Gillingham UKIP and the Tommy Robinson connection

In which August Scholl takes a look at the rise of the far right and how Gillingham and Rainham UKIP are embracing them.

Medway has lived with the intersection of the UK Independence Party, Brexit and the far right for a long time now. From as far back as Mark Reckless’ surprise Rochester by-election victory in 2014, UKIP has been in close proximity to deeply divisive issues and the extremist fringes who seek to exploit them.

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What lays beneath Medway History?

In which local historian Chris Sams digs into an overlooked tale of Medway history..

The Tory led council are very proud of our heritage and landmarks and well they should be. However you would not be considered foolish if, as a tourist you got off at Chatham station and only went to the Dockyard, Fort Amherst. or soaked in the carefully engineered aesthetic that is Rochester town centre.  

The other Medway towns also have a rich and forgotten history and landmarks that are being allowed to rot that could be used as tourist attractions.

So what else is there to see within the Medway towns?

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A C Word

In which Vicki Sigston looks at cervical health, and finds some troubling details about screening in Medway..

So, it’s 2019. A whole new year to grab by the horns and make some positive changes in this mad world that we find ourselves in.

I’d love to say that our local government and councillors have been doing just that but sadly anyone with even half a toenail in politics is still embroiled in the B word, and frankly I don’t have the energy to talk about that.

So instead, something that I hadn’t heard of until recently.. January is “Cervical Health Awareness Month”.

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A legacy of homelessness

In which Medway Labour’s Housing spokesperson Naushabah Khan looks at the homelessness situation in Medway.

Welcoming in 2019, I thought it was important to start the new year discussing an issue that we really have to get under control. A problem that frankly has no space in one of the world’s richest economies and one that should instead be close to eradication. Yet since 2010 homelessness, in all its guises, has been on the increase; exacerbated by a shortage of social and affordable homes and the politics of austerity, driven by a Conservative
government.

To give a sense of the numbers, rough sleeping is up by a startling 134% (in seven years) nationally, while there has been a 60% rise in the number of families living in temporary accommodation. In Medway alone over six hundred children are classified as homeless, the worst figures in Kent.

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Political Figures: How Data Works

Once a month we are going to hand over to our friends at Medway Elects, who are going to dig into the Medway data and, using wizardry, work out where are right now.

As any opinion pollster will tell you, trying to predict how people will vote at an election is notoriously difficult. You can ask a sample of the population and then attempt to extrapolate that out as a representation of how the population as a whole will vote. You can study trends on social and traditional media to make educational guesses. Or, you could simply make it up as you go along. Whichever option you choose, as history has shown time and time and time again, the end result will always be unreliable, for a number of long and complex reasons (but that’s a thought for another day). 

However, it is with the unreliability of such predictions in mind that I am today writing the first in a series of posts for The Political Medway on my own data model for the upcoming local elections, prefaced with a number of caveats. Most important among them is this: this is not a prediction. This is a data-based projection, based on local and national polling data, to forecast how much support each party has in each ward. Retaining that support, or gaining additional support, and ensuring those supporters go out and vote is the responsibility of the parties themselves.

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Voice of the Leader: January

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 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.’

This was the promise I made in my first article for The Political Medway, and it is relevant to reinforce it here as most of us celebrate the incredible success achieved by Gillingham Football Club in defeating Premier League club Cardiff City in the FA Cup.

Gillingham FC is Kent’s only Football League club, this year celebrating its 125th anniversary, and as such has a special place in the history of Medway. The FA Cup is the world’s oldest cup competition and for these two things to coincide is noteworthy in itself.

When we agreed the shirt sponsorship deal for this season with Gillingham FC it was on a nil cost basis to Medway tax payers. But still we had our Labour opposition firstly trying to stop the sponsorship, and secondly to criticise and denigrate it. We’ve been here before, and it is another shabby example of how Medway Labour disrespect our heritage.

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Voice of the Leader: December

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 Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council and the Conservative Group.

Alan Jarrett

This is the first of my monthly contributions to the Political Medway, and I read last week’s contribution by the leader of the opposition with a sense of déjà vu! For this is what I have been listening to ever since we took control of the council 18 years ago; but this time carefully setting out the ‘achievements’ of his Labour colleagues.

One by one the members of the Labour Group were named, and one by one we can now see just what they have achieved over all these years. NOTHING!

Whilst we read a list of what Labour had been trying to stop from happening in Medway, my contribution is going to set out all the things that the Conservative administration has actually done.

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Voice of the Opposition: December

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. Starting today with Vince Maple, leader of the Medway Labour Group.

I want to start by thanking Ed and Steve from the Political Medway for giving pieces of this nature a new home. Historically, the local KM paper had a weekly political column which residents would often talk about when speaking to them on the doorstep. Although I’m sure I’ll disagree with the vast majority of what Alan Jarrett will say when his pieces are published, it’s healthy for local democracy for the Leader of the Council and the Leader of the Opposition to have an accessible platform of this nature.

We are in the middle of December, a great opportunity to reflect on the positive actions Medway Labour Councillors have taken over the past year in the community we call home. It goes without saying that Labour Councillors deal with hundreds of pieces of casework to support residents in their ward on a wide variety of issues. Alongside that the Labour Group have shown true community leadership in a number of ways, working hard to deliver for the residents of Medway.

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