Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Save Nelson Court

The Luton & Wayfield team is working with local and cross-party campaigners to Save Nelson Court from Conservative cuts.

You can sign the petition to protect the service here.

Whilst the Tories can overspend by £5.1m on capital and revenue budgets it is simply unacceptable they have announced the closure of this centre for the vulnerable and elderly.

It is utterly unethical

Below from the website:

UPDATE FROM THE 29th NOVEMBER CABINET MEETING

At the cabinet meeting today Medway Conservative councillors were very keen to stress the benefits of privatisation, and seemed to think that the private sector could provide an identical service, with the same staff and staffing levels. As well as pay rent for the premises and make a profit.

They were also keen to stress that the 60-day consultation period would convince residents and relatives that there would be no adverse effects of privatising care. Under the new system the care homes would be allowed to take 'self funding' residents who would presumably be asked to pay a lot more than the council pays for supported care - we would like to know if the care homes would then be keen to take the challenging clients with high maintenance needs for the amount of council funding, when they could be making a nice profit instead.

Somehow this doesn't seem to be the real world!

Much was made of how residents could have more choice and more independence - given that these homes are for dementia patients, it is a bit pie in the sky to expect them to start taking responsibility for sorting out their own care and funding.

It should be remembered that many have outlived their families and friends and apart from the care home staff, who are their surrogate 'family' there is nobody to care what happens to them.

SAVE ELDERLY SERVICES

Elderly care, particularly dementia care, which is provided by Medway Council's own service centres is consistently graded as 'Excellent' by the care commission. We already have a shortage of beds in Medway for older people needing to go into care, and private providers naturally take those who are the 'easiest'. Not only do the council's own facilities provide a safety net for clients with high level needs (e.g. dementia patients using wheelchairs, or with cultural requirements such as a daily shower or special diet), but they also act as a benchmark of excellence against which prospective clients and their relatives can compare other homes.

Many elderly residents in our homes have no relatives living locally, but homes such as Nelson Court in Luton not only provide them with basic care but encourage activities and socialising, as well as a hairdresser and outings.

The council's own centres allow residents freedom of movement around the units and small 'quiet' rooms in which they can sit, or receive relatives and friends without having to use their bedrooms.

Relatives and friends are welcomed at any time and because working conditions are good there is a very low turnover of staff, so managers and carers get to know individual clients and their relatives so any problems can be dealt with quickly and amicably.

Added to this we should not forget the respite service which council homes offer, giving carers a much needed break and clients a chance to socialise. This respite also means that any medical conditions which have been overlooked are picked up and dealt with which eases the burden on home carers.

I would urge Medway Council to think very carefully before getting rid of the jewels in the crown in terms of elderly care!

To find out more, email maureen@savenelsoncourt.org.

All Pain No Gain



I mentioned yesterday how the Tories locally are in utter denial about borrowing - I don't think many of the blue-rinsers quite get it on borrowing,

The OBR’s forecasts today show it is even worse. The government is set to borrow £158 billion more than they planned a year ago – the bill for the economic failure, higher unemployment and bigger benefits bill their failed plan have created.

OBR’s forecasts for public sector net borrowing (£bn)

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

November 2010

117

91

60

35

18

Today

127

120

100

79

53

Change since Nov 2010

+10

+29

+40

+44

+35


Already the Tories are trying to re-write history. The below is a before and after from Conservatives.com



Monday, 28 November 2011

Fraud & Fiscal Incompetence


Tory Administration mis-managing huge sums of money
Amongst the worst in the UK


Most residents are now aware that the Medway Conservatives are totally incapable of managing your money sensibly.

We have a current capital and revenue overspend of £5.1m; mostly as a result of poor capital spending and huge overruns on a series of projects.

You wont get an apology for this; you will get them cutting Care and Adult Care services under the line that its necessary to balance the books.

The recent Audit Committee report on the level of fraud is a scary read; if this does not tell the impartial reader that Medway really does not have appropriate levels of Financial Control, and that Councillor Jarrett is simply out of his league; I dont know what will.

