Category Archives: Liberal Traitors

Is the Green surge meaningful?

Scrapper Duncan's cartoon of Jason Kitcat waving an apocalypse button around in Brighton Town Hall (c) March 2014

Jason Kitcat in his dreams

The big political news last week in the UK was that the Green Party was recruiting more members than any other party, by a country mile. They are said to have overtaken the Liberal Democrats in overall numbers and not be far behind UKIP. If ever there was a sure indicator that British politics is in for a big change, it is the sudden decision of lots of previously non-political people to actually join a political party. UKIP had a similar surge earlier in the year. They’ve been joined by lots of old people previously disinterested in politics. The Greens have been joined by lots of young people who are just entering the political arena for the first time.

I’ve been a Green Party member on and off for the last ten years. (I’m currently not.) My ex-wife talked me in originally. The on-the-ground politics of the party talked me out. I rejoined when Caroline Lucas got elected and left again when ‘her’ local councillors appeared to be unable to consistently endorse progressive political values. Brighton & Hove City Council’s Green leadership lacks a majority on the council but it also lacks moral backbone. Their leader, Jason Kitcat, has privatised part of his local NHS, provoked the classic political disaster ~ a refuse collector’s strike ~ and generally been about as right-wing as a Liberal Democrat. His old party, in fact.

The Greens are using the surge in their membership to argue that they have become a major party and should be included in the national leaders’ debates on telly. Ofcom and the broadcasters decide who is a major party. The test the Greens must pass revolves around the number of votes they can muster, not the number of members they can collect.

When I first joined the Greens I argued that the party should set massive membership growth as one of its key targets. The local activists were mystified as to why. They’re not now. It is well known that there are only a certain number of would be political activists in each generation. If they join one party instead of another, they shift the parameters of the debate towards that party. Double our membership and swing the debate, I said. We don’t think so, they said.

This isn’t about me, it’s about the Greens. We live in a society in which many people regard clicking on a like button or signing a petition as active community involvement. Thatcher’s children are not self-employed business people, they are passive consumers. The question is whether all these new members intend to become political activists or whether they are happy to blindly support what their new found political leaders say, for a while? I hope it is the former. I hope they get stuck into policy decisions, turn up to meetings and express their views. Only then will the Greens’ reactionary members be overcome. Currently they run the roost and Caroline Lucas is little more than a figurehead for change.

I’m worried my MP is working too hard

Scrapper Duncan's cartoon of Caroline Lucas MP (c) April 2014

Saint Caroline

I live in Brighton Pavilion and Caroline Lucas is my member of parliament. As a politically active citizen, sorry, subject ~ we’ve still got a monarchy ~ I would like to be able to ask her to support various campaigns and vote according to my wishes. Trouble is, I don’t have to because her politics are virtually indistinguishable from mine and she’s already on the case. She works so hard for me that I’m becoming worried about the inevitable effects on her personal life. Does she even have time for one?

How many of us can joke about that? How many of us can be sure that our political representatives actually turn up at the places we’ve elected them to? Almost all Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs comply with a parliamentary scam known as ‘the pairing system’. Under this scheme, organised by the party whips, MPs intending to vote in opposite directions need not attend. That’s why the House of Commons is so often empty when it shown on television.

Call me old fashioned but I think people should turn up to work at the place they’re paid to be in. They shouldn’t be swanning around the world of business lunches and soaking up lobbying junkets. That isn’t genuine political work, it’s self-aggrandisement. My MP works every weekend. Remember her getting arrested at an anti-fracking protest in Balcombe? That was on a Sunday! She was acquitted of all charges, by the way.

Elections to the European Parliament are run on a party list system, which means that the parties select candidates in order of their priorities and we just vote for the party. Members of the European Parliament are elected according to the proportions of votes cast for their parties and their place on their party list.

If I was an employer considering who to give a job to, I would want to know whether the candidates were:

  • qualified for the post
  • reliable
  • able to get along with others
  • hard working

Before you vote for your preferred party in Europe, ask yourself whether they tend to respect international law and enforce sanctions against breaches of it. The Labour Party is damned on this front, with war criminals in its ranks. Have they previously chosen candidates which didn’t stick to their manifesto promises or are they unreliable? Obviously, the Liberal Democrats score very badly here. Parties which persistently ignore their European colleagues and show active disinterest in European affairs are unlikely to secure alliances across the borders. That ruins the suitability of the Tories. Do they persistently just claim expenses and complain from the sidelines? That’s UKIP stuffed.

