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. Starting today with Vince Maple, leader of the Medway Labour Group.
I want to start by thanking Ed and Steve from the Political Medway for giving pieces of this nature a new home. Historically, the local KM paper had a weekly political column which residents would often talk about when speaking to them on the doorstep. Although I’m sure I’ll disagree with the vast majority of what Alan Jarrett will say when his pieces are published, it’s healthy for local democracy for the Leader of the Council and the Leader of the Opposition to have an accessible platform of this nature.
We are in the middle of December, a great opportunity to reflect on the positive actions Medway Labour Councillors have taken over the past year in the community we call home. It goes without saying that Labour Councillors deal with hundreds of pieces of casework to support residents in their ward on a wide variety of issues. Alongside that the Labour Group have shown true community leadership in a number of ways, working hard to deliver for the residents of Medway.
Just time for a quick roundup of the week, where we take a look at the big stories in local politics, what each political party has been up to, and a special Brexit debate special of Rehman About Town.
It’s no secret that Rochester is a town utterly obsessed with Dickens. Despite the author not really liking the place very much, half the shops along the high street are made up of dodgy Dickens puns. We have several festivals each year based on his work. The high street is littered with a level of beggars that wouldn’t seem out of place in his novels. He creepily overlooks the high street, in the most literal of senses. Even with all this though, the one thing Rochester no longer has is a Dickens related museum.
Because Medway Council sold the building that housed it. Or they didn’t, if you believe their words.
The saga of the Rochester Guildhall Museum began back in the summer when Medway Council proposed selling the Conservancy Building, which acted as a second half of the Museum. While the main Guildhall Museum houses, well, a guildhall, a giant interactive boat, and a few other things, most of the actual artefacts and educational content came from this second building. Despite this, Medway Council insisted that the sale was necessary so that the money raised could be used to refurbish the Corn Exchange after the council failed to find a private tenant willing to take on that building in it’s run down state.
This is not an article about the rights or wrongs of that sale. It’s an article about procedure, perception, and potential conflicts of interests, all of which surround the sale.
They say Christmas comes round earlier and earlier each year, but if there’s one thing that arrives at the same time every year, it’s the dubious stalls at the Rochester Christmas Market. Whether you’re in the market for magnetic health bracelets, cures for cancer, copyright infringement Indiana Jones, or a Costco membership, the Rochester Christmas Market has you covered.
We at The Political Medway need time to drink these coffees that some of you wonderful people have bought us, and sometimes there’s a topic that we think doesn’t need another man to talk about it. Either way welcome to a series of Wednesday Guest Posts..
Back in September Medway Council’s public health team commissioned a survey of local teenagers, in which it was highlighted that as many as 1 in 5 young people know of a peer who had taken time off school due to not enough access to sanitary products.
Think about that for a moment. Young women, not going to school because they don’t have adequate sanitary protection.
Young women in Medway, missing out on school, and presumably family and social events too, because they don’t have the money or support to purchase sanitary towels, tampons or pads.
It’s a figure that astounds, embarrasses and saddens me.
Medway Council’s ruling Conservative Cabinet have rejected calls to investigate the effect of Brexit on The Medway Towns. So Keevil set out to find answers, bestowed with the knowledge that everything is available online, including knowledge. Keevil went armed with a search engine and the words ‘Medway Brexit’. We present to you almost everything we found in all it’s visual (and helpful?) glory.
The Medway Commercial Group (MCG) has been in the news recently, whether it be over issues regarding CCTV or potential controversy regarding the building of a new Independent SEN School. Who or what is MCG? Keevil set to impartially find out, using an alternate delivery model of as many screen shots as possible to save on typing.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen increasing questions raised about Councillor Rehman Chishti’s ability to juggle several jobs, and how much time he has left to be an active councillor for Rainham Central. As we pointed out previously, in recent years, he has turned up at less than half of full council meetings. Following this, we decided to analyse the attendance rates of all 55 Medway councillors.
First of all, some caveats to this data: We have used the attendance data made available from Medway Council, so if any councillor believes our data is wrong, we’d suggest they take it up with the council. Secondly, we are only analysing attendance of full council and not other committee meetings. While we may look at those in the future, full council is the only meeting where all councillors are expected to attend, so it creates a level playing field. Finally, we have used percentage attendance rather than number of meetings, so we can create a fair comparison between the 52 councillors that have served a full term so far, and the 3 elected in by-elections. Continue reading “Vote for me! I’ll attend full council 44% of the time”