So we can run up huge overspends on capital and revenue budgets and run one of the most incompetent administrations; but sadly its the most vulnerable that must suffer.

Must be the Conservatives

Mark Reckless on Lodge Hill? You tell me!?


Too busy talking about Europe? Where does our MP stand?


Despite looking for an hour today I could not find a statement from our Member of Parliament on whether he agrees with the construction of Lodge Hill; over forests and green space on the Peninsula.

Plenty of moaning about the Eurozone which seems to be a bit of a hobby horse...

It is almost as if, perish the thought, he does not want to talk about it.

So what is Lodge Hill?

In May 2008, Land Securities was selected as Land Sale Delivery Partner by Defence Infrastucture Organisation and tasked with realising the site's redevelopment potential; to bring forward a new mixed-use development north of the A228. The Lodge Hill site has the potential to create in the region of 4,500 - 5,000 new homes, together with community facilities and new employment opportunities over the next 15 - 20 years.

Medway Conservatives are backing the destruction of our Green spaces and to bulldoze over landscape on Chattenden.

Medway Conservatives are supporting the destruction of green land for housing. Does our MP?

It is time Tories told us where they stood. Do they reject it or do they, like they have voted in the Council, support the destruction of local heritage?

Tory Economic Failure



After months of saying it, the sad fact is the Conservatives have been caught exposed as the predicted double-dip recession awaits us all. This was an utterly avoidable downturn had the Conservatives listened and accepted they were wrong on the recovery.

Labour has warned for months, including in the General Election, that the George Osborne plan was totally and utterly flawed.

He simply cut too far and too fast.

The Tory argument that Labour was being risky with the British Economy has been blown away with the Conservative Chancellor moving towards a Plan B. We have already seen fiscal stimulus with Quantitative Easing with the Bank of England, we note the infrastructure investment projects.

You wont hear this tomorrow but George Osborne is moving towards our position.

Unfortunately it comes too late. Today the OECD predicted the second recession; instead of apologising to the British Public we have Tory Ministers antogonising Unions and 'itching for a fight.' CCHQ even put out a most rediculous of attacks claiming that Labour would increase your mortgage interest by £5,000 per year.

It is utterly desperate stuff from a Party that is loosing its economic credibility after only 18 months in power.

Despite all the crap from Conservative Councillors about borrowing and investing; their own Chancellor is to rack huge amounts of debt - even more than Labour - so no pious lectures required. You lot have mucked up the recovery; 7 out of 10 voters think so.

The fact is the Tory government is set to borrow £46bn more than they originally planned – in March the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) increased its forecast for net borrowing by £45.6bn for 2011-12 to 2015-16. Goodness knows where we sit tomorrow.

Voters will remember this double-dip is a Conservative recession and it is a result of their mistakes. They were warned.

Labour stimulus during the last recession ensured the UK returned back to an even keel; Car scrappage, boiler scrappage, future jobs fund and government led construction made sure that the deficit began to shrink. And shrink it did. Before a single penny of the Tory cuts had even been implemented £39,000,000,000 had been wiped off the deficit.

This was not magic 'wot dunnit'. It was growth. The Deficit was only £136.7bn by the end of last financial year. The thing that we knew all along was that investment led growth would cure the deficit of its own accord.George Osborne will tacitly admit that when he institutes his £30bn infrastructure boost tomorrow.

He has accepted the Keynesian argument that you need investment led growth to shrink the deficit. It seems the only people who still hanker after deep cuts are the Thatcherites... and sadly we have a few of those in Rochester & Strood.



Saturday, 26 November 2011

Save the Chattenden Woods Nightingales

Lodge Hill proposal; bulldozing over greenspace in the Tory heartlands.

We all know the Conservatives are in the pockets of the developers; watering down planning laws and planning the destruction of green belt land.

They have always been thus; The 'Conserve' part always comes second to earning a quick penny and if that involves putting in new houses in a field near you that is fine; the local plan is weak compared to other areas so it will happen on appeal.

