Voice of the Opposition: February

Once a month we will be offering the Leaders of both Medway Council and the official opposition the opportunity to talk unedited about.. well, Medway politics. Today we hear from Vince Maple, leader of Medway Labour, the official opposition on Medway Council.

As is often said a week is a long time in politics and since the last column there has been a lot going on in Medway politics.

It’s worth recognising that there continues to be a vacancy for the Medway Local Democracy Reporter so the job of holding all politicians to account done by Ed and Steve is more important than ever.

Of course, one political event since my last column was the general election. I want to thank every single person who voted Labour across the three Medway constituencies. I was proud to stand alongside Teresa and Andy as Labour’s parliamentary team in Medway. As I said at the count political parties in the UK are fundamentally volunteer organisations so the fact that so many people gave their time in the run up to Christmas to play their part in the election campaign shows real dedication.

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Looking for the sunny uplands

In which Steve Dyke ponders how seriously Medway Council and the government are taking climate issues that effect us all..

I hate to admit it, but we are likely to be governed nationally and locally by Conservative politicians for the foreseeable future.  These are some thoughts on what this may mean for Medway’s natural environment.

The outlook will be shaped both by actions taken (or not taken) to respond to the climate and ecological crises we face, and by the attitude of those in power.  Two documents published this year will have an important influence: the Government’s Environment Bill (“the Bill”), reintroduced into Parliament earlier this month, and the long-awaited release of Medway Council’s draft Local Plan.

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Political Figures: What next for Chatham and Aylesford?

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects looks at Chatham and Aylesford, and ponders how easily the Conservative hold on the constituency could be broken..

Ah, 2015, the year (the Republic of) Ireland voted to introduce same-sex marriage, a NASA spacecraft visited Pluto for the first time and Queen Elizabeth II became the UK’s longest-reigning monarch.
It was also the last time any of Medway’s parliamentary constituencies changed hands.

In recognition of this unbroken run of Conservative representation in parliament, Messrs Jennings and Keevil have asked me to look at what has changed between the three most recent general elections. So, for my latest three-part mini-series I’ll be looking at the results for each of Medway’s three constituencies in turn.

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Voice of the Leader: February

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

A belated Happy New Year to all readers of The Political Medway. In particular well done to Ed and Steve for keeping this blog going, thereby providing a platform for all things political in Medway.

It has been three months since my last contribution to this blog, and what a three months it has been! This presents me with a good opportunity to reflect on a decision I made in 2019 when Conservative Party members had the chance to choose a new Party leader.

I voted for Boris Johnson for two reasons: firstly that he was the most likely candidate to Get Brexit Done; secondly he was the man most likely to beat Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in any upcoming General Election. Boris won the election for Leader of the Conservative Party comfortably, and I was subsequently proven correct on both counts.

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Boring History: Return to Boris Island

In which Chris Sams looks to the slightly more recent past, to a time when our current Prime Minister threatened our towns with an aeroplane station..

As we start a new year and a new government, it is time to look at what we can expect and what a Johnson-led government will mean for the people of Medway.

Obviously this is out of my area as a historian and I’ll leave a lot of the suggestions and speculation to political commentators – something I gave up a long time ago!

History often repeats itself and as a student of the subject you can see things repeating themselves time and time again through the centuries and even decades. World War follows World War (Austrian war of succession to War of Independence to Napoleonic, to World War One to World War Two..), pandemic diseases, economic recession and growth.. I’m often looking at what’s going on and drawing parallels with what has happened before.

Now, with Boris Johnson firmly in power with a good majority, he’ll looking to increase business for Britain in a post-Brexit society. How long will it be before we see the reappearance of his big projects such as the bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland, or more pointedly for the Medway towns – Boris Island?

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iFAQ: So, farewell then, MEPs

With the UK now officially Brexited, and a golden new age of milk and honey upon, we decided to ponder the poor souls suffering most in this process: that’s right, our beloved MEPs. As such, we wrote to each of our region’s MEPs to ask them if they had any parting words for the voters of Medway as they exit their roles.

As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below in the order they were received.

Do you have any final words for the voters of Medway as the UK departs the EU?

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Point of no return

In which former Medway councillor Anne-Claire Howard tells us what leaving the European Union today means to her..

On the 31st of January, I won’t be “celebrating”. There will be no “freedom regained”, no “joy at overthrowing the shackles of Brussels”. Instead there will be sadness and mourning that something unique and promising has been lost. Not just to me (because it hasn’t entirely for me) but for the young generation, for those who didn’t want to leave, for those who will – in time – come to regret leaving.

Since the early morning of the 24th June 2016, I’ve been slowly working my way through the stages of grief. Well no, let’s be honest, I started with denial, then anger, then depression, and anger again. And I honestly think that I will never reach acceptance.

So what does “Brexit” mean for me? Where do I – a French woman who chose for love to live and work in the UK – go from here? How am I impacted? How is my family impacted by a decision in which we had no say since I was not allowed to vote (and neither were hundreds of thousands of Brits who live abroad)?

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iFAQ: The first positive of Brexit

With the UK set to depart the EU this Friday, and in the spirit of not coming across as remoaner snowflakes, we decided to ask each Medway political party about the sunlit uplands on the Brexit horizon.

As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below in the order they were received.

With the UK now scheduled to leave the EU on January 31, what will be first major positive to come out of our departure?

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