Welcome to our Faversham Eye Election Special. We are preparing a full Christmas issue to come out on Saturday, December 21 but when the snap General Election was called, we decided to print an extra, one-off eight-page edition.
And what a strange election it is. The stakes are through the roof and political skulduggery is off the leash. Deciding how to vote effectively was difficult enough back when we only had one general election every five years and being caught fibbing was considered a vote-loser. Nowadays it’s becoming impossible to know what information we can trust or judge where news ends and propaganda begins.
This is the third general election in three years and probably the most important of our lifetimes and we have been bombarded by deception, distortion and disinformation without precedent. It feels more like psychological warfare than election campaigning. Facebook, Twitter, the BBC, Conservative HQ and all manner of shady social media propaganda outlets have targeted us with a mindbending barrage of fake news, fake videos, fake statistics, fake websites and fake manifestos.
Our unelected Prime Minister is a serial liar who has deployed every dirty trick in the book to retain power and borrowed a disturbing arsenal of new ones from his Russian friends. This lie-spaffing integrity vacuum has already dragged the country down Donald Trump’s reality-free rabbit hole, where anything goes and concepts like truth, facts and fairness cease to matter.
These organised attempts to legitimise barefaced lying are corrosive and anti-democratic. They go against everything The Faversham Eye – and all genuine journalism – stands for and cannot be allowed to succeed.
The outcome of this election will have enormous impact locally. Will devastating Government cuts to Kent and Swale council budgets deepen or be reversed? Will Faversham’s GP waiting lists get even longer? Will we even have an NHS any more? Will Kent’s struggling farmers be pushed under by Brexit? Will our schools get the funding they badly need? Will even more children in our community grow up on the breadline? It’s up to us. We decide, on 12 December.
To help us all make an informed choice, we requested interviews with all the main candidates contesting the Faversham and Mid Kent seat: Labour’s Jenny Reeves, the Greens’ Hannah Temple, Lib Dem Hannah Perkin and, our current MP, Conservative Helen Whately. With the exception of Helen Whately who agreed to answer emailed questions but changed her mind after receiving them, they were happy to argue their cases.
We also look at tactical voting and which candidate stands the best chance of giving the town a new MP, explaining who gets the Faversham Eye’s vote and why. And we report on how the different parties have campaigned locally and what they’ve said and done to win or lose our support.
Enjoy the issue. We hope you find it helpful and informative. Please vote on Dec 12 and make sure Faversham’s voice is heard.