One such proposal is for Lodge Hill which I have grave concerns over; with so much land in urban Rochester, Strood and Gillingham ripe for development, it is very concerning to see green space being bulldozed over at the behest of salivating Conservatives.

Our local MPs and Councillor's moaned extensively about Prescott bulldozing over greenland in the 1990s/2000s but this project is significantly larger than any proposed previously; and it does bulldoze over greenland.

The consultation, if you can call if that, has been a total farce. Hardly anyone knows about this scheme which will cause massive traffic upheaval and congestion into Strood and onto the M2.


Nightingales are currently on the amber list of the “Birds of Conservation Concern”. They are continuing to seriously decline in numbers and range, and may sadly be moved to the red list of threatened species. Kent is the most important county in the UK for this species with more than 27% of the UK population, and Chattenden Woods is one of the most important sites in Kent. However, Chattenden Woods is at risk from proposals to build a development of 5,000 homes, a hotel and a shopping centre.

Not only this, but a further 100 acres of unprotected dense scrub networks , ideal nightingale habitat, will also be destroyed to make way for the development. These two sites combined are home to more than 1% of the UK’s breeding nightingale population.

An outline planning application has been registered with Medway Council Under the Reference MC/11/2516. To view the application click here and in the Application Number box enter MC/11/2516 and click on Search. The cut-off date to object to this application is now the 12th. December 2011, so we don’t have a lot of time.

To voice your objection email Medway Council at planning.representations@medway.gov.uk or write to: Development Control, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR.

Comments to use in your objection may include the following :
  1. Biodiversity survey work done to date on the site and surrounding habitat is questionable. We don’t know exactly how many nightingales are currently supported by the development site and surrounding woodland. However, we do know it is at least 50 singing males, but it is quite likely to be more.
  2. An equal amount of replacement habitat as that which is lost needs to be created off-site. Even if nightingale habitat is retained on the development site, it is unlikely that it will be capable of supporting nightingales as they are very susceptible to disturbance, so this habitat needs to be replaced too.
  3. Replacement habitat needs to be fully ecologically functioning prior to the scrub being cleared. The dense scrub which nightingales need to breed successfully can take 10-15 years to establish.

To reinforce your message try to include the terms “object to” or “strongly disagree”.Please inform as many friends, family, friends of friends, work colleagues and anyone else you can think of to do the same.

For any replies that you receive, please could you forward them to Sophie Flax, email sophie.flax@rspb.org.uk.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Mitt Romney Vids


We all know the Conservatives are the sister party of the Republicans. They share the same values, the same outlook and yes they really do share the same prejeudices and style.

Below are a few of the choice videos from Mitt Romney who is almost certain to win the field

Always worth keeping an eye on the right in North America; styles tend to be copied over here:











Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Quiet Man comes to Medway






The Quiet Man is visiting Chatham tomorrow. Charisma watchers stay away...

As is trypical with any Medway Conservative press operation it leaks like a sieve. Too many mouths feeding from the trough so to speak...

Anyway; the visit by Ed Balls MP caught the Tories off mark and worried last week. They are exposed because under the Tory watch youth unemployment has sky-rocketed during a period of growth...

Labour were expecting the Tories to come up with a bigger hitter, but given two of our local MPs are Euroloon rebels I can imagine the Prime Minister or Chancellor would not want to be seen anywhere near Medway.

As it is we have the quiet man; he is sure to go down well at the Chatham Job Centre.


Lets just say we all wait to be inspired.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

£5.1m Overspend



The Conservatives talked the talk during the election about 'Value for Money' and for being good stewards with public money locally.

Of course the truth is they concealed overspends from prior to the local election to improve the electoral prospects of Conservative candidates. We can all remember the failure to answer questions on the overbudget and delayed bus station.

It is therefore very worrying to note the Capital & Revenue budget forecasts which show that the Tories have lost control of the books.

