This hilly area of the five Medway Towns (it's much flatter on the peninsula side) is always a tricky place to be once the slippery winter weather arrives – but we cope.
By means of a very good road gritting programme and nearly 300 salt bins around the Medway area as a whole, despite the inevitable grumbles, we really do cope just about as well as current human technology (limited though it is) permits.
The cold air coming off the river that weaves through the full east-west spread of our area, and the quite high altitudes (in one of which I lived for almost thirteen years) make winters hereabouts more severe than they tend to be in many other places. Again, we handle it and live with it, because we have to and because we have done so in years before.
Today, we have had a light snowfall, the first of this winter.
During my eight years on Medway Council I had virtually no issues to have to deal with in regard to our winter provision as a council, with the only matter of any significance being the overturning of salt bins by the yob element that fed down to my former home area from Weeds Wood – which is why the main effect was to the salt bin in Holland Road, which they passed on their way onto my 'patch'.
Without fuss or public moaning, I devised the idea of fixing the bin into the ground (it was done by having several metal coils attached to the base of the bin, and the whole thing sort-of 'screwed' into the earth) so that it would be next to impossible to overturn. As a Councillor taking the job of representing and supporting my residents seriously, that was naturally enough my approach then as always.
Now I see via a Twitter conversation between Labour councillor Tristan Osborne and Conservative Joe Armitage that the former has apparently been claiming that the ("Tory-run", of course!) council's provisions are inadequate, and the latter has been calling him out on the claims of a volume of complaints.
Okay, all this is typical stuff from Labour, especially around these parts – but what does this really mean?
Well, for a start, what has changed from last year, which was much more severe than we have experienced thus far this year? It was the same (Labour) councillors representing that ward – Luton and Wayfield – and the only change since that time of which I am aware is those councillors' move of one of the salt bins away from Lawn Close (Bin SB033 in the council's database of such bins) a number of months ago.
They were being rather secretive about where it had gone, as I recall at the time when I tried to work it out for myself. I never discovered why they were so coy about this, especially when I received no response to my guess (I have all of that Twitter-based conversation on file as proof, if need be)...
Anyway, the bottom line of today's business is that local Labour are 'moaning in public' and making claims (that they have since tried to deny) regarding the level of public contact they have actually had on this subject, and they have also evaded answering Joe Armitage's request for some more detail of which and where these purportedly 'inadequate' bins are.
I jumped in with a trio of brief (i.e. tweet-length!) summaries of my own experiences, but the Labour guy ignored that, and switched his tweeting to a completely different topic – an old and frequent practice that always means he doesn't have an answer so isn't going to bother responding.
It is an interesting example of how some people will try to manipulate just about any situation that arises for self-serving party political ends, rather than just doing their job and dealing with actual issues quietly and behind the scenes, like the rest of us have always done. No doubt they'll be able to devise excuses for their approach (they always do) but it doesn't wash.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Luton and Wayfield community just get on with their own real lives, probably with disgust at how their elected representatives come across as being much more interested in playing political games with their situation than in being on top of this from the outset – that is, on the assumption there really is an element of truth regarding the 'inadequacy' claim, which has not been demonstrated...