Caroline Lucas, the Brighton and Hove budget and the price of Green Party unity

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell invented the concept of duckspeak. It was a description for the act of speaking without thinking, like the quacking of a duck; when used in support of the party line it was seen as a good thing, a repetition of orthodoxy untainted by reference to the real world. Listening to […]


Spring. The buds are appearing on the bushes and shrubs, the first daffodils are out in Brighton’s splendid parks and the annual coup against Jason Kitcat’s convenorship of the Green Group on the city Council is apparently under way. To be fair, the exclusive report in the Brighton magazine The Latest – soon to launch […]

No confidence: an epitaph for Green politics in Brighton and Hove

It’s becoming a truism in Brighton and Hove that the city’s political crises unfold against a background of uncollected rubbish.  Last summer’s crisis was of course all about refuse collection, and the dispute over council workers’ allowances; this time, as the ruling Green administration sets out its plans for a referendum on a 4.75% Council […]

Greens, council tax plebiscites and the undermining of local democracy

Yesterday, following the Brighton and Hove Green administration’s announcement that it would seek a referendum to approve a 4.75% Council Tax rise, I wrote a quick blog post arguing that such a move was paradoxical; that, far from undermining austerity, such a policy entrenched it. Given the response to that piece, I thought it was […]

20mph in Brighton: a case study in the abandonment of politics

Earlier this week, Brighton and Hove Council agreed recommendations for the implementation of 20mph limits in some Brighton streets.  The final agreement falls far short of the original aspiration  to turn the whole city into a 20mph zone;  the officers’ paper I discussed in my earlier post was watered down further, to exclude more streets […]

So just why is twenty toxic in Brighton and Hove?

All over England, local authorities are quietly introducing 20mph limits to calm traffic and improve both road safety and the wider quality of life in urban environments.  These schemes are strongly supported by local people, and generally uncontroversial – administrations of al parties are introducing schemes. So why is the 20mph debate in Brighton and […]

Backing the Positive Money delusion: how the Green Party just voted to become a party of austerity

I’d somehow forgotten that the Green Party Conference was due to debate full-reserve banking – although I knew that many people within the Party were enthusiasts for the Postive Money approach.  It had never occurred to me that, before the conference was out, the Party that had prided itself on being the only voice in […]

Progressive Council Tax: an appeal to the Green Party conference

This weekend, the Green Party of England and Wales gathers in Brighton for its annual conference.  Among the hottest topics for debate will be the plan hatched by some Brighton Green Party members for a Progressive Council Tax, a proposal that would mean voters approving a huge hike in Council Tax in a referendum (the […]

Progressive Council Tax – some more questions and thoughts

The debate about Progressive Council Tax (PCT) in Brighton and Hove has so far generated more heat than light. There remain a number of key questions, and as well as raising those I’d like to offer some reflections on the politics of the proposal – as well as answering some of the questions that have […]

Brighton Greens and mediation: the absence of politics

The Brighton Argus reports today that the Brighton and Hove Green Party has called in mediators to deal with growing rifts within the Green Group of councillors, following a vote at a General Meeting earlier this week. In one respect, though, the Argus has in my view seriously misunderstood the issues.  It talks about different […]