Sunday, March 09, 2008

The 4 Johns, Eve & Gloria tackle the BNP

This morning there was a TULO day of action across London in support of Labour Party candidates in the forthcoming Assembly and the Mayor elections. In our London Assembly constituency, City & East, trade unionists were asked to go and help out with canvassing and leafleting in the Gooshays council by-election in Havering, East London.

Picture to right is of TULO activists John 1, Gloria Hanson (also UNISON London Regional Convener), John 2 (Biggs – London Assembly member for City & East), Eve Cornell (top Labour Candidate for the by-election) and John 3. John 4 was of course taking the picture. Peter (who works for Margaret Hodge MP) was leading the team. However, out of the 7 of us, 4 were called John – is this some sort of record?

This is an intriguing by-election. There was a BNP and two Tory Councillors in the ward. The useless BNP Councillor has just given up and resigned after only 2 years. No doubt there is some sort of court appearance pending. At the last election there was a “dead heat” between Eve and a Tory. The returning officer had to toss a coin to decide the result. Unfortunately (for the residents of Goodshays) Eve lost the toss.

According to the local organiser there were about 30 people that day working the ward. I know that Amarjit Singh from Tessa was also leading a TULO team at the same time but we didn’t bump into them.

There was no sign of any BNP canvassers, only 2 Tory leafleters led by their local MP Angela Watkinson, who had a polite chat with Eve.

The ward was a GLC estate now managed by “Havering Homes”. Mostly terraced or semi-detached houses. It appears to be a well run and decent estate. Very little graffiti, no obvious abandoned cars, fridges/mattresses in gardens etc. Lots of green spaces and parks. The local kids seemed pretty relaxed and content. Many of the homes appear to have been bought under “right to buy”. I have no doubt that there are problems but it did not seem to me to be the sort of area were the BNP would thrive? Going by all the vans with local logos there are lots of self-employed trades people and contractors living on the estate.

I appreciate that people do not normally admit to voting BNP (the shame?) but no-one I canvassed said they would vote BNP. It was encouragingly solid Labour. Eve was a poplar and well known candidate. We even had one elderly couple who said that until recently they use to be life long conservatives but now they are getting old they now vote Labour (think about it).

The only hassle I had was from one bloke on his doorstep who announced that he supported UKIP and started wittering on about “stealth taxes”. He was okay, but Eve came over and rescued me, and even got him to sign our petition against the closure of the local post office. As we went off Eve said he was actually a BNP supporter who had in the past been given an Anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) against him for causing problems on the estate. No surprise there then.

The by-election is on 20 March 2008. Canvassers meet up normally 6.30pm each evening at the Harold Hill Community Centre, Gooshays Drive, Romford, Essex RM3 9LB (TFL website) email rob_chapmanatnewdotlabourdotorgdotuk to confirm before you turn up to help.

Check out the “Hope Not Hate” website to find out the latest on the Nazi campaigns in London and the rest of the Country.


Anonymous said...

Peter works for that great socialist and daughter of a multi millionaire Lady Hodge does he. Good for him. Maybe she is one of the reasons that the BNP have been doing so well in her Barking constituency!

Anonymous said...

What is her husbands title exactly....I think we should be told.

John Gray said...

Hi Anon
Thanks for the constructive criticism (not). What was the saying - attack the politics not the person?

John Gray said...

Hi Anon 2
“What is her husband’s title exactly.....?”

I haven’t got a clue what you are going on about? Maybe more of above?

Anonymous said...

Attack the politics not the person?...sorry did you read your comments about Boris in this blog? Hardly following your own advice.

Its a simple question on Hodge...what is the title of her husband.

John Gray said...

Hi Anon
There is an exception to every rule and being ‘orrible to Boris is one of them!
Still don’t know what you are going on about with Margaret Hodge – I googled and in wikipedia says
“After divorcing her first husband (Watson), she married Henry Hodge (later Sir Henry). At the time, Henry Hodge was a fellow Labour borough councillor and Chairman of the National Council for Civil Liberties. He was a solicitor, but took up a judicial career, being appointed a recorder in 1993, then a circuit judge in 1999, and becoming only the third solicitor to sit as a High Court judge in England and Wales in August 2004”.

Anonymous said...

have you forgotten to post the election result for some reason?

John Gray said...

Hi Anon

Nope - check out