Reflections on Strood South by-election by Steve Dyke

This article was published in Friday’s Party People column in the Medway Messenger


I write this just after the Strood South by-election and would like to thank all those who voted for me as Green Party candidate.  Unfortunately on this occasion we were unable to upset the established order and the seat was won back by the Conservatives.

One shock of the by-election was the low turnout.  Just 16.74% of those who could have voted actually did, and of those only 38.4% chose the winning candidate, Josie Iles.  She was elected by just 6.4% of voters.  Hardly an endorsement of local democracy.

All political parties must now attempt to understand what this low turnout means.  While people in Strood South have faced six elections plus a referendum in the last 30 months, have they seen any improvements in their daily lives? Are they tired of politicians promising things rather than taking practical action?

I fear the election of another Conservative to an already Tory-dominated Council will not help to bring about change hoped for or needed in Medway.  However all Councillors are individuals and everybody recognises for example how hard the late and highly respected Rainham Central Councillor, Mike O’Brien, worked for his constituents.

Many challenges lie ahead in these uncertain times.  Further cuts in spending threaten the most vulnerable in our community, there are rising levels of homelessness and poverty, essential public services are in crisis and our environment continues to be under pressure from unsustainable development.

The Green Party will always work for the common good, seeking to hold the Council to account and highlighting the need for action wherever needed.  We congratulate Josie on her win in Strood South and wish her every success, but hope she recognises her role as councillor is to improve things for all her constituents, particularly those in need, not just follow the party line.

Steve Dyke

Green candidate in Strood South by-election



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