Saturday, 6 August 2011

What we, the Medway Liberal Democrats need to do.

I'm not very good at writing tribal pro-speeches. I think of friends and fellow 'bloggers who are on the other sides and try not to offend them. BUT sometimes offence surely must be caused? After all politics and debate often holds disagreement and arguments. It is our nature, as a party to constructively argue and debate and I hope that what I'm about to do...

*Clears throat and steps up to the podium*

I would be lying to you if I said that we were riding the crest of glory OR if I said that we were even a force to be reckoned with. At the moment we are in a distant third place with a strong Independent group right on our heels.

Some would say that we are a dead power and that Medway is a back water for our party and that the urban areas are Labour and the more rural and affluent areas are Conservative.

But I say this; We were once a formidable voice in Medway and there is still a lot of work for us to do and I think we could really make a difference.

It would be easy for us to adopt a Rorke's drift approach and digging in  and defending Gillingham South and out foot hold in Wattling tooth and nail or committing more resources that are necessary to trying to oust the independents and Andy Stamp from Gillingham North. What needs to be done is hit the streets and find out what the people want from their council.

It is clear, from recent events that the Conservative led council has made financial mistakes. These range from big financial blunders, such as the "City of Medway" logo incident, to errors of judgement as in the Woodlands road incident and of course matters beyond their control in the form of the increase in children being taken into social care. The last one is a factor that shouldn't be held against them but what should is the mismanagement of your money that has led to severe delays on Chatham's roadworks, wasted city bid that I'm not sure anyone wants, a bus station that has a mixed reception. They are the party that hasn't consulted the people of Medway, the party that thinks it knows what is best for you and the party that doesn't have to listen to you.

To quote Nick Clegg;

 When making difficult decisions you have to keep the people you are making them for in mind.

I think at times, the Conservative group do lose track of this.

What's clear is that Labour are listening but their solutions are all on a national scale. They say that a 17.5% rate of VAT would be better for business, they say that the Coalition cuts are wrong, they absolve themselves of blame for anything that has gone before BUT all these things are on National politics not local!
They pour honey in your ear and claim that they can solve your woes. They support every cause that pops up that will gain support such as the local shop keepers. Don't get me wrong it is a noble cause but I don't think their solutions are practical and what is needed is a proper discussion. If it is one thing we Lib Dems have learnt it is NEVER make rash promises or proposals that are impractical.

We are the party that listens. We need to get out there into the communities and listen, listen to the people who have been let down, listen to those who are fearful of what education will be like for their kids, listen to local tradesman and how to mend this broken local economy and then we need to meet and discuss how we could salve these problems realistically and go back to the people with solutions and what we are doing.

Already steps are being made. Already there is a Facebook group for Gillingham South residents


and a forum for them to vent their problems.  (Spelling mistake is meant to be in the link. My t button failed on my laptop!)

But more has to be done. I want to help Medway, I want the community to prosper again and the only way to do that is by finding out what the community want, not guess or jump on the wagon of the loudest.

Together, we the party and the community can do this so please help us to help you.

Thank you.

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