14 December 2007

Greens Hold Regency In Landslide: Full Results Here.

Well thankfully the Tories didn't win, but Labour were squeezed into third place with Labour supporters voting Green to keep the Tories out - Labour finished 21 votes behind the Tories and the Lib Dems absolutely collapsed (they actually held this seat six months ago!) nearly falling behind the hopeless Independent candidate - this is obviously very disappointing for Labour and Delia Forester especially but the national situation hardly helped us. One has to say congratulations to the Greens and Jason Kitcat on such a massive vote on a low turnout. The full results are as follows (May result in brackets);

Jason Kitcat (GREEN) 749 - 42% (34%)
Robert Nemeth (TORY) 397 - 22% (22%)
Delia Forester (LABOUR) 376 - 21% (21%)
Simon Doyle (LIB DEMS) 148 - 8% (18%)
Tony Davenport (B+H IND) 130 - 7% (5%)

Turnout - 24% (34%)


  1. Brighton has many animal welfare voters who are dismayed by the Labour governments failure to enforce the Hunting Act and now a possible cull of badgers to appease the farmers (amongst many other issues).
    Labour has sidelined its own supporters and is now paying the price.

  2. Well, after our exchanges earlier in this business, I thought I'd take a step back and let things go on. Now things are done and dusted and we can all get on with the work we have to do, I just wanted to say something quickly about the way this by-election has been run. Do you remember after the May elections congratulating the Greens and saying that we had run a good clean campaign? Thanks for that acknowledgement.

    I really wish I could say the same for Labour in this election. I cannot beleive the tone and quality of the output from Delia's team. Almost every leaflet displayed inaccurate information , childish behaviour, personal attacks. I am not hugely experienced in politics, but I was shocked and appaled by the negative strategy being pursued. I feel that the fruit of that tactic may have been reaped in the result, which was disappointing for Labour, but turn the voters off wiht a negative campaign, and it is no more than is deserved.

    You said earlier that you thought Delia was an excellent candidate. Well, what can I say. She showed very poor judgement in how to go for this seat, and showed herelf to be someone who would have been extremely difficult for me to work with if she had got elected. In fact, I have said to my colleagues I would have refused to work with her unless she had publicly apologised for the things that had been said and for the cynical attempts to mislead the electorate. If you still think she is a good candidate, then I'm afraid I have to question your judgement.

    Sorry to have to say all that - I waited till after the election, but really needed to get that off my chest.

    We wonder why people turn away from Labour, we wonder why there is a low turn out at this election - look to Delia and her team, there you may find an answer.

  3. Hi Neil

    I see that Sven got in before I did! - there's nothing much I can add really, but just to clarify - the Lib Dems didn't hold their Regency seat six months ago: they lost it to the Greens, as did Roy Pennington (Labour). We retain both seats, thanks to Jason's overwhelming vote last night.

    If you ever get it together with Sven for that pint, let me know; I think we have a lot of common ground between us, and plenty to discuss. I understand your stance with regards to remaining a Labour Party member, and sympathise with your desire to change things from the inside, but if I were you I'd be looking at my colleagues and thinking, "actually, I can't do this any more".

    It's not about winning, it's about principles and having the freedom to express and pursue political vision (without the fear of a whip, Gill Mitchell, or Steve Bassam). Allowing Greg Hadfield to run rampant across your election material was a serious error of judgement - voters were totally turned off by the vicious tone of your leaflets, and we reaped the benefits.

    There are a lot of good lefties in the Green Party, and personally I'd rather be a Socialist Green on the margins of the current political hierarchy than a Socialist Labour member who clearly struggles in his support for his own party.

    With best wishes

    Amy Kennedy

  4. The Greens won a seat? I knew Brighton was a left wing place but....wow!

    Ah well, good luck to them. I actually respect The Greens more than Labour or the Lib Dems.

  5. Amy - It was badly worded by me, the Lib Dems had a councillor here 6 months ago (thats if you could say Dawn Davidson was ever here that is), which is amazing considering their position now. That was what I was trying to say anyway.

  6. Tony Davenport14/12/07 7:18 pm

    I always love the positive spin you try and put on every Labour screw-up, Neil! So you're saying that loads of people who really support Labour are voting Green to keep the Tories out? Yes, it's a global conspiracy.