I’m voting Green. I’m not a party member, before you ask. They’re not perfect but they’re a whole load better than the alternatives. This is the European Parliament we’re getting ready to elect, not a glorified seaside town council. It is stuffed with Greens from other countries. We’ll be electing more to join them, to work with them, to make Europe a greener, positive and constructive economy.

Is the UK going to watch Ukraine fall under Russia’s shadow?

Last night the Ukrainian authorities moved in on the protest camps in Kiev. This wasn’t an orderly eviction, along the lines that you could expect in a civil society. The majority of the injuries treated at nearby hospitals were from police grenades. The dispute between the protesters and the government is very simple. The issue is whether Ukraine moves closer to joining the European Union or whether it falls under Russian influence.

25 people were killed overnight. We’ve all seen plenty of footage of Ukrainian police officers repeatedly kicking and beating people lying on the ground. We’ve seen the wounds received by those tortured. We’ve seen the bodies. What haven’t we seen?

Over here in the UK, we haven’t seen our government complaining about the lack of democracy in Russia, we haven’t seen our government fighting for human rights, we haven’t seen either David Cameron or Nick Clegg making conspicuous public complaints to the Russian ambassador. Instead we’ve seen the Tories consistently campaign against the EU and against human rights. We’ve seen the Liberal Democrats support them in government.

Say you found an honest Liberal Democrat and I’ll call you a liar

Dearie, dearie me. What a mess. The man who was nearly Deputy Prime Minister but for a possibly lost sack of post, is now wondering how mean his sentencing judge may be feeling. Whilst others wax lyrical about the political fallout of it all, surely we turn to asking ourselves, can you trust a single Liberal Democrat? Looking at them, you can see why the World’s Biggest Liar competition bans politicians (and lawyers). Are we to believe that no other Liberal Democrats also knew about Huhne’s little secret? Do they not talk to one another? Buy favours, play politics? Did none of them know about this? All of them knew about the tuition fees. Here’s a political party led by people who break promises and populated by liars.

Now here’s an idea. Obviously the odds on them not getting a single MP at the next election are going be pretty good. Let’s all start betting on that. Once the odds shorten, the idea will kick everyone else into the idea. That’s gotta be a good wind up. The entire country betting on you losing everything, because they reckon you’re useless and some people can take a quick hit out of you.

*pops down bookies* #0LibDems

Political safari tours in Brighton & Hove

Brighton & Hove has such an unusual political voting pattern that a local bus company has started urban safari tours with a guide pointing out the huge variety of political animals living in or visiting the city to feed. These animals are so self-obsessed that there’s no need to sneak up on them, even approaching in a bright yellow bus won’t even startle them. For £9, a tourist to Brighton & Hove can be shown the sights of the town and receive a political education too!

Yesterday, I took one of these tours, at the personal invitation of The Big Lemon Bus Company‘s managing director, Tom Druitt. Our first major sighting was outside the Grand Hotel, where there was a large flock of animals who appeared to have all the markings and behavioural traits of Conversatives. There were there the BMWs, Jaguars and the occasional roller swinging by the entrance to pick them up. There were the golf club jackets, the top buttons tightly done up, the greying hair and the complete lack of mobile phones or other digital paraphernalia. Particularly odd, for the animal kingdom, was the way in which the females always went first through any dangerously narrow opening. Unfortunately, there were so many of them that it was difficult to capture any classic single poses photographically. After half an hour or so, our initial excitement faded and our tour guide decided we should move on. It wasn’t just species we were after but famous individual beasts.

Mary Mears in a good light

Mary Mears in a good light

Then, just as we were pulling away, we spotted Mary Mears, the Conservative Party councillor for the Rottingdean Coastal ward. Here she was in her natural element! Surrounded by her own kind, her appearance was very different from her cuddly publicity shots. Snarling and shaking, she parted the crowd as if she were a human being and they were lazy pigeons who couldn’t be bothered to fly away. They just shuffled off to the side as the puffed up Ms Mears walked amongst them, spittle dribbling from her mouth. She looked like she was on a hunting trip and hungry for a fresh kill. I pity the poor animal that she attacked next although my more sensitive readers can be assured that she is never victorious. The injured victim of her mauling can usually walk away and go for a pint afterwards.

Brian Stone - is he biting his lip or his tongue?

