Chatham & Clarendon students share campaign ideas with parliamentary hopeful Polly Billington

Polly with Chatham & Clarendon students

Labour parliamentary candidate for East Thanet, Polly Billington, visited Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School in Ramsgate as part of a campaign project by students to build a better Thanet.

In a special citizenship masterclass Year 9 students pitched their ideas for campaigns to make a difference locally.

After listening to all the students’ ideas, Polly said: “I was very impressed by the variety of issues raised by the students at Chatham & Clarendon Grammar and their ability to speak up for the causes that mattered to them.

“From cracking down on vaping among young people, to increasing recycling and tackling the cost of living, the students had some brilliant ideas, really demonstrating the passion and commitment of the next generation to make a positive difference in their community.”

The top two campaign ideas were: a campaign to tackle discrimination against those with disabilities and a summer skills school for children from working families. Polly will now support the students from Chatham & Clarendon Grammar to take these campaigns forward.

She said: “This was a brilliant day, and I hope many more schools across East Thanet can take part, helping the next generation discover their voices and advocate for the issues that matter most to them.”


    • Sparky you may be right! I emailed this lady and asked her what was her position on the reopening of Manston airport? Guess what I didn’t receive a reply! Are the pupils at the Chatham & Clarendon aware that should Manston reopen cargo aircraft will fly dangerously close to their school, over Ramsgate High Street, and Ellington Park at around 200 meters high? If the school contacts me I can show them the drawings I submitted to the Planning Inspectorate confirming this!

      • Dumpton. I went to school in Ramsgate whilst the USAF were based at Manston Airport I also lived in the village of Manston whilst they were based there. I appear to have survived. My brother went to Chatham House as does my grandson. My sister in law went to Clarendon as did my daughter. All did and are progressing well through the systems. I am sure those in favour of the Airport reopening could provide opposing views that were presented to the Planning Inspectorate. However, we cannot always agree on every issue that arrises therefore discussions and mediation is helpful.

        • R and others who think they remember Manston when it was operational never experienced RAF and the Americans flying day and night at 2 an hour which is what the current owners are planning! I served in the “cold war” and some exercises were just too expensive to hold! In Germany a particular exercise was only held every 2 years, because it cost too much in reparations to German farmers, and towns due to the destruction caused! Also, the tanks and aircraft cost too much to deploy, and repair afterwards! So, thats why people don’t remember Manston when it was operational, it was because aircraft seldom used it!

      • I spent 7 years at Clarendon in the late 60s, early 70s and left with good O and A levels as did everyone in my year. Two brothers went to Chatham House and were equally successful in their exams. I can’t even remember the aircraft noise disrupting classes so it can’t have been that bad. And back then aircraft were much noiser and far more polluting than the cargo planes which would be using Manston. So Dumpton, your argument is completely invalid.

        • Dumpton obviously forgets what it was like to be young. If someone had told me as a kid that planes would be flying overhead very low, I’d have been very excited indeed!

        • So what disrupts children’s concentration the most, do you think?
          Noisy aircraft flying over every few minutes, or peace and quiet.
          A moment’s googling found this: “Our findings indicate that a chronic environmental stressor-aircraft noise-could impair cognitive development in children, specifically reading comprehension. Schools exposed to high levels of aircraft noise are not healthy educational environments.”

  1. Polly wasn’t parachuted in, she was selected by Labour Party members across South Thanet from a panel of candidates including locally based candidates. She showed great local knowledge as well as impressive grasp of policy and a history of effective campaigning.

    • It seems fair to describe Polly as being “parachuted in”. But the real matter will be how well she represents East Thanet if elected.
      Central Government are not only failing to meet its own carbon reduction targets and it is facilitating projects and fossil fuel subsidies that will make it far harder to meet them. The UN have described July as “global boiling” rather than global warming or heating. If a cargo hub at Manston did begin this would add to the problem, aside from the negative impacts it would create locally.
      What does Polly think?
      East Thanet relies upon the Manston aquifer for its drinking water but the area is “one of the most water stressed in the UK” as stated by the previous Southern Water CEO at the public meeting he attended. All the house builidng projects will make this stiuation more extreme. Besides this the water in the aquifer is polluted with “forever chemicals” which is another problem.
      What does Polly think?
      East Thanet has some of the highest levels of poverty in the UK with some of the worst health outcomes. Long term investment is required to improve this but how will this look and how long will it take? What does Polly think?

    • You’ve missed a stage or two David. After she was rejected by Thurrock, then according to Michael Crick, “Labour List reported last week that former Ed Miliband adviser Polly Billington was going for nomination in Derby South, where Margaret Beckett is retiring (maj: 6,019). Billington now seems to have withdrawn, even though it’s said she acquired property in the constituency.” Then shoed into the South Thanet Labour Party by Homer loving Harry Scobie and self confessed right winger Will Scobie, she only scraped through selection by postal votes. Very strange. Charlotte Cornell had much to offer Thanet South and is part of our community. She won the room at the selection hustings as people were impressed by her integrity, knowledge and warmth. I also suggest you look up what parachuted in means David. Tell us exactly what Polly’s links with Thanet really are?

