Sunday, 23 December 2012
Personal manifesto and local politics
Apart from personal issues such as work, money, family etc there is of course the big question of;
Will I get elected to my ward of choice?
The answer is; Probably Not.
The answer is very predictable because I am a Libdem.
A good chunk of the dislike that will be aimed at us in 2015 is somewhat earnt. Some of the things we have been associated with in the Coalition will damage us, even the bits that aren't our fault or were part of the negotiations between the two parties.
Then of course there is the Tuition fees thing. I admit, freely, the MPs who broke their pledge, and not all Libdem MPs did, should have stuck by what they said.
Medway Labour will no doubt be coming for us and am sure they will be happy to not hide the destinction between the Coalition and the hard work that Councillors Juby, Kearney and Smith have put in for their wards within Medway Council.
The Conservatives, likewise will also be keen to use Labour's deficit and blank paper against them with a quick Can you trust a Libdem?
There is a lot of things that need doing in the Medway towns. Gillingham North & South wards are made up of hard working yet poor people - some of the poorest in Medway. They don't care about a new Bus station, a bridge to nowhere, whether Councillor Chambers should have acted a year ago on Rochester airport, or the state of Chatham. They care about what is available to them, their neighbourhoods, their amenities and their lives.
The other parties often seem to busy bickering among themselves and grand standing over the big things that they forget the small things. ( The criticism that the Libdems spend their time squabbling with the Independent group is rubbish. In all of the exec meetings and sub meetings I attended in 2012 Andy Stamp only ate up thirty minutes - in the Force knows how many hours!)
Medway Council's Conservative administration also seem Chatham-centric with all their work aimed at beautifying Chatham town centre with it's new bus station, Gunwharf quay, work to preserve the high street and even wasting time worrying about the name "Rats bay". In the meantime what does Gillingham get?
Yes, there is the sport facility at Medway park, more Brompton than Gillingham but... There's also the new frontage to the Railway station - that's it.
The roads are still cracked and pot holed, the High street devoid of good shopping, play areas vandalised and still with broken glass over them, heck even the Love Medway app won't work out here having taken a month to clear away debris I reported on it. In the end I contacted a Councillor. These things are not things the ward Councillors can effect on their own but need to be addressed by the Council as a whole, and it is something as a resident I would fight for as a Councillor.
I may not have grown up here but my heart has always been in Gillingham. I go for walks around the ward, make notes and listen to issues. My daughter is at nursery here and by 2015 will be at school here, my wife works here, uses the public transport, shops here and we live here. Improving Gillingham and the Medway towns is at the heart of everything I do and plagues my waking hours. I would work so hard on case work, meetings and fight the resident's corner at every opportunity.
I am not about playing politics or oneupmanship- if I was I'd have taken the easy route and joined Labour or the Conservatives. Politics isn't about the struggle of red over blue and yes even gold, it is about the people, their wants and needs.
As I said at the beginning though, it makes no difference. I am a Libdem, my opponents will sling mud and call on people to judge me on the actions of others and not my own. I am not Nick Clegg, nor am I Danny Alexander or Vince Cable, I am no more culpable for their actions as they are for mine.
I will stand, I want to make the difference, I want to improve the towns and the lot of the residents but will that win votes?
I can but hope that personal politics outweighs the dated party personal politics