The ongoing story of my life at the moment – both as a councillor and as a resident on a very ordinary income – is all about the “cost of living crisis”.
It’s all about the terrifying black holes at the heart of the council’s finances, the fire service’s finances (I also sit on the East Sussex Fire Authority) and my personal finances too.
But last week there was at least a bit of respite from gloomy budget discussions as Labour campaigned for our fantastic candidate Bella Sankey in the Wish ward by-election in Hove.
Despite freezing weather and the dark clouds over the national and local economies, our members and supporters turned out in force in this Conservative seat.
And they produced an absolutely stunning victory, with Bella taking around 60 per cent of the total vote. The Tory and Green votes collapsed – and the Lib Dems and UKIP candidates were nowhere.
I think it’s fair to say that people are angry with the Tories for the national mismanagement of all of our most important public services – the NHS, care system, transport and energy – and for the all-too-obvious corruption and cronyism at the heart of government.
Many of us are surely starting to see it as the “cost of greed crisis” rather than a “cost of living crisis”.
And that’s because the huge corporations, bankers and already wealthy continue to get richer and richer at the expense of the rest of us, like some obscene upside-down version of the Robin Hood story.
Locally, the only line the Cons seem to have – on repeat – is that they are the antidote to the supposed Labour and Green “coalition” that they know perfectly well doesn’t exist.
In our minority-run council, the Labour group has always said that our members would work with all other parties in any areas where we felt that a proposal was in the best interests of residents or local businesses. We would not oppose just for the sake of it or for a media headline.
But of course we think we can run the city better than both the rival parties – and it looks like the voters of Wish ward, at least, agreed with us last week.
So, we’ll be welcoming Bella to the Labour group this week.
And we’ll be campaigning hard across the city over the next five months, hopefully in even bigger numbers than we saw in Wish, for a new Labour administration, a majority one this time, and a fresh start for the city.
Councillor Amanda Evans is the deputy leader of the Labour opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council.