Why the Green Silence on Brighton & Hove’s Bin Strike?

bin1I love the Brighton Green Party. I constantly delight at their loquacity. Barely a day goes by in the blogosphere without a fascinating new viewpoint or opinion popping up for our delectation.

Here’s a summary of the most recent posts I’ve read and enjoyed:

– Green Leader Cllr Bill Randall ruminates about the butterflies in his garden.
– Cllr Amy Kennedy’s husband has carved a pumpkin with the Green Party logo.
– Cllr Jason Kitcat writes at length about the licensing rules at a local Sainsbury’s.
– Cllr Ben Duncan (and I had a lot to choose from) talks about the traffic lights at Oxford Circus in London and how by taxing junk food “there’ll be probably be (sic) a fall in the high numbers of Brighton residents suffering from depression.”

It must be fun being Green. You can complain and pontificate about anything you like. As long as it isn’t about anything important to residents in Brighton and Hove. Tedious little concerns like a strike by Refuse Workers, for instance. Even in the local Brighton Argus this past week, I haven’t seen a single Green Councillor speaking up.

Brighton and Hove’s pernicious Conservative council has tried to impose a pay cut on Refuse Workers in the name of equal pay. It’s bollocks and thankfully Labour folk have been out and about condeming the council, joining the protest and trying to solve the issue. Rubbish has been piling up for more than a week all over the city.

I had hoped to bend the ear of either of my two Green local councillors about the strike after the Service of Remembrance last Sunday at Old Steine. I was there but sadly neither attended. I may be a Labour supporter but Green Cllrs Rufus and Kitcat are my elected representatives.

Had they been there, I would have taken the opportunity to support the strike, condemn the Tory council’s inaction and urge them to use the backlog of rubbish to kick start a discussion about reducing waste. I have been personally shocked by the amount of waste on my street and I think being able to (quite literally) visualize the waste is a useful spur to reconsider the problem. There must be steps a committed City Council can take.

Some issues are ‘small g green issues’ that transcend party politics. But it seems like the local Green Party has gone to ground on waste and the bin strike (which has been temporarily suspended) and I’m curious to know why.

Answers on a postcard please, to the usual address.

7 thoughts on “Why the Green Silence on Brighton & Hove’s Bin Strike?”

  1. Hi Dan,

    You criticise the Greens for silence on the refuse strike -‘Why the Green Silence on Brighton & Hove’s Bin Strike?’

    But you only list(prominent)Green bloggers, no official party websites.

    If you want the official Green Party view, you should visit the official local party website first.

    where there is up-to-date news on the strike.

    While prominent, the bloggers you list are not seeking to provide full info on the Greens’ position. They are writing in personal capacities across a raneg of issues.

    Thankfully, bloggers are not the only information sources on the internet. Good ol’ fashioned websites play their part too.


    Brighton Sense

  2. Hi Brighton Sense,

    I did check the good ol’ fashioned Brighton and Hove Green Party website before I first published this post. I am politically motivated but I am not remiss. The bin strike comment you mention was this: http://www.brightonandhovegreenparty.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/press_releases/ALL/706//

    I see it is dated 11th Nov. It wasn’t there when I made my post just after midnight yesterday. Therefore I couldn’t reference it because it didn’t exist.

    Let’s revisit the loquacious Greens: Bill Randall, Ben Duncan and Jason Kitcat haven’t taken the opportunity to comment on their own blogs since I published this post.

    Equally, the Brighton Pavilion Green candidate made her first comment only today at carolinelucas.com (again after my post). Presumably the rubbish hasn’t been piling up in Brussels. It being in Belgium.

    Biscuit baking, bonfire loving Councillor Amy Kennedy has taken the chance to comment on this post. You can read that here: http://greenamykennedy.blogspot.com/2009/11/blogging-biscuits-bonfires.html

    She suggests that Green silence is because of involvement in sensitive negotiations re the bin strikes. I’d like to hear more about that that when the veil of secrecy can be lifted. Did she and others play a key role? I wonder. It’s a post to look forward to from her! I know she’s passionate about freedom of information.

