National and Local politics from a Liberal Democrat from Gillingham, Kent
Friday, 20 September 2013
Cllr Tolhurst and Medway Knockers
I had the (mis)fortune to sit through the debate on the future of rtochester airport a few months ago. I won't go into the detail of the debate but there was something that sparked an emotion that was not frustration or anger.
It was confusion.
Councillor Kelly Tolhurst (con) gave a very rousing speech in defence of her party's plans, by far the best argument I had heard from any of the Tories that night. Councillor Jarrett had defended the position with all the airs and graces of a bison negotiating it's way out of a liquidiser and Councillor Chitty was as convincing as Adolf Eichman's defence top that of with... sorry I am digressing.
Councillor Tolhurst argued that as a local girl and local business owner she was proud of Medway and of the airport.
There came the phrase that Councillor Jarrett had used in the past.
Those that criticised were Medway Knockers who sought to have a go at any good that was in Medway and undermine my attempt to make it better.
This made me think back to other eras of History where anyone who questioned orders or government decisions were termed "Unpatriotic" "Rebels" or "defeatist" often followed by punitive measures.
It is true that there are those who say No to everything the ruling party say or support - that is the Labour Party.
I was born in Gillingham, I had family here and stayed at my Grandparent's every weekend for many years.
I have lived here since 2007, I was married here, my children were both born here and next year my eldest, Sophie, will go to school here. Hopefully this is enough to qualify me as a resident rather than someone who has just turned up.
However I too was (at least) once referred to as a Medway Knocker for daring to speak out against the City status bid against the Status Quo - Worse yet I, and the party I belong too took action for those who didn't agree with the bid and were ignored by the ruling council.
We were labelled Medway Knockers even though our motivations were for the good of Medway.
The same is true for the Airport. THere are quite a few concerned residents who live near the airport who have safety concerns and others who see the £4.5 Million price tag and balk at the investment whilst services are cut and roads unrepaired. Others are more concerned about the Conservatives "consultation" process - which if it is anything like the selling of the care homes a couple of years ago, will be a simple exercise in futility and because they legally have to do it and their minds are already made up.
Pigeon holing and profiling is sp,etjomg we are all guilty of and at times we can be correct in our assumptions and quietly smug.
It is dangerous and either politically naive/ stupid or deliberately dismissive.
I don't think Cllr Tolhurst is any of these. Her statement was very passionate and angry in the face of Labour opposition so I'd notch this one up to the heat of the moment.
But you should watch out for the Conservative group and their, dare I say it, Liberal usage of the term!