The late Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher once said ‘I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left’ and today that came true in my campaign to be elected as a Conservative Councillor for Watling Ward in Medway's Local Elections.
As per the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, it is an offence for a printer or promoter to publish printed election material without an imprint, and as such this communication is in breach of the law. So whilst I should not have to justify myself, I will set the record straight for the person(s) who anonymously circulated a leaflet to some residents in Watling Ward and has subsequently been tweeted on the Medway Politics, a political blog that claims to be impartial and that fails to provide a contact address or ownership details: -
- The "Troll of Medway" epithet – this was kindly given to me by a Member of Medway Labour refers to the fact that I am one of very few Medway Conservatives active on Twitter and that I oppose Medway Labour robustly through Twitter commenting on their tweets, campaigns and poor performances in the Council Chamber. It is only those on the left who use the epithet and it is used as an illiberal attempt to silence me. Twitter is not a space where only left wing commentators are allowed to occupy it is a public forum and if you post something political you should expect a political response. If users of Twitter do not wish to engage with me, then they are welcome to block or not engage with me – of which very few have.
- A Tweet which was quoted entirely out of context and on its own was part of a very long thread of tweets in which I was engaged in a debate with Medway Labour candidates very late one night.
- The assertion that I ‘Reside in the affluent area of Hempstead’ – this is no secret. All my published material says I live in Hempstead, I have campaigned in previous local and national elections in Hempstead & Wigmore. I was honoured to have been asked to stand in Watling Ward as Conservative which incidentally shares a boundary with Hempstead & Wigmore.
- ‘Claims to be a trusted businessman’ - the total ignorance of the author of the leaflet is breath taking and the clear charge here is that I have left a trail of failed businesses. My record on Companies House is clear to see. I was a registered Director of a number of limited companies during my time serving as a Group Operations Director in a previous job. These companies were taken over when I left the business in 2006, and these businesses have therefore been removed as individual businesses on the register. A search on Companies House will show you that these businesses were taken over Yes, I own a number of businesses (which are providing to the local economy), but I have never run or owned a business that went into bankruptcy, administration or declared insolvent.
- ‘Doesn’t appear to care for our community’ - This comment comes without any justification or examples and I imagine wrongly based on some preconceived notion about me as a Conservative. I am actively involved in the Medway community through volunteering or via my businesses where I am able to offer jobs, apprenticeships or through donating time and resources. I am proud to be a School Governor, and my business has also provided sponsorship to a number of local community based groups and projects including the Medway Youth Council and Medway Youth Awards.
So I challenge the person(s) who have circulated the leaflet to come out wherever you are for a debate at a time or place that you can suggest. I am not holding my breath!
Andrew Lawrence23rd March 2019