    Priceless ;)

    P.S. Please keep Greg Hadfield on the team - he's hilarious!

  7. Sven, Amy. It was a bad tempered campaign on both sides from what I observed - are you telling me the Greens have not thrived on negative campaigning against Labour? You are right, (as the voters have demonstrated), that Delia (although experienced) was not the right candidate for Labour. She was too much of the old guard and I had my doubts from the start. As you probably know I lost out to Delia in the selection meeting.

    I would have run a different campaign, although I think even Bill Clinton would have struggled to win here for Labour in the present climate (but hopefully I could have beat the nasty Tories). Although Greg Hadfield can be an abrasive character, his heart is in the right place. Can you point out in particular what has upset you?

    I am pleased Jason won and not the awful Tory candidate, and wish Jason the best in his endeavours for the ward.

    I will email Sven (need to dig out his email address which I seem to have misplaced) to see when he is next free for that drink. Cheers.

  8. Tony, love the anon leaflets! I don't need to put any spin on where you finished though do I? - The results say it all.

    Greg is a very funny guy! He had me in stitches last night. On seeing some Greens, he shouted 'I hope Jason is fit and well', 'well hope he is lasts longer than 5 months anyway'!. Greg is not always in the best taste, but he certainly has some wit about him.

  9. The latest leaflet from Delia was a diatribe, personal attacks on Jason, and repetition of flatly wrong information, which was a recurrent theme in her material. What riled me most (lately) was saying that Greens abstained on closing Vernon Gardens Resource Centre - not true. Our reps on that committee abstained on the recommendation to note the report, as they felt it was inadequate, but voted against (with Labour) the recommendation that closure was the only viable option. The fact that it got through only with the Chair's casting vote is acknowledged in an email I have seen from Ann Meadows, but even after this had been pointed out, the 'mistake' still appeared in leaflets. That is unacceptable. There are many other examples, too many to list them here, but we can chat about them at some point if you want.

    It is true the tone of the campaign did descend in an unfortunate direction, but with the garbage that was being printed about us consistently, we had very little option but to rebut it. I actually wrote to the Argus asking for all sides to calm down. Unfortunately Delia/Greg chose to ignore that plea.

    You call Greg abrasive - corrosive may be more accurate, but his influence on what happened is not the full story - Delia is responsible for what goes out in her name, and she is the one who needs to acknowledge her mistakes.

    I didn't realise that you had actually stood for selection, it is a shame that you didn't get it. Hope you have better luck next time round. Maybe the 'old guard' will learn from this error, but sadly, I don't share your misplaced faith in your ability to shape the party in the way you feel it should be going.

    To counter your argument somewhere else on this site, it is a shame that the radical elements of Labour don't up sticks and leave the party to join those that are really speaking for social justice as, if Labour lost all its membership to other parties, maybe then they would start to listen, to try to get people back into the fold. As it is, they take your subscription, cash the cheque and ignore you. Pressure from competitor political groupings nicking their vote is all that will make them pay attention to the changes that need to be made, and the longer you stay as a paid up member of the Labour Party, the longer it will be before we see true social justice for all.

    You can find my email from the council website, but it may be a bit of time till I can come out to play. Get in touch.

  10. Just seen a post that you put up while I was writing my last one. 'Greg is a very funny guy' you say before quoting him making fun out of Hermione's illness. This is back to where we started. You may not believe it, but it is very bad taste to mock the afflicted. Heart in the right place? Even if it were true, at best that comes across as one of those 'You had to be there' moments - not a display of wit. Pathetic! (Greg, not you)

  11. Tony Davenport14/12/07 7:56 pm

    Sorry Neil, you're barking up the wrong tree.

    I gather Delia even described the leaflet as "illegal"! For some reason I had 27 phone calls thanking me for helping people make their decision for the election.

    I did try and tell them it wasn't me. Oh well ;)

  12. Sven, Don't mean to be rude, but can we cut to the chase here. I have been told that a source in the Greens (naming no names) was very disappointed in Hermione. What that suggests to me is that her 'illness' is just a convenient excuse. I know (shock, horror aren't I 'orrible) and I have no evidence to back this up, but I simply don't believe it is illness that has caused her to resign. If I hadn't heard a rumour on day one that she didn't want to be a councillor, I wouldn't repeat these things here. I understand being a councillor is a hard job and I don't blame Hermione for resigning for that reason. Equally I understand how embarrassing it must have been for the Greens, who could hardly say anything other than 'illness' was ther reason.

