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.

Continue reading “A legacy of homelessness”

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?

Continue reading “Virtual Doorstep: 19 Weeks to go..”

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.

Continue reading “iFAQs: Brexit omnishambles”

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.
Continue reading “inFrequently Answered Surveys: I’m Still Standing”

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.

Continue reading “iFAQs: Min Attendance / Max Council”

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”

The Fortnight in Medway Politics: Referendum Special

Well.

That was something, wasn’t it?

We haven’t written an actual post about the referendum, because what can you say, really? We try and remain impartial with this site, yet this was a decision we cared greatly about, and impacts our futures in a big way.

In the next couple of days, we’ll get something up on the exact results from Medway and what it might mean, but for now, let’s do what we always do: snark mercilessly about what each of the parties have been up to in the past couple of weeks.

Medway MPs in Parliament

Neverendum
When it all came down it, our three Medway MPs managed to provide three different stances for where they stood on the referendum. Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst decided to focus on her career by endorsing remain, which will have seemed like a horrible mistake by Friday. Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti went for leave, which probably sets himself up nicely for this post-Brexit world. Finally, Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch decided to vote, but not tell us how. Which is absolutely her right, but we wonder how that might go down with her constituents down the line.

Also in Parliament
Unusually, Kelly Tolhurst asked a half arsed question about the balance of privacy and security in the Investigatory Powers Bill, and asked what turned out to be her final question to David Cameron in Prime Minister’s Questions.

Medway Council

Oh, the humanity
The EU referendum saw a Medway turnout of 72.1%, and a split of 64.1% for leave to 35.9% for remain. Special shout out to the 27 Medway voters that managed to vote to both leave and remain in the EU. Various councillors and other folks weighed in on the referendum results here.

Political Parties

Medway Conservatives
The referendum bitterness reached the local Conservatives with Cllr Andrew Mackness, who acted as the election agent for Kelly Tolhurst, questioning the mandate of any MPs that supported remain. MPs like Kelly Tolhurst, for example.

Medway Labour
Utterly incredibly, it’s now been 17 weeks since the Medway Labour website was hacked, proving a security risk to user’s visiting, and they still haven’t managed to fix it. And yes, we are going to mention this every single time until they do something about it.
It’s hard to keep track of all of the animosity between Labour councillors and activists on Twitter at this point, but it’s worth noting that three councillors – Tristan Osborne, Naushabah Khan, and Andy Stamp – all called for Corbyn to step down this week. Which went down with certain activists like a cup of warm sick.

Medway UKIP
Still missing, because.. wait, why the hell would they be missing at this point?

Medway Liberal Democrats
Unsurprisingly, they aren’t thrilled about the referendum result, and dealt with it the best way they know how: a 60,000 word essay about it on their website.

Medway Green Party
The Greens are now jumpy about what the consequences are for the environment once the EU is out of the picture.
They’re also focussing on trivial issues like local homelessness too. We don’t know what’s got into them.

The Week in Medway Politics: Momentum, refugees, rubbish

Medway MPs in Parliament

“This government is doing enough”
A remarkable speech from Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst in parliament during a debate on immigration this week. Sticking solidly by her commitment to refuse to help unaccompanied child refugees, and that anyone arguing for the opposite is using “simplistic arguments”. After that, she managed to go off on a UKIP type rant about how we aren’t doing enough to help our own children before foreign ones, before concluding that the government is doing enough to help refugees. Her constituents can make up their mind on that. The following day, she demanded assurances that Medway wouldn’t have to take any more refugees, even if the government agreed to accept more into the country.

Chishti cleared
Following the revelations that Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti broke parliamentary rules by not declaring hospitality from Gillingham Football Club, he has now been cleared by parliamentary authorities. The authorities accepted that a genuine error was made, and no further action will be taken.

Elsewhere in Parliament
This week, Kelly Tolhurst seemed to be in favour of all schools becoming academies once again, just in time for the government to do a u-turn on it.

Medway Council

What the Dickens?
A huge tourism push from Medway Council this week for their highly original programme of Dickens based events this summer, as part of the imaginatively named Summer of Dickens. Because this is Dickens Country damnit, and Medway Council won’t stop until everything in these towns is connected to the bloody guy in some way.

Housebuilding horrors
In a fantastic example of getting their excuses in early, Medway Council are already preemptively blaming developers for the council’s housing needs being met. This is after the council has refused thousands of new build housing starts within Medway under pressure from local NIMBYs.

Political Parties

Medway Conservatives
Missing, because after winning the Police and Crime Commissioner election, there’s not much for them to do until 2019.

Medway Labour
Utterly incredibly, it’s now been eleven weeks since the Medway Labour website was hacked, proving a security risk to user’s visiting, and they still haven’t managed to fix it. Yet they’d like the voters to hand them the keys to Gun Wharf.
After being quiet on the issue for a while, the party are now once again moaning about bulky waste collection, because it’s an issue that really resonates with voters.

Medway UKIP
Missing, because there’s nothing coming up that UKIP might be interested in, is there?

Medway Liberal Democrats
A rare public sighting of the Medway Lib Dems in the wild this weekend, with them campaigning in Strood. Want to catch up with them yourself? They’ll be in Chatham High Street from 10am on Saturday.

Medway Green Party
The Medway Greens have no opinion on Rehman Chishti being cleared about his parliamentary expenses. None at all.

Other News

No We Khan’t (or won’t)
Former Rochester and Strood Labour parliamentary candidate Naushabah Khan put herself forward to replace Sadiq Khan in Tooting, making it to the final stage of selection, before ultimately losing out. She was well regarded through the short campaign, and it’s a clear signal of her ambitions for the future that will likely see her go far within the party. Unless Medway Momentum have their way at least, who made it very clear that they would not support her as a candidate, before another activist threatened to have her deselected from her Medway Council seat. Between this, open warfare between an activist and a sitting councillor, and a day spent posting conspiracy theories about the media, the original, rather restrained, iteration of Medway Momentum seems to be very quickly falling by the wayside.

..and due to popular demand, a return of Rehman about town
This week, Rehman Chishti managed to have his photo taken with several sets of constituents, a set of Medway Council officers, in the living room of some homeowners, some children, headteacher Colin, some soccerball man, a single resident in Rainham, and a bouncy castle.