Voice of the Opposition: May

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.


So, the lockdown continues to impact here in Medway, across the country, and the globe. 

Let me begin this month’s Political Medway column by taking a moment to pause and reflect for all those families across Medway who have lost family and friends at this most difficult of times.  

We hear daily figures of hundreds of individuals losing their lives to CoVid-19 and it can become easy with those large numbers to forget the very personal human impact of this public health crisis.  Alongside that with social distancing it means the normal procedures for funerals have been greatly restricted too, making the grieving process even more difficult for many.

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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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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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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 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 Opposition: August

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.


So the man who wanted to build an airport in our community has now got the keys to number ten.  There are many alarming things about Boris Johnson’s election to the role of Prime Minister. His obsession with the estuary airport, a vanity project of the highest order – considering the wide variety of evidence from environmental to economic all pointed to it being a flawed concept – but it’s not just us here in North Kent he managed to dismay.  

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Voice of the Opposition: July

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’m writing this month’s Voice of the Opposition at the Local Government Association (LGA) Conference taking place this year in Bournemouth. This is an annual event which sees councillors from all political parties as well as senior council officers coming together to look at the state of the nation.

This year we will hear from people like the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney and the Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis. Alongside this hearing from senior Labour politicians including Keir Starmer who addressed the Labour Group. During the session I raised with him the issue of devolution and the need for quality jobs and skills agenda in post Brexit Medway.

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