So what’s been happening in our local constituency I hear you ask? Well, not a lot. The towns have settled back into their routine of not much happening.
The Sittingbourne and Sheppey Conservatives remain a one man band. Our new MP, Gordon Henderson, has thrown himself into parliamentary life, currently campaigning for the Isle of Sheppey Academy (which I visited during the campaign). He is keeping an excellent diary on his blog giving a view into the life of a new MP. I hope he keeps it going.
The rest of the Tories remain invisible. Their web site has not been updated for over a year and their councillors keep a low profile (having seen a few of them in action this is probably wise). However, to be fair, being invisible has given them considerable local electoral success in the last two years (although of course local election results tend to be guided by national trends).
The much awaited redevelopment plan continues to be much awaited. During the campaign, one of the most commonly raised issues was how there is so little to do in Sittingbourne and Sheppey. People go to Maidstone and Canterbury to spend their money, money which could be spent and invested in the local economy. There have been much worthy efforts by individuals to bring something to the area, such as a new cinema, but unfortunately Tory-dominated Swale council has all the energy of a three-legged tortoise so overall this situation is likely to remain the case for a while yet.
Sittingbourne and Sheppey Labour party had a quiet patch after ‘a hard general election result to take’ but are slowly coming back to life with new members and the leadership debate. According to their blog, they are giving the Council leaders a hard time and campaigning against the VAT increase. Both worthy exercises.
By next May’s elections, Labour should be revitalised under a new leader (please, not Ed Balls!) while the government will be struggling under the cuts agenda. It remains to be seen if Labour will take this opportunity to revive their Swale fortunes.
As for us in the Lib Dems, we are preparing our campaign for next May (we have to start early as there’s not many of us). The first priority will be defending our seats and then hoping to pick up some more. Also we will have the referendum campaign for fairer votes to fight. I am in the process of contacting our membership and supporters and intend to keep them in touch.
UKIP intend to fight 20 seats in the council elections. As I have mentioned before, I have a soft spot for UKIP. For obvious reasons, we can’t have an agreement but I hope they do well.
Then there is the nuclear possibility – that the media get their wish and the coalition breaks down. This would force us into a snap election. Let’s not go there.
And that’s the local news. And now the sport. In the Ryman South, Sittingbourne Town will kick off on 21 August at home to Dulwich Hamlet.