometime. Will send you an email.

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  24. As far as I know, the person you refer to who got 'expelled' from the party is still a member (as of 31/10/07 at least) - what actually happened was that he got removed from our email lists as he was pissing everyone else off so much that about half the members unsubscribed themselves to releive themselves of the burden of his ill-informed and aggressive missives. And anyway, wasn't he previously expelled from Labour. That's not to say that the Greens are perfect, far from it, but we can try.

    Communal bins reduce recycling as people have no incentive to sort waste into different streams. I've been told about, but not yet seen the evidence of, Jersey abandoning communal bins due to the adverse effect on recycling, so it is a big issue. Unions - yes they have different concerns from residents, and as a ward councillor as well as a member of the city council I want to represent the interests of the residents as well as those of the council's employees. I was just raising that to show how Labour doesn't really have anything more than a superficial (and financial) link to its Union roots anymore ("divesting themselves of such proletarian baggage when no longer needed." etc)

    I really am spending far too much time with you here - I just can't resist a good argument!

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  25. One more thing...
    I was wondering what your candidate for Regency was like as I have no experience of her and couldn't remember hearing anything about her over the last 4 years.
    I asked about a bit, and got this reply.
    "She was almost anonymous as a councillor. Nice woman and all
    that but seldom troubled the Argus typesetters. Toed the party line on
    everything as I remember"

    Perhaps Neil, you could help us out and tell us a bit about the woman hoping to represent the ward and what her political outlook is?

    Some specific questions -
    What are her views on the SAR?
    What were her views on Communal Bins?
    What were her views on the CPZ?
    What stance did she take on the stock transfer? (not a Regency issue particularly, but highly indicative)?
    Give us some background on her track record of achievements - she was there for at least 4 years, so what does she have to show for it?
    If she wins (which I obviously hope she doesn't, and don't expect her to either) I will have to work with her for the next 3 1/2 years, so it would be nice to know a bit about the character of the woman, what her priorities are, and how much common ground we may be able to find.

    Who is Delia Forrester?

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  26. Sven Rufus7/11/07 1:04 am

    And finally...

    I do wonder at the fact that you cheerfully acknowledge the faults of your local party, and admit that this is why Labour did so badly in May this year, while continuing to think that you can influence the national party. How can you change the national picture when the local one (where you might realistically expect to have some proper input) seems to be so out of control.

    Back in the days before the Labour movement really got going, there may well have been people using similar logic to your own now - "I won't have anything to do with the Labour movement, I'll stick with the Whigs/Tories and try to change them from within."

    Where would we be now if there hadn't been people of vision and courage prepared to stand up and say "Enough!"

    Labour isn't working (sic). Look to the future.

    I'm going to bed now...

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  27. Sven, thanks for your detailed comments.

    On Delia - Yes to school admissions lottery, Communal bins need careful consultation, yes to stock transfer, yes to review of CPZ. She also wants to see main building at Royal Alex saved from demolition. I think you will also find that even since May 2007, Delia has had several letters printed in the Argus, so she is hardly anonymous. How many have you had published? She campaigned on many issues when a councillor, particularly as she is a school governor and campaigned on housing and road safety issues.

    On communal bins, when it comes to a choice between a slight reduction in recycling and rubbish strewn on the street causing a health hazard, I think I would choose the slight drop in recycling. These things have to balanced.

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  28. Sven, From what I have heard this guy has also been banned from attending Green party meetings, as well as having his emails banned, so although he might still be a member - he has effectively been expelled from your party. As far as I know, he resigned from the Labour party and was not expelled. Maybe your actions are legitimate, but I use them to illustrate how party politics always suppresses views no matter what party you belong to.

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  29. Finally, to compare the Labour movement to the current Green movement is not a fair comparison. Labour is THE social democratic party and will always be the largest left of centre party. The Greens even under PR will not get above 10% at most nationally, this is demonstrated by what has happened in other countries throughout Europe that do have PR. While I think it is important to see the Greens represented in parliament (which is why i support PR) and they are a useful leftward/environmental pressure on some issues, they will always be a minority party with little influence.

    The answer is not to abandon Labour as the Greens have done, but to campaign within Labour. Like I say, if all the people in the Greens joined Labour - you could achieve a lot more of your aims a hell of a lot quicker - particularly PR. The Labour membership is roughly split 50/50 on this issue, with Green/Lib Dems in the Labour party we could get PR for Westminster.

    Yes, I admit faults with Labour locally before May, but I have never been so optimistic about the improvement that is taking place both locally and nationally. Talking to voters in Regency they are far more enthusiatic about Labour now than they were in May. As our candidate was the closest to the resigned Hermione in votes I suggest Delia has a great chance. I also think it is important for Labour to do well here to help Nancy Platts (who is an absolutely excellent candidate)at the next GE become Brighton Pavilion's MP and stop the Tories.

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