Goodbye from us, Hello to Local Authority

Hello. Just a quick post to say we – quite obviously – aren’t doing much as The Political Medway anymore, but there’s also something new and exciting to share.

Unfortunately we’re no longer in a position to carry on this project in the way we started. Anyone following us in the past year or two will have noticed that we are no longer putting out the kind of content we were able to in the past. Part of this is time (we both have day jobs) and part is that we’ve never found a way to make this sustainable. Also we’re very tired.

This entire project has been held together by us giving hours of our time for free to keep it running, and the things that need paying for have been just about covered by the generous souls that have donated over the year. To those people we are eternally grateful. Neither of us are in a position to put the kind of time needed to keep this thing running anymore. We really wish we were, but we just aren’t. As such, we have wound up most elements of The Political Medway.

The main website will be mothballed, other social channels wound up, with just the Twitter account being retained. Most of our engagement comes via Twitter these days, and it’s the easiest for us to keep going, so we’ll still be tweeting any relevant Medway politics news there.

So what are we up to now?

Steve is spending time working with Second Chance Medway, a charity supporting people in Medway with housing and food insecurity. He’s also training to be a host for a FoodCycle project in Sittingbourne. He’s also a trustee for a new SEND college teaching catering to 18-25 year old special needs students. All very worthy, I’m sure you’ll agree.

As for me, I can’t let this kind of thing go, so I’ve launched Local Authority, a new newsletter for Medway covering local politics, news, culture, and more.

It’s free to sign up and you’ll get all of the latest Medway news delivered to your inbox every Friday. There is an option to join as a paid supporter, where you’ll get an extra newsletter every Tuesday and the good feeling that comes from supporting independent local news.

If you enjoyed what we did with The Political Medway, I think you’ll probably like this too, so it would be great to have you on board. You can read it and sign up here:

Not all men, but far too many

In which Lia Mandaracas sets out how just how commonly women are harassed and violated going about their everyday lives..

Medway Fawcett launched on the 13th March, through an online event supported by several inspiring speakers. At our launch we discussed incidences of sexual harassment, and I realised that these conversations happen quite often between women but rarely are men included. If the conversations on local community groups, discussing #ReclaimTheStreets that evening are anything to go by, communication seems to break down when men are asked to understand just how draining life as a woman can be. That is why I decided it was important to highlight just some of the times, as a 33-year-old average woman, I have been harassed or violated whilst just doing everyday things.

This list is by no means exhaustive. I’ve left some bits out to protect people who I would not want to be tarred by association. I have left other parts out as they are too traumatic for me to feel comfortable putting in the public. And some will have just slipped my mind because this is so common that not everything gets banked.

I’m not sure where to start so the following are in no particular order.

Continue reading “Not all men, but far too many”

Conservative councillor investigated by police

Stuart Tranter
Cllr Stuart Tranter

Rochester West councillor Stuart Tranter is facing a police investigation following a confrontation over a parking space.

The incident took place on Tuesday afternoon outside Kings School in Rochester.

It is alleged that Cllr Tranter confronted a woman collecting her children from the school. Kent Online have published accounts from both the woman involved and Cllr Tranter.

Continue reading “Conservative councillor investigated by police”

Medway politics needs a timeout

In which Stuart Bourne laments how often Medway Council meetings descend into childishness and ponders what needs to change..

Keevil takes a timeout at a previous Medway Council meeting.

If you are reading this then chances are you are as big of a political nerd as I am, and the odds are that you also tuned in to see Medway Council’s budget meeting on 18 February. A moment each year that the current administration updates all the council members of the status of their finances and sets out their plans for the next 12 months. This is of course is a serious occasion, where the opposition has a chance to rationally critique the administration’s plans and set out their alternatives. What it shouldn’t be is hours of whiny and immature complaints about each other, interspersed with unnecessary political point scoring and childish insults. Well, that’s the theory anyway.

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Choose to challenge: Let’s not turn back the clock on women’s equality

On International Women’s Day, Medway Fawcett co-ordinator and Gillingham councillor Naushabah Khan looks at how the coronavirus pandemic has exposed structural gender inequalities.