Expect a very rocky road ahead; privatization of public services is now almost certainly on the cards.

House Prices fall under Tories


How we compare with Brighton & Hove.

Despite all the warm words from Conservatives locally about how Medway is in a good position there are some serious concerns that home-owners in Medway - and certainly those who own their own detached properties - are suffering huge losses in value on their homes.

The Conservatives have mismanaged the economic recovery in both Medway and beyond; but the stark contrast with other Unitary Authorities in the South East is marked.

Our residents are worse off under the Conservatives. House-prices in most home-owner segments are markdely down.

Interestingly though, the only segment which is seeing an increase in house-prices is the exact one which is pricing young people off the housing market.



Regionally it is also clear that compared to other areas in the region Medway residents are suffering significant loss of value when compared with other regions in the South East. Meanwhile, home ownership continues to be a long way off for young couples and people on the first rung of the housing ladder.


A full regional report (including Authority breakdown) on House prices can be found here. You can make your own comparison also here.

The reckless Tories locally have not only called the recovery wrong, overseen eye-watering levels of inflation (so devaluing money in your bank) but your property is now worth less then it was previous. They are failing to represent your financial interests.


Tories costing me £51 per month. You?

Train fares are already too expensive, but now they are set to skyrocket even further.

You can calculate how much the Conservatives are charging you extra.

The move to increase fares was contained in the Department of Transport Comprehensive Spending Review settlement which was supported by Mark Reckless, Tracey Crouch and Rehman Chisthi.

Tories have voted to up your fares. Money that could be spent on your family.

As part of their austerity cuts, the Government is planning massive fare hikes from January 2012. Fares are set to go up by 28% over the next four years - that's £1,500 more for some season tickets. Expensive train fares are:

  • A rotten deal for passengers. Being forced to pay ever more each year without seeing any improvements is simply unfair.
  • Harmful for the environment. Prices need to be cheaper if more people are to choose the train and help cut congestion and tackle climate change.
  • Bad for business. High fares price people out of jobs in London and our other major cities, damaging the UK’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.
  • Unfair. Many people are being forced to change jobs or make difficult choices between transport and other vital expenses. Trains shouldn’t just be a luxury for the rich.

We can’t let prices go up even further. Together, we can change the Government’s minds and make fares truly fair.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Cllr Teresa Murray Letter


The responses to the Boundary Commission have been well aired but one from the former Labour Parliamentary candidate for Rochester & Strood is particularly important.

It is worth remembering that the Medway Labour and Medway Liberal Democrat position is to effectively support the impartial recommendation of the Boundary Commission.

It is not seeking to make partisan gain; only the Conservatives are seeking to gerrymander wards.


Dear Editor,

Please add this to the Letters Page in the Medway Messenger.

I saw that in Friday’s Medway Messenger last week that a former Councillor, Mrs Goulden joined local Tories in rejecting the Electoral Boundary Commission proposals

What the Commission have suggested after working within the government’s guidelines, is that the centre of Chatham and Rochester are recombined as they used to be and that central Gillingham is put with Luton to make another town centre constituency.

It is difficult to see how this doesn’t make a good deal of sense.

Their proposals result in two strong constituencies in the centre of the Medway Towns recognising the heart of our urban areas.

The Boundary Commission could see how preposterous it is to stay with the present boundary where some of the centre parts of the Medway towns are combined with the village of Aylesford to form the Chatham and Aylesford constituency. Furthermore, the wards they want to move in the direction of the North Downs have common boundaries with Tonbridge and Malling.

Medway council have spent a lot of council tax payers’ money promoting the town centres of Medway, submitting an application for World Heritage Status and campaigning for a City of Medway.

Real Regeneration, so badly needed just now when unemployment is high and local businesses are suffering, depends on developing strong centres in Medway and renewing the old industrial unused sites.

The Labour party is in fact simply agreeing with the findings of the independent Boundary Commission whilst working to support people in the hearts our towns in their struggle to survive these difficult economic times.

