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Marvellous Medway Twitter spat: Council boss hits back at parody accounts

By Dean Kilpatrick, local democracy reporter

Council chiefs hinted they could embark on a campaign of Twitter warfare after complaining about negative posts on social media.

Leader Cllr Alan Jarrett made a dig at recently-created accounts – believed to include the likes of Mucky Medway and Medway Potholes – at yesterday's cabinet meeting (June 12).

He said he is considering creating rival profiles celebrating the council's work, suggesting one called "Marvellous Medway".

Cllr Alan Jarrett. Picture: Gary Browne
Cllr Alan Jarrett. Picture: Gary Browne

A parody account was created within hours of the meeting ending.

The council's Labour opposition leader denied after the meeting he had anything to do with any of the critical Twitter profiles.

Discussing the council's latest revenue and capital outturn figures, Cllr Jarrett said: "What we see is a snapshot of the excellent work we do across Medway – not that you would believe that is the case if you listen to some.

"I was actually wondering, slightly flippantly, if we should start a Twitter account and call it Marvellous Medway in response to some of the nonsense going around at the present time.

"Medway is marvellous, and we're delivering marvellous services to a very high standard."

The Marvellous Medway account on Twitter was set up immediately after the council meeting
The Marvellous Medway account on Twitter was set up immediately after the council meeting

The comments made by cabinet members has received a backlash on social media, with a parody Marvellous Medway account created within hours.

Medway Labour leader Vince Maple insists his group is not responsible for the accounts, but said residents should be free to highlight issues affecting their day-to-day lives.

Speaking after the meeting, he added: "If politicians are criticising members of the public for highlighting the problems of the council, they need not to criticise – but look more carefully at the issues being raised."

One of the most visited topics on social media is fly-tipping and the amount of rubbish on the Towns' streets, most of which are sent to the council's official Twitter account.

Cllr Vince Maple. Picture: Steve Crispe
Cllr Vince Maple. Picture: Steve Crispe

Cllr Rupert Turpin (Con), portfolio holder for business management, said 616 cases of fly-tipping had been dealt with before complaints had been made in the council's last quarter, while "only 200" had been reported by the public.

He added: "The community wardens do a tremendous amount of work, and there are various Twitter accounts attacking, basically, the work they do.

"The community wardens haven't been praised, but are being dragged into the gutter by these Twitter accounts.

"What the community wardens will now be doing is 'Facebooking' and tweeting their achievements on their new accounts they are launching.

"It's ever so easy to take a picture of something, but it's a lot harder to actually get it and take it away."

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