Brighton Festival begins today and the city can truly preen, since it's voted itself into history with the largest concentration of Green councillors in the country. The children launch the festival with a parade through town - an excuse for Brighton mums to put on fairy wings while dads take charge of landrover-sized buggies. The Green vote in Brighton's fantastic. Years ago, a socialist puritan, I wouldn't have dreamed of voting in any way that might have split Labour. But I remember years of Thatcherism and the desperation as values were discarded left, right and centre. I felt relief when Labour seemed to regain ground, but oh, that old moan is so true - this Labour lot are Tories in disguise.
Labour in Brighton has been shamefully cowardly, pandering it seems to superficiality and gloss, making deals with private developers in education and major community projects like the library. There's been no evidence of really new thinking. It's a council that has promoted the view that the seafront should be built on, that has failed to curb the ludicrous numbers of cars now clogging once quiet streets, that has failed to do anything about the rise in private landlords cramming terraced houses to the brim but giving nothing back to communities, that has failed to provide facilities for young people but instead encourages the police to stop and search innocent teenagers at will so they become utterly disaffected...the list goes on.
Labour's seen that it ignores Brighton's individuality at its peril. Here, we don't tow any line. Another example of lack of imagination, lack of intelligence, lack of humility that goes with tiered seats, mayoral chains, invites to the party - I've never met a Labour councillor. Not once in about 19 years in the city has one ever knocked on my door. You don't deserve a vote if you can't knock on doors.