Recap: Socially distanced live streamed Medway Council!

Quite a novelty for Medway Council last night. In light of the ongoing situation, Medway Council conducted a socially distanced full council meeting last night, and live streamed the proceedings online. For years they said this wasn’t financially viable, yet here we are. If you had a better use for your Thursday night than watching three hours of a council getting used to new technology, we’ve got your back with the recap below:

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Voice of the Leader: April

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 time to be Leader of a council! Just when it seemed that the financial hand-cuffs where being slightly released, and we could start to see light at the end of a fiscally-constrained tunnel, something more sinister, more life-changingly deadly arrived.

Coronavirus – COVID-19 – swept from China, into Europe, and thence to the rest of the world and of course here in the UK. Few could have imagined the massive disruption to our lives, nor the way it would change our lifestyles and indeed our interpersonal relationships.

The deadly virus has been cutting a swath through our country and in that Medway has suffered too. Medway deaths have so far been mercifully modest. However, of course one additional death from this virus is one too many.

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Improving political discourse for 2020

In which Anna McGovern, the Chair of Medway Youth Council, takes a look at the current state of our political conversations, and how things can be improved..

The political discourse in our society is fractured – and arguably, beyond repair. One could argue that our online discourse, in itself, is a broken mechanism, aside from the political sphere. When Caroline Flack tragically died, our collective response was to circulate the hashtag #BeKind across social media; a seemingly powerful message with the well-intended commission to implore a more “considerate” nature towards one another. That lasted mere days. Well-intended hashtags cannot shape the toxicity of our rampant society.  

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Political Figures: What next for Rochester and Strood?

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects casts his eye over Rochester and Strood, and ponders what lies ahead for the constituency..

Ah, 2015, the year the World Health Organisation declared that rubella had been eradicated from the Americas, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was born, and, awkwardly, I’ve run out of positive events to highlight (I really should have thought this intro through before writing the first article).

It was also the last time any of Medway’s parliamentary constituencies changed hands.

In recognition of this unbroken run of Conservative representation in parliament, Messrs Jennings and Keevil have asked me to look at what has changed between the three most recent general elections. So, for my latest three-part mini-series I’ll be looking at the results for each of Medway’s three constituencies in turn.

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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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iFAQ: Councillor allowances

So it’s a bit of a weird time, but we’re all sitting at home, so what better time to start publishing some local politics articles again? They won’t be about the current situation, as most were already in the can before this kicked off. That being said, if anyone fancies writing something with a local angle on the current situation, hit us up.

Before we all locked ourselves away from the outside world, Medway had been facing some debate about the appropriate level of allowance for councillors. While most council staff received a 1% pay increase, councillor allowances increased by 14%. How much councillors receive is a complicated question, so we decided to ask every Medway councillor the following:

Do you feel the current allowance of £10,421 for councillors represents fair remuneration for the time spent carrying out your duties?

As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below in the order they were received.

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Political Figures: What next for Gillingham and Rainham?

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects looks at Gillingham and Rainham, and ponders how easily the Conservative hold on the constituency could be broken..

Ah, 2015, the year Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger sold for $179.3m, a new species of early human called Homo naledi was discovered and Lithuania became the nineteenth member of the Eurozone.

It was also the last time any of Medway’s parliamentary constituencies changed hands.

In recognition of this unbroken run of Conservative representation in parliament, Messrs Jennings and Keevil have asked me to look at what has changed between the three most recent general elections. So, for my latest three-part mini-series I’ll be looking at the results for each of Medway’s three constituencies in turn.

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Are petitions fit for purpose?

In which Stuart Bourne ponders just how effective petitions can be as a means of campaigning..

Whether someone annoying you in the street with a clipboard in hand, or the image of a cart of signatures being wheeled to the doors of Downing Street, petitions can mean a lot to different people. They have always formed a link between public opinion and the government since medieval times. The greatest of these was the People’s Charter, the petition from the 19th Century Chartists movement that led us towards universal suffrage and modern democracy. The digital age has now revolutionised the petition, but has this led to more effective democracy or a simple distraction from real power.

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