  13. Neil

    I'm saddened that you appear to have been sucked into the Hadfield/Forester world-view. Hermione explained in her letters to the Green Party, B&H City Council and The Argus that she was standing down due to ill health and that indeed was the case.

    Hermione expressing surprise at being elected in no way indicates anything unusual. I was shocked to be elected the other night. After the Tories flooded the ward with activists on election day I had convinced myself they would squeeze through.

    Moving forward please let's debate policy - park & ride, home zones, planning, communal bins, and so on - not sling allegations.

    Labour's conduct in this by-election was appalling. I held Labour in much higher regard until this campaign. But the personal attacks, outright lies and misrepresentations put out in your leaflets, letters and hustings appearances showed Labour's desperation to win at all costs.

    Well there was a cost and it was turnout...

    I look forward to serving you and all Regency residents.

    All the best,

  14. Jason, I thought the nastiest part of the campaign was when the Tories had a go at you for courting the Polish vote - a clear attempt by them to tap anti-immigrant feeling. Nothing we said was anywhere near as nasty as that.

    There was mud-slinging on all sides (Green leaflets claimed a Labour councillor said we couldn't win here, without a name, this is just printing hearsay) but as for claims our leaflets were full of personal abuse, I see no evidence of that, examples please? The only point you can make is about Vernon Gardens - where you did vote against the closure (with Labour). The confusion was that you did abstain on another part of the proposals.

    Anyway, this is all water under the bridge, well done, you have extended your majority here and Labour clearly have a lot of work to do here over the next few years, which we intend to start right away. We have identified some solid support here that we intend to recruit into our membership.

    This argument (of Svens) that the Greens are ever going to be relevant here (let alone nationally when you only have 6,000 members) and you have no support in the Tory suburbs, support you would need to win.

    In Hove and Kemptown, Green voters will make the difference between having a Labour MP (which I am sure most Green voters would prefer) or a reactionary Tory MP. In Pavilion, hopefully the Tories cannot sneak through on a 4 way split (especially now the Lib Dems have collapsed) but we have to be careful.

    Caroline Lucas may have some of her furniture in one of Sue Paskins' rooms - so she can register here for a postal vote from Brussels and try to give an impression she has any sort of connection to Brighton, but her heart clearly lies in Brussels (her family are settled there) and Caroline has no intention of giving up her MEP seat unless she has already won here. From a personal point of view I can understand her. Who would want to give up a £100k job, but for the voters of Brighton Pavilion it shows a terrible contempt.

    Green ideology was summed up for me at one of the recent hustings, where I think there were more Green councillors than actual Regency residents. I think it was Amy Kennedy who talked seriously of having swipe cards on bins. Does she have any idea how much this would cost? And this level of surveillance from the party that opposes ID cards and CCTV. Preposterous, and then there are your ludicrous views on mobile phone masts - showing complete ignorance of the science. This is just a few reasons why I could never join the Greens. Labour will always be the largest left of centre party and if all you lot joined Labour we could get proportional representation.

  15. Jason, I thought the nastiest part of the campaign was when the Tories had a go at you for courting the Polish vote - a clear attempt by them to tap anti-immigrant feeling. Nothing we said was anywhere near as nasty as that.

    Typical Neil and one reason I left the Labour Party - it can be summarised as "yes we are awful, but the Tories are worse".

  16. Urko, I have visions of sounding like some Brummie Dick Emery..

    Labour are NOT awful, disappointing yes, but generally things have got better. Anyway, whatever way you want to put it, Labour ARE better than the Tories, do you deny this? When we only have a choice between these two parties, that is a very relevant point - why ignore it?

  17. My point is that it is a piss poor argument simply to say you're not as bad as the other lot. That (to use one of your favourite current terms) is pathetic in my opinion. Let's hear about policies and the real issues, not just that one party's slightly less shite than the other. Actually it's one of the things that most disappointed me about Blair - he promised not to get into that pathetic yah boo politics and then wound up doing exactly that.

