Who would have thought that in the city home of museli mountain and couscous cabin politics could be so pugilistic. While the ‘proper’ pundits pontificate on Labour party pronouncements from sun scorched pebbles on ‘Bohemian Brighton beach’, the local street scene burns with simmering resentment. Why?
We’ve always had polarised politics here – the price we pay for embracing difference? While we tolerate and even embrace skateboarding dogs that put pedestrians in peril, tribes of trannies committing crimes against fashion, or nappy man who pedals around in plastic pants – local ‘debate’ is plagued with petty petulance.
Fundamental differences in ideology aside, why do so many Brighton politicians and pundits put their energy into bickering? Witness recent rucks on Twitter with Reds and Greens arguing incessantly – for example about no discernible point on 20mph speed restrictions on which they basically agree. Then came the slightly naughty but playful ad by Greens welcoming Labour delegates to the city that represents ‘the one true alternative’ – surely something to raise a wry smile and a challenge to the more powerful party to prove their metal? Instead it was mysteriously disappeared – possibly at the behest of the ‘other side’ – although local or national we don’t know.
We all enjoy a bit of a banter alongside serious debate – but is ungraceful and ungracious behaviour in the public domain really the way to win votes and inspire confidence in our democratically elected (or not elected) politicians and commentators? Can we have some constructive debate please?
While we play host to national debate on housing, transport and schools at the Labour conference, today’s billboard headline for our local paper sticks to burglars and socks. While we appreciate the comedic value, some Brightonians might like to know more about the slightly bigger picture? After all, the University of Sussex was recently voted one of the top 5 in the UK for politics.
Meanwhile deeper into the heart of town more soothing sounds are heard. A partnership of food growers and council officials are experimenting with a temporary ‘borrowed’ garden and soundscape to drown out the arterial A27. Maybe some synthetic birdsong can soothe the situation?
Brighton has moved on from the seedy old seaside shambles it once was, and is shaping up as a smart, sassy city. But it seems our press, politicians and pundits still have some way to go to catch up.