      • Were you at the selection Clare? I was & Charlotte definitely didn’t win the room if she had she’d have won the selection. Charlotte didn’t even manage to win the branch nominations despite being backed by Karen Constantine.

        • Rebecca, what are you talking about? More to the point were you really in the room or were you blinded by Polly’s background? Do you understand what it takes to be a good constituency MP? So far Polly has been carpet bagging to find a winnable seat. Being a former advisor to Ed Milliband and setting up her UK100 company to be ‘known’ throughout the UK as someone spreading the need for Green Industries and of course a former BBC journalist isn’t the stuff of making a good MP or indeed her electable. But for East Thanet it wouldn’t matter if she was a talking potato the seat is a win win for Labour. Which is why the anti Charlotte Cornell denigration, by Polly, incidentally Emily Thornberry and the right-wing lazy snakes in Thanet South was reprehensible. So many Labour members locally have fallen for this shallow perception an alleged ticks all the boxes risk free candidate. She’s already tripping over her mistakes, half a million funding from IKEA, potentially covering up for a self confessed child pornographer, bullying a local blogger with silly threats etc..It just so happens now that there is a hiccup in the LP. After the backlash over ULEZ Sir Kid Starver is now punishing Sadiq, Ed(again) and Polly’s raison d’etre will be muted for the foreseeable. Also as a Hackney Councillor now caught up in possibly concealing the fact of her co Councillor being a paedophile I’m sure she has more reasons than ever to stay schtum. Talking to middle-class aspirational young people in a Grammar School is symbolic of her lack of interest in the real constituents in urban Thanet. Rebecca I don’t know what your experience of politics is or how long you’ve been a member of the New, New Labour Party but I sense not for long. There is also the issue if Diane Abbott is sacked by Starmer then I can’t imagine a more suitable candidate than Polly Billington who actually lives in the constituency.

          • It,s all very odd this. You and Rebecca Wilson seem to both be Lab but are at each other’s throats! Maybe you could leave the family tiff and focus on the issues, not the people.

          • Not all grammar school pupils are middle class. It depends on the demographic of the area the school is in.

        • It’s become a habit of mine to respond on the IOTN forum whenever my name is mentioned specifically.

          I did indeed back Charlotte Cornell. I think you’ll find that branches, unions and others also gave her considerable backing. She was, I’m reliably informed, powerful, engaging and warm at the hustings too!

          I’m more than a little puzzled by what you mean when you state –

          ‘Charlotte didn’t even manage to win the branch nominations despite being backed by Karen Constantine.’

          I’ve been serving the 43,000 residents in my division – more than half of the new Thanet East CLP – for the past six years and I believed she was a great fit, bringing energy, a strong Kent profile, an impeccable reputation and an excellent local track record.

          Surely she should be congratulated and thanked for her enthusiastic participation?

          I anticipate she’ll eventually be a hard working constituency MP somewhere and no doubt at all that Polly will be the MP for Thanet East.

          Hats off again to the fabulous students and staff at Claredon and Chatham house, who always engage enthusiastically with our local community. I was particularly proud of their wonderful efforts to produce face masks during Covid.

    • Ms Pink. Craig is the present MP for South Thanet. Sir Roger Gale is the MP for North Thanet and the villages which includes Manston Airport. It is very rare that MP’s get involved in each others district affairs. However, I agree with you that it would be good for the students to put their views to an opposing party member.

    • Agreed – or, perhaps only the Labour Party is so bereft of ideas that it meeds to ask children for help…

  2. It’s great that a Parliamentary candidate is getting involved locally. Polly hasn’t lived in East Thanet as far as I know but I’d be keen to know how she will “now support the students from Chatham & Clarendon Grammar to take these campaigns forward.” The obvious answer is for Polly to approach the local groups and Councillors who are already active on these issues. I do wonder how this event was created as it would have made more sense to have representatives from exisitng groups who could have informed the students and Polly about local action.
    I hope to see Polly moving on this and also hope this is not pre-election grandstanding.

  3. Was our Conservative MP invited for balance? Anyway, it’s good to see the latest Labour candidate engaging with the Grammar system – Floreat Domus Chathamensis!

    • If only this was a few years back… would’ve loved to have seen the local far left getting in a tizzy over Farage being invited!

  4. Isn’t it a sad indictment of Thanet Labour that they have to get someone in from London to contest a seat that should be quite winnable with the new boundary changes. Just goes to show what national Labour think of the local Thanet crew !!!

  5. Labour Party women that claim to support the suffragettes but can not explain what a woman is and do not respect the largest mandate that the government has been given are NOT feminists but hypocrites. The IRONY …

  6. It’s a bit late to support the suffragettes! Women have already got the vote here in Britain.

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