John's Jottings for July 2006

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.

Business as Usual

Another LibDem Focus has arrived, but unfortunately it has not maintained the improved accuracy that much of the previous issue had.

What a shame! What a lost opportunity!

There was a chance that the LibDems were cleaning-up their act, and I welcomed this is my May 2006 Jottings. It is sad that they have felt the need to revert to their old form.

Some of what is in the new Focus is just the expected party political knockabout stuff, such as trying to blame the council's administration for the threat of capping by the government.

Half-truths about the education budget (the contribution was making up a deficit at that time by government withdrawing millions of pounds) and suchlike are worded to deliberately mislead, and I do not appreciate that at all. There are others, such as the off-road biking issue: the police have the facility and the powers, and the council pays specifically for this service. This was explicitly dealt with at a Scrutiny meeting just a few months ago, and it was clear then how the system worked and the great success it has been and there was a LibDem member present throughout, so they do know the reality! The claims in the Focus are therefore deliberate lies and nothing else.

Another technique that is back with us in this ward's latest Focus is the deliberate rumour-creation. There are a few of these going on around Medway at the moment, most if not all started by the LibDems themselves. One such has been a rumour they have started about housing development on East Hoath Woods, so that they could ask a mischievous question at a meeting of the full Council. Anyone who knows the situation there will realise that this was created purely for their own party political purposes, and has no basis in reality. Council records in the public domain from 2002 show the true background to East Hoath Woods' status.

Similarly, in my ward, they have created a rumour about possible closure of schools (one in particular) in Rochester South & Horsted. No school is to be closed at this time, though financial pressures on schools with falling rolls will give them real problems within the next couple of years, so something will need to be done. The council can do little funding-wise, as we have now been taken out of the loop completely by government.

Anyway, it doesn't take a genius to work out that starting rumours to benefit one's own party is easy enough to do, and obviously appeals to the less honest political groups. They just can't seem to help themselves.

Competent political movements, on the other hand, do not need to resort to any such tactics, no matter what excuse may be proffered in any instance. That applies to any party—or Independent, for that matter—including my own if they should ever consider using such methods in future, which I hope they never will.

My own approach remains the same as always. Yes, of course I and my colleagues need to correct misunderstandings and must not let others' lies go unchallenged: it would only encourage them and make matters worse if we failed to do so. However, our ward newsletters are positive and informative on various local issues, without any form of trickery, half-truths or other dishonesty. Everything we put out can be easily checked by anyone, completely independently of us.

So, for both my party and the LibDems, it's definitely still, in each case and in its own manner, "business as usual"...

Next time: Does the Tail Wag the Dog?