Having more sensible parliamentary boundaries that recognise our historic identities won’t solve all of the problems but it will help potential investors and developers to understand where most people live and plan new infrastructure accordingly.

From



Cllr Teresa Murray
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Rochester & Strood

D-Day for Airport



There has been so much mainstream news coverage today from every National media forum that this blog simply can not keep pace with it.

If it has not dawned on Medway Conservatives that this is now going to be in a government paper requiring a massive campaign to oppose then they are either stupid or totally blind.

I dont need to say any more; my points have well aired for years on this subject

The campaign to stop this reaching an aviation review via lobbying of our MPs online has clearly failed.

The fact that Minister's are cool to the idea now is totally meaningless because the paper has not yet been published.

As we can see with this government; promises about 'no plans' can change in less then a month. We have witnessed a shift in position by the Conservatives and the fact is our local Tories have been caught totally off guard.




Sunday, 20 November 2011

Tory Airport spin no basis in fact

It seems that local Conservatives are so desperate to distance themselves from the Conservative plans to bulldoze the Peninsula that they are even blaming Ed Balls.

Ed Balls who visited Medway this week to highlight the failure of the reckless Conservatives on unemployment has actually never said anything directly about the Island Airport.

Peninsula Tories, who have been following the lack-lustre 'pie-in-the-sky' campaign led by Tory Council leader Rodney Chambers (pictured right) are feeling the heat; they are all likely to be held directly responsible in the ballot box should the proposal take-off in Westminster.

Only this week local Tories and MP's were stating to the media and Twitter followers that the government has 'no plans' for an airport. A position which stands in absolute tatters with the revelations in several broadsheets.

You can not believe a word they say.

To prove a point a full transcript of what Ed Ball's actually said today can be found here and the excerpt below:

DM: OK, we’ve heard the strategy what about specifics. You mentioned infrastructure projects there and a lot of business leaders have been talking over the last few days and weeks in particular about airport capacity. Now in government you supported a third runway at Heathrow, now you don’t, do you support an entirely new airport perhaps in the south-east?

EB: Personally and historically I always supported the third runway at Heathrow but the government has taken that off the agenda, they say it is not going to happen. We in the Labour Party accept that they have now killed that off certainly for the foreseeable future. The question is: are there other places where you can get the capacity into the south-east? I think it is really important for business and for job creation, it is important actually for the northern regions too, that we have extra capacity so we are saying to the government: you have taken Heathrow off the agenda, have a review, we will support you, find the capacity in the south-east to boost airport capacity which is really needed for jobs and growth, and I wish the government would listen. It seems to me to be very anti, not just business but of regions, jobs and growth for them just to turn their face against it.


Labour have supported the expansion of Manston and have openly campaigned for this position.

We all know that Tories locally are now in a desperate and dithering denial about the Tory plans to pave over the Peninsula; but to latch onto a statement with no reference to Cliffe/ Hoo or the Island shows how they will grasp at any straw, however thin, to distance themselves.

Tories should put the interests of Peninsula residents first and run a visual campaign against Hilton, Osborne and Johnson.

George Osborne backing Cliffe / Grain Airport

Boris Johnson has been convincing Conservatives. He also had a meal with Justine Greening MP on her appoitnment to her position as Transport Secretary. Coincidence?

George Osborne the Chancellor of Exchequer is said to have changed his mind on Estuary Airport


The spin from our Medway MPs that the government has 'no plans' for an airport now stands in absolute tatters this weekend as article after article come out in favour of a Number 10 move on the Estuary Airport proposal.

Three major broad-sheets have covered the news that George Osborne and Steve Hilton - key power-players in Westminster - are now baking the scheme. The airport may even feature in the November financial statement should George Osborne wish to discuss infrastructure investments.

