"Grayson! There are an awful lot of working-class people in Brighton, you know! "
Talk of "independence" is in the air. The independence of sweet surburban Hove from evil, hedonistic, spendthrift Brighton, that is. There seems to a bit of a head of steam gathering around this notion that life in Hove was so much better in splendid isolation. A website - Hove Alone (which seems to be down at the moment) - is dedicated to the reformation of Hove Borough Council, and letters keep appearing in the Argus, most notably from civic worthy Beryl Ferrers-Guy, who seems to blame the formation of the unitary council for the closure of the Army and Navy in George Street!
Brighton and Hove City Council is far from being a perfect institution, but who do these campaigners think they are kidding? Do they imagine that a Hove Council can be formed which will run everything? In the unlikely event of Hove reverting to borough status, many of the key services like education and social services will be run by a county council, just as they were before. Given that this entity would be stuck out to the west of what would presumably remain an unitary Brighton, this would likely be West Sussex County Council. The borough council services would be ripe for takeover by the burgeoning "shared services" partnership of Worthing and Adur. So in return for gaining this "independence" we would end up being ruled from Chichester and Worthing. Some people just don't think things through do they?
Of course, what really lies at the heart of this campaign is a sepia-tinted view of Hove untainted by all those poor people, homeless people and drug addicts. Of a council which hoarded resources but never thought about putting them to good use. It is though these folk imagine that some kind of fortified border can be set up across Western Road to keep all the "bad" stuff out.
Hove always had more than its share of poverty and social problems - it was just better at putting a genteel facade around it all. Hove cannot insulate itself from the realities of the world, so don't listen to the blandishments of those who claim otherwise. Better that we work together to solve the problems which face us all