Reading Chronicle

The Chronicle Joins the Chorus

An article about the libraries debate in the Reading Chronicle, quoting me extensively, and heavily critical of the council.




















Another day, another local newspaper. Today the Reading Chronicle was published, and like yesterday’s Wokingham Times the libraries debate at last Thursday night’s full council meeting features amongst the local news. And the Chronicle seems to have taken about as critical a line on this as a local paper can be expected to.

Without wanting to sound boastful, I do seem to have the staring role in the article:

A WARGRAVE villager has slammed a debate on the future of libraries- the first in the history of Wokingham Borough Council to be triggered by a petition- as ‘a shambles’.

Matthew S. Dent was joined by more than 40 other worried residents at the council offices in Shute End last Thursday when a petition with more than 1,500 signatures- enough to force councillors to debate it- was handed in

He said ‘I think this would be a very short-sighted move by the council. At the debate, they seemed to miss the point that it is both services and buildings that people are concerned about.’

But Mr Dent said: ‘The whole debate was a shambles. I’d expect the council to review everything after the tender process anyway, regardless of the petition, not to go for it without a second thought. I don’t think this should be touted as a victory.’

So well done Reading Chronicle. I said yesterday on Twitter that I’d love to be a fly on the wall of council leader David Lee’s office. I think that the mood of Wokingham’s Tories will be even more sullen today. Perhaps they should start listening to their electorate? Just a thought…


Read All About It

So, after being disappointed yesterday that the Wokingham Times hadn’t printed the letter I sent in, about the by-election and myself as the Labour candidate (never mind- there’s still a few weeks ’til the election, maybe it’ll be in next weeks), today I’m mentioned in both the Maidenhead/Twyford Advertiser and the Reading Chronicle. As some might say: result!

"By-election candidate pledges to always put people of ward first" - My letter in the Maidenhead Advertiser

The Advertiser has very kindly printed my letter, of which I have included a photograph. Since it’s a little on the small side (the picture), I’ll quote here the text:

On July 21 there will be a by election in the ward of Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe. This election has been triggered by the resignation of Cllr Claire Stretton (Conservative) after her election to Windsor and Maidenhead Council, in a shocking display of arrogance and disregard to the people she was supposed to be representing. The election, however, gives the people of Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe the opportunity to voice their dissatisfaction with the Conservative Party, who arrogantly expect that they can still breeze to victory, even after their previous councillor has caused an expensive by-election. It also gives residents a chance to make their feelings known on other local issues, such as the planned privatisation of the library, which puts a vital community service at risk. As the Labour Party candidate, I will be fighting all such cynical and ideologically-motivated moves by Wokingham Council and, if elected, I will always put the people of the ward first. I will be campaigning throughout the ward in the coming weeks, and I strongly urge residents with any questions or issues they would like to make me aware of to contact me by email at, or by post at 3 Newalls Rise, Wargrave.

Not bad eh?

And the Reading Chronicle article, rather than being a letter in which I spout my positions, is a

"Library Plans Slammed" The article on Wokingham BC's plans to privatise the libraries, in the Reading Chronicle

piece on Wokingham Borough Council’s plans to privatise the library service. The reporter contacted me after my comments on their website criticising the plans, and the article includes a couple of choice quotes with my feelings on the matter. Again, since the photograph is rather small, I’ll quote the relevant text:

…Matthew Dent, who lives in Wargrave and uses the library regularly, said: “Once the libraries are outsourced to a private company the focus will be on profit and if it all goes wrong it will be the smaller libraries which suffer- even though they do more for the community. Mr Dent, the prospective Labour candidate for the village’s vacant borough council seat, added: “Wargrave’s library gets very involved in the annual festival and other activities, but I can’t see that staying a priority if a private company steps in”…

Again, not bad? Although, I didn’t say that the festival was annual (it’s biennial), but I think we can excuse them that? Neither piece is up on the papers’ websites yet, although I will add links when they appear.

Other than that, it’s a very busy period for me. In an hour or two I’m off down to Brighton, to collect my University results tomorrow (on which there will certainly, be a blog). And from there, it’s up to sunny Scunthorpe for a family gathering, to which I will alas not be the person who has travelled furthest (we have some Australian relatives joining us, for a rare treat). And then next week I will be hitting the pavements, and starting canvassing. So if you live in Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe, you can expect to see me very soon. I look forward to it!

(Oh, and I now have a Facebook page. I’ll keep it updated with everything that’s going on with the election and my campaign, so if you want to keep up with it all, please click “Like”)


UPDATE: Here is the link to the letter on the Maidenhead Advertiser website, in case anyone wants to see/comment on it in its natural habitat.