Conservative Party, Boris Johnson who has been the major cheer-leader for the bulldozing of the Peninsula is due to speak tomorrow, citing that the Estuary airport is a serious plan and is not a 'pie-in-the-sky'

This is a direct snub to Medway residents and highlights once and for all the utter failure of the Medway Conservative 'pie-in-the-sky' campaign. Time and time and time again they have been told to stop treating this issue as a 'pie-in-the-sky' joke and run a proper, funded and visual campaign.

Such a campaign was run against Cliffe in 2002/2003 and resulted in a win for the community.

This is not a new issue; it has been ongoing for three / four years and at every time the goal-posts have slipped a notch. From a Boris Island, to Cliffe and now to Grain; we see a constant notch movement by Conservatives, and it is Conservatives make no mistake, to effectively engage the public in a debate on an issue.

The accusation is that the Conservatives are trying to soften up the public appetite by having a proxy-debate on the airport to ascertain local opposition. This is why a funded campaign locally is so important.

This is also the failure of Mark Reckless, Tracey Crouch and Rehman Chisthi. They have all been too easily duped by the 'no plans' argument as a quick win to shut down local debate. As this blog has consistently stated; a time-limited 'plans' response allows significant lee-way for future movement.

Those that have wanted to campaign have been rebuffed as crying 'wolf' as 'spinning' and trying to manufacture an issue; but when every Sunday newspaper publishes the same story and you are aware of active lobbying behind closed doors, what more can the opposition do then moan loudly which have done for years..

People are now asking how local MPs have called it so wrong, and rest assured the people of the Peninsula will have their day at the ballot box in 2015; but it is time now, finally, for Conservatives to put the community first.

They need to accept that the community on the Peninsula needs a properly funded and visual campaign to oppose this airport plan and they need it now.

Time for talk is over; get your boots on, get the lamp-post signs up and fight the government as hard as you can.

The Peninsula faces an existential threat; it will cease to be a place if Boris, Hilton and George Osborne get their way; only the ruling Conservative group has the ability and resources to run a proper campaign and work the leavers of influence in Gun Wharf.

They need to do so now.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Spot the Difference

Letter received from Rt Hon Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Transport
in July 2010


Letter received from Junior Transport Minister Theresa Villiers to Mark Reckless MP in November 2011


You may well read Medway Conservatives once again withdrawing into denial about the Estuary airport - claiming that the 'No plans' from Villiers mean its off the agenda. Interesting also the response comes from the Junior Minister. I think Justine may have been too busy having lunch with Boris Johnson to respond...

We have been here before with 'no plans' which strangely morphs into more detailed plans and proposals. One read of letter above from Philip Hammond MP to Tracey Crouch MP said exactly the same thing, whilst then plans became more developed and we got the Foster proposal.

In addition you will note the additional reference in Villier's letter to Mark on the Aviation 'policy framework'. This is code for u-turn. This is notable because it allows the government to renege on the 'no plans' pledge if indeed the aviation framework recommended it as an outcome.

This blog was clear; the airport had to be ruled out not just now but also from the aviation review. Our MPs have failed to come up with the goods. Simple fact; ignored and emasculated in Westminster.

The bluster in the letter columns in todays Medway Messenger highlight a self-evident truth. The Tories know this is coming down the line and are desperate to distance themselves, and whats more we know this because they have just played a silly card. Talking about an issues makes it an issue; the fact they want to talk about it despite not wanting to, means it is an issue they are hearing about probably in both Westminster and in the letterbox.

I can tell them now it will make no different. People wont vote for a party brand that wants to bulldoze over their homes - and any white paper will receive the most stiff of responses from Labour locally, because we have consistently, over three years, warned that to ignore this issue will make it more difficult in the end to challenge.

A letter from a Junior Minister may not be worth the paper its printed on in a few months, except as a potential political rope with which local MPs will need to apologise over, should this come to pass in the form of an Aviation paper.

We will see. Only time will tell.


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Ed Balls MP on Youth Unemployment




Ed Balls MP visited Chatham today to meet young unemployed on the day the figures by the ONS saw youth unemployment above 1m.

