Many Hove residents feel that their ‘marriage’ with Brighton is a happy one.

The trouble with living in Hove is that one is asked on a regular basis a question to which one must reply in the negative: “So, do you come from Brighton?”

“No, I’m from ‘Hove Actually’,” you reply with an embarrassed giggle.  (Air apostrophes optional.)

At least I do.  If, however, you routinely say this sentence without a trace of irony, then it is unlikely that we will see eye to eye on this one.  The thing is, Hove wants a divorce apparently.  (Could Hove really divorce Brighton? The Argus, 27th September 2008.)  Which, despite the fact that I am a resident of Hove – and a homeowner at that – is news to me, I must say. 

It’s the usual story, in that a vocal minority have captured the headlines by huffing and puffing about anti-social behaviour and harping on about the ‘good old days’, in this case of Hove Borough Council.  And once again, I find myself having to apologise for the snobbishness by which, rightly or wrongly, Hove has become characterised.

Brighton and Hove Borough Councils jumped into bed together in 1997 and took over county responsibilities to become a unitary authority, much to the chagrin of some members of the community (or should that be communities?)  It seems that, over a decade later, some of them are angrier than ever.

The trouble with these ‘career complainers’ is that they will always try and blame a whole host of society’s ills on one aspect of government, in this case the fact that issues affecting Hove’s interests are decided ‘centrally’.  (It’s only down the road!) 

They will argue that the forming of a unitary authority is responsible for ‘the Brighton creep’ – the overspill of late-night bars and general grubbiness from Hove’s younger, livelier and slightly more unseemly neighbours – without taking into account national trends, new laws, geographical proximity, the housing market or any of the other numerous variables that can contribute to the application of licencing laws and social mobility.

Hove remains a lovely place to live, and most residents I know are not at all snobbish about Brighton.  In fact, most of us enjoy taking advantage of all the delights that a vibrant cosmopolitan city has to offer, while still being able to skulk away to the suburbs whenever we feel like it.  It really is the best of both worlds. 

I’m just fed up with having to apologise for the intolerant attitudes with which Hove is too often associated, and continually having to reassure my Brighton friends that I do love them really.