  18. BTW - to do something you never do, and answer the question you asked me - Labour aren't as bad as the last lot of Tories we had in most areas, although they have been worse in a few. As to whether they are worse than the current crop - that is manifestly unknowable and sadly the only way to find out is to try them, since they're about as likely to honour manifesto pledges as any other party.

    We need electoral reform - one thing you and I agree on - although I don't go along with State Funding of parties beyond the very generous sums they already get.

  19. Neil

    If you can't see what in Labour's huge number of leaflets was questionable or false then that is very troubling.

    As for Caroline... Firstly, British MEPs are on the same package as MPs, their current salary is £60k not £100k as you might think. Secondly, nearly every single MEP has two home-bases, one in Brussels and one in their constituency. Caroline's UK base is a rented room in Brighton - an arrangement she made well before any of us knew about the Regency by-election. Using such a non-story to attack the Green Party instead of challenging us on policy is symptomatic of Labour's loss of integrity.

    Regarding the hustings - we had no idea how many residents would attend, but we circulated the details of the hustings to our contacts. That a number of Green councillors came out to support me is a sign of the humanity and care of Green politicians.

    Swipe-cards on bins was a suggestion tabled by officers I believe, and let's keep mobile phone masts for another day.

    You're kidding yourself if you think Labour are going to introduce electoral reform. Back in 1997 when Labour were riding high, with much higher membership numbers than today, the fudge on your manifesto pledge was begun. The Jenkins Review offered a poor compromise which Blair just stuck on a shelf. Once Labour are in opposition again though PR will begin to look attractive once more.

    All the best,

  20. Who would have thought that our green (in every sense) councillors have such thin skins? Particularly after their professional camopaign that pulled no punches.

    Which one of them wrote the Green Party flyer saying "This party is not funded by millionaires" (presumably only after making sure that Jason's banking family and friends had stayed away)? Is that a better joke than Labour's quips about Greens and a Kitcat being an unbalanced diet?

    The Green candidate started with the advantage of knowing beforehand that Hermione was going to resign. Against a difficult, to put it mildly, national background the Labour candidate did well to hold their May 2007 share of the vote. The Tory did very poorly in not increasing his share. And, as Neil said in his first post, the anti-establishment vote shifted from Lib Dem to Green.

    Let's hope, for Regency and Brighton's sake, that the Green councillors can now develop their expertise at electioneering into taking on the Tories. All the seats they have won so far have come from Labour or Lib Dems, thus splitting the anti-Tory majority in the city.

  21. I hope Sue Paskings will be paying income tax on the rent from Caroline Lucas.

  22. Peter, I don't consider myself a particularly sensitive soul, but I don't like liars. And when an 'error' in a statement that has been pointed out is then repeated, it becomes - in my view - a lie. Delia/Greg therefore lied about the Green stance on Vernon Gardens. It was not a misunderstanding Neil, the minutes are clear, we voted against the recommendation that dealt with closure as the only viable option, and to pretend otherwise continues to propagate the lie. You can label me Green by any definition of the word that you choose to, and I am happier to be associated with that than with the taint of Imperial Purple of Machiavelli's Princes that your mob have claimed for their own.

    I will get back to you with more details about the litany of complaints I have regarding the publications from the campaign, but in the interests of accuracy I want to have the file with all the leaflets in front of me, and I’m not sure where it is at the moment – the holder of that may have just gone on holiday. I am not going to duck the issue as it is clear cut in my opinion that a deeply cynical display of electioneering was witnessed from the Regency Labour team. If I’m sensitive about anything it is that the level of debate was debased so far and so unnecessarily.

    Coming back to Hermione – briefly. I first heard about her resignation on 22/10/07 at 15.11 in an email that began “By now you have probably heard of my resignation.” On the 23/10/07 at 15.18 Alan McCarthy (CE BHCC) wrote to all councillors telling them the news. Yes I was the first to know, but we had no more than 24 hours notice over the other parties. I guarantee that it was as much a shock to me and my Green colleagues as to anyone else – if not more so as we had no inkling of the problems for someone we worked closely with. I am not expecting you to believe me, as you seem to surround yourself with the disingenuous in your party, and so maybe don’t expect any better from anyone else, but it is a fact, we did not know before, and we haven’t heard any reason for the resignation other than ill health. It happens, get over it.

