Party or candidate, leader or policies?

In which Caitlin Webb tries to work through all of the different factors that go in to casting a vote at a General Election..

This has been called the most important vote in a lifetime, sound familiar? Feels like every time we go to the polling station, it’s to make a do-or-die decision. So deciding who to vote for is pretty important. There’s also the fact that people who have been living in this country for decades, people who have been cheated by the judicial system and 17-year-olds can’t vote, that drives me to put a cross in the box. But who will win my vote?

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Mindful manifestos?

In which Lauren Heritage examines each party manifesto to see what each is pledging in terms of mental health..

Next month on December 12th we all head to the polls again for what feels like the 26th time in a year, for another General Election *insert screaming with joy gif*

The main parties are represented in Medway along with some independent candidates for your selection. Mental Health remains a hot topic both socially and politically and all parties will need to be making strong pledges in this area to win votes.

So what are the parties promising in their manifestos and what do I think of them? The focus of this article is to see how Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems, Green and UKIP (at the time of writing The Brexit Party had not presented any mental health policy) are focusing on mental health and then review the policies.

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Safeguarding Rehman about town

It’s election time and it’s not unlikely another one is possible next year as well! As elections ever more become social media battles, PPCs promote themselves to anybody who has a pulse and is willing to fake a smile. With that in mind, it’s worth looking at guidance regarding safeguarding and the sharing of images of children online.

This isn’t about if you should share pictures of children online, but if you are interested in that, The Independent covered it here.

The following piece was inspired by a social media post by Rehman Chishti MP. The editing, as will become clear, is by us.

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Standing up for those standing down

In which former Medway councillor Anne-Claire Howard ponders why female MPs are stepping down in this General Election..

The first question is, are many women MPs standing down? More than men? If that’s the case, are they long standing MPs? And what reasons are they invoking? And are they of all parties, ethnic origin, or ages? It’s a little easy to make all-encompassing statements like this, so I did a little research. 

First of all, of the 58 politicians who are stepping down, 18 are women. “Well, that’s not so bad”, I hear you say. No, that’s not so bad. It’s basically the same proportion as there are female MPs in the house. This in itself is an issue, but not the topic of this piece. So proportionally as many women are standing down as men. But many of these women are relatively young and relatively recently elected compared to their male peers. That is more of a concern.

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iFAQ: Housing infrastructure fun

Medway was recently awarded a £170m grant from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock future housing developments on the Hoo peninsula. While homes are desperately needed in Medway, these developments are very unpopular around the peninsula due to a perception of over-development. As such we decided to ask if this was the best use of the funding, or could it have been better spent in other parts of Medway.

It was recently announced that Medway has been awarded £170m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock future developments on the Hoo peninsula. Do you feel that this is the best use of this money, or do you feel that other parts of Medway could have benefited from access to these funds? If so, how?

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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Boring History: The Zinoviev letter

In which Chris Sams looks to the past to try and figure out the General Election, and finds a Medway parallel along the way..

As the nation enters the throes of another General Election the bored electorate seem to be heading out to vote again, but there seems to be such divided opinion it would only take a news event to cost either of the big two parties their lead.

This is what happened in 2017 with Theresa May, when she singlehandedly cost the Conservatives votes by speaking at debates and events causing people to slide away. This time around Boris could do the same, Jacob Rees-Mogg may have already done so with his Grenfell comments, but who can tell at this stage?

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If not now, then when?

In which Steve Dyke takes a look at what each party is pledging to do to tackle climate change, with very mixed results..

Thanks in no small part to David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, school strikers, Extinction Rebellion and the predictions of IPCC scientists, the environment (and in particular the climate emergency) has featured in this General Election campaign far more than in previous ones.  In the past, such issues were largely the preserve of the Green Party, for whom environmental protection is a core principle.  However in 2019 it seems as if any serious political party feels it must have policies and pledges to attract voters concerned with the climate crisis.  Do I personally feel attracted by what is on offer?

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Political Figures Predictions: Rochester and Strood

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects looks at the third and final Medway constituency, Rochester and Strood, to see what the future may bring..

It’s November. It’s cold. And there’s another election looming. I have fired up my data projection model and already analysed the potential results in Chatham and Aylesford and Gillingham and Rainham. Now as I conclude this series it’s time to take a look at Medway’s third, and arguably most volatile, constituency. 

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iFAQ: Who are you and why are you standing?

Look, we’re all trying to deal with this General Election in our own way. We’re now covering our eighth Medway wide poll in the five years we’ve been doing this thing, and mostly just wondering when we’ll be allowed to rest. But whether we like or not, another General Election is upon us. It’s all been a bit rushed, and a number of last minute selections have had to take place. As such, we decided to try to get to know our General Election candidates a little more by sending them a couple of straightforward questions.

As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below, grouped by the constituency each of them are standing in.

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Tell me a birth story

In which Vicki Sigston looks at the consequences of funding cuts on one area of the NHS..

As an Antenatal Practitioner and Breastfeeding Counsellor, I hear a lot of birth stories – home births, births in midwife or consultant led units. Vaginal and caesarean births. Inductions. Forceps. Babies born unexpectedly in cars and bathrooms. You name it, I’ve heard it.

I feel honoured to do this job and to be a tiny part of people’s journeys to parenthood but one thing I feel more and more uneasy about is the way our NHS is letting these parents down. Alongside the positive and heart warming birth stories I am hearing more and more worrying experiences.

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