John's Jottings for March 2007

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.

A Rose By Any Other Name...

...would smell—well, if it's a Labour Rose leaflet, it's bound to smell very fishy!

We don't usually see these in our ward, so perhaps haven't gained a very strong idea of what they are like. Recently, though, I got hold of a copy of Labour's latest offering they have put out in the neighbouring Rochester East ward, and its contents show an amazing lack of appreciation of the average reader's intelligence.

My favourite part is the lead story on the resurfacing of City Way. Not only is it wrong on several counts, it rather obviously contradicts itself as well. A very poor effort, in fact.

Okay, so what have they claimed?

Well, to put the whole thing in context: the story began even before this leaflet went out, when Councillor Mrs Murray of Rochester East went around claiming that the Labour councillors for that ward were responsible for having City Way resurfaced, thanks to their petition. Note here, by the way, that most petitions handed in at Council meetings are purely political aids to those members handing them in, and their party groups. There are exceptions (I have done a couple, and they were not politically-motivated, for example) but they are rare nowadays.

Anyway, we in Rochester South and Horsted had arranged the resurfacing work many months earlier, and this was clearly on record in the council's highways department. Did the Labour members even bother to check before embarking on their self-promoting petition-based campaign? Who knows? If they did, then they were deceiving everyone; if not they were merely incompetent.

Okay, back to the Rose, which I am going to rename The Labour Ruse—a far more accurate name for it!

This now claims that that they have arranged for the whole road to be done, rather than just one half, this time changing their tune to at least acknowledge that it was the Conservative members who had in fact arranged this work. Well, of course we arranged it in two phases, one reason being to allow the large volume of traffic along that road to split between traversing the narrowed City Way (while the work was going on) and going via Pattens Lane and Maidstone Road, which meets the southern end of City Way by the college. Obvious really, isn't it?

We were also well aware of the gas main works going on along the northern stretch of City Way, so we delayed the northern end's resurfacing work until that job was completed. Again, obvious to anyone capable of rational thought. So, what did The Ruse say about this? It said we were originally planning to have the road relaid just weeks before the gas companies were due to dig it up again.

Eh? How did they work that out? It completely contradicts their preceding claim in the same article that we weren't (according to them) even intending to do that stretch of the road at all!

So, there you have it. The rest of The Ruse is less blatant in its attempts to mislead its readers, but there's more for anyone who fancies having a bit of a delve into what is being said.

Overall, it has been a useful little exercise for me, and enlightening if not exactly surprising. After all, we already know about Medway's Labour Group in general, and Cllr Mrs Murray in particular. Remember the Jacksons Field skatepark business, for instance?

My experience of life has been that, sooner or later, truths come back to bite the dishonest where it really hurts—in this case, at the ballot box. It would be really good for the people of Rochester East to make exactly that difference themselves this coming May, in the local elections, by getting rid of such dodgy characters once and for all. I look forward to that day with keen anticipation.

Next time: The Half-Empty Glass