Brian Stone – is he biting his lip or his tongue?

Next our bus swung up the hill into Regency ward, where Brighton & Hove’s Liberal Democrats were last spotted several years ago. Whilst I have argued that they are extinct, others are not so sure. Definitely, they have at least two members left but they certainly can’t boast any electoral success in this city. Liberal Democrat voters have taken to either voting for another party or keeping bloody quiet about their preferences at the ballot box. Finding any of them would be tough. Armed with our spotters’ guide, we scanned the streets for anyone matching its description: well dressed in blue, skulking and looking close to death. Just as we were about to leave Regency, our eagle-eyed driver spotted Brian Stone, the local Liberal Democrat chairman! He was engaged in urgent conversation with someone by a communal bin. We piled out of the bus to photograph them together but the elderly woman he was talking to turned and ran away as soon as the cameras came out.

Dawn Barnett does not vote Labour

Dawn Barnett does not vote Labour

Our bus travelled to the farthest western edge of the City’s political boundaries, into a Labour stronghold. Our spotters card warned that Labour Party members could neither be distinguished from the general population by sartorial means nor by any easy to identify behavioural traits. Yet we were assured that there are still plenty of them about. Our guide explained that of all the political animals in these parts, the Labour Party member is the most fanatically tribal. Basically, they do whatever their local leader, Gill Mitchell, tells them to do, think whatever she tells them to think and say whatever… you get the idea. As we approached Hangleton and Knoll ward, someone spotted Dawn Barnett (a Tory) and mistook her for a Labour politician. It is an easy mistake to make. She appeared to scowl at us but, our guide assured us, she was probably just expressing her disgust with our vehicle, which appeared to her as some form of public transport.

Jason Kitcat lives in Brighton but was born in Shiny Shiny Land

Jason Kitcat lives in Brighton but was born in Shiny Shiny Land

Back in central Brighton, there were so many obviously Green voters that we couldn’t even count them. St Peter’s and North Laine ward has the highest concentration of Green voters in the world. The bus parked up and we ventured out on foot amongst them. Self-obsessed and promenading as if it was about to become an Olympic sport, they didn’t even notice us. We photographed away to our heart’s content. Then we spotted City Council Leader Jason Kitcat and his wife Ania, both councillors, strolling along in the street, as if they had invented the concept of romantic love. We surrounded them and demanded photographs. They were very obliging until we asked where their Apple products were and whether there was any form of contradiction between conspicuously sporting the over-priced products of one of the flag ship companies of the corporate world and preaching a socialist ethic? Suddenly they had to go off to some “council business. I got the impression that Mr Kitcat was ready for the argument but what really irritated them was the chap in the golf jacket asking if he could his head in Ania’s mouth whilst holding a tiger whip he had brought along on the tour.

Finally our tour went over to East Brighton, another Labour stronghold, in a last ditch attempt to find a genuine Labour politician instead of Tories masquerading as them (Or, is it the other way around?). We were disappointed. We had hoped to see Gill Mitchell herself, who is reportedly so fearsomely controlling that sometimes her own members have to ask Green councillors for details on forthcoming votes. Despite touring the ward extensively and even making enquiries on foot, we were disappointed. Then our driver had a brainwave! They’re probably all having lunch at the Bassam Mansions, so called because Steve Bassam, lives there and also because of its enormous size. He must have the grandest house in his neighbourhood. We didn’t see anyone there, although the lights were on in the late afternoon. Even a brave soul playing knock down ginger couldn’t get a response.

After the tour I chatted to Mr Druitt about the animals that got away. Apart from Labour, we hadn’t seen any UKIP activists, I pointed out. “That’s because there aren’t any around here. None whatsoever, he told me. Would his company be introducing similar tours elsewhere? “We’re a local bus company, for local people.

The eclectic mixture of tourists on the bus would seem to contradict that. They were all from other, more politically boring parts of the country, such as Worthing, Eastbourne and Burgess Hill. Save myself, none were local, which is ironic really. Despite all their enthusiasm for filming themselves with the most exotic of political animals, little did they realise that the wildest beast was on the bus beside them!

Shit block tests

It is the morning after a monstrous party, called to celebrate something truly momentous, such as the turning of the year. You’ve woken up, you’re feeling rough, you struggle towards the bathroom. Once inside, with the door locked, you drop your trousers, examine the wounds and sit down on the cold porcelain and drop alcohol infused excrement into the pan. You flush. You sit there for a while, wondering why cold kitchen floors are so nice to lie on part way through a party. After checking twitter, you wipe and get up to wash your hands and clean your teeth.