    Finally, we come to phone masts, which seems to be a recurrent issue for you. Are you aware that Celia Barlow has been campaigning against phone masts for health reasons? As has David Lepper. As I’m sure have many other Labour MP’s in support of their constituents concerns. I am not sure of the voting record of Greens on this issue, or of Labour, in our council, and I speak only for myself when I say that I too am unconvinced by the idea that there are health consequences of phone masts – but nonetheless, there is a great deal of public anxiety about this topic, and as an elected representative for the people of Regency, when constituents come to me with their concerns, I will represent those concerns. To do anything else is to abdicate my duties as a councillor. Why target the GP for their ‘ludicrous views’ on phone masts? What is our policy? More research needed, and respect the rights of local people to decide for themselves is the latest I can find. (Worth noting that relating to 3G masts a Dutch government study found that 3G mast output was affecting the ‘sensitive’ and non-sensitive alike.) Research is the basis for a sound scientific decision that you cry out for, so why argue with that? The precautionary principle until certainty exists would stand us in good stead in so many areas, as we advocate here. Meanwhile, what is Labour’s policy on phone masts? Umm…, good question. If you can find one, do let me know. They seem strangely silent on it.

    To be honest Neil, I’m beginning to wonder if it is worth going for this drink and a chat as you seem to have a spectacularly closed mind to any views other than ‘Labour = Good”. Where’s the discourse, where’s the objective critique gone? If you just want to back them, then fine, but don’t give as your reasons assumptions about others that appear to be as correct, if not more so, about Labour as about those you criticise.

    “There are none so blind as those who will not see” Open your eyes.

    All the best

  23. It's telling that of all the candidates, only Delia Forester didn't shake my hand. As far as I could see Delia and her agent, Greg Hadfield, had departed the scene already. Every other candidates had the manners and honour to shake my hand and congratulate - as I would have done if I had lost.

    As Sven points out, we had at most 24 hours additional notice over other parties of Hermione's resignation. Not exactly a giant lead.

    One of our leaflets had 'This leaflet was not funded by dodgy donations from millionaires!' - which was pointed at both Tories and Labour. The entire Green by-election campaign was funded by small donations from members, not millionaires evading tax or electoral law and none from my 'banking family and friends' (er... other than my now retired father, none in banking that I'm aware of!)

    I think our line rings more true (and funny) than Labour's polling day leaflet 'this election is a two- horse race -- and it's neck and neck'. Or another falsely implying I wanted a waste transit site in Regency, or that I wanted the new secondary school I've called for to be on the site of a primary school - I want research into potential sites. Another leaflet claimed Greens had failed to consult Regency residents on communal bins - patently absurd. I was the only candidate that bothered to go to the Environment committee to find out directly what was happening.

    An earlier Labour leaflet claimed 'Voting Green will help the Tories keep control.' How exactly? Only a Tory win would have done so - and as the incumbent party we were best placed to maintain the balance - as we have now done. Labour tried misinformation then by outrageously putting out leaflets stating that 'Labour came second here last May' WRONG! Roy Pennington (the Labour incumbent until May) came 3rd. Labour's overall vote share in May (and again now) put you 3rd. No maths can have you coming second in May when you didn't. It was a bald-faced lie to the electorate.

    Your leaflets also claimed we opposed the redevelopment of the Brighton Centre, wrong again we opposed the building of a casino to fund the centre. We did refuse to back Labour's plan to stop street-drinking because the proposed zone was too small and would have just displaced problem drinking - but that kind of nuance wouldn't have suited your output.

    There's nothing in our publications that I'm not completely happy with. We called Labour liars, inconsistent and dishonest - Sorry Neil, but all true.

  24. This is the problem with the Greens. They can't just win something but they have to push and push on petty issues which frankly shouldn't worry a victor. The Greens were not the victims of a dirty campaign here as they claim, and we all know only too well that they give as good as they get, if not more. Green Party lies are famous throughout the city. They love to claim a councillor doesn't work hard, or care about the environment or want to destroy the city's housing. But they can't take being challenged themselves.

  25. Mikethebiker17/12/07 1:10 pm

    Dear Anonymous (such a lovely name) You really don't get it, do you. I supported the Labour Party for most of my adult (and teenage)years. Unfortunately I realised pre Iraq that 'New' Labour and now 'New New' Labour have morphed into a political machine I really no longer understand in terms of who the Party represents (other than self serving cliques)or what it stands for. There are behaviours and attitudes (politically and financially)now accepted as normal in the Labour Party that the Tories would blush to admit to.

