Back in October I reported on how our local UKIP branch seemed to be supporting left activists supporting workers’ strikes, defending the NHS and opposing academy schools. Whether it was a spoof, desperation or a Strasserite turn I don’t know. (Or perhaps it’s Brighton Labour Party which is the issue here – in the past their councillors have defected to the Communist Party, and the Scottish National Party (yes really!!)
UKIP’s left turn seems to have played off. Not only have they just recruited their first Labour councillor. They claim “Brighton & Branch are in talks with other councillors regarding defections and these defections are NOT just forced on us – they take negotiations and build up of relationships”. The rumour is that more will defect from Labour. Though with UKIP only coming 4th in May’s Euro elections, it can’t be a guaranteed way to save a career on the council.
However, this is the least crazy part of Brighton politics these days. The UKIP councillor’s first act was to vote with the relatively left-wing Greens to stop a Labour-Tory alliance plan to force claimants to pay more council tax. Unfortunately, the Green-UKIP alliance was beaten by the Labour Tory Alliance.The local paper’s story explains:
The 13 Labour councillors – the smallest group on Brighton and Hove City Council – pushed through a 76% council tax increase for the 16,000 poorest households in the city. Last night (Thursday), with support from most Conservative councillors (four abstained), they proposed a tightening of the Council Tax Reduction scheme (CTR), meaning that claimants have to pay at least 15% of their council tax bills, rather than the previous 8.5%. For the most hard-up families – many of them living in wards represented by Labour councillors – it means an £8.32-a-month increase. The move was spearheaded by Warren Morgan, a councillor for East Brighton and the Labour Group leader, who earlier this year said working-class families on estates could not afford an extra £2.94 a month under Green Party proposals – subsequently defeated – for a 4.75% across-the-board council tax increase. All members of the minority Green administration opposed the Labour move.”
This isn’t the only crazy thing about politics here in Brighton.The local Labour leader is sometimes nicknamed “Clarkeson” due to Labour’s opposition to 20mph speed limits and parking restrictions brought in by the minority Green administration. They even worked with the Tories to spend £50,000 of local taxpayers money to allow car drivers to park for free before Xmas while doing nothing for bus users.
Meanwhile, Labour have recently attacked the greens for
privatising outsourcing joint NHS-council services.
Meanwhile, the three main parties continue to argue about how big local cuts should be.
Meanwhile, trade unionists are organising to resist all the cuts. Strike action has been threatened. Plans also include another party outside the PFI-built library to tell all councillors that refusing to pay £3milliion a year to Aviva Insurance for a library local taxpayers have already paid for would be a much better way of saving money than attacking the city’s most vulnerable.