Then you notice the dirty orange shit, which has somehow escaped the waste water. It has stuck to the rim of the bowl. It looks and smells disgusting. Unable to imagine what you could have consumed which would be capable of producing something of that complexion, you stare at it. Then you realise the truth of the situation. You have to roll up your sleeves and clean it off by hand. Gross. During this time, images of Nick Clegg repeatedly appear in your mind’s eye. Why?

This is the excremental version of Rorschach’s famous ink blot tests. As with the now legendary psychiatric tool, it isn’t something you undertake gleefully. There are no right and wrong answers. It is merely an interpretative stool. How your own shit makes you think about politics, reveals much about your political perspectives.

If you’ve never woken up at an irregular hour with a sore throat and an unexpected limp, if your life is a regular as a clock maker’s finest instrument, if you are fundamentally boring, you will have missed out on this crucial political tool. Not to worry! I’ve created an artificial version for you. Below are five photographs of human shit. Have a good look at each on in turn, jot down which political parties they remind you of and say why. Answers in the comments form please.

Shit Number One

Human shit

Shit Number Two

Human shit

Shit Number Three

Human shit

Shit Number Four


Shit Number Five


human shit

I make no apology for having posted something so repulsive. I’m here to help! Help you work out what you really think about politics in the UK today. If, after gazing at these pictures, you’re not having any political thoughts, please seek medical attention. There’s got to be something badly wrong with you. For the rest of you, I look forward to hearing your answers.

Two weeks left for two horse race: the East Brighton by-election

There are two weeks left for campaigning in the East Brighton by-election, which was triggered by the resignation of a Labour councillor due to ill health. Despite being one of the safest Labour seats in Brighton & Hove City Council, the various neighbourhoods which comprise the ward are now festooned with Green Party posters. I’ve been pleasantly surprised how much enthusiasm there is on the doorsteps for the Greens, despite or perhaps because of the wall to wall negative campaigning mounted against us. Although it is well known that negative campaigning turns off voters from politics, only the Green Party is committed to avoiding it. Our campaign has been relentlessly positive, in keeping with our strict strategic policy in this regard. Our candidate, Carlie Goldsmith, is a local lass and a formidable champion for the area. She is proving popular with the electorate up and down the hill and is giving the Labour candidate, Chaun Wilson, a very close run for her money. Much will depend on how many people physically campaign on the doorsteps for either Labour or the Greens. Although a win for Carlie Goldsmith wouldn’t just overturn the proverbial apple cart ~ it would actually destroy it ~ that now looks like a distinct possibility. However, nothing is certain and two weeks is a lifetime in politics. Labour know the seat is theirs to lose. They know that its loss would mark the beginning of the end of them locally, so they are throwing everything they’ve got into the campaign. On the first day of campaigning proper they bragged on twitter about mustering over 40 canvassers onto the streets. In recent days they haven’t been spotted at all but doubtless they’ll rally in the remaining days. They have to.

There are four other parties contesting the ward. The Tories selected 18 year old Joe Miller, whose campaign seems to play at politics and poke fun at people, rather than take matters seriously. Why else would he pose as Lord Lucan or be photographed standing on the sidelines? We’re yet to see a single Tory poster appear in East Brighton. Bless.

The Liberal Democrat’s campaign has been also been marked by an attempt at humour, of the dark and twisted variety. Incredibly, given recent national events, they’ve managed to recruit a first year economics student from Sussex University as their representative. Dominik Sokalski has made the absurd claim that only the LibDems can challenge Labour in East Brighton, as if he is completely ignorant of any local issues, recent history or anything else much. Perhaps someone should explain to him that the best way to win an argument is to make one which can actually stand up? There are no Liberal Democrat posters in the ward.

UKIP has field a candidate too. Sabiha Choudhury can’t boast any posters, let alone a website, a picture, a campaign or… anything at all. She has form for electioneering at the bottom end of serious politics, having previously stood in St Peter’s & North Laine in 2011 where she polled as many as 134 votes. Of course, UKIP doesn’t really campaign to win elections. It’s purpose is to split the Tory vote and thus obtain leverage with their mothership to change its policy instead. This strategy has reportedly paid some dividends lately, with Tory party strategists becoming increasingly concerned about the number of seats they will lose because of votes lost to UKIP. Presumably, the point of standing in East Brighton is purely to remind the Tories that they haven’t gone away yet.

