Stupid Cupid

In which Vicki Sigston looks at the effects tiny acts of kindness can have in Medway and beyond..

It’s February, and that means grey skies full of wind and rain, an impatient wait for Spring and of course Valentine’s day.

As someone who has been in a relationship with the same person for the past 20 years I am perhaps jaded to the whole Valentine’s celebrations. Long ago we gave up trying to book a meal out, fed up of sitting squashed amongst other couples in busy restaurants. We are easily annoyed by the hike in prices of flowers, chocolates and bottles of fizz and thoroughly downtrodden by the quest for a not too cheesy, not too funny Valentine’s card.

Continue reading “Stupid Cupid”

Letters from Westminster: What’s it like inside Westminster?

In which we ask Parliamentary Researcher Robbie Lammas to give us the view from Westminster.

The workings of Parliament can often be seen as a mystery; indeed, they remain so for many MPs and Researchers who work inside it. The recent events of late have seen rare historic conventions and procedures such as the Humble Address for a Return, a Censure Motion, a Vote of No Confidence, attempts to unpick Standing Orders & to override the Government’s prerogative over debate tabling, all return. Each has its own archaic formalities but make no mistake, each has extraordinary power to shape our nation.

Continue reading “Letters from Westminster: What’s it like inside Westminster?”

Cllr Franklin and the normalisation of far-right rhetoric

In which August Scholl takes a look at the normalisation of Islamophobic views in political discourse in light of Cllr Franklin’s actions.

For anyone accepting public office, their words and actions matter. Whether an MP or a local councillor, elected officials have a duty to represent and be accountable to their constituents. When Conservative councillor for Luton and Wayfield, Michael Franklin, began sharing and endorsing intensely Islamophobic content on his Twitter account in 2016, he acted in a way unfitting for a local politician, as well as being in direct contravention of the Conservative Party code of conduct (‘To support equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and the absence of any and all inappropriate behaviour, in all aspects of the Party’s activities.’).

Continue reading “Cllr Franklin and the normalisation of far-right rhetoric”

Political Figures: Ballot Roulette

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.

Voting is a complicated matter. You walk into the polling station, pick up your ballot paper (after providing absolutely zero evidence you are who you say you are), enter the polling booth, mark a cross next to the candidate or party you want to win, drop your ballot paper into the ballot box and then leave. Job done.

But sometimes, the instructions on a ballot paper can be too complicated to follow. The part where it says “vote for only one candidate” is generally assumed. But it’s not always there, and not everyone seems to notice.

With one exception (in Cuxton and Halling), voters in Medway this coming May will be voting for more than one councillor, so will have more than one vote. In the nine wards which elect two councillors, voters will be able to vote for two candidates, and in the twelve wards which elect three councillors, voters will be able to vote for three candidates.

As a veteran of three full council election counts, I can say with confidence that a significant proportion of voters either deliberately ignore this instruction, or simply do not read it, assuming they only have one vote. Others will vote for three candidates, but not necessarily all from the same party (sometimes parties will not field a full slate of candidates in a ward, or there may be independent candidates standing on their own). Voters are, of course, free to vote as they wish, but this can have a strange effect on the final result.

Continue reading “Political Figures: Ballot Roulette”