Voice of the Opposition: April

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.


They often say that a week is a long time in politics – that can certainly be true, but if a week is a long time then seven years is almost a lifetime!

Seven years ago, back in 2012, was the first time I raised concerns around Fixed Odds Betting Terminals or FOBTs at overview and scrutiny.

What then followed was a long campaign which I was proud to play a part in. That campaigning has led this week to the change in law taking place, removing the ability for people to gamble £100 every 20 seconds in our high streets and town centres. It was the high stakes, quick speed of the product which led many to calling it the “crack cocaine of gambling”. I’ve heard from many individuals who have lost their home, their job, and their family as a result of these machines.

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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.

With a little over 50 days to go until May 2nd, the focus now is firmly on the pledges which each main party is putting forward.

I’m proud of the manifesto launch held this past weekend at Dragon Co-Working in the heart of Medway.  A packed room heard outstanding speeches from our administration in waiting on the key pledges to the residents of Medway.  We were also joined by the Shadow Treasury Minister Lyn Brown MP who gave an inspiring speech, in particular highlighting how austerity has impacted on the community she represents.

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Medway Council Budget Smackdownapalozza 2019

Last night saw the 2019 Medway Council budget meeting. If you weren’t one of the handful of members of public in the gallery, you might have missed out on all of the exciting local politics action like us all being kicked out of the meeting. Here, thanks to the power of embedded tweets, we bring you the highlights of last night’s live Twitter coverage of proceedings.

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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.

Despite the excellent efforts of the Political Medway website and our own Medway Labour Facebook Live feeds, it is difficult for those who are interested to see everything that is going on at Medway Council. I want to highlight a few issues which Medway Labour councillors have been raising over the past few weeks:

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Labouring against costly concerts

In which Labour councillor for Rochester West Alex Paterson examines what might be going wrong with the Castle Concerts.

I’d like to think that I’m not a frustrated anything.

By that I mean that, unlike so many in the current Tory administration, I’m not a frustrated businessman looking for a bigger budget to play with. I’m not a frustrated teacher who thinks they can show local heads a thing or two about running a school. And I’m not a frustrated impresario trying to put on a show.

I’ve always been suspicious of those people. Which is, I think, always a good starting point.

Of course, life experience is a vital part of being a councillor, but only in so far as it informs the scrutiny you are able to put the officers (whose job it is to actually do these things) under. 

Whether it’s because of my background in newspapers or just a knack, one thing in life that I’ve found I’m particularly good at is asking questions. More importantly, I’ll listen to what I’m being told and, if it doesn’t address the question, I’ll ask another until I get an answer.

It sounds simple enough. But if it’s so simple, why do so few Tories on our Overview and Scrutiny committees ever do it?

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The Week in Medway Politics, 3 Feb

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