A Tory legacy of failure as they led on cuts to the Future Jobs Fund and the EMA. They trebled tuition fees and took the ladder of opportunity away from our young people.

Further videos:







Monday, 14 November 2011

Council Budget looks bleak

Tory Council savings simply not materialising

This article is worth reading because over the next month Council chieftains will be crunching the numbers for next years budget.

The fact that the Conservatives have utterly mismanaged the books is not new news for many readers. One scroll down this blog and you begin to see the sheer level of fiscal incompetence overseen by the lead Councillor for Finance, Alan Jarrett.

Medway Conservatives have been shockingly poor managers of your money. The overspend on the bus station is but the latest example of poor fiscal management.

Not only are the figures in a bad state but on current estimates its looking even bleaker. The current capital and revenue budgets show a £5.1m overspend; some departments are clearly scraping the budget dregs because other departments have gone woefully over budget.

We all accept that increasing costs to education and child safety are unfortunate trends. Mismanaging capital expenditure and spending our reserves during the good years are Conservative mistakes. The Medway Tunnel was a Tory mistake as was the sheer failure to manage regeneration appropriately.

The last Medway Labour administration epitomised the Better for Less model. We cut the levels of local government and reduced the number of Councillors to its current historical low-level of 55. We scrapped the duplication of District and County Councillors; a confusing two-tier approach to local government which simply confuses the public who want a single point of contact. Our proposals saved millions and allowed asset sales of duplicated services.

Indeed, despite the Tory waffle about low Council Tax rates, it was Medway Labour and the creation of a single-tier of local government in Medway that is to credit for this. We created a more efficient model of governance than is quite frankly noted in some of the gravy train borough Councils in parts of Kent. I know many of those controlled by Labour would be keen to endorse a Unitary model, if this were available, and this would indeed reduce the cost of politics.

The Tory big idea is to tinker with the back-office of the Council at a cost of millions to expensive consultants. There is a visible difference in ambition and achievement between Medway Labour and the current Conservatives.

On current figures, the Tories mismanagement locally, in conjunction with the eye-watering local grant reductions, have left us in a parlous state. Some truly terrible times are ahead and let not one blue-rinser pretend otherwise; their utter incompetence locally has been hidden by increasing flows of money. As this is now turning through cash reductions and inflation, the incompetence will no doubt become more exposed.

Residents will be keeping an eye on front line service cuts; bus services, Sure Starts, road improvements, schools and budgets to reduce graffiti and anti-social bahaviour. Free swimming and the continued funding of the Young Person bus pass will also be a focus

We will all be watching the budget process very very closely indeed ans rest assured this blog will be highlighting the Tory inconsistencies, u-turns and probable bare-faced Local Election fibs

Halling Fire Station Threat

Public meeting to oppose Tory cuts to Fire Services in Halling


Local residents and the opposition are right to be concerned by the cuts to Kent Fire & Rescue which could impact the safety of local residents.

Under the Conservative-led government which is supported by local MPs, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) has to make £12m in cuts over the next three years. It aims to close eight fire stations: Sturry, Matfield, Horton Kirby, Halling, Rusthall, St Margaret’s, Queenborough and Seal.

The Tory-led Government is in denial about the impact of its cuts to fire and rescue services and its impacts and are clearly choosing to ignore the guidance of professionals on the ground.

A clear case is a recent report produced by six of the country’s top fire chiefs covering all metropolitan areas outside London, outlining the potentially dire consequences of further cuts has been dismissed by Government Ministers.

The report warns that further cuts will endanger lives and impair the nation’s ability to respond to major incidents involving terrorism and flooding. The report was ignored.

The Conservatives locally can't have their pie and eat it too.

Voting for the cuts being foisted onto another local service, but then trying to pretend they are nothing to do with the process.

Double standards?


Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Road Ahead?

Increasing unemployment as Medway Tories obsess over Europe

We all know that the Conservative Coalition policies are not working and because they decided to cut too far and too fast we are now at greater risk now than had the Country taken a different course in May 2010.