This International Women’s day provides a moment for reflection on the year that has passed. And well, I guess it’s been a hell of a ride. No one could have predicted that 2020 would see a global pandemic which would impact our lives so profoundly. The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly tested people to their limits, presenting not only health challenges but financial struggles too, changing the way we fundamentally interact with each other and how we value the world around us. It has also sadly exposed the inequalities that still plague our society, with the socio-economic impacts of the virus hitting women the hardest.

Continue reading “Choose to challenge: Let’s not turn back the clock on women’s equality”

New boundaries for Medway announced

Proposed Medway ward map

Following an extensive consultation process, the Boundary Commission has published a final proposed redrawing of the Medway Council map, which once approved by parliament, will take effect from the 2023 local elections.

Medway was long overdue for a review of its electoral boundaries, with many parts of the area growing significantly since they were last changed two decades ago, meaning some areas faced underrepresentation on the existing map.

Boundary reviews have to attempt to balance creating equal representation between areas, as well as maintaining coherent communities so their representation is not split between different councillors. Unsurprisingly, this task can be challenging, and many people will have differing views of what each local community looks like.

Continue reading “New boundaries for Medway announced”

Voice of the Leader: August

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

THANK YOU TO OUR WONDERFUL NHS STAFF, OUR SOCIAL WORKERS, AND ALL OTHER KEY WORKERS for keeping us safe during a time of an unprecedented worldwide pandemic. 

The coronavirus pandemic continues. Since my last column on 1st July an enormous amount has happened in Medway, and by and large things are moving in the right direction whilst the number of new cases being recorded thankfully remains minimal. 

It has been my overriding duty as Leader to ensure we do all in our power to alleviate the threat of a local coronavirus outbreak. In this to date we have so far been successful, but we only have to look elsewhere in the country – to places such as Leicester, and Oldham, and Swindon – to see how an outbreak can occur and the devastating impact that can have on the area concerned.

Those impacts include of course health, but also economic impacts. We are working hard to contain the health impacts, and working equally as hard to facilitate rebooting our local economy.

Continue reading “Voice of the Leader: August”

Voice of the Opposition: July

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. Today we hear from Vince Maple, leader of Medway Labour, the official opposition on Medway Council.

Although since my last Political Medway column some of the restrictions regarding COVID-19 have been relaxed we are still in the middle of a public health crisis.  Medway Council continues to deal with a civil contingency situation and we have new restrictions in place, such as the need to wear face masks.  As always my thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones as a result of the pandemic.

It is worth recognising with everything else that has happened over the past few months, the vast majority of Medway residents have played their part in doing whatever it takes and for that I say a genuine heartfelt thank you – we must collectively all play our part as we move forward together.

Just over a week ago, we had a record breaking council meeting which lasted more than seven hours finishing at a couple of minutes past 2am.  As you would expect there was a wide variety of issues raised throughout the meeting.  If you missed it you can watch the whole thing here.

The Political Medway blog referred to the meeting as the “worst #MedwayCouncil meeting we’ve ever sat through.” – and you can understand why.

Continue reading “Voice of the Opposition: July”

Lynch mobs and slave traders, or the worst Medway Council meeting we’ve ever covered

The first fully virtual Medway Council meeting took place last night, with councillors all contributing remotely to proceedings. Somehow this managed to make the meeting even longer than usual, clocking in at over seven hours, but also saw some of the most unseemly debates ever held at a Medway Council meeting. If you weren’t able to watch the whole thing live, we’ve got your back with our Twitter coverage from last night. Strap in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Continue reading “Lynch mobs and slave traders, or the worst Medway Council meeting we’ve ever covered”

Will new boundaries change the electoral map of Medway?

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects tries to figure out if new ward boundaries would result in a different political map in Medway..

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England have dropped their draft recommendations for new ward boundaries in Medway.

The organisation has proposed a scheme of 24 wards, increasing the number of councillors from 55 to 60, one more than they originally proposed when they opened the initial consultation.

Whilst there is much which may be debated in the proposals, as The Political Medway’s resident data nerd, I’m going to be looking at one key question: what would last year’s local election results have looked like if it had been fought under these proposed ward boundaries, with one caveat: this is an entirely unscientific analysis as there is insufficient local data to produce a firm set of predictions. Instead, this is based on local knowledge from the 13 years I have been politically active in Medway, personal observations made at last year’s count and some more general assumptions. And I am going ward-by-ward in the order they appear in the LGBCE’s report.

Continue reading “Will new boundaries change the electoral map of Medway?”