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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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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iFAQ: What benefits does a City of Culture bring anyway?

Don’t let it ever be said that Medway doesn’t like to try and punch above it’s weight. Despite not being a city and having hardly any culture, councillors of all colours have thrown their weight behind a campaign for Medway to become the UK City of Culture in 2025. There seems to be a lot of mixed messages about what this actually means, so we decided to ask every councillor the following question:

If Medway wins it’s 2025 City of Culture bid, what benefits would this bring to residents of your ward and the wider area?

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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iFAQ: Peninsula national park?

Following recent debates over the amount of development on the peninsula area of Medway, Cllr Ron Sands has proposed that the area should be designated a National Park. An interesting idea, we decided to email a range of political voices – other councillors, former councillors for the area, and other parties – to gauge their support for the idea.

Cllr Sands has recently proposed the designation of the Peninsula as a National Park. Do you believe this would be a positive development for the area?

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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Voice of the Opposition: October

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.

One of the things you find when it comes to politics is that, on certain issues, it can be difficult to not fall into a bunch of clichés. When it comes to young people; they really do only get one chance in life, they absolutely do deserve the very best support available and they really are the future.

There are three examples of young people in Medway that I want to focus on this month. I can’t start in any other place than the recent Ofsted into Children’s Social Services which rated Medway Council as inadequate, the worst possible rating. In my more than a decade as a councillor it is truly one of the worst Ofsted reports I’ve seen. It is important to note that those in the front line of the service are given positive recognition in the report. Despite some social workers having caseloads of up to 55 – dramatically larger than you would anticipate considering the government figures show the average number of cases held by a children’s social worker is 17.4.

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