Where do our candidates stand on animal welfare?

In which Mina da Rui quizzes our Medway parliamentary candidates on animal welfare issues, and analyses their responses..

Instead of our regular style of iFAQ, we’ve tried something a little different this week. There’s plenty of interesting subjects we know little about, and unlike Michael Gove, we are now sick of experts. As such, every now and again, we’re going to ask people who know particular subjects to pose questions to our politicians and analyse their responses. For this first edition, we invited Mina da Rui, former Animal Welfare Party candidate, to pose questions to our Medway parliamentary candidates on, well, animal welfare issues. Their responses, along with Mina’s analysis are below..

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Party or candidate, leader or policies?

In which Caitlin Webb tries to work through all of the different factors that go in to casting a vote at a General Election..

This has been called the most important vote in a lifetime, sound familiar? Feels like every time we go to the polling station, it’s to make a do-or-die decision. So deciding who to vote for is pretty important. There’s also the fact that people who have been living in this country for decades, people who have been cheated by the judicial system and 17-year-olds can’t vote, that drives me to put a cross in the box. But who will win my vote?

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Mindful manifestos?

In which Lauren Heritage examines each party manifesto to see what each is pledging in terms of mental health..

Next month on December 12th we all head to the polls again for what feels like the 26th time in a year, for another General Election *insert screaming with joy gif*

The main parties are represented in Medway along with some independent candidates for your selection. Mental Health remains a hot topic both socially and politically and all parties will need to be making strong pledges in this area to win votes.

So what are the parties promising in their manifestos and what do I think of them? The focus of this article is to see how Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems, Green and UKIP (at the time of writing The Brexit Party had not presented any mental health policy) are focusing on mental health and then review the policies.

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Boring History: The Zinoviev letter

In which Chris Sams looks to the past to try and figure out the General Election, and finds a Medway parallel along the way..

As the nation enters the throes of another General Election the bored electorate seem to be heading out to vote again, but there seems to be such divided opinion it would only take a news event to cost either of the big two parties their lead.

This is what happened in 2017 with Theresa May, when she singlehandedly cost the Conservatives votes by speaking at debates and events causing people to slide away. This time around Boris could do the same, Jacob Rees-Mogg may have already done so with his Grenfell comments, but who can tell at this stage?

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If not now, then when?

In which Steve Dyke takes a look at what each party is pledging to do to tackle climate change, with very mixed results..

Thanks in no small part to David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, school strikers, Extinction Rebellion and the predictions of IPCC scientists, the environment (and in particular the climate emergency) has featured in this General Election campaign far more than in previous ones.  In the past, such issues were largely the preserve of the Green Party, for whom environmental protection is a core principle.  However in 2019 it seems as if any serious political party feels it must have policies and pledges to attract voters concerned with the climate crisis.  Do I personally feel attracted by what is on offer?

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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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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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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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The Oft Forgotten Residents of Medway

In which Sue Groves looks at the day to day difficulties faced by disabled residents of Medway..

close up view of wheelchair with Pavement handicap symbol

Have you ever had one of those days where you plan everything with military precision, only for obstacles and barriers to get in the way at every turn? Welcome to my world – and that of many of Medway’s disabled residents.

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Hard Conversations

In which Vicki Sigston looks at the support that exists for new parents during one of the most difficult times..

As an antenatal practitioner I meet hundreds of families every year who are waiting to meet their babies. Some will come to me as parents who have been affected by the previous loss of a pregnancy or who have experienced stillbirth and while often they might prefer to keep this information to themselves, they might also be keen to talk through their past experiences as they prepare to meet their new baby, and of course this is important.

Stillbirth and neonatal death will always be a hard subject for people to talk about, but June is SANDS awareness month here in the UK and I felt it was a great opportunity to open up the dialogue a little.

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