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 […]

Eric Pickles’ big stupid new idea: allowing parking on double-yellow lines

Even after three years in office, the coalition can shock you with its idiocy.  The Daily Telegraph reports today that Eric Pickles wants to relax parking regulations to allow motorists to park on double-yellow lines for up to fifteen minutes.  The rationale – apparently to help revive ailing high streets. It’s one of those ideas […]

The mess we’re in: Brighton, bins and Eric Pickles

Yesterday was a morning on which Brighton breathed an almost audible sigh of relief.  After a week-long all out strike and a work-to-rule lasting weeks before that, the familiar sight of CityClean’s refuse trucks trundling around the city’s streets was hugely welcome; Brighton’s refuse workers getting on with the job of cleaning up, before voting […]

A perfect Green storm in Brighton Pavilion?

I was fascinated to read an article by Nancy Platts, Labour candidate in Brighton Pavilion at the General Election, on a Labour party website, discussing why Labour lost Pavilion to Caroline Lucas. As someone who voted Green in 2010 and joined the Party immediately after the election I agree with much of her analysis.  Nancy […]

Tories, allotments and the war on public space

Wandering around my home town of Brighton, as I pass allotments I have often reflected that many of them are on what would pass for prime development land. Rather in the spirit of John Betjeman in the 1960s, who, when spotting a pretty country church would adopt the persona of a Northern town planner and […]

Pariahdom in the public sector

Having worked for my entire career in the public sector until taking voluntary redundancy at the end of last year (essentially a matter of taking the settlement before getting pushed), I have long been aware of the increasing scapegoating of people in the public sector.  It has reached some of its worst excesses in the […]

More mendacity from Pickles

The Tories have recently been spreading the story that Labour councils are making deeper cuts than Tory ones, for essentially political reasons. Evidence was adduced in the forms of the number of “at risk” notices issued to staff, which were higher in Labour than Tory authorities. Labour Councillor Pete Robbins felt instinctively that this was […]

Big Society Blues

The problem for David Cameron is not that the the Big Society is controversial.  Cameron’s bigger problem is that it has become a joke.  It’s taken its place in the long list of initiatives in which British politicians have tried to reconnect with their electorate, and have merely ended up as objects of ridicule.  Remember […]

Liberal Democrats and fake outrage

Today’s press carries reports that 88 leaders of local council Liberal Democrat groups have signed an open letter condemning cuts in council funding.  Liberal Democrat outrage at the actions of the Government always reminds me of that scene in Macbeth where Banquo’s bloody ghost appears at the dinner table and Macbeth demands which of those […]