Virtual Doorstep: 6 WEEKS TO GO!!!

It is said that elections are won on the doorstep, and that may well be true. Being armchair activists, it’s difficult to check up on that.
Twitter and blogs however are part of our social media present and future, and if the election was decided there, how would each of the wards be looking?

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Voice of the Leader: March

Once a month we are offering the Leaders of both Medway Council and the official opposition the opportunity to talk unedited about.. well, Medway politics. Today we hear from Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council and the Conservative Group.

Alan Jarrett

‘Going forward I promise that we will protect Medway from those who seek to close down facilities and services; against those who belittle Medway and its hard-working people; and against those who snub our military heritage and insult our monarchy.’

Oh my word! My last Political Medway contribution really hit a nerve with the Labour Group! This culminated in a bizarre and obsessive “Truth and Memory” speech from one of them at the Budget Council meeting in February. Apparently it’s all my fault that Labour engage in untruths and hypocrisy! I am reminded of the line from Hamlet – “The lady doth protest too much”!

Ever consistent, Labour produced its election manifesto full of half-truths. Apparently according to Cllr Mrs Murray – it is “deliverable and costed”. It appears Labour has learnt nothing since 2010 when it left that note to the incoming Conservative Chancellor “There’s no money – good luck!” Reading that manifesto left me wondering who really is the Leader of the Labour Group, for it is Cllr Mrs Murray who seems to be calling all the shots. However, more on Labour’s manifesto later.

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Entrenched views

In which Andrew Dennis ponders the effect firmly held beliefs are having on our political discourse..

The thing I think most needs to change in politics, locally and nationally, is the continued entrenchment of political philosophies, culture, tradition and views. Views that are wrapped up in a political dogma, attitude or belief that isn’t perhaps as relevant today as it might have been when a person’s views were first formed – often in their teenage years, or, in the case of Chelsea Clinton, whose parents encouraged her take part in philosophical, social and political debate around the dinner table at the age of 5, much earlier!

Entrenchment is defined in an online dictionary resource as the fact of an attitude, habit or belief becoming so firmly established that change is very difficult or unlikely. The 1980s seem to be the time, in my lifetime, when views hardened, to the right, to the left, and you were either one of us, or one of them. 

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Virtual Doorstep: Less than 50 days til #MedwayElects19

It is said that elections are won on the doorstep, and that may well be true. Being armchair activists, it’s difficult to check up on that.
Twitter and blogs however are part of our social media present and future, and if the election was decided there, how would each of the wards be looking?

Continue reading “Virtual Doorstep: Less than 50 days til #MedwayElects19”

Councillor Conduct

In which following the case of Cllr Franklin and the excellent work of Alan Collins, we look to see how a candidate – chosen at random – might be affected by Medway Council’s social media policy should they get elected.


We will take a look at some key social media terms and see if a ‘reasonable’ person would consider them abusive. This might be difficult, if the candidate is being unreasonable, or unwilling to view their behaviour as anything other than reasonable. And would be more likely to see this blog as an attack, rather than an opportunity to learn..

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Uncertain Starts

In which Lia Mandaracas and Alexandra Chatfield look at the impact closing Sure Start centres has had across Medway..

Part 1 / Lia Mandaracas

Sure Start, since its introduction in 1999 transformed the lives of families with under 5s. By 2009 there were over 3600 centres with most of them concentrated in disadvantaged areas. In mid-2016, Medway Council made significant savings with a staffing restructure and reduced sessions, which came with assurances that this was the only way to save the full provision. By early 2017 they proposed closing all centres in favour of four “super hubs” that would serve wide areas and 0-19 rather than 0-5. Due to public pressure they relented slightly and created the super hubs with satellite centres to run some sessions, although these centres no longer had continuity of staff or full time opening hours. I thought I would take a look at the effects on service users, the impact on the councils Key Performance Indicators, and Ofsted results compared to other parts of the country.

For background here are two speeches I gave to the council drawing on evidence from other councils to speculate on what closing Medway Sure Starts might mean.

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School’s Out

In which Vicki Sigston looks at why so many families in Medway and beyond are turning to home education..

There are many reasons why families, like my own, choose to home educate their children. Some are not a fan of our rigid national curriculum and lack of funding in music and the arts. For others it’s the freedom that home education provides in letting children learn at their own pace, in their own way. The freedom to travel without the threat of fines for missing school. The freedom to spend a whole year on a topic if that is sparking a passion. Sometimes children who are home educated have needs that our schools struggle with and home education can provide a much less stressful environment for them to learn in.

There are lots of choices that lead to the decision to not have your children in mainstream education. But it is just that, a choice, and one that families should be free to make without fear of retribution.

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Cllr Franklin expelled by Medway Tories for Islamophobia three years after being shown he was Islamophobic

So, farewell then Michael Franklin, councillor for Luton and Wayfield, who has finally been expelled by Medway Conservative three years after his grossly offensive tweeting was highlighted by this website.

In January 2016, we published an article highlighting the Islamophobic and otherwise offensive tweets of Cllr Franklin. In February 2016, these tweets were raised at full council. And then.. nothing.

No action was taken against Cllr Franklin, and last year, Medway Conservatives reselected him to fight for the Luton and Wayfield ward again. Change occurred last month when Baroness Warsi highlighted Cllr Franklin’s tweets, which led to the national party stepping in and a suspension finally being imposed.

Now, over 1,000 days after the issue was first raised, he has been formally expelled from the party.

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