Voice of the Leader: July

Once a month we offer a platform to the leaders of both Medway Council and the official opposition. Today, we have the latest column from Cllr Alan Jarrett, Conservative Leader of Medway Council.

Alan Jarrett

So, by the time you read this we will have a new Prime Minister, and I shall be 5,000 miles away with not a thought for politics at home!

Not entirely true of course! For I shall be fervently hoping that my vote for Boris Johnson was one of many, and he now occupies 10 Downing Street.

Not that I have always been a Boris fan, and am still not in some ways. In fact in those days when as Mayor of London he sought to have a massive airport built in Medway I was anything but a fan!

But for me there were two judgments to be made: that he was the man most likely to deliver Brexit; that he was the man most likely in a future general election to consign that awful Marxist Jeremy Corbyn and his acolytes to the history books of failed Labour leaders.

There is so much to play for. For a Corbyn government would emancipate this country, whilst destroying decades of hard work which began in 1979 with the forming of the Thatcher government. It makes me shudder to think of it!

The problem for Boris problem is the Parliamentary arithmetic will remain the same, and he will be faced with a House of Commons packed with remainers intent on thwarting the will of the British people who spoke so loudly over three years ago in that wonderful referendum.

Why we have to leave the EU has been reinforced by the coronation of the next President. She, like her predecessor, is it seems intent on further federalisation of Europe and the creation of a European army. No thanks!

So many of our brave serviceman died in the Second World War to free us from servitude. They did not do so in order for us to be faced by a different kind of servitude decades later.

Those Conservative MPs who last week voted against their own government in order to make Boris Johnson’s task of leaving the EU on 31st October that much harder should be ashamed of themselves, and hopefully when they go back to their constituencies they will get short-thrift when it comes to reselection.

One of the problems is far too many of these MPs just do not care. Do not care for the democratic will of the British people, instead caring only for themselves.

As for Labour, it has now adopted an avowed pro-EU stance. Despite fighting the 2017 general election promising to honour the result of the referendum Labour now apparently stands for remaining in the EU!

All the while the spectre of The Brexit Party awaits us when we next go to the polls. Whilst the cravenly pro-EU liberals are also a threat to those of us that believe in the primacy of that referendum.

If there be any justice in politics (which must be a moot point!) then we will indeed leave the EU on 31st October.

Recently the last PM gave what was thankfully her last major speech in which she bemoaned the state of politics and that people were far less willing to compromise. What piffle from the person who arguably did more than any other in modern times to undermine the state of British politics!

People have very short and selective memories at times.

Which takes me nicely on to the last meeting of full council here in Medway, where the Labour opposition (yes, the same opposition that tried to claim a victory of sorts after the 2nd May local elections despite being soundly beaten!) continued to obsess about who is the Medway Mayor.

When Labour lost the vote, it held a recorded vote in an attempt to demonstrate that anyone outside of the Gun Wharf bubble actually cares! What the good people of Medway care about is that we deliver good services at a reasonable cost.

What that debate revealed is that Labour have indeed been boycotting Mayoral events, and that the Mayor is “fair game” when it comes to politicking. The current Labour Group may be larger than previously, but it is also nastier in some of its parts.

However Labour remained true to form when it came to the debate about our flagship regeneration project to create over 1,200 new jobs at Rochester Airport – criticising what we are doing and the way we are doing it, whilst trying to claim it was all their idea in the first place.

People have very short and selective memories at times.

The truth of the matter was Labour planned to completely close Rochester Airport, instead turning it into light industrial with 200 houses for good measure. In fact the current Labour Group only contains one member who was party to that plan, and it therefore struggles to speak with any authority on the subject.

But some of us have been around since the dark days of the last Labour administration in Medway from 1998-2000. We remember cuts to the street cleaning budget, and a huge raid on council reserves.

Looking ahead, last Friday, 19th July, before the commencement of the Medway Mile I announced that Medway is to bid for the accolade of City of Culture. I expect cross-party support for this initiative, but time will tell.

When Hull and now Coventry received this accolade it was to the great benefit of the people of those areas. For it brings wider recognition for the area; it brings greater investment opportunities; it brings more job opportunities, and more wealth to an area.

It is therefore about far more than culture as we might understand the literal meaning of the word. It is about people and place; it is about hope and aspirations; it is about identity, community and a collective sense of purpose. It is about making a place great for all its people.

That is why we will be bidding for the title of City of Culture. Because we want the great place named Medway even greater.

Alan Jarrett is the leader of Medway Council, leader of the Medway Conservative group, and councillor for Lordswood and Capstone.

2 Replies to “Voice of the Leader: July”

  1. Back to form eh Alan. Mind you don’t bite your own tongues.

    But then again you couldn’t even manage to say something nice about the last leader of your party.

    I wonder what you can expect from your colleagues when you finally move on.

  2. Also I notice you still don’t understand the concept of representative democracy. Our MPs are not delegates representing just the, often undefined, opinions of the majority of the voters, but the best interests of their constituents, whichever way they voted.

    I think I trust those who think for themselves rather than those whose principles change contingent with internal party politics, whims of popularity or even, dare I say it, financial self interest.

    Fortunately, it seems that not all who consider themselves conservative think the way you do.

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