    All of the other parties in Regency apart from Labour. campaigned decently, Only Labour lied, twisted and spun consistently and this is completely in character with the national Labour Party. That is why people like me have left Labour for good.That is why what happened in Regency is important.

  26. The butter wouldn't melt in the mouth attempt by the Greens just won't wash.

    The Greens lie constantly, and enjoy nothing more than claiming all the credit in the world when they've no power at all. The Greens love to pretend to be different, but they are just the same, infact worse as they play this innocent trick.

    They are pretty unpleasant campaigners too, who target individuals who won't toe their line. Just ask Jean Spray, Simon Burgess or Ken Bodfish. They are dishonest beyond the other parties. Examples? How they always claim to be the only party fighting something, how they lie to get themselves out of a hole (eg. actually the Greens didn't consult on the bins in Regency whatever Sven says here) and have you actually met Keith Taylor? Nasty thug.

  27. Mikethebiker17/12/07 6:41 pm

    Dear Anonymous. Well yes indeed,your last comment is a shining example of how not to win friends and influence people. Perfect.Are you Alistair Campbell by any chance ?

    Sorry Neil, your website is fantastic and you seem like a thoroughly decent bloke but I'd be a bit worried about anonymous if he or she is a mate of yours.

  28. The Real Agent18/12/07 11:16 am

    Oh what a lovelt thread this has become; people constantly citing why they left the Labour Party (for which read 'i cant cope with us being in power'), back and forward sniping about content of leaflets (ignore it all equally) and total factual inaccuracy from the newest Green Councillor...

  29. i cant cope with us being in power

    Or perhaps it is that people can't cope with what you have done with the power. As an ex-Labour voter, I have had my share of Labour party activists abusing me for no longer supporting the party. They appear to think that I owe the party some 'loyalty' and should continue to vote for it even though I opposed the Iraq war and its authoritarian law and order stance. Wrong way around. I supported Labour becaue it appeared to support my civil libertarian principles. Now that it no longer does so, why should it expect to continue to receive my vote and subscriptions?

  30. Wow, lots of comments while I have been away. Sven, Jason, I think we have to remember that when it comes to policies - the Greens and Labour are still the closest. I think sometimes, the nastiest feuds are between parties with the least to distinguish them on policy.

    There are claims and counter claims here, I think you are right on some and being a bit disingenuous on others. For instance, it is splitting hairs to say Labour were not second here in May. Labour's Roy Pennington was, after the two Green candidates, the highest placed candidate, so therefore you could say Labour came second here. You can also add all the candidates votes together and show the Tories in second place (slightly). It depends how you want to spin it. The Greens obviously wanted to spin it one way and Labour the other. It is arguable who is right on this and definitely ridiculous to call it a 'bald faced lie'.

    There are some things on both the Labour and Green leaflets that I hopefully would have steered clear of if I had been a canidate, but in the heat of battle...

    As for Hermione, Jason and Sven's claims just don't make any sense. Surely if someone was ill enough to resign and you were working closely with them, you would have known more than 24 hours before? Couple this with, what I and many others knew on day one of her being elected, that she was not expecting to win and didn't think she could cope with being a councillor and also that some of her colleagues recently expressed disappointment in her. Her resignation then makes much more sense in that context. Of course It was politically expedient fpor the Greens to wait five months and announce 'ill health' rather than tell the truth (and from a party political point of view I understand that). It then however seems a bit rich to accuse Labour of lying or being nasty.

    On Caroline Lucas, she has only recently registered at Sue Paskins home. It seems pretty clear that she has no intention of having a proper home here, even if she won, she and her family would remain in Brussels. She is not willing to risk her job as an MEP, which shows no commitment at all to Brighton. As for MEPs salary, their basic salaries will be £80k from 2009 (which will be higher than MPs salaries) and add in the very generous expenses and it is easily a £100k+ a year job.

    As for mobile phone masts, precaution yes, idiocy no. If you want to campaign to get rid of masts, then first campaign to get rid of mobile phones and see how much support is out there. Should we indulge (and crucially reinforce) our constituents fears even if they are ludicrous? Shouldn't we try to educate? Maybe Lepper and others are ambivalent but Lucas really seems to make a big issue out of it.

