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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Voice of the Opposition: August

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.


So the man who wanted to build an airport in our community has now got the keys to number ten.  There are many alarming things about Boris Johnson’s election to the role of Prime Minister. His obsession with the estuary airport, a vanity project of the highest order – considering the wide variety of evidence from environmental to economic all pointed to it being a flawed concept – but it’s not just us here in North Kent he managed to dismay.  

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Climate change: What can we do?

In which Esme Hehir of Medway Youth Council ponders what individuals and organisations to combat climate change.

Climate change is an issue that needs to be dealt with urgently. We cannot sit back as passive observers of the destruction of our planet. There is so much we should be doing to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come. 

This crisis has become so serious that there are now daily discussions in the mainstream media, taking the debate from a niche audience to the forefront of our global concerns. Despite there being an increased interest in the subject, not enough is being done to prevent climate change.

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Boring History: Independence Day

In which Chris Sams manages to tenuously link Independence Day to Medway politics..

The 4th of July is one of those dates we remember much like 1066, 1940 and 1348, I mean who can forget the date that Will Smith and that doctor from Jurassic Park saved the world from alien invasion?

The 4th July is, of course, the American Independence day. A date when the American nation celebrates breaking the union of the thirteen colonies with the English Empire in a move that is seen as driven by taking control of their own affairs, greater freedoms and democracy but in reality was all about dodging paying tea tax. Seems fair? Well, the mists of time and a popular history has hidden a few of the salient facts..

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Voice of the Opposition: July

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.


I’m writing this month’s Voice of the Opposition at the Local Government Association (LGA) Conference taking place this year in Bournemouth. This is an annual event which sees councillors from all political parties as well as senior council officers coming together to look at the state of the nation.

This year we will hear from people like the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney and the Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis. Alongside this hearing from senior Labour politicians including Keir Starmer who addressed the Labour Group. During the session I raised with him the issue of devolution and the need for quality jobs and skills agenda in post Brexit Medway.

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