Finally, bringing up the rear is John Redford for the Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts. This is a splinter from the Labour Party; it is funded by one of the trades unions which has finally lost its rag with its traditional political outlet. Mr Redford and company must be congratulated for their enthusiam, if not their acumen. They have been spotted hard at work, going from door to door, just outside the ward of East Brighton. One of my Green Party comrades asked what they were up to and was informed that they were fighting a by-election. Taking pity on them, he told them that they were actually outside the voting ward. They insisted that they were not. Working out the ward boundaries has got to be the most basic political skill imaginable. It’s difficult to see how they will make much of an impact if they don’t actually understand which voters they wish to talk to.

How good are the leading candidates for Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner?

Here in Sussex, there are three leading candidates in the election campaign for the newly created post of Police and Crime Commissioner. In the last couple of weeks, I interviewed them all, at length. Firstly, I spent four hours grilling Ian Chisnall and then another hour debriefing him. He bills himself as the only independent candidate of any quality. Everybody else bills him as an Evangelical candidate, whatever that means. Secondly, I travelled to Hastings to meet the Labour Party candidate, Godfrey Daniel. He tried to distance his campaign from his party, trotting out the usual rhetoric that he was very much his own man. Lastly, I interviewed Katy Bourne, the Conservative Party candidate who aped Mr Daniel by trying to claim that she didn’t feel like a politician.

What is it with politics these days? Has the whole enterprise become so tarnished by sleaze, fiddling and broken promises that literally anyone entering its arena feels obliged to flag up their presence as that of a gatecrasher? Can’t those who seek to rule us do better than to bad mouth the very idea of the democratic system that we live under? None of these candidates called for reform of the system. Expressing distaste for a newly created job you are seeking to get lacks credibility if you don’t know how to improve it.

These are the three leading candidates for one simple reason: the Green Party did not stand a candidate. That was in keeping with our party’s policy that politicisation of the police was unnacceptable but money played a big part in the decision. Police and Crime Commissioners cannot be poor. Labour’s candidate has had his deposit paid by his national party. The Tory candidate is, well, a Tory candidate: however she has raised the money, it is not surprising that it can be afforded. The Tories have never been short of a few bob. The leading independent candidate refuses to say where he got his money from, save to say that it came from various unnamed individuals. Having already gone extinct in Brighton & Hove, The Liberal Democrats are facing political armageddon in Sussex as a whole, as a result of their national disgrace. There are claims that they will be standing a candidate. They’ve got form in the South for being caught by surprise by elections. Candidate or not, the race has begun with the Conservative Ms Bourne expected to win, Labour’s Mr Daniel fighting an impressive rear guard action and Mr Chisnall playing the wild card, apparently relying on the quiet network of church action groups.

Ian Chisnall’s interview revealed him to be hopelessly ill-prepared for the task at hand, whether or not you agree with my analysis of the manner in which his religious views inform his attitude to community relations (27th paragragh here in interview with Chisnall). I accept that there are some people who think that I was wrong to highlight his emotional outburst and comparison between the divide of straight/gay to the divide between faith/secular. However, the rest of the interview reveals him as a weak candidate. It is, as the estimable @huxley06 said, hands over the eyes stuff.

She sits on Sussex Police Authority, by the way. I’ve never met her but you hear lots of kind words about her from across the political spectrum. To answer her question, yes, my report of the interview was scrupulously accurate. Whilst writing this I read through some tweets about it. One twitterer suggested that I would burn in hell. Another claimed (around about 3pm yesterday) that he was walking up John Street to make a complain to Sussex Police about me inciting religious hatred. Mr Chisnall himself declared that he would not be making such a complaint but sidestepped the question of whether the interview did incite such hatred. Guess he’s got to keep the church brigade on side, at the very least. Despite being pointed to the published interview in advance and then directly asked, twice, a couple of days later whether he felt that he had been misquoted, he asked for more time to consider the question.

Ian Chisnall doesn't know whether he has been misquoted or not.

Why can’t Mr Chisnall answer this simple question? Click to enlarge.

