Brighton and Hove City Council are planning to remove Mr and Mrs titles from documents in a bid to respect the wishes of the transgender people within Brighton and Hove.
The Green Party led council came to the decision after they investigated into the transgender community of Brighton and found that many of them don’t want to be defined by their gender.
The Green Party are the largest party on the council with 23 of their councillors being elected across 10 wards and form a minority administration on the council.
It could be argued that the abolishment of the “Mr” and “Mrs” title is part of The Green’s visions of a fairer society to everyone’s needs but then again, they are also a party based on environmentalism and that didn’t stop them wanting to raise charges on city allotments last year.
Deputy Leader of the Greens, Phelim MacCafferty supports the plan and says “putting Mr and Mrs on a form is completely useless”. Councillor MacCafferty then goes on to say that he doesn’t understand why the titles “Mr” and “Mrs” are even there in the first place.
These views were also shared by LGBT activist Steph Scott who said that being called Mr and Mrs pigeonholes people.
The activist who defines herself as queergender – neither male nor female, also said the titles were outdated and welcomed the plan.
In contrast to this, Conservative Councillor for Hangleton and Knoll, Dawn Barnett labelled the plans completely ludicrous and asked “How are they going to address the letters properly?” Councillor Barnett then went on to say that it is just political correctness gone too far.
A few hours after the plans were announced, there has been a big debate among the local people with one Brighton and Hove resident commenting, “What about those who those of us who want to be addressed as Mr and Mrs on forms? Don’t we have any rights?”
Another resident expressed their support of the plan by saying” It is part of what living in Brighton and Hove is all about”, making reference to Brighton being well-known for its diversity.
The recommendations will be made in December, but with lots of opposition after only a few hours of the news breaking, it seems that the transgender community may have to feel defined by their gender a bit longer.
One of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programmes will be filmed in Brighton tonight but will not include a representative from the Green Party. According to the BBC website the participants in tonight’s debate will be Harriet Harman, Danny Alexander, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Kirstie Allsop and Steve Coogan.
The programme will be broadcast from St. Bartholomew’s Church in Ann Street and invites members of the public to question the panel. It comes at the end of a week which has seen the Liberal Democrat conference take place in the city and the three main political parties will be represented but nobody from the local Green-led council or national organisation will appear.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, has appeared eight times in three years as party leader, a fact which has previously been criticised by the Daily Telegraph for giving an undeserved platform to the her “nationally unpopular Green Party”. She recently resigned to concentrate on her parliamentary activities, making way for the election of Natalie Bennett in her place.
A parliamentary spokeswoman for Lucas emphasised that “the BBC is under no obligation to put a Green representative on the panel for Question Time – whether in Brighton or anywhere else.”
Chancellor fo the Exchequer, George Osborne. Credit: Mholland
Mention the 2012 Budget to most people, and it’s unlikely to conjure excitement, but at the very least you might expect it to hold a certain morbid fascination. After all, when George Osborne and his colleagues squeeze the country’s spending and tinker with taxation, it’s we who are affected. But judging by the reactions of Brighton residents, it seems that a climate of despondency fostered by a prevailing economic insecurity means most people are not even interested in reading it.
Although many were unaware of the finer (some might say confusing) details of the document, there was a general perception that it is weighted unfairly, penalising the middle-classes and the vulnerable without even delivering the support to businesses that had been promised. Read the rest of this entry »
After angry protests at the recent budget meeting, the Green party is at risk of alienating its voters
It may have been their first ever budget, but it’s likely to be one they wish to forget. The Green Party suffered a humiliating defeat at Wednesday’s meeting, not just from opposition councillors who defeated a raft of green proposals, including a 3.5% council tax levy, but at the hands of vocal protestors both inside and outside Brighton Town Hall.
A range of individuals came along to voice their discontent: allotment owners; parents; and students amongst them. Outside, individuals waved placards; inside, there was a tense, and at times, hostile atmosphere during the five hour meeting as members of the gallery heckled Green councillors.
From speaking to people who voted Green in last year’s elections, it is apparent many are angry about the party’s rhetoric in recent weeks. Some have noted a whiff of hypocrisy from a party which purports a ‘green’ line on issues whilst simultaneously trying to raise allotment rates and cut community services such as the mobile library.
Graham Ennis, a retired research scientist and former writer for The Ecologist magazine, said: “The Green Party has lost contact with ordinary people…. and simply doesn’t seem to understand what it is doing or how ridiculous it looks. A bright 12 year-old can figure out that if you say you are a green party and say you like green things, you should support green things and not snatch it away from people.”
Despite the defeat of some of the Green’s proposals on Wednesday, some argue that the damage has already been done. Will Scrim, a Brighton resident and student at Sussex University said: “Although the Greens initially made a stand against cuts, it is now complicit. It is not just the Tory’s who are at fault, it is the people who implement the cuts at a local level who become part of that agenda. They should refuse to take money from the poorest in society…they should build a campaign to force the government to change.”
It appears then that the Greens have some work to do. With a tarnished brand image, they may now be at threat from Labour in future elections over broken campaign promises – something which Labour leader, Jill Mitchell, is all too aware. She declared: “They have gone from the protest party to the party most protested in this city.”
When asked if he had voted for the Greens at the last local elections, Graham Ennis said: “I did and I regret it bitterly.” Watch this space: he might not be the only one.
The Greens lost their battle to raise council tax in Brighton & Hove thanks to a Labour amendment pushed through at the budget meeting last night.
Five hours of debate dampened the Green budget proposal, with Labour and Conservative councillors securing an amendment that will halt the 3.5% tax rise and pull in £3 million offered by the Government.
The Tories’ demands to axe union officers and close Brightstart nursery were apparently too hard to stomach and they failed to pass any changes.
Classing myself as a bit of a ‘fake hippy’, it is somewhat surprising that I haven’t made it to the Out of the Ordinary Festival before – especially as it is literally a five minute drive from my house. Fortunately, 2011 was my year. Though after pulling into Knockhatch’s incredibly long drive, it appeared that every other person with a faintly bohemian calling had also decided to venture to the three-day festival, held between Eastbourne and Brighton for the last five years.
Proposals for a new high-speed rail network are threatening to create a Parliamentary storm, with one former government special advisor predicting a bigger backlash than the one against Brighton’s Falmer Stadium.
Former Labour SA, Paul Richards, advised then-Deputy PM John Prescott to approve plans for Brighton and Hove Albion’s new stadium, only to see it blocked for 13 years by Lewes District Council and other local Parliamentary opposition.
A small group of MPs wouldn’t normally influence government decisions, but Mr. Richards, said: “Backbenchers can put considerable pressure on ministers in this scenario, given the inherent instability of Coalition government.”
Now, a group of high-profile Conservative backbenchers including Attorney General Dominic Grieve, Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan, and Government whip Jeremy Wright have all said they will vote against the High Speed Two Bill.
Speaking to the group on Friday (May 13), Green Party Leader, Dr. Lucas, said her first few months in Westminster were “really difficult”.
As the first ever Green MP and the sole representative of her party, there was no one to explain to her the workings of Parliament.
While most MPs were helpful, she said there were exceptions – most notably the MP who, when she went to shake his hand after meeting him for a second time, almost recoiled in horror declaring: “In this House we only shake hands once.”