10 December 2007

Anonymous By-Election Leaflet

There is a by-election in Regency on December the 13th. I have recently...
received a leaflet from an 'anonymous' source, it was delivered at the same time as a leaflet for the Independent candidate.

It is actually an offence to deliver a political leaflet during an election without acknowledging the source and registering the expenditure. As the leaflet slags off all the candidates bar the Independent candidate, was delivered at the same time as the Independents leaflet, has the same script and is on the same type of paper - it isn't too difficult to work out who might be behind it.

The said candidate managed to muster a grand total of 57 votes in the election in May, coming in last place by quite a margin from his fellow Independent on 218 votes. I think this says a lot about what people think of him.

He is a well known pedant in the area, so I wouldn't think he doesn't know the law concerning this sort of behaviour as he frequently has something to say in the Argus on the smallest legal slip-up by others (made a big issue of someone calling themselves 'candidate' rather than 'prospective candidate').

Anyway onto the leaflets contents;

Some of the contents are quite informative - like the information that the Conservative candidate's address is actually listed as in Hove on the electoral forms despite claiming he lives in his own property in Regency ward. (As an aside couldn't believe what a stereotypical posh Tory he is - think 'Tim, Nice But Dim' but without the nice - got himself into a right pickle at the hustings tonight denying his Tory council leaders' support for underground car-parks and communal bins).

The leaflet also points out the Lib Dems' superb abilities with photoshop, their picture of their candidate with two 'campaigners' campaigning against post office closures have had their placards digitally altered to show the 'correct slogan' and the 'campaigners' appear again in the membership photo on the back. Also the Lib Dems promised people on the doorstep they would fight to save Ship St post office even after it had been closed!

The leaflet also claims the Labour candidate - Delia Forester, only spent 30 seconds at Vernon Gardens Resource Centre for a 'photoshoot', when she actually was inside and met the staff on the day in question. It also claims that 'much' of her last 35 years have been spent in Australia and not Brighton as she claims - the truth is she has spent just 7 years in Australia in total. Who would care about such minor details anyway is anybodies guess.

The whole leaflet is an exercise in 'anti-politics'. It is just a list of criticisms.
The first criticism is that none of the 'party' candidates live in Regency. While I am all for councillors living in the ward, I don't think it can be read that someone is a bad candidate just because they live just one mile outside the ward. One of the five Labour candidates up for selection against Delia Forester was from Regency and the Labour members who live in Regency voted for her - that is their choice - it is not like she was imposed from outside.

The next criticisms all stem around the fact that councillors stick to the party line and that even when they do vote against, it is all a con. I don't see how anyone can beat that sort of negative argument - we might as well all go and kill ourselves!

The idea being that only an independent candidate can be trusted to 'represent' the ward's interests whereas the opposite is in fact the truth. The problem with Independents is that nobody has any idea what their stance will be on the issues. Anyway it doesn't matter what decision a councillor takes, you will always upset some people in the ward. Should a candidate always go with what the majority think (generally this can be fleeting or ambivalent on most issues) or actually vote for what they believe in? At least with party politics you have an idea of what 'sort' of position they are likely to take. And who says you cannot be independent in a political party. I always cite Ken Livingstone at this point, a Labour politician through and through, who only reluctantly stood as an independent when Labour rigged an election to stop London Labour Party members electing him (something Blair later admitted he had got wrong). Of course Ken later was welcomed back into the party. The truth is, party politics is far from perfect and under this electoral system deeply dysfunctional but without it, we really would have no idea who we were voting for.


  1. Reminds me of one of our Indies. Following a rather heated budget setting Council session, he told one of my colleagues "If I'd known the Council was going to be all this politics stuff I wouldn't have stood".
    Scarily, we realised he meant it at face value too!

  2. In most cases I find Independents are just Tories in disguise and just as ignorant.

  3. Tony Davenport15/12/07 12:33 am

    Just so you can judge for yourself:

    Here is my letter to the Argus and here is Councillor Warren Morgan's reply, aptly proving my point - he fails to address the key concerns in my original letter over lack of powers for PCSOs and just comes back with more spin. The fact is that in the last few years the amount of needlessly duplicated paperwork has increased - ask anyone at Sussex police and they will tell you. It is this which is keeping the bobbies off the beat, but rather than hire administrative staff to deal with this, the Government come up with PCSOs, or "clockwork coppers" as many in Sussex Police call them. Some of them are even as young as 16. I don't consider this an acceptable substitute for the genuine article.

    And Neil, haven't you gone to great lengths regarding a leaflet that you seem to feel has no effect on anything, or indeed myself as a person you describe as "hopeless"??!