Voice of the Opposition: March

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 write this Saturday evening after one of the most challenging weeks in modern history. 

Our community of Medway, our country and our planet are dealing with a pandemic which is having huge and lasting impacts.

Yesterday, Friday 19th March, saw the tragic announcement of the first death in Medway related to Coronavirus or CoVid19 – my thoughts are with his friends and family at this most difficult time for them.

The regrettable reality is that it is unlikely to be the only loss we see here in Medway and every single individual lost to this virus will be felt by the whole community – the community which has shown such tremendous examples of compassion for others in these early stages of this public health challenge.

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Voice of the Opposition: February

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.


As is often said a week is a long time in politics and since the last column there has been a lot going on in Medway politics.

It’s worth recognising that there continues to be a vacancy for the Medway Local Democracy Reporter so the job of holding all politicians to account done by Ed and Steve is more important than ever.

Of course, one political event since my last column was the general election. I want to thank every single person who voted Labour across the three Medway constituencies. I was proud to stand alongside Teresa and Andy as Labour’s parliamentary team in Medway. As I said at the count political parties in the UK are fundamentally volunteer organisations so the fact that so many people gave their time in the run up to Christmas to play their part in the election campaign shows real dedication.

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Voice of the Leader: February

Once a month we offer a platform to the leaders of both Medway Council and the official opposition. Today, we have the latest column from Cllr Alan Jarrett, Conservative Leader of Medway Council.

Alan Jarrett

A belated Happy New Year to all readers of The Political Medway. In particular well done to Ed and Steve for keeping this blog going, thereby providing a platform for all things political in Medway.

It has been three months since my last contribution to this blog, and what a three months it has been! This presents me with a good opportunity to reflect on a decision I made in 2019 when Conservative Party members had the chance to choose a new Party leader.

I voted for Boris Johnson for two reasons: firstly that he was the most likely candidate to Get Brexit Done; secondly he was the man most likely to beat Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in any upcoming General Election. Boris won the election for Leader of the Conservative Party comfortably, and I was subsequently proven correct on both counts.

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Medway Council Ombudsman outrage

In which Medway Council finds itself on the receiving end of yet another critical report, this time from a very unhappy Ombudsman..

Medway Council is in trouble with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for a second time as top councillors haven’t changed their rules about how to support families with transport costs to get to school.

Who is this Ombudsman?

His name is Michael King. He’s quite a nice chap, whose job is to make sure councils do what they should and everyone gets a fair deal. He investigates complaints about councils, is independent, and gives recommendations.

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Doing it for the kids, part 3

In which our intrepid reporter continues to look at the state of children’s social care in Medway following another damning report..

In case you hadn’t heard, Medway Council has not magically been able to improve children’s social care services in three months, following ten years of austerity. 

However, the council is not off the hook and will continue to provide social care for children in the towns. On top of that, the big guns that have been sent in to help the council clean up its act and will stay for at least another six months.

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Doing it for the kids, part 2

In which our intrepid reporter continues to dig into what went wrong with children’s social care services in Medway, and what the council are trying to do to fix things..

Don’t know if you’ve seen but children’s social care in Medway is a ticking time bomb. The council have until the end of the year to prove they can turn around a bad mark from Ofsted and still take care of the most vulnerable children in the Towns in their time of need.

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Voice of the Leader: November

Once a month we offer a platform to the leaders of both Medway Council and the official opposition. Today, we have the latest column from Cllr Alan Jarrett, Conservative Leader of Medway Council.

Alan Jarrett

What a roller-coaster of a ride it has been since I last wrote in The Political Medway in September. One of delights of being Leader of Medway Council, are the complexities with which I deal with: changing issues; different (and sometimes difficult!) people to do business with; the changing external landscape which confronts us as politicians.

It is always a challenge, but when success comes through it is all the sweeter for that. 

Success is invariably hard fought, requiring dogged determination and the ability to work with others to gain their support.

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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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Voice of the Leader: September

Once a month we offer a platform to the leaders of both Medway Council and the official opposition. Today, we have the latest column from Cllr Alan Jarrett, Conservative Leader of Medway Council.

Alan Jarrett

After a missing month, there is a lot to write about, both here in Medway and nationally.

The biggest national furor of course continues to relate to Brexit, this time the decision to prorogue Parliament with an awful lot of hysteria surrounding that. However, by standing back and sniffing the coffee we can see the prorogation relates to four days with Parliament traditionally closing down for the party conference season anyway.

As I write this there is a row within my party over voting. It is no coincidence that most of the usual suspects promising to undermine the will of the British people in the 2016 referendum have been recently fired from the government. “Hell hath no fury…….!”

There are varied views about what should done with those people who vote with the Opposition against their own party, and the threat of deselection has been mooted. Good!

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