Election debrief – some thoughts on the 2011 result in Brighton & Hove

Well that was exhausting! We have emerged from the largest ever Green campaign in Brighton & Hove with the first ever Green-led council in UK history. An incredible achievement building on Caroline Lucas’ election as the UK’s first Green MP last May.

It takes an awesome number of voluntary contributions for a small political party to achieve these kinds of results. It’s impossible to thank everyone who gives their time and skills to support a campaign they believe in. It’s an incredible thing to see and understand that wave of support we’ve had in the past few years. Thank you to each person who has helped us, no matter how big or small their contribution.

As someone who has been deeply involved in the party’s electoral strategy since about 2007 it is quite gobsmacking to see our ambition and our plans realised. Of course things were not straightforward, plans had to be adjusted and so on. Still, we have effected real change. A party with a very different culture and values to the others is for the first time in administration. Real change is possible. I’m involved in all this because I believe this is one of the best ways to change the world for the better.

Now we need to deliver for the people of this city. Thankfully, we have an excellent detailed manifesto to work from, and also the goodwill of many people and organisations around the city.

And no doubt we’ll need their support because we face many challenges: We’ll be a minority administration and our group has 14 new councillors out of 23 and we will have to deal with the cuts and changes the national Conservative-led government will impose on us.

Our group of councillors elected me to be the Cabinet Member for Finance & Central Services. I am humbled by the trust they have put in me to serve the city with this portfolio. Expect more blogging from me in the future on the areas covered by my portfolio.

A quick comment on the election campaign itself: It was disappointing how few hustings there were, it did feel that the local election didn’t really capture the public imagination. I think Labour made a real error, as they did last year over who could win in Pavilion, in claiming only they could form the next council administration. They have further tarnished their name by making claims which have been shown to be untrue. I hope they will reflect on that and hope we can work together constructively whenever we find common ground in the coming 4 years.

For now I’m catching up on sleep, spending time with my family and getting up to speed on all the departments I’ll be responsible for.

5 thoughts on “Election debrief – some thoughts on the 2011 result in Brighton & Hove”

  1. I was quite pissed of by Labour saying that only by voting for them could you get a non-Tory council. I have no problem with parties sprouting “overly-optimistic hyperbole” that’s only true if looked at from their perspective. I also have no problem with parties making unsupported, and even unlikely, assertions.

    What I have a problem with is saying someone should do something and then providing an actual, specific, detailed explanation that is entirely false and incorrect.

    In this case, they said that we had to vote Labour rather than Green because Labour support was spread across the whole of B&H while the Green support was, in *their* words, “concentrated in central Brighton”.

    But… that’s exactly what you *want* under FPTP. In order to be successful you *need* your support to concentrated in specific areas rather than evenly spread.

    It’s like telling someone that if they want to get the most cakes, they should select the tray with four cakes on it rather than the tray with six cakes on it because four is a bigger number than six.

    Of course, they were relying on the fact that most people don’t understand how FPTP works and would assume that an explanation given must make sense, or else it wouldn’t have been given.

    Anyhow, petty maybe, but it annoyed me. I was quite glad when you proved that having concentrated support is good under FPTP by getting nearly twice as many seats with only 1% more votes!

    🙂

  2. Agree with you about hustings, but I also think they’re a dated concept, they don’t resonate well with younger voters. I’m planning on a motion for e-hustings for future elections & campaigns using the youtube reply function if you fancy it?

    I still agree both should be done, but I can understand a lack of enthusiasm for organising them if they attendance will be disproportionate with the effort to arrange them.

    Good luck and look forward to seeing what you guys do with the council.

  3. @jonny nexus
    but it’s a shame that despite greens being in favour of PR and in favour of YES2AV it’s FPTP that got them so many seats. Still good for them- got to play by the rules that are set right? 🙂

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