Medway Tories suspend councillor three years late

In January 2016, we published an article on Luton and Wayfield Conservative councillor Michael Franklin’s offensive tweeting. Throughout 2015, Cllr Franklin published and shared a number of Islamophobic, transphobic, and racist tweets on his personal Twitter account. Following our article, the issue was raised at a full council meeting, and gained some wider media attention, and a new social media policy for councillors was introduced.

Crucially though, no action was taken against Cllr Franklin for his actions.

Until he found himself suspended from the Conservative party, three years later.

So what changed to make the party take action now when they didn’t in the previous three years?

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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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iFAQ: A more accessible Cabinet?

We’re not going to lie. It’s a fairly short iFAQ this week. We sent the below question to the leaders of both the Conservative and Labour council groups, being the most likely to hold power in Medway following the upcoming elections.

For many of us engaged in local politics who also have full time jobs, attending Medway Council Cabinet meetings is impossible much of the time. Would you consider moving Cabinet to a more accessible time for the public to attend, in line with other local authorities?

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iFAQ: So predictable?

For this week’s iFAQ, we decided to ask all councillors a question about the state of democracy in Medway. Given the predictability of the ebb and flow of council meetings, and how it’s usually fairly easy to guess the outcome to any given question, concerns have been raised about how democratic our local structures are. As such, all councillors received the following question:

If it’s possible to accurately predict the response to every question and motion at Medway Council meetings, what does this say about the state of democracy in Medway?

As usual, all councillors were told that their responses would be printed entirely unedited, with the results presented below in the order they were received:

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Much ado about Labour

This week we are interrupting our regular schedule to bring you an examination of how each local political party appears to be preparing for the May 2019 elections. 
To finish the week, we are taking a look at Medway Labour.

On paper, the omens should be pretty good for Medway Labour heading into the 2019 local elections. With a confusing national picture that has seen them polling roughly equally with the Conservatives, a string of council blunders, and facing a set of councillors that seem tired, Medway Labour should be well placed to mount a challenge to control the council.

The problem is that we’ve been here so many times before. 2011 and 2015 should have been fruitful years for the party for similar reasons to those above, yet Labour rarely seem able to capitalise to improve their standing. As such, a few minor seat fluctuations aside, Medway Labour have held pretty much the same number of seats on Medway Council for the past 16 years.

Could 2019 be their breakthrough year?

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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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Voice of the Opposition: December

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.

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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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