Looking at his interview as a whole, it becomes obvious that he hasn’t anything like the experience or political wisdom to take on a job of this calibre. He admits to having done very little grass roots campaigning, persistently wanted to talk off the record during the interview itself, hypocritically claimed that he was sharing his draft manifesto with political parties to seek their advice on it and subsequent support whilst publicly claiming to be free from political influence, wasn’t familiar with the job description, had used potentially misleading imagery on his website, declared that a peace campaign group committed crimes without specifying what, had used the occasion of a fascist march as a photo-opportunity for his campaign and wants to hand part of the job of policing to the Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Of course, that is a crude summary of the 4,921 words I wrote covering his interview. However, it covers the main points. Mr Chisnall’s claim to be a serious candidate must be severely doubted, unless he can shape up his act fairly rapidly.

Mr Daniel was a whole different kind of beast. He was unafraid to upset his interviewer’s preferences, which is always a sign of a fellow who knows what his agenda is. He neatly stepped between declaring his politics and the line of leaving operational decisions to the police without appearing to confuse those issues. More importantly and unlike Mr Chisnall, he was ready for the financial reckoning. He was warm, hospitable and robust at the same time. I had concerns about some of what he said. The most worrying aspect of the interview was that he had adopted strong and hostile attitudes to Lewes Bonfire, despite not apparently understanding either the roots of or the machinations in that rebel tradition. Unless he makes a public statement changing his attitude to this I doubt I could stomach voting for him. Losing the disaffected LidDem voters in and around Lewes could well scupper his chances. For all their political errors, they have been very active Bonfire Boys and Girls.

Ms Bourne was, in my humble opinion, a weaker candidate than Mr Daniel but not as embarassing to listen to as Mr Chisnall. Despite only giving me a little less than an hour to interview her, we covered plenty ground. During that time, she was fuzzy about the details of practically everything I asked her about with two notable exceptions: the question marks over her own selection process and the cash budgets. Perhaps she had been challenged in those areas many times already? She confused the issue of whether a new law should be emphasised, for the sake of seeing it enforced properly, with the political merits of it being enacted in the first place (4th paragraph here in her interview). That begged the question as to whether she understood the nature of the job of Police & Crime Commissioner at all? As if to prove her claim that she wasn’t much of a politician, she risked outraging the Tory heartlands in the Sussex Weald by arguing that there could be different enforcement regimes for illegal drugs, according to local ‘needs’ and noting that the public in Brighton have a liberal attitude to people taking drugs. Can you imagine any serious Tory politician saying anything like that on the national stage? Most absurdly, she blamed the Green administration in Brighton & Hove for a fascist and racist organisation holding a march in that City, even though the march’s first outing predated the Green Party winning power. It sounded like she was parroting the talk of the Tory backrooms without actually checking the facts first. Sussex had more candidates seeking to become the Tories’ official choice than anywhere else in the country, presumably because the post was regarded as an utterly safe seat for that party. You might think that such intense competition would produce a top notch candidate. Certainly, that’s what Tory philosophy trumpets. If Ms Bourne is the best candidate they can produce, they are in bigger trouble than any of us previously imagined.

Since publishing these interviews, I am now being pursued by other candidates who wish to submit to my examination. They should contact me on twitter. I’ve said that publicly, more than once, but still they submit their phone numbers in comments on various blog posts of mine. Anything submitted there may be published. I hope they were publicity numbers anyway. I will interview the others, if convenient arrangements can be made and they can demonstrate that they are serious contenders.

There is some low talk in Sussex of simply spoiling our ballot papers. No-one wants this election, least of all the candidates. Everyone expects a low turnout. Many expect the post to be abolished after the Tories lose the next general election. We could encourage its abolition and a return to a properly non-political police force by spoiling our ballots rather than just not bothering to vote at all. As to how to spoil, that is very much up to the spoiler. Spoilt ballots are counted, so they do have influence, but they are not divided into categories. That said, I’ll be writing a very particular name on the ballot paper, with own big fat marker pen which I’ll take along for that purpose. The name? Guess!

Hosting national conference overwhelms Brighton Liberal Democrats

It’s official ~ the Liberal Democrats cannot manage more than one task at a time. That’s what their Brighton party twitter account said yesterday. Allow me to explain. A few weeks ago, a Labour Party councillor in the East Brighton ward resigned his seat, due to ill health. Mr Turton was a much respected councillor and although he won the lowest of the three sets of winning votes in that ward, his successor will nonetheless inherit what is genuinely a safe Labour seat on the City Council.

