Ode to a diverse media

In which Laura Garcia, co-founder of PressPad, talks about how our journalism suffers if it doesn’t represent the community it covers.

Let me take you back to November 2014 – to a time 3 Prime Ministers ago, before we’d ever heard of the word “Backstop” and when Luis Suarez decided his best football strategy during the World Cup was to bite the shoulder of Giorgio Chiellini. David Cameron was Prime Minister, and the new kids on the political block were Nigel Farage and his merry band of UKIPers who were feeling pretty great after a couple of successful local elections.  

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Food bank, glorious food bank

In which Vicki Sigston looks at the increased service that food banks in Medway are needing to provide..

Single Food parcel, Single, Food, Food Parcel Contents

Hello and Happy New Year.

If you can cast your minds back all the way to the last decade you may have a faint recollection of quite a lot happening in the world of UK politics as we approached Christmas. All culminating in a general election where the Conservatives pushed aside all other parties to win a comfortable majority in the Commons.

As you may have guessed from previous posts I have written for this esteemed website the Conservatives, particularly our local councillors, are not my favourite people. I am often appalled by their seeming lack of care for anyone but the most well off in society and struggle to understand where their popularity comes from in my hometowns of Medway, where we have ever increasing levels of poverty.

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iFAQ: What next for Labour?

Following a pretty terrible General Election result for Labour, the party is now in the process of selecting a new leader. We decided to reach out to Medway councillors from all parties to ask them where they think it went wrong for Labour, and who should take control going forwards.

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.

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Medway Council Ombudsman outrage

In which Medway Council finds itself on the receiving end of yet another critical report, this time from a very unhappy Ombudsman..

Medway Council is in trouble with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for a second time as top councillors haven’t changed their rules about how to support families with transport costs to get to school.

Who is this Ombudsman?

His name is Michael King. He’s quite a nice chap, whose job is to make sure councils do what they should and everyone gets a fair deal. He investigates complaints about councils, is independent, and gives recommendations.

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Anna and the conference

In which Anna McGovern, the Chair of Medway Youth Council, talks about the organisation achieved at their recent Annual Conference..

In a recent national ballot for young people called “Make Your Mark”, it was overwhelmingly highlighted that 40% of young people in Medway wanted “Protect The Environment” to be prioritised as a national campaign. This is our youth demographic, denied the vote – but longing for a say on their future. The timing of our Annual Conference couldn’t have been more spot on.

On the 20th November 2019, the Medway Youth Council hosted their Annual Conference for 2019 – “Climate Change – A Real Threat To Our Future!”. We invited young people from across Medway to partake in a series of workshops, have the opportunity to converse with climate change professionals, and to attend an afternoon Q&A panel focussing on the key themes within the climate crisis. We were particularly fortunate to have MidKent College in Gillingham host our event for the day.

The purpose of our Annual Conference was to educate and inform young people on the issues concerning climate change on a local and a national scale. Whether you join Extinction Rebellion, engage in a protest or even make small changes in your lifestyle – we wanted to impart onto our young people that there are so many ways in which they can contribute towards the reversal of climate change.

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Doing it for the kids, part 3

In which our intrepid reporter continues to look at the state of children’s social care in Medway following another damning report..

In case you hadn’t heard, Medway Council has not magically been able to improve children’s social care services in three months, following ten years of austerity. 

However, the council is not off the hook and will continue to provide social care for children in the towns. On top of that, the big guns that have been sent in to help the council clean up its act and will stay for at least another six months.

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Policies affecting young adults before an election

In which Anna McGovern, the Chair of Medway Youth Council, looks at the relevant issues for young people in this General Election..

Thursday 12th December will be a crucial day in the UK’s political sphere. It is the General Election – a day in which the people vote for who they want to represent them in Parliament. A total of 650 candidates will be elected as Members of Parliament (MPs) to decide laws and policies governing the UK. Individuals vote for the candidate they wish to represent them within their constituency on a Parliamentary scale. Many of these candidates will belong to a political party, but some candidates do stand independently. Current polls suggest a Conservative lead, with the Electoral Calculus website outlining an 82% likelihood that there will be a Conservative majority. But I tend to take these polls with a slight pinch of salt, because you can never truly know what to expect until the election result is announced to the UK. Individuals will be voting for their preferred candidate (or, in some cases, the “best” out of a bad bunch) within their constituency for the General Election.

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Safeguarding Rehman about town

It’s election time and it’s not unlikely another one is possible next year as well! As elections ever more become social media battles, PPCs promote themselves to anybody who has a pulse and is willing to fake a smile. With that in mind, it’s worth looking at guidance regarding safeguarding and the sharing of images of children online.

This isn’t about if you should share pictures of children online, but if you are interested in that, The Independent covered it here.

The following piece was inspired by a social media post by Rehman Chishti MP. The editing, as will become clear, is by us.

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Standing up for those standing down

In which former Medway councillor Anne-Claire Howard ponders why female MPs are stepping down in this General Election..

The first question is, are many women MPs standing down? More than men? If that’s the case, are they long standing MPs? And what reasons are they invoking? And are they of all parties, ethnic origin, or ages? It’s a little easy to make all-encompassing statements like this, so I did a little research. 

First of all, of the 58 politicians who are stepping down, 18 are women. “Well, that’s not so bad”, I hear you say. No, that’s not so bad. It’s basically the same proportion as there are female MPs in the house. This in itself is an issue, but not the topic of this piece. So proportionally as many women are standing down as men. But many of these women are relatively young and relatively recently elected compared to their male peers. That is more of a concern.

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iFAQ: Housing infrastructure fun

Medway was recently awarded a £170m grant from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock future housing developments on the Hoo peninsula. While homes are desperately needed in Medway, these developments are very unpopular around the peninsula due to a perception of over-development. As such we decided to ask if this was the best use of the funding, or could it have been better spent in other parts of Medway.

It was recently announced that Medway has been awarded £170m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock future developments on the Hoo peninsula. Do you feel that this is the best use of this money, or do you feel that other parts of Medway could have benefited from access to these funds? If so, how?

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.

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