John's Jottings for January 2002

John Ward

Please note: these Jottings are purely personal comment, and do not necessarily or directly represent the policy of either the Conservative Party or the Conservative Group on Medway Council.

The Political Scene in Medway — Part One

There are many lessons to learn in politics, and it is important to have a grasp of these if one is to make sense of what is going on. One of these lessons (that most long-term politicians would no doubt prefer to ignore) is that extremism on either (any?) side of the political arena tends to be much the same as extremism in other directions. Politics tends to operate in a circle: keep going to the left (say) and one ends up meeting those who have travelled equally far to the right—there really is very little difference between the two. This we might call John's First Law of Politics.

Another truth is that the label on a local party or a Councillor does not automatically mean that local party or council member conforms to a particular stereotype. Far from it: at a local level there can be a very wide range of characters and characteristics, even within a political group. Greater than that, though, are the differences between similarly-named groups in different localities.

For example, where I lived before moving to the Medway Towns a few years ago, the local party of a particular persuasion did a lot of good work and was broadly in tune with the needs, wishes and aspirations of the local population. Here in Medway, the equivalent group (i.e. members of the same national political party) though not intrinsically "bad", fall far short of that standard and are also inconsistent—and therefore unpredictable and undependable—which is a shame.

This could be termed John's Second Law of Politics.

This second "law" was crucial in enabling me to take the huge step necessary to stand as a candidate in the May 2000 local elections: I had learned (through bitter experience) just who was honest and supportive of the local people and who wasn't, and it certainly surprised me. However I have been able to watch what goes on, almost like one of those television fly-on-the-wall documentaries, and discovered that I was right to make the move I did. I shall never claim to be a brilliant or wonderful Councillor myself, though I always try to do the best I can, but I can confidently state that I stand with the "right" group for the people of Medway—of that there can be no doubt.

Next time: More on the political scsne in Medway.