The newly selected Conservative candidate for Brighton Pavilion, Clarence Mitchell, has not got off to the most auspicious of starts. This afternoon he tweeted a picture a photo of Brighton beach, taken from his hotel window at the Grand Hotel:
It’s a curious tweet, and suggests a certain lack of knowledge of the city’s politics: Brighton and Hove currently has a Green-led minority council, and one Green and two Tory MPs. Labour are the third party on the council. “Labour Fail” seems like an odd way of putting it.
Moreover, Mitchell compounded the error by his response to people who pointed out that the Grand Hotel was not exactly representative of a city in which low pay and high living costs are endemic – that he was supporting the local economy. The Grand is not locally owned; dozens of more modest hotels are local businesses. A better-briefed, more serious candidate would know that.
It’s all a bit surprising for someone who works in … PR. It reinforces the impression that, in 2015, the Tories will be also-rans – the comedic support for a fascinating battle between Purna Sen for Labour and incumbent Green MP Caroline Lucas, candidates of real substance with proven track records: Clarence Mitchell’s selection suggests that this battle will powerfully highlight the difference between celebrity and achievement.