Know the power of women in leadership

Ahead of International Women’s Day, Medway Labour councillor Naushabah Khan looks at how the fight for equality is going.

This week in honour of International Women’s Day, and well, because I would have done so anyway, I went to watch On the Basis of Sex. Spoiler alert, the cleverly titled film is a moving story about the early years of Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, a US Supreme Court justice; an exceptional woman, now in her eighties, who championed women’s rights in America.

At a particularly poignant point in the film, Ginsburg is challenged by her male counterpart in court, who accuses her of wanting the country to undergo ‘radical social change’. She upends his line of attack, reminding him that the ‘radical’ change he is so worried about meant that prestigious Harvard Law School still did not have female toilets.

Watching the scene, I couldn’t help but reminisce about a story told by female MP who recalled a similar experience. In her first year of entering Parliament she had sought a bathroom, only to be told that women did not have access to one in the entirety of this section of the parliamentary estate. The only difference between her story and that of Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, was that this was 1997 not 1957.

Since then, within a short space of time, great progress has been made in striving for gender equality and promoting women in politics, public life and society; championed by a Labour government committed to furthering women’s rights. But there is much work still to do and within political parties the challenge remains significant. Take as an example the fact that Labour has never had a female leader, or that we were not immune to the need for change put forward by the #MeToo movement.

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iFAQ: Let’s be frank(lin)

Following on from Medway Conservatives taking three years to suspend Cllr Franklin over his offensive tweeting, we decided to keep the iFAQ relevant this week, by asking this question to all councillors:

What acceptable reasons are there for a political party taking three years to take any action against a councillor engaging in hate speech online after it is highlighted in a full council meeting?

As usual, we told all councillors that their answers would be published entirely unedited. They are presented below in the order they were received.

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A legacy of homelessness

In which Medway Labour’s Housing spokesperson Naushabah Khan looks at the homelessness situation in Medway.

Welcoming in 2019, I thought it was important to start the new year discussing an issue that we really have to get under control. A problem that frankly has no space in one of the world’s richest economies and one that should instead be close to eradication. Yet since 2010 homelessness, in all its guises, has been on the increase; exacerbated by a shortage of social and affordable homes and the politics of austerity, driven by a Conservative
government.

To give a sense of the numbers, rough sleeping is up by a startling 134% (in seven years) nationally, while there has been a 60% rise in the number of families living in temporary accommodation. In Medway alone over six hundred children are classified as homeless, the worst figures in Kent.

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Virtual Doorstep: 19 Weeks to go..

It is said that elections are won on the doorstep, and that may well be true. Being armchair activists, it’s difficult to check up on that.
Twitter and blogs however are part of our social media present and future, and if the election was decided there, how would each of the wards be looking?

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iFAQs: Brexit omnishambles

One of our popular features on The Political Medway is inFrequently Answered Questions, where we’d send off questions to relevant political figures and hope that we might occasionally get a reply. This week, we kept things nice and simple by sending the following two questions to every Medway councillor:

Q1. What is your preferred option for Brexit? May’s deal, no deal, or no Brexit?
Q2. What do you think of Medway Council’s Cabinet decision not to prepare for Brexit?

 

 

We told every councillor that they had a week to respond, and that we would publish their responses entirely unedited. All responses are published below, in the order that they were received by us.

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inFrequently Answered Surveys: I’m Still Standing

One of our popular features on The Political Medway is inFrequently Answered Questions, where we send questions to relevant political figures and hope that we might occasionally get a reply.

It’s time to do our first (Keevil) / last (Jennings) survey!

Following developments last week with Cllr Pendergast leaving Medway UKIP, Cllr Howard leaving Medway Tories and further afield in Dover, Cllr Eddy, the former leader of the Labour Opposition leaving the Labour Group to join the Greens, we (just Keevil) decided to ask the other 53 councillors to select one statement that best represented them for #LocalElection2019:
– I will be standing in the same ward with the same party.
– I will be standing in the same ward with a different party.
– I will be standing in a different ward with the same party.
– I will be standing in a different ward with a different party.
– I will be standing as an Independent.
– I will be standing as a member of The ‘Medway’s Voice Party’.
– I have decided to stand down.
– I have been deselected.
– I do not know if I will be standing or be deselected.
– I did not know there was a Local Election in 2019.
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iFAQs: Min Attendance / Max Council

One of our popular features that we used to have on The Political Medway was inFrequently Answered Questions, where we’d send off questions to relevant political figures and hope that we might occasionally get a reply. As we get going on this project again, we’ve decided to start asking some questions of our esteemed councillors once again.

To get us going, we started with an easy one, and sent all 55 Medway councillors the following question:

What should be the minimum attendance percentage of full council meetings for a councillor to retain their position?

We told every councillor that they had a week to respond, and that we would publish their responses entirely unedited. All responses are published below, in the order that they were received by us.

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Dickensian Medway, Hard Times: Homelessness

In which Keevil publishes the first in a series of indubitably jolly pieces looking at hardship within Medway.

Click this link if you are at risk of homelessness

(Leave the comment ‘Hard Times’ on any Ko-fi donation in relation to this article and a hot drink will be given to a homeless person.)

In 2017, Shelter estimated that Medway had 1,059 total homeless people and 14 long term rough sleepers.
Medway Council’s Rough Sleeper Estimate, in October 2017, verified by Homeless Link, had a figure of 44 rough sleepers in Medway. Continue reading “Dickensian Medway, Hard Times: Homelessness”