Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Elections are like Christmas - they don't come around that often and people start gettting obsessed with them months before they actually happen

Well it's less than 100 days to go until Christmas - and already the cards are on sale, the official parties are being planned - but it's even longer (about eight months) until the local elections here in Brighton and Hove, and already the preparatons are under way.

The local institution that is the Brighton Politics Blogger has already started to call results in some seats -  Goldsmid, Central Hove, East Brighton, Brunswick and Adelaide, though he hasn't got round to Queen's Park yet (my favourite is the post predicting gains for the Green and the end of the Lib-Dems).

I guess after the debacle that saw May's General Election result called more slowly than ever before (after count-room reports of mising ballot boxes and more tears and thumb-twiddling in the Brighton Centre than staff have seen since the Dixie-land banjo-fest came to town) the city's election supremo John Barradell will already be making his preparations.

Other senior council staff have privately confessed to me that work is now pretty much on hold: in the face of disappearing partner agencies, public spending cuts and politicians' focus turning to next May don't hold your breath for any new council work until June 2011 at the earliest.

The parties all seem to be busy electing their candidates - and there appears to be general jubilation at the news that Tom French, the student Labour activist who presided over the increase in the St Peter's and North Laine Green Party vote following councillor Keith Taylor's elevation to the European Parliament, has been chosen to stand here in Queen's Park.

Labour whip Warren Morgan was quick to celebrate his selection in a twitter comment to followers (he's blocked me for some reason so I only learned about it second-hand) : the Green Party activists among local residents and beyond seem pleased with the choice too.

In any event I'll be keeping my feet firmly on the policy ground, at least until the campaign 'proper' starts. I'll report any titbits of gossip here when I hear it, but my focus until April will be continuing to do what I've been doing since May 2007, representing the residents of Queen's Park as best I can, ensuring they get the best possible local services despite the best efforts of the Tories on the council, and two Governments, to undermine them.

The latest bunfight, of course, will be about the coming cuts. Sussex Police have already announced they'll be shedding more than 1,000 jobs - and the council will surely follow.

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