Saturday, May 7, 2011

Greens win big in Brighton  Report From One Green World

Just had this press release, amazing stuff....Lib Dems wiped off of the map in Brighton by Green Party and gains from Tories and Labour, shows the effect of Caroline Lucas becoming the first Green Party MP, 23 Green councillors making us the biggest group on the council (total councillors 54) however short of a majority.
"A huge vote of confidence in the Greens" Brighton and Hove Greens become largest party on council with 23 seats

News from Brighton & Hove Green Party 6 May 2011

Greens are now the largest party on Brighton & Hove City Council after election results today. This is the first time a local council in the UK has elected the Greens as the largest party.

Green convenor Bill Randall said, "The city has listened to the Greens and we have listened to the city. "

Greens would now sit down and plan how to take the city forward in these difficult times. "This is the first time the Greens have been the largest party on any council in the UK and people seem to be genuinely enthused by the option of a Green-led council.

"It's a great result for the city and a huge vote of confidence in the Greens. People went Green across Brighton & Hove. We held all our seats and gained 10 more."

"We now have 23 Green councillors, making us the largest Green group of councillors in the country. "The next step is for us to talk to other parties about how we will work with them and implement our manifesto pledges at a very challenging time for local government budgets.

"We can't say how this will work until we have entered into discussions."

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Well done to the Greens with their electoral success. However entering into discussions with whom? Certainly not the Tories and Lib Dems. The employees, trade unions, service users, local community groups one assumes should be the people the new administration will be talking to, listening to and consulting with, involving them in the decisions that have to be made.

As far as the first challenge they will face is what to do with the budget and council cuts? If they reverse the present cuts and refuse to implement the Con Dem cuts being passed down by this failed coalition gov't then they will have all our support. If they refuse to carry out redundancies and protect workers' pensions then fine with us. There can be no compromises when it comes to workers living standards. Make the bankers pay, not council staff.

However if the Greens merely introduce a few cycle paths and carry on with " business as normal" type approach, based on pragmatism and short term gains then the honeymoon will be short lived. We do not expect this to happen, hopefully. The Green Party conference opposed cuts, with many of the new councillors taking that position and supporting the Coalition of Resistance anti-cuts campaign. Let us see Brighton and Hove now lead that fightback. They promise us new politics and we welcome eco-socialist policies.

The Greens can not do this on their own though and it will require a united front with those in the Labour Party, trade union movement and the Left to ensure the success of such a campaign. Those in the Labour Party who pinned their hopes on a New Labour victory based on cuts but over a slightly longer time period, will have to review where they stand. Milliband has left them high and dry.

The attacks on the democratic right to demonstrate in Brighton will no longer get an easy ride by the new councillors and this may make the Sussex police think twice about how they abuse their powers. It may also mean the EDL and their fascist friends will not in future find Brighton such an easy place to march through. Perhaps the police may not rush to use the Public Order Act . The Green Council should insist all charges are dropped against anti-fascists and anarchists who have recently been arrested.

TUSC candidates promoted Socialist policies in this election campaign and the struggle for Eco - Socialism continues. The anti-cuts campaign groups will expect the Greens to show a new approach in this.

As for the rest of the results of the council elections:
Lewis went Tory and Lib Dems lost seats.
BNP came last where ever they  stood in Arran.
Labour candidates, Mike Faddon and Sue Marsh  improved their vote in Worthing and opposed cuts.

The election may be over but the campaign against cuts and defending public services continues. The Con Dem coalition now has a huge crack in it, with Lib Dem's defeats all over the place. So much for betraying policies. Let this be a lesson to others and get on with the fightback. Public sector workers plan industrial action and we need to build support for these struggles.

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