In my recent article I hinted about what it is to be a Conservative. Here I was going to widen the discussion about our opponents, and discuss socialism, but the leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Labour’s Warren Morgan, kicked off his long election campaign with an uninspiring message in this newspaper last week, and I felt that I just had to respond.
With a hint of amusement, and small wave of despair, I read that his main line of attack seems to be to blame national Government for the awful shortcomings of his own local administration.
The sad truth is that whilst presiding over a minority administration that just keeps doing the wrong thing, such as spending last year’s surplus when this year we still have a black hole, he has the nerve to claim the Labour Group in the city are competent. His failing administration just keeps repeating the same old tired lines, in a rather sad attempt to justify a record that, quite frankly, is below the level the city deserves.
The one grain of hope that I did pick up on in his desperate article was that he is a moderate in a sea of hard-liners, and may not be succumbing to the extremists in his party. Perhaps there is even some hope that Cllr Morgan will reach out to the Conservative opposition in an attempt to set some sensible, sustainable and proven policies, starting with the budget early next year. Sadly, I fear this hope will be short-lived as history tells us that Labour, both nationally and locally, cannot be trusted to spend our taxes responsibly.
I will not rise to Cllr Morgan’s provocation to start the 2019 Local Election campaign 20 months from Election Day: I think we have all had enough of elections for now. From now until May 2019 the Conservative Group in the city will just get on with being a responsible opposition, assisting Labour moderates where we can, and I personally will, of course, continue to do the best I can for the residents of Hangleton and Knoll. The Conservative Group in Brighton and Hove can see a healthier and more prosperous future for residents of the city, but now is not the time to electioneer: now is the time to deliver.
Tony Janio is the leader of the Conservatives on Brighton & Hove City Council.