In the General Election the Labour Party were absolutely clear that we would not cut as far and as fast until the recovery was in view because of the risk of a double-dip.

You may remember this Labour Party Election Broadcast from May 2010 warning of the Tory path:



We lost the election and Cameron rejected our position.

They took the wrong path and now we are once again staring down the barrel of a gun but with a weak leader and a party which believes that 'unemployment is the price worth paying.'

Dont take my words for it; Cameron's own Conservative colleagues are falling over themselves to distance themselves from the Economic record of the current government

The below is from a Conservative, Patrick Mercer MP according to The People.

GUEST: I enjoyed your kind words. Some people have a gift for that.

MERCER: It’s sort of what I do. I’ve only made three speeches today. The first one in rather faux support for the Home Secretary who I assume will not be the Home Secretary by Friday.If the Prime Minister expresses his utmost confidence in you that means pack your bags. It always has done ­especially with Cameron. What a creature!

GUEST: You don’t rate him?

MERCER: No, I think he’s the worst politician in British history since William Gladstone.

GUEST: What about Gordon Brown?

MERCER: At least Gordon was ­human. Gordon had all sorts of errors, frailties – but at least he was human.

GUEST: Where did David go wrong?

MERCER: Well, he was born.

GUEST: You can’t say things like that.

MERCER: Yeah I can. He’s a most despicable creature without any real redeeming features. If I can think of one ... he’s very rich, how’s that? That’s a redeeming feature.

GUEST: He’s in a terrible situation, the poor guy.

MERCER: And he’s making it worse.

GUEST: Well what are his side going to do about him.

MERCER: We’ll sack him.

GUEST: You reckon?

MERCER: We’ll get rid of him.

GUEST: Well who’s going to take his place.

MERCER: Well if I don’t kill him, then I probably will out of fun – and show the country how really badly it can be run.

I’ve never, ever come across anyone less suited to the job in my life.

I would take a beggar off the streets and put him in that position rather than have Cameron. I loathe him.

What this snippet shows you is that despite all the spin and rubbish peddled by Tory MPs in public they know that they have called the recovery wrong and have a leader who could not even win an absolute majority. He is a dud...

The worry is that this dud cant control his party. We are seeing evidence of similar rebellious actions to Patrick Mercer MP locally.

Both Mark Reckless and Tracey Crouch joined a growing number of rebel Euroloons on the back-benches on the referendum vote only a few weeks ago. They rebelled against the leader of their party and voted against the national interest, in the persuit of an extremist agenda which would have called for a referendum in the middle of the Eurozone crisis, which could have cost this country millions as the markets would have inevitably responded had the motion passed.

They both irresponsibly put the share prices of UK companies, jobs and employment of millions of people at risk and they did it because they saw a political opportunity while the Eurozone struggles to secure itself.

Do you think they acted responsiblity in the interests of the moderate middle?

What is most worrying though; whilst they have been focusing on Europe they have said precious little about the current state of unemployment which blights Medway and beyond.

This week we will likely see an extremely grim milestone, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) preparing to release the latest unemployment figures which is expected to cross the one million mark.

In Medway youth unemployment is sky high:

Rochester & Strood unemployment: Number of 18-24 yr olds claiming over 6 months up 114% with the total number up from 2,425 to 2,430 from May 10 to Sept 11

Gillingham & Rainham unemployment: Number of 18-24 yr olds claiming over 6 months up 206% with the total number up 4.9% frm 2,358 to 2,473 frm May 10 to Sept 11

Chatham & Aylesford unemployment: Number of 18-24 yr olds claiming over 6 months up by 150% and a total number up 2% frm 2,720 to 2,774 from May 10 to Sept 11

Cameron is taking us in the wrong direction and our rebellious and factional MPs are putting the national interest behind that of a faction within the Conservative Party.

Meanwhile our young people continue to be let down...

There are risky times ahead; but Labour will continue to fight and talk about the issues that matter. Jobs, NHS, schools, police and a sensible relationship with Europe.