The Liberal Democrats became politically extinct in Brighton & Hove some time ago. All the same, a few remnants have struggled on, rather like the small casts in 1980s TV post-nuclear-holocaust dramas. Presumably they hope to evolve into some kind of long lasting niche, much as the birds outlived the dinosaurs. Unlike our feathered friends though, the local LibDems lack any obvious signs of the survival mechanisms required by modern political life. At the very least, politicians must appear to know what is going on. Even those right out on the edge of the world know where its centre lies and understand how to react to it. Thus, Paul Perrin is aware of local events and keen to react quickly to them. He’s the only known local living member of UKIP. He may just sit by his computer desk day and night (mostly, it seems at night) but at least he puts his foot in the picture. Bless.

Compare and contrast the political acumen of the Brighton Liberal Democrats with those that used to flatter them by calling them political opponents. All of us, regardless of party persuasion, realised that there would be a by-election in East Brighton as early as 7th September 2012. That’s because we perform the simple duty of keeping abreast of events. That is the date on which Mr Turton announced his resignation. Unfortunately, the LibDems were caught completely by surprise: they didn’t realise that there would be a by-election until ten days later. Incredibly, they refused to announce their candidate until the official deadline had passed.

Were they worried about not managing the nomination process properly? They’ve got form for that. In April of this year, the LibDems in Crawley messed up the formalities of standing for office so badly that they failed to stand any candidates at all! Apparently they couldn’t manage to complete the forms properly in time. Candidly, they explained their failure to get onto the ballot papers by confessing, “we are a small party who are amateurs…” as if that is some kind of acceptable excuse. Leaving the thieving Tory bastards to one side, almost all political activists are unpaid. It’s part of the territory. You pitch for office on the basis that you offer a more professional service than your competitors. If you can’t manage to nominate yourself according to the modest requirements of the law, you probably can’t manage anything much.

In the light of this sort of difficulty tripping up a nearby branch of the LibDems, perhaps we should not be too surprised that they stood a candidate in the upcoming by-election but forgot to give him any policies to stand with! That’s exactly what happened. Definitely, that wins the prize for the most meaningless political campaign of in recent times. Yesterday, I decided to ask them when they would announce their policies for this challenging ward election.

The sort of question that most politicians would simply ignore

I did not expect an answer. Click to enlarge

Of course, I was just having a bit of fun at their expense. I was on my way to interview Godfrey Daniel, the Labour candidate in the election for Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner. The train was noisy and there was a bunch of Greenpeace recruiters illegally selling ‘membership’ to an unemployed druid nearby. All those links are to my live tweets of the incident, should @greenpeaceuk ever get around to replying to that thread. Without wanting this to become too much of a digression, various other people pitched into the tweetcussion on the subject: Graham K Smith (@emerpod, whom I don’t know), Commuterist (@commuterist, whom I know IRL), the estimable Emma Daniel (@huxley06, whom I haven’t yet met IRL but expect to sooner or later) and RichardL (@lindleyrichard, whom I’m not sure whether I know IRL or not?), who asked the proper authorities and appeared to confirm that this was indeed illegal selling. It was difficult to concentrate on my interview planning with all that nonsense going on, so I took a break by teasing Clegg’s crowd instead. As by way of further proof that they have lost the political plot altogether, they replied with this surprising remark.

Liberal Democrats confess to being unable to fight by-election during their national conference

Is this a spoof? Click to enlarge.

In the words of a famous angry tennis player, surely this, “cannot be serious?” Remember, this is the local party which is playing host to half of the government this week. Do they really mean to tell the world that they can’t manage to host a conference of all their best people and fight a by-election at the same time. Normally in this situation, the national politicians would be champing at the bit and foaming at the mouth with the prospect of campaigning IRL. Could it be that Mister Clegg has lost the desire to stand on a doorstep and ask someone for their vote? Here they are telling a local blogger, who has form for mocking them, that they could not muster any policies for the by-election until after their leaders have left town. That’s pathetic. That’s also what I told them.

Spelling out political realities to the Liberal traitors

Dirty work but someone’s got to do it. Click to enlarge.

All the received wisdom at this point must be telling whoever runs this account to abandon the conversation. Instead, they reply again.

Liberal Democrats beg Brighton blogger for mercy

Liberal Democrats: desperate for friends. Click to enlarge.

