Tim Stanley

Brighton has become an object lesson in why it is a disaster to vote Green | 15 October 2014

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[/audioplayer]I have just moved back to Brighton, and I am happy to report that it remains as shambolic as ever. The estate agent said before opening the door to a prospective flat, ‘I’m obliged by law to tell you that the previous tenant was an alcoholic and died here.’ I replied, ‘I am not surprised and that is not a problem.’ No one who knows Brighton expects puritanism.

Unfortunately, we have grown to expect dreadful politics. Since 2010, both the MP and the council have gone Green, turning the town into a laboratory for their kooky ideas. Given that they are being called the Ukip of the left — an outsider party on the verge of an electoral breakthrough that could make them bigger than the Lib Dems — the Green experiment in Brighton ought to serve as a warning to the entire country.

There have been some silly gimmicks reminiscent of the 1980s loony left: a proposed ‘meat-free Monday’ in council-run staff canteens (reversed when the bin men demanded their bacon back), gender-neutral toilets, and allowing people to identify as Mr, Mrs or Mx on council forms (Mx means Mixter, meaning someone who doesn’t define as male or female — not to be confused with the MX, which was a nuclear missile in the Cold War). Many of their mistakes are due to naivety. Faced with cuts, council leader Jason Kitcat proposed a 4.75 per cent tax increase to be endorsed in a referendum. Labour called it a silly political stunt, as the cost of the vote — estimated at £900,000 — would itself plug many of the gaps. The idea was quashed.

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