iFAQ: Who are you and why are you standing?

Look, we’re all trying to deal with this General Election in our own way. We’re now covering our eighth Medway wide poll in the five years we’ve been doing this thing, and mostly just wondering when we’ll be allowed to rest. But whether we like or not, another General Election is upon us. It’s all been a bit rushed, and a number of last minute selections have had to take place. As such, we decided to try to get to know our General Election candidates a little more by sending them a couple of straightforward questions.

As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below, grouped by the constituency each of them are standing in.

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Tell me a birth story

In which Vicki Sigston looks at the consequences of funding cuts on one area of the NHS..

As an Antenatal Practitioner and Breastfeeding Counsellor, I hear a lot of birth stories – home births, births in midwife or consultant led units. Vaginal and caesarean births. Inductions. Forceps. Babies born unexpectedly in cars and bathrooms. You name it, I’ve heard it.

I feel honoured to do this job and to be a tiny part of people’s journeys to parenthood but one thing I feel more and more uneasy about is the way our NHS is letting these parents down. Alongside the positive and heart warming birth stories I am hearing more and more worrying experiences.

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Medway Councillor and Deputy Mayor Steve Iles expelled from Conservatives over social media posts

The Deputy Mayor of Medway Councillor Steve Iles has been expelled from the Conservative Party after being named by LBC as being a part of a dossier handed to them containing Islamophobic content posted by councillors across the country.

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Political Figures Predictions: Gillingham and Rainham

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects takes a look at what the General Election what might bring for Gillingham and Rainham..

They say that a week is a long time in politics, and in the time since my analysis for Chatham and Aylesford was published, the Brexit party have announced that they will not be standing in any seat won by the Conservatives in 2017. That means their three candidates in Medway have been stood down (whether they like it or not). 

This not only impacts on the projection which has already been published, but also on the remaining projections. The question is, how does one divide the projected vote share for the Brexit Party between the remaining parties? Contrary to prevailing belief, the Brexit party were not likely to just be a vote drain on the Conservatives. 

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Doing it for the kids, part 2

In which our intrepid reporter continues to dig into what went wrong with children’s social care services in Medway, and what the council are trying to do to fix things..

Don’t know if you’ve seen but children’s social care in Medway is a ticking time bomb. The council have until the end of the year to prove they can turn around a bad mark from Ofsted and still take care of the most vulnerable children in the Towns in their time of need.

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Youth politics in a toxic atmosphere

In which Anna McGovern, the Chair of Medway Youth Council, looks at the challenges and abuse that have become all too common in our politics..

Politics has changed. It is not just about making a “difference” anymore; it is a slandering competition on who can score the most “party political” points. I have seen this myself, locally and nationally – and it only seems to be getting worse. 

It is not only the “political activists” of Twitter subject to daily abuse, offline and online, for following a certain ideology. It is not only the local councillors who have to deal with being under permanent scrutiny for every action they make, whilst balancing full-time careers, family life and other personal affairs. 

More than ever, young people are the demographic being subject to pertinent abuse. Young people being abused by young people. Young people being abused by adults, who surely should know better. There are so many cases of online (and offline) abuse I could name which could account to multiple articles in their own right. My point is that abuse in politics is so common nowadays that it overshadows what politics in itself should be about: making a difference locally and nationally.

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Political Figures Predictions: Chatham and Aylesford

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects takes a look at what the General Election what might bring for Chatham and Aylesford..

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas, but the one where almost everyone in Medway with access to the internet seems to cry out for change, only for the Conservatives to be re-elected by a wide margin.

So for this series of articles, Messrs Jennings and Keevil have asked their resident data nerd to run the numbers and try to predict, on the numbers alone, whether that mythical change might happen, or whether we will wake up on 13 December to the news that the three Conservative candidates have been re-elected.

To answer that question I shall be taking a look at what the data from the 2015 general election tells us about what might happen next month. No, I’ve not forgotten that we also voted in 2017. However, the election in 2015 presents an extra set of data which is infinitely more useful in comparing how the attitudes of Medway’s voters has shifted: the local elections. I shall, therefore, be taking a look at how the results in each ward for Medway’s three constituencies changed between 2015 and 2019, and using that to try and determine whether any of our three MPs are likely to be queuing up outside a job centre on 13 December.

I have form for this. A comparison of the shift in local election behaviour was one of the key principles behind the data model I produced in 2010 which, as I explained at the beginning of the year on this very website, was remarkably accurate. Whilst I have created a similar model for this year, it comes with its own caveat: there are additional parameters to account for both the 2015 and 2017 general elections, so essentially there is more data to go wrong in the projections that have been generated for each constituency. Just to fill you all with confidence…

That said, these have only ever been projections, not predictions, and the usual caveat that they are only a snapshot of where support likely sits, not a demonstrative prediction of what the vote will actually be, applies.

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5 weeks of imperfect balance

In which Caitlin Webb, the UK’s first Local Democracy Reporter, explains to us what purdah is, and how much it impacts an election campaign..

There’s a general election coming. There’s nothing more exciting for a political journalist. It’s where politics gets all serious and things could be really shaken up. We have now entered purdah, the pre-election period.

What is purdah and why is it so important? 

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Chatham and Aylesford Labour share antisemitic post, no one even notices

There’s been a lot of media attention on apparently antisemitic acts and comments from certain people within the Labour Party over recent years, but thankfully this is not something we have thus far had to cover here in Medway.

Unfortunately, the Chatham and Aylesford Labour Party have stupidly shared the above post on their Facebook page for the last four months, seemingly without anyone in the party noticing, question it’s existence, or taking actions to remove it.

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Voice of the Leader: November

Once a month we offer a platform to the leaders of both Medway Council and the official opposition. Today, we have the latest column from Cllr Alan Jarrett, Conservative Leader of Medway Council.

Alan Jarrett

What a roller-coaster of a ride it has been since I last wrote in The Political Medway in September. One of delights of being Leader of Medway Council, are the complexities with which I deal with: changing issues; different (and sometimes difficult!) people to do business with; the changing external landscape which confronts us as politicians.

It is always a challenge, but when success comes through it is all the sweeter for that. 

Success is invariably hard fought, requiring dogged determination and the ability to work with others to gain their support.

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