Friday, 13 April 2012

City Status bid: One last epilogue

One of my favourite singers, Miss Amy Lee of Evanescence, once wrote a song with the lyrics "This is the last song I shall waste on you." In a similar vain this is the last post I'm going to waste on Councillor Jarrett's comments on City status.

Firstly I should say that the failed bid increasing Medway's status Nationwide is a good thing and I'm pleased this has had the happy bi product/
However there has been a lot of negative press generated by the Council during the procedure. Dare I bring up the Trading standards ruling (how much did that cost us again?) and the Council's rather ungracious responses to the ruling body's decision.

This line of comments also came up in Councillor Jarrett's column in Party People (Medway Messenger 13th April) in which he refers to the newly named City of St Asaph as One tiny Welsh Village - ok in the 2001 census the town had over 3000 residents but like Rochester it was stripped of its Medieval city status, and like Rochester, it deserved it back.

Councillor Jarrett, also, either doesn't understand or isn't interested in the cost argument. We weren't arguing that the bid itself was where the real waste was but in the post decision re branding that would have taken place. £13,000 on the bid itself isn't a bad amount of money, compared to other wasteful projects, but how much would it have cost us to change all the stationary at Gunwharf? How much for the signs? The literature?

Finally, and this is a personal note and what really got me angry;
How sad that at the eleventh hour Medway's Liberals chose to write to the Deputy Prime Minister urging him not to award City status to Medway. It was an incredibly spiteful act from a political party which obviously has long since put its shallow political aims before the good of the wider community.

Well... That told us... or did it?

OK, maybe the letter was late in the sending but we have always opposed this bid and we spoke to people across the Medway towns and the ones we spoke to were not interested or didn't care. That's hardly a mandate for Amazing level of support and we represented those who were being ignored as Nay sayers and who formed the majority of the people we spoke to. Is that not what Politics is about rather than dragging the population in your chosen direction and only listening to the Yes sayers?
He has berated us in the press on several occasions and in a Full Council meeting. I understand that he, like many is disappointed but its not all down to us. We stood by our Principles, and it is time that he respected that and moved on.
I felt particular wrath that it was intimated that we did this for our own shallow ends as I know that Tony Jeacock and I (and the whole exec Committee) acted on our beliefs and the opinions we were told on the doorstep and I felt it a personal swipe at my honour. Had this been the 18th Century I would demand he meet me at Rookery fields at dawn with his choice of sword for a duel. Unfortunately that time has passed so I shall stick to defending myself, the Committees actions and our principles to this blog.

It was a difficult decision to make, and one that was not taken lightly as we knew the amount of negative press and feeling it would garner us and the boon it would give the Conservative group; If we got city status we'd be mocked as Medway knockers, if we didn't get it we were to blame. How was this us trying to get gain? The Committee vote itself was exceptionally close with only a few votes in it but the decision - democratically made- was reached. I should also say that neither myself nor Tony were members of the Exec at the time and it was made by the out going Exec of 2011.

Finally he ends with Medway is a City in all but name. Really? Well in that case my House is a Fort in all but name. For Pete's sake we are a conurbation of towns and I'm afraid his comments sounds like delusions of grandeur. His whole piece sounds like back slapping and sour grapes. I cannot wait to see the letter from the Cabinet Office outlining why Medway didn't get its city status and see where the "blame" really lies.

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