Er? What planet are these people on? Is it the eleventh planet from the Sun, orbiting so far away from its heat and light that they’ve lost contact with that thing we call reality? Did they really think that someone who has repeatedly mocked them in his blog was doing anything other than taking the full monty out of them with that first tweet? Are they so desperate for attention that no grovelling is considered too low? More importantly, can they really claim to be hard at work during their conference, in view of this revealing image:

Liberal Democrats: asleep, distracted or covered in blood?

Note the off duty butcher in the front row. Click to enlarge.

Oddly, that picture was taken by The Queen. Normally, when these conferences come to town the place rocks with political activity in the day time and later on the night clubs sweat with promiscuity. Not this week. None of these fuckers are getting laid. Not one of them. We’re waiting until the general election. Then they’re all going to get fucked.

In the meantime, I’ll give almost the last word to one of the few local Liberal Democrats still willing to put his photograph to the name of that traitorous party. Of course, I’m assuming that this is not a spoof account too. First up, Gareth Jones admits that my analysis of his beloved party is accurate and that he doesn’t understand where I’m coming from.

Possible spoof member of the Brighton Liberal Democrats

Another spoof? Click to enlarge.

I’ll give the last word to this fellow as well. I know that the modern comedic fashion is humour that makes us cringe so much we can’t bear to face the telly any more but surely Mr Jones takes this a bit too far? It’s got to be at least slightly credible. Reading his blog has convinced me that it simply must be a spoof account. There is no other explanation. It reads like it’s been written by one of those automated story generators. Surely no human being could produce such drivel? I am driven to the conclusion that there are no Liberal Democrats left in Brighton and that Clegg has replaced them all with robots instead.

LibDemBot Blog

LibDemBot Blog. Click to enlarge.

Liberal Democrats win prize for worst campaign in East Brighton

The battle for the hearts and minds of East Brighton is truly underway. The Greens have stood a local lass, Carlie Goldsmith, as their candidate, Labour has put forward a party apparatchik, Chaun Wilson, and the Tories have thrust a teenager into the fray, affectionately known as Master Miller. In yesterday’s post (at the previous link), I revealed the sheer cynicism in Master Miller’s electioneering imagery.

On Saturday Labour activists poured into East Brighton to begin their campaign. They simply cannot afford to risk losing the seat. In the evening, they pulled off a spectacular political stunt which saw Warren Morgan projected on the side of the same building that Master Miller was photographed outside of: Kingfisher Court. Apparently inspired by Sarah Palin projecting a picture of herself onto the Moon, they used hi-tech equipment to cover the side of Kingfisher Court with a picture of Warren Morgan, kitted out like a medieval knight. Already some residents have complained to the council about this antisocial behaviour. Those living behind the windows where his head was placed are particularly angry. One lady is reported to have panicked when Morgan’s large eye suddenly appeared on her living room wall whilst she was watching Doctor Who.

Warren Morgan in medieval costume. A project too far?

A political project gone mad? Click to enlarge.

Okay, I admit it: I invented the nonsense in the previous paragraph. It was just a rather lame attempt at humour. I like to start the week on a light-hearted note. However, politics is a serious business and the issues that matter to the residents of East Brighton are very serious indeed. That’s why Labour and the Greens are taking the campaign seriously.

The Tories and the Liberal Democrats do not appear to be taking the campaign seriously at all. Instead, they are competing with one another for the prize of running the worst campaign. The new poster boy for the Tories was, until recently, a child. The Tories have pretended to be outraged by Warren Morgan’s severe criticism of selecting Master Miller but his point is completely sound. This isn’t just some random parish council. This is a ward with some of the toughest social problems in the City. The idea that an 18 year old, devoid of political experience (neither his friends nor his family knew Miller was even interested in politics) is suitable for the task is proof of the dislocation between the Tories and the real world.

However, the prize for running the worst campaign goes to the Liberal Democrats. Their candidate has nothing to say whatsoever, according to his campaign web page. Don’t believe me? Here it is, conveniently copied before they add something to it.

Paul Chandler, Liberal Democrat candidate for East Brighton lists no policies at all on his campaign web page

Paul Chandler adds nothing to the debate.

One wonders how he can hope to win the confidence of his visiting Party Leader with a campaign as vacuous as this. The Liberal Democrat conference is in Brighton this week. Normally when the governing party visits the city, there are masses of protests and other events surrounding them. This time around a much advertised protest march attracted little more than 100 people. That’s the worst insult of all ~ being ignored.