  31. Hi Neil

    Your leaflets didn't say "a Labour candidate came second after the Greens" it just plain and simple said "Labour came second here" which is factually incorrect. If you had wanted to be accurate you could have been, somebody not familiar with the May result would have taken your leaflets to mean the Labour party as a whole placed second... which you didn't.

    There are many types of illness Neil, not all of them plain to the eye. I find it disturbing that you can so easily concoct a Green conspiracy in your mind.

    You are free to think whatever you will on Caroline. But I've never heard of producing a salary figure including all expenses and a planned raise 2 years from now. The current MEP salary is £60k and expenses include the costs of hiring staff, offices etc. Either way, what difference this makes to Caroline being the best candidate I don't see!

    If you're determined to twist everything we say then there seems little point in continuing our debates.

  32. Jason, The 'Labour came second' argument is arguable either way, and surely only a minor quibble anyway. Caroline Lucas's salary is not directly relevant to her ability to do the MP job, but was raised in the context of her lack of commitment to Brighton Pavilion (no intention of living here and saying she will prefer not to be a candidate here if the Euro elections are on the same day). Her salary in two years time is relevant because that is when the election is likely to be. At that time MEP salaries will be significantly higher than MPs salaries and MEPs have always had far more generous expenses (for instances being able to claim airline topfare figures while paying a budget price - on their frequent commutes around Europe this significantly boosts an MEP salary past £100k. I only mentioned salary because I said it was perfectly understandable for someone to prefer a £100k salary and a life in Brussels especially when her children were already settled in schools over there).

    As for Hermione, lets just say we prefer to disagree.

    Anyway, all the best and I hope no hard feelings. I honestly am not trying to twist what you say. Hope you and Sven can do well in Regency as councillors and congratulations again on winning. I'm sorry Delia didn't shake your hand, I agree that is not in the spirit of things.

  33. MikeTheBiker - "'New New' Labour have morphed into a political machine I really no longer understand"

    I can sympathise with large parts of this comment, but still realise that this is not about the Labour Party per se, it is about how we make progress and what is the best vehicle to achieve that progress. For all its disappointments (and there are many), the Labour party still offers opportunity for real progress (if enough of us can rise above our alienation, disgust even). Otherwise we might as well just give up and join the Tory (dating agency) Party.

  34. Mikethebiker20/12/07 10:56 am

    Neil,it is all about the Labour Party.

    I think progressive voters have to make a choice as to whether or not NLabour is the best home for their vote. I used to think it was. Now I know it isn't. It's as simple as that. Yes, I never want to feel the way I felt living under the Thatcher regime ever again and NLabour have some creditable achievements to be proud of but there is too much that disgusts me. Mr Blair gave me that Thatcher feeling again and then I knew I was voting for the wrong Party. I'm grateful to Tony for one thing, he made me realise that I didn't have to vote Labour if I really didn't want to. That was a very liberating moment as up until then I'd always felt 'Labour right or wrong, there is no alternative'
    The opportunities that were opened up for a working class boy like me pre Thatcher are no longer there. NLabour has done nothing to change that. I'm of the same generation as much of the current Labour leadership and having benefited from the social change their old Labour predecessors introduced they pulled up the ladder behind them and denied it to others. Just as Thatcher did. Then Tony decided to invade Iraq.......
    The Real Agent's comment is hilarious. I've lived under a few Labour governments but nothing as little England/Daily Mail/Murdoch friendly as this one.Another reason for progressive voters not to vote for NLabour. The Tories might get back in if we don't vote Labour ? Please, that argument is so tired and so anti democratic.
    I vote for positive reasons, not negative ones.

  35. MiketheBiker - "The Tories might get back in if we don't vote Labour ? Please!...I vote for positive reasons, not negative ones".

    But it still doesn't stop it being true. If you are happy to have a Tory government then don't vote Labour, but if you don't support the Tories, then not only vote Labour but join Labour...and make it better.

  36. Neil of course the reason why some vote Labour only to keep the Tories out is, that Labour went back on its 1997 promise to enable us to have a new electoral system. Unfortunately we are still stuck with first past the post - how ironic is that?