    Hope that helps, Brighton Sense. It must have been hell in the playground with name like that. Unless it isn’t your real name? In which case: why the anonymity?


    Dan Wilson

  3. Thanks, Dan,

    Ah well, I’ll forgive you, though perhaps you jumped to criticise from your perch a day early…

    Speaking of good ol’ fashioned websites, why such local Labour silence on their website(s) about the strike and, er, most other things?

    It is interesting that although local Labour luminaries Nancy Platts, Simon Burgess and Gill Mitchell can be seen proudly on theGMB strike picket line on Nancy’s campaign blog (it may be in other places, too), there’s nothing at all on the local city Labour party site or rather *sites* as there seem to be two competing versions:

    http://www.brightonhovelabour.com/9.html and http://www.brighton-hove-labour.org.uk/index.htm

    In one, although undated, most of the news releases seem quite old, kind of mid-summer-Goldsmid by-election-madness time of year.

    On the other, there’s something on ‘Fair Trade’ listed under last month but nothing on the refuse strike.

    Are there any more city Labour sites that I’m not finding?

    Why does Nancy’s campaign blog fly the lone flag of local Labour’s online communications?

    At least Caroline Lucas, busy woman as she is, can be forgiven for a day’s delay in posting to her blog as it only adds to rather than flies as a lone flag of Green opinion what with so many other bloggers and a single up-to-date Green Party website.

    Nancy’s burden must be a heavy one, in contrast; her humble blog carrying all the weight of communicating Labour’s policy and campaign messages to the people of Brighton.

    Anyway, although I’m a devout Green, I have to say I love *your* blog.

    It is amusing with all the cake baking and flowers, makes me giggle and is very enjoyable. Will certainly be following you from now on.


    Brighton Sense
    (Yep, it was pretty cool at school with this name.)

  4. Pingback: Back from my Halloween Horror » Jason Kitcat

  5. http://another-green-world.blogspot.com/2009/11/brighton-workers-organise-to-oppose.html may be interest, I spoke in support of the industrial action at a Brighton event last monday, have blogged about it elsewhere and I am told several GP councillors were on the picket lines

    I am not Brighton based but I know local greens have been active on this and good for them

    hey and do promote the meeting on tuesday if you haven’t already done so

    On Tuesday,trade unionists and their supporters will be meeting at the Brighthelm Centre to hear from 3 groups of local workers currently involved in industrial disputes.

    It starts at 7.30pm in the Hanover room at the Brighthelm Centre on Tuesday 17th November’

  6. Hi Dan
    I did promise myself I wouldn’t indulge in too much blog-baiting which can get frustrating and tends to be unproductive, but I’m a sucker for it, and this one is just too good an opportunity to pass up.

    I was on the picket line on both days, chatting with fellow GMB members. As a councillor member of the GMB I am in regular contact with the Branch Secretary, we have a good two way exchange of views and issues which has been going on for longer than the time I have been a councillor, and of course has dwelt a lot on the Single Status/Future Pay issues.

    It was noted by those on the picket line that Labour councillors had been there, and Simon Burgess too. Interesting though that most of the comments about them were along the lines of ‘A bit rich they show up now when they did bugger all while they were the administration to sort it out’. Simon Burgess in particular as the erstwhile leader of the council was in the firing line on that score. It’s easy to support a cause when not in office for sure, but it is astounding to support a cause largely created by your own inaction and ineptitude.

    For the record, I was also on the CWU picket line recently, and the mood music about Labour was much the same there.

    If you want to chat with me or Jason as your councillors, you don’t have to wait till you track us down at some public event. Feel free to call me on 296429 or email sven.rufus@brighton-hove.gov.uk anytime you want.

  7. I find it a little distressing that Cllr. Rufus thinks that discussion with the people he has been democratically elected to represent is “blog-baiting”.

    Silly me. Shouldn’t have expected any better from the man who brought us “that Platts woman”.

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