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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Medway Fun With Flags

We at The Political Medway need time to drink these coffees that some of you wonderful people have bought us, and sometimes there’s a topic that we don’t want to look up on Wikipedia. Either way, we return to a series of Guest Posts..

We didn’t think much of this update from Medway Tories. Until we saw this tweet.. 

But even then, our interest was only piqued by this exchange..

Treason you say?

Like many voters we had forgotten about Chris Sams, but he is apparently a published historical writer.

https://twitter.com/medwaypenguin/status/1047522095658426368?s=21

So we asked him to write for us about flags.

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Bloody Expensive

We at The Political Medway need time to drink these coffees that some of you wonderful people have bought us, and sometimes there’s a topic that we think doesn’t need another man to talk about it. Either way welcome to a series of Wednesday Guest Posts..

Back in September Medway Council’s public health team commissioned a survey of local teenagers, in which it was highlighted that as many as 1 in 5 young people know of a peer who had taken time off school due to not enough access to sanitary products.

Think about that for a moment. Young women, not going to school because they don’t have adequate sanitary protection.

Young women in Medway, missing out on school, and presumably family and social events too, because they don’t have the money or support to purchase sanitary towels, tampons or pads.

It’s a figure that astounds, embarrasses and saddens me.

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Introducing Medway Elects

MedElects3

A little over four years ago, I introduced the world to my latest project, Democracy in Practice, with far more fanfare than it probably deserved. It was, essentially, a collection of Medway Council election results and basic councillor details (i.e. their allowances) presented on a primitive site that looked like it belonged in 1997. After the local elections in 2011, I moved away from Medway and started to migrate the format to my new-found home in Birmingham, although I didn’t live there long enough to complete the project and launch. I know that Democracy in Practice had its fans, but I was never happy with the look and feel of the site. I have always been a programmer, never a designer. So when the code started to show flaws, and I got involved in other projects which took up my time, I switched the site off and let the domain name expire. I thought that would be the end of the story. Today, I am launching Medway Elects. We are 25 days away from the most important, and most unpredictable, general election in my lifetime – and, on the very same day, voters in Medway have a chance to change the makeup of Medway Council. I felt Democracy in Practice could live again, but it needed a major facelift – and a lot of changes under the hood to make it function in exactly the way it should. I got to work building the basic site layout first of all. I modelled it on another website I had built for an Air Cadet project. It’s not flash – just easier to navigate and more pleasing to the eye. I am also working on building a mobile-friendly version. Next, I rewrote the code from scratch – using Democracy in Practice as a strong foundation – and began adding new elements to the website. Medway Elects still contains election results (plus newly-added turnout figures, where available), including the ability to see each candidate’s electoral (and, where they have served on the council, allowances) history. But I am pleased to have been able to add electoral history for Medway’s three parliamentary constituencies (running from 1997). I am also excited to have been able to programme in various graphs to better illustrate party support and how it has changed over time. MedElects2 Clearly, as a party activist, I have never been able to lay claim to being an independent observer (although I have, in the past, had quiet words spoken in my ear for making independent observations on my blog or Twitter), but that is even more true now that I am standing in my first election as a candidate. However, Medway Elects is independent – it contains simply facts and figures, without any spin. Nothing on the site is designed to persuade anyone to vote for any particular candidate, with the only exception being the “Social Media” page, where anybody using the Twitter hashtag #medwayelects can join in the conversation. MedElects1 Perhaps the most exciting part of the Medway Elects which I am launching today is that it is not the finished article. I am continuing to explore additional improvements to the site – although most of these will come after the election, for obvious reasons. Until then, you can explore Medway Elects in all its glorious local political geekiness at www.medwayelects.co.uk. P.S. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the authors of this blog for their valuable advice over the past couple of weeks. Their contribution spurred me on to adding new features and tweaking what I had already created. You too can help make Medway